Dinner

Our 10 Most Popular Recipes of All Time

Behold, the most revered recipes since the dawn of Food52.

August 23, 2019
Photo by Rocky Luten

Food52 is 10 years old! To celebrate a decade of all things kitchen and home, we're rolling out our top recipes, tips, and stories for another victory lap, along with some of our very favorite memories over the years. Go on, take 'em in!


Life may not be a popularity contest, but tomato sauce certainly can be. By which we mean: When hundreds of people love a recipe so much that they leave comments like, "I make this EVERY week now!" and "This recipe completely changed the way I eat," then you know you're in for a top-notch dinner.

So, in honor of Food52's 10th anniversary (yup, that's right, we just turned 10 years old!), we've rounded up our most popular recipes of all time. As in, the recipes with the most visits since the dawn of the site, back when co-founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs conducted all official cooking business from Amanda's home kitchen.

Bring on the jammy eggs, soaked in soy. Bring on the clever community member tips for perfectly roasted potatoes, every time. Bring on the toasted coconut flakes, and the hulking layer cakes—heck, throw 10 candles onto each. And we couldn't have done any of it without all of you, who've been by our side writing recipes, leaving testing notes, acing our recipe contests, and sharing your kitchen wisdom on our Hotline for the past decade.

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Top Comment:
“Well, here we are several years later and this is one of my favorite sandwiches of all time. With a cup of tea in the morning or as a late night dinner it always seems to hit the spot. The savory sweet combo is perfection.”
— Leslie
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Without further ado (though we wouldn't hate a gentle rolling pin drumroll...), here are the 10 most popular recipes in Food52 history:

10. Magical, Marvelous, Memorable Cookies by drbabs

As this recipe's creator and longtime community member drbabs writes, "Shakespeare proclaimed music the food of love, but in our family, it’s cookies." Same with our Food52 family—and if these chewy, chocolatey cookies are any indicator, there's a whole lot of love to go around.

"These are kitchen sink cookies at their finest," says Amanda. "drbabs has been a community member from the very beginning, sharing her recipes and cooking wisdom, and welcoming newcomers. These cookies are emblematic of her generous approach to all things. Why not add granola and chocolate chips and salted pretzels to your cookie dough? It's good!"

Here, here.

9. Absurdly Addictive Asparagus by kaykay

"Absurdly addictive" might be a bold claim—but this asparagus dish has been here to back it since 2010. Just ask its 300-plus reviewers, who report things like, "This is one of my all-time favorite vegetable dishes ever!" (it loves you too, lemurleap) and "It is delicious and unusual! Thank you for a beautifully fabulous dish!" (Thank you, Gina G). Others'll tell you it's just as great with Brussels sprouts, and you can riff to your heart's content.

"I remember when we discovered this recipe during our first asparagus recipe contest," says Amanda. "It was really sophisticated and yet simple to cook, and the combination of salty pancetta and tang of lemon and orange zest really do make it addictive!"

(Psst: Check out this vintage Food52 video of Amanda and Merrill, cooking it step by step.)

8. One-Pot Kale & Quinoa Pilaf by deensiebat

"Amanda and I made the kale and quinoa pilaf several times for demos in the early days of Food52, because it was a total sensation among our readers," says Merrill. "Kale and quinoa were each having a 'moment,' and people couldn't get over the fact that you make it all in one pot, and get such great flavor with just a few ingredients."

"People" such as Brette Warshaw, former editorial team member (and pilaf enthusiast) at Food52. "This is one of my favorite and most-cooked recipes of all time," she says. "My friends make fun of me because I've made it for so many dinner parties over the years (almost always with this recipe as a fellow side dish)." Brett likes to swap feta for the goat cheese, switch up the nuts, and use plain old lemon in lieu of a Meyer.

If you haven't already, make like its 435 reviewers and coin your own version, ASAP.

7. Soy Sauce Eggs by Momofuku

In this wildly popular recipe, jammy eggs get steeped in a perfectly balanced soy-sherry bath.

"What I like best is that these eggs can be used in a thousand different ways: They are perfect on their own as a snack, or on an English muffin (eggs Benny setup), in pasta, or cut up and mixed into a salad," wrote Christina Tosi, whose cookbook Milk Bar Life brought us this method.

"These have changed my egg game in a huge way—as a great on-the-go breakfast, a reliable snack, a crowd-pleasing appetizer or addition to a potluck, and everything in between," says Books & Special Projects Editor Brinda Ayer. "Just this last week alone, I've made about a dozen and left them to marinate for ages, enjoying their salty, puckery, intensely flavored outsides, and creamy-jammy insides." (Days later, she followed up to add: "Seriously. I just ate one for breakfast. I have a problem.")

At press time, Resident Genius Kristen Miglore wrote: "You can vary the marinade as you like—add sake, scallions, ginger, mirin, garlic, chiles, or rice wine vinegar. What's to stop you?"

Nothing, apparently.

6. One-Pan Pasta by Martha Stewart

There's not a whole lot of mystery around why Martha Stewart's one-pan pasta is such a community favorite. Bringing spice from red pepper flakes, depth from garlic and onion, and general sauciness from juicy cherry tomatoes, this linguine recipe takes about nine minutes to make—without having to boil a giant pot of water separately.

But just in case you're still scratching your head, here are a few community reviews:

  • "Perfection! Did not change a thing," writes Laura L.
  • "This recipe is GENIUS...the sauce is silky and delicious. what an easy summer meal—with no clean up!" writes Dina M.
  • "Even on my laziest days, I can manage this one," writes Nancy M.

Save us a bowl.

5. The Best Pan-Roasted Potatoes by Gretchen @ Backyardnotes

What makes pan-roasted potatoes "the best"? A minimalist ingredient list (aka potatoes, olive oil, and kosher salt), the need for just one dirtied skillet, and a foolproof method that's somewhere between baking, frying, and steaming. At least according to this recipe from community member Gretchen @ Backyard Notes, who donated her intel to Food52 way back in 2013.

The result? Potatoes that are equal parts creamy and crispy: a perfect feat.

In the words of community member alidee06, "AH. MAZE. ING. I'm obsessed!!"

4. Milk Bread by Kindred

This pillowy loaf is bestowed upon diners at Kindred Restaurant in Davidson, North Carolina. Its recipe was benevolently sourced by community member Catherine Margaret O'Donnell in 2015. She suggests limitless use cases for the dough: sandwich bread, doughnuts, French toast, buns for burgers, a fun hat. (Okay, that last one hasn't been tested yet.)

"I make this all the time," says Micki Balder, software engineer and Food52's chief milk bread aficionado. She's among good company: Over 415 Food52ers dropped by the comments section of this recipe to leave their take.

"Absolutely delicious," Carla says, "light fluffy, addictive."

3. Tomato Sauce With Onion & Butter by Marcella Hazan

This is an iconic recipe that revolutionized how we make tomato sauce. Marcella Hazan renders tomatoes (fresh or canned), an onion, butter, and salt the jammiest, most drinkable concoction we've ever deigned to use atop noodles, pizza dough, or merely a wooden spoon.

"The Marcella Hazan tomato sauce is pretty much the only version I make," says Merrill. "I use the same technique when I make meat sauce: I start by browning the meat and then continue on with the recipe as written, with the addition of a sprig of thyme and a smashed clove of garlic."

Amanda concurs. "I almost always make this with Pomi chopped tomatoes," she says. "And I definitely use a higher proportion of tomatoes to butter—not because I'm afraid of too much butter, but because I can't imagine making this brilliant sauce with just two cups of chopped tomatoes! I'll usually start with at least six cups and add either just a stick of butter or a stick of butter plus whatever butter nubs I have glued to my butter dish in the fridge. It always works out. At the end, I like to fish out the onion, loosely chop it and add it back to the sauce."

2. 'World's Best Cake' With Banana & Coconut by Sarah Jampel

When former Food52 Staff Writer Sarah Jampel first came across "The World's Best Cake"—which, she noted, was supposedly named Norway's national cake in 2002—on Sweet Paul Magazine's website, she had to try it for herself.

"The recipe, it turns out, is pretty clever," she wrote, many bites later. "You top a large pan full of cake batter with meringue and then bake everything together, all at once. After just 30 minutes, the meringue is puffy and golden and the cake is ready to come out. Let it cool, then slice it down the middle so that you have two rectangular pieces. Stack the two sections, adding a soft, whipped cream blanket in between. The cake chills for one hour, after which the multiple layers of dense, buttery pound cake, airy meringue, and melty whipped cream have coalesced."

Her adaptation invites sliced banana, toasted coconut, and ground cinnamon and cardamom to the party for extra flavor and texture. Because, you know, one can always improve on "the world's best."

1. Crock-Pot Brown Sugar & Balsamic–Glazed Pork Tenderloin by Melissa Bossler

"Since day one at Food52 I’ve been fascinated by the lore of this slow-cooker pork tenderloin," says Senior Editor Eric Kim. "Why would you slow-cook such a tender piece of white meat? Why is this recipe so popular? Editors before me have carefully documented its winding road to us."

After careful analysis and more pork tastings than he cares to disclose, Eric developed a few theories about how this sweet and savory pork tenderloin became the site's most popular recipe of all time:

"One: When you overcook pork tenderloin, you can just shred it and the sauce makes it moist again. Two: Speaking of the sauce, the brown sugar–balsamic glaze tastes incredible, and is perfumed with sage. And three: People just like white-meat proteins (see: boneless, skinless chicken breasts."

Last fall, he set out on a mission to "better" this recipe by, in his words, "smugly replacing the tenderloin with a pork shoulder." The verdict? "Of course it tasted lovely (shoulder is always lovely). But, I thought it was important that we honor the original choice of protein for our anniversary.

"Our test kitchen director Josh Cohen and I decided to try it with one small alteration: Cook it way less (turns out a pork tenderloin can come up to temperature in just 2 to 3 hours even in the slow cooker). Then, I noticed our test kitchen cook Allison Bruns Buford take the cooking liquid at the end and reduce it in a separate saucepan into an even stickier glaze. Carved into medallions, that balsamic-glazed pork truly is divine. However you choose to make it, I think it’s a great blueprint for dinner."


Go on, give us an anniversary present: Tell us all about your favorite Food52 recipe down below in the comments!
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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Deserie Harrison
    Deserie Harrison
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    Leslie
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    Natalie Murray
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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner.

7 Comments

Deserie H. August 27, 2019
How is Urvashi Pitre's Butter Chicken not on this list?! Trust Urvashi!
 
Leslie August 26, 2019
Just want to share my love for the Toasted Peanut Butter and Honey sandwich on Rosemary Chocolate Bread. When I first saw this recipe I admit to thinking “how weird is that”, however it was just intriguing enough that I had to see for myself. I love all of those flavors alone so why wouldn't I love them together? Well, here we are several years later and this is one of my favorite sandwiches of all time. With a cup of tea in the morning or as a late night dinner it always seems to hit the spot. The savory sweet combo is perfection.
 
Natalie M. August 24, 2019
I agree with I am in LOVE with the more recent recipe posted of Jamie Oliver's "Tender & Crisp Chicken Legs With Sweet Tomatoes & Basil". It's ridiculously easy. and a so rich in flavor, and a total crowd pleaser. I have just started using a whole chicken cut up for economics sake and it works just as well. Throw in some big green butter olives at the last 30 min of cooking and you have nothing short of magic
 
deblenares August 23, 2019
Here are my favorites including 3 from the site's top 10:
https://food52.com/recipes/36105-world-s-best-cake-with-banana-coconut

https://food52.com/recipes/13722-marcella-hazan-s-tomato-sauce-with-onion-butter
https://food52.com/recipes/4734-garlicky-roasted-potato-salad
https://food52.com/recipes/30318-parmigiana-bianca-white-eggplant-parmigiana
https://food52.com/recipes/31878-creamy-mushroom-pasta
 
epicharis August 23, 2019
1) The "maple, Matilda, garlic" pork shoulder is an exquisite recipe and one of the best I've ever found (although it's probably closer to 14 hours vs 18): a foolproof, low-effort technique that you can replicate or tinker with endlessly without making a mess of your kitchen. Honestly, the hardest part is finding a butcher that does bone-in skin-on pork shoulder, but if you live in a city it's pretty easy.
2) Holla at the kale and quinoa pilaf. What a great weeknight dinner.
 
annette August 23, 2019
Hear, hear.
 
Pioneer August 23, 2019
Nancy Jo’s eggplant parm recipe changed my life and was the first recipe that brought me to this site! What I though of as a laborious dish became so much more accessible with this recipe. It’s become my go-to for parties and will always hold a special place in my heart.