16 Ina Garten Recipes to Channel Your Inner Barefoot Contessa

From lemon skillet-roast chicken to a Jeffrey-worthy devil's food cake.

December 14, 2021

When I'm feeling stressed or overwhelmed, there's a little trick I sometimes use that makes me relax in a near instant: turn on an episode of Barefoot Contessa starring Ina Garten, a cookbook author, lover of all things Paris, and of course, the Hamptons' very best host.

I'm not sure if it's the easy listening vibes of the show's opening theme song or Ina's serene, sprawling estate (that kitchen! those gardens!), but it's hard not to feel ultra-calm as you watch her effortlessly cook through a handful of recipes—whether she's setting up a laid-back lunch for company or preparing a special meal for none other than Jeffrey himself. (How easy was that, right?)

Speaking of recipes, Ina's are some of the best and most foolproof you'll find on the internet (or in one of her many cookbooks). I turn to them often, for weeknight meals, big dinner parties with friends (those were the days)—you get the idea—and truthfully, not one has let me down. And when I don't want to turn on the oven for dessert, I stock up on her baked goods through Goldbelly. How easy...you get the idea.

There are literally hundreds of Ina Garten recipes to choose from, but if you ask me, these are some of her very best.

Ina Garten's Best Recipes

1. Ina Garten's Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken

This one-pan roast chicken has everything we love about a classic Ina recipe: a no-fuss ingredients list, bright and clean flavors (fresh thyme, lemon, garlic), and of course, a clever trick (letting the lemon slices roast with the chicken till they're caramelized and ready to sop up with bread).

2. Ina Garten’s Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

Meet what's practically guaranteed to be the best broccoli of your life. It all comes down to the ingredients the broccoli gets tossed and coated with before it hits the oven—a flavor-filled combination of lemon zest, toasted pine nuts, fresh basil, hunks of shredded Parmesan, garlic, and a healthy drizzle of good-quality olive oil.

3. Ina Garten's Lemon Capellini

Ina's super-simple capellini also happens to be one of food writer Alyse Whitney's all-time favorites, too. Calling for just lemon zest, lemon juice, and two sticks of butter (plus salt and pepper), it "remains one of my favorite weeknight comfort recipes as a fellow angel hair enthusiast," she writes.

4. Ina Garten's Devil's Food Cake

If this irresistibly moist, meringue buttercream-frosted devil's food cake is good enough for Jeffrey—it does come from the cookbook Ina dedicated to him, after all— then it's 100 percent good enough for us.

5. Ina Garten's Pasta alla Vecchia Bettola

This Genius-approved pasta is Ina's version of a longtime favorite (we're talking over 20 years) from Nick and Toni's restaurant in East Hampton, New York. The creamy vodka sauce gets its rich, highly concentrated flavor from an important technique: roasting the sauce in the oven for about an hour and a half.

6. Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies

Consider this the brownie recipe to end all brownie recipes. Complete with a mix of semisweet and bitter chocolate (over two pounds in total), a few tablespoons of instant coffee to give the flavors extra depth, and chopped walnuts for textural crunch, it checks just about every box we can think of. And should you want to take the store-bought route, you can grab a tray of these brownies along with our other faves from Ina herself via Goldbelly. How easy is that? (Okay, we'll stop.)

7. Ina Garten's Mac & Cheese

I consider myself a macaroni and cheese connoisseur. I've sampled many a recipe over the years, but I always come back to Ina's. There's just something about the crumbly bread crumb topping, lush cheese sauce with Gruyère and extra-sharp cheddar, oh, and the addition of sliced tomatoes—that totally makes it.

8. Ina Garten's Cauliflower Toasts

Cauliflower toasts might not seem all that appealing on first glance, but as Ina points out in Cook Like a Pro, it's "a highly under-appreciated vegetable." To bring out its flavor, simply roast it. Mixing it with grated Gruyère, creamy mascarpone, and thinly sliced prosciutto doesn't hurt either.

9. Ina Garten's Chicken Piccata

Ina's chicken piccata is a weeknight regular in my house. The chicken itself is juicy and golden-crisp, but my favorite thing about the dish is the pan sauce—a reduction of white wine, butter, and lemon juice (that's also great over spaghetti).

10. Ina Garten's Roasted Brussels Sprouts

As it turns out, four ingredients are all you need for superlative roasted Brussels sprouts. A quick toss with olive, salt, and pepper and 30 or 40 minutes in the oven, and—voila—a crispy green side dish you can serve with anything from grilled meats to Ina's perfect roast chicken.

11. Ina Garten's Crispy Chicken With Lemon Orzo

Another day, another Ina chicken recipe here to save dinnertime. This one comes together in a flash and is a complete meal, to boot, with crispy, juicy herbed chicken breast perched atop a bed of zingy lemon-infused orzo pilaf. Briny feta and buzzy dill buoy the buttery, rich flavors and perk up the whole dish.

12. Ina Garten's Slow-Roasted Spiced Pork

For a show stopping dinner-party main (or a freezer-friendly meal that could feed me for literal months), try out this spice-rubbed, slow-roasted pork. It hangs out in the oven for about six hours, meaning it's largely hands-off; it also won't dare to dry out if you forget about it for a little while, as I am certainly wont to do.

13. Ina Garten's Broccoli & Kale Salad

Trust Ina to make vegetables exciting again—this time in the form of crunchy broccoli and vegetal kale, swathed in a creamy Caesar dressing. Top it all with a couple of jammy eggs (they're a must) and a handful of crispy, oily croutons (also essential), and there's a salad that will remain on my forever menu.

14. Ina Garten's Salmon Teriyaki With Broccolini

A lil' sweet, a lil' spicy, and more than a lil' simple, this very virtuous-looking salmon dinner is also packed full of flavor, Ina-style. Steam some basmati rice using the Contessa's no-fail technique and you're solid.

15. Ina Garten's Vanilla Brioche Bread Pudding

I've been dreaming about this vanilla brioche bread pudding ever since I watched Ina make it on an episode of Cook Like a Pro (aptly titled "Best in Class") on Food Network. But with a yield of 9 to 10 servings, I might wait till I'm able to entertain again to make it (a more likely scenario: I'll halve the recipe for myself).

16. Ina Garten's Cheddar & Chutney Grilled Cheese

And because no Ina Garten recipe list can end without something as simple and satisfying as a grilled cheese, I had to include one here. Be sure to use your favorite, boldly flavored cheddar (Cabot clothbound, anyone?) and a high-quality chutney with a lot of verve (I'm partial to Brooklyn Delhi's Sweet Mango Chutney) for the best results. How easy was that, right?

What's your all-time favorite Ina Garten recipe? Tell us in the comments below!

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Erin Alexander

Written by: Erin Alexander

Erin Alexander is the Managing Editor of Food52.


Rayenna53 July 17, 2023
Her chicken pot pie is the best I have ever eaten!!!
JessicaRC January 20, 2023
You had me at “Ina”…💕💕💕
Kathy January 16, 2023
We like her mustard-roasted fish as an alternative to plain grilled fish that we often have. The sauce is so good—with having mashed potatoes so it becomes the “gravy.” Love it with her roasted broccoli with lemon and Parmesan.
Lisa E. January 15, 2023
Butternut squash and apple soup! Amazing
Wuleez January 15, 2023
Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread!
Jody January 15, 2023
Two pop into my head-Winter Minestrone (I'm making it this week) and pan-fried onion dip (a must every Christmas). I don't think I've ever been disappointed by any recipe of hers. One more-her Pastitsio!
coyotenana1 January 15, 2023
There is honestly absolutely not one recipe I have ever made that was not outstanding! I am sure that using large eggs will make no difference but I do try to follow her recipes as closely as possible. Lemon skillet chicken, slow roasted filet with basil Parmesan mayo, roasted shrimp, weeknight bolognese…….need I say more😍
[email protected] January 15, 2023
One of my favorites is Filet Mignon with Mustard & Mushrooms. This recipe is on repeat in my house. When I have my friends over, they insist I make a double recipe so they can take some home with them. The Mustard & Mushroom cream sauce is absolutely delicious on ANYTHING! I made it for Christmas to go with my prime rib. (Also, her Sunday Rib Roast recipe is amazing, but makes a horrible mess in the oven!!)
Bebewatson January 15, 2023
Her recipes are fine but what drives me crazy is her use of “extra large eggs”….who does that?? No one else on the planet writes recipes using anything other than “large eggs”…
I just use large eggs when using her recipes & hope for the best.
Opedible January 15, 2023
Ina’s Maple Baked Beans are hands down the very best baked beans you’ll ever eat. They bake for over 8 hours and make the house smell incredible. My family and friends demand them at all BBQ and summer gatherings. Your life is not complete without them. And of course these can be made vegan by eliminating the bacon.
See https://barefootcontessa.com/recipes/maple-baked-beans
Nikki K. January 15, 2023
I've made several of these recipes and definitely agree that they are fantastic! I'll add the Israeli Couscous and Tuna Salad - it's always a hit at dinner parties/picnics/potlucks. And even better the next day!
Michelle January 15, 2023
Ina’s Roasted salmon tacos are fantastic!
Bevi December 2, 2022
I made Ina's Salmon Teriyaki a few nights ago. The Best! And so easy! Other favorites include Ina's Meatloaf, Beef Bourguignon, the famous broccoli, Eton Mess, American Flag Cake, Make Ahead Gravy, Red Cabbage, and so many other great Ina recipes.
Penny W. December 1, 2022
Ina is definitely my "go-to" for recipes, hands down. Two of my favorites that weren't mentioned here are Engagement Roasted Chicken (best roasted chicken ever!) and Aunt Beatty's Devil's Food Cake. Thanks for these recipes. I printed them out for my own mini Ina cookbook. I plan to try them all.
Renee April 7, 2022
A couple of my favorite Ina go-to entrees are Parmesan Chicken and Panko Crusted Salmon.
Kathy January 23, 2022
On the subject of her cookbooks…..
Her first , The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, is really great!
I think that I cook more from the Back to Basics, and Barefoot in Paris…..
But there is no way that you can go wrong with any of them!
FloridaGal January 23, 2022
I've always wanted to get one of Ina's books but am overwhelmed by the choice, so I haven't hit the buy button. I don't have space for many books or I'd probably get the lot :-) Any recommendations on THE one to start with would be greatly appreciated!
Kathy January 16, 2023
I love all of Ina’s cookbooks—beautiful photography and interesting to read. Sorry I can’t pick just one, my top three. I’d say you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

1. Barefoot in Paris—love the Rosemary cashews, eggplant gratin, winter squash soup, salmon with lentils, and vegetable tian (beautiful to look at and eat!)

2. B C Family Style—linguine with shrimp scampi, roasted winter vegetables, Sagaponack corn pudding, all the breakfast egg dishes.
3. Foolproof—faves are mushroom and leek bread pudding (has become our Thanksgiving version of stuffing), salmon & guacamole sandwiches, winter minestrone, Israeli couscous and tuna salad.
Russell L. January 17, 2022
I love her take on the classic Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. I’ve even tried it with pork (chunks of boneless pork shoulder) and it is fabulous!
Mary T. January 17, 2022
Hands down: her Lemon Curd is the smoothest, most balanced, easiest I've ever made... and I've made a lot!
SonjaP January 17, 2022
A family favorite is Ina’s French Potato Salad, so much nicer, in my opinion, than mayonnaise laden versions.