The Best Recipes We Recreated in 2021

published Dec 16, 2021
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Credit: Sara Tane
I Am Fully Obsessed with These Blueberry Cookies and Will Definitely Make Them Again

It’s been a weird year. Looking back, one bright silver lining has been the quality time we’ve spent in the kitchen. Whether out of necessity, passion, or boredom, many of us did a lot more cooking in 2021, and recipe developers truly had our back. From well-known chefs to viral sensations on Tiktok, their recipes kept us cooking.

The team here at Kitchn spent the year cooking up a storm, and recreated many of the internet’s hottest dishes and old-school classics to find our favorites. Here are some recipes that topped the list and that we’ll keep coming back to for years to come.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk
Molly Yeh’s Sprinkle Cake Is the Only Birthday Cake I’ll Make

1. Molly Yeh’s Sprinkle Cake

What’s not to love about a Funfetti cake? We tested four beloved recipes and Molly Yeh’s Sprinkle Cake came out on top. Bonus: It was one of the easiest recipes to make and didn’t create a huge mess. The cake is fluffy and moist with colorful sprinkles dotted throughout, and a creamy, vanilla-y frosting is the perfect finishing touch. We can’t imagine celebrating a birthday without it.

Credit: Sara Tane
I Tried the Pesto Eggs TikTok Is Obsessed with, and I’m Hooked

2. Tiktok Pesto Eggs

Along with feta pasta and salmon rice bowls, pesto eggs took Tiktok by storm in 2021. And for good reason: It’s a super easy recipe that majorly upgrades your morning routine. Instead of frying eggs in plain ol’ oil or butter, use a generous slather of pesto instead. There’s enough oil in pesto to keep the eggs from sticking, while the sauce adds tons of herbaceous, garlicky flavor. If you’re feeling fancy, use pesto eggs to top ricotta-smeared toast, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, and drizzle with honey. Ooh la la.

Credit: Sara Tane
The Key to Perfectly Seasoned Grilled Zucchini Is a Quick Brine

3. America’s Test Kitchen’s Brined Zucchini

If you’ve ever pulled fresh zucchini off the grill and thought “meh,” then we have the trick for you. America’s Test Kitchen discovered that soaking sliced zucchini in a saltwater brine for about an hour yields tastier, better-textured results and we couldn’t agree more. It’s a simple, hands-off step that gives the veggie some real oomph. Make the bright, flavorful salsa verde for a complete dish.

Credit: Sara Tane
I Am Fully Obsessed with These Blueberry Cookies and Will Definitely Make Them Again

4. Tiktok Blueberry Cookies

These brightly hued, fruity cookies blew up on Tiktok and we simply had to give them a try. Thankfully, they taste as good as they look and they’re vegan to boot. Thawed frozen blueberries give the treats their signature color and flavor, and white chocolate chips add sweetness. These blueberry cookies are sure to make anyone smile, so make a double batch for sharing.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk
The Pasta Queen’s “Lazy Princess Pasta” Is a Total Game-Changer (I Can’t Recommend It Enough)

5. The Pasta Queen’s “Lazy Princess Pasta”

It’s hard to choose a single Pasta Queen recipe to single out for 2021, but her Lazy Princess Pasta really knocked our socks off. The Tiktok and Instagram celebrity is known for her simple but delicious pasta dishes (I’m looking at you, Devil’s Kiss and Lemon Temptress), and this one is no exception. The pasta is cooked in the sauce with hot water added as it cooks — similar to risotto — and finished with an egg and some cheese. The result is ultra-creamy pasta without a drop of cream.

Credit: Meghan Splawn
The Ina Garten Chicken Recipe I’ve Been Obsessed with for Years

6. Ina Garten’s Lemon Chicken

Ina rarely steers us wrong, and her Lemon Chicken Breast recipe is true to form. A simple garlic, lemon, and olive oil sauce keeps the chicken super moist and infuses it with lots of flavor. It’s easy to prep and keeps great, thanks to the juicy sauce. Serve as a main dish or over polenta, toss with pasta, or make leftovers into a top-notch chicken salad.

Credit: Kelli Foster
Forget All Other Cheesecake Recipes. This Is the ONLY One You Need.

7. Baker By Nature’s Cheesecake

Cheesecake can be tricky to make at home and can sometimes lead to unsatisfying results, whether it’s lackluster texture or a big ol’ crack down the center. Not so with Baker by Nature’s recipe. The luscious, rich, creamy cheesecake turns out perfect every time and is sure to please even the pickiest cheesecake enthusiast. It takes some time between baking, cooling, and chilling, though, so be sure to plan ahead.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Brett Regot
Samin Nosrat Has a Clever Trick for Making the Best Focaccia Ever

8. Samin Nosrat’s Focaccia

This year, much like 2020, was a banner year for bread making. And there’s no better yeast bread to make at home than focaccia, which is often considered a gateway bread for new bakers. After testing out some of the top recipes, we fell in love with Samin Nosrat’s Ligurian Focaccia. The no-knead recipe calls for a salty brine to be poured over the dough before baking. While it seems unconventional, it adds incredible flavor to the fluffy, crusty bread.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk
Grandbaby Cakes’ 7UP Cake Is the Best Pound Cake I’ve Ever Had

9. Grandbaby Cakes’ 7UP Cake

If you’re looking for the ultimate pound cake, then stop scrolling right now. We’ve enjoyed countless recipes and tips from Grandbaby Cakes (Jocelyn Delk Adams) this year, but her 7UP Pound Cake really takes the cake (get it?). It’s buttery and moist, but still light, and has a subtle citrus flavor thanks to the 7UP. Take it to every potluck from here to eternity and thank us later.

Credit: Nicole Rufus
I Tried the Most Popular Levain Bakery Copycat Recipe and Can’t Believe How Good It Is

10. Copycat Levain Bakery Cookies

If you live in the New York or surrounding areas, chances are you’ve heard of Levain Bakery — known for their extra thick, decadent cookies. If you’re not in the Big Apple (or just want to save a few bucks) then you can make your own at home using Modern Honey’s recipe. The cookies hit all the same notes, with lots of chocolate and walnuts, a crisp exterior, and a gooey, melty interior.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones
I Tried Carla Hall’s Secret-Ingredient Egg Salad and All I Can Say Is WOW!

11. Carla Hall’s Egg Salad

While egg salad is often made as a quick and convenient meal prep lunch, Carla Hall is here to mix up your routine. Instead of simply mixing in store-bought mayonnaise, take an extra few minutes to make homemade chive mayo. It’s made in the food processor, so it’s quicker and easier than it sounds, and it turns egg salad into something truly spectacular.