Top Recipes of 2020

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Well friends, we made it. So long 2020.

I don’t have anything profound to say about this past year, but I sit here on the last day of 2020 feeling incredibly grateful. Grateful to be here and healthy and doing what I love, but especially grateful for you sweet readers. Over the past year you have emailed me, commented here and on social media, and generally just reminded me that we are all in this together. Cooking in our kitchens across the U.S. and (amazingly) across the globe, through quarantines and lockdowns, illness and recovery, virtual school, and virtual work, and countless home-cooked meals you have amazed me with your creativity, positivity, and strength.

No matter how things have looked for you these past months, I certainly hope that 2021 looks brighter for you and your loved ones.

From our family to yours, Happy New Year.

2020 Family Photo

Oh, and I also have food. As we have done every year since this little blog started back in 201o, we bring you the most popular recipes of the year – all determined by readers. Here they are!

10. Taco Soup

a bowl of taco soup with a spoon

Number 10 on the list is this quick stovetop soup. With savory spices, seasoned ground beef, corn, beans, and fire-roasted tomatoes, Taco Soup with Ground Beef is a soupy twist on taco night. Add your favorite toppings to finish these colorful bowls.

9. Yam Som O (Spicy Thai Pomelo Salad)

thai pomelo salad on a white plate

Next up, a Thai recipe. And as you’ll see, Thai recipes were incredibly popular this year. This one – fresh and full of bright colors is one of my personal favorite Thai salads – I was so glad that you guys loved it too!

8. Thai Basil Chicken (Gai Pad Krapow)

thai basil chicken topped with a fried egg on a white plate

Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai) is a fast minced chicken stir-fry in rich, spicy brown sauce with Thai holy basil. This dish is great served over rice with a wok-fried egg on top. I always say that this was my go-to lunch when I lived in Bangkok. I could still eat it every day….

7.  Blueberry Yogurt MuffinsBlueberry Yogurt Muffins on a white table. One of the muffins is broken in half.

So many of you made Blueberry Yogurt Muffins this summer I loved seeing the popping up on social media! Eileen commented – “These are easy to make and taste wonderfully light (not cakey.)” They work great with frozen blueberries, so can be made in the winter months too.

6.  Chocolate Chip Brownie Tarts

chocolate chip brownie tarts in a muffin tin

This is a fun dessert that I dreamed up years ago and re-vamped this year (to the great joy of my children who got to serve as taste-testers). The chocolate chip cookie shell is filled with soft brownie batter and makes a beautiful little treat to serve to a crowd.

5.  Greek Pizza with Feta, Spinach, and Olives

Greek Pizza

Greek Pizza is topped with feta, spinach, and olives for a colorful meal with Mediterranean inspiration. This is a white pizza that is simply brushed with olive oil (no red sauce) – a fun way to mix up pizza night and packed with veggies too!

4. Pad See Ew

pad see ew on a white plate

Another Thai stir-fry that made the top 10 this year! This one is easier than you might think and is a major hit with kids and adults alike.

3. Thai Iced Tea

Thai Iced Tea

Refreshing, creamy, and distinctively orange, Thai Iced Tea is easy to make at home. One of my favorite comments on the post came straight out of lockdown 2020 – “With everything being shut down and my favorite restaurant being closed until June, this sure hit the spot. It was easy to make and very smooth tasting. I consumed all 4 servings in one afternoon…all by myself!”

2. Semolina Yogurt Cake

semolina yogurt cake

This is another older recipe that I revamped this year and that so many of you made! Semolina Yogurt Cake is made with semolina flour and yogurt and comes together in just one bowl – no mixer required. A simple syrup poured over the top keeps the cake moist for several days after baking.

1. Crispy and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate chip cookies on a cooling rack, one with a bite taken out of it

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that my personal favorite recipe of the year also was the reader favorite! If ever there was a year for needing all the chocolate chip cookies, it was 2020. These have crispy edges, tender centers, and I have plenty of tips and tricks for getting that balance just right.

Bonus: Pot-in-Pot Method for the Instant Pot

italian pasta salad

Though not technically a recipe, this post about how to use the pot-in-pot method for the Instant Pot was also in the top 10 most viewed posts of 2020. If you haven’t tried this handy way to cook a main dish and a side dish at the same time in your pressure cooker, make it a goal in 2021. This method has saved me at dinner more times than I can count this year. My favorite things to cook with this method are Chicken Burrito Bowls (with white rice), Korean Beef (with brown rice), Sloppy Joe’s (with fingerling potatoes), and Chickpea Curry (with white rice).

Favorite Tools

This was the tenth year of sharing my favorite recipes here on the pages of this blog. If you want to see how things have evolved (especially my photography), check out all of the past top recipes below.

Here’s to brighter days ahead!

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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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