Our Food Editors' Favorite Recipes of 2018
The secret ingredient in these fluffy cinnamon rolls? Mashed potatoes! "I was not a believer until my first bite," says deputy editor Greg Lofts. "The potato makes the buns extra tender and luscious. I’ll never bake cinnamon rolls without it again." Bonus: the dough can be made and the buns assembled a day ahead, so all you have to do in the morning is pop them in the oven. Serve them for breakfast, dessert, or both.
Chicken and Dumplings
The perfect one-pot meal for a cozy evening at home! Greg advises making this starting on "the first cold day of fall until the sun really cranks up the heat in May. The chicken stew is rich and satisfying without feeling heavy, and the steamed dumplings on top are light as a feather. And since it all comes together in one pot, cleanup is a cinch."
Laotian Shrimp Larb
Our take on the unofficial dish of Laos calls for shrimp instead of the traditional pork, beef, or chicken. Paired with fresh lemongrass, ginger, lime juice, and fish sauce, the results are a revelation. "It might just be one of my favorite recipes of all time," says food editorial director Sarah Carey. "It’s spicy and salty and crunchy—all my favorite flavors."
While it was tough to choose a favorite from this year's phenomenal pizza-from-scratch story, recipe tester Riley Wofford ultimately went with the grandma-style pie. "A lot of love went into perfecting this recipe," she reveals. "The dough is perfectly salty and chewy (and easy!), and the sauce is the ideal balance of sweet and acidic. And you can’t go wrong with lots of thick pepperoni slices."
And if you need a glorious appetizer before that pizza? "I love a seemingly basic recipe that surprises you," says Riley. "A grilled-vegetable platter may not seem like much, but the flavor that's packed into the zucchini and eggplant here is unreal." Serving the sweet-and-sour veg (from red-wine vinegar, golden raisins, and capers) with cheeses and cured meats doesn't hurt, either.
Can we let you in on a secret? Senior editor Lauryn Tyrell isn't the biggest fan of apple pie—she much prefers the ratio of crust to fruit on a tart. "This one couldn’t be simpler to prepare and makes for a deceptively impressive centerpiece on an after-dinner cheese board," says Lauryn. "Just spread a generous amount of membrillo paste over pâte brisée, then shingle apples over the top, sprinkle with sugar, and bake until nice and caramelized."
Lemon-Olive Oil Cake
Not overly sweet and boasting a light, delicate crumb, this dessert is bursting with summer freshness, especially when mounded with whipped mascarpone cream and lots of ripe berries. Lauryn says, "I brought this cake to a party, and it was devoured to the sound of oohs and aahs. Another plus: it can be made a day in advance and keeps beautifully as long as it's wrapped well."
Not just Lauryn's favorite, this recipe is her son's favorite, too! "I brought a few turkeys home for him, and he lovingly named each one," she says. "A cute idea is great, but it has to be delicious. And there are few things more delicious than a crispy palmier."
Twice-Baked Potato-and-Raclette Casserole
If, like assistant editor Lindsay Strand, you're "a cheese-lover through-and-through," this is the casserole for you. It starts with mashed potatoes and "adds cream cheese and raclette for a dish that's totally over-the-top and decadent in the best way possible." Crunchy roasted potato skins with garlic and crisped sage leaves serve as the next-level finish.
Another make-ahead winner! These ribs can be prepped up to three days ahead, then crisped up under the broiler or on the grill before serving. And the flavors are so good that the dish is going on Lindsay's birthday wish list: "I always request ribs for my family birthday dinner. Next year I’ll be asking for this variation, which has a delicious Italian spice rub of rosemary, thyme, sage, and fennel seeds."
Although this striking punch was developed for Halloween, it's sure to be a hit all year long. Lindsay explains, "this year we took an elegant approach to a spooky cocktail party. I especially love the way the punch turned out. The ice float creates such a visual impact and is so easy to make (just arrange fruit in a cake pan and fill it halfway with water)."
Swiss-Chard Frittata with Rye Berries
"A major frittata upgrade! I love the amount of greens and herbs that go into this recipe," says test kitchen supervisor Kavita Thirupuvanam. Chock-full of Swiss chard, scallions, dill, and parsley, and bulked up with chewy rye berries, the egg dish is her new go-to brunch option. Might it become yours, too?