25 years, 25 dishes. We're going back in time to count down our best of the best, from 2011 to 1987.
Our recipe archivists, who also monitor online ratings, reckon that these 25 dishes were the standouts of their respective years. From last year to our first year in 1987, find the recipes we named our best ever these past 25 years.
After Steven Raichlen sent us this recipe in 2011, we declared it the most beautiful and best-tasting chicken we’d ever had.
To reinforce the whiskey flavor in the brine and basting butter, Steve says to use Jack Daniel's whiskey barrel chips for
smoking—widely available in grill and gourmet shops. This bird is so wonderfully moist and flavorful, it doesn't need added
View Recipe: Fantastic Bourbon Smoked Chicken
Proof that you can get fried food to fit into a healthy diet. Coat the fillets and prepare the batter for hush puppies while
you wait for the oil to come up to temperature. You can also make the tartar sauce up to two days ahead and keep it refrigerated.
If you don't like catfish, use halibut, tilapia, or another flaky white fish.
View Recipe: Fried Catfish with Hush Puppies and Tartar Sauce
A large assortment of mushrooms, including luxurious dried porcinis, is the key to the huge earthy flavor of this dish. It's
meatless, but you'd never know it with all the savory flavor of mushrooms, Parmesan, and truffle oil. A generous splash of
cream gives the sauce its luscious texture.
View Recipe: Bucatini with Mushrooms
You’ll love these if you’re a big fan of the thin chocolate mint Girl Scout cookies. The dense base layer is like a rich,
fudgy brownie, so don’t overcook it or the dessert bars will be dry. Refrigerating the mint bars allows the chocolaty top
layer to set properly. You can make the dessert up to one day ahead. For a more grown-up taste, you can also use dark chocolate
chips for some or all of the semisweet chocolate chips in the glaze.
View Recipe: Chocolate-Mint Bars
Everything you crave in a cinnamon roll, in a vastly lighter version. Brown sugar sweetens the filling of this breakfast treat,
and powdered sugar dissolves into a milky glaze that's drizzled over the top of these delicious and good for you cinnamon
rolls. Whole-wheat flour adds a healthy dimension to these tasty rolls.
View Recipe: Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Rolls
These simple tacos are an ideal showcase for tender Beef Carnitas—tender, slowly cooked, inexpensive beef stew meat that won
us over for its great flavor and versatility. You can warm the tortillas in a nonstick skillet just until lightly browned.
View Recipe: Beef Carnitas Tacos
A dollop of mascarpone, a buttery-rich Italian cheese, gives this risotto its luxurious creamy consistency. Porcini mushrooms
have a smooth, meaty texture when hydrated; their pungent, woodsy taste gives an extraordinary depth to this dish.
View Recipe: Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone
This classic French braised beef, red wine, and vegetable stew is simple and delicious. This recipe ran in a Thanksgiving
weekend package and the stew was perfect for that Wednesday night before Thanksgiving when you have guests arriving, but really
need to focus on prepping food for the next day. This perfectly balanced dish found its way into our regular rotation.
View Recipe: Beef Daube Provençal
A classic that makes great use of leftover turkey or chicken. It’s so creamy and comforting that you’ll be glad it makes two
casseroles—one for now and one for later.
View Recipe: Chicken Tetrazzini
Hot, spicy, vibrant in color and flavor. These kebabs taught us to love the spice aji amarillo and Peruvian food after tasting
what their cuisine had to offer.
View Recipe: Anticuchos (Peruvian Beef Kebabs)
Nutty cheese with caramelized roasted shallots and squash get just the right hint of herbs from sage. Serving over elegant
pappardelle pasta gives it an elegant look and perfect bite to match the delicately roasted topping.
View Recipe: Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallots
2000: A big, flat classic. Toasty nuts and fudgy cake get topped with a thin, crackly glaze. It’s easy and since it first appeared
in the magazine in 2000, it's been a staff and reader favorite.
View Recipe: Texas Sheet Cake
1999: Crunchy toffee bits stirred into a creamy dip make this impossible to stop eating. It’s kid and adult friendly. Coating the apples with pineapple juice prevent them from browning. Unlike today, we haven't always photographed every recipe. Unfortunately, this is one that we didn't capture.
View Recipe: Toffee Dip with Apples
Sweet and spicy with just the right amount of acidity to make this a winning salmon dish. The spice rub melts into a glaze
in the oven. The options for side dishes are endless—mashed potatoes, rice, couscous, asparagus, or sugar snap peas.
View Recipe: Barbecue Roasted Salmon
1997: Nuts, coconut, lime, and rum give this quick bread a tropical and indulgent feel. It’s an unforgettable recipe with the tangy
lime glaze balancing the sweet bread. Give it a try. Don’t let the long ingredient list fool you; many are repeated ingredients
that are mixed in the bread and then used to top the bread with a glaze that puts drizzled powdered sugar and milk to shame.
View Recipe: Jamaican Banana Bread
1996: Feta and tomato take Italian scampi in a Greek direction and it’s a good move. Serve over orzo pasta or with pita wedges to soak up the tomato sauce.
View Recipe: Greek-Style Scampi
One of those “wow” dishes. It’s comforting, full of flavor, different than any other casserole you’ve had, and it’s really
easy. Could it get anyetter? When corn is in season, by all means, cut off fresh kernels to use instead of frozen.
View Recipe: Chiles Rellenos Casserole
Holy calcium! Heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and butter create the regular calorie and fat-filled alfredo sauce. Here, we used
olive oil instead of butter, nixed the cream in favor of a thickened milk-based sauce that uses flour and cream cheese to
thicken it, leaving plenty of room for a cup of the good stuff—Parmigianno-Reggiano cheese.
We’ve revisited this recipe more than once and made subtle changes to fit into the current eating philosophy and this one always makes the transition smoothly. It’s a solid…and delicious recipe.
View Recipe: Fettuccine Alfredo
1993: A meal for two that utilizes the cooktop for browning and the oven for roasting all in one skillet. Sage, rosemary, paprika,
and pepper, when added with olives, fennel bulb, shallots, and red pepper make a harmonious combination of seasonings that
elevate chicken and potatoes. When you add the vegetables to the skillet it sizzles and loosens the browned bits spreading
the yummy concentrated flavor. The combination isn’t common, but it’s easy, delicious, and a definite repeater.
View Recipe: Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
1992: Who doesn’t love French Onion Soup? Who thought it could be modified to lower sodium and saturated fat and still be delicious? Here you go…a few modifications a couple decades later and it’s still a crowd-pleasing dish.
View Recipe: Soupe A L’Oignon (French Onion Soup)
A pizza with a spicy, sweet, peanut butter and soy sauce-based sauce seemed ahead of its time in 1991 when it first ran. Twenty
years later and it’s still a new adventurous pizza for most people. If you like barbecue chicken pizza, you’ll love this.
View Recipe: Malaysian Chicken Pizza
This easy sorbet gets rave reviews from our staffers for two reasons. First, it's super easy to make; fresh squeezed orange
juice, orange zest, sugar, and water are all you'll need. Plus, the orange flavor, much like French sorbets, is both intense
View Recipe: Fresh Orange Sorbet
True to its name, this is a very creamy and rich traditional-flavored potato salad. Serve at your next cookout and wait for
the rave reviews. It's quick to make; the only chopping is potatoes and green onions and you can combine the dressing while
the potatoes cook.
View Recipe: Creamy Potato Salad
Lean ground pork is seasoned to mimic the flavor of sausage, while allowing you to control the sodium. Egg substitute, eggs,
and egg whites are combined to provide the desired egg-y texture with less saturated fat than you’d have if it was all eggs.
Sharp cheddar cheese instead of mild cheddar makes it taste like there’s more cheese than a couple tablespoons per serving,
while keeping saturated fat at a reasonable level. For a super convenient breakfast when you have company, this is assembled
the day before and chills in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it in the morning.
View Recipe: Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole
We love the convenience of the oven bag for this recipe. Crispy, browned skin isn't needed when you remove it before serving,
but moist, tender chicken is and that's what you get with the bag keeping the chicken surrounded by steam and juices during
cooking. You use a baking pan, but it doesn't get dirty, thanks to the bag. After you put the cooked chicken on the cutting
board to cool slightly, dump the cooking liquid in the sink and use the bag to catch the skin and bones removed from the chicken
so the bag can provide another use. The dressing has just the right combination of herbs and tanginess for a fresh and bright
chicken salad. Make and chill the dressing right after putting the chicken in the oven.
View Recipe: Tarragon Chicken Salad