Whether we keep our recipes in a cute little box on our kitchen counter or saved digitally on a Pinterest board, most of us have a stockpile of foolproof, surefire dishes we return to again and again like your mom’s budae jjiggae, or your go-to arroz con pollo. On New York Times Cooking, there’s a handy digital recipe box to which you can save the meals you’ve cooked, hope to cook and maybe never will cook, but enjoy dreaming about having the time and energy to do so.
Below are the ones our readers have saved most often. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority are weeknight workhorses, like a quick skillet chili and a 20-minute roasted salmon, but a few are the sort to turn to on a lazy Sunday, like Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese or Thomas Keller’s butternut squash soup. Save them and give them a try.
1. Vegetarian Skillet Chili
“WOW. 10/10, blew away my mom’s recipe.”
If you have two cans of beans, a can of chopped tomatoes, an onion, some garlic, dried oregano and chile powder, you can make Melissa Clark’s superadaptable 30-minute chili. For another vegetarian chili, try Kay Chun’s version, which uses eggplant, lentils and black beans for heartiness.
Recipe: Vegetarian Skillet Chili
2. Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
“Easiest and best mac and cheese I’ve ever made!”
Julia Moskin’s brilliant hack for a rouxless macaroni and cheese? Cottage cheese. Combine that with seasonings and milk in a blender, then toss with uncooked pasta and Cheddar, and bake in a pan until bubbly and browned. Some sneaky parents have been known to blend spinach or steamed cauliflower into the cottage cheese mixture.
Recipe: Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
3. Red Lentil Soup
“I LOVE this recipe. I make it probably twice a month at least.”
No sludgy brown lentil soup here, Melissa Clark’s is light and spicy, inspired by mercimek corbasi, a Turkish red lentil soup. The recipe calls for blending half of the soup for a silky texture, but if you’re in a rush, skip it. Red lentils cook down so quickly, it’s almost not even necessary. For a spicier soup, try Naz Deravian’s dal adas, which adds a little tamarind to the mix.
Recipe: Red Lentil Soup
4. Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles
“This has become a staple in our household. So easy to make, and so delicious. Real comfort food.”
Sam Sifton’s spicy, creamy peanut noodles were inspired by a beloved dish served at Hwa Yuan, a Chinatown restaurant that opened in 1967. If you don’t have Chinese sesame paste, tahini will work, but add a little toasted sesame oil for flavor, and maybe a touch more peanut butter for texture. If you’re serving a crowd this summer, Hetty McKinnon’s cold noodle salad with spicy peanut sauce hits similar notes.
Recipe: Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles
5. Chocolate Chip Cookies
“I’ve been making these for over two months now and will pass on this recipe for generations.”
David Leite’s chocolate chip cookies have legions of fans. The 36-hour resting period means they’re not the kind of recipe to satisfy a sudden craving (for that, there is always Toll House), but that little respite in the fridge creates a unique crispy-tender texture that cannot be beat.
Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies
6. Roasted Salmon Glazed With Brown Sugar and Mustard
“This is going into my rotation for the easiest and nicest salmon dish on my roster.”
Sam Sifton came up with this clever no-recipe recipe that readers adore. Combine Dijon mustard and brown sugar until smooth, then slather on top of salmon fillets for the simplest, most satisfying weeknight salmon in all the land. Millie Peartree’s jerk salmon is another fast and fresh option.
Recipe: Roasted Salmon Glazed With Brown Sugar and Mustard
7. Shakshuka With Feta
Just-cooked eggs are nestled in a rich tomato sauce spiced with cumin, paprika and cayenne in this cozy dish from Melissa Clark. Breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, it works any time of day. For a heartier variation, Jamel Charouel’s Tunisian shakshuka is loaded with shrimp.
Recipe: Shakshuka With Feta
8. Classic Marinara Sauce
“This recipe was flawless.”
Canned tomatoes, olive oil and garlic are pretty much all you need to make this multipurpose marinara that Julia Moskin adapted from the chef Lidia Bastianich. Serve it over pasta, use it in lasagna, or as the best pizza sauce you’ve ever had.
Recipe: Classic Marinara Sauce
9. No-Knead Bread
“The biggest problem with this recipe is how quickly it gets eaten, especially if you put it out warm with butter.”
We first published this recipe in 2006, and it’s been one of our most popular ever since, making expensive bakery-quality bread possible at home. In 2021, J. Kenji López-Alt tinkered with the recipe and came up with his own version. Try both and see which you prefer.
Recipe: No-Knead Bread
10. Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese Sauce
“I’ve been making this sauce for 25 years. It comes out great every time.”
Readers know you can’t go wrong with Marcella. Her dead-simple Bolognese takes at least four hours to cook, but the results are rich, nuanced and exquisite.
Recipe: Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese Sauce
11. Crisp Gnocchi With Brussels Sprouts and Brown Butter
“Wow. THIS DISH! I’m shocked that it hasn’t totally gone viral.”
Ali Slagle, the weeknight wizard, won many hearts and even more tummies with this smart 20-minute gnocchi dish. You can use shelf-stable or refrigerated premade gnocchi, but the shelf-stable version yields slightly crispier results.
Recipe: Crisp Gnocchi With Brussels Sprouts and Brown Butter
12. Creamy Braised White Beans
“This is one of those dishes that exceeds expectations and is much better than the sum of its parts.”
Two cans of white beans simmered with milk, a whole head of garlic, herbs and nutmeg result in a 25-minute, budget-friendly dish from Ali Slagle that tastes rich and time intensive. For a complete meal, stir quick-cooking greens in to the beans a few minutes before the cooking time is up.
Recipe: Creamy Braised White Beans
13. Chickpea Vegetable Soup With Parmesan Rosemary and Lemon
“Probably the best veggie soup I’ve ever made.”
It may not look like anything special, but Melissa Clark’s vegetable soup is as surprising as it is simple. Once you’ve soaked the chickpeas, just dump the rest of the soup ingredients into the pot at various intervals and let it simmer for about an hour and a half. A generous sprinkle of fairy dust (i.e. rosemary, grated Parmesan, lemon zest and pepper) takes it from run-of-the-mill to remarkable.
Recipe: Chickpea Vegetable Soup With Parmesan Rosemary and Lemon
14. Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Garlic
“This recipe is hands-down the best way to roast brussels sprouts.”
People love Mark Bittman’s caramelized brussels sprouts any time of year, not just for Thanksgiving. Double the batch.
Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Garlic
15. Sheet-Pan Baked Feta With Broccolini Tomatoes and Lemon
“We’ve made this after every grocery trip since it was first published.”
Yasmin Fahr’s vibrant sheet-pan dinner is not only tasty, but gorgeous to look at. Standard broccoli makes an excellent sub for broccolini if you can’t find it. Serve everything over a pile of farro or with great bread.
Recipe: Sheet-Pan Baked Feta With Broccolini Tomatoes and Lemon
16. Thomas Keller’s Butternut Squash Soup With Brown Butter
“This is by far the best recipe I’ve ever cooked from the NYT.”
This lush soup is, by no means, a weeknight sort of dish. It requires several hours of prep and cooking, but the payoff is complex and savory-sweet, and it’s probably the best butternut squash soup you’ve ever tasted. Don’t have a day to spend at the stove? Yewande Komolafe’s butternut squash soup will do the trick in just about half the time.
Recipe: Thomas Keller’s Butternut Squash Soup With Brown Butter
17. Southern Macaroni and Cheese
“All I have to say is this recipe is dirrrrrty. I inhaled it.”
Millie Peartree’s “special occasion” macaroni and cheese starts with a milk and egg base and one-and-a-half pounds of cheese, which makes it gloriously silky and filling.
Recipe: Southern Macaroni and Cheese
18. Old-Fashioned Beef Stew
“Two great Irish cooks rated this the best beef stew they ever tasted. It’s a keeper in our home.”
Molly O’Neill’s classic stew is perennially loved. There’s nothing fancy about it — just beef, carrots, potatoes, onion and a few pantry staples — but it’s cozy and edifying in just the right way.
Recipe: Old-Fashioned Beef Stew
19. Everyday Pancakes
“These are the best pancakes ever! Basic yet unyieldingly consistent, this recipe will give you a tender, tasty and fluffy pancake every time.”
Mark Bittman’s basic pancakes are a surefire hit. Experiment with whole wheat or buckwheat flour, and try adding fresh or frozen fruit (or chocolate chips!) to the batter.
Recipe: Everyday Pancakes
20. One-Pot Spaghetti With Cherry Tomatoes and Kale
“Cooked as presented and it was delicious. The sauce was silky and delicate; the partakers ecstatic.”
In this recipe, which Tejal Rao adapted from the British cookbook author Anna Jones, uncooked pasta and tomatoes cook together in just enough water to create a thick, flavorful sauce at the same time — a smart technique that can be used in any number of ways.
Recipe: One-Pot Spaghetti With Cherry Tomatoes and Kale
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