Traditional recipes

The Best Japanese Bar Food in America Slideshow

The Best Japanese Bar Food in America Slideshow

Village Yokocho (New York City)

This wild, rambunctious izakaya in the East Village (known for its izakaya-hopping, among other things), is sometimes overshadowed by the exclusive bar that may or may not be hidden in the back room. But after your wallet has been drained by artisan $15 cocktails, you'll be wanting the cheap, flowing sake and charcoal-grilled meats more than ever.

Nothing on the food menu is to be missed, from the Korean do-it-yourself barbecue to the mystic combinations listed in Japanese with bizarre illustrations you must order to make sense of. The affordable and plentiful beer and sake list make these after-cocktail treats taste all the better. A first-pick destination for any New York City izakaya night out.

Gaku (Honolulu)

The brainchild of sushi master Manabu Kikuchi, this fun and funky izakaya holds none of the uptight attitude most sushi restaurants are famous for, but instead has the vibe of a real izakaya. Gaku is usually an explosion of laughter and background conversations, the sound mimicking the neon green shirts worn by the waitstaff — capturing the izakaya mood perfectly.

However, the food served in the restaurant is no joke. Alongside flasks of sake, this 20-year veteran of the sushi game serves up artfully crafted classics as well as new, interesting fusion plates like tako marine basil fumi with special garlic dressing. Be sure to explore the expansive sake menu, and watch the night get warm and fuzzy as the dangerously appealing combination of good friends, good food, and good drinks makes the evening.

Honda-Ya (Los Angeles)

This small izakaya deep inside Little Tokyo is a classic izakaya, from the available kneel-on-the-floor seating available (don't worry, they also have tables) to the old-school grills working behind the bar until late into the night. Here, there is very little in the sense of new-age fusions, saketinis, and business-type power lunches.

As with the original izakayas, the idea at Honda-Ya is to come in with close friends, order tall glasses of Sapporo and a lot more sake than you should, and enjoy the simple, delicious grilled meats. All of the offal classics are here, as well as all the sake you could need, so get down to some no-frills Edo-era mischief!

Kaname (Seattle)

Walking into this popular Seattle izakaya puts you under a certain spell, making you honestly believe, if only for a second, that you were transported to downtown Tokyo. And Kaname's menu does nothing to break the charade. The food is all excellent, focusing mainly on izakaya specialties like noodles, sushi, and fried croquettes stuffed with different fillings.

But people don’t just come here for the food. The true star of this restaurant is its impressive shoju list (a popular Japanese liquor usually ranging from 20 to 25 percent alcohol) and its varied sake selection (including Jizake, or micro-brewed brands imported from Japan). Explore the rich varieties of shoju that are usually only reserved for the bar crowd in Japan, but proceed with caution — shoju has a bad reputation of sneaking up on people who aren’t carefully counting how much they drink.

Chotto (San Francisco)

"A Spanish chef running an izakaya! What kind of trickery is this?" That could very well be your first thought when entering Chotto, if you even notice the Spanish chef Armando Justo hidden away inside the kitchen. One says "if" because the kitchen is constantly putting out perfected versions of Japanese classics that would have any Japanese national fooled.

The food at this San Francisco izakaya is reasonably priced, especially considering the high praises it constantly gets in publications, and all that extra money means you get to splurge on their list of more than 15 sakes — from Onigoroshi to warm Ozeki. The sake menu is organized so that it's easy to find exactly what you want, and for those without a taste for sake, the cocktail, beer, and wine list are as expansive, and as interesting, as their food menu.

Sakagura (New York City)

They say good things are earned, not given, and that's true for this gem. After one goes through the trouble of finding Sakagura hidden in the basement of a nondescript skyscraper, they find what could arguably be called the best sake bar in all of New York City, and possibly the East Coast.

"Sakagura," or wine cellar, as it translates to, has nothing but the highest esteem for all kinds of rice wine, and boasts an impressive collection to prove it. Ranging from the high-priced Daiginjos to the more affordable Junmais and offering everything from hot to cold, the menu seems endless and a little bit difficult to navigate.

Thankfully, the staff are all very knowledgeable when it comes to sake and are more than happy to guide you based on your preference (think wine terms, dry vs, fruity, light vs. heavy, etc.) and your meal. The food is very impressive in its own right, especially the sea urchin and egg soup, and the chilled tofu.

Lure (Chicago)

How to describe Lure? Tron, cast with extras from the Harajuku district, catered by one of the more promising chefs in Chicago, wrapped up in a cacophonous good time. How about that?

Try and do better when you visit this izakaya set up in a Chinese mall. As soon as you walk in, the design is literally stunning. Lights flash everywhere, with loud music seemingly designed to induce seizures. After that initial shock wears off, it's over to the food, which is prepared by critically acclaimed chef Eric Aubriot, who brings an international whimsy to the classic izakaya dishes.

As it gets later, you notice the waitresses are all dressed as… Japanese lolitas? Time to get to the bar. Browse the extensive sake list and start knocking them back as the weirdness of the bar overtakes you. While this place may not, in any sense of the word, fit into the traditional definition of izakaya, it still somehow manages to encapsulate the central theme of them: having fun with friends, old and new, with great food and great drinks.

The New Generation of Chefs Pushing Japanese Food in Unexpected Directions

With their fresh, freewheeling interpretations, these restaurants are challenging long-held ideas about what authenticity actually means.

A bounty of Japanese tempura — (from top) kabocha squash, shrimp, broccoli, eggplant, shiitake mushroom and shiso leaf — with ikura (salmon roe), unagi (barbecue eel) and sake (salmon) sushi. Credit. Photo by Mari Maeda and Yuji Oboshi. Food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich. Prop styling by Victoria Petro-Conroy

IN 1906, THE YOKOHAMA-BORN scholar Okakura Kakuzo published “The Book of Tea,” a brief tract for Western readers on chanoyu, the centuries-old, highly ritualized Japanese tea ceremony. He argued that the aestheticization of the humble act of drinking tea — “the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence” — must be understood as an ethos underlying an entire culture, from its arts and literature to the “delicate dishes” of its cuisine. His intent was to demystify, but his words had almost the opposite effect, heightening the sense of opacity surrounding both the Japanese approach to food and the island nation itself, which from the early 17th century until 1853 was almost completely closed off from the rest of the world.

More than 50 years after Kakuzo’s treatise, the French literary theorist Roland Barthes, in his 1970 monograph “Empire of Signs,” described Japanese cooking in even more esoteric terms, arguing that it privileged the infinitesimal over Western abundance and was practiced “in a profound space which hierarchizes man, table and universe.” Today, Westerners remain in thrall to this vision of washoku, traditional Japanese cuisine, as forbiddingly precise, each ingredient presented sparely and simply within the narrow window of ripeness in which it has fulfilled its destiny, to reflect the ephemerality of life. (Never mind that this philosophy has only ever applied to kaiseki, the most rarefied level of Japanese dining.)

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So it’s slightly disconcerting to find a bag of Safeway-brand jalapeño Cheddar cheese bagels — surely not representative of the beautiful in any culture — in the kitchen at Hannyatou, a tiny sake bar in Seattle helmed by the chef Mutsuko Soma. Lumpy and craggy, the bagels are treated as a serious ingredient: pulverized, then calibrated with salt and koji (grains or legumes inoculated with spores of Aspergillus oryzae, phylogenetically kin to the mold that turns coagulated milk into blue cheese) and left to turn funky and fetid over weeks. Soma grew up north of Tokyo and came to the United States at the age of 18. She is one of several chefs outside Japan — expatriates, immigrants and nisei and sansei (second- and third-generation descendants of immigrants), as well as gaijin (foreigners), drawn, often circuitously, to the cuisine — who have opened restaurants in the past few years that are pushing Japanese food in unexpected, even counterintuitive directions.

Purists might dispute the idiosyncratic unfolding of kaiseki at the haute Odo, half-hidden like a speakeasy at the back of a cocktail bar in the Flatiron district of Manhattan, where Hiroki Odo has been known to forsake tempura in the agemono (fried) course in favor of a French croquette heavy with béchamel. There will be quibbles over the dashi deployed at the Los Angeles breakfast and lunch spot Konbi, since the chefs, Akira Akuto and Nick Montgomery, leave the bonito shavings to steep and simmer longer than usual, privileging deep, brooding flavor over clarity. And downright bewilderment might greet the melting of Swiss cocoa powder into curry at Tatsu Aikawa’s cheekily named Domo Alley-Gato bar in Austin, Tex.

Yet however maverick or heretical on the surface, the work of these chefs is rooted in Japanese technique. Soma treats those jalapeño Cheddar cheese bagels as if they were soybeans en route to miso, and the paste they become achieves the same desirable tang of salty-sweet underground rot. Nor is there anything radical about these chefs’ attention to seasonality and place, tenets at the heart of washoku. It just so happens that the place in question is not Japan but Paris, in the 11th Arrondissement, where the American chefs Robert Compagnon and Jessica Yang of Le Rigmarole have adopted Japanese yakitori as, Compagnon says, “a framing mechanism for whatever is in season” — tiny charred tomatoes with puckering skins, leeks daubed with cod-roe mayonnaise — and made variants on the sour-spicy condiment yuzu kosho out of French citrus fruits as they come in and out of harvest. In Brooklyn, Patch Troffer, an American chef of Japanese descent who last year took over the kitchen at the farm-to-table institution Marlow & Sons, supplants wasabi with horseradish root grown in upstate New York. “It’s the food of the displaced and the diaspora,” Troffer says. “What happens when you don’t have the right ingredients” — a lesson he learned from his Japanese grandmother, who married a marine during the Korean War and wound up in South Carolina, making dashi out of canned clams and writing to Katagiri grocery in New York to beg for shipments of soy sauce and umeboshi.

Odo, a native of Kyushu, has had to adjust to the tastes and textures of American ingredients, as well as the bias of the American palate toward more flagrant flavors. The almost ascetic simplicity of classical kaiseki can be a cultural barrier diners here “might feel like they’re eating nothing,” he says. (His American-born sous chef, Brian Saito, translated for us.) Foraged vegetables from Pennsylvania and upstate New York are delivered to the restaurant once a week. On a recent afternoon in April, they included ramps, whose garlicky punch would be considered too strong for dishes intended to accompany the tea ceremony in Kyoto, where Odo apprenticed in the cuisine. But “this is New York kaiseki,” he says, so he commits to richness and pairs the ramps with wild Alaskan king salmon, an oily fish that is marinated in bourbon — instead of sake — chosen partly for aroma and partly for provenance: It’s made nearby at Brooklyn’s Kings County Distillery.

For Aikawa, who at the age of 10 was whisked by his mother from Tokyo to a rural Texan commune, food tells the story of immigration and the meeting of cultures. “When I go to a barbecue, I bring a tub of rice,” he says. At Kemuri Tatsu-ya, the half-izakaya, half-barbecue spot he and the chef Takuya Matsumoto opened in 2017, he categorizes brisket as lean or toro, borrowing from sushi vocabulary the designation of fatty tuna. “I want to treat brisket like sashimi — put it on a pedestal,” he says. His take on Texas barbecue is straightforward (“out of respect”), but there’s a touch of miso in the sauce, and he anoints yakitori skewers of chicken skin with garlic salt and lime to honor his Mexican neighbors.

Within this cohort, several chefs revel in the juxtaposition of Japanese and Italian cuisine — the latter long beloved in Japan, where it is fondly called itameshi, and where local chefs obsess over perfecting Neapolitan pizza with kerchief-thin, pliant crusts and cooking spaghetti to the exact second of al dente. Amid the parade of yakitori at Le Rigmarole, Compagnon and Yang present pasta that shows a clear debt to Italy while resembling no codified recipe even their noodle shapes and names — cushioni, for ravioli that look like doll pillows faniciulle, from the Italian word for maidens, elaborately folded like demure hoods — are the chefs’ inventions. At Blackship in West Hollywood, which opened last December, the New York-raised Keiichi Kurobe presses shiso leaves into housemade noodles and garnishes dishes with them in lieu of basil. And a few miles away, in the Palms neighborhood, the best-known dish at Niki Nakayama’s n/naka is the pasta that materializes in the middle of her otherwise recognizably Japanese kaiseki: Derived from a genre of food called yoshoku — dishes borrowed from the West and freely altered with local ingredients to satisfy Japanese tastes — her spaghetti is glossed with mentaiko (pickled cod roe), as it might appear in Japan, then strewn with petals of razor-cut abalone and black truffles.


THESE DISHES CONFOUND Western notions of what Japanese food should be, in part because diners who haven’t grown up eating the cuisine often encounter it in the limited binary framework of high and low: austere sushi bars where the tab starts at three figures versus quick-turnover ramen shops, with few options in between. In adopting ingredients and techniques from other cultures, the new movement might even uncomfortably recall the Asian-fusion trend that started in the late ’80s, which was spearheaded by chefs of European descent. But where those chefs filtered Japanese cuisine through a Western perspective, taking Japanese elements out of context and subsuming and bending them to their will, today’s chefs are doing the opposite — viewing the West and its culinary traditions through a Japanese lens. As the thinking on diversity in America has evolved from the metaphor of a melting pot to a mosaic, in which each piece keeps its integrity while enriching the whole, the concept of fusion has become archaic, replaced by a more organic understanding of how food changes when people immigrate and have to adapt to the ingredients on hand.

By refuting rigid orthodoxy — and some inchoate standard of authenticity — these chefs remind us that Japanese cuisine is not some repository of edicts past but a lived and living tradition, as well as a pastiche, one that has borrowed unapologetically from other cultures throughout history, despite the country’s long seclusion. Tempura, both dish and word, was a gift from the Portuguese, whose language was brought accidentally to Japan when, in 1543, three Portuguese sailors on a Chinese ship made contact in southern Japan. Jesuit missionaries followed, ultimately passing on a recipe for peixinhos da horta (“little fish of the garden”): green beans dusted in flour and deep-fried.

Curry arrived in the 19th century, during the Meiji era, from India via the British Royal Navy, when the subcontinent was part of the Raj. It was considered a Western dish and thus pricey, until the late 1950s, when Japanese companies started selling instant curry that produced a dish milder and sweeter than either its British or Indian counterpart. Troffer modeled his curry after the best-selling S&B brand but with a lashing of heat during the colder months, it’s served at Marlow as it often appears in Japan, with pork katsu, a cutlet gilded in panko. Aikawa took his Texas version further afield, finding kinship to Louisiana gumbo and Mexican mole as he wrangled more than two dozen spices trying to strike the right balance, recalibrating by the gram in batch after batch. He serves his curry straight or amped up into a near chili, which is stuffed in a brioche bun and topped by a hot dog that’s been patted down with panko and deep-fried so it suggests a hard-shell taco.

Udon Noodle Soup

The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak

No exploration of Japanese vegan food would be complete without some vegetarian udon noodle soup. In this flavorful recipe, ginger, vinegar, and soy sauce simmer together with udon noodles, scallions, and fresh cilantro. Yum!

Homemade Cheese Straws

America's Test Kitchen and its other publications like Cooks Illustrated and Cook's Country are my most trusted sources for recipes. ATK prides itself on testing and retesting its recipes and cooking methods until it has achieved perfection. Though most of ATK's recipes are only available through subscription (totally worth it, BTW), you can get a free taste through the following recipes. Once you've tried them yourselves, prepare to become an ATK follower for life. Enjoy!

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America’s Best Foods on a Stick

Believed to have originated as a street snack in Seoul, Korea, Tornado Potatoes (also known as Spiral Spuds, Saratoga Swirls, Twisted Taters and Potato Springs) are now an American fair and festival favorite. Stick-It Concessions can be credited with disseminating the treat throughout Southeast Ohio, spiral-slicing Idaho tubers around 18-inch wooden skewers, deep-frying them until they're firmer than a French fry but less crisp than a chip, and seasoning them with ranch, dill, beer, bacon and cheddar, cinnamon and sugar or sour cream and chives.

S'more's on a Stick at The S'moremobile, Indianapolis

Seeing skewered, fire-toasted marshmallows to their obvious conclusion, this enterprising, on-the-move company constructs entire s&rsquomores on a stick to serve throughout the Midwest enrobing torched, foot-long towers of puffy candy with graham cracker crumbs and chocolate.

Lobster Tail on a Stick at Susan's Fish-n-Chips, Portland, Mai

While we' re suckers for an expertly executed fish n' chips, this New England seafood shack puts a Maine spin on the batter. While they may not get a shout-out in the business name, lobster is a definite draw at Susan's, especially when it's a platter of split tails strung on a stick and deep-fried.

Popsicles at Ozzie's Pops, Chicago

Ideally situated on Chicago&rsquos Navy Pier, this ice pop shop serves more than 15 varieties of paletas (Mexican ice pops). Made on site daily with all-natural, seasonal ingredients, frozen treats include Lime Chia, Blueberry Basil, Toasted Coconut and Dulce de Leche, which can be dipped in chocolate and dusted in an array of toppings.

Key Lime Pie on a Stick at Key West Key Lime Pie Co., Florida

If you thought it was impossible to improve Key West's iconic dessert &mdash which this company crafts solely from natural ingredients, and pure Key lime juice &mdash check out their cooling pie on a stick generous, tart and creamy slices, blanketed in rich, melted chocolate.

Tater Tot Hotdish on a Stick, Minnesota

The ideal combination of Americana and Scandinavia, the deep-fried casserole from Ole and Lena&rsquos is well on its way to becoming a Minnesota State Fair icon (which is impressive at a fair hailed for its bizarre foods). To create the dish, the team skewers Swedish meatballs and tater tots, then dips them into corn dog batter before a dunk in the deep fryer. A side of mushroom hamburger sauce makes for the creamy casserole-style dip that&rsquos truly Minnesotan.

Roscoe on a Stick at Cafe Habana, New York City

Sure you&rsquoll find elote (skewered, Mexican-style street corn) at this string of eco-conscious cantinas, with locations in New York City, Malibu, New Orleans, Tokyo and Dubai. But what makes the restaurant truly distinct &mdash besides solar and wheatboard paneling, extensive rainwater collection systems and bicycle-powered blenders for churning margaritas &mdash is their quirky Roscoe on a Stick: fried chicken coated in waffle batter, skewered and dipped in maple syrup.

Alligator on Sticks at Harris Crab House, Grasonville, Maryland

Talk about a snack that bites back: alligator on a stick is a favorite at Harris Crab house. Family-run for five generations, this Chesapeake Bay destination offers a whole lot more than all-you-can-eat feasts of Maryland blue crabs. It would be a crying shame to miss their seriously savory alligator on sticks lengths of tail meat marinated with mustard, garlic and hot sauce, and served with a side of chipotle mayo.

Kushiyaki at Onsen, San Francisco

San Francisco's elegant Onsen specializes in kushiyaki the formal Japanese term for skewered and grilled foods. Drawing from the lush natural resources of the California region, dainty bites include local sardines with tamari and togarashi, Monterey squid with wasabi and lemon, and braised lamb trailed through dots of pungent mustard.

Giant Egg Rolls at Que Viet Concessions

How do you stand out at Minnesota's indulgent state fairs and festivals, alongside deep-fried, corned beef-stuffed tater tots, pepperoni chips paired with roasted red pepper queso, and barbecued banana splits? You take a cue from Que Viet Concessions, an offshoot of the Minneapolis restaurant Que Viet Village House, which has gained infamy with egg rolls bigger than a baby's head, just barely held aloft on wooden sticks.

Rabbit Rattlesnake Sausage at Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Fort Worth

Celeb cowboy chef Tim Love is all about adding modern sophistication to Western cuisine. Which is why you&rsquoll find unusual, gussied up proteins at his Texas flagship, Lonesome Dove, presented with a dose of irreverent Lone Star State fun &mdash think nuggets of rabbit rattlesnake sausage skewered atop rounds of spicy manchego rosti.

Dosa Corn Dogs at Chauhan Ale & Masala House

New Delhi meets Nashville at this critically admired eatery, which is why it's unsurprising to see them take a stab at that American heartland favorite (and skewered food O.G.) the corn dog. Tidbits of lamb kebab are coated in ethereal dosa batter, and cleverly complemented with cooling mint chutney and sweet mango ketchup.

Impossible Meat Skewers at The Bowery, Long Island, New York

Being that this Long Island newcomer rocks a street fair and carnival theme, it only stands to reason that they boast an excess of skewered foods. In fact, there's an entire "Sticks" section on the menu, featuring bacon-wrapped corn, corn dogs, rounds of falafel strung with red pepper and cherry tomatoes and dressed with tahini, and even Impossible Burger kebabs, utilizing using the magical veggie product that looks, smells, cooks, tastes and even bleeds like meat.

Kaiseki at Mifune, New York City

It may just be one dish in a multi-course tasting at refined Japanese restaurant Mifune (run by a Michelin-starred chef), but this array of toothpicked tidbits &mdash including Saikyo Misozuke Cream Cheese, Boiled Octopus, Sasa Sushi, Homemade Corn Tofu and Squid Shiso Tempura &mdash will stay in your thoughts all night.

Fried Fruit at Fried Fruit and Fried Olives, Wisconsin

Working the state fair scene from Wisconsin to Minnesota, this deep-fried, skewer-focused concession stand has been family-run for more than 30 years. Inspired by daughter Alison (second generation) and her successful experiment of dropping a handful of grapes in the fryer, the business has only battered up to include apples, bananas, strawberries, peaches, pineapples and pears, dipped in batter and rolled in powdered sugar. And while not as obvious a sell as their previous pie-like concoctions, adding cream cheese-stuffed olives into the mix into 2013 also proved a winning maneuver.

Best Sandwiches in America 2019: Meet the winners

The sandwich can be a humble meal sustenance between two slices of bread. Or it can be something truly special a dish that is greater than the sum of its parts and worthy of attention. Each year, we ask restaurant operators to submit their most outstanding sandwiches to pull together a collection of the best. This year, we received more than 300 submissions from across the country.

Our editorial team culled through them all and voted on what we feel best represents today’s sandwich culinary trends. We looked at some really wonderful sandwiches, many of which tapping flavors from around the globe. This year, we saw certain themes: inventive use of pimento cheese, for example, and many twists on the classic reuben and more vegetarian sandwiches than ever before.

We selected 10 sandwiches that best represented some of those trends and, frankly, won our hearts. Take a look at the Best Sandwiches in America.

Musso & Frank

The M&F martini is to, say, an appletini as a Hepburn–Tracy picture is to something by Jerry Bruckheimer—a triumph of clarity and craftsmanship over empty bombast and idiotic fireworks. At this 80-year-old Hollywood institution—with its world-weary waiters, dark-leather banquettes, and spirit-fortifying steaks—your martini is presented at your table with its overflow in a tiny carafe. The first sip is enough to make you want to drink three, go schtup a contract player, and then green-light an epic.—brett martin

A classic bar cookie, a crowd pleaser, a dessert that's just right for all kinds of occasions from afternoon tea to after school to after dinner, lemon bars are one of our favorite desserts. Our founder loves them, too. Martha has developed a number of melt-in-the-mouth and downright dreamy lemon bar recipes over the year, including the gorgeous Atlantic-Beach Tart-Bars that you see right here here. This recipe is a bit of an outlier&mdashits lemon top is made with sweetened condensed milk and its crust with saltine crackers, so it's really a hybrid of the classic lemon bar and Key lime pie.

Just what is a classic lemon bar? Most of the bar cookies that have this name sport buttery shortbread crust that mellows the tart citrus top. And that topping always includes lemon, but there can be variations. In most traditional recipes, the filling is a thick lemon curd, which is a slow-cooked mixture of butter, eggs, and lemon. This isn't the only option, though. In other recipes, the filling is more like a custard or a cheesecake. Other flavors even enter the game from time to time, as evidenced by our delicious Cranberry-Lemon Squares. Another incredible option? Our Lemon-Date Bars, which showcases a truly sublime flavor combination.

Despite the fact that they are generally called lemon bars, we see this dessert most often cut into squares (which explains why they're also often called lemon squares). That said, we're not here to prescribe what shape&mdashor size&mdashportions should be. That's totally up to you. Ready to make a delicious dessert? However you like them&mdashcreamy, tangy, topped with meringue&mdashwe have a recipe here for delicious, decadent lemon bars that you're sure to love.

America’s Essential Restaurants 2018

★ – an Eater 38 Icon, on this list five consecutive times

2M Smokehouse, San Antonio, TX | Al Ameer, Dearborn, MI | Atelier Crenn, San Francisco, CA | Bad Saint, Washington, DC | Bateau, Seattle, WA | ★ Benu, San Francisco, CA | Bertha’s Kitchen, North Charleston, SC | ★ Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY | Brennan’s, New Orleans, LA | Compère Lapin, New Orleans, LA | FIG, Charleston, SC | ★ Franklin Barbecue, Austin, TX | The Grey, Savannah, GA | Here’s Looking At You, Los Angeles, CA | Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, AL | Himalaya, Houston, TX | Jose Enrique, San Juan, PR | JuneBaby, Seattle, WA | Kachka, Portland, OR | Koi Palace, Daly City, CA | Mariscos Jalisco, Los Angeles, CA | Mary & Tito’s Cafe, Albuquerque, NM | Milktooth, Indianapolis, IN | Momofuku Ko, New York, NY | Mud Hen Water, Honolulu, HI | n/naka, Los Angeles, CA | Palace Diner, Biddeford, ME | Parachute, Chicago, IL | Park’s BBQ, Los Angeles, CA | ★ Prince’s Hot Chicken, Nashville, TN | Smyth & the Loyalist, Chicago, IL | Spoon & Stable, Minneapolis, MN | Staplehouse, Atlanta, GA | Superiority Burger, New York, NY | Via Carota, New York, NY | Xi’an Famous Foods, New York, NY | Xochi, Houston, TX | ★ Zahav, Philadelphia, PA

Our Official List of the Best Food Network Kitchen Recipes

We tinkered. We tested. We tested again. We tweaked these recipes until they were absolutely perfect — tried-and-true dishes that are sure to stand the test of time. We feel 100% confident in calling them our "Bests." Try them, and we bet you'll agree.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs

Photo By: Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs, Caitlin Ochs

Photo By: Brian Kennedy ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

The Best Chicken and Rice

Could classic chicken and rice be one of the most beloved comfort dinners to ever hit the plate? We think so. And to blow your mind even more , this version is made in just one skillet. Here we use bone-in, skin on chicken thighs which cook up in exactly the same time as the rice to guarantee juicy chicken. A quick broil at the end creates the perfect crispy skin and gives a little crunch to the rice and vegetables.

The Best Turkey Meatloaf

A slightly lighter version of the all-American classic, this satisfying meatloaf uses chicken broth and soaked panko to stay moist, and a mix of fresh herbs for flavor. It&rsquos the best turkey meatloaf you&rsquoll find!

The Best Stuffed Peppers

We've made this classic easier and faster by using the microwave to par-cook the peppers, saving you about 45 minutes of cook time! This is a great recipe to use up leftover rice. Be sure to really pile in the filling (mounding it is ok) as it will shrink as it cooks.

The Best Blueberry Muffins

The problem with most blueberry muffins is there are never enough blueberries. But for the batter to support the weight and moisture of the berries, it needs to have an airier texture than most dump-and-stir muffin recipes. So, we creamed the butter for that extra lift and to prevent the blueberries from making the batter gummy.

The Best Baked Salmon

This simple baked salmon really hits all the right notes: tangy, sweet, savory, a little spicy and crunchy. Cooking a larger piece makes for a nice presentation. Topped with buttery golden breadcrumbs and parsley, it's perfect for a weeknight dinner yet fancy enough to serve to guests.

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

We skipped the white sugar and went all in with dark brown sugar, which gives our cookies the ideal chewiness and perfect level of sweetness. Paired with the right amount of semisweet chocolate chips, this treat is a definite winner. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but in our opinion, this is never a problem!

The Best Quiche Lorraine

Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this traditional French quiche is filled with crispy bacon, soft, sweet onions and nutty Gruyere, all nestled in a tender pastry crust. You do need to refrigerate the dough twice, but it's worth it. The pastry is extra buttery and keeping it chilled makes it easier to work with and results in a light flaky crust.

The Best Classic Strawberry Shortcake

For our simple and iconic shortcake, we discovered a great double-stacking technique that creates super light and high biscuits that are easy to split. This makes them easy to fill without crumbling. A simple recipe like this one allows its ingredients to shine, so use the very best berries you can find.

The Best Pot Roast

The secret to a flavorful pot roast is browning the meat and onions before roasting, which adds a rich meaty flavor and caramelized sweetness. This step is what separates our recipe from many others that use a slow cooker. And also unlike a slow cooker recipe, our sauce is simmered to reduce a little which concentrates the flavors. What you'll end up with is a roast that's fall-apart tender with a velvety sauce and delicious vegetables.

The Best Caesar Salad

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the best Caesar salad is also the most traditional version. That means it's time to bring out the anchovies and eggs &mdash and don't skimp on quality Parmesan cheese. We've even included garlicky homemade croutons to balance the tangy dressing.

The Best Chicken Cutlets

When we set out to create the best cutlets, we sought perfectly tender chicken that was flavorful and juicy (not tasteless and dry) with a crisp, breaded exterior that stayed put and didn't get soggy. After trying different methods, we found that a mix of panko and Pecorino Romano creates the salty, crunchy crust we crave, while dried spices in both the flour and breadcrumb mixtures ensure that our cutlets are never bland.

The Best Hummus

This is a classic tahini-forward, bright and lemony hummus, and is similar to what you would find in Israel. We tried this recipe with from-scratch dried chickpeas as well as with canned, and the flavor and texture were only marginally better with the freshly cooked. And we saved 24 hours of prep time! So for a creamy, satisfying 15-minute hummus, we're going with the can.

The Best Sloppy Joes

This is weeknight comfort food at its finest. We created a homemade sauce that is tangy and flavorful but also quick and easy. We used both ketchup and canned tomato sauce for lots of tomato-y zip and just a touch of brown sugar for a bit of sweetness and slight caramel finish. Green bell pepper is a key addition it really enhances the other ingredients, elevating the flavor profile into the realm of a true sloppy joe.

The Best Banana Bread

We have a lot of requirements when it comes to banana bread and we finally created a recipe that ticks all the boxes. It's moist, tender, a little tangy and perfectly sweet &mdash all around our favorite one. The best part is that it's even better the next day (if it lasts that long). Try toasting the bread and slathering with a little salted butter. We're pretty sure you'll never need another banana bread recipe.

The Best Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala is a spicy, tomato-based dish seasoned with garlic, ginger, fenugreek and garam masala. In this recipe we used fenugreek leaves for their nutty and slightly minty flavor. If you can't find them, substitute dried mint leaves and a pinch of ground fenugreek. Garam masala is a popular Indian spice blend that's pretty easy to find in your local grocery store and most national spice companies.

The Best Creme Brulee

We wanted a rich and creamy custard that wasn't too sweet, so we could fully enjoy the signature crunchy layer of caramelized sugar on top. By only using egg yolks, we achieved a soft and creamy texture. We tried using milk and half-and-half but, in the end, we landed with heavy cream for its richness. Whole vanilla beans give a more intense, pure vanilla flavor that you can't get from extract. We also like seeing the vanilla seeds flecked throughout the custard.

The Best Chicken Noodle Soup

We chose to use chicken leg quarters rather than a whole chicken to make this well-loved soup. It shortens the cooking time without sacrificing any flavor, and the dark meat adds extra depth.

The Best Garlic Bread

We went very classic with this garlic bread recipe&mdashlots of butter and lots of garlic loaded onto warm, pillowy French bread. You could make a light meal by rounding it out with a crisp green salad. Or serve it our favorite way&mdashalongside your favorite red-sauce pasta.

The Best Lasagna

A long-simmered beef ragu lets the brightness of the tomatoes develop and shine through while developing a meaty richness. Our ricotta is mixed with nutty Parmesan that tempers the sharp garlic and adds flavor. We worked hard to get the right balance of the ricotta and tomato sauce in the layers since each element has their own voice.

The Best Coconut Layer Cake

Can something be impossibly light while also being incredibly rich and decadent? Apparently so. This coconut cake is majestic in its height and a beauty &mdash a flurry of tangy frosting, sweet shredded coconut and tender cake. It will truly put all other coconut cakes to shame. The bar has now been set.

The Best Fried Chicken

To get the most delicious chicken, we dry brined it overnight so the seasonings could penetrate the meat right down to the bone. (Don't worry, the brown sugar doesn't make the chicken sweet, it only helps to bring out the flavor.) We also wet the seasoned dredging flour with buttermilk and hot sauce to achieve large shaggy pieces of flavorful crust once the chicken is fried. And the cornstarch in that dredge? It keeps the crust shatteringly crisp &mdash more so than just flour would &mdash even if you are serving the chicken at room temperature.

The Best Buttermilk Pancakes

We're transporting you to the old-fashioned diner for a plate of fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Our recipe has both baking powder for an airy and light interior and baking soda for that even golden-brown exterior.

The Best Bread Pudding

Toasting the challah adds flavor, but more importantly, it helps the cubes to soak up and hold onto more of the deliciously rich custard. And if that wasn&rsquot enough, we use not 1 but 2 vanilla beans to amp up the custard &mdash plain old extract just doesn&rsquot do it justice.

The Best Chicken Piccata

We love this recipe because the chicken breasts, which can often be dry and tasteless, come out so moist and tender. What&rsquos our secret? Seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper 1 hour before cooking ensures that they stay juicy.

The Best Lentil Soup

Brown lentils are the star of this dish. To boost flavor, we used a classic mirepoix &mdash onion, celery and carrot &mdash as well as thyme, bay and oregano for an herby finish. We found the fresh lemon juice and parsley at the end brightened up the soup and added a nice pop of color.

The Best All-Butter Pie Dough

This all-butter pie dough is extra flaky and tender, thanks to the chilled vodka and our easy folding technique. Stacking the pieces of dough repeatedly takes minor extra effort, and the result is a puff pastry-like texture that is definitely worth it. You'll want to make this dough for every pie &mdash all year round.

The Best Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan should have, well, Parmesan. So we not only topped ours with it, we added it to the crust for even more flavor and texture. For the coating, we prefer to start with plain breadcrumbs and enhance them with our favorite flavors. And our very simple, classic Italian-American tomato sauce has a bright and tomato-y flavor that cuts through the richness of the chicken and pasta.

The Best Fudgy Brownies

We've created the perfect brownie by employing a few tips and tricks. Using both semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder gives us the deep and complex chocolate flavor we crave. Cooking the butter until golden brown adds a toasted nuttiness, while the pop of cream provides luscious texture.

The Best Beef Stew

The deep flavors in our beef stew come from browning the chuck roast in batches and cooking the onions and garlic until they're sweet. Cooking low-and-slow in the oven allows the meat to become completely tender in its rich red wine-laced sauce. This is a great dish to make ahead as its complex flavors intensify overnight.

The Best Crepes

Our classic crepe is versatile enough to go sweet or savory, just omit the vanilla if going the savory route. The rest time here is key the flour absorbs the milk as it sits giving you a more tender crepe and golden color.

The Best Cinnamon Rolls

Once you've tried "from-scratch" cinnamon rolls, you'll never go back! The secret to our rolls is the wet, buttery dough and double rising time. Once baked, they will be light and pillowy and full of buttery cinnamon goodness on the inside.

The Best Pumpkin Pie

Instead of store-bought pumpkin pie spice, we like using ground cinnamon and nutmeg so we can control of the ratio between the two, opting for a healthy amount of nutmeg as it brings out the flavors in the pumpkin.

The Best Coconut Cream Pie

This old-fashioned pie is filled with rich, creamy custard, then capped with a cloud of toasted meringue and a generous sprinkling of sweet coconut flakes. It tastes as if you pulled it straight from the dessert case of your favorite diner, only better.

The Best Focaccia

It's easy to make classic focaccia at home. Our version is airy and slightly chewy, with a delicate golden crust. A drizzle of salt water over the dough during the final rise gives the bread a deeper flavor.

The Best Carbonara

Now this is our idea of comfort food. Creamy and rich, it's the quintessential dish for a chilly evening. We like to splurge every once in a while and add a knob of butter to the cheesy egg sauce just to round it out. We've left that option up to you, however. Either way, we can't think of a more classic or satisfying pasta dish.

The Best M&M Cookies

We took our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and increased the brown sugar to make these cookies extra moist and chewy. Then we super-sized them &mdash the better to get in more of our favorite candy-coated chocolates. Save some extra candy for topping each cookie before baking. The result, cookies that look just as good as they taste!

The Best Meatloaf

We opted for an all-beef meatloaf rather than the traditional mix of beef, veal and pork because we wanted that satisfying big beef flavor. Milk adds richness and tenderizes the meat, preventing it from getting tough or dry. We also cook the onion instead of adding it raw as many recipes suggest, which imparts a welcome sweetness and eliminates that harsh raw onion flavor.

The Best American Potato Salad

Our favorite potato salad kicks up the traditional mayonnaise base with not only chopped dill pickles, but also uses the pickle brine for extra tang. Scallions, celery and parsley add freshness and a little crunch, while hard-boiled eggs practically make it a meal.

The Best Apple Pie

We love using a variety of apples in our pie it adds both flavor and texture and makes every bite a little different. Vodka in the pie crust makes the dough easier to work with, and since the alcohol burns off during baking, it doesn't impart any flavor. But feel free to use bourbon or apple brandy instead to complement the filling.

The Best Sweet Potato Casserole

We opted for a nutty crumb topping over marshmallows to create a pleasantly crunchy contrast to the creamy and soft mashed sweet potatoes. The filling gets a pumpkin pie-like treatment, with brown sugar and vanilla for a deep caramel flavor and butter and eggs for richness. This recipe is bound to become a holiday staple.

The Best Gravy

Our gravy delivers rich flavors from a homemade stock made with the turkey giblets, onion and fresh herbs. Roast turkey drippings and a dash of Worcestershire sauce round out this creamy, lump-free holiday must-have.

The Best Peanut Brittle

This sweet and salty peanut brittle has the perfect crunch and sheen. With a little patience, you'll have a delicious brittle to serve to party guests or as an edible gift around the holidays.

The Best Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

This outstanding broccoli-cheddar soup is rich, cheesy and packed with flavor. We decided to puree just over half the soup which makes it extra thick and creamy, and left the remainder chunky so there are broccoli bits in every bite. Gild the lily with more shredded cheese on top to satisfy your comfort food craving.

The Best Bacon Cheeseburger

While we love a grilled burger, this one is our go-to for all seasons. Instead of making a typical patty, we smash the meat in a super-hot cast-iron pan to get crispy, ruffled edges. Once you smash your burgers this way, you'll never go back! We top them with all the fixings, including our perfectly balanced special sauce. It's what we consider an iconic burger.

The Best Butter Cookies

Your search is over &mdash this perfect butter cookie will stay in your recipe box for years. It's crisp, yet tender and perfect for tea for two or cookies for someone special. Plus, you have the choice to make drop cookies or a slice-and-bake version!

The Best Vanilla Cake

We love the light texture that cake flour gives baked goods, but we didn't want you to buy a whole box of it. So we used a cheat &mdash all-purpose flour mixed with cornstarch. Cornstarch blocks the formation of gluten in the flour and makes the cake airy and tender. We also added 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, an old baker's trick, to ensure that the cake stays moist. The heavy cream keeps the frosting light and fluffy.

The Best Crab Cakes

When we set out to make the "best" crab cakes, opinions in the test kitchen were strong and varied. But we could all agree on plenty of fresh, high-quality crabmeat with very little filler. After some tinkering, we created these decadent cakes&mdashgenerously sized and highly seasoned&mdashwith plenty of lemon juice, fresh herbs and spices. The jumbo lump crabmeat is front and center, so splurge on the best and freshest you can find.

The Best Samosas

As much as we love the filling in these samosas, we also must give a big shout-out to the dough. We tried a number of techniques to get that perfect light and crispy texture &mdash the hallmark of a classic aloo samosa. In the end, we found that a wet dough, when rested long enough to fully hydrate the flour, created steam during frying that yielded crispy, bubbled and puffy samosas.

The Best Lemon Bars

It's tough to top a classic lemon bar, but we've done it! We kept the tender, buttery crust and bright filling of the original, and made a few improvements. For our luscious lemon layer, we employed a unique double-cooking method. Simmering first on the stovetop like lemon curd allows us to add butter, which balances the tart and sweet elements and adds a richer, smoother texture.

The Best Vinegar Coleslaw

We love the zippiness that a vinegar-based dressing brings to this coleslaw, making it the perfect partner for rich, meaty dishes like pulled pork or ribs. Cabbage can take lots of seasoning and lots of vinegar, so don&rsquot be bashful. But the real secret to this colorful coleslaw is the marinating time &mdash a long trip to the fridge softens up the veggies and gives them time to absorb the flavors of the vinaigrette. A drizzle of olive oil at the end balances the acidity.

The Best Butter Chicken

Butter chicken originated in a Delhi restaurant when the chef was looking for a way to serve unsold tandoori chicken from the night before. He created a mild tomato curry spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and finished with butter. It was an instant classic that we love to serve alongside basmati rice and plenty of naan to soak up the fragrant sauce.

The Best French Toast

Our favorite bread for making French toast is pain de mie for its neutral flavor and spongey texture, which helps it absorb the egg mixture without falling apart. It's sometimes hard to find, so you can substitute brioche for a richer and more decadent toast or challah for an all-purpose choice.

The Best Carrot Cake

Our classic carrot cake is nicely spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and has toasted pecans both in the cake and on top. Plumped golden raisins and a full pound of carrots make it nice and moist while buttermilk lends tang and tenderness. Our homemade cream-cheese frosting has just the right amount of sweetness.

The Best Corn Casserole

We added Cheddar and chives to this classic and quick side that goes from mixing bowl to oven in less than 10 minutes. It bakes up golden brown and puffy &mdash perfect for a potluck or holiday gathering.

The Best Pecan Pie

This pie delivers plenty of classic flavors like brown sugar, vanilla and toasted nuts. We found that bourbon made a welcome addition. The alcohol bakes off leaving behind irresistible notes of smoke and caramel. Our all-butter crust perfectly balances the sweetness of the filling.

The Best Mashed Potatoes

This is our go-to recipe for classic mashed potatoes, made with plenty of butter and cream. To make them fluffy and flavorful, be sure to simmer them slowly and add plenty of salt to the cooking water. And don't skip the step of steaming the excess water off leaving too much moisture in the potatoes causes them to be loose and gluey.

The Best Stuffing

There's something for everyone in our festive stuffing. It's filled with satisfying ingredients like sausage and mushrooms, plus classic Thanksgiving flavors like onion, celery and lots of chopped herbs. We like it best when baked in a casserole dish and served alongside the turkey. This is also the safest way to prepare it.

The Best Egg Salad

While we love a jazzed up version of egg salad, we always come back to this one for its simplicity, clean flavors and sheer nostalgia. This is the best version of a classic egg salad. It's bright with herbs and the mayonnaise-to-egg ratio is just right, making it perfectly mound-able on a sandwich or bowl of greens.

The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Do you like chewy cookies? Or do you prefer cakey ones? Our oatmeal-raisin cookies can be both! For a chewy cookie, bake them right away. For a cakey cookie, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight works even better) to allow the oatmeal to hydrate.

The Best Mulled Wine

We love a well-spiced, fragrant mulled wine and this one hits the spot. The spices steep in the cider to intensify their flavors before everything is combined to create a warming, winter drink.

The Best Green Bean Casserole

We bring extra umami (a savoriness) to a traditional green bean casserole with the addition of dried shiitake mushrooms. Once rehydrated, they turn soft and earthy, and their soaking liquid adds oomph to the sauce as well. Our fried onion topping is made from scratch &mdash first, a dip in buttermilk, then fried to crunchy perfection.

The Best Turkey Meatballs

These juicy meatballs with a tender, light texture are packed with flavorful herbs. The meat mixture is softer than you might expect, thanks to the addition of ricotta, but sacrificing a perfectly round shape is worth it. You'll make these turkey meatballs so often you just might forget about your beef meatball recipe.

The Best Chocolate Cake

This is not your everyday chocolate cake. It's a showstopper &mdash very tall and much more of a bakery-style cake than a cake from a box. The frosting has both melted chocolate for smoothness and cocoa for depth of flavor.

The Best Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is our best version of the classic party dip. It's savory and creamy with a slight tang from sour cream and Parmesan -- so hard to resist. We like to use frozen whole leaf spinach and chop it ourselves for more control over the finished texture of the dish.

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

We wanted a super peanut buttery treat but found that store-bought peanut butter made the cookies a bit gummy when we used more than 1 cup. So we ground roasted peanuts ourselves and added that to the batter for an additional boost of flavor. Honey and melted butter add richness and create a soft and chewy cookie with an irresistible crackled exterior. We topped the dough balls with raw sugar for extra crunch and a hit of sweetness that balances the salt of the peanuts.

The Best Deviled Eggs

Our classic deviled eggs get their kick from mustard and hot sauce. We like the simplicity of the flavor &mdash it's the perfect recipe to use your imagination and add your favorite toppings or mix-ins.

The Best Angel Food Cake

Even though there are just a few ingredients in this simple cake, there are also a few techniques that will make or break it. First, be sure to use the correct pan -- an angel food cake pan -- and do not grease it. Additionally, superfine sugar, sifted cake flour and perfectly whipped egg whites are key components that set you up for success -- and set this cake apart from the rest.

The Best Bolognese

Our bolognese is rich and meaty, yet surprisingly light on the tomato. Instead, its base is made from a classic combination of wine and milk. The combination of pork, beef and pancetta adds complexity while a Parmesan rind lends even more flavor.

The Best Chocolate Lava Cakes

Go ahead and indulge in these perfectly rich and dreamy chocolate lava cakes! Bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder create a luscious and balanced batter that stays molten in the center during baking.

The Best Beef Stroganoff

We used a marbled, tender piece of ribeye as the star of this comfort food classic. Two kinds of mushrooms are cooked until crispy to add an extra element of flavor. The whole dish is brought together with a rich, tangy sauce made with sour cream and Dijon and served over egg noodles.

The Best Guacamole

Simple ingredients in perfect proportion make a this dip a crowd-pleasing favorite for any event. We decided not to use tomato in ours (it makes the guac watery) and included both onion and garlic for extra zip. A healthy dose of fresh lime juice balances and brightens the flavors.

The Best Pork Enchiladas

Enchiladas from the Mexican state of Oaxaca are made with a red chile sauce. Ours has raisins to pull the fruit flavors from the ancho chiles and add a touch of sweetness. The pork is braised with aromatics and seasonings that turns into a deeply flavored blended sauce. Frying the tortillas a bit before rolling them gives them a durability that is important when assembling the dish.

The Best Scones

The extra-rich taste of our cream scones comes from using milk powder in addition to the standard ingredients butter and cream. A light touch when combining the dough ensures a tender crumb.

The Best Chicken Marsala

This classic Italian-American dish is a nostalgic reminder of large family dinners of a bygone era. It's the ultimate crowd pleaser. The flavors from the marsala and cremini mushrooms bring a sweet earthiness to the sauce that really elevates simple seared chicken breasts.

The Best Lemon Meringue Pie

It's the stuff of dreams: a classic sweet and tart dessert with a foolproof meringue topping that won't weep! We use mostly butter in our from-scratch pie dough, but add a little vegetable shortening as well &mdash we found that this combination creates a crust that is both tender and flaky.

The Best Tuna Salad

While we love many kinds of tuna salad, this classic version tops them all. The crispy celery and red onion give add zest and crunch, while mayonnaise and touch of mustard marry it all together. The lemon juice is optional as it&rsquos not traditional, but we strongly recommend it to brighten up the flavors of the final dish.

The Best Crispy Tofu

The key to getting tofu nice and crispy is to first remove excess moisture. We wrap the block of tofu in a clean kitchen towel and place a heavy pan on top of it to press out as much water as possible. When searing the tofu, resist the urge to move it around. Instead, allow it to form a crust before flipping, and then again let it cook undisturbed on the other side until browned.

The Best Chicken Salad

Gently poaching chicken breasts in an aromatic broth yields tender morsels for folding into a bright and herby homemade dressing. Serve it solo on a bed of lettuce with sliced tomatoes or in half an avocado. It also makes a killer chicken club sandwich topped with crisp bacon and other sandwich fixings.

The Best Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are inspired by the thin and crispy style made popular by the Long Island bakery Tate's Bake Shop. In our version, we've upped the brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips for an even more flavorful and decadent treat.

The Best Granola

For our best granola, we wanted a crunchy, clustery version that wasn't too sweet. We created this simple but universally likeable recipe that's flavored with vanilla and a blend of brown sugar and maple syrup. We love its pure flavors and balance of salty and sweet. It is the perfect canvas for personalization, so we've included some ideas for mix-ins at the end of the recipe.

The Best Pie Dough for a Lattice Crust

We love this dough for making the lattice crust for many reasons. The combination of shortening and butter makes the dough incredibly easy to work with and forgiving when cutting and weaving. Plus, the added vodka provides tenderness and depth of flavor, making it perfect for a variety of pie fillings.

The Best French Onion Soup

This bistro classic is deceptively easy to make. It just takes a little time and a few good ingredients. We found that yellow onions, also known as Spanish onions, work best for this recipe. They have a nice balance of sweetness and bitterness and caramelize perfectly. Just don't take them too dark -- a nice golden brown is perfect. Good beef broth also makes a big difference. If you can't make your own, look for a high-quality prepared variety.

The Best Baked Beans

If you think baked beans only come from a can, you're in for a treat. Bacon, molasses and bourbon add depth and flavor to our classic recipe that's perfectly spiced with paprika, mustard and Worcestershire. A bit of brown sugar adds just the right amount of sweetness and to keep things easy, the beans require no soaking! They get tender and delicious right in the oven.

The Best French Toast Casserole

There's no need to get up early on the weekend to make brunch for a crowd. With this rich, custardy French toast casserole, nearly all the prep is done in advance. Simply assemble and refrigerate overnight. About an hour before brunch time, just pop it into the oven. Whip up a fast and easy banana-caramel topping and bask in the praise of your well-fed guests.

The Best Banana Cake

This banana cake is delectably moist, perfectly sweet and easy to make. Dark brown sugar and sour cream add depth to the batter, and we added melted butter instead of vegetable oil for a flavor boost. Fluffy cream cheese frosting and swirls of dulce de leche will make you go back for seconds. We also upped the ante by using bananas in two ways -- fresh bananas are mixed into the cake while maple-candied banana chips create a crunchy topping.

The Best Banana Pudding

This creamy banana dessert is our very favorite version, piled high with layers of just-ripe bananas, rich vanilla pudding and tender cookies. We used vanilla bean paste instead of extract in our homemade filling for a bold flavor boost and topped the pudding with swirls of freshly whipped cream. When it all comes together, it's dreamy, luscious and feeds a crowd!

The Best Parker House Rolls

These Parker House rolls are super indulgent thanks to plenty of butter mixed in and brushed on top. Milk and eggs enrich the dough, lending a perfectly tender texture. A sprinkle of flaky sea salt adds a welcome bit of contrast and crunch. These rolls are best served fresh and warm.

The Best Homemade Applesauce

After tasting the pure apple flavor of this homemade sauce, you just might never go back to the store-bought kind. Supermarket applesauce can be loaded with added sweeteners and flavorings. We use only a little sugar, plus lemon juice, salt and cinnamon, providing a balanced flavor and the perfect amount of sweetness.

The Best Roasted Asparagus

The perfect roasted asparagus should be lightly browned and tender, yet bright green and crisp. Roasting the spears at a high temperature helps achieve this. We also browned grated Parmesan to make a nutty, crumbly frico topping. Wait until ready to serve to top the vegetables so the crisped cheese stays crunchy.

The Best Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Olive oil, salt and pepper let the earthy flavor of the sprouts shine as they get crisp and golden in the oven. Heating the pan and laying the veggies flat-side down is the secret to achieving maximum browning -- and don't toss the loose leaves that fall off during trimming. They become toasted and crisp -- the best part! To make these extra special, we topped them with homemade Parmesan breadcrumbs.

The Best Fruitcake

Fruitcakes have become the punchline of many a holiday joke, but this recipe will give the notorious seasonal gift a whole new reputation. Filled with loads of real dried fruit and nuts along with brandy, warm spices and citrus, this cake tastes like the holidays. The recipe makes two loaves so you can gift one.

The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake

There's no better way to celebrate pumpkin-spice season! With swirls of pumpkin filling, caramel and a gingersnap crust, this autumnal cheesecake is a delight. We start by whipping up a classic cheesecake batter, then add pumpkin and warm spices to half the batch. Both are used to create a unique bullseye pattern. Nutty spiced seeds add crunch. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature -- this ensures that the cheesecake is smooth and creamy.

The Best Tiramisu

Making this classic Italian dessert is surprisingly easy. We start the custard with a traditional Marsala-flavored zabaglione -- a cooked mixture of egg yolks and sugar. Then we lighten it with tangy mascarpone cheese, which provides just the right creamy, mousse-like texture. Once assembled, the ladyfingers soften sufficiently after 4 hours in the refrigerator, but if you can wait longer, the flavors will meld even more .

The Best Chicken and Dumplings

This is pure comfort food at its finest. Tender chunks of chicken and vegetables come together in a creamy, richly-flavored sauce with pillowy dumplings baked right on top. It's hearty but not too heavy and comes together from scratch in about an hour.

The Best Meat and Potatoes

This recipe will please not only the meat-and-potato lover in your house but will also please the cook. It comes together in just 30 minutes with minimal cleanup! We seared tender, juicy strip steaks in a hot cast-iron skillet, then made a fast pan sauce with mustard, wine and herbs. Mashed potatoes are kicked up with sour cream, horseradish and spinach for a stick-to-your-ribs side dish that's a cinch to prepare in the microwave.

The Best Apple Crisp

If you just went apple picking, here's the perfect recipe to enjoy the fruits of your labor. We've included two varieties of fresh apples, plus warm spices and tangy cider. The sweet, buttery crumble topping is flavored with brown sugar and studded with nutty pecans for the ultimate easy apple dessert.

The Best Risotto

With relatively few ingredients (none of them being cream), the success of a classic creamy risotto depends largely on technique. We've tested all the methods and narrowed it down to a few easy-to-follow steps that will help you achieve perfectly cooked Italian-style rice every time. This basic recipe is delicious on its own and makes a wonderful base to add your favorite vegetables or protein.

The Best Shepherd's Pie

We stuck with tradition and made our shepherd's pie with lamb, but you could easily swap in ground beef. The saucy filling is packed with tender vegetables and the creamy topping is inspired by the Irish potato dish, colcannon, and is filled with cabbage, leeks and cheese.

The Best Tomato Sauce

There are about as many versions of tomato sauce as there are cooks in the world. The Italian-American heritage of one of our test-kitchen team members informed the development of this recipe, leading us to a version of her family's favorite tomato sauce. A variety of canned tomatoes adds richness. A long simmer helps the flavors meld and results in a sauce that is perfect on pasta or nestled around chicken cutlets or meatballs.

The Best Irish Soda Bread

We prefer the slightly sweet American version of this classic Irish quick bread, so we added dried currants and a small amount of sugar. Buttermilk and baking soda give the loaf plenty of lift and butter gives it a moist crumb.

The Best Cranberry Sauce

Our classic cranberry sauce has the ideal texture of tart whole berries suspended in a sweet jammy sauce we added citrus peel for a little extra brightness. Don't be tempted to skip the salt and and pepper at the end. It may seem a bit odd, but salt brings out the fruitiness of the berries while pepper gives the sauce a warm and spicy finish.

The Best Corned Beef and Cabbage with Horseradish Cream

Our recipe for corned beef and cabbage is so delicious, we'd like to eat it year-round. The whole spices included in the braising liquid are our secret ingredients (the tangy horseradish cream doesn't hurt, either!). Cabbage and potatoes are cooked in the same pot as the brisket, so everything comes out perfectly tender and infused with flavor.

The Best Roasted Fennel

Fennel sometimes plays second fiddle to other vegetables, but it is the true star in this simple but impressive side dish. Roasting the fennel until tender and almost creamy mellows its usual licorice flavor and brings out a touch of natural sweetness. Even if you don't normally like fennel, give this delicious dish a try. You might be surprised.

The Best Pulled Pork

Chipotle powder, apple cider and ketchup create the perfect balance of smoky, sweet and tangy without the need for a smoker or grill! For our classic, satisfying pulled pork, all that's required is a flavorful homemade rub and a long trip to the oven to cook low and slow until it's meltingly tender. Eat it as-is, or pile onto a potato roll with your favorite toppings for the ultimate sandwich. Coleslaw is a traditional accompaniment, and we love a vinegary one for the way it cuts through the richness of the pork.

Watch the video: Bizarre Japanese Bar Food and the Secret Nightlife of Tokyos Salarymen! (January 2022).