The Takeout's Top 21 Recipes Of 2021

Pies, casseroles, pastas, cocktails—our readers had quite the appetite this year.

In 2021, Americans seem to have silently agreed to leave our picturesque sourdough loaves in the past and seek new cooking and baking inspiration. For that, many of you came here to The Takeout, where we served up a wide array of appetizers, entrees, desserts, and other assorted edible oddities to tickle your palate and spark your kitchen creativity. As we close the book on 2021, we look back at the top 21 Takeout recipes that readers liked and shared the most. 

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21. Homemade Hummus

Homemade Hummus is one of those DIY recipes that really does turn out better than the store-bought version every single time. That's because you can customize it a thousand different ways: throw in a head of roasted garlic, add roasted beets, sprinkle in herbs, or stir in a couple roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, or whatever else you've got on hand to zhuzh up your dip. It's fast, cheap, and hugely rewarding. No wonder it was one of our top recipes of 2021.

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Click here for the recipe.

20. Movie Theater Popcorn Cake

We know that the words "Movie Theater Popcorn Cake" might not sound coherent at first, but that's because you haven't yet had the pleasure of eating such a delicious ode to the theatergoing experience. It's a layered dessert with shortbread, pudding, popcorn, candy, and caramel that makes movie night at your house just as good as a night at the theater. You have to taste it to fully understand its powers.

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19. Zora’s Lament, a Zelda cocktail

This year, the video game Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask turned 21 years old. In honor of its legal drinking year, we decided to celebrate with Zora's Lament, a juicy, tropical gin drink that brings all the dark adventure of the Zelda universe to an original cocktail. Raise your glass to innovation.

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18. Scotcheroos

For those who haven't had the privilege of growing up in Scotcheroo country, these Midwest bake sale specialties are a beautifully straightforward bit of butterscotch bliss. Just five ingredients result in a layered dessert bar whose appeal spans generations. Is it any surprise that it was one of our most viewed recipes this year?

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17. Buttermilk Biscuit Tarte Tatin

You don't have to wait for a special occasion to try making this Buttermilk Biscuit Tarte Tatin for yourself. The crust is one massive, ultra-flaky buttermilk biscuit that ends up crisp and buttery on the bottom, dripping with hot caramel apple goodness on top. You have our permission to call this breakfast any old time you please—and isn't the ideal time right now?

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16. Cheesy Tortilla Roll-Ups

The recipe for Cheesy Tortilla Roll-Ups isn't hard to execute, but the final product makes it look like it took some technical skill—always a plus when people are crowding around the platter, asking you what your secret is. Cream cheese and black olives are a winning combo in just about anything, and these bite-sized appetizers add chiles, cheddar, and onion to the mix for the perfect summer party snack.

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15. Nashville Hot Hot Dogs

We didn't slip up and include a typo in the name of this recipe. Nashville Hot Hot Dogs combine two classics—Nashville hot chicken and hot dogs—in one deep-fried and unforgettable fever dream of flavor. Of all our most popular recipes this year, this one might be the most Instagrammable. See for yourself.

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14. Microwave Caramels

These homemade Werthers Originals are a testament to the power of your microwave. The recipe mostly comes together in a single microwave-safe measuring cup, and after a few minutes of prep and a dose of resting time, you'll be left with buttery discs of caramel that slip around your mouth like satin.

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13. Cucumber Ketchup

Let's be very clear: tomato ketchup is not the only ketchup. You can make plenty of different ketchups by blending salted produce with vinegar and reducing it down to a thick and sturdy sauce. Our recipe for Cucumber Ketchup proves this, and really turned some heads this year.

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12. German Gnocchi Potato Salad

What if we told you that the best potato salad didn't require any peeling or boiling of potatoes? This German Gnocchi Potato Salad makes use of potato gnocchi to provide the starchy goodness, leaving you to focus on getting the thick-cut bacon just the way you like it.

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11. Almost Certainly Foolproof Chocolate Chip Cookies

We're glad that readers enjoyed this recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies, since it was the result of dozens of test batches over the course of several weeks as we tweaked the formula to see what worked best. The final result involves brown butter and just the right amount of dough-resting time in order to achieve a perfect, consistent texture in every batch. Prepare to be enlightened.

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Click here for the recipe.

10. Caramelized Mushroom Pasta

Caramelized Mushroom Pasta with miso and sage was a top recipe on The Takeout in 2021 for several good reasons, all of which can be found within the name. These rich, earthy flavors were simply meant to be together, and the deep amber color of the caramelized mushrooms turn this easy pasta into a sophisticated showstopper.

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Click here for the recipe.

9. Garlic Lemon Herb Macaroni Salad

This summer, readers couldn't get enough of our Garlicky Lemon Herb Macaroni Salad with curly parsley. Instead of mayo or Miracle Whip, we could start with a rich, garlicky aioli, and once the elbow macaroni is cooked, it gets tossed with lemon juice, resulting in a bright, satisfying side dish for any barbecue.

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8. Cherry Key Lime Rickey

Are you surprised to see a beverage make it into our top 10 recipes of 2021? Once you sip this Cherry Key Lime Rickey, you'll fully understand. The soda fountain staple can be easily recreated at home with a soda water base, and it looks beautiful on a tabletop in the summer sun.

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7. Honey Fermented Garlic

Well, of course Honey Fermented Garlic would be a crowdpleaser. How could a recipe that calls for two whole bulbs of garlic not captivate the recipe-reading public? Serving suggestions for this condiment include spreading it on toast, grilled meats, or vegetables, drizzling it over cheese and charcuterie, or spooning it onto pizza. See where your imagination takes you.

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Click here for the recipe.

6. Budae Jjigae

Budae Jjigae, or Korean Army Base Stew, is an infinitely customizable meal, but our version starts with a base of instant ramen. From there, you can layer on just about any of the following: American cheese, mozzarella, kimchi, ham, Spam, hot dog slices, baked beans, mushrooms, green onions, onions, garlic, bacon, tofu, sliced peppers, rice cakes, macaroni noodles, eggs, cabbage, bean sprouts, gochujang—the list goes on. The point is to use whatever you have, because the informality is part of the experience.

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5. Chili Crisp Ramen Omelet Sandwich

This recipe for a Ramen Omelet Sandwich started with a viral TikTok trend that involved folding cooked eggs in a visually pleasing way. Where it went from there, though, was wholly unique and truly wild. You don't need many ingredients to make this pantry meal, but you won't believe how it makes use of dry ramen noodles.

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4. No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

Finally, a recipe for No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream that doesn't taste like ice crystals. As it turns out, you can get super premium ice cream with amazing scoopable texture without relying on specialty stabilizers or carefully tempered egg-based cooked custard bases. The magic happens via a mousse-like base, essentially a cheater semifreddo. And since it doesn't need a ton of time to set up in the freezer, this is the ice cream to make if you want ice cream today.

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3. No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pudding Pie

Yes, the name of this recipe is a mouthful, but No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pudding Pie is more than special enough to warrant such a kingly title. This recipe is, quite simply, a pan full of cookie dough filled with chocolate chips and pudding. Isn't that what we all need once in a while?

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Click here for the recipe.

2. Homemade Dole Whip

Fans of Walt Disney theme parks know that Dole Whip is the ultimate warm weather treat. But the copycat recipe that Disney shared with fans online during the pandemic left something to be desired, so we set out to make our own version—one that didn't even require ice cream. Our three-ingredient solution involves just whipped topping, frozen pineapple, and pineapple juice; the simplicity is surely part of what made it a top recipe in 2021.

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1. Blueberry Switchel

Who could have foreseen this drink becoming our most popular recipe of 2021? Switchel, after all, is a bright summer beverage that hasn't been widely popular since getting dethroned by lemonade in the early 20th century. But now, after 100 years, we aim to do the drink justice with our recipe for Blueberry Switchel, which includes both basil and balsamic to add complexity to the tart, sweet overtones. We hope you enjoyed a cool glass of switchel on a warm afternoon this year, and that you do so for many summers to come.

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Click here for the recipe. 

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