In my past three years cooking on my own, I’ve always loved trying new recipes and exploring new cuisines. However, I realized recently that there are some recipes that I can’t help but keep going back to in times of need. Here’s my ol’ faithful list of go-to recipes, sorted by difficulty for easy browsing. I promise— I’ve made them all multiple times and they’re just that good.
Quick and Easy
Farfalle with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream | Cara Brunetti Hillyard via Epicurious
This is perhaps the go-to recipe of my go-to recipes. I’ve made this more times than I’ve probably made anything else (from scratch, since I eat plenty of meals that I simply compile rather than make). This farfalle is creamy and so easily tailored to whatever you have in your fridge. It’s also really cheap to make, which is always a plus.
Creamy Sausage Tortellini Soup | Life Made Simple
A friend gave me this recipe, and after making it on a random weekday afternoon, I was sold. It’s hearty and comforting, and it comes together in so little time! Just super delicious and easy— I need to make this again soon.
Tteokbokki | Maangchi
I love tteokbokki, and after realizing how simple of a dish it is (apparently it’s more of a snack food than a meal in Korea), I had to try it. This recipe is great and very forgiving. I never make the extra broth with the kelp and anchovies, and it’s still just as savory!
Green Beans and Walnuts with Dijon-Lemon Vinaigrette | Amelia Saltsman for Bon Appetit
This is a great side for any events you might be hosting with a complex main dish. I first made this for a dinner party and it came together so easily. I recommend using French green beans (haricots verts) for a more elegant finish.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Warm Honey Glaze | Molly Baz for Bon Appetit
My parents were skeptical when I said I’d be making brussels sprouts for Christmas dinner last year, but after trying this dish, they loved it! It’s exactly how brussels sprouts should be prepared.
Crunchwrap Supreme | Pinch of Yum
This is a silly one, but it’s surprisingly delicious and fun. Chris is a big Taco Bell fan and raves about the Crunchwrap Supreme, so we decided to make our own version with this recipe. It’s massive and can get messy, but it’s so so worth it.
Key Lime Pie | Binging with Babish
For when you want pie in the summertime. I’d never had key lime pie before making this, and it’s a great hot-weather dessert! It’s also a graham-cracker crust, which is much easier than traditional pie crust. Note that there is a lot of chilling time required, but the steps themselves are really simple.
Blueberry Galette | Rachael Coyle via Epicurious
I think of this galette as my gateway to baking desserts. Galettes are like rustic, simpler versions of pie, and this one comes together so easily and (in my opinion) is better than a blueberry pie, which I’ve also made. I sub almond meal for the blitzed pecans in this recipe to make things simpler, and it’s just as good! My brother, who isn’t a baker, makes this all the time.
Aunt Holly’s Banana Bread | Epicurious
When everyone started making banana bread in early quarantine, I stuck with this tried-and-true recipe from Epicurious. We salute Aunt Holly! This is insanely easy and good every single time.
Chicken Pot Pie | Sorted
I’ve always loved chicken pot pie, even the little frozen ones from Marie Callender’s, so once I started cooking, I was determined to make my own. This one is just the right level of involved, with a from-scratch sauce but frozen puff pastry, and I crave it constantly.
Butter Chicken | Cafe Delites
Chris and I made this together one night, and as soon as we took our first bite, we knew it was a winner. I love Indian food, but my versions at home always paled in comparison to Indian restaurants. No longer! This butter chicken recipe rivals any proper Indian restaurant. I recommend using ghee and a powerful blender (I use my Vitamix) to help you along.
Shanghai-Style Braised Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou) | The Woks of Life
This is another childhood favorite. When I’m feeling nostalgic, I always want to make this braised pork belly. It’s relatively simple, as long as you adhere to the low-and-slow rule of braising. The result is so rewarding!
Vegetarian Skillet Stuffed Shells | Anna Stockwell via Epicurious
I’ve always thought of stuffed shells as very fancy, but making this recipe proved me wrong. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal and feels elevated compared to a regular pasta dish. I serve mine with Rao’s marinara (the best).
Gochujang-Braised Chicken | Oiji NYC for Bon Appetit
I nearly forgot about this recipe because I haven’t cooked it in a while, but now that the weather’s getting colder, I’m sure it’s going to come back on the docket. It’s delicious – savory, tender, spicy – everything you could possibly want from a braised chicken dish.
Wedding Chicken | Naomi Pomeroy for Bon Appetit
This is a go-to for me when hosting, because I can marinate a huge batch and just leave it until it’s ready to go in the oven. The marinade is jam-packed with delicious things, and people seem to love the final result!
All-Butter Pie Crust | King Arthur Baking
My go-to pie crust recipe. Pie crust is simpler than people think— it’s just important to keep things nice and cool for the flakes to form.
Quiche | Sally’s Baking Addiction
I love quiche and highly recommend making it with a homemade crust. It’s hard to find store-bought crusts that aren’t too sweet for quiche anyhow, so avoid ruining your delicious filling and make that crust! For fillings, I love bacon, scallions, and cheese.
A fall staple! I honestly prefer this over traditional pumpkin pie. The crust is warm and nutty and the filling is smooth and creamy. The bourbon-sour cream topping is controversial, though, so I’d recommend just whipping some cream and topping the cheesecake if you’re serving pickier folks.
Brown Butter Peach Cobbler | Ben Bynum for Bon Appetit
After making this with freshly-picked peaches, I’m convinced this is one of the best bakes I’ve made yet. The brown butter caramelizes the exterior of the cobbler, and the batter is light and fluffy. So so good. I’m ready for peach season to come back!
Carrot Cake | Becky Guyton via Epicurious
I’ve made this carrot cake a bunch of times, to effusive praise every time. I recently added cardamom to the cake batter and it brings out some nice fragrant notes.
Double Chocolate Cake | Gourmet
If your cake-lovers are more chocolate-inclined, this is the recipe for you. I made this in my tiny college apartment for the first time, and the oil in the batter keeps the entire thing moist and light, which can be hard to do with heavy, rich chocolate.
Pecan Pie | The Gunny Sack
Pecan pie is a staple in the Sun household. We have this every holiday season, multiple times a season. Bernice found this recipe and I’ve made it so many times on my own since. The filling comes together so easily; I’d consider this a “quick and easy” recipe if you’re not making the pie crust.
Apple Pie | Claire Saffitz for Bon Appetit
This apple pie is a behemoth, no doubt. It’s huge. It’s also super delicious and very worth it. I prefer my apple pies less sweet, so the apple flavor really shines. This has cardamom and a bunch of other great spices, so it’s well-balanced. The only gripe I have with this recipe is that you have to wait four hours after baking to eat!
For A Challenge
Garlic Braised Short Ribs with Red Wine | Alison Roman for NY Times Cooking
I made this again a few weeks ago, and it is so incredibly good. I love a good braised meat in the colder months, and this ticks all of the boxes. As much as I balk at endorsing Alison Roman (considering her part in food colonialism), this recipe is restaurant-quality and classic.
Bolognese | Binging with Babish
Who doesn’t love a good bolognese? Here’s a great one from Andrew Rea of Binging/Basics with Babish. I’m sure there are other quality recipes out there, but I’ve just always used this one.
The Big Lasagna | Samin Nosrat for NY Times Cooking
Lasagna is another one of those things that I’ve loved since childhood. I even love frozen lasagnas, if I’m honest. But when I have the time, this “Big Lasagna” from Samin Nosrat is a stunner. It’s especially good with homemade pasta.
Porchetta | J. Kenji Lopez-Alt for Serious Eats
A few years ago, I got into a porchetta craze, where I was convinced that porchetta was the end-all, be-all of holiday centerpieces (largely out of a resentment for turkey). I’ve made a few porchettas since and although I still haven’t perfected the techniques, it’s delicious every time.
Latkes | Basics with Babish
I love latkes, and I love latke benedicts. Watching the Babish Youtube channel convinced me that I could make my own. These are so good.
Pork, Shrimp, and Chive Dumplings | Cocoon
Though I’m a bit embarrassed to recommend one of my own recipes in this list, this is the recipe I use every time I make dumplings. It’s an old family recipe, so I can’t help but feel it’s the best.
Chinese Handmade Noodles | The Woks of Life
A few months into quarantine, I got really into dough-related cooking (scallion pancakes, noodles, buns, etc). These handmade noodles are surprisingly easy to pull off and are so much better in any noodle dish than the dried stuff.
Kouign Amann | Brown Eyed Baker
Kouign amann are my favorite pastry, hands down. I realized that most bakeries don’t make them, and even less are making them now in pandemic times, so my only way to get that flaky, buttery experience was to make them myself. No lie, this is a labor of love. It’s definitely a stay-at-home-all-day kind of undertaking, with the proofing and laminating and chilling and resting. But it is by far the best, most rewarding thing I’ve ever made from scratch. If you have a free weekend, these are worth it.
Bonus! My Go-To Recipe Sources
I generally use the Epicurious app on my phone to find recipes, since it’s well-organized and has so many recipes. I like to sort by “most reviewed” to find dependable recipes, and I always read the reviews for extra tips and tricks before cooking.
Sally’s Baking Addiction
Sally is a star. Every time I want to bake something and need a bit more guidance besides my own intuition, I look up her recipes and they never fail. I love her strawberry shortcake recipe!
The Woks of Life
Most of my Chinese home cooking comes from my parents and not from recipes, but whenever I need something more concrete, I turn to The Woks of Life, a family of four who all (!) develop recipes for their extensive, impressive site. They’re also very responsive in the comments if you ever need help. I much prefer getting Asian recipes from Asian sources, and The Woks of Life really honor those traditions in ways bigger media corporations do not.
Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat
After watching Samin’s great Netflix show and loving her attitude towards food and cooking, I got her corresponding cookbook as a gift. It’s a great cookbook for beginners and seasoned home cooks alike, with fun infographics, beautiful illustrations, and helpful tips and reminders. I haven’t cooked my way through the whole book yet, but I hope to sometime soon!
This post will be regularly updated with fresh new go-tos as I continue testing new recipes! Stay tuned.