It’s a truth of home cooking: When it comes to recipes, people are often seeking easy and comforting, not complex and fancy. Fourteen-hour pulled pork, sourdough bread made from homemade starter and gingerbread houses piped with intricate designs — all have a place in the canon, but the NYT Cooking recipes that readers returned to again and again are those that are simple and sustaining.
Here are the top five recipes of 2018, determined by the number of times they were saved on our site. (For the complete list of this year’s 50 most popular recipes, visit nytcooking.com.)
1. Chicken Francese
At the top of this year’s list is Julia Moskin’s chicken francese (also known as chicken French), pan-fried chicken cutlets bathed in a lemony, buttery sauce, delicious served alongside a pile of rice, noodles or potatoes. The best part: The dish comes together in about 35 minutes.
3. Sheet-Pan Chicken With Sweet Potatoes and Peppers
Sheet pans continue to find new devotees. We published Melissa Clark’s guide to making sheet-pan dinners this year, as well as several new recipes; this one for chicken with sweet potatoes and peppers took top honors. Readers loved the easy prep, the recipe’s adaptability and the quick-pickled onions, which add a complementary sweet-tart crunch.
4. Beef and Broccoli
Beef and broccoli, the American Chinese takeout classic, was a hit with readers, who loved the recipe’s simplicity and versatility. (Substitute asparagus for broccoli? Sure! Pork for beef? O.K.!) Sam Sifton adapted the dish from the chef Jonathan Wu, and it calls for a bit of chile-garlic sauce for heat and a chunk of butter swirled in at the end for richness.
Recipe: Beef and Broccoli
5. Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese
“Think Stouffer’s without the freezer”: That’s how Alison Roman described her recipe for classic baked macaroni and cheese, which ran with the guide she wrote to making mac and cheese published this year. Readers loved experimenting with different types of cheese and add-ins like pancetta and pickled jalapeños.
If you haven’t tried these recipes, we hope you will, and discover what so many of our readers have: that simple is often spectacular, and comfort food always wins.