Reader Favorite Recipes of 2020

Happy 2021! Never have I been so happy to welcome in a new year, filled with optimism about what the future holds. 

This week, I’m celebrating the end of 2020. While I can’t yet say goodbye to the pandemic, nor put my kids on a school bus and send them off to a more patient teacher than myself…. I can look back on the good from 2020. More family time. A Disney World trip that we snuck in just before the pandemic hit, that the kids talked about all year. More time outside and exploring local treasures. Getting a puppy who is adorable when she’s not driving me crazy. And more time doing things I enjoy, like reading, cooking, and crafting. 

photo of Miss Hazelnut, the dog, and Mr Nutternbutter in front of our christmas tree


I’ll sum up my favorite books read during 2020 later in the week – today is about the food. It’s funny to look over the years and see how both my blogging has changed but also how reader favorites have changed. Pre-kids, I did so much more baking. I made and shared recipes that frequently took more time, more steps. Perhaps not so diet friendly, but it was ok because I had lots more time to work out (not to mention the metabolism of a 20 year old!). Post-kids, I began to gravitate to easier, simpler recipes. Family friendly recipes. And 2020 was no exception. I gave you more savory and sweet family friendly recipes, often using items readily found in your pantry. 

This year, as more people were home more often and cooking more, my Top 10 looks a little different. There was a more even balance of sweet and savory recipes, when past years seemed to favor the sweets. These recipes are all no-fuss, simply good, satisfying food.  

And here they are… two lists. The first are reader’s favorites – based on pages views from Google Analytics – of the recipes published during 2020. The second list is readers favorites for the year, regardless of the publishing date. I was excited to see one recipe make both lists! 

2020 Readers Favorites: Published in 2020 - tiled image of crispy smashed potatoes, raspberry chipotle salmon, salted butterscotch pretzel cookies, slow cooked memphis ribs, simple oven roasted chicken, ziti with sausage and spinach, fruitcake cookies, chocolate peppermint kiss cookies, mexican street corn salad

2020 Reader Favorite Recipes: Published in 2020

  1. Your favorite recipe was Crispy Smashed Dutch Potatoes. The side dish take a little while to make but it’s not hard, and the results are like classy French fries. So good!
  2. The runner up was Raspberry Chipotle Salmon, from Incredible One-Pot Cooking Cookbook, published this year. I think I made this recipe 3 times in one month. It’s light, it’s flavorful, and it’s crazy easy, with just 5 ingredients.
  3. I first tried Salted Butterscotch Pretzel Cookies when a friend made them, and I knew I needed to make them again. If you like that salty-sweet combo, this recipe is for you. Feel free not to share!
  4. My mom and I have been making these Slow-Cooked Memphis-Style Ribs for years. The ribs start in the oven and are finished on the grill for super tender ribs. It’s a great recipe for summer entertaining. 
  5. Made with only pantry staples, this Simple Oven Roasted Chicken was popular earlier this year, during the first months of the pandemic. For us, it remains a favorite Sunday dinner with some roasted veggies.
  6. Another recipe that I grew up eating, this Baked Ziti with Sausage & Spinach is not your typical ziti recipe. It swaps ground beef for sausage, has no ricotta, and features pesto-seasoned tomato sauce. It’s total comfort food for me. I like to double the batch and stash an extra pan in the freezer for busy weeks.
  7. These Fruitcake Cookies with Rum Glaze were a hit with both you and my neighbors! Rum-soaked dried fruit and crunch pecans are baked up into a sweet, soft Christmas cookie.
  8. My kid’s favorite Christmas cookie this year was these Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies. We’ll be making them all year round, swapping the Peppermint Hershey Kiss for whatever the kids pick out (like one of those truffled kisses that comes out around Valentine’s Day!).
  9. This Mexican Street Corn Salad has been a totally winner for the past two years. It’s one of our favorite summer side dishes, and definitely one of the most requested for BBQs and potlucks. Make it to serve hot, or make it ahead and serve cold.

2020 Reader Favorites (regardless of publishing date): tiled picture of 9 images - the frenchy cocktail, the classic cosmo, roasted brown sugar butternut squash, apple bakewell tart, crispy smashed dutch potatoes, cranberry lemon cake, garlic ciabatta bread, cinnamon hot toddy, cranberry orange marmalade

2020 Reader Favorite Recipes: New & Old

This was a fun list to look at. There were definitely some surprises here for me, as older recipes took off in unexpected ways. 

  1. The Frenchy cocktail is always a reader favorite, year after year. 
  2. The Classic Cosmo is definitely my go-to cocktail recipe. My mom requests a cocktail or three every time she visits.
  3. I grew up eating my mom’s Roasted Brown Sugar Butternut Squash. Sweet butternut squash made even sweeter by generous helpings of butter and brown sugar. How can it not be delicious? 
  4. This Apple Bakewell Tart surprised me by being on this list. It’s such a nice, light fall dessert – really a great option for afternoon tea or a bridal or baby shower. 
  5. Crispy Smashed Dutch Potatoes took off this year and I’m not surprised. My husband and I enjoyed way too many that day…
  6. Another oldie that took off was this Lemon Cranberry Cake. It was a hit not long after I made it and saw a resurgence this year. 
  7. This Garlic Ciabatta Bread needs to be rephotographed but trust me, it’s dangerous. Lots of freshly chopped garlic, olive oil, and parsley on crunchy ciabatta bread and baked until warm – it pairs beautifully with your favorite Italian meal.
  8. This Cinnamon Spice Hot Toddy warms me up in the winter months and is what I crave when I’m not feeling 100%. 
  9. Cranberry Orange Marmalade is a great recipe for using up those leftover post-Thanksgiving cranberries. Great on toast or in a Gin & Jam Cocktail

What was your favorite Books n’ Cooks recipe made this year? Leave a comment and let me know! And don’t forget to tag @booksncooks and #booksncooks on Instagram! 

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