Mushroom Bourguignon leverages mushrooms' umami and resilience in a lush, savory braise.
Mushrooms are inherently savory; have the ability to build fond, the rich-tasting browned bits that form on a pot’s interior surface; and offer a balance of tenderness and resilience that allows them to turn pleasantly supple when simmered without losing structural integrity. For all those reasons, they’re great for featuring in a luxurious, wintery braise such as bourguignon. Chunks of portobellos were meaty and satisfying, while dried porcini offered a heavy-hitting boost of umami along with savory supports such as miso, tomato paste, and soy sauce and classic aromatics and herbs such as carrot, shallot, garlic, and thyme. A modified roux made with olive oil and flour added the French classic’s requisite body and gloss while keeping the stew vegan, and a splash of wine at the end of cooking brought brightness.
Could we find a cookie press that consistently produced beautiful cookies?
Cookie presses are handheld gadgets that portion soft cookie doughs into a variety of shapes, from hearts and flowers to snowmen and turkeys. These cookies are typically called “spritz” cookies, from the German word spritzen, meaning “to squirt.” While you can use a pastry bag to pipe and shape dough, presses offer a variety of shapes and make it easier to create identical cookies.
Key lime pie, meet bar—a tart, creamy topping and a buttery rich, gluten-free base.
We wanted to bring all the essence of Key lime pie to a Key lime bar, creating a bar that balanced a tart and creamy topping and a buttery rich base. For the base, we wanted something similar to shortbread: a crisp, buttery crust that could support the topping yet slice neatly and easily. We started with a classic shortbread recipe by mixing pieces of softened butter into our all-purpose gluten-free flour blend, along with sugar and salt, using a stand mixer to ensure a fine crumb. The flavor was exactly what we wanted, but without gluten this base couldn’t support the topping. Adding just 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum gave the crust the structure it needed to hold up and slice neatly without crumbling. As for the filling, it also had to be sturdy and sliceable. By adding cream cheese and an egg yolk to the usual sweetened condensed milk and lime juice and zest, we created a rich and firm filling.
On the Road with Bryan Roof: Spaghetti Limone, the Frank Prisinzano Way
Bryan's dispatch from New York City, where he spent time with the prolific restaurateur who values methods over recipes.
We freshened up and sped up chicken florentine—and scaled it down to serve two.
Using fresh spinach rather than frozen for this recipe for two allowed us to control the amount of water in the sauce, which could wash out flavor. We first cooked the spinach until it was wilted and then let it drain to remove excess liquid. We browned the chicken in the skillet before transferring it to a plate so that we could reuse the skillet to build a flavorful yet quick sauce. Adding the cooked spinach and any accumulated chicken juices back to the sauce warmed the spinach through and added more chicken flavor to the sauce. We topped the chicken with this flavorful spinach mixture, as well as some Parmesan cheese for an added salty punch.
There are as many paths to pimento cheese as back roads in the South. We wanted the most direct.
Equally as good at home with a sleeve of saltines or melted on a burger or a grilled cheese sandwich, pimento cheese is a flavorful spread of cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and chopped pimentos. We use sharp cheddar for its moderately intense flavor and creamy consistency (extra-sharp cheddar tends to be more crumbly) and shred it with both the large and small holes of a box grater to give the cheese a cohesive yet chunky consistency. A couple of tablespoons of cream cheese keep the mixture spreadable, even right out of the fridge, and a ratio of 2/3 cup mayo to 1 pound cheese adds a tangy punch and creamy texture. Some Worcestershire and lemon juice add brightness and depth without overpowering the cheese.
We translated this beloved take-out specialty into a recipe suitable for home kitchens.
The street-cart and take-out staple of chicken shawarma is made by layering 30 pounds of meat onto a rotating spit and cooking the meat for hours. However, by using the broiler and boneless chicken thighs, we were able to create a home version. The intense heat generated by the oven's broiler ably bloomed the flavors of the cumin-paprika mixture we applied to the chicken and browned the meat's craggy surface. Opting for a quicker weeknight method, we gained the benefits of marinating by broiling lemons right alongside the meat. Squeezing the lemon juice over the sliced chicken right before serving lent it brightness and smoky depth. To round out the meal, we serve the shawarma with a cabbage slaw, diced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, a lemony yogurt sauce, and pita.
We wanted to offer up a stir-fry inspired by Thai cuisine using pantry-friendly ingredients.
For a sophisticated Thai beef recipe using available ingredients and requiring minimal cooking time, we turned to inexpensive blade steak, which offers both tenderness and robust flavor. With a marinade made of fish sauce, white pepper, citrusy coriander, and a little light brown sugar, the beef needed to marinate for only 15 minutes to develop full flavor. To add heat to our stir-fried Thai beef recipe, we introduced an easily controlled heat source—Asian chili-garlic paste—that also added toasty garlicky flavors along with heat.
Make European-Style Butter at Home for a Fraction of the Price
The tangy cultured butter favored in Europe is pricier than the so-called sweet-cream sticks more common here. Fortunately, it’s easy (and cheaper) to make this complex, nutty-flavored butter at home.
It's never too early for extra-crispy tater tots.
Breakfast burritos first appeared on a menu in 1975 at Tia Sophia's in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but now they're beloved around the United States as a handheld, hearty, and customizable morning meal. For our version, we wanted potatoes that stayed extra-crispy. Frozen tater tots, thawed and then smashed flat in the skillet, did the trick. Along with the tots, we added fluffy scrambled eggs; sharp cheddar cheese; and Mexican-style chorizo, which imbued the rest of the burrito with its savory garlic and paprika seasonings. A potent chipotle sour cream sauce provided tang and heat without adding excess moisture, keeping the burritos neat and portable. Browning the rolled burritos in a hot skillet right before serving produced a crispy golden exterior and helped them stay sealed.
Yogurt brings milky tang to the soothing Armenian soup known as tanabour.
Tanabour, or spas, is a nourishing, filling, and thoroughly satisfying Armenian grain-and-yogurt soup. Though tanabour can be made using a wide variety of grains, ours uses pearl barley, since—lacking hulls—it cooks to a tender, plump consistency without breaking down entirely. We used Greek yogurt, since it gave the soup the requisite thickness and dairy richness without leaving it overly tart. We added an egg yolk to give the soup further richness and a silky consistency. Finally, we garnished the soup with cilantro and Aleppo pepper–infused melted butter.
Chickpeas add nutty depth—and substance—to this vegetarian egg dish.
Using convenience products such as canned chickpeas and jarred roasted red peppers made this a quick, hearty meal.
We turned this great Indian classic into an easy weeknight dinner.
We found a few ways to simulate tandoori chicken that marinates for 24 hours before being cooked at a very high heat in a traditional beehive-shaped clay oven. For marinated flavor in no time, we rubbed the chicken with spices, then dipped it in yogurt. Next we cooked it in a low-temperature oven before giving it a quick broil to char the exterior. The result: a chicken tandoori recipe with juicy, well-seasoned meat and a lightly charred crust.
These rich, flavorful Spicy Sichuan-Style Noodles make a hearty dinner on a busy night.
We wanted to create a dish inspired by dan dan mian, a popular Sichuan noodle dish with a spicy, savory sauce. Our sauce was simple to put together with pantry staples. Fresh or dried Asian noodles worked best in our recipe, but linguine was good in a pinch.
We tested seven supermarket products to find the best unsalted butter for everyday use.
In the test kitchen, we go through 30 to 40 pounds of unsalted butter a week as we bake cakes and cookies, make frostings and pancake batter, and cook pan sauces, roast chicken, and sautéed vegetables. We use unsalted butter almost exclusively because the sodium level of the salted stuff can vary and we prefer to control the seasoning of our food.
No one will believe you made these rich, buttery, chocolate-studded muffins at home.
Our goal was a moist, just-sweet-enough, generously sized bakery-style muffin with plenty of rich chocolate and butter flavor and a characteristically domed top. Using chopped semisweet chocolate instead of chips gave us a combination of chunks and shards of chocolate pieces. This allowed for the chocolate to meld into the muffin better than chips while also keeping some soft, melty chocolate pockets. Bar chocolate also resulted in zero waxiness at room temperature. Mixing the chocolate in with the dry ingredients instead of folding it in at the end prevented the batter from forming too much gluten, maintaining a tender crumb. To create moist and flavorful muffins, we incorporated sour cream and used nutty browned butter and lots of vanilla. Baking the muffins on a higher rack and at 400 degrees initiated a quick rise to give them nicely domed tops.
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