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Recipe Spotlight

The Most Popular America's Test Kitchen Recipes in August

Chicken, fresh summer veggies, and of course cookies. What else did our members love this month?

Published Sept. 5, 2019.

Unfortunately, summer is coming to an end. In the month of August, our members soaked up the rest of the season with recipes that used fresh summer veggies. They also appreciated quickness with easy weeknight recipes, and of course, made our favorite cookies because cookies don't need a certain season to shine. Keep the summer vibe alive and get inspired for September by checking out our top six most popular recipes this month based on pageviews, and then check out the rest of the top 25 in this collection.

25 Most Popular Recipes in August

Curious what other recipes our members made in August? Check out the rest of our Top 25 collection.  
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1. Weeknight Roast Chicken

Roast chicken is often described as a simple dish, and it is, at least in terms of flavor—when the dish is made properly, the rich flavor and juicy meat of the chicken need little adornment. But the actual process of preparing and roasting chicken is anything but simple; recipes often call for complicated trussing techniques and for rotating the bird multiple times during cooking. And the most time-consuming part is salting or brining the bird, a step that ensures juiciness and well-seasoned meat. After systematically testing the various components and steps of a typical recipe, we found we could just tie the legs together and tuck the wings underneath. We also discovered we could skip both the V-rack and flipping the chicken by using a preheated skillet and placing the chicken breast side up; this method gave the thighs a jump-start on cooking. Starting the chicken in a 450-degree oven and then turning the oven off while the chicken finished cooking slowed the evaporation of juices, ensuring moist, tender meat. [GET THE RECIPE]

2. Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe had to produce a cookie that would be moist and chewy on the inside and crisp at the edges, with deep notes of toffee and butterscotch to balance its sweetness. Melting the butter gave us the chewiness we were looking for. Cutting back on the flour and eliminating an egg white also improved texture and brought the brown sugar flavor to the fore. To give our chocolate chip cookie recipe the crisp edges and toffee flavor we wanted, we let the sugar dissolve in the batter for 10 minutes, then baked the cookies at a high temperature so the edges darkened while the centers stayed soft. [GET THE RECIPE]

3. Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites)

Our Mexican Corn Salad features charred kernels whose nutty, slightly bitter flavor complements corn's natural sweetness. We achieved that charring on the stovetop by cooking kernels in a small amount of oil in a covered skillet. The kernels in contact with the skillet's surface browned and charred, and the lid prevented the kernels from popping out of the hot skillet and trapped steam, which helped cook the corn. We cooked the corn in two batches to allow more kernels to make contact with the skillet and brown. After cooking the corn, we used the hot skillet to bloom chili powder and lightly cook minced garlic to temper its bite. We dressed the salad with a creamy and tangy mixture of sour cream, mayonnaise, and lime juice. Letting the corn cool before adding chopped cilantro and spicy serrano chiles preserved their bright colors and fresh flavors. [GET THE RECIPE]

4. Walkaway Ratatouille

Most ratatouille recipes call for labor- and time-intensive treatments like salting and/or pressing to remove excess moisture from the vegetables. We started our streamlined recipe by sautéing onions and aromatics and then added chunks of eggplant and tomatoes before transferring the pot to the oven, where the dry, ambient heat would thoroughly evaporate moisture, concentrate flavors, and caramelize some of the vegetables. After 45 minutes, the tomatoes and eggplant became meltingly soft and could be mashed into a thick, silky sauce. Zucchini and bell peppers went into the pot last so that they retained some texture. Finishing the dish with fresh herbs, sherry vinegar, and extra-virgin olive oil tied everything together. [GET THE RECIPE]

5. Perfect Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin Steaks

For pork tenderloin that was well browned, we began by lightly pounding the pork to create two flat sides that would be easy to sear. Halving the tenderloins crosswise created moderately sized steaks that were easy to maneuver. We placed the pork on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet to raise it off the hot sheet and help it cook evenly. Slowly cooking the pork in a low oven ensured that the meat cooked evenly from edge to edge so that every bite was moist and tender. For great browning, we made sure to pat the pork very dry before searing it in a hot skillet. [GET THE RECIPE]

6. Duchess Potato Casserole

Pommes duchesse is a classic French preparation of piped individual mounds of egg-enriched mashed potatoes. They can be made in advance, they look festive, and they taste great with a variety of entrées; however, they are rather fussy to prepare. To make this dish easier to pull off, we skipped the piping and baked the mashed potatoes in a baking dish. Our mashed potatoes, made from buttery Yukon Golds, are enhanced with butter, egg yolks, half-and-half, and nutmeg. To give the casserole a crisp, golden brown, attractive finish, we coated the top with a mixture of butter and egg whites and then scored the surface with a paring knife before baking. [GET THE RECIPE]

Want to see the rest of our top 25? Check out our Most Popular America's Test Kitchen Recipes in August collection. And view these recipe collections to see which recipes were popular in past months:

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