In times of unpredictability and unrest, many of us find calm in the kitchen, and in classic recipes. That might explain why classic comfort foods—including a childhood favorite, a simple-but-flavorful sauce, an easy breakfast, and delicate desserts—were some of our most-viewed recipes this month. Keep reading to find out what they were, and then check out the rest of our top 25 in this collection.
25 Most Popular Recipes in MayCurious what other recipes our members made in May? Check out the rest of our Top 25 collection.
1. Quick Tomato Sauce
To cook this brightly flavored, complex tomato sauce recipe in the time it takes to boil pasta, we chose minimally processed crushed tomatoes, which have a fresh taste but are already pureed. A few ingredients added essential flavor compounds to our tomato sauce recipe. Minced onion sautéed in butter (rather than olive oil) greatly enhanced the flavor of the tomatoes. Adding sugar, garlic, and oregano to the cooked onions further boosted our sauce’s flavor, as did adding chopped basil and olive oil just before serving. [GET THE RECIPE]
2. Classic Sloppy Joes
We found that treating the ground beef with baking soda (so that it retained more moisture when cooked) and then breaking it down to a fine, uniform texture in the skillet delivered a tender, flavorful, and cohesive mixture that stayed put when placed on a bun. Limiting the aromatics to just onion (also treated with baking soda to soften it) made for a beefier-tasting mixture with a rich, luxurious texture. We made ketchup's sweet-tangy flavor more complex by adding vinegar, red pepper flakes, and sugar and balanced it out with generous amounts of tomato paste, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Finally, we served it all up on soft hamburger buns. [GET THE RECIPE]
3. Cast Iron Classic Roast Chicken with Lemon-Thyme Sauce
Roast chicken is often described as a simple dish, but the actual process—brining or salting, trussing, and turning—is anything but easy. We wanted a truly simple way to get roast chicken on the table in just an hour without sacrificing flavor. We cooked the chicken breast side up in a preheated skillet to give the thighs a head start and allow the skin to crisp up. Starting 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, even without brining or salting. A traditional pan sauce pairing lemon and thyme was the perfect complement, and it took just minutes to make while the chicken rested. Pan drippings contributed meatiness, and finishing the sauce with butter gave it the perfect velvety texture. [GET THE RECIPE]
4. Cast Iron Drop Doughnuts
For quick, tender, cake-style doughnuts, we first did away with rolling and stamping out the dough into rings. Instead, we merely dropped generous spoonfuls of batter into hot oil, creating round doughnut “holes.” Many doughnut recipes we found called for generous amounts of oil, which is messy, wasteful, and not practical for frying in a skillet. We decided to shallow-fry our doughnuts to minimize the amount of oil needed. This method did require us to turn the doughnuts to ensure doneness, but the benefits of using less oil were well worth it. The most important factor in preventing greasy doughnuts was making sure we fried them at the right temperature; we were careful to keep the oil between 350 and 375 degrees while cooking each batch. A dusting of confectioners' sugar made a nice final touch. [GET THE RECIPE]
5. Olive Oil Cake
We wanted our olive oil cake to have a light, fine-textured, and plush crumb, with a subtle but noticeable olive oil flavor. Whipping the sugar with the whole eggs, rather than just the whites, produced a fine texture that was airy but sturdy enough to support the olive oil–rich batter. To emphasize the defining flavor, we opted for a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil and supplemented its fruitiness with a tiny bit of lemon zest. A crackly sugar topping added a touch of sweetness and sophistication. [GET THE RECIPE]
6. Everyday French Toast
We started our easy French toast recipe by whisking together eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla and then stirring in melted butter and milk. Instead of dipping the bread in the custard mixture one slice at a time, we poured the custard into a rimmed baking sheet that we'd generously sprayed with vegetable oil spray. We placed all the bread slices in the sheet and then flipped each slice. Each side of the bread soaked up just enough egg mixture to give it a creamy, custardy center, but not so much that it cooked up flat and soggy. We baked the slices on the lowest oven rack to brown their bottoms and then turned on the broiler to brown and crisp their tops. [GET THE RECIPE]
Want to see the rest of our top 25? Check out our Most Popular America’s Test Kitchen Recipes in May collection. And view these recipe collections to see which recipes were popular in past months: