The 10 Most Popular Recipes from 2012

It’s that time of year again! In 2012, over one million people visited our website to read through the hundreds of recipes we tested each day right here in our very own kitchen. Which of these recipes were the most popular with you, our readers? Here are the most popular recipes from 2012, according to the statistics collected by Google:

Homemade American Cheese

1. How to Make American Cheese
This recipe was huge in 2012. In fact, as of this writing, it has been pinned to Pinterest over 100,000 times. And why not? This recipe brings all the smooth meltiness of processed American cheese to your homemade burgers, with none of the horrifying laboratory ingredients.

How to Make General Tso's Chicken

2. General Tso’s Chicken
Okay, so it may have nothing to do with anything being eaten anywhere in China. But this surprise hit from our “Chinese New Year” series (which we’ll be doing again in January) resonated with readers eager to replicate the Chinese takeout experience right in their own kitchens.

3. No-Bake Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares

I have spoken to two people who have made these ridiculously, almost inedibly sweet no-bake bars. The first was Mary (of Hoss and Mary’s fame) who serves a version of them at their hamburger shop in Old Orchard Beach. They add crushed potato chips and Chinese crunch-crunch noodles in an effort to dial down the sweetness, and their customers seem to like them. The other is a Canadian friend, who plans to bake them over the holidays to give to his nephews, so that they will vibrate out of their shoes and their hearts will explode. That’s right. These no-bake bars have been weaponized.

Crispy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

4. Crispy Oven-Roasted Potatoes
“My dad was completely obsessed in his search for a perfectly-crispy hash brown. It was perhaps the most important metric by which he measured a breakfast place; the best diner breakfast in the world could be ruined by a side of wet, soggy, greasy hash browns. For him, such lazy inattention to detail was taken as personal affront. How would someone who dared to charge money for fried eggs possibly expect to get away with calling cubes of boiled potato and onions sprinkled with paprika, a suitable pairing for breakfast?”

Brown Ale and Cheddar Soup

5. Brown Ale and Cheddar Cheese Soup
Proving once again that the Internet loves liquefied cheese in any form, this soup was one of our reader’s favorites in 2012. From the post: “Why is that? Because it’s a soup made of cheese and beer and bacon, for goodness’ sake. Any soup that uses ‘bacon pan scrapings’ as one of its major flavoring agents just isn’t going to be that great for you. Calling it ‘soup’ may even be lipsticking the pig, a little bit. This is a bowl of rich hot cheese. It’s liquefied Welsh Rarebit. It’s a lightly-spicy, soul-warming coppa d’oro. It’s excessive and gross and hedonistic and awful and everything-that’s-wrong-with-this-country and wonderful and delicious and heavenly and I’m eating another bowl even as I type this.”

Warm Maine Lobster Dip

6. Maine Lobster Dip
“There’s something about this dish that has a delightfully 1950s vibe to it; something that makes me want to put on a ruffled apron with a pair of high heels, pop a benzedrine, and wait patiently for my husband to get home to discipline the children. What is that something? It’s cream cheese. Specifically, cream cheese mixed with seafood and served hot.”

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

7. Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes
You may take issue with the insensitivity of the name. But you certainly can’t find fault with the cupcake itself, a chocolate Guinness cake filled with a Jameson-spiked dark chocolate ganache, and topped with a Bailey’s-infused buttercream frosting.

8. Eggplant Parmesan Grilled Cheese
“It all started with a soda. An old friend gave me a liter of Foxon Park white birch, sweetened with real sugar and lightly effervescent. This small batch soft drink, which has been produced in East Haven, Connecticut for the last eighty years, is the ideal beverage pairing for pizza, pasta, anything red sauce based and melty, and it got me thinking. I began building a crazy decadent sandwich in my mind. Hearty, salty, hot and fried. A sandwich for the last days of winter.”

How to Make Fried Wontons

9. Fried Wontons
Why are fried wontons so wretched here in Maine? From the post: “Nearly all of the restaurants who did serve wontons were serving nothing more than hot bags of deep-fried wonton wrappers, with no filling to be found anywhere, which takes the concept of fried wontons to their most cynical and depressing possible conclusion. That’s right. Instead of expertly folded, golden-fried, blistered purses bursting with bits of pork or beef, waiting to be dragged through a thick, sticky sweet and sour sauce, we were often confronted with sad, sodden bags of nothing but puffed dough and air. It’s easy to see why someone who may not have ever tried a real wonton would take one look at this offering, and then politely pick up the bag , walk to the front door, and throw it out into the yard. Even at two or three dollars, a bag of empty fried wonton skins is nobody’s idea of a satisfying meal.” Plus, you get to see our first foray into web video, in this post.

Brown Ale, Cheddar, and Bacon Mac and Cheese

10. Brown Ale, Cheddar, and Bacon Mac & Cheese
“Though this macaroni and cheese contains a half a pound of crumbled, crisp bacon, the real trick is using the rendered bacon fat (and all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan) to make the roux for your cheese sauce. That’s right. The whole shebiggle is based on liquefied bacon fat and melted butter, which imparts plenty of bacon flavor to the cheese sauce. The alcohol in the beer cooks off, leaving just the faintest flavor of brown ale, which pairs perfectly with the sharp cheddar. It’s insanely rich, comforting stuff, that will require you wear sweatpants the day after you eat it. Serve with a sprinkle of diced tomato.”

That’s it! Our ten most popular recipes from 2012. We’ve already got some ideas for 2013, so don’t forget to bookmark the site, and use your appropriate social media tools to follow along as we continue to cook and learn through the new year. And of course, if you’re hungry for more, you can always see our most popular recipes from 2011. Thanks for reading!


Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road." He currently owns and operates the Ancho Honey restaurant in Maine.

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