photo collage of 2021 reader favorite recipes

Hello hello!! I hope you had the very best Christmas if you celebrate, and a fabulous weekend regardless!

We had a beautiful Christmas day — literally, it was sunny and nearly 50 degrees (stay weird, Iowa) — and stuffed ourselves siiilly with Brown Bag Baked Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, plus more Holiday Salad than you can shake a stick at.

I nearly had to shake a stick at my children to fend them off the serving bowl. It’s always a massive hit!

Speaking of, the kids were so much fun this year and their screams of excitement while opening gifts were such a joy to hear and watch. As Moms we usually have to ask our kids to “smile!” while taking pictures, so it was incredible to see their faces shine with genuine joy. Not sure why I don’t get the same reaction after asking for the 27th picture by the slide at the park, but — I guess I get it. ;) It was a magical one, for sure!

I leave 2021 bursting with gratitude for my family and their good health, my job, my friends, and for YOU. I truly have the best readers in the world. Many of us have been cooking and growing together for over a decade! Whether we’ve been cooking together for a year or a day, I appreciate you more than you know.

That said, today I’m sharing the top 10 new recipes you cooked from Iowa Girl Eats in 2021. I love writing this post each year because I get to take a deep dive into analytics and see what resonated with you and your families the most. By the way, it truly makes my day when I hear about a recipe being a hit with you or a family member. I read every single comment that comes in and, again, I just appreciate you cooking my recipes so very much.

Do you have any New Year/NYE plans? Lincoln is begging to stay up until midnight and I have no doubt that he’ll be able to stay up longer than me. ACTUALLY, I have a recipe that I’ll be sharing sometime in the next few days that might help with that. ;) Stay tuned!

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In the meantime, here are the top 10 new recipes on Iowa Girl Eats in 2021. Did any of your favorites make the list? 

Top Recipes from Previous Years

#1 One Pot Gnocchi Chicken Pot Pie

As a recipe developer, it’s always an incredible feeling when a dish you create instantly takes off, and One Pot Gnocchi Chicken Pot Pie was one of those dishes. You started making it the day I shared it, and haven’t stopped. This dish is SO easy and comforting — it comes as zero surprise that it was the #1 recipe on IGE in 2021!

Reader Ann said: “My husband LOVED this, and I did, too. It was easy and not a lot of mess. He even had a guy at work try to trade him for a burger and fries from the local diner”

gnocchi chicken pot pie in a bowl

#2 Big Mac Salad

We all know Big Macs aren’t the most healthy choice in the world, which is why the recipe for a Big Mac Salad was such a hit. It’s a dead ringer for the real thing — right down to the special sauce — but is served as a salad. So, so good – I’m thrilled you loved this dish as much as I did!

Reader Connie said: “Made this for dinner. Better than a Big Mac and healthier. It’s a keeper!”

Overhead Photo of a big mac salad

#3 Chicken Pad Thai (No Tamarind)

The recipe for Chicken Pad Thai has been years in the making. I’ve always wanted to create a restaurant-quality Chicken Pad Thai recipe that didn’t call for tamarind, which can be hard to find, but also didn’t call for ketchup, which is a popular tamarind swap (I just couldn’t bear to do it.) The result was this traffic-busting recipe!

Reader Megan said: “Oh man, this was good. One of the best things I’ve eaten in a long time. I’ve made a lot of your recipes with great results, but this one really stands out – nice work!”

Close up photo of bowl of chicken pad thai

#4 Gluten Free Lemon Bars

Gluten Free Lemon Bars were so much fun to develop, and I love that many of you were able to put your own spin on this super simple and “old fashioned” (in the best possible way) dessert recipe. I can taste the puckery-sweet lemon filling just by looking at the photo. They are incredible!

Reader Amy said: “Hands down, the best and easiest lemon bars! I made them for my daughters bridal shower after testing them twice before and they were such a big hit!!!”

Close up photo of a gluten free lemon bar

#5 Cheesy Chicken & Rice Green Bean Casserole

Frankenstein mash ups were the name of the game for several recipes developed this year, and Cheesy Chicken and Rice Green Bean Casserole was one of them. I combined Green Bean Casserole with Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole, and the result was a HUGE hit with you. It tastes like the holidays with less work.

Reader Ivy said: “Made this for the first time last night. It will not be the last! So good and comforting in a Thanksgiving-y kind of way. My kids gobbled it up and didn’t even notice the mushrooms.”

cheesy rice casserole in a baking dish

#6 Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup

I’m a sucker for coconut red curry and Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup satisfies that constant craving of mine. You guys adored this soup and several people use it for entertaining. That’s how good (yet easy!) this soup recipe is. You will go back for bowl after bowl.

Reader Victoria said: “This has been a family hit, so I decided to try it for an adult dinner party. SUCCESS! … One guest went back 3 times!”

Overhead photo of a bowl of Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup

#7 Creamy Wild Rice Mushroom Soup

It’s fun to dream up unconventional recipes, but sometimes the classics like Creamy Wild Rice Mushroom Soup really hit the spot. This recipe tastes like a soup you’d find at a local deli or cafe and is so satisfying. Another instant hit with you guys!

Reader Carmin said: “This soup is absolutely amazing! … I will make this over and over again. I want to try adding chicken as well. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe.”

creamy mushroom and wild rice soup in a bowl with crostini

#8 Sesame Peanut Sauce Noodles

Similar to Chicken Pad Thai, Sesame Peanut Sauce Noodles is a recipe I’ve tried to perfect for YEARS — so glad to have finally nailed it! I make this recipe for dinner a lot because it’s so quick and easy. I love that it’s become a weeknight staple for many of you as well.

Reader Lindsey said: “This was the BOMB! Oh my. So addictive. And that sauce was drinkable. My mouth is watering thinking about the leftovers I get to eat tonight (and when I’m gonna make it again)!!”

Close up Photo of sesame peanut sauce noodles in a bowl

#9 Cheesy Bacon Butternut Squash Gnocchi Skillet

File Cheesy Bacon Butternut Squash Gnocchi Skillet under just crazy enough to work! The combination of super comforting ingredients and flavors in this dish really resonated with you. The fact that it goes from fridge to table in just 1 skillet is the icing on the cake.

Reader Steffi said: “This was SO GOOD. My husband kept giving me the eye as I asked him to pull ingredients from the fridge at various stages of cooking… garlic, then maple syrup, then cheese, then baby spinach. He kept saying “what are you making!?” But I knew it would work, and it 100% did. Definitely will be making this on repeat!”

Cast iron skillet of Cheesy Bacon Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Gnocchi

#10 Loaded Deviled Eggs

I refuse to tell you how many Loaded Deviled Eggs I ate in 2021 – it was…a lot!!! These babies were hits everywhere from summer BBQs to holiday Bloody Mary bars. SO GOOD.

Reader Pat says: “We had these for our family father’s day dinner as an appetizer….I blinked and they were gone.”

Loaded deviiled eggs on a platter

Honorable Mention: Scalloped Potatoes

I just posted the recipe for Gluten Free Scalloped Potatoes so it didn’t have time to compete with the other recipes from this year, but these potatoes are truly so, so delicious. Ben and I both agreed we cannot make them at any other time than the holidays because there is no stopping us once a pan is made!!

Reader Marlena said: “they turned out amazing!!! Everyone wanted seconds!! Thanks for such a delicious recipe.”

spoon scooping gluten free scalloped potatoes from a baking dish

Wishing you and yours all the very best in 2022! Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for each and every visit and recipe you make from Iowa Girl Eats!