2020 Reader Favorite Recipes

With 2020 coming to an end, I think it’s safe to say we are all ready for 2021!  I am optimistic for the new year – it can only get better from here 🤣.  Looking to 2021, I’m excited to announce I have a new website coming soon that will be faster, cleaner and easier to navigate.   I don’t have an exact date – but should be the first quarter – hooray! 

Before we officially say goodbye to 2020, let’s look back at some of the recipes that got us through the year.  Comfort food, easy one skillet dinners and marinades reigned supreme while favorites from years past still made a big splash.  For this roundup, I’m counting down the top recipes that were newly published this year then highlighting a few favorites from previous years. I hope this recipe roundup gives you some new exciting recipes to try or remind you of some favorites.  And of course I want to hear:

What were your favorite recipes of 2020? Any requests for 2021?

Lastly, THANK YOU for allowing my recipes a spot at you dinner table.  It is the greatest honor.  Millions of readers visit Carlsbad Cravings every month from Pinterest,  Facebook, Instagram and Google, but the ones I cherish the most are you wonderful readers who subscribe to my emails, make my recipes and leave comments. Thank you for allowing me to share my passion of cooking with you, for trusting my recipes and inviting me into your homes through food.  You allow me to provide a living doing what I love and I couldn’t be more grateful.  

May God bless you and yours with health and happiness in this new year brimming with new beginnings,  brighter hope, greater perspective, deeper gratitude and newfound optimism.  Much love to you all, Jen, Patrick and Kiwi. 

Honorable Mentions

These recipe were just posted but I know they are going to be forever favorites! I highly recommend all of them!

Creamy Basil Parmesan Gnocchi Soup

This Gnocchi Soup is one of my all-time favorite soups!  It’s loaded with pillowy gnocchi, Italian sausage, garlic, basil and veggies enveloped in a creamy tomato Parmesan broth all made in ONE POT!

“Prepared it exactly as your recipe instructed and was hands down the best soup I have ever made!” -Kelly

Chicken Fricassee

Chicken Fricassee all made in one pot, loaded with succulent golden chicken and tender veggies swimming in a rich, creamy, herb laced sauce.

Jen, I made this for dinner tonight with some friends, and we all raved about it! This is just delicious!!“- Phyllis

Chicken Parmesan Pasta

This Chicken Parmesan Pasta is hot, saucy, cheesy comfort food, astonishingly easy all made in one pot in 30 minutes!

“Jen, you really knocked our socks off last night with this recipe! Wow!!! This pasta packs a ton of great flavor and was so easy to make all in one pot. Per my husband’s words: “This is easily one of my new favorite recipes you’ve tried this year!” – Kristian

top view of Parmesan Chicken Pasta in a skillet with mozzarella cheese

2020 Reader’s Favorite Countdown

25. Jerk Shrimp

Ridiculously easy Jerk Shrimp exploding wit smoky, sweet and spicy Caribbean flavor with just the right amount of kick on your table in minutes! Serve it as an appetizer or with rice, veggies and fruit or in salads, tacos, wraps, quesadillas etc. because you are going to want to devour this Jerk Shrimp any way you can!

“Oh. My…. Made this tonight, served with Cilantro Lime Rice and grilled fresh pineapple… Boyfriend said – “Caribbean delight” LOL He loves spicy, and usually I go mild, but this spice had such wonderful flavor – l wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you for yet another WONDERFUL recipe – this is a keeper!” – Faith

24. Chicken Florentine

This Chicken Florentine is a comforting, quick and easy one-pot wonder bathed in Parmesan garlic cream sauce on your table in just over 30 minutes!

This was amazing! My whole family loved it. So much flavor and super easy to throw together.” -Nikki

23. Baked Ground Beef Tacos

Baked Ground Beef Tacos bursting with juicy beef filling and gooey cheese are delicious, easy, and all done at once which makes dinnertime a breeze!

Thanks for another FANTASTIC recipe!! Made these tonight and my family loved them! ” -Kara

22. Mahi Mahi in Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce

The mahi mahi bathed in intoxicating, creamy lemon, garlic sauce is restaurant delicious but astonishingly easy – on your table in 30 minutes!

“This was EXCELLENT!! And i think i said that 5 times while eating this meal.”  – Krista

21. Crockpot Beef and Broccoli

Crockpot beef and broccoli takes less than 15 minutes to prep, is made with pantry friendly ingredients, is healthier than takeout, reheats like a dream, is wonderfully versatile – and the SAUCE! 

Made this for dinner last night. The sauce was exceptional and the meat came out melt-in-your mouth tender. My husband told me that this is definitely a recipe to make again. I couldn’t get over how easy it was to make. Thank you for this recipe. “ -Janet

20. Tuna Noodle Casserole

This Tuna Casserole Recipe is made from scratch without any canned soups or mayo!  Just tuna and bright peas enveloped in the most flavorful rich, creamy cheese sauce all topped with golden crispy panko. 

This is the best tuna casserole – ever. The balance of flavors is exceptional! Thanks so much for this recipe (and all your other ones, too!). “– Liz

19. Baked Salsa Chicken

This Salsa Chicken is SO EASY and SO flavorful and best of all, everything bakes in ONE pan which means super easy clean up and no extra sides to prepare!    You can also prep the entire dinner ahead of time then refrigerate and bake when ready for all those busy weeknights.

From my sister, “My kids loved this, asked if we can have it every night!”

18. Coconut Chicken

Coconut Chicken bathed in creamy honey lime coconut sauce on your table in 30 minutes!

I made this tonight for dinner and my husband declared this to be the best sauce he’s ever tasted and this is new favourite dish!” -Carol

17. Linguine in Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

 Linguine in Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce is easy, creamy, comforting, flavorful and lick-the-plate scrumptious bursting with al dente pasta and hot Italian sausage enveloped in DIVINE creamy sun-dried tomato, artichoke sauce AKA you will not believe the deliciousness coming out of your kitchen!  

“I’ve enjoyed making many of your recipes and haven’t left comments but I had to for this TERRIFIC recipe. My husband couldn’t stop saying, “Mmmm” as he ate!” -Jeanne

16. Hawaiian Chicken

Sweet and tangy Hawaiian Chicken with only 10 minutes of prep!  To make, simply whisk together pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, Asian sweet chili sauce, ginger and garlic, marinate then grill – that’s it! 

“I made this last night. My family absolutely LOVED this – in fact, they said I could make this every night!! Thank you for another amazing recipe!!” -Teija

15. Steak and Potatoes

Steak and Potatoes made in one skillet in less than 30 minutes! Juicy, steak and potatoes are tossed in a sensational spice rub then pan-seared with garlic herb butter for an explosion of YUM in every bite.

I made this last night for supper…10/10!!! It was so tasty and so easy to make!” -Sammi

14. Mexican Lasagna

This Mexican Lasagna is a spectacular twist on lasagna and one of my favorite recipes ever!  It’s rich, satisfying, comforting, flavorful, cheesy, saucy and plain scrumptious!  

“This could not have been more delicious! My family devoured this!! Thank you so much for yet another wonderful recipe! This one may be one of my all-time favorites!!” -Rachel

13. Chicken and Dumplings

Homemade Chicken and Dumplings recipe is creamy, hearty, flavorful and comforting with the BEST tender, fluffy dumplings and easier to make than you think! It’s a meal-in-one the whole family will love without any condensed soup!

“I made this tonight for the first time and it went straight into my treasured home recipe collection. My kids loved it and my husband went back for seconds – which he never does.” – Justine

12. Mushroom Pasta

This Mushroom Pasta is loaded with garlic, buttery, caramelized mushrooms enveloped in a luxurious, Parmesan mascarpone sauce on your table in less than 30 minutes!  It’s mega comforting, intoxicatingly creamy, exploding with flavor and guaranteed to become a new repeat favorite! 

This was amazing! I added chicken thighs and 4 of my kids and husband loved it. – Laura

11. Green Chili Chicken

This Green Chili Chicken is an easy, creamy, cheesy skillet dinner on your table in less than 30 minutes! It’s loaded with tender, juicy Southwest chicken swimming in a lusciously creamy green chili sour cream sauce with the option to add rice and beans. 

“SO YUMMY I made this recipe exactly per your instructions, I loved the reduced cook time, and the prep was easy all with ingredients I actually have on a regular basis. Thank you yet again for another award winner in our household.” -Joanna

10. Chicken Stew

The Chicken Stew is loaded with juicy chicken, buttery potatoes, hearty carrots and celery, fresh green beans and aromatic onions, garlic and herbs swaddled in a rich, cozy gravy-broth. It’s easy, hearty, warm, nourishing comfort in a bowl and SO good you’ll want to make it again and again! 

“This has become a favorite at our house. I make every two or three weeks! Thank you.” – Suzanne

9. Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe literally means “cheese and pepper,” and this minimalist pasta couldn’t be any easier or more delicious! It requires only 20 minutes and 6 ingredients to make dreamy pasta without any cream!

It was perfect! So silky smooth and delicious. I was glad that I doubled the recipe!!” -Alyson

8. Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

This creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is a creamy, hearty, satisfying meal all made in one pot loaded with juicy chicken, hearty wild rice, carrots, celery, cauliflower and peas for a symphony of texture in every bite -without any “cream of” soups. 

“This is now OFFICIALLY my favorite soup!” – Nancy

7. Thai Peanut Butter Chicken

Peanut Butter Chicken is one of the easiest dinners ever bursting with intoxicating Thai flavors made with pantry friendly ingredients on your table in 20 minutes (AKA chicken satay skillet)! It’s loaded with tender, juicy chicken swimming in the most intoxicating, lusciously creamy, wonderfully fragrant, comforting peanut sauce infused with garlic, ginger, basil, lime juice and coconut milk.  

OMG I made this for dinner tonight and it was SOOOOO good!!! This will be in regular rotation for sure! My husband even said it was delicious and one of his favorites!” -Michelle

6. Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Creamy Tuscan Chicken swaddled in a sun-dried tomato, Parmesan garlic cream sauce on your table in just over 30 minutes!

This Tuscan chicken is hands down the best thing I’ve had this week and I want to eat it every single day. Everyone in my family loved it and I’ll be making it at least twice a week now.” -Sahar

5. Chicken Enchiladas

This Chicken Enchilada recipe is easy, cheesy, wonderfully saucy, exploding with authentic Mexican flavor (with the BEST homemade red enchilada sauce) and destined to become a new family favorite!

“These enchiladas and the sauce are absolutely INCREDIBLE and the best I’ve ever had. It’s a flavor explosion, tastes so authentic and freshly made. I’ve made it a few times now and don’t think I can try another chicken enchilada recipe ever again. I have to pack it up and give it to family so I don’t eat the entire tray in one day.” – Tina

4. Doner Kebabs

Doner Kebabs are a Turkish kebab recipe (grilled or baked) that’s healthy, juicy and bursting with exotic flavors from an easy marinade layered with hand-picked seasonings. Turn doner kabobs into wraps, plates, salads or bowls complete with homemade hummus and dynamic garlic yogurt sauce.

Holy Hannah, that was delicious! Will definitely use this recipe in my regular rotation. I usually don’t care for chicken thighs, but did use them — very moist and delicious! Yumola! Thank you, Jen!”– Linda

3. Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma is a Middle Eastern chicken recipe that is healthy, juicy and bursting with exotic flavors that will have you drooling.  Turn the chicken into wraps or bowls with roasted vegetables all complete with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce OR Green Tahini!

“I made this for my family, and no one wanted to share! An immediate favorite that we will be making often. Thank you.” – Carole

2. Homemade Enchilada Sauce

This homemade enchilada sauce is 1000X better than canned and ready in less than 15 minutes recipe is made with simple pantry ingredients. It’s rich, bold, smoky, quick, easy, freezes beautifully and you can customize the heat and consistency.

wow!!! crazy delicious!! this recipe was very easy and all ingredients already in my pantry. this enchilada sauce was a huge hit with the family. i will never go back to store bought sauce. Thank you.” – Theresa

  1. Chicken and Broccoli

This Chinese Chicken and Broccoli is a QUICK and easy recipe loaded with juicy chicken and crisp-tender broccoli enveloped in a savory garlic, ginger stir fry sauce complimented by hot steaming rice (or go low carb with cauliflower rice).

“This is hands-down the best Chicken and Broccoli recipe I have ever made. THANK YOU! Perfect balance of salt and sweet and heat – my husband’s comment after his first bite. This will forever be our go-to for stir-fry!” – Kim

Past recipes Making a Splash in 2020

5. Best Lasagna

The best classic lasagna that’s rich, satisfying, comforting, flavorful, perfectly proportioned and will end your search for the best lasagna!

I made this lasagna yesterday and I have to say it is the best I’ve ever had! Had my brother over for dinner and he said 10 out of 10!!” – Donna

up close of a slice of the best lasagna with layers of ricotta, noodles, meat sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan

4. Thai Red Curry Chicken

This 30 minute Thai Red Curry is wonderfully coconut creamy, bursting with layers of flavor, incredibly easy and all made in one pot and you can find all the ingredients at your local grocery store!

“I made the Thai red curry chicken last night and it is absolutely delicious, I will be making this on a regular basis it’s that good, the Mrs loved it and couldn’t get over how good it tasted. So to anyone who loves Thai food give this a go, you won’t regret it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️” – Phil

This less than 30 MINUTE Thai Red Curry Chicken tastes straight out of a restaurant! Its wonderfully thick and creamy, bursting with flavor, so easy and all in one pot! Definitely a new fav at our house!

Cilantro Lime Chicken Taco Salad

This Chicken Taco Salad is bursting with tender, juicy chicken, all your favorite fiestalicious salad fixings all topped with Creamy Baja Catalina Dressing!

“This has got to be one of the best chicken recipes I’ve ever gotten. Have gotten rave reviews every time I’ve served it and recipe is always requested (with your name attached) Thank you so much” – Sharon

I couldn't stop eating this Cilantro Lime Chicken Taco Salad!  Its bursting with tender, juicy chicken and the sweet & tangy Creamy Baja Catalina Dressing is out of this world delicious!  This combo is pure heaven!

2. Smothered Baked Chicken Burritos

These Chicken Burritos are made super easy by stuffing them with the BEST slow cooker Mexican shredded chicken, baking to golden perfection and smothering in most incredible Cheesy Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce.  You can make the chicken and sauce ahead of time and then reheat for crazy fast assembly!   

“These burritos are amazing! I’ve been making them every other week for the past few months.” –Jonathan

Smothered Baked Chicken Burritos AKA "skinny chimichangas" are better than any restaurant without all the calories! made super easy by stuffing with the BEST slow cooker Mexican chicken and then baked to golden perfection and smothered in most incredible cheesy green chili sour cream sauce.
  1. Baked Garlic Butter Herb Pork Tenderloin

This Baked Pork Tenderloin is melt-in-your-mouth-tender and dripping with buttery garlic herb flavor.  It is holiday worthy but family friendly and everyday easy – it takes less than 60 minutes from start to finish and MOST of that time is hand’s off! 

“The best pork loin I’ve ever had and I just want to put that sauce on EVERYTHING!” -Jo

easy pork tenderloin oven sliced on a cutting board

Want to try the top recipes of 2020?

Pin them to your Recipes Board to SAVE for later!

Find me on Pinterest for more great recipes!  I am always pinning :)!

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Reader Interactions

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10 Comments

  1. Wendy says

    I’m so glad the Thai Red Curry chicken made the list! It was the first recipe I tried from your site(which I just discovered this year!)and it got me hooked. I’ve made it many times as well as numerous other recipes. I will try some of these Favorites in upcoming weeks. Thanks for your hard work!

    • Jen says

      First of all, welcome to my site Wendy! Secondly, you have great taste, I can’t get enough red curry! I hope you have fun trying more recipe favorites!

  2. Sarah says

    I don’t know a thing about photography, but I know I always find your pictures visually pleasing. You are also the go-to site for so many wonderful recipes. I really enjoyed how you seem to be tackling some classic recipes lately and doing them really really well. Thank you for your recipes!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for your kind words Sarah! I didn’t know anything about photography when I started blogging but it has turned into such a fun part of the job! I’m honored I’m your go-to site, thank you so much!!!

  3. LIz says

    Hi Jen,

    This was a great walk down memory lane! These recipes do deserve a spot on the countdown list. Yum.

    Since you’re taking requests, I would love it if you created recipes for:
    – Something else with the Creamy Baja Catalina Dressing that’s in your Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad recipe. It’s so good!
    – Corned beef & cabbage
    – Rueben sandwich or a pastrami recipe
    – More salad-for-dinner recipes
    – Vietnamese (or more Korean) recipes – flavorful meats & sauces with lots of veggies

    I LOVE all your chicken, Mexican, and Thai recipes! Thank you for all you do!
    Liz

    • Jen says

      Thanks for following along and making my recipes Liz! I super appreciate your input – I will definitely add these to my must make list!

  4. Josey says

    Love all the recipes we have tried so far and we tried a lot. You got me all addicted to Mexican food. So delicious (having your enchiladas tonight!).
    As for requests: more Mexican (always more!) or what I would love to dive deeper into is Greek and especially Turkish recipes. So hard to find good restaurants!
    As the other person commented always interested in salads as a meal/for dinner.
    Thanks for everything!

    • Jen says

      Thanks for making my recipes Josey and taking the time to comment! I love hearing I’ve gotten you excited about Mexican food – you have great taste ;). I appreciate your requests as well! I am adding them to my list!

  5. Barbara Dean says

    I always enjoy looking at the recipes you send out. I have made many of your recipes and have loved almost all of them. I made the Mexican Lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner and everyone loved it! I think that is my favorite of the year. I really appreciate how you go into great detail on why you use certain ingredients and what the effect will be if you use something else.

    For the new year, I would love to see some recipes for an Instant Pot, or at least notes on how to make a certain recipe in an Instant Pot.

    • Jen says

      Thanks for making my recipes Barbara! I LOVE hearing the Mexican Lasagna was such a hit – it is one of my all time favorites! I am experimenting with the Instant Pot and hopefully will have more to share soon!