Photographer Bryan Gardner; Food Stylist Laura Rege; Prop Stylist Paige Hicks
At the end of the year, it's natural to look back and reflect on the last 365 days' highlights. For us, that involves taking stock of our recipes, especially the ones that you really loved. To identify our most popular recipes of 2022, we headed over to our Instagram feed.
If there's a common thread running through this collection of our most double-tapped, commented on, and shared recipes, it's that they all have the one-two punch of great looks and equally great taste. Our followers have also spoken—and they clearly love dessert! Over half of the recipes on this list fall under the sweets category.
Our round-up is full of familiar classics, too, from mashed potatoes and egg sandwiches to apple pie and banana cream pudding (see what you mean about dessert?). Fun twists and little tricks take the usuals from good to great—think fried squares of macaroni and cheese or a traditional toaster pastry, supersized and made with homemade jam.
And while all of these dishes do look stunning, you can rest assured that most of them eschew special techniques or advanced culinary knowledge. In fact, the majority are simple and straightforward, so you can have your own Instagram-worthy dish without breaking a sweat. Below, discover our countdown to our most-loved recipe—we have a feeling the dish that holds the number-one slot will surprise you.
New York-Style Cheesecake
Our top 20 countdown starts with this cheesecake, which is a great example of a dessert that tastes better after a day in the fridge. The flavors have time to develop and the result is a wonderfully rich dessert that cheesecake lovers will adore.
Spinach Manicotti in Creamy Tomato Sauce
Coming in at number 19 is this clever recipe that features a fuss-free method for stuffing pasta shells—and turns this classic Italian dish into a regular weeknight option. A large zip-top plastic bag is the only equipment you need to fill the pasta shells. Then, bake until bubbling and browned.
Vanilla Heart-Shaped Cake with Raspberry-and-Custard-Filling
This beautiful Valentine's Day layer cake got so much love from our Instagram followers, that it made number 18 on our list. To make it, sandwich homemade vanilla pastry cream and fresh raspberries between the layers, then artfully decorate the creation with more of both—along with ethereal shredded coconut, of course.
Yet another beautiful dessert holds the number 17 spot. Lemons bars meet key lime pie in this luscious hybrid. The creamy filling includes sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice for the creamy filling, and the press-in saltine crust couldn't be easier to put together.
Big Martha's Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese
A favorite recipe from Martha's mom, Mrs. Kostyra, is next. It combines cream cheese, milk, and heavy cream to produce a rich and velvety version of mashed potatoes.
Strawberries and Cream Stack Cake
This is such a stunner, and that's why this no-bake, make-ahead treat comes in at number 15. It's also easy to make: Just whisk mascarpone and heavy cream into glossy peaks, soak store-bought ladyfingers in a quick caramel, and layer both with sliced fresh strawberries. Let the flavors meld in the refrigerator, and they'll end up with the texture of a traditional sponge cake without any baking.
Martha's take on a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dessert clocked in at number 14. These old-fashioned apple pastries are spiced with cinnamon and studded with raisins.
Egg Sandwiches for a Crowd
We think this recipe grabbed thirteenth place because it's so clever. A quick, no-fuss frittata is a genius solution to making breakfast for a crowd. It's made in a baking dish, then sliced and placed on toast slathered with Dijonnaise. And although the recipe calls for leftover turkey, you can use cooked chicken or sausage—or just skip the meat completely.
Double-Crusted Jam Tart
Though it looks fancy and advanced, this giant toaster pastry—at number 12—is really just jam spooned between two layers of rolled-out crust. You can use any fruit or flavor, but we love this recipe with homemade peach jam.
Smoky Serrano-Mint Margarita
The only cocktail on our top 20 recipe list came in at number 11. It's a margarita, but an unexpected one. It starts with a charred serrano chile that's muddled with sugar and fresh mint, then mixed with the margarita trifecta: tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice.
Fried Macaroni-and-Cheese Bites
It's easy to see why our Instagram followers love this recipe. This crowd-pleaser is truly next level and a hit at every party. To make these fried morsels, prepare the stovetop mac and cheese a few days ahead and let it firm up in the refrigerator for easier cutting. Then, bread and fry them to crispy perfection.
Embellished Wreath Cookies
Elevating a classic is so Martha, and this recipe, coming in at number nine, is a wonderful example. Buttery sugar cookies are the ideal backdrop for brilliantly decorated treats made using a fanciful combination of candied flowers, crystallized ginger, and chopped pistachios.
Meyer-Lemon and Coconut Layer Cake
A truly memorable and totally delightful dessert took home eighth place. It combines moist coconut cake and rich coconut-lemon curd, but the pièce de résistance is the coconut buttercream frosting.
Apple Pie Cake
Yes, more dessert, and another clever hybrid recipe, claimed the number seven slot. If baking a pie seems like too much, try this cross between apple pie and a fruit crisp. It's made with just six ingredients using a springform pan that beautifully accommodates the tall layers.
Cherry-Cheese Strudel Pie
There are so many things to love about this strudel-inspired confection that holds sixth place. Did our Instagram users fall for its gorgeous twisted crust, marbleized cream-and-fruit filling, and next-level flavor combination (creamy ricotta melded with tart cherries), or were they simply wowed by the stunning image?
Chicken Pot Pies
Chicken pot pie is a cozy favorite—and this recipe takes the comfort food classic up a notch, making individual pies rather than a single big one. Is that why it's the fifth most popular recipe on our list? Perhaps—or, it could be the secret ingredient, cognac, that won you over. Just a third of a cup deepens the flavor of all the other ingredients.
Banana Cream Pudding
In fourth place is banana pudding, a favorite Southern dessert. Our recipe adds chopped banana to a homemade vanilla pudding that's layered with whipped cream, sliced bananas, and wafer cookies, giving it even more delightful flavor.
Apple-Cider Donut Cake
Our top three kicks off with this beautiful fall dessert that combines the taste of the traditional treats often sold at farmers' markets with the slice-ability of a Bundt cake. Whole-wheat flour adds heartiness, and a blend of olive oil and applesauce keeps the cake moist.
Best Apple Pie
Number two is a classic and sentimental favorite. It's also the third apple dessert on our top 20, in case you're counting. So, what's the secret to this apple pie? Combining different varieties of apples: Each one brings a different flavor and texture, resulting in a bold and aromatic pie everyone will love.
Pigs in Blankets
Drum roll, please! In a top 20 packed with desserts, you might be surprised to find an appetizer at number one. We were, until we realized it's a true Martha-level recipe—a classic with clever tweaks. It swaps in andouille or chicken sausages for the usual hot dogs and calls for brushing the puff pastry with honey mustard before baking. Both twists add a savory-sweet element that's unexpected and wholly delicious.