The Southern Living Recipes Our Editors Loved the Most in 2020

Skillet Pork Chops with Apples and Onions
Photo: Becky Luigart Stayner

There's a lot we could say about 2020 as we head into a new year, but our mothers taught us to mind our manners. Instead, we'd like to focus on the positive, and nothing puts us in a better mood than being in the presence of really good food. What can we say, we're easy to please! For many people—novice cooks and passionate home chefs alike—2020 has been a fabulous opportunity to finally try out all sorts of new recipes, just because. And trust us, the Southern Living editors have been cooking it up.

Whether wanting to jazz up your work-from-home routine with a cozy weeknight dinner, finally attempting an intimidating dessert recipe (we're looking at you, jam cake), or just making any day feel a little more special with a batch of sweet potato rolls, there are countless recipes just waiting to take you outside your comfort zone. To have you feeling inspired, here are 21 Southern Living recipes that our editors used to bring happiness to their homes in 2020. Just don't forget to join SL's What's Cooking Facebook group to let us know how it goes.

01 of 21

Sour Cream Banana Bread With Pecan Streusel Topping

Sour Cream Banana Bread With Pecan Streusel Topping
Victor Protasio

Recipe: Sour Cream Banana Bread With Pecan Streusel Topping

"I'm not ashamed to say that I jumped on the banana bread craze back in the early spring, because banana bread is actually amazing and I'll take any excuse to whip up a loaf. I loved this recipe for its touch of tanginess from sour cream in the batter and spiced pecan streusel topping. On one particular day when I needed a shot of chocolate, I even amended the recipe by skipping the topping and apple pie spice and dropping heavy handfuls of chocolate chips and pecan pieces into the batter instead." –Kaitlyn Yarborough, Assistant Editor

02 of 21

Slow-Cooker Texas Chili

Slow-Cooker Texas Chili
Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Texas Chili

"This chili is incredible. I'm typically a beans-in-chili person, but this Texas-style recipe made with brisket and dried chiles completely won me over. Best of all, it comes together in the slow cooker, so the beef comes out meltingly tender with very little effort. Serve it with cornbread and make a double batch—it tastes even better after a day or two, and it freezes well." –Lisa Cericola, Senior Food Editor

03 of 21

Skillet Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

Skillet Pork Chops with Apples and Onions
Becky Luigart Stayner

Recipe: Skillet Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

"Make this once and you'll find yourself making it at least once a month from there on out. Everything comes together in one dish, including the out-of-this-world creamy pan sauce." –Patricia Shannon, Senior Editor

04 of 21

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies
Victor Protasio

Recipe: Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies

"I've raved about these before, and they remain one of my favorite cookies of all time. They're light and crackly on the outside and rich and fudgy on the inside—like the brownie of your dreams, but better." –Lisa Cericola, Senior Food Editor

05 of 21

Sweet Potato Rolls

Sweet Potato Rolls
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Sweet Potato Rolls

"Of all the recipes I tried this year, this one is probably my favorite. Fun to make (not to mention the delightful aroma that fills the kitchen while baking), these rolls are simply jaw-dropping delicious. We have enjoyed them at dinner and reheated for breakfast—they're fabulous with honey butter and Benton's bacon." – Pat York, Assistant Food Editor

06 of 21

Curried Chicken Pot Pie

Curried Chicken Pot Pie
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Curried Chicken Pot Pie

"I can't stop talking about this pot pie. I saw fans on our 'What's Cooking with Southern Living' Facebook group raving about it and decided to give it a try. It has become an instant classic in the Shannon home—even convincing the most veggie-averse to finally eat their peas." –Patricia Shannon, Senior Editor

07 of 21

Cheesy Sausage and Croissant Casserole

Cheesy Sausage-and-Croissant Casserole
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Cheesy Sausage and Croissant Casserole

"For the first time hosting a small group at my new house, we decided to do a brunch! Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to prepare, I made this casserole the night before and popped it in the oven the next day. We added chopped pickled jalapeños and served it with salsa on the side for an extra kick." –Mary Shannon Hodes, Assistant Editor

08 of 21

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This is the cookie that broke the internet. Everyone in our 'What's Cooking with Southern Living' Facebook group raved about this recipe, so I finally gave it a whirl. And holy cow, everyone was right. Consider this break-and-bake devotee a convert." –Betsy Cribb, Features Editor

09 of 21

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Slow-Cooker Apple Butter
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl Jones; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Slow Cooker Apple Butter

"I made this recipe to give to my aunts and uncles over Rosh Hashannah, and it was such a hit that I'm planning to make this Slow-Cooker Cranberry-Pear Butter to drop at my neighbors' doors for the holidays." –Rebecca Angel Baer, Digital News Editor

10 of 21

Fusilli Pasta with Spinach, Tomato, and Bacon

Fusilli Pasta with Spinach, Tomato, and Bacon
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Fusilli Pasta with Spinach, Tomato, and Bacon

"In my household, I refer to this genius dish by another name: sheet pan pasta. It's finished off in the oven on a sheet pan to get the cheese perfectly melty, to blister the tomatoes, and to create a divine outer layer of golden crunchiness that is usually reserved for the corner pieces of baked ziti or lasagna. For weeknights, I choose chickpea pasta (such as Banza) to make it slightly healthier." –Kaitlyn Yarborough, Assistant Editor

11 of 21

Melting Sweet Potatoes

Melting Sweet Potatoes
Atonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Melting Sweet Potatoes

"When I say these were a hit at Thanksgiving, I'm not joking. Almost everyone at our small outdoor family gathering came up to me and said they were surprised by how much they enjoyed it. I saw a few even go in for seconds. In a family that really loves classic, sugar-topped sweet potato casserole, that's a high honor." –Kaitlyn Yarborough, Assistant Editor

12 of 21

Coconut Cheesecake Squares

Coconut Cheesecake Squares
Southern Living

Recipe: Coconut Cheesecake Squares

"Easter came 'round and even though the festivities couldn't go on as usual, I decided to get my immediate family into the spirits with a batch of these sunny heaven-in-a-bite bar cookies. Coconut, lemon, and creamy cheesecake filling come together for a tropical explosion of flavor that everyone could not stop raving about for weeks." –Kaitlyn Yarborough, Assistant Editor

13 of 21

Deep-Dish Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

Mississippi Mud Deep-Dish Skillet Cookie image
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Deep-Dish Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

A recipe so beloved that two editors claimed it!

"I love this skillet chocolate chip cookie recipe. I've made it several times this year, and it has completely won me over. It's also been a hit with everyone I've served it to. No more cookie sheets for me!" –Caroline Rogers, Travel & Culture Editor

"Why I never tried this recipe before now, I'll never know. It's much quicker to throw together than a batch of chocolate chip cookies and gave me the excuse to use my new favorite Le Creuset Cast Iron Skillet. Plus, I already had all of the ingredients on hand so no special trip to the grocery store was required." –Jenna Sims, Associate Editor

14 of 21

Skillet Orzo with Fish and Herbs

Skillet Orzo with Fish and Herbs
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Recipe: Skillet Orzo with Fish and Herbs

"This dish is such an impressive, ready-in-a-flash meal. Use any type of fish you like—I use salmon and the results are divine. The zesty herb-garlic-and-scallion topping provides an amazing hit of fresh flavor at the finish." –Patricia Shannon, Senior Editor

15 of 21

Fresh Salmon Cakes with Buttermilk Dressing

Fresh Salmon Cakes with Buttermilk Dressing
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Fresh Salmon Cakes with Buttermilk Dressing

"I'll make up a big batch of these and keep them in the freezer to pull out on those nights when I'm tempted to just pour myself a bowl of cereal and call it a day, which happens more frequently than I care to admit. The Buttermilk Dressing provides a nice tangy flavor, but these flavorful cakes are just fine without if you're strapped for time or energy." –Patricia Shannon, Senior Editor

16 of 21

Santa's Kitchen-Sink Cookies

santa's kitchen sink cookies
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Santa's Kitchen-Sink Cookies

"It's the cookie recipe that puts all other cookie recipes to shame. Pretzel pieces, marshmallows, and chocolate chips make Santa's Kitchen-Sink Cookies something to behold. It's the everything-bite in a dessert I've always wanted." –Jorie McDonald, Assistant Editor

17 of 21

Red Rice-Smoked Chicken Perloo

Ashleigh Shanti's Red Rice-Smoked Chicken Perloo
Peter Frank Edwards; Prop Styling: Kendra Surface; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Recipe: Red Rice-Smoked Chicken Perloo

"This recipe from North Carolina chef Ashleigh Shanti checks all of my boxes—it's easy to make, was a hit with everyone around the table, and tastes amazing. Even though it's made with basic ingredients (I substituted brown rice for the red), this comforting dish tastes way more than the sum of its humble parts. I recommend using smoked chicken in the perloo—when paired with the bacon and smoked paprika, you get layers of earthy, savory flavor." –Lisa Cericola, Senior Food Editor

18 of 21

Blackberry Jam Cake

Blackberry Jam Cake
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Cindy Barr; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Blackberry Jam Cake

"I am not much of a baker, but my sister has taken it upon herself to make as many Southern Living cakes as possible this year. My favorite of her labors was the Blackberry Jam Cake. The spiced layers made a delightful pairing for the rich cream cheese frosting. It's a lovely cake for fall, but I wouldn't say no to a slice in the heat of summertime." –Brennan Long, Social Media Editor

19 of 21

Sparkling Pomegranate Punch

Sparkling Pomegranate Punch
Laurey W. Glenn

Recipe: Sparkling Pomegranate Punch

"I'm usually a wine-and-beer type of hostess (so easy!), but in light of trying to make things a little brighter this year, I decided to serve a festive punch for a Secret Santa party with a couple girlfriends. I don't have a punch bowl, so I served it in a tall pitcher. Instead of the pomegranate ice ring, I made pomegranate ice cubes for a sweet touch. In hindsight, I should have made two batches—it was such a hit." –Mary Shannon Hodes, Assistant Editor

20 of 21

Cakey Strawberry Cobbler

Cakey Strawberry Cobbler
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Cakey Strawberry Cobbler

"Strawberries? In a cobbler? A cakey strawberry cobbler? I didn't see that one coming until this show-stopper appeared on the pages of our May 2020 issue. Do me a favor and set the peaches aside for this absolutely spectacular cobbler recipe that, when paired with vanilla ice cream, tastes like a strawberries-and-cream dream. Personally, I'm making it beyond berry season, and no one can stop me." –Kaitlyn Yarborough, Assistant Editor

21 of 21

Honey Vinaigrette

Honey Vinaigrette
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Cat Steele

Recipe: Honey Vinaigrette

"This is my go-to dressing for salads of all kinds—baby greens in the spring, tomatoes in the summer, roasted carrots in the fall, and collards in the winter. The tangy-sweet flavor goes with just about anything." –Lisa Cericola, Senior Food Editor

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