We’re taking our cooking lessons from the Barefoot Contessa.

By Zoe Denenberg
April 16, 2020
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From cooking tips to love advice, we’d trust Ina Garten with pretty much anything. She’s taught us how to master a perfect roast chicken, revealed the secret to a satisfying salad, and recommended wallet-friendly kitchen tools that we can’t live without. We’ve collected 13 of our all-time favorite Ina Garten recipes to pay homage to the Barefoot Contessa.

Generations of fans love the Barefoot Contessa’s recipes for their confident simplicity and focus on flavor. Ina Garten never gets too fussy with food trends or adds unnecessary ingredients—in fact, most of her recipes use staples that you probably have in your house at all times. Garten is known for her ability to whip up comforting, well-executed meals that’ll have you coming back for seconds and thirds.

Like many Southern hostesses, Garten has mastered the art of entertaining. From weeknight dinners to elegant desserts, the Barefoot Contessa’s signature dishes can easily go from your weeknight dinner table to a sophisticated dinner party spread. No matter what you’re cooking, Garten wants you to have fun in the kitchen. Once you master these essential recipes from Ina Garten, you’ll be making them over and over again.

Make sure you have a good bottle of olive oil, homemade vinaigrette, and some quality bittersweet chocolate. You’re in for a treat with these classic recipes from the Barefoot Contessa.

Perfect Roast Chicken

It takes some serious chops to call a roast chicken “perfect,” but when the recipe comes from Ina Garten, we don’t doubt that title one bit. This recipe (which can be found here) is one of our favorites. While you’re at it, pick up some extra roasting chickens to make Garten’s homemade stock, or try out her OTHER go-to chicken recipe.

Weeknight Bolognese

On those nights when you just don’t have the energy or enthusiasm to whip up an elaborate meal, Ina Garten’s Weeknight Bolognese is here for you. Her recipe calls for ground sirloin, but Garten notes that you can substitute any ground meat or even use mushrooms to make a vegetarian version. You’ll certainly be adding this Weeknight Bolognese to your repertoire.

Easy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Croutons

Take it back to basics with this family-favorite dish. Who knew that homemade tomato soup could be so simple? Grilled cheese croutons add a touch of whimsy to this satisfying lunch. Find Garten’s recipe on Barefoot Contessa.

Meatloaf

For as long as we can remember, meatloaf has been a dinnertime staple in our households. Treat your family to Garten’s take on the dish, which fans can’t stop raving about (get the recipe on Food Network).

Mac and Cheese

This is not your average mac and cheese. Fresh tomatoes, Gruyere cheese, and a hint of nutmeg take Ina Garten’s version of the classic dish to the next level. Find her recipe here.

Chicken Marbella

In this (and many other of her) recipes, Garten calls for “good olive oil.” Her brand of choice? Olio Santo extra-virgin olive oil, which she’s been using for at least 20 years, as reported by Bon Appétit. Find the recipe for Garten’s Chicken Marbella here.

Egg Salad Tartines

Impress the brunch or luncheon crowd with these oh-so-elegant, incredibly easy egg salad tartines. You can serve them as the main meal or slice them into crostini to make an appetizer fit for a high tea spread. Get Garten’s 7-ingredient recipe here, and be sure to serve it with her Tomato & Avocado Salad.

Parmesan Chive Smashed Potatoes

Talk about a real treat. Mini potatoes get the gourmet treatment with simple ingredients that deliver big flavor. They’re twice-roasted, then topped with fresh Parmesan, chives, and sea salt to make a beautiful side. Find the recipe here, or for a Southern picnic, make Garten's Potato Salad.

Chicken Piccata

Searching for a new way to reinvent boneless, skinless chicken breasts? Garten’s got one. The silky lemon butter sauce that adorns the Barefoot Contessa’s Chicken Piccata will have you licking your plate clean.

Irish Soda Bread

If you want to bake your own bread but don’t have any yeast, this recipe is perfect for you. It gets a big dose of flavor from dried currants and orange zest, and a splash of buttermilk keeps it moist throughout baking. This simple bread is sure to become one of your favorites.

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

Garten’s favorite show-stopping dessert? A layered chocolate cake, spiked with freshly-brewed coffee for depth and swirled with rich chocolate frosting. Get Garten’s recipe or try our version of a Southern Buttermilk Chocolate Cake.

Lemon Bars

This classic Garten recipe is a fan-favorite for a reason. With a homemade shortbread crust and a luscious lemon filling, these bars can be sliced into small triangles to encourage portion control. Find the recipe here, or try out some of our best-loved bars.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

When you want a true nostalgic bake, Ina Garten’s PB&J Bars tick all the boxes. They start with a base of peanut butter dough, then a layer of the jam of your choice, and it’s all topped with peanuts and a streusel-like crumble made from spare dough. The final effect is that of a classic PB&J sandwich in dessert form.

Bonus Recipe: Cosmopolitans

Ina Garten’s recipe for a giant cosmopolitan recently went viral, and we can see why. Pour into 6 chilled martini glasses or do as Garten does and sip out of one giant glass. Either way, be sure to use good vodka, like Grey Goose, in this happy hour treat.