The Best Recipes in the World

A few years ago I set out to find the best recipes in the world.  Well, food preferences are subjective so not necessarily the BEST recipes, but ones that are nearly universally great.  Ones that if you had a dinner party, 9 of the 10 people there would love it, the one exception being your weird friend who is in ketosis.

So like any good quant I picked the top recipes from the top sites (by hand).  It was arduous since none of these sites actually let you sort the recipes (seriously, and still don’t). Here was the original concept:

“I’m a quant so I like to screen, sort, and rank till I’m blue in the face.  So, since cooking is basically just formulas, I’ve always wondered why cooking doesn’t work the same way.  Why can I crowdsource cooking to find the best recipes?  I get that we don’t all have the same tastes, but you should be able to at least rank the top recipes and exclude all the garbage, right?  Similar to movie rankings, there is a good chance that 95% on Rotten Tomatoes is a lot better than that 25%…

So, I’m trying an experiment and below I took the time to find the five most popular/highest rated recipes on the top five cooking blogs.  Some didn’t have reviews so I had to find the top five through other means (like top pins on Pinterest).  You’ll definitely notice some trends – like lots of comfort food and big use of the slow cooker.”

So, it being 2019, I wanted to take a more scientific approach.  So, I enlisted some help from UpWork, and scraped all the top recipe websites with more than 200,000 recipes.  We then sorted them to require a near perfect rating (>4.8 out of 5) and over 500 reviews.  That resulted in about 2,000 recipes.  We then sorted again by the most reviewed…

Here’s what it looked like for just one site, the NYT:

New York Times Top 10

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
Roasted Chicken Provencal
Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma
No-Knead Bread
Marcella Hazans Bolognese Sauce
Roasted Salmon Glazed With Brown Sugar and Mustard
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Robertas Pizza Dough
Old-Fashioned Beef Stew
Rishia Zimmems Chicken With Shallots

Below are the Top 20 across New York Times, Food and Wine, Food Network, and All Recipes.  (Other top sites, such as Epicurious, Food, The Kitchin, MyRecipes, Yummly, and Betty Crocker didn’t have enough highly rated reviews to pass the screen.) All of the below had > 5,000 reviews and perfect ratings (or near perfect >4.8).

The #1 had over 10,000 reviews!

Again, lots of comfort foods and not a lot of foams and foie gras.  But again, we’re looking for the hits…

World’s Best Lasagna
Fluffy Pancakes
Banana Crumb Muffins
Delicious Ham and Potato Soup
Chicken Pot Pie IX
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread (and Pumpkin Bread)
Roasted Chicken Provencal
Beef Tenderloin Cobb Salad
Banana Nut Bread (and Janet’s Rich Banana Bread)
Blueberry Smoothie
Homemade Eggnog
Turkey Leg Confit with Garlic Gravy
Cuban Black Beans
Iced Teaquila
Roasted Portobello and Vegetable Club Sandwiches
Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma
Rice Salad with Paprika Shrimp
Good Eats Roast Turkey
Clone of a Cinnabon
Boilermaker Tailgate Chili

I was thinking about building a website that would allow you to sort and rank all these recipes, but I think I’m going to start with just cooking some!  Let me know your feedback and hey, if you have a favorite recipe send it over and I’ll add it to the mix!

Here’s one of my favorites to get you started..Nancy Silverton’s Tomato-Oregano Pizza