Introducing Our 2021 Recipe of the Year

A low-and-slow spin on Moroccan tagine is 2021's top Taste of Home recipe.

The Taste of Home editors are excited to announce that Moroccan Apricot Chicken, shared by Arlene Erlbach of Morton Grove, Illinois, is 2021’s Recipe of the Year.

The winner was selected from 10 recipe of the year finalists through a combination of factors, including online voting, ratings and reviews, web traffic and lively discussion and debate among our editors. The competition was tough, but Arlene’s saucy slow-cooker chicken rose above the rest.

Meet Our Winner, Arlene Erlbach

Moroccan Apricot Chicken Arlene Erlbachtaste of home, courtesy Arlene Erlbach

A longtime Taste of Home contributor, Arlene has submitted more than 275 recipes over the past 10 years. Why is she so prolific? Arlene enters recipe contests all the time.

“I have won dozens of recipe contests,” says Arlene, who’s been a finalist and semi-finalist in many others, including the Pillsbury Bake-Off. “My first recipe sent to Taste of Home won the grand prize. It’s called Eggnog Cream with Spiced Pecan Raisin Dunkers.”

Before she submits her recipes, Arlene puts them through the paces, just like we do in our Test Kitchen. She has a four-person tasting panel: husband, Herb; son, Matthew; and friends Elyse and Karen, her “head taste-tester.”

When she isn’t entering recipe contests, you’ll likely find Arlene reading, gardening or at a restaurant or theater. “I also enjoy cuddling my two Siamese cats who sometimes enjoy helping me out with tasting shrimp dishes,” she says.

Why We Picked Arlene’s Moroccan Apricot Chicken

Arlene included a secret ingredient that sends this recipe over the top: vanilla extract. “A go-to for many baked goods, vanilla adds a wonderful depth to savory dishes, including this one,” says Taste of Home deputy editor, Culinary, James Schend.

Our team loved that this slow-cooker meal isn’t your average pot roast or pulled pork. Instead, it’s an easy and elegant meal we’d be proud to serve company. “It’s a winner on any day of the week,” says executive editor Ellie Martin Cliffe.

“I’m a big fan of sweet-savory, and this recipe does a nice job of that,” explains senior food editor Peggy Woodward. With almonds, dried apricots, chickpeas and chicken, “the variety of textures is really nice—especially for the slow cooker,” she adds.

For taking top honors, Arlene will receive a set of Taste of Home cookware, and, of course, the gratitude of many who will enjoy this recipe for years to come.

Check out the 2021 Recipe of the Year Runners-Up