Announcing the 2021 Recipe of the Year Finalists

Here at Taste of Home, 2021 has been a year full of great recipes. Check out the finalists in our Recipe of the Year contest!

Feature Recipe Of The Year 2021

This year, our Test Kitchen pros tested hundreds of recipes submitted by our readers. While our team discovered a lot of new delicious dishes, 10 recipes really stood out. They range from decadent sips to comforting breakfasts to innovative twists on classics.

Chiles Rellenos Croque Madame Lauren Wyler 2
taste of home, courtesy Lauren Wyler

Chiles Rellenos Croque-Madame

Our editors say: Croque-madame is so quintessentially French, we rarely see anyone adjusting the ingredients. This one adds spicy notes by merging it with the flavors of chiles rellenos. Slivered green chiles, pepper jack cheese and chipotle mayo add a touch of the Southwest.

Recipe submitted by: Lauren Wyler, Dripping Springs, Texas

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Caribbean Shrimp Bowl Courtney Stultz 2
taste of home, courtesy Courtney Stultz

Caribbean Shrimp Bowls

Our editors say: This recipe ticks off a number of our weeknight meal needs. It’s incredibly delicious. From start to finish, this one-pan recipe comes together in about 30 minutes and requires minimal cleanup. And we’d be proud to serve it to company.

Recipe submitted by: Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas

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Slow Cooker Monkey Bread Lisa Leaper
taste of home

Slow-Cooker Monkey Bread

Our editors say: This hearty, homey monkey bread is perfect for the holidays or any Sunday morning. We’re impressed that it uses a slow cooker instead of an oven. Toss pre-made buttermilk biscuit dough with brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice before bathing it in butter and apple juice, then cook low-and-slow. That’s it!

Recipe submitted by: Lisa Leaper, Worthington, Ohio

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Moroccan Apricot Chicken Arlene Erlbach
taste of home, courtesy Arlene Erlbach

Moroccan Apricot Chicken

Our editors say: Put an exotic touch on your next dinner with these slow-cooked chicken thighs. We’ll let you in on the secret ingredient: This recipe uses vanilla! It’s a flavor we usually associate with sweet desserts and baked goods, but it adds such a wonderful depth to savory foods. Most people won’t be able to name the flavor, but they’ll notice something different and delicious.

Recipe submitted by: Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois

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Parisian Sipping Chocolate Darlene Brenden
taste of home, courtesy Darlene Brenden

French Hot Chocolate

Our editors say: This drink transported us to a Parisian cafe, where you’ll find sipping chocolate on the menu. Made with heavy cream, rich dark chocolate, a touch of espresso powder and topped with fresh whipped cream, it will certainly warm you up on the coldest days.

Recipe submitted by: Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon

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Burger Sliders With Secret Sauce Secret Sauce April Lee Wiencek
taste of home, courtesy April Lee Wiencek

Burger Sliders with Secret Sauce

Our editors say: These sliders pack all the flavors from our favorite fast-food burger into just a few bites. They’re perfect for game-day parties, church potlucks and family dinners in front of the TV, and they come together quickly with little mess. Don’t forget the fries!

Recipe submitted by: April Lee Wiencek, Chicago, Illinois

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Air Fryer Fried Avocado Tacos Julie Peterson
taste of home, courtesy Julie Peterson

Air-Fryer Fried Avocado Tacos

Our editors say: We love this unique use of avocados. Coat sliced avocados in a spicy cornmeal mix, then cook them in an air fryer till they reach golden perfection. Topped with homemade slaw and your favorite taco toppings, these tacos make avocados the star of the show.

Recipe submitted by: Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland

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Gooey Butter Cake Cheri Foster
taste of home

Gooey Butter Cake

Our editors say: A rich, dense and gooey middle is the hallmark of this iconic St. Louis dessert. Many versions use cake mix for the bottom layer, but we like that this one is made from scratch—and it’s just as easy! Our favorite part: the sinfully delicious cream-cheese layer.

Recipe submitted by: Cheri Foster, Vail, Arizona

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Bakeable Sunny Citrus Cheesecake Sue Gronholz 2
taste of home, courtesy Sue Gronholz

Sunny Citrus Cheesecake

Our editors say: Featured on the cover of our April/May issue, this layered cheesecake proves the technique is much easier than you might think. Divide a single batter into three flavors to create lemon, lime and orange layers, then bake each layer before adding the next. Finish it off with sweetened sour cream and fresh citrus slices for a truly gorgeous dessert.

Recipe submitted by: Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

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Cheesy Bacon And Grits Casserole Rebecca Yankovich 2
taste of home, courtesy Rebecca Yankovich

Cheesy Bacon and Grits Casserole

Our editors say: Grits are so iconic to southern cuisine, but by themselves they’re pretty bland. This recipe is a flavor-packed meal in one dish, pairing grits with smoky bacon, eggs and lots of cheese. The avocados add a rich, creamy and unexpected topping. We love that you can make this casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it until you’re ready to pop it in the oven.

Recipe submitted by: Rebecca Yankovich, Springfield, Virginia

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is a former Taste of Home editor and passionate baker. During her tenure, she poured her love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa also dedicated her career here to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.