The 25 best recipe blogs of 2013


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Our plates were full of incredible food in 2013, thanks to many talented bloggers that enlightened us with mouthwatering recipes and clever cooking tips. To show our gratitude — and to make sure you, the reader, know who to follow on social media in 2014 — we comprised our annual list (in no particular order) of the top 25 recipe blogs we just couldn’t get enough of this year.  

Be sure to check out our 25 best recipe blogs of 2012 for even more great food blogs to follow.   


1. Big Girls Small Kitchen

Cara Eisenpress’ food and recipe blog is a goldmine for anyone looking for accessible recipes and valuable cooking and entertaining tips. Named Saveur’s Best Cooking Blog in 2012 and featured in such publications as Glamour magazine and the New York Times’ Diner’s Journal blog, Big Girls Small Kitchen has made waves since its debut in 2008. The recipes alone could get you hooked without any pretty pictures, but Eisenpress also has a talent for making food look beautiful. We’ve pinned recipes from her that included ingredients we don’t even like simply because the photos were so damn good-looking that we couldn’t resist. 

Thanks to her easy-to-understand how-to’s, you can learn everything from how to cook when there’s nothing in the house to eat to how to host a biergarten or noodle bar party (complete with menu guides). Big Girls Small Kitchen understands that you might not have tons of space to cook. It also knows you don’t want to slave over the stove on weeknights or spend your money on overpriced ingredients. Eisenpress gets us, and that’s why she’s so irresistible. 


2. Skinnytaste

When you’re craving a heavy-duty dinner or a decadent dessert but you don’t want to destroy your diet, Skinnytaste is the place to go. You’ll find healthified versions of everything from enchiladas and cheeseburger casserole to pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and no-bake peanut butter pie. In addition to the guiltless comfort food, Skinnytaste creator Gina Homolka also incorporates plenty of recipes for lighter fare, whether you’re craving a smoothie or a nutrient-packed salad. 

The recipes, accompanied by flawless photos, are reliable and refreshingly realistic. Don’t have the time or money to use 20 fresh ingredients? Homolka doesn’t expect you to. She’s not ashamed to use frozen or canned foods rather than fresh, and the ingredient list is typically on the shorter side. Each recipe provides nutrition info, including Weight Watchers points. 


3. Two Peas & Their Pod

Husband and wife duo Maria and Josh run this irresistible recipe blog that revolves around “simple, fresh and family-friendly” food. While they’re able to effortlessly lighten up typically high-fat foods, you can also find plenty to indulge in — which reminds us, you MUST try their cookies! 

One of our favorite aspects about the duo: They seem to share our obsession with avocado, tossing it into salads, onto pizza, into dips and even baking with it. These guys also know how to dominate on Pinterest, so be sure to follow their boards to avoid missing out on any amazing food porn. 


4. How Sweet It Is

Blog creator Jessica gushes on the site’s About page that “Bacon makes me beam,” and “Vegetables and I are the best of frenemies — my perfect world would include none of them.” However, we’ve found her recipe style to be, for the most part, wholesome and healthy.

How Sweet It Is definitely isn’t a skinny-food blog, but there’s no lack of veggies, and recipes often consist of seasonal ingredients. That said, there’s also no lack of bacon or sugary treats. Look out for Jessica’s cookbook, coming out in 2014.


5. Closet Cooking

You’ll find trendy health-food staples like quinoa and kale salads on this food blog, but creator Kevin Lynch’s real talent is shameless comfort food. You’ll find yourself drooling on your keyboard while browsing photos of gooey, cheesy dips and the sexiest sandwiches you’ve ever seen in your life — sandwiches can be sexy, right? 

In addition to the indulgences, though, he’s also done an impressive job this year of putting a healthier twist on high-fat foods. We swear by his cauliflower pizza crust, and recipes like his crispy asparagus fries and buffalo roasted cauliflower trick your palate into thinking you’re having a cheat day. We give Lynch some serious props for taking risks and occasionally thinking up creations that most of us would never dream of trying. (Crispy baked avocado fries, it turns out, are glorious.)


6. SkinnyMom

Don’t be fooled: This site isn’t just for moms. Whether you’re single, married, have kids or never even want kids, you’ll find plenty of fitness, food and health tips perfectly suited for you. We’re particularly big fans of the recipe section for a variety of reasons. First off, you can filter through the recipes by selecting useful categories like 30-minute meals, clean eating, freezer-friendly, under 5 ingredients, calories, Weight Watchers points, dietary restrictions and more, so you don’t have to waste time browsing. 

Secondly, you don’t even have to click a recipe to find out its calories or Weight Watchers points; just hover over the image and the information appears. Finally, the recipes are just downright delicious: You can’t go wrong with their casseroles (e.g., skinny Italian beef and peppers, butternut squash au gratin, Tex Mex and skinny mac and Alfredo!), and they have a slew of skinny dessert recipes for those of you with an incessant sweet tooth.


7. Kalyn’s Kitchen

Kalyn’s Kitchen started in 2005 as a way for blog creator Kalyn to share the recipes that helped her lose 40 pounds through the South Beach Diet. Before you roll your eyes, hear us out: Though the site definitely caters to diets like Paleo, gluten-free and low-carb, the recipes appeal to just about anyone trying to eat healthily. You’ll still find pasta on the site in addition to an endless amount of veggie-loaded dishes that can help you boost your daily nutrient intake. 

This isn’t a site for boring, tasteless diet food. Kalyn makes healthy eating less of a chore with recipes like easy Brussels sprouts gratin; lemony tomato caper marinated mahi mahi; and lots of simple slow-cooker recipes, including Southwestern beef stew, pulled chicken lettuce wraps and delicious frittatas.


8. Oh My Veggies

This is a life-saving blog for those of you constantly looking for ways to use up your CSA produce — or for anyone interested in eating healthily, seasonally and with lots of fresh ingredients. While labeled a “vegetarian blog,” Oh My Veggies offers the kind of recipes even omnivores can appreciate: Mexican chocolate chia seed pudding, broccoli Parmesan meatballs, taco-stuffed zucchini and baked polenta fries, for example. Plus, site creator Kiersten doesn’t use any of the faux meat that meat-eaters tend to avoid.

Step up your Meatless Monday game with Oh My Veggies’ Make It Meatless posts on Wednesdays, when you can learn how to make a meat-based dish vegetarian. Vegans and dairy-free eaters: There’s something for you too. Kiersten posts at least one vegan recipe a week.


9. Foodess

Foodess is more than a home for nourishing, comforting recipes; it’s also, in our opinion, an exhibit for truly beautiful photography. Some of Jennifer Pallian’s shots of her dishes and fresh produce are pretty enough to frame in your kitchen (though doing so may make you hungry more often than you’d like to be). 

Pallian’s recipes focus on fresh ingredients and comfort food — they don’t include nutrition information, so if you’re searching for a “skinny” recipe blog, this probably isn’t the best fit. But if you’re searching for food that’s going to make you sigh in content after every bite, look no further. Foodess offers both sweet and savory recipes, plus tips and how-to’s to help you advance your culinary skills.


10. The Healthy Foodie

Whether you’re a Paleo enthusiast or just trying to clean up your diet, you’ll find plenty of tempting recipes on The Healthy Foodie. Blog creator Sonia created the site after she made a dramatic transition into a healthier lifestyle and needed a way to keep track of recipes she had created and meals she had eaten. 

She caters heavily to the Paleo lifestyle, with Paleo recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert. But omnivores and carb-lovers, fear not: You’ll still find recipes like shaved asparagus and mushroom pizza, homemade spelt fettuccine and healthy Alfredo, and some crazy-good burgers.


11. Eat Yourself Skinny

Fellow avocado lover Kelly is the brain behind Eat Yourself Skinny, a healthy-eating blog that dishes up creative, flavorful food that won’t hurt your waistline but won’t leave you feeling deprived either. Kelly focuses on whole, unprocessed foods, and is an expert at healthy substitutions — she uses Greek yogurt, for example, in her spicy sun-dried tomato dip so you can enjoy your guilty pleasures without the guilt. Nutrition info and Weight Watchers points are included in recipe posts. 


12. Feed Me Phoebe

Phoebe Lapine is our kind of girl. The 27-year-old cookbook author, private chef, culinary instructor, blogger and caterer knows how to enjoy food, and shares both healthy and indulgent recipes on Feed Me Phoebe. She promotes a balanced diet, which means “eating a lot of good with a little bad.” Lapine sums up her philosophy on the About page with “I believe kale lasagna is better than no lasagna at all.” Hear, hear!

You’ll find recipes ranging from kale Caesar salad and healthy creamed spinach to slow cooker brisket and — prepare yourself for this — a cinnamon chocolate torte with vanilla crème fraiche. Feed Me Phoebe doesn’t skimp on the food porn, and the recipe posts are usually loaded with photos.  


13. The Skinny Fork

The Skinny Fork was created in February 2013, and it still made it into our top 25 list. (Kudos to blog creator Amanda Plott, a graphic designer, author, photographer and self-proclaimed foodie!) The site is loaded with healthy, relatively low-fat recipes and healthified variations of traditionally heavy dishes. 

You can chow down on skinny buffalo chicken spring rolls with only 169.4 calories and 5.9 grams of fat, and still afford to indulge in a dessert later in the day — say, a skinny red velvet cinnamon roll with only 191.7 calories and 3.4 grams of fat. 


14. Pinch of Yum

No boring recipes here! Lindsay, a full-time teacher who runs the blog in her spare time, creates recipes for the kind of food you have to have the second you see a photo of it online. Pinch of Yum will remind you that salads don’t have to be sad, with recipes like chopped Thai chicken salad; pomegranate, kale and wild rice salad with walnuts and feta; and chopped Brussels sprout salad with chicken and walnuts.

Noodle and pasta dishes also shine on this blog — be sure to try the garlic butter spaghetti with herbs, the Filipino pancit and the healthy fettuccine Alfredo. Oh, and she published an entire e-cookbook of comfort-food recipes made with her popular creamy cauliflower sauce. Instead of using Alfredo sauce, canned condensed soup or heavy cream, she re-invented the classics with a deliciously creamy sauce made from veggies. So what do you do in your spare time?


15. I Wash You Dry

Raise your hand if you enjoy doing the dishes! You’re not alone. Shawn, creator of I Wash You Dry, loves food but hates the cleanup that comes with cooking. Solution: I Wash You Dry, a blog full of quick and easy recipes that use as few dishes as possible. 

From sweets to snacks to meals and more, the site offers simple ways to make your favorite dishes, without the hassle. Some favorites of 2013: guacamole deviled eggs, skinny pumpkin pie cannolis, chicken enchilada casserole and avocado egg rolls.


16. Eat, Live, Run

This blog is bound to become a favorite for all the food lovers out there who want to enjoy their meals but still fit in their skinny jeans. Culinary student and recipe creator Jenna will happily indulge you with dishes like peanut soba noodle bowls, boyfriend-approved spicy black bean burgers and simple quinoa fried rice. 

Just don’t forget dessert — Jenna never does. Those with a sweet tooth will appreciate her myriad dessert options, such as Greek yogurt cheesecake, tiramisu cupcakes and chocolate-chip peanut-butter swirl blondies. 


17. LunchBoxBunch.com 

Never has vegan food been so appealing to non-vegans. Blogger Kathy Patalsky provides some seriously awesome vegan recipes through her site Healthy. Happy. Life., aka LunchBoxBunch.com. Don’t think you like vegan? How do these foods sound: sweet potato veggie burgers with avocado; rustic kale, rice and tomato comfort stew; creamy baked potato soup? That’s what we thought. 

Patalsky is also a beast at developing unbelievable smoothie recipes and published her cookbook, “365 Vegan Smoothies,” just last year. On LunchBoxBunch.com, you’ll find sensational smoothies and shakes like the sweet citrus avocado dreamboat green smoothie, calming blueberry smoothie and easy energy almond banana shake.


18. Ari’s Menu

Recipe blog Ari’s Menu gets you well-acquainted with its creator, Ari — a 28-year-old freelance director, choreographer and teaching artist — as she candidly shares the ups and downs, goals and challenges of living a healthy, active life. Her voice brings a unique charm to the site, making it very relatable, motivational and down-to-earth. You can read about how and why she lost 75 pounds, her struggle with hypothyroidism, the useful ingredient swaps she likes to use to lighten up recipes, her adventures in running and more. 

Her girl-next-door style also carries into her recipes, which are refreshingly simple and realistic. You’ll find lots of recipes for gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free and other dietary restrictions, but they’re good enough to attract eaters of all kinds. Some of our favorites: healthified chicken and waffles, vegan cookie butter cookie dough bars, lasagna stuffed spaghetti squash and noodleless chicken “Pad” Thai.


19. Cooking Stoned

Settle down. This isn’t a site for space cake recipes — though blog creator Jerry James Stone (get it, “Stoned?”) does have an awesome pot brownie recipe on the site. (Spoiler: It’s a normal brownie made in a pot.) 

Cooking Stoned is a vegetarian recipe blog that will open your mind to all the creative things you can do without meat. Sometimes we wonder how he dreams up such imaginative dishes without being stoned (hello, healthy breakfast crème brulee), but as long as he’s providing recipes like his garlic and herb stuffed Brussels sprouts, we really couldn’t care less how he invents them. (Seriously, who thinks to stuff Brussels sprouts?) 

Stone’s especially a rockstar when it comes to popsicles and cocktails. Sometimes he even combines the two. (Pomegranate and Champagne sangria ice pop, anyone?) If you fall in love with his drinks like we did, be sure to check out his new cookbook, “Holidazed.”


20. Kitchen Treaty

Vegetarians and meat-eaters CAN live together — and Kitchen Treaty proves it. The blog is run by Karen, a long-time vegetarian who married a meat eater. “Meat grosses me out; textured vegetable protein grosses him out,” she says. So she created clever new recipes that allowed them to eat the same meal two different ways. 

Though it also offers fully vegetarian recipes, Kitchen Treaty stands out among other blogs because of its “One Dish, Two Ways” recipes, which fill a much-needed niche for the countless number of roommates, families and couples that struggle to keep meals interesting while satisfying all parties.

The how and when to add the “optional” meat ingredient is usually obvious — e.g., add the chicken to just one of the two salads once it’s been dished, or include the sausage topping on only half of the pizza — but, for different types of eaters sharing the same home, it makes life simpler to have delicious, easy recipes that can go both ways all grouped together in one place. 


21. Bev Cooks

We dare you to read this blog and not want to be best friends with its creator, Bev — not because you could score free, amazing, homemade food if you were buddies, but because of the way she writes. Her quirky and animated posts will make you laugh and “awww!” and perhaps provide some reassuring confirmation that you’re not the only person in the world who thinks ridiculously dorky things.

But onto the food! At Bev Cooks, you’ll find the kind of food you wish you could eat every day (e.g., cheesy bacon and caramelized onion rolls; poutine pizza; Mississippi mud brownies) and the kind of food you actually could (e.g., roasted garlic and pepper black bean soup, Mediterranean stuffed squash and Thai peanut chicken salad). 


22. Iowa Girl Eats

Kristin Porter, creator — and, yes, longtime Iowa resident — of Iowa Girl Eats, lives by “the 80/20 rule: 80% clean and healthy eating, 20% sanity-keeping splurges. Some days it’s more like 60/40 — but, hey, we do the best we can.” 

If you can relate to that mantra, you’ll love Iowa Girl Eats, home to easy, family-friendly, often seasonal recipes that can range from healthy to OH-MY-GOD-I’M-GOING-TO-REGRET-THIS-TOMORROW-BUT-IT’S-SO-WORTH-IT. For example, you can choose to make black bean and butternut squash quesadillas for lunch or … opt for the to-die-for Crock-Pot Italian beef sandwich; the tomato-basil and spinach risotto for dinner or … the cheesy pepper jack potato chowder. Whatever you do, just make sure you save room for the salted caramel hot chocolate ice cream.

Bonus: Even though the recipes are relatively simple, Porter includes step-by-step photos to guide you through the whole process. 


23. Simply Recipes

The recipes on Simply Recipes achieve that classic, wholesome, home-cooking feel without being outdated. You’ll find all the kinds of things your mom used to make — sloppy Joes, hamburger and macaroni, and comforting casseroles, for example — only the sloppy Joe sauce doesn’t come from a can, you never have to buy Hamburger Helper and the casseroles are made from scratch instead of Campbell’s Creamy, High-Sodium Soupy Stuff. 

The site contains hundreds of recipes created by home cook Elise Bauer and tested by her, her family and her friends. You can easily search for what you’re craving with filters like Budget Recipes, Vegetarian, Low-Carb, Quick, Gluten-Free, Mexican and Tex Mex, or by recipe type (e.g., appetizer, casserole, main course or dessert). There’s honestly something for everyone on this blog.


24. The Curvy Carrot

We already knew we liked The Curvy Carrot, but we fell head over heels for it when we realized blog creator Shanon had an entire cheese category dedicated to her cheesiest, gooiest, creamiest recipes. Why doesn’t every recipe blog do this?? MORE OF THIS, PLEASE.

The Curvy Carrot is mainly vegetarian but also offers up the occasional vegan recipe (when it’s not corrupted by evil, irresistible cheese). You’ll find recipes of all types, from healthy to indulgent, savory to sweet, diet food to comfort food. Try the buttermilk chive biscuits, spicy bean chili with quinoa and kale, wild mushroom bread pudding, gingerbread pancakes with cinnamon whipped cream (cinnamon IN whipped cream = genius!) and, well, anything under the cheese category.


25. Gimme Some Oven

Make your life easier by keeping up with Gimme Some Oven, where recipe developer and photographer Ali Ebright shares fresh, simple and creative recipes ranging from smoothies and salads to sweets and lightened-up comfort food. 

We love her many 4- and 5-ingredient recipes, as well as her clever ways to eat junk-food favorites with fewer calories, less fat and no processed products. (Did you know you can make your own ranch seasoning mix at home?) Some of our favorites on the site: Baked blooming onion with spicy dipping sauce (made with Greek yogurt!), Vietnamese pho soup, eggnog French toast and skinny orange chicken.