Frozen Lemonade

Beat the heat with this refreshing and easy frozen lemonade recipe! This zingy homemade treat is made three simple ingredients…

Beat the heat with this refreshing and easy frozen lemonade recipe! This zingy homemade treat is made three simple ingredients and can be customized to your liking.

Frozen Lemonade

When the weather starts to get warmer, we’re all about one thing: summer drinks! Alex and I have realized over the years that we have a major passion for a signature drink, be it cocktails, coffee, tea, or lemonade. Every moment is better with a drink in hand!

Why we love this recipe: This frozen lemonade is the ultimate tangy and refreshing drink! The burst of icy, citrusy flavor will make you melt. Even better, you don’t have to wait hours for anything to freeze: just whip it up with 3 ingredients on demand in a blender! Our kids cannot get enough of these.

“The frozen lemonade is a hit! My kids love it. They say it’s perfect, and I think it’s great too. I added a sprig of mint to mine and it’s very refreshing.” -Tanvee

Ingredients in frozen lemonade

There are just three ingredients in frozen lemonade: and two if you don’t count ice! Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

  • Fresh lemon juice: Make sure to use real, fresh squeezed citrus juice for this recipe. Bottled juice doesn’t have the freshness in flavor. No substitutions here!
  • Sugar: We like granulated sugar here for its ability to balance the acidity of the lemon without watering down the drink. You can substitute an equal amount of agave syrup, honey, or maple syrup if desired.
Juiced lemons

Tips for juicing lemons

What’s the best way to juice lemons? We like using a press juicer, which helps to easily extract juice while saving out the pulp and seeds. It also helps to save your hands from the effort of squeezing!

You can also use any type of juicer you have on hand (and a little elbow grease). It takes a while to squeeze out the juice especially if you’re doubling the recipe, but it’s worth it!

A note on serving size

The serving size for this frozen lemonade recipe is 2 small servings. The photograph shows two servings in one mug, so we’d recommend serving it in a smaller glass or cup! Double the ingredients as necessary to make more servings!

Make ahead tip

This frozen lemonade is best right after blending it, to keep that frosty, slushie texture (it becomes very hard if frozen overnight). To make frozen lemonade in advance, juice the lemons and stir in the sugar: store it in a refrigerated container for up to 1 day. The day of serving, blend up the lemonade with ice. 

Variations on lemonade recipes

Frozen lemonade is the perfect summer drink! There are so many fun ways to riff on the concept: we love this frozen version, but you can mix up so many fun variations. Here are a few of our top lemonade recipes:

Dietary notes

This frozen lemonade recipe is vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, gluten-free, and dairy-free.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use store-bought lemonade?

Yes, but for the best flavor, we recommend making your own lemonade base. It’s easy and you can control the sweetness level.

Can I add alcohol to frozen lemonade?

Absolutely! Vodka, rum, or tequila, all pair well. Add your spirit of choice once the lemonade is blended.

How long can I store frozen lemonade?

To make frozen lemonade in advance, juice the lemons and stir in the sugar: store it in a refrigerated container for up to 1 day. The day of serving, blend up the lemonade with ice. 

What are some fun ways to serve frozen lemonade?

Get creative! Try garnishing with fresh fruit or herbs (like mint or basil).

Is frozen lemonade a healthy treat?

While it does contain natural fruit juice, it can be high in sugar. Enjoy it in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

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Frozen lemonade

Frozen Lemonade


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 small servings

Description

Beat the heat with this refreshing and easy frozen lemonade recipe! This zingy homemade treat is made three simple ingredients and can be customized to your liking.


Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar*
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 medium lemons)
  • 2 cups ice cubes

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine the sugar and the fresh lemon juice. Blend on low speed until the sugar is dissolved, about 10 to 15 seconds.
  2. Add the ice cubes to the blender with the lemon juice and sugar mixture.
  3. Blend on low to medium speed until the ice is completely crushed and the mixture is smooth, about 30 to 45 seconds. If needed, stop the blender and use a spatula to scrape down the sides, then continue blending until the desired consistency is reached. If necessary, add a few tablespoons cold water to get it to blend. 
  4. Pour the frozen lemonade into a glass and serve immediately, garnished with a lemon slice or mint sprig, if desired.**

Notes

*The serving size is 2 small servings. The photograph shows two servings in one mug. Double the ingredients as necessary. 

**To make frozen lemonade in advance, juice the lemons and stir in the sugar: store it in a refrigerated container for up to 1 day. The day of serving, blend up the lemonade with ice. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Frozen
  • Cuisine: Drink
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

Get ready for a tangy twist on a classic summer dish! This dill pickle pasta salad recipe combines the crunch…

Get ready for a tangy twist on a classic summer dish! This dill pickle pasta salad recipe combines the crunch of pickles with creamy dressing and fresh herbs for a potluck-perfect side dish. Ideal for pickle lovers!

Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

You may not know this, but Alex and I are obsessed with pickles. Something about that briny, salty sweet crunch just has our hearts. So this dill pickle pasta salad has our names written all over it!

Why we love this recipe: This is the perfect summer salad, with a tinge of retro nostalgia but done up with fresh herbs and crunchy cucumbers. The creamy dressing has a hint of pickle juice for briny pop, and the Mediterranean combination of feta cheese and fresh dill to bring a sophistication to this down-home dish. It’s a total crowd pleaser!

“The dill pickle salad was so good. I think the dressing would make a good dip or burger sauce too! Bottom line…excellent! 5 stars.” -Jennifer

“It was a perfect and tastier alternative to potato salad. Using pasta creates a more interesting texture and makes it even better!” -Cheryl

“I appreciate how easy it was to put together. It’s sooo good! My 7-year old daughter had two giant servings and said it’s her favorite pasta ever. I’d call that a win!” -Tanvee

Ingredients in dill pickle pasta salad

Pickles can be a polarizing food, and from all my raving, you might be surprised that I was actually not a pickle fan until I hit adulthood. If you’re a fellow pickle afficionado, you’ll love this fun way to incorporate them into a side dish. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Pasta: You can use short pasta of any kind. We like spirals for the way they absorb a creamy dressing. Bow ties or penne also work well.
  • Dill pickles, plus pickle juice: Dill pickles are the star! Use any classic dill pickle of your choosing or homemade dill pickles. A hint of pickle juice flavors the dressing.
  • English cucumber: We like using English cucumber because you don’t have to peel or seed it. It tastes sweeter than a standard cucumber (which you can substitute, but peel it first).
  • Fresh dill: This fresh herb adds herbaceous notes to the flavor; it’s worth seeking here!
  • Mayonnaise and Greek yogurt (or sour cream): This combination makes a creamy dressing that doesn’t feel too heavy.
  • Feta cheese: A classic dill pickle pasta salad often has cheddar cheese, but we like how feta brings a sophisticated savory pop.
  • Red onion, garlic powder, dried dill, salt and pepper: These seasonings round out the ingredients.
Dill pickles.

How to make dill pickle pasta salad (step by step)

This dill pickle pasta salad comes together like any good pasta salad recipe: make the pasta, prep the veggies, and make the dressing. Here is a basic outline of the steps (or jump to the full recipe):

Dill pickle pasta salad Step 1: Boil the pasta.

Step 1: Boil the pasta in salted water until it is just al dente. Start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside; usually around 7 to 8 minutes.

Dill pickle pasta salad Step 2: Whisk the dressing.

Step 2: In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, pickle juice, garlic powder, dried dill, and kosher salt.

Dill pickle pasta salad Step 3: Mix together the salad.

Step 3: Add the drained pasta, chopped vegetables and dill, and feta cheese. Season with black pepper if desired. 

Storing leftovers and make ahead info

This dill pickle pasta salad lasts for up to 1 week refrigerated. The flavor can become less potent over time. When serving, you can add a bit more salt the next day, or another swirl of sour cream or mayonnaise.

Make sure the salad comes to room temperature before serving, since that affects flavor and texture). You can add a bit more fresh dill or dried dill into leftovers too, or even a little more pickle juice to make the flavors pop.

Try these dill pickle recipes

Love dill pickles? Then you’ll absolutely love our fan favorite pickle pizza, or this creamy dill pickle dip for dipping potato chips. Or, this cucumber salad with vinegar tastes just like dill pickles.

Dill Pickle Pasta Salad with dill pickles.

A few more pasta salad recipes

We love a good pasta salad around here! There are so many spins on this classic American side dish tradition, and they’re perfect as a summer side dish for a cookout or barbecue. Here are a few of our favorite cold pasta salad recipes:

Dietary notes

This dill pickle pasta salad recipe is vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free or legume pasta.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of pasta is best for dill pickle pasta salad?

Short, sturdy pasta shapes like rotini, penne, or cavatappi hold the dressing well and provide a good texture contrast to the crunchy pickles.

Can I use homemade pickles?

Absolutely! Homemade pickles can add an extra layer of flavor. If using homemade, adjust the amount of pickle brine you add to the dressing to taste.

How long will this pasta salad last in the refrigerator?

Dill pickle pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. However, it’s best enjoyed within the first two days when the pasta is still firm and the flavors are freshest.

Can I add other vegetables to the salad?

Yes, you can customize your pasta salad with other vegetables like chopped celery, red onion, bell peppers, or shredded carrots. Just be mindful of the overall balance of flavors and textures.

Can I make this pasta salad ahead of time?

Definitely! You can make the dressing and chop the ingredients a day ahead. Toss everything together just before serving to keep the pasta from getting soggy.

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Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

Dill Pickle Pasta Salad


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6

Description

Get ready for a tangy twist on a classic summer dish! This dill pickle pasta salad recipe combines the crunch of pickles with creamy dressing and fresh herbs for a potluck-perfect side dish. Ideal for pickle lovers!


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces pasta, spirals or bow ties
  • 1 cup chopped dill pickles
  • 1 cup chopped English cucumber
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill, plus more to garnish if desired
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream*
  • 1 tablespoon pickle juice (from the jar)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Black pepper, if desired (optional)

Instructions

  1. Start a pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is just al dente. Start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside; usually around 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. Chop the vegetables and dill as noted above. 
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, pickle juice, garlic powder, dried dill, and kosher salt. Add the drained pasta, chopped vegetables and dill, and feta cheese. Season with black pepper if desired. 
  4. If time, chill for at least 1 hour, but you can also serve immediately. Store leftovers refrigerated for 3 to 4 days: before eating, allow to come to room temperature. You may want to add a swirl of mayo or sour cream and a pinch of salt to refresh the texture and flavor. 

Notes

*For a creamier variation, use up to ½ cup sour cream. 

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Pasta salad
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Grilled Chicken Salad

This grilled chicken salad recipe combines juicy chicken, crunchy vegetables and a tangy Italian vinaigrette, topped with pepperoncini and Parmesan…

This grilled chicken salad recipe combines juicy chicken, crunchy vegetables and a tangy Italian vinaigrette, topped with pepperoncini and Parmesan for a zesty, satisfying meal. Substitute grilled tofu for vegetarian and vegan!

Grilled chicken salad on plate with serving spoons.

Here’s a dinnertime match made in heaven: grilled chicken salad! In our family we eat main dish salads on repeat for simple meals, and this one is a celebration of summer grilling on a plate. You’ve got juicy chicken, crunchy lettuce, and veggies, all nestled together with our favorite Italian vinaigrette dressing, zingy pepperoncini, and shaved Parmesan.

Why we love this recipe: Alex and I eat this type of meal non-stop in the summer, swapping in different proteins like tofu, shrimp or salmon. We recently served it for a patio party with a side of grilled bread and grilled broccoli, and it was a huge hit. Add a crisp white wine or a Hugo spritz and it’s summertime perfection! Let’s get cooking.

Ingredients in this grilled chicken salad recipe

This grilled chicken salad recipe is our perfect summer dinner! It’s easily made vegetarian or vegan with tofu, and you can swap in many different types of veggies and dressings. But these are the ingredients you need for the way we love it best:

  • Chicken: Use organic chicken at all if possible. Buy it in cutlets or butterfly the chicken breast to help it cook evenly and ensure it is juicy after grilling.
  • Olive oil and seasonings: The chicken is marinated in a blend of garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, dried dill, salt, and pepper.
  • Salad dressing: Mix up our homemade Italian Dressing, or see the dressing ideas below.
  • Romaine and leafy lettuce: Using a mix of crunchy, leafy lettuce is ideal. Butter lettuce (aka Bibb lettuce) is our favorite for its sweet flavor.
  • Red onion: Or, substitute shallot for an even milder flavor.
  • English cucumber and tomatoes: Thinly sliced English cucumber has delicate skin and imperceptible seeds, adding a refreshing crunch. You can substitute standard cucumber, but you may want to peel it to remove bitterness. Use any type of chopped ripe tomato.
  • Pepperoncini: Tangy and slightly spicy peppers bring a zesty kick that livens up each bite.
  • Parmesan shavings: Salty and nutty Parmesan shavings elevate this salad (omit for dairy free).

Tip: To mellow the sharp flavor of red onion, you can soak it in cold water for 10 minutes before serving.

How to make grilled chicken salad (basic steps)

This grilled chicken salad recipe requires 30 minutes of marinating time, when you can prep the other salad components. Then grill the chicken and put it all together! Here’s the basic outline (or go to the full recipe):

Grilled chicken salad step 1: Season and marinate the chicken.

Step 1: If not in cutlets, butterfly the chicken by slicing it half horizontally. Mix it with olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, dill, salt, and black pepper until evenly coated. Cover and marinate refrigerated for 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours).

Grilled chicken salad Step 2: Whisk the dressing.

Step 2: Preheat a grill to high heat (450 to 550°F). Meanwhile, make the Italian dressing. Chop the lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, and avocado. 

Grilled chicken salad step 3: Grill the chicken.

Step 3: Grill the chicken breasts until grill marks appear and it releases from the grates, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until the internal temperature is 165°F, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove to a platter and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Step 4: Place the greens on a plate, then top with the vegetables, grilled chicken, pepperoncini, Parmesan shavings, and fresh basil or dill. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Grilled chicken salad recipe on platter with hand drizzling vinaigrette dressing.

Customize the proteins and veggies

This salad is so easily customizable to ingredients you have on hand and diet preferences! Many of us are cooking for multiple diets these days, and this one makes it easy to cook for many diets at once. Here are a few ideas:

More salad dressing ideas

If desired, you can also substitute different dressing recipes or purchased dressings. We like it with vinaigrette dressings like Greek Salad Dressing, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Easy Vinaigrette, or Honey Mustard Dressing.

Leftover storage

Leftover chicken stores up to 3 days, refrigerated. If making in advance, refrigerate the components separately. Bring the dressing to room temperature before serving.

Sides for pairing with grilled chicken salad

We love this grilled chicken salad as a grilled dinner idea or summer dinner idea to enjoy al fresco on the patio. But of course you can enjoy it any time of the year! Here are a few ways we’d suggest pairing it:

Dietary notes

This grilled chicken salad recipe is gluten-free. For dairy-free, omit the Parmesan cheese. For vegetarian and vegan, use grilled tofu. For pescatarian, use grilled shrimp.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Yes, but it’s best to grill the chicken and chop the vegetables separately. Assemble the salad just before serving to keep the ingredients fresh and crisp. Store the dressing separately and toss it in when ready.

Can I substitute the grilled chicken with another protein?

Absolutely! This salad would also be delicious with grilled salmon, grilled shrimp, grilled tofu or marinated tempeh.

I don’t have fresh basil or dill. Can I use dried herbs instead?

No, we don’t recommend adding dried herbs to this salad. Simply omit from the recipe, or use other fresh herbs like chopped parsley.

What other dressings would pair well with this salad?

Balsamic vinaigrette, lemon vinaigrette, or a creamy herb dressing would all be delicious alternatives.

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Grilled chicken salad

Grilled Chicken Salad


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Rest Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

Get ready for a flavor explosion! This grilled chicken salad recipe combines juicy chicken, crunchy vegetables and a tangy Italian vinaigrette, topped with pepperoncini and Parmesan for a zesty, satisfying meal.


Ingredients

For the chicken (or grilled shrimp, grilled salmon, or grilled tofu*)

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 4 cutlets (1 to 1 ½ pounds, organic if possible)*
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad

  • 1 recipe Italian Dressing**
  • 1 romaine heart (3 cups)
  • 5 cups leafy lettuce, like butter (Bibb) lettuce or other varieties
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes, and drained
  • 1 English cucumber (2 cups chopped)
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, sliced (optional)
  • ½ cup jarred sliced pepperoncini
  • ¼ cup Parmesan shavings or shreds
  • Fresh basil or dill, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. If not already butterflied, place your hand over the top of each chicken breast. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the breast horizontally, leaving the edge intact so it can open up like a book (or butterfly!). Unfold the breast like a book, then cut along the fold to separate the two halves.
  2. Add the chicken to a container and add the olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, dill, kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Mix with your hands until evenly coated. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours). 
  3. Preheat a grill to high heat (450 to 550°F).
  4. Meanwhile for the salad, make the Italian dressing. Prepare the romaine, lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, and avocado. 
  5. Grill the chicken breasts until grill marks appear and it releases from the grates, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until no longer pink in the center and the internal temperature is 165°F, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove to a platter and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing for maximum juiciness.
  6. Place the greens on a plate, then top with the vegetables, grilled chicken, pepperoncini, Parmesan shavings, and basil or dill. Drizzle with the desired amount of dressing and serve. If making in advance, refrigerate the components separately; bring the dressing to room temperature before serving. Leftover chicken stores up to 3 days, refrigerated.

Notes

*For the protein, you can also substitute baked tofu, sauteed shrimp, or baked salmon.

**If desired, you can also substitute different dressing recipes or purchased dressings. Try Greek Salad Dressing, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Easy Vinaigrette, or Honey Mustard Dressing.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

40 Fun Memorial Day Recipes

Fire up the grill and celebrate the holiday with these Memorial Day recipes! From classic BBQ favorites to refreshing salads…

Fire up the grill and celebrate the holiday with these Memorial Day recipes! From classic BBQ favorites to refreshing salads and desserts, find the perfect dishes for enjoying the day with friends and family.

Memorial Day recipes: grilled chicken salad on platter.

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and what better way to celebrate than with a backyard barbecue or potluck? Every year, we fire up the grill and get ready to indulge in our favorite summer flavors!

This year we’ll be packing to travel out of the country, but we’ll still make a mini-feast. Here are all our favorite Memorial Day recipe ideas from our website for the holiday, created, tasted, and approved by the two of us and our family!

Types of Memorial Day recipes

When you think of Memorial Day recipes, there are a few categories of foods that fit into this holiday:

  • Grilled foods are a staple of any Memorial Day cookout. Think juicy burgers, grilled salmon or chicken, and veggie burgers or tofu. Grilled vegetables make great side dishes, like tender and smoky corn on the cob, asparagus, zucchini, and bell peppers.
  • Summer salads are a must-have. Refreshing and light, they offer a welcome contrast to the heavier grilled options. There’s everything from crisp green salads, pasta salads, potato salads, bean salads, and more.
  • Dips and finger foods make the meal fun. Whether you prefer creamy guacamole, spicy salsa, fruit skewers, or a classic hummus, these crowd-pleasers are perfect for snacking throughout the day.
  • Summer drinks are the most fun, like lemonade, iced tea, and infused water are all excellent choices. Or make summer cocktails like a watermelon mojito or a blueberry margarita.
  • Desserts go big on seasonal fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and peaches. Incorporate them into cobblers, pies, or simply enjoy them fresh with a dollop of whipped cream.

Our top Memorial Day recipes for the holiday!

More summer recipe inspiration

Memorial Day is all about summer salad, grilled items, fun frozen drinks, and fruit desserts! Here are a few more ideas for your holiday planning:

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Mediterranean Pasta Salad

40 Memorial Day Recipes: Pasta Salad, Grill Ideas, & More!


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 5 to 6

Description

This Mediterranean pasta salad recipe is bursting with fresh flavor! Mix up a batch as an easy side dish or quick lunch.


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced into half moons (2 cups)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 can artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 1 handful thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 cups baby arugula (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, grated (or ½ teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles (omit for vegan and add more salt)

Instructions

  1. Start a large pot of well-salted water to boil. Boil the pasta until al dente according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and run cool water over it until it’s room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the cucumber and tomatoes, chop the sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts, and slice the onion.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, Italian seasoning, and kosher salt. Then whisk in the olive oil.
  4. Once the pasta is done, add it to the large bowl of dressing and toss with the chopped vegetables. Add the feta cheese and fresh ground black pepper and stir to combine. 
  5. Taste and add more salt to taste if necessary. Serve immediately. Stores up to 5 days refrigerated (leftovers taste great; allow to come to room temperature and add a swirl more olive oil or a bit more salt as necessary).
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Pasta Salad
  • Diet: Vegetarian

The Best Lemon Bars – Easy Family Recipe

Sunshine on a plate! Straight from my grandmother Nama’s kitchen, these Homemade Lemon Bars are a treasured family recipe. Lovingly passed down for three generations, this recipe is surprisingly easy to prepare with readily available pantry ingredients. Bursting with citrusy flavor from both fresh lemon juice and zest, the addition of a unique ingredient makes…

The post The Best Lemon Bars – Easy Family Recipe appeared first on A Well Seasoned Kitchen.

Sunshine on a plate! Straight from my grandmother Nama’s kitchen, these Homemade Lemon Bars are a treasured family recipe. Lovingly passed down for three generations, this recipe is surprisingly easy to prepare with readily available pantry ingredients. Bursting with citrusy flavor from both fresh lemon juice and zest, the addition of a unique ingredient makes them lighter than other, more dense lemon bars. And, with the perfect balance of sweet and tart, these homemade lemon bars appeal to both young and old, making them a delightful dessert for any occasion, from family dinner to bridal showers or graduation celebrations.

Homemade Lemon Bars stacked on a serving tray with small plates and flowers in the background

What is a Lemon Bar?

A lemon bar is a popular cookie consisting of a tart lemon filling layered on top of a buttery shortbread crust. After baking, the dessert is typically cut into small squares or rectangles for serving. Lemon bars are known for their refreshing citrus flavor and are enjoyed as a sweet treat or dessert.

 Why This is the BEST Lemon Bars Recipe

These luscious cookies hold special memories for me. My maternal grandmother, whom we called Nama, always whipped them up whenever we visited her in Tucson (she actually called them Lemon Love Notes!). They were so delicious, that we insisted Mom recreate them for us back home. And the tradition continues! Every time I serve these cookies, they vanish in a flash, with at least one person inevitably asking for the recipe. Here’s what makes this lemon bar recipe stand out:

  • Balanced flavors. I find lemon bar cookies are often too lemony or too sugary. Nama’s recipe achieves just the right balance between sweet and tart, ensuring every bite is just right.
  • More zesty lemon flavor. Adding fresh lemon zest alongside lemon juice infuses the bars with an extra layer of citrusy depth.
  • Lighter filling. Unlike denser, more stiff lemon bars, ours offer a lighter lemon filling, thanks to the addition of baking powder. Its leavening action subtly lifts the filling during baking.
  • Frosted topping. Versus most other lemon bars that are topped with powdered sugar, Nama’s lemon bars stand out with a delectable frosting. This elegant finish not only adds a creamy richness but also complements the tangy lemon flavor perfectly.
  • Easy to prepare. Nama’s easy-to-follow recipe guarantees consistent results every time.
  • Crowd pleaser. Whether you’re serving a family gathering or a party with friends, these lemon bars are guaranteed to be a hit with everyone, young and old alike.
close up of a small plate holding 2 Homemade Lemon Bars

Ingredients for Homemade Lemon Bars

Here are the key ingredients you’ll need to create these bright, refreshing lemon bars from scratch (quantities are provided in the recipe card below):

Cookie crust

  • Butter – Nama, mom and I all use salted butter for the best taste. If you opt for unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Powdered (Confectioners’) sugar
  • All-purpose flour

Lemon filling

  • Large eggs
  • Granulated sugar
  • Lemons – I recommend using regular lemons and not Meyer, as the latter’s lower acidic content results in less tangy flavor, making the cookies bland
  • Baking powder – don’t skip as this is the key to making the filling lighter.
  • Table salt

Frosting

  • Butter, salted
  • Powdered (Confectioners’) sugar
  • Whole milk – you can substitute 2% milk
  • Vanilla extract
Homemade Lemon Bars stacked on a serving tray in the background, with flowers and a small plate with two lemon bars in the front

How to Make Lemon Bars from Scratch

Follow these simple steps to achieve a delicious cookie-like crust and a luscious lemon filling:

A. Preheat oven and prep pan (if needed)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. You have the option to use a 7 by 11-inch glass baking dish as is or line it with two pieces of parchment paper, placed crosswise. (I don’t recommend using a metal pan.) The paper will make it easier to remove the cookies from the pan, but you will not get those lightly browned chewy edges.

B. Cookie crust

  1. Combine butter and sugar.
    With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth, fluffy, and light in color, around 3 to 4 minutes. 
  2. Add flour.
    Add the flour and mix just the mixture starts to form clumps. Don’t overmix. close up of raw crust dough showing the lumpy texture
  3. Press into pan.
    Press dough into the bottom of the prepared baking pan, in an even layer. Crust dough pressed into baking dish, before baking
  4. Bake.
    Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside (don’t turn the oven off).

C. Lemon filling

  1. Combine eggs and sugar.
    Again with the electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together just until light in color and well blended. 
  2. Add remaining ingredients; blend.
    Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, baking powder and salt and blend until just mixed. 
  3. Add to crust.
    Spread the lemon mixture over top of baked crust. Unbaked lemon filing in baking dish on top of baked crust
  4. Bake.
    Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until set – gently press the top with your finger to test. (Lemon filling will have puffed up and then settled down a bit).  Set aside to cool in the pan for at least one hour before frosting. Cooked lemon bars, in baking dish before adding frosting

 D. Frosting

  1. Combine ingredients.
     In a small mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together until frosting consistency. Add more milk if too thick or more sugar if too thin.
  2. Spread on cookies.
    Spread over the top of the cooled bars. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Frosted homemade lemon bars, in baking dish

Variation in Method – Without an Electric Mixer

If you don’t have an electric mixer, you can combine the lemon bar ingredients for each layer the way my grandmother did in her original recipe – by hand:

  • For the Crust: Place all crust ingredients in a mixing bowl, and using a fork, gently blend just until they are well combined and the mixture is forming clumps.
  • For the Lemon Filling: Place the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk until light in color and well blended. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until well combined.

Tips for the Best Lemon Bars

Here are my tips to ensure that your lemon bars turn out perfectly every time:

  • Use fresh lemons. For the best flavor, always use freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest. Bottled lemon juice lacks the vibrant taste that fresh lemons provide. And, I don’t recommend using Meyer lemons in this recipe; they have less “zing” due to their lower acidity.
  • Don’t overmix the crust. Overmixing the ingredients can lead to a tough and chewy crust. Stop mixing as soon as the ingredients are combined and forming lumps.
  • Bake the crust before adding the filling. Don’t skip this step! Pre-baking the crust ensures that it holds its shape and doesn’t become soggy when the lemon filling is added. 
  • Cool the bars completely. It’s important to let the lemon bars cool to room temperature before frosting, so the frosting adheres properly.
  • Refrigerate before slicing. You need to refrigerate these cookies for at least one hour before slicing, to allow them to set. They will be much easier to slice cold!

Variations on the Classic Lemon Bars Recipe

While this easy lemon bars recipe is undeniably delicious, there are several ways to make them your own. Here are a few ideas:

  • Add candied ginger. Following on the heels of my Blueberry Lemon Tart recipe, add chopped candied ginger to the filling. 
  • Add coconut. Add shredded coconut into the crust or sprinkle it on top of the bars.

Let me know (in the comments below) if you come up with some other fun modifications!

Homemade Lemon Bars stacked on a serving tray with small plates and flowers in the background

How to Serve This Recipe for Lemon Bars

To serve this easy dessert:

  • Using a sharp knife cut the refrigerated cookies into bars. I usually cut them into 15 pieces, but for a larger group, I cut them slightly smaller, into around 24 pieces.
  • Place on a serving platter or individual serving plates.
  • Add a small sprig of fresh mint leaves to the plate or platter for a pop of contrasting color. 

Note that if you stack the cookies for a long time (e.g., other than to quickly serve), place parchment paper between the layers to keep them from sticking together.

How to Store Lemon Bars

If you have any leftover lemon bars or want to prepare them in advance, cover them tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate. They are best when consumed within 2 to 3 days, but will last up to 4 to 5 days. They can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw, covered, in the refrigerator overnight. (See note in section above about stacking the bars.)

Lemon Bars FAQs

Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemons?

While it is possible to use bottled lemon juice, I recommend using fresh lemons for the best flavor. Bottled lemon juice lacks the bright, tangy taste that fresh lemons provide.

Can I substitute margarine for butter in the crust?

While margarine can be used as a substitute, the flavor and texture of the crust may be slightly different. Butter is preferred for its rich flavor and superior baking properties.

Can I use a different type of citrus fruit, such as oranges or limes?

Lemon bars are traditionally made with lemons, but you can experiment with other citrus fruits. Let me know how they turn out!

Can I make the lemon bars gluten-free?

Yes, you can make gluten-free lemon bars by using 1 cup gluten-free flour and 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum. Double-check that all of your other ingredients are also gluten-free.

Do lemon bars need to be refrigerated?

Yes, for best results keep them well covered, in the refrigerator.

How long do lemon bars last in the fridge?

Lemon bars are best eaten within 2 to 3 days, but will last up to 4 to 5 days.

Can you freeze lemon bars?

Yes, you can freeze these lemon bars. It’s best to wrap each bar with plastic wrap, then place in a freezer-safe ziptop baggie. They will last for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
 

More Cookie Recipes to Enjoy

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Homemade Lemon Bars stacked on a serving tray in the background, with flowers and a small plate showing two lemon bars in the front

Best Lemon Bars – A Family Recipe

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Sunshine on a plate! Straight from my grandmother Nama’s kitchen, these Homemade Lemon Bars are a treasured family recipe. Lovingly passed down for three generations, this recipe is surprisingly easy to prepare with readily available pantry ingredients. Bursting with citrusy flavor from both fresh lemon juice and zest, the addition of a unique ingredient makes them lighter than other, more dense lemon bars. And, with the perfect balance of sweet and tart, these homemade lemon bars appeal to both young and old, making them a delightful dessert for any occasion, from family dinner to bridal showers or graduation celebrations.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cooling time: 120 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 15 to 24 bar cookies

Ingredients

Cookie Crust

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered (Confectioners’) sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Lemon Filling

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest (about 2 medium lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (reduce to 1/4 teaspoon above 7,000 feet)
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt

Frosting

  • 1 tablespoon salted butter , melted
  • 3/4 cup powdered (Confectioners’) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk (or more)1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Optional (see note below): line a 7 by 11-inch pan with parchment paper.

Cookie Crust

  1. With an electric mixer, blend together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth, fluffy, and light in color, around 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flour and mix just the mixture starts to form clumps. Don’t overmix.
  2. Press dough into the bottom of the 7 by 11-inch baking dish.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside (don’t turn the oven off).

Lemon filling

  1. Again with the electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together just until light in color and well blended. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, baking powder and salt and blend until just mixed. Spread over top of cooked crust.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until set – gently press the top with your finger to test. (Lemon filling will have puffed up and then settled down a bit). Set aside to cool in the pan for at least one hour before frosting.

Frosting

  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together until frosting consistency. Add more milk if too thick or more sugar if too thin.
  2. Spread over the top of the cookies.
  3. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Cut into bars (either 18, 24, or 28, depending on how large you want the cookies to be).
  4. Store the cookies, covered, in the refrigerator. Can serve cold or at room temperature.

Notes

Note about baking dish: If you line the pan with parchment paper the cookies will be easier to remove from the pan. However, you won’t get those browned, chewy edges; your choice.

High altitude: No adjustments are necessary up to 7000 feet. Above that level, reduce the baking powder to 1/4 teaspoon.

Gluten free: Substitute 1 cup gluten-free flour and 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum for the 1 cup flour. Double-check that all of your other ingredients are also gluten-free.

  • Author: From “A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®” by Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: Cookies, desserts
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American

The post The Best Lemon Bars – Easy Family Recipe appeared first on A Well Seasoned Kitchen.

Vegan Pesto

This simple 6-ingredient vegan pesto recipe is herbaceous, savory, and easy to make in just 5 minutes! It’s an all-purpose sauce you can toss with al dente pasta noodles, drizzle on a pizza, spread on a sandwich, and so much more!

This simple 6-ingredient vegan pesto recipe is herbaceous, savory, and easy to make in just 5 minutes! It’s an all-purpose sauce you can toss with al dente pasta noodles, drizzle on a pizza, spread on a sandwich, and so much more!

Cauliflower Salad

This cauliflower salad bursts with flavor! A creamy dressing complements the crisp cauliflower, sun-dried tomatoes add tang, and toasted pine…

This cauliflower salad bursts with flavor! A creamy dressing complements the crisp cauliflower, sun-dried tomatoes add tang, and toasted pine nuts bring a delightful crunch.

Cauliflower Salad

Here’s a fun summer salad to infuse any meal with flavor: cauliflower salad! This one is so much fun, sort of like a mashup of Mediterranean-style flavors with a retro barbecue salad. The raw florets are covered in a tangy, creamy dressing and mixed with peppery arugula, tangy sun-dried tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts! Delish.

Why we love this recipe: This salad is fresh, delicious, and nostalgic all at once! We first served it at a pizza party outdoors, and it was the perfect side for pizza along with a fresh green salad. Since then we’ve made it for cookouts, barbecues, and lunches: and it’s always a huge hit! The toasted pine nuts add that extra sparkle.

“I made the cauliflower salad this weekend as part of my weekly meal prep. I love how easy it was and I had all the dressing ingredients in my pantry so it was super quick to put together! I ate a bowl right away and I love the tanginess of the mustard in the dressing.” -Amanda

Ingredients in cauliflower salad

One fun thing about this cauliflower salad is that it stars raw cauliflower! No need to spend time cooking it: throw it all in this tangy dressing and it tastes incredible. The dressing balances out the bitterness you might sometimes sense from the raw vegetable. Here’s what you need:

  • Cauliflower: Raw cauliflower has a satisfying crunch.
  • Creamy dressing: A tangy, savory dressing binds the ingredients together, made with mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon, sugar, Dijon, and salt.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: These bring a burst of sweet-tart flavor and a chewy texture.
  • Arugula: Arugula adds a bright, peppery note to balance out the richness of the salad.
  • Red onion: Red onion provides a sharp bite and a nice pop of color.
  • Pine nuts: Toasted pine nuts offer a subtle nuttiness and a delightful buttery crunch.
  • Feta cheese: Feta crumbles add a salty, tangy punch to the salad.

How to make cauliflower salad (step by step)

This cauliflower salad is simple to make and works for many occasions, from a summer salad to Memorial Day to 4th of July to pizza parties al fresco. Here are the basic steps for how to make it (or jump to the full recipe):

Cauliflower salad step 1: Chop the cauliflower and other ingredients.

Step 1: Chop and measure out the cauliflower, red onion, and sun dried tomatoes as noted in the ingredients list. Place them in a large bowl with the arugula.

Cauliflower salad step 2: Toast the pine nuts.

Step 2: Place the pine nuts in a dry skillet (no oil) over medium heat. Heat, shaking the pan and stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the nuts are fragrant and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove immediately from the heat and transfer to a plate to stop the cooking.

Cauliflower salad step 3: Stir together the dressing.

Step 3: In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, and Dijon mustard. To the bowl of the vegetables, sprinkle in the kosher salt, then add the dressing, toasted pine nuts and feta cheese and stir. Taste and add a pinch or two more salt if necessary.

Flavor variations and tips

Want to change up the flavors? This cauliflower salad is an easy template for mixing and matching flavors. Here are a few ideas to get your wheels started:

  • Nuts: You can omit the toasted pine nuts if desired, but we recommend using them for the amount of nutty flavor they add. Substitute sunflower seeds or toasted almonds.
  • Vegetables: We like how the sun-dried tomatoes add a bacon-like flavor and a pop of red color. You can omit if desired, or use chopped roasted red peppers or thinly sliced red bell pepper. If you use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, you can substitute all or part of the olive oil in the salad dressing with oil from the jar to infuse even more flavor!
  • Greens: Substitute chopped Italian parsley or other fresh herbs for the baby arugula, or you could add chopped baby spinach or baby kale.
  • Onion: Feel free to omit the red onion, or use a shallot for a milder flavor.
  • Cheese: Omit the feta cheese if desired or for a dairy-free salad (you may want to add a bit more salt).
Cauliflower Salad recipe in bowl with spoon.

Storing leftovers and make ahead info

Store leftover cauliflower salad refrigerated for up to 3 days. If making in advance, store components separately and add the dressing and pine nuts directly before serving.

More salad recipes

We are salad fanatics around here! If you are too, here are a few more you might enjoy:

Dietary notes

This cauliflower salad recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free. For dairy-free, omit the feta cheese. For vegan, use vegan mayonnaise and omit the feta.

Frequently asked questions

Why use raw cauliflower instead of cooked?

Raw cauliflower has a wonderful crunch and freshness that complements the creamy dressing. It also retains more nutrients when uncooked.

What can I substitute for mayonnaise in the dressing?

Try half Greek yogurt and half mayo, or a vegan mayo alternative. Each will offer a slightly different flavor and texture.

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Yes! The salad is best enjoyed within a few hours of preparation for optimal texture. However, you can prepare the ingredients separately (chop the cauliflower, make the dressing, etc.) and assemble it just before serving.

How long will this salad keep in the refrigerator?

If stored in an airtight container, the salad should last 2-3 days.

What main dishes would pair well with this salad?

This salad is incredibly versatile! It would be delicious with grilled chicken or grilled fish, with a vegetarian main like a veggie burger, or alongside a sandwich or wrap.

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Cauliflower Salad

Cauliflower Salad


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6

Description

This cauliflower salad bursts with flavor! A creamy dressing complements the crisp cauliflower, sun-dried tomatoes add tang, and toasted pine nuts bring a delightful crunch.


Ingredients

  • 8 cups small cauliflower florets, about 1 large head
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped*
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (or sunflower seeds)**
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise (or vegan mayo)***
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup feta cheese crumbles***

Instructions

  1. Chop and measure out the cauliflower, red onion, and sun dried tomatoes as noted in the ingredients list. Place them in a large bowl with the arugula.
  2. Toast the pine nuts: Place the nuts in a dry skillet (no oil) over medium heat. Heat, shaking the pan and stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the nuts are fragrant and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove immediately from the heat and transfer to a plate to stop the cooking.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, and Dijon mustard.
  4. To the bowl of the vegetables, sprinkle in the kosher salt, then add the dressing, toasted pine nuts and feta cheese and stir. Taste and add a pinch or two more salt if necessary. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. Store refrigerated for up to 3 days (if making in advance, store components refrigerated separately and add the dressing and pine nuts directly before serving).

Notes

*You can use sun dried tomatoes packed in oil or packed dry. If packed in oil, you can substitute all or part of the olive oil in the salad dressing with oil from the jar to infuse even more flavor!

**You can omit the toasted pine nuts if desired, though we recommend using them if at all possible for the amount of nutty flavor they add. Substitute sunflower seeds or toasted almonds.

***If desired, you can use half Greek yogurt and half mayo for a lighter dressing; vegan mayo also works. Omit the feta cheese if desired for a dairy-free or vegan salad: you may want to add a bit more salt. 

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No cook
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

This homemade chicken nuggets recipe is your new weeknight dinner hero! Here’s how to make healthy, tasty nuggets that adults…

This homemade chicken nuggets recipe is your new weeknight dinner hero! Here’s how to make healthy, tasty nuggets that adults and kids will love.

Chicken Nuggets

Alex and I are passionate about cooking all things from scratch, from French fries to pizza. So we could not wait to share this homemade chicken nuggets recipe with you! These nuggets are made with real chicken breast, baked instead of fried, with a perfectly seasoned crunchy exterior.

Why we love this recipe: I mean, how could we not? Homemade nuggets are a huge hit with our kids (no surprise), but adults absolutely inhale these too! They’re family friendly, great for topping a Caesar salad or power bowls, and if you add a homemade dipping sauce like honey mustard or ranch they are absolutely next level.

“These chicken nuggets were incredibly tasty! I’m always wary of homemade chicken nuggets but these were 10/10! Adding these to our monthly dinner rotation.”

Ingredients for homemade chicken nuggets

These homemade chicken nuggets are much tastier than frozen or fast food and here’s why: they’re made with actual pieces of chicken breast (kind of more like chicken tenders). They’re baked not fried, but still crispy and irresistibly seasoned. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Chicken breast: Buy organic chicken if at all possible. Look for boneless skinless chicken breasts, or cutlets if possible.
  • Panko: These light and airy Japanese breadcrumbs are what make the crispy golden crust. Look for gluten-free panko if desired.
  • Olive oil: A touch of healthy fat helps crisp up the nuggets without deep-frying.
  • Spices: Garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, cumin, and chili powder create a flavor explosion, while salt enhances every bite.
  • Eggs:  Here the eggs act act as a binder, holding the panko and seasonings onto the chicken.

How to make this chicken nuggets recipe

The key to crispy baked chicken nuggets is an oven safe baking rack, if you have one. This lifts the bottom surface of the nuggets off of the baking sheet, allowing it to get crispy instead of soggy while it bakes. Here are the basic steps for the recipe:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, mix the panko with the olive oil. Pour it in an even layer onto a rimmed baking sheet, place it in the oven, and toast for 4 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Pour the toasted breadcrumbs into a bowl and cool for 1 minute.

Step 2: If using breasts, slice them in half horizontally, then cut into bite-sized nuggets and place them in a large bowl. Toss with kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin and chili powder. In another bowl, whisk eggs with ½ tsp water. 

Step 3: Place an oven safe rack on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dredge each piece of chicken into the eggs, then toss with the breadcrumb mixture. Place the nuggets onto the baking sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until the outside is golden and the internal temperature measures 165°F.

💡Why buy organic chicken? We recommend buying organic since it’s the high-quality meat that is raised sustainably without chemicals. Organic standards require that the chickens have access to the outdoors and cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones (happy chickens!).

Chicken Nuggets on a tray with ketchup.

Sauces for homemade chicken nuggets

Once you’ve got your homemade chicken nuggets, of course you’ll want a dipping sauce! I’m personally not a huge fan of ketchup, though I know more of the world is. However, we do have a homemade ketchup that I think is pretty delicious. Here are a few sauces for serving with these chicken nuggets:

Diet swaps

When we started A Couple Cooks in 2010, we ate mostly vegan recipes and vegetarian recipes. We now embrace the Mediterranean diet, so we eat seafood and chicken occasionally.

If you’ve been around since the early days, this recipe might surprise you! But these days chicken is in the dinnertime repertoire. Want a plant-based solution? Try our breaded tofu from this tofu sandwich, or our friend Jessica has a great vegan chicken nuggets recipe. For gluten-free, look for gluten-free panko.

Other serving ideas

Chicken nuggets are great on their own as a meal for kids: we like adding carrot sticks and serving with ranch for dipping everything. (Why restaurants don’t do this, I’m not sure!) For the adults, we like adding chicken nuggets to salads and grain bowls. Here are some ideas:

Storing leftovers

Leftovers store up to 3 days refrigerated. To make the nuggets crispy again, reheat in a 375°F oven until warmed through.

More chicken dinners

This homemade chicken nuggets recipe is a rock-star recipe in our house! Here are some of our other favorite family friendly chicken dinners:

Dietary notes

This homemade chicken nuggets recipe is dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free panko. For vegan, try breaded tofu from our tofu sandwich as a substitute (it has a similar vibe).

Frequently asked questions

What can I use instead of panko?

Regular breadcrumbs will work, but they may not achieve the same level of crispiness. You can also try crushed crackers, tortilla chips, or even cornflakes for a different texture.

Do I need to use all the spices listed?

Feel free to customize the spice blend to your liking! You can omit any spices you don’t have or prefer not to use.

How long do I need to cook the nuggets?

Cook time will depend on the size of your nuggets, but they typically take 10 to 15 minutes to bake at 425°F. Aim for a golden brown color and an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

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Chicken Nuggets

Homemade Chicken Nuggets


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

This homemade chicken nuggets recipe is your new weeknight dinner hero! Here’s how to make healthy, tasty nuggets that adults and kids will love.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breast: 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 4 cutlets (organic if possible)*
  • 1 ½ cups panko
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • Ketchup, honey mustard, or ranch, for serving**

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the panko with the olive oil. Pour it in an even layer onto a rimmed baking sheet, place it in the oven, and toast for 4 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Pour the toasted breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl and allow to cool for 1 minute.
  3. If using breasts, slice them in half horizontally (if you bought cutlets, skip this step). Cut the cutlets into bite-sized nuggets and place them in a large bowl. Toss with the kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin and chili powder.
  4. In another shallow bowl, whisk the eggs with ½ teaspoon water. 
  5. When the baking sheet is cool, wipe any remaining crumbs from the baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. If you have one, place an oven safe rack on the baking sheet.
  6. Dredge each piece of chicken into the eggs and tap off any excess liquid. Then place it into the bowl with the breadcrumb mixture and toss until fully coated. Place the chicken nuggets onto the prepared baking sheet. When all of the nuggets are breaded, sprinkle them with a few more pinches of kosher salt
  7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness, until the outside is golden and the internal temperature measures 165°F at the thickest point. Serve immediately. Leftovers store up to 3 days refrigerated; to make them crispy again, reheat in a 375°F oven until warmed through.

Notes

*If you buy the chicken as breasts that are not already butterflied or cutlets, butterfly the chicken: Place your hand over the top of each chicken breast. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the breast horizontally, leaving the edge intact so it can open up like a book (or butterfly!). Unfold the breast like a book, then cut along the fold to separate the two halves.

**Sauce ideas include ketchup, honey mustard, homemade ranch dressing, Caesar dressing, special sauce, or yum yum sauce.

Other serving ideas: Add to a Caesar salad to make chicken Caesar. Use nuggets in bowl meals like power bowls, hummus bowls, rice bowls, or replace the salmon in this salmon crunch bowl with spicy mayo. Use leftovers in chicken tacos topped with lime crema.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Craving lemon garlic shrimp pasta at home? This recipe is your answer! Made with just a few simple ingredients, it’s…

Craving lemon garlic shrimp pasta at home? This recipe is your answer! Made with just a few simple ingredients, it’s ready in under 30 minutes for a dinner that’s bursting with fresh, juicy flavor.

Garlic shrimp pasta on plate with Parmesan and parsley garnish.

If there’s a combination of flavors we never tire of, it’s lemon, garlic, butter, and shrimp. The way that savory garlic meets bright lemon and juicy seafood is truly one of our favorites ever. So why not make them into a quick and tasty dinner? Introducing, our favorite new garlic shrimp pasta.

Why we love this recipe: Yes, we’ve made shrimp pasta every which way, from shrimp primavera to shrimp linguine. But this one is special! Here’s what we love about it:

  • The citrusy, juicy flavor impresses everyone. Just one bite will make your heart sing! We love it so much, we’ve featured a similar recipe in our new cookbook.
  • It’s fast and easy. This one comes together in under 30 minutes, making it great for weeknight dinners or easy entertaining with a dinner party. Come, let’s make it!

Key ingredients in garlic shrimp pasta

You’ll need just a handful of ingredients to make this lemon garlic shrimp pasta recipe! Always, quality is key to achieve the best tasting result in this dish:

  • Pasta: We like using spaghetti here, but you can also use other long noodles like linguine or bucatini. Use whole wheat pasta for Mediterranean diet, or gluten-free or legume pasta for gluten-free.
  • Shrimp: Use deveined medium shrimp for this recipe (they may be labeled 41 to 50 count), either shelled or tail on. Use either fresh or frozen; we tend to find fresh shrimp is slightly better. Prioritize wild caught shrimp if possible.
  • Old Bay: Old Bay is the flavor maker here. It’s a seasoning blend invented in Maryland that’s often used to season seafood, like in a shrimp boil.
  • Butter and garlic: Make sure to use fresh garlic, not jarred or packaged. Salted butter brings the best flavor to sauteing shrimp, but you can substitute olive oil if desired.
  • Grated Parmesan cheese: Look for grated cheese, which has a powdery texture that melds into the dish. Substitute another hard cheese like Pecorino Romano if desired.
  • Lemon juice and zest: A fresh lemon is key to the zippy flavor; avoid bottled juice.
Lemon garlic shrimp pasta recipe with Old Bay, lemons, and parsley.

How to make garlic butter shrimp: step by step

This garlic shrimp pasta comes together quickly, especially if you’re used to making sauteed shrimp! Here’s what to do:

Step 1: Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and boil until al dente). Reserve about ½ cup pasta water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Toss with a little olive oil if the sauce is not yet ready.

Shrimp in bowl

Step 2: Toss the shrimp with salt and Old Bay, in a bowl.

Sauteed Shrimp Step 2

Step 3: In a very large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 1 ½ minutes, then flip and stir in minced garlic. Cook 1 to 1 ½ minutes until the shrimp is opaque and just cooked through. 

Garlic shrimp pasta

Step 4: Toss with the drained pasta, grated Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and zest, parsley, more salt, and a few tablespoons pasta water until saucy. Enjoy warm.

Leftovers and make ahead tips

This garlic shrimp pasta recipe is best served the day it is made. You can store leftovers up to 3 days refrigerated. However, around here we’re not huge fans of next day shrimp (just our personal preference). It’s best within a day or so. Reheat gently on the stovetop before serving, and add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Ways to serve garlic shrimp pasta

This garlic shrimp pasta is a quick and easy meal, accessorized with a green salad or a simple vegetable side dish. To avoid crowding the stove, you may want to try a quick roasted side vegetable like roasted asparagus or roasted green beans. Here are some of our top easy side dishes:

More top shrimp recipes

We love working with this juicy seafood! Here are a few more of our top shrimp recipes to make:

Dietary notes

This garlic shrimp pasta recipe is pescatarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free or legume pasta. For dairy-free, use olive oil, omit the Parmesan cheese, and add more salt to taste. For Mediterranean diet, use olive oil and whole wheat pasta.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of shrimp should I use?

For this recipe, we recommend deveined shrimp that’s medium in size, either tail on or shelled. Tail on looks the best aesthetically, but you’ll have to remove it with your fingers when eating.

What can I serve with this pasta?

Garlic shrimp pasta is delicious on its own, but you can also pair it with a simple side salad, roasted vegetables, or even crusty bread for dipping in the garlicky sauce.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

This dish is best made right before serving, especially since the dish relies on hot pasta water for making the sauce. Since it’s ready in just 30 minutes, it’s a great easy weeknight dinner.

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Garlic shrimp pasta

Garlic Shrimp Pasta


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

Craving lemon garlic shrimp pasta at home? This recipe is your answer! Made with just a few simple ingredients, it’s ready in under 30 minutes for a dinner that’s bursting with fresh, juicy flavor.


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces spaghetti noodles
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, deveined (tail on or peeled)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pasta water and to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay, plus more for garnish
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter (or olive oil)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus the zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and boil until al dente (check a few minutes before the package instructions indicate). Reserve about ½ cup pasta water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Toss with a little olive oil if the sauce is not yet ready.
  2. Thaw the shrimp, if frozen. Pat the shrimp dry. Place it in a bowl and sprinkle it with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and Old Bay (if using). Stir to combine. 
  3. In a very large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer (without stacking it) and cook for about 1 to 1 ½ minutes, until cooked on one side.
  4. Flip the shrimp with tongs. Add the minced garlic and stir briefly. Cook for another 1 to 1 ½ minutes until the shrimp is opaque and just cooked through. 
  5. In the skillet, toss the drained pasta, grated Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and zest, parsley, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and just enough pasta water until saucy (start with 2 to 3 tablespoons). Taste again and add a few more pinches of salt if desired. Enjoy warm. Leftovers store up to 3 days refrigerated. Re-warm in a skillet and add a few pinches of salt if desired.

Notes

Medium shrimp (41 to 50-count) is best for this recipe; use wild caught shrimp if possible. 

Other long pasta shapes work, like linguine or bucatini. You could even swap in short pastas like rigatoni, penne, or bow ties. 

Use olive oil for cooking instead of butter if desired. For dairy-free, omit the Parmesan cheese and add more salt to taste. 

Pecorino Romano is another aged cheese that works well; its flavor is slightly saltier and stronger than Parmesan.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: Garlic shrimp pasta, garlic shrimp pasta recipe

Sunny Side Up Eggs

Here’s how to make sunny side up eggs with a perfectly runny yolk! Eat them for breakfast, sandwiches, rice bowls,…

Here’s how to make sunny side up eggs with a perfectly runny yolk! Eat them for breakfast, sandwiches, rice bowls, and more.

How to make sunny side up eggs

Want to make anything into a meal? Put an egg on it! Alex and I learned that slogan early in our cooking journey, and we still use it to this day. Eggs aren’t just for breakfast: they make a rice bowl or sesame noodles into a filling meal.

So here’s one of our top kitchen basic skills for you: how to make sunny side up eggs! This easy technique makes perfectly cooked whites and a runny, gooey egg yolk: and it’s perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Ready to get frying?

Ingredients and equipment you need

How to make the very best sunny side up eggs? We’ve got your covered. There are a few tips you’ll need to know before you jump into the frying pan, so to speak! Here’s what to know:

  • Fresh eggs are best. You can use any eggs here. but the best sunny side up eggs are made with fresh eggs. If your eggs have been in the fridge for a while, the white will spread a lot when it hits the pan. However, this doesn’t affect the flavor and you can move it back with a spatula to round out the shape.
  • Use a non-stick or cast iron skillet. These types of pans are the best when it comes to the ease of cooking eggs. While you can still cook in an aluminum pan, non-stick is preferable.
Sunny side up eggs

How to make sunny side up eggs

Ready to start frying? Remember: you’ll want to cook eggs on medium low or low heat. The slower the better with eggs, since they’re delicate and can easily be overcooked. Here are the basic steps to a perfectly cooked sunny side up egg:

Step 1: Heat ½ tablespoon butter over medium low heat.

Step 2: Add 1 or 2 eggs and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds black pepper. 

Step 3: Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the whites are firm but the yolk is still runny (don’t flip). Remove to a plate and serve.

The best spatula to use is a fish spatula for a cast iron pan or a nylon spatula for a non-stick pan. The cooking process is simple, but it does require a little finesse and confidence. The more you practice, the easier it becomes!

Ways to serve sunny side up eggs

There’s not much that doesn’t taste better with an egg on it! You can literally add an egg to anything and it’s a fantastic boost of protein. (See below for more egg nutrition.) And eggs aren’t just for breakfast! Here are our top ways to serve sunny side up eggs:

Sunny side up eggs

Egg nutrition

Eggs are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet, though they sometimes get a bad rap! Recent research has found that instead of avoiding eggs for cholesterol reasons, they can increase the good cholesterol the body needs. Eggs are an affordable and easy-to-eat source of high quality protein. They’re also especially helpful for vegetarian diets as a natural source of B12. One egg has:

More egg basics

Want to know how to cook eggs…every way possible? Here are tutorials on the most popular ways to cook eggs:

How to make a fried egg

Dietary notes

This sunny side up eggs recipe is vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between sunny side up and fried eggs?

Sunny side up eggs are cooked with the yolk unbroken, while fried eggs can have the yolk broken or cooked all the way through. Sunny side up eggs typically have a slightly runny yolk and crispy whites.

My yolk breaks when I make sunny side up eggs! How can I prevent that?

Fresh eggs with firm yolks are ideal for sunny side up. Crack the egg on a flat surface first to check for cracks. Use a gentle touch when sliding it into the pan.

What can I eat with sunny side up eggs?

Sunny side up eggs pair well with various breakfast sides:
Toast (perfect for soaking up the runny yolk!)
Bacon, sausage, or ham
Hash browns or home fries
Sautéed vegetables
Avocado toast

Are sunny side up eggs safe to eat?

Sunny side up eggs are generally safe as long as the whites are cooked through. However, if you’re concerned about consuming raw egg whites (due to a weakened immune system), consider cooking them to a firmer consistency.

Can I make sunny side up eggs with different types of pans?

While a non-stick pan makes flipping the eggs easier, you can use any pan with a good heat distribution. Cast iron skillets are a popular choice for achieving crispy whites.

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How to fry an egg

*Perfect* Sunny Side Up Eggs


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 2 eggs

Description

Here’s how to make sunny side up eggs with a perfectly runny yolk! Eat them for breakfast, sandwiches, rice bowls, and more.


Ingredients

  • ½ tablespoon butter (or neutral oil for dairy-free)
  • 2 fresh eggs (fresh is best*)

Instructions

  1. In a large cast iron or non-stick skillet, melt ½ tablespoon butter over medium low heat until starting to foam (eggs are best on low to medium low heat**).
  2. Add the eggs and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds black pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the white is firm but the yolk is still runny (do not flip). Remove to a plate and serve.

Notes

*Fresh eggs are best for frying because the whites hold their shape. The whites on older eggs tend to spread: simply use a spatula to pull back the egg whites towards the middle (it just won’t look as pretty!). 

**The slower the better with eggs: they can easily get overcooked. Note that if you’re cooking a second batch, you may need to lower the heat to avoid overcooking the egg since the skillet is already hot. 

This is the non-stick skillet we use. This is the cast-iron skillet we use.

  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Eggs
  • Diet: Vegetarian