Shakshuka, But Better

Shakshuka (Eggs in Purgatory) is one of those dishes that is so iconic that dozens of cultures claim it as their own. Even knowing this, the most basic recipe (eggs poached in a spiced onion and tomato sauce) was totally underwhelming to me. I found the secret: adding white beans and goat cheese changes everything!…

Shakshuka (Eggs in Purgatory) is one of those dishes that is so iconic that dozens of cultures claim it as their own. Even knowing this, the most basic recipe (eggs poached in a spiced onion and tomato sauce) was totally underwhelming to me. I found the secret: adding white beans and goat cheese changes everything! It brings so much flavor and texture to this simple meal, not to mention protein. I LOVE that I always have the ingredients for this dinner on hand. It’s so easy to throw together! My kids adore it.

cast iron skillet with shakshuka, a piece of toast stuck into it, and red and green onion garnish.
Table of Contents
  1. Eggs in Purgatory? Sounds hellish
  2. What is shakshuka anyway?
  3. Where is it from?
  4. Ingredients for shakshuka recipe
  5. How to make shakshuka
  6. What to serve with shakshuka
  7. How to store leftover shakshuka
  8. Can you freeze Shakshuka?
  9. Shakshuka frequently asked questions
  10. More savory breakfast ideas you’ll love
  11. Shakshuka, But Better Recipe

My son Edison, who is 4, sat me down the other day to do some splainin. “Mom, there are 3 kinds of butts.” Right away I’m thinking, okay, we’ve got bum, booty, tushy, where is this conversation heading?

He elaborates. “There’s butt. Then there’s “but MOM!” and then there’s “but DAD!”

Just as I’m sitting there pondering this incredibly logical conclusion, he assures me “But mom, it’s not that you’re a butt.”

Is this his idea of a compliment?? You know what, at this point I will take what I can get. I just hope he doesn’t convince all the other kids that that’s my actual name. Pretty soon the whole neighborhood will know me as “Butmom.” Not the legacy I had planned for myself.

a hand holding a piece of crusty toast dipping into shakshuka.

Summer is trucking along over here! We showed the kids My Big Fat Greek Wedding the other night, when was the last time you watched that movie?? We were all dying laughing. It’s just so classic. I’ve probably linked to the scene where Aunt Voula offers to make lamb for the vegetarian boyfriend more times than anything else ever on the blog. I’m pretty sure I even referenced it on my very last post for Veggie Sandwiches.

Other than the important work of educating our children on proper 90s rom-coms, we’ve been doing a lot of lazy dinners lately, this Shakshuka at the top of the list!

Eggs in Purgatory? Sounds hellish

Eric started reading a book that he got me for Christmas recently (I hardly ever read books. Because I am the scum of the earth. That’s what you’re thinking, right? Don’t lie.) Anyway, he was reading this fantastic book called Taste by Stanley Tucci, all about how Stanley grew up eating amazing Italian American food. Stanley’s dad would make Shakshuka (“uovo fra’diavolo“) every Friday night. It was tradition for his dad to cook once a week. So, not to be out-dadded, Eric got right in the kitchen to make this for the family.

I wanted to be into it. But it was kind of boring, not gonna lie. Sorry Stanley (sorry Eric 😂). I like tomatoes, but I don’t want to eat what is basically straight up chunky marinara sauce, plus some eggs and bread. If we had the Most Amazing Tomatoes in All the Land then I might feel differently. But we’re working with what we’ve got over here — American canned tomatoes.

shakshuka sauce with one poeached agg getting scopped up by crusty bread.

Then my BFF Sarah (of the famed Chicken Fajitas) told me she makes Shakshuka all the time but adds a can of white beans to the tomatoes. This adds a lot more texture and flavor, not to mention protein. I tried it and am NEVER going back. It is SO good. Every single one of my kids loved this!

The combination of the warm spices with the tomatoes, beans, topped with the perfectly cooked eggs and goat cheese… you guys, it’s so good. I love to serve it with crusty artisan bread, Sarah loves to serve it with some Homemade Naan. Pita bread or Roti would also be good options. You need something to sop up all the saucy goodness.

This is one of my favorite summer meals because it’s stupid fast, and I ALWAYS have the ingredients on hand. (I am barely scraping by with the menu planning over here!) Canned tomatoes, canned beans, eggs, garlic and onion, bread tucked in the freezer. I can handle that. And it’s done in like 30 minutes, tops. Plus super cheap?? And I don’t have to turn on the oven?? It’s made for these crazy busy July days!

The leftovers are also perfect for revamping. If you eat all the eggs and still have sauce left, you can toss it back in the pan on day two or three, crack in more eggs, and you are back where you started. Shakshuka be like the cruse of oil over here.

cast iron skillet with white bean shakshuka and 8 poached eggs, with three slices of toast.

What is shakshuka anyway?

At it’s most basic, shakshuka is tomatoes and onions cooked in warm spices and oil, with a few eggs cracked on top, poaching in the sauce. From there, you can really add whatever you like. The word “shakshouka” is from an Arabic dialect and means “mixed.” I love to add white beans for texture, flavor, and protein.

But you do you. Fancy some mushrooms? Fry them with the onions! Want something green? Add a handful of spinach to the simmering tomatoes! If it’s an ingredient you would add it to an omelette, you can add it to shakshuka.

Where is it from?

Shakshuka originated in northern Africa, and has cultural roots in Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, and Morocco. The recipe got around over time, and is now a super popular dish in several countries, especially Israel (they eat it for breakfast!) You can find versions of it throughout the Middle East, and even parts of Eastern Europe. It’s kind of like how Mexican Wedding Cookies have 1,000 names (Russian Tea Cakes, Snowballs, Polvorones.) Everyone claims shakshuka.

showing half a cast iron skillet with poached eggs in shakshuka sauce with bread on side.

Ingredients for shakshuka recipe

I’ll go out on a limb and guess you already have most of these ingredients at home! Lots of spices, canned tomatoes, canned beans, and eggs. Such an easy pantry meal to make!! Be sure to check the recipe card for full measurements and instructions.

ingredients for shakshuka like canned beans, canned tomatoes, eggs, and more.
  • oil
  • onion
  • paprika
  • smoked paprika
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • crushed red pepper
  • black pepper
  • kosher salt or sea salt
  • garlic
  • crushed or whole tomatoes
  • fire roasted tomatoes
  • cannelini beans
  • fish sauce (optional)
  • eggs
  • cilantro
  • green onions
  • feta or goat cheese

How to make shakshuka

Start by chopping up your onion and smashing and mincing your garlic. I was devastated last night when I made this again for the umpteenth time and was completely out of fresh garlic, something I ALWAYS keep tucked in my panty. So I used the garlic from the jar in the fridge…and guess what. It was amazing.

But, still. If you have time. Smash and mince up some fresh garlic. You just can’t beat it when it comes to aromatics.

top: chopped onion and garlic on wood cutting board, bottom onions browning in pan.

Saute the onion in plenty of olive oil. Plenty, I say! It’s a key component of this simple dish.

top: mix of spices in glass bowl, bottom spice mix dumped on onions in pan.

Mix up all the spices in a little bowl. We’ve got paprika, smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, salt..all the good stuff. I love this mixture. It’s so earthy and warm.

Saute the onions and spices for a couple minutes before you add the garlic.

top: onions and spices all mixed up with garlic dumped on top, bottom tomatoes added in.

Cook the garlic only for about a minute or so before you add the tomatoes and beans. I used crushed tomatoes when I took these photos because it’s what I had on hand, but whole tomatoes are even better.

two 28 ounce cans of tomatoes, organics brand and cento brand, on a wood table

I love the Cento brand of tomatoes. They are expensive but worth every penny. (The are expensive because they are only grown in Italy.) I take a deep dive on the nuances of canned tomatoes in my Bolognese Sauce recipe, if you’re interested! Nerd stuff!!

Now add in the white beans to the tomato mixture. I love navy beans (pictured) or Cannellini beans , which are a little bigger. Both types have the perfect neutral flavor that immediately adopts the flavor of the spices, onions and garlic. And they add such great texture to this dish.

top: beans dumped on top of sauce in pan, bottom all sauce ingredients mixed together.

Now it’s time to simmer, just for a little bit. We want this sauce to cook down and get a little thicker, plus we want to give the flavors time to marry. But honestly, if you’re in a hurry…

8 raw eggs nestled in the top of the sauce ready to be poached.

You just get right on to cracking those eggs in. I’m not there in your kitchen to judge you. Git er done. Don’t forget to sprinkle with a lil salt and pepper.

Cover the pan right away and leave the heat at medium. Let the eggs cook for about 5 minutes, checking on them every now and then until they are as runny or cooked as you like them. Covering the pan makes the eggs cook faster but forms a white film over the yolks. So if you want pretty yellow yolks, leave the lid off and cook a bit longer.

close up of crusty bread scooping into white bean shakshuka and egg.

And voila! That’s it! Now dunk your Naan or Homemade French Bread or Roti and die and go to heaven.

What to serve with shakshuka

The best part about shakshuka is that it is perfect for any meal of the day: breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Your sides can vary depending on when you’re serving it. No matter what, you’ll definitely want something bread-like to scoop up all the saucy-sauce!

ceramic bowl filled with eggs and shakshuka sauce, and crusty pieces of bread surrounding it.

How to store leftover shakshuka

After it has cooled, transfer any leftovers to a tupperware. Tomato sauces tend to stain plastic tupperware, so if you have any glass containers with lids it’s a great option! (If you don’t, spray your plastic tuppers with nonstick spray before adding the tomatoes! #momhack lol)

Make sure your shakshuka has an airtight lid. Stick it in the fridge, and it’ll be good to eat for another 3-4 days! If there is leftover egg, it tastes best within a day or two. To reheat, it’s best to warm it up in a small frying pan on the stove so the egg doesn’t get too hot and overcooked in the microwave. Nobody likes a rubbery egg.

If you plan to eat this over the course of a few days, you can cook just as many eggs as you’ll eat in one sitting and store the remaining sauce. The next meal you want some, warm up the sauce and cook as many eggs you want again fresh for that meal.

Can you freeze Shakshuka?

I definitely do not recommend freezing already cooked eggs. Things get WEIRD, y’all, it’s just not worth it. The sauce and beans, on the other hand, can totally be frozen and will do super well. Put the cooled sauce (NO EGGS) in an appropriately sized ziplock freezer bag, then squeeze out as much air as possible and seal. It’ll last in the freezer for 4-6 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter for a few hours. Heat in a pan on the stove, and once hot, follow the instructions in the recipe card for adding and cooking the eggs!

This sauce is super easy to prepare, so it would make a good batch freezer meal. Make a batch or double batch, add single serving size amounts to bags, label, and freeze. Then, anytime the call for shakshuka arises, you’ll have some ready to go!

cast iron skillet filled with shakshuka with white beans and 8 poached eggs.

Shakshuka frequently asked questions

Where does shakshuka come from?

Shakshuka is native to northern Africa. Some say that Tunisia is the birthplace, but the history is a little murky when so many cultures claim it as their own! It’s a staple in Tunisian, Libyan, Moroccan, and Algerian cuisine and very popular through the whole region. It’s so popular, the recipe was carried to the middle east and is very popular in that region as well. There are definitely slight variations depending on where you go, but they all follow the basic format: heavily spiced tomato sauce (often with onions and/or peppers, in this recipe we’re using beans) topped with eggs that get poached in the sauce, and scooped up with bread to eat.

what do you eat shakshuka with?

You can skip the spoon or fork. Grab a naan, pita, or crusty hunk of bread to shovel this goodness into your pie hole. You can channel Katniss from the Hunger Games, when she abandons her silverware after Effie tells her how undignified last year’s tributes were to eat with their hands. 😂
Truly though, shakshuka is traditionally eaten by being scooped up by some kind of bread, almost like a dip. It is the best way!

If you are looking for additional sides to accompany, it will depend on when you are serving it. For breakfast, try serving some baked bacon or sausage alongside, or adding chorizo to the onions for a fun Spanish twist. For lunch or dinner, a nice green or cucumber salad or some grilled chicken would be delicious. Check out the What to serve with Shakshuka section above for more ideas!

what does shakshuka taste like?

Think of a deliciously aromatic tomato sauce, with tons of flavor from all the spices like paprika, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes. The sauce cooks down and really deepens all the flavors. So much so, that it should get very thick, almost like a paste. Then we add in beans for even more flavor. In the last stage of cooking, eggs are poached right in the sauce til that perfect runny stage (or whatever stage you like), so all the eggy bits mix with the sauce as you sop it all up with bread. THEN top with goat cheese and fresh herbs. YUM.

white bean shakshuka with dollops of goat cheese over the top and toast pieces along the edge of pan.

More savory breakfast ideas you’ll love

While I will definitely eat this any time of day, technically shakshuka is a breakfast food. Which is great, because sometimes I get sugared out on sweet breakfasts. (Eric and I are always the ones ordering an omelette and French toast and going halfsies.) Check out these savory breakfast recipes!

shakhuka with egg garnished with red onion and a small piece of toast.

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cast iron skillet with shakshuka, a piece of toast stuck into it, and red and green onion garnish.
Print

Shakshuka, But Better

Shakshuka (Eggs in Purgatory) is one of those dishes that is so iconic that dozens of cultures claim it as their own. Even knowing this, the most basic recipe (eggs poached in a spiced onion and tomato sauce) was totally underwhelming to me. I found the secret: adding white beans and goat cheese changes everything! It brings so much flavor and texture to this simple meal, not to mention protein. I LOVE that I always have the ingredients for this dinner on hand. It's so easy to throw together! My kids adore it.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 232kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or more if you like it spicy
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus more for eggs
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt plus more for eggs
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes or crushed tomatoes (Cento brand is best)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans cannellini beans drained
  • 1 teaspoon Chicken Base concentrate*
  • 7 eggs or 6, or 8
  • 6 ounces crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese, add more to taste
  • cilantro chopped
  • green onions chopped
  • shallots sliced, optional
  • crusty bread for serving

Instructions

  • Start by chopping up your garlic and your onions. Smash the 5 garlic cloves with the side of your knife, peel, then mince finely. Set aside. Chop the onion.
  • Set a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat on the stove. When it is hot, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the onions (not the garlic) to the pan and stir occasionally for about 3 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine the spices: 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons paprika, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Add the spices to the onions and continue cooking for 2-4 minutes, until the onions are tender and the spices are toasted (add a bit more oil if it starts to stick.)
  • Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute, until fragrant.
  • Add all the cans: 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes. 1 can diced tomatoes. Use a fork to smash the whole tomatoes into smaller pieces. Drain the 2 cans of white beans, and add to the tomatoes.
  • Stir the sauce together, and add 1 teaspoon Chicken Base.*
  • Let this mixture simmer over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, the longer the better. The goal is to let the flavors meld together, and for the sauce to thicken. If you only have a couple minutes that's fine.
  • Crack the eggs into the tomatoes one at a time. Make sure to space them out as best you can, but if they run into each other it's okay. Sprinkle the top of each egg with salt and pepper.
  • Cover the pan with a lid.** Cook the eggs without disturbing for about 5 minutes. Lift the lid and use a spoon to nudge the yolks. If they are pretty soft still, cover again and wait another couple minutes. Keep in mind that the eggs will cook a little bit even after you take them off the heat (especially if you keep the lid on.) So if you love runny eggs, take them off sooner than you think.
  • Crumble 6 ounces goat cheese (or feta). (I used the same bowl I mixed the spices in). Sprinkle the cheese over the eggs and sauce and let it melt a little bit.
  • Chop cilantro and green onions and sprinkle over the top just before serving. You could also try parsley (or even dill or basil), if you're one of those cilantro-is-dirt people.
  • Serve Shakshuka with crusty artisan bread from the store. I actually really love the Costco Country French loaves. Or if you really want to fancy it up, make homemade Naan or Homemade French Bread or Roti and die and go to heaven.
  • Storage: Transfer leftovers to a tupperware with a tight lid. Stick it in the fridge, and it'll be good to eat for 3-4 days! If there is leftover egg, it tastes best within a day or two. To reheat, it's best to warm it up in a small frying pan on the stove so the egg doesn't get too hot and overcooked in the microwave. Nobody likes a rubbery egg.
    If you plan to eat this over the course of a few days, cook just as many eggs as you'll eat in one sitting, then store the remaining sauce. The next meal you want some, warm up the sauce in a pan, and cook as many eggs you want again fresh for that meal.

Notes

*I like Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base, or Zoup Chicken Base is another excellent brand that just started making a competitive product (I like and use them both).
Technically this chicken base is an optional ingredient, but I’m telling you, it majorly amps up the flavor of the tomato sauce. It adds the perfect umami flavor without having to wait as long for the tomatoes to cook. Obviously it makes it not vegetarian, so if that’s an issue, sub with a teaspoon of soy sauce. Or 1 teaspoon Anchovy Paste or Fish Sauce would be great substitutes too. 
**Covering the pan: If you cover the pan, your egg yolks will turn white on top. This is totally fine, but if you want yellow yolks, leave the lid off and just cook a few minutes longer, it might even take up to 10-15 minutes without a lid. Keep an eye on it!

Nutrition

Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 204mg | Sodium: 1038mg | Potassium: 172mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1117IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 3mg

Laura’s Fresh Veggie Sandwich

Guys I honestly didn’t think I could be sold on a Veggie Sandwich. But these vegetarian sandwiches are the best things to happen to my weeknight dinner routine this summer. An herby, cheesy spread on one side, creamy avocado on the other, and the perfect combo of fresh veggies in between, plus a lil Havarti…

Guys I honestly didn’t think I could be sold on a Veggie Sandwich. But these vegetarian sandwiches are the best things to happen to my weeknight dinner routine this summer. An herby, cheesy spread on one side, creamy avocado on the other, and the perfect combo of fresh veggies in between, plus a lil Havarti cheese to amp up the flavor. I will show you the secrets for perfectly toasted sourdough, so that your sandwich doesn’t fall apart into a soggy mess. I’m obsessed with this recipe. It’s the most refreshing summer dinner or lunch!

sourdough, spread, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, onion, spinach, guac sandwich.
Table of Contents
  1. Y’all…the best veggie sandwich
  2. Veggie sandwich rules
  3. Veggie sandwich recipe ingredients
  4. How to make a veggie sandwich
  5. What to serve with a veggie sandwich
  6. How to store leftover vegetarian sandwiches
  7. How can I make these ahead of time?
  8. Veggie sandwich frequently asked questions
  9. More light and refreshing dinner recipes
  10. Laura’s Fresh Veggie Sandwich Recipe

The other day we were at Chick-fil-A for lunch, and Edison, who is 4, starts choking a little. Nothing life threatening, but you know it always freaks everyone out a bit to hear someone coughing nonstop like that. The whole restaurant is kind of watching out of the corner of their eye while we wallop him on the back over and over. Eric goes to get more water, things settle down, I’m holding him on my lap. I quietly ask him, Edison, what happened, were you eating your chicken too fast? He responds with a lively, “Oh no Mom, I was drinking ketchup.”

Oh well okay then. Apparently I didn’t notice he has moved developmentally past the stage of dipping fries and sucking off the ketchup, like any self-respecting toddler. No, now he’s bypassing the fries entirely to get to the main event: chugging that ketchup like it’s a Gatorade commercial.

close up of the cut side of a fresh vegetable sandwich with all the fixings in parchment paper.

Well at least I know he won’t starve this summer. Ketchup was a tomato at some point. I’m adding that to his vegetable count for the day.

How is everyone’s summer coming along? I feel like I’m in a literal time warp these days, things are moving so fast. We over scheduled the fun, as usual! Life’s tough, right?? Are you keeping up with your menu plan lately? It’s kicking my butt, and we eat “leftovers” way more often than I care to admit 😂

Or if it’s not leftovers, it’s spaghetti from a jar and paper plates, in swimsuits

But meals like today’s Veggie Sandwiches are saving me! The idea of turning on the oven for anything that is not cookies is just not happening right now.

My sister Laura told me about these sandwiches she makes for her family in the summer, and I’ve been meaning to try them for literally years, but I was held up by all my preconceived notions about what makes a decent sandwich.

a hand holding one half of a vegetable sandwich with cheese, with a sandwich skewer in the top.

Y’all…the best veggie sandwich

Truly, I did not think I could be sold on a Veggie Sandwich. (What’s a sammie without the main event, right? Where’s my ham and turkey? Where’s my Dagwood stack??)

But my sister Laura knows what’s up. She has been tweaking and perfecting this process for years now, and it’s one of her kid’s favorite meals. You know when a kid can get on board with a vegetable sandwich, something is up.

I finally tried it, and my whole sandwich belief system has been turned on its head. I never thought I could be into a sandwich without cold cuts the way I’m into this one, honest.

close up of creamy, herby cream cheese spread with dill and parsley in glass bowl.

There is a secret of course, and it’s all about the SAUCE. (Don’t worry it does not involve drinking ketchup.) Two sauces, actually, which I think is key. Here are some other basics about this sandwich:

sideways view of a veggie sandwich with cheese showing all the layers and a skewr in the top.

Veggie sandwich rules

Write these down in your heart.

  • high quality sourdough bread is nonnegotiable
  • you must toast the INSIDE of the bread, but not the outside. This will save you from shards of toasty bread tearing the roof of your mouth to shreds (I can’t be the only one here right??) Also, pivotally important, toasting the inside helps the sandwich hold up to all the inherently watery veggies we are stuffing it with.
  • not one sauce, but two. Involving cream cheese and avocados, your welcome.
  • fresh herbs are essential in this sauce. I have subs listed if you can’t get fresh, but I promise, it’s worth it.
  • PICKLED ONIONS amp up the flavor of this sandwich so so much. Do not skip, my friends.
  • Don’t buy a crap tomato. If your tomato sucks, your sandwich sucks.
  • Seasoning your veggies is key (like salting the tomatoes and onions). We want to enhance, not mask the flavors.

All these elements combine to create something legendary. These veggie sandwiches fill you up without feeling heavy, and are so perfect on a day when it’s 105 degrees outside, and for a hot minute there you were seriously considering popsicles for dinner.

three veggie sandwiches wrapped in parchment paper stacked on top of each other.

I had a couple friends over on the day I made and photographed these sandwiches. They both took pictures of the printed out recipe I was using, and made it for their families for dinner. Here is Mardee’s sandwich:

Veggie sandwich on a blue plate

She says, “In the last week I’ve probably had about 10 of these veggie sandwiches. New life level achieved! Also, since I’m in my 40s, I add pickled beets.” Ha! Now I’m wondering why I didn’t add pickled beets. Doesn’t this look so good??

Veggie sandwich recipe ingredients

It looks like a long list, but I promise these sandwiches are simple, with no hard-to-find ingredients. The full recipe is below, don’t go making your sandwich from this list; this sandwich is all about the assembly. In other words, don’t miss a chance to let me boss you around. See my BLT recipe for another 20,000 words on how to make a sandwich. This is not an apology.

all ingredients for veggie sandwiches - spread, avocado, sourdough, and lots of veggies.
  • cream cheese
  • a quality nonfat greek yogurt
  • kosher salt
  • dill, dried or fresh (but really, fresh)
  • parsley, dried or fresh
  • onion powder
  • chives
  • sliced sourdough bread
  • avocado
  • lemon
  • baby spinach
  • large tomatoes, heirloom if possible, make it happen people
  • English cucumber
  • sprouts or microgreens
  • black pepper

How to make a veggie sandwich

Start by prepping your pickled onions. You will not regret this!

Beer-Battered-Fish Burrito Bowl with Orange Avocado Salsa from The Food Charlatan

Slice them thin, and squeeze lime or lemon juice over the top. Sprinkle with a lil salt and pepper, and set aside. They will start to turn delightfully pink.

Now make the cream cheese spread.

top image: chopped parsely and dill on top of cream cheese, bottom image: all mixed together.

Do you HAVE to use fresh dill and parsley? Technically no, but I’m tellin’ you. If you can swing it, do it. It amps up the flavor so much.

Now toast the bread, we are going to pop them under the broiler, just a couple minutes! Butter the top side if you are ready for the most epic sandwich, you can skip it if you are in a rush or counting calories.

6 buttered and toasted slices of sourdough bread on a metal baking sheet.

Don’t walk away!! I have literally lit bread on FIRE doing this exact thing! You know how a Watched Pot Never Boils? Well. Broiling Bread Burns Always. 🤣 I’m telling you, just stick around.

Slice your tomatoes nice n thick. Set them on paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. This helps get rid of extra moisture, so our sandwich doesn’t completely fall apart.

top image: tomato slices on paper towel, bottom: mashed avocado in a ceramic bowl.

Now make your avocado spread, which is basically just Guacamole. I mean, why are we not adding this to every sandwich ever, amiright?

two slices of bread with cream cheese spread on one and mashed avocado on the other.

Spread cream cheese on the buttery-toasty-side of one slice of bread. Spread guac on another toasty side.

And then here is Laura’s tried and true veggie layering order. This is SCIENCE guys, don’t mess:

1) tomatoes on cream cheese

2) as many layers of thin sliced cucumbers as you want

3) sprouts

sourdough slice topped with creamy spread, tomato slices, cucumber slices, then sprouts.

4) pickled onions

5) slice of Havarti cheese, if using

6) spinach last, which will stick perfectly to the avocado spread on the other bread slice.

sourdough slice topped with spread, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, pickled onion, and spinach.

You can see that my spinach is perched a bit precariously, ha. It’s actually almost easier to add the spinach right to the guac spread on the other slice of bread, then smash.

a full veggie sandwich with spread and smashed avocado, and lots of veggies layered between.

And voila! This sandwich is really good with the Havarti, but I promise, it doesn’t need it. It’s good with just the veggies. It’s like magic!

What to serve with a veggie sandwich

My go-to for sides is usually a salad or vegetables, but those are already in the sandwich! Ha! If you’re looking to round out the meal a bit, here are some good options.

a hand holding a fresh veggie sandwich wrapped in parchment paper.

How to store leftover vegetarian sandwiches

Vegetables are mostly water. Making a veggies sandwich ahead of time is like trying to package up your water and your bread in the same plastic bag. Don’t go there unless you really love soggy bread.

You’re much better off only assembling sandwiches as you need them. Have extra veggies ready to go in case someone wants more, but don’t put any extra sandwiches together until someone decides for sure they want one.

Instead of storing already made sandwiches, store individual components and assemble as needed. The sourdough goes back in its bag and can be out at room temperature for a few days. All fresh veggies can either be returned to their container or added to an airtight container with a lid and kept in the fridge for a few days. The cream cheese spread can also be stored in a tupperware in the fridge. Mashed avocado can tend to brown, so try to only make what you will use. I have a whole section in my guacamole post about how to store avocado so it doesn’t go brown if you’d like to learn more!

veggie sandwich with spread, tomato, cucumber, onion, sprouts, cheese, and guac layers.

How can I make these ahead of time?

These sandwiches are a decent option for meal planning. Not everything can be done ahead of time, but you can certainly get a head start.

Bread freezes beautifully, so you can always keep a loaf handy in the freezer. The cream cheese mixture can be made ahead and stored in the fridge covered. It will stay fresh for 4-5 days. You can make the avocado spread up to 2-3 days ahead of time, but it will get a little discolored in the fridge.

(You can also freeze avocado that has already been mashed! It’s not quite the same as fresh, a little more watery, but it can be done. Just add the avocado to a freezer ziplock bag and seal with as much air squeezed out as possible. Try to use it within one month. Leave it out on the counter for 10-15 minutes, give it a stir, and it should be good to go.)

As for the veggies themselves: Cucumbers can be chopped ahead of time. The pickled onions can and should be made ahead of time, they will last in the fridge just fine for up to 7 days. Fresh bell pepper can be sliced and stored ahead. Everything else (tomatoes especially) needs to be sliced last minute.

a metal baking tray filled with sideways stacked fresh vegetable sandwiches wrapped in parchment.

Veggie sandwich frequently asked questions

Are veggie sandwiches healthy?

Yes! Sourdough is one of the healthiest breads around, with lots of nutrients, fiber, and even some protein. The creamy cheese spread has some sneaky protein as well from the nonfat Greek yogurt. And then EVERYTHING else is a vegetable, and a non-starchy one at that. All that means is that these veggies are very nutrient dense but with much fewer calories than things like corn, potatoes, etc.

What veggies go good on a sandwich?

So many! In this sandwich we focus on cucumber, baby spinach, tomatoes, and sprouts or microgreens. Other raw options include bell pepper, onion, mushroom, artichoke hearts, cabbage or radiccio (cut into strips), sliced radishes, arugula or baby kale, or any other kind of greens you enjoy. If you roast or sauté asparagus, eggplant, carrot, zucchini, or yellow squash, those would all be great options for a cooked veggie sandwich. You could even try mashing legumes like chick peas, lentils, or green peas as a topping or as a spread!

What kind of sauces are good for a veggie sandwich?

I love a good THICK and creamy sauce for my veggie sandwich; this is not a drippy burger (No ketchup drinking here) There is already a LOT of water content in fresh vegetables. If you have a very thin sauce, it will make the sandwich fall apart faster. For this recipe, there are two great sauces. A creamy, herb-seasoned cheese and yogurt spread, and delicious, lemony mashed avocado. Those are my favorite, but I think Homemade Chipotle Sauce, Garlic Aioli (Classic and Cheater Versions), Tzatziki Sauce, Homemade Horseradish, Bacon Blue Cheese Dip, Tyrokafteri (Spicy Feta Cheese Spread), or even a light drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar Reduction would all be amazing on a vegetable sandwich!

how to make a veg sandwich?

Easy! Pick your bread, pick your sauce or spread, and pick your favorite fresh veggies! In this recipe we’re using sourdough bread, a cream cheese spread, and mashed avocado. Then, layer in baby spinach, sliced tomato, sliced cucumber, and sprouts. It’s pretty simple! You could also try other veggies like yellow bell pepper, lettuce, or anything else you love. Be sure to look at the recipe card for tips and tricks on how to make your sandwich amazing!

what do vegetarians eat on sandwiches?

Vegetables of course! Also eggs, cheese, mashed beans, lentils, or chickpeas. Today’s sandwich we are just focusing on veggies. I love me some beef y’all, but sometimes I think it’s such a shame that our culture is so meat-focused. We all need to spend more time enjoying an heirloom tomato from a farmer’s market; it really gives that ham and cheese a run for its money!

a hand holding a fresh veggie sandwich stuffed with spread, tomato, cucumber, and more.

More light and refreshing dinner recipes

When the summer weather really starts to kick in, I am all about salads, grilling, and easy recipes like these sandwiches to avoid cooking in the kitchen. Here are some other options you’ll love!

a delicious fresh veggie sandwich with 2 bamboo sandwich skewers in the top on parchment paper.

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sourdough, spread, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, onion, spinach, guac sandwich.
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Laura’s Fresh Veggie Sandwich

Guys I honestly didn't think I could be sold on a Veggie Sandwich. But these vegetarian sandwiches are the best things to happen to my weeknight dinner routine this summer. An herby, cheesy spread on one side, creamy avocado on the other, and the perfect combo of fresh veggies in between, plus a lil Havarti cheese to amp up the flavor. I will show you the secrets for perfectly toasted sourdough, so that your sandwich doesn't fall apart into a soggy mess. I'm obsessed with this recipe. It's the most refreshing summer dinner or lunch!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 621kcal

Ingredients

For the pickled onions

  • 1/2 red onion sliced thin
  • 1 lime or lemon juiced
  • salt and pepper

For cream cheese spread*

  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened a bit
  • 3/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt a good, thick kind ( I like Fage)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill or 3/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablsepoon chives finely minced (optional)**

For the bread

  • 1 loaf sliced sourdough bread
  • 6 tablespoons butter softened, optional

For the tomatoes

  • 2 large tomatoes heirloom is best
  • kosher salt for seasoning veggies
  • pepper for seasoning veggies

For the avocado spread:

  • 2 small avocados or 1 large
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Assemble the sandwiches

  • 1 large English cucumber sliced thin
  • 1 (6 ounce) bag of baby spinach
  • 1 package sprouts or microgreens alfalfa or broccoli, or any kind of microgreen
  • 6 slices Havarti cheese or any cheese, optional

Instructions

  • Make the pickled onions: Do this first so the onions have time to soften. Slice half a red onion and add to a small bowl. Juice 1 lime or lemon and add to the onion. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Set aside, going back to stir the onions every few minutes.
  • Make the cream cheese spread: Add 4 ounces cream cheese to a medium bowl and use a spatula to stir it into a creamy paste, trying to get out the lumps. Add 3/4 cup greek yogurt and mix them together.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher (or sea) salt, black pepper to taste, and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder. Use fresh herbs if you have them; they seriously make this sandwich over the top. Chop up about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons dill, 2 tablespoons parsley, and 1 tablespoon chives if you have them. (Use dried herbs if you don't have fresh: 3/4 teaspoon dried dill, 1 teaspoon dried parsley, 1/2 teaspoon chives.) Mix really well until everything is evenly dispersed and the spread is a little more creamy. Set aside.
  • Toast the bread: Move your oven rack to the top of the oven, right under the broiler. Preheat your broiler for 1-2 minutes. Put all the slices of bread you plan to use on a large baking sheet. Spread the tops with soft butter, if you want this to be the BEST sandwich. It's optional!
  • Broil for 2-4 minutes. Set your timer for 1 minute at a time and do not walk away. Check it every 30-60 seconds. Leave your oven door open and watch it if you want to! This bread will light on fire so fast if you forget about it! Pull them out when they are just browned on top; they will still be soft on the under side. Set aside.
  • Prep the tomatoes: Slice your tomatoes about 3/8 inch thick. (A little more than 1/4 inch, but not quite 1/2 inch.) Set the slices on double lined paper towels. Sprinkle the top of each slice with salt and pepper and let them rest. (this helps get rid of excess moisture)
  • Make the avocado spread: Cut the avocados and scoop out the flesh onto a plate or cutting board. Mash with a fork. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir it to combine. Taste it and make sure it has enough salt.
  • Prep the rest of the veggies: Slice the cucumber thin, with a knife or mandolin.
  • Flip the tomatoes over onto new double layered paper towels, and season lightly with salt and pepper on the new side.
  • Sandwich assembly: Stir the spread one more time. Assembly can be buffet style, or you can make the sandwiches for your guests and have them cut and ready to serve. Here's how it goes down:
  • Take matching bread slices. On THE TOASTED SIDE, add a thick layer of cream cheese spread. On the other piece of bread (on the toasted side!) add a good smear of mashed avocado. It’s important to put the toasted side of the bread on the inside to save the roof of your mouth (am I the only one constantly injured from sharp toast??) It also helps your sandwich hold up to all the veggies, which are so watery they will ruin your sandwich faster than you can say soggy sad.
  • Layer the veggies on your sandwich in this order: 1) tomatoes on cream cheese 2) as many layers of thin sliced cucumbers as you want 3) sprouts 4) pickled onions 5) slice of Havarti cheese, if using 6) spinach last, which will stick perfectly to the avocado spread on the other bread slice.***
  • Cut the sandwich in half. I will leave it up to you whether this sandwich is sliced diagonally or rectangle; some opinions are too sacred to be imposed upon.

Notes

*Cream cheese spread: I almost always double this recipe. Then I keep it in my fridge and eat it with EVERYTHING until it’s gone. Dip my chips, crackers, carrots, and celery in it. Thin it out with milk and use as a sauce for a chicken bowl or Salmon Bowl. Add to potato salad. The list goes on! Here are the doubled ingredients:
  • 1 block cream cheese (8oz)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or sea salt) (use less if you are using table salt)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons chives (optional)
**Chives: Sometimes I have a hard time finding chives, and then sometimes they are like 5 dollars for a bunch. I cheap out and buy green onions instead and just chop them really tiny as if they were chives. Green onions have a little bit stronger of a flavor than chives, but it’s close. 
***Other veggie ideas: You can add any veggie you like to this sandwich. My next top picks would be pepperoncinis, sliced bell pepper, or sliced roasted bell pepper from a jar. You could also add mushroom, artichoke hearts, cabbage or radiccio (cut into strips), sliced radishes, arugula or baby kale, or any other kind of greens you enjoy. If you roast or sauté asparagus, eggplant, carrot, zucchini, or yellow squash, those would all be great options for a cooked veggie sandwich!

Nutrition

Calories: 621kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 1132mg | Potassium: 775mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1632IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 293mg | Iron: 4mg

No Bake Cheesecake

My go-to recipe for No Bake Cheesecake has all the classic elements you love: a dreamy creamy swirly filling on a crispy graham cracker crust. The perfect balance of tart and sweet! I have a secret ingredient that takes it over the top (it’s optional but guys, it’s so good.) No bake cheesecake is a…

My go-to recipe for No Bake Cheesecake has all the classic elements you love: a dreamy creamy swirly filling on a crispy graham cracker crust. The perfect balance of tart and sweet! I have a secret ingredient that takes it over the top (it’s optional but guys, it’s so good.) No bake cheesecake is a perfect blank slate, but I am partial to Fresh Strawberry Topping, with extra graham cracker crumbs to sprinkle on top. This recipe is EASY and a huge crowd pleaser!

side view of a slice of no bake cheesecake with strawberry topping and graham crumble on top.
Table of Contents
  1. 10 things I learned in the Baltics
  2. No bake cheesecake…is life
  3. The secret ingredient
  4. No bake cheesecake recipe ingredients
  5. How to make no bake cheesecake
  6. How to store easy no bake cheesecake
  7. Can no bake cheesecake be frozen?
  8. No bake cheesecake frequently asked questions
  9. More cheesecake recipes to love
  10. Hotter days, cooler treats
  11. No Bake Cheesecake Recipe

Eric and I went on vacation recently and I stopped for an ice cream cone just about every single day, because when in Rome? (Or rather, when in Riga.) What even is a vacation if there is not ice cream every day, I mean really.

Anyway, we were in Lithuania, and I asked the ice cream guy what the purple swirled ice cream was, and he said “Cheese and Black Currant,” and I was like OH HECK NO, no thank you, I don’t want chunks of cheddar in my ice cream. But then I tried it and realized the flavor was black currant CHEESECAKE. I got a double scoop and died and went to heaven, it was so good. (Why is black currant not a thing here?)

a released, whole no bake cheesecake with fresh strawberry, blackberry, and raspberry garnish.

Well, I have no black currant for you today, but I do have the best no bake cheesecake in all the land. I worked hard figuring out exactly what I want from my perfect no bake cheesecake, and this is it!

But before we get into it, I want to tell you a few things I learned from our trip to the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.) We spent 2 weeks there with my parents (the kids stayed home with Eric’s parents, bless their ever loving hearts!!) This was such a dreamy vacation, I already want to go back.

10 things I learned in the Baltics

1. Eastern Europe is absolutely gorgeous. The countryside is lush and green, the cities are well kept and clean. There are actual STORKS in rural areas, with huge massive nests 2-4 feet wide, balanced somehow directly on top of vertical power lines. I never felt unsafe.

2. There are CASTLES you guys. Castles everywhere like it’s just no big deal. Castles that look like freaking Sleeping Beauty is taking a nap inside.

3. The Old Town sections of the capital cities (Tallinn, Estonia; Vilnius, Lithuania; and Riga, Latvia–have you heard of ANY of these cities?? I hadn’t!! I get an F for geography guys). Anyway, ALL these cities had narrow cobblestone streets, red roofs, and buildings established in the 1300s around every corner. Like seriously, if feels like every random shop or restaurant has walls made of stone that were laid in 1478. It was WILD. Eric says that the streets and buildings are so quintessential that they seem fake. But they are not, they are real, and they are 600 years old. (I keep looking around the suburb I live in, knocking on the walls of my house, thinking, will ANY of this be standing in 600 years? 300? 100?? NOPE!)

4. These countries are super cheap to visit. (some of our very nice, historic hotels were only 80 bucks a night.) Some dinner entrees I saw were as cheap as 11 Euros, which is about $12 bucks.

5. Every public bathroom I visited was clean and stocked.

6. The food was just phenomenal. They eat very seasonally. Flavors I noticed: Rye bread. DILL. Pan fried potatoes. Pickles everywhere, all kind of veggies pickled. Lots of fish. REINDEER. Pea soup. Cardamom in anything that has cinnamon. Kebabs, pizza, dumplings, hamburgers; the cities are all very global and you can even find Mexican food. Rhubarb is in season right now and it was on every dessert menu, I was in heaven. They also love beets; one of my favorite dishes was the Lithuanian national treasure that is COLD beet soup, made with kefir and dill, and served with hot fried potatoes. I ordered it 3 separate times.

7. Almost everyone there speaks English, especially in the bigger cities.

8. It was very enlightening and hard to learn about the painful reality of Russian occupation that has dotted their history. Russia occupied these 3 countries until 1918, they had a brief “interwar period” of independence that lasted until 1940 when the Soviets invaded, then the Germans invaded, then the Soviets were back in control until they declared their independence in 1991. Now we all have to wait to see what happens in Ukraine, to see if history repeats itself again in these Baltic states. I feel grateful I had the chance to visit in what feels like (perhaps?) yet another brief interwar period. Like if you want to go…maybe you should go now?

Just think of all the butter I could churn in this bad boy. Just kidding, I don’t even think that’s a butter churner 😂 it’s like an enormous mortar and pestle. For giants.

9. STYLE. Globalization is real and the way people dress there feels very similar to how we dress here, except maybe a bit more formal and classy. (Americans are still the only ones who will wear pajamas to the grocery store and pretend it’s okay.)

10. One of our hotels in Estonia had a delicious breakfast buffet. I came downstairs in the morning to find my mother eating a giant bowl of chocolate ice cream with sprinkles (no cheese chunks in sight) GUYS, CLEARLY WE ARE MISSING SOMETHING. I’m about to write a letter to every hotel. Waffle machines aren’t gonna cut it anymore. Come on America.

My cute parents atop Gediminas Castle in Vilnius, Latvia. Huge thanks to my dad for planning the entire trip, while I did nothing but derail his plans by stopping at every single bakery we passed.

I’m thinking about writing an entire post about the Baltics, where we stayed, what we did, and especially the food, would you be interested in hearing those details and seeing more photos? Please let me know in the comments! Remember when people used to comment on blogs, just to say hi? Those were the good ol days :) I’m a real person over here, I promise. I read every comment that comes through. Seriously, let me know if you want a Baltics post. I would have so much fun writing it for you.

Okay on with today’s post, CHEESECAKE!!

no bake cheesecake with fresh berry garnish, with one slice missing and a second slice cut.

No bake cheesecake…is life

Who doesn’t love a classic no bake cheesecake? A crispy crust and a perfectly creamy, silky smooth layer of tart cheesecake, which is a blank slate to top with whatever fruit you want. No bakes are just so easy. Baked cheesecakes are notoriously finicky, with the fault line risk, plus the challenge of knowing when to pull it out of the oven to get the best texture. No bake cheesecakes have all the flavor and require zero technique. It’s like dessert for dummies.

You’ll sometimes hear no bake cheesecakes referred to as a Philadelphia cheesecake. It has nothing to do with the city, and everything to do with the cream cheese brand and the easy cheesecake they popularized years ago. There are many different versions nowadays, but almost all no bake cheesecakes have no eggs, no gelatin, and of course, no baking required for the filling itself. This is not a sponsored post, but I will make a plug for the Philadelphia brand, they really do make the best cream cheese on the market, hands down.

angle looking down at the top of a no bake cheesecake with strawberry topping and graham crumble.

The secret ingredient

Now I get to tell you about the reason I’m obsessed with this no bake cheesecake, and, spoiler alert, it’s the same reason I’m obsessed with my Classic Baked Cheesecake. I’m a simple girl, what can I say, and when it works, dang, IT WORKS. The answer, of course, is browned butter.

a wooden spoon in a metal pot stirring browned butter with light foam on top.

You guys, I’ve been obsessed with browned butter from the beginning. These Nutella Stuffed Browned Butter Blondies were one of my first viral recipes, the one that put my blog on the map, so to speak (the other one was this Cilantro Lime Cucumber Salad…balance, right? 😂)

Browned butter just has this magical ability to bring out other flavors, kind of like salt. This cheesecake is not a butter-flavored cheesecake, I promise. It just tastes like the cheesecake-iest of cheesecakes, in the best way!

When you brown butter, the milk in the butter solidifies to create little “browned bits.” So at the end, you have smooth golden melted butterfat, and little brown bits at the bottom that look like sand. ALL the flavor in browned butter is contained in these little browned bits; the golden liquid is tasty fat, but doesn’t hold the flavor.

I was trying to come up with ways to increase the amount of browned bits, and not increase the actual amount of butter in the recipe. (We don’t need more fat, we need more browned butter bits.) That’s when I stumbled on this blog post from Lady and Pups called Extra-Browns Browned Butter. You read that right…this woman is a genius. By adding a little milk to the butter as it’s browning, there are simply more milk solids available to brown, exponentially increasing the amount of flavor from a single batch of browned butter.

slice of perfectly cut no bake cheesecake with two raspberries on top on pie server.
Can you see the flecks of flavor?? I hereby dub thee, browned butter. Flecks o flavor

I just love the flavor it adds to this cheesecake. If you don’t think you will be into it, no worries, it’s actually 100% optional. You can make this cheesecake the traditional way, just leave out the butter and milk called for in the filling.

There is one tiny drawback to browning the butter with extra milk, if you are a texture person: the browned butter bits are large and in charge when made this way, and your cheesecake will have flecks in it that mess with the perfectly smooth texture. It doesn’t bother me at all, and I prefer having the extra flavor, but I just want you going in with eyes wide open.

slice of no bake cheesecake on a white plate with bites taken out, topped with strawberries.

Are you ready to make it?? Let go!

No bake cheesecake recipe ingredients

cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, lemon, butter, cream, crackers, vanilla, laid out on a marble counter.

Here is a basic shopping list! Super simple. Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements and written instructions.

  • graham crackers
  • granulated sugar
  • kosher salt
  • butter
  • heavy cream
  • cream cheese
  • sour cream
  • vanilla
  • lemon juice
  • milk

How to make no bake cheesecake

Start by setting out your cream cheese so it has time to soften. And then we make the crust! I love a classic graham cracker crust, but you can use any kind of crisp cookie. Biscoff or Nilla Wafers or Walker’s Shortbread would be so good. (or Oreos! See recipe notes)

top: graham crackers, nilla, biscoff cookies, bottom: full graham crackers being weighed on digital scale.

I love a good thick crust for my no bake cheesecake, so we are using 2 full packages of graham crackers for the crust, 18 full sheets. This is about 9.7 ounces, or 2 and 1/2 cups when crushed. Plus a lil sugar and salt.

9 whole graham crackers shoved into a food processor ready to be blitzed.

If you don’t have a food processor, you can add your grahams to a ziplock and smash them with a rolling pin.

top image: blitzed graham crackers in food processor, bottom: crumbs in glass measuring cup.

Weighing your graham cracker crumbs (or Biscoff or Nilla wafer crumbs) is the best way to see how much you have. Crumbs tend to settle, just like flour, so if you do need to measure in cups, make sure you spoon and level.

top image: mixing crumbs and melted butter in a mixing bowl, bottom: pressing mix into pan.

Add butter and stir. You can add the melted butter right into the food processor if you like.

Are you going to get mad at me when I tell you that this no bake cheesecake has a baked crust? Honestly I wish there was another name for no bake cheesecakes.

I don’t like unbaked graham cracker crusts. Ever, in any situation. They are mushy from the start. Who wants that? I mean, I get that it’s summer and you don’t want to turn your oven on, but dang, if you’re going to the trouble of making a whole cheesecake, take the 10 minutes to bake the crust and get it done right.

But that’s just me. If you are anti-oven in the summer, by all means, press that mushy wet graham cracker crust into your pan and pop it in the freezer for a few minutes. Voila, a soggy bottom for your beautiful cheesecake. (I’m sorry, I just can’t stop judging you.)

top image: pressing crumb mix onto cookie sheet; bottom: breaking up baked crumbs.

While you are here in crust land, do yourself a favor and crush an entire 3rd package of graham crackers, and add a little sugar salt and butter.

Bake it on a cookie sheet right next to your actual crust. Then break it up into chunks and save it for sprinkling on the top of your final cheesecake. I LOVE graham cracker crust, and feel like there is never enough, so I just add more on top. (I started doing this years ago for my Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake and haven’t been able to quit since.) I just love the ultra crunchy touch this adds.

Ok ok now on to the actual cheesecake filling making. It’s so easy guys. If you want to be a little extra, make this extra-browns butter I’m about to show you; if not, you really can skip the butter and milk step entirely.

a hand pouring milk from a measuring spoon into a pot with melted butter in it ready to be browned.

I wish I had taken a picture of the cold butter in the pan with the milk, so you could see it better. But this is a photo of adding milk to melted butter in a pan. We are going to heat it over medium heat, whisking almost constantly, until it bubbles, then foams over completely, then browns.

wooden spoon stirring through browned butter with foam on top in metal pan.

You will know it has turned brown when you see this golden swirl of browned bits lifting up through the foam as you stir. The mixture will smell nutty and very fragrant. It is the exact same process as browning butter, but with the extra milk added, more brown bits are formed, and they tend to form in bigger crystals, hence the constant whisking. We want lots of browned bits, but we want to keep them small so they don’t overwhelm the smooth texture of the cheesecake.

browned butter in a white cookpot showing the clarified butter with browned bits in it.

You can see in this photo how dark I let the browned bits get. Maybe a little too dark to be honest, but it is not burned at all. It tasted phenomenal.

Let this browned butter sit out at room temperature while you mix up the cheesecake filling.

Start by whipping your cream.

stiff whipped cream on whish attachment with metal mixing bowl with whipped cream in background.

Beat heavy whipping cream for about 2-4 minutes, depending on how powerful your beater is, until it is pretty stiff. We don’t need this cream to be super smooth, you can beat until it starts to look a little shaggy. We want STIFF whipped cream, as this is the main stabilizer for our cheesecake, the element that keeps it from being runny. Scrape the whipped cream into another bowl and put it directly in the refrigerator to keep it chilled.

In the same bowl, no need to clean it out, beat your SOFTENED cream cheese with the whisk attachment, if you have one. Scrape the sides and keep going a few minutes until it is smooth and fluffy.

whipped cream cheese in metal mixing bowl with vanilla, sour cream, and sugar piled on top.

Once the cream cheese is whipped, you can add the rest of the ingredients: sugar, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Beat it all together.

Once your browned butter is COMPLETELY ROOM TEMPERATURE, you can add it to the cream cheese mixture.

top image: pouring browned butter into mixing bowl, bottom all of it on top of filling in bowl.

Every time I made this I got impatient and stuck my browned butter in the fridge, but you have to be careful, because you don’t want it to start to solidify. If it does, you need to stir or even melt it again in the microwave until it is completely liquid again. We don’t want any butter chunks in our cheesecake.

cheesecake filling with flecks of browned butter bits, in a metal mixing bowl.

After you’ve mixed in the browned butter, use a rubber spatula to fold in the chilled whipped cream. Don’t over mix, you don’t want to deflate the cream.

pouring cheesecake filing into a graham cracker crust.

Pour the mixture into your completely cooled graham cracker crust and smooth out the top.

Are we just loving these flecks of brown butter?? So much flavor.

a springform pan with no bake cheesecake, showing the crust on the edges and a smooth top.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours, 6 hours is better, 12 hours overnight is the best. The longer you chill it, the more stable the cheesecake will be. It will be easier to slice and will have a better texture. Honestly, lukewarm cheesecake is what they serve in hell, I think.

a hand pouring warmed jam from a metal pan into a bowl with fresh topped strawberries.

Once your cheesecake is chilled, make the Fresh Strawberry Topping. This is my favorite strawberry topping, the same one I use for my Strawberry Shortcake. Instead of just macerating strawberries with sugar, we are cooking jam in a little cornstarch to thicken it, then combining with the fresh berries. It makes the BEST syrupy sauce.

slice of no bake cheesecake showing thick crust and juicy strawberry topping.

And don’t forget to top with that extra graham crumble you made! It’s seriously the best!

side angle of no bake cheesecake with a heaping of fresh strawberry topping and graham crumble.

How to store easy no bake cheesecake

If your springform pan has a lid, the easiest way to keep any leftovers is to simply cover the cheesecake and put it in the refrigerator. If it doesn’t have a lid, cover the top tightly with plastic wrap. Or, carefully transfer pieces of cheesecake to airtight containers, but only do this if you are desperate, because it will make the crust soggy. Cheesecake will last in the refrigerator for 4-7 days, supposedly, I actually would not know.

No bake cheesecake is a GREAT make ahead dessert because it can last for so long. Make it a day or two in advance, then refrigerate til you’re ready to serve (just be sure not to add any topping or whipped cream garnish until you serve, and DON’T sneak a slice; once you cut into it, the crust starts to sog.) Don’t leave your no bake cheesecake out on the counter too long, hopefully no more than an hour or two. It will start to get soft and the dairy can begin to spoil if left out too long, and not only that, it’s my opinion that cheesecake should only be eaten when ice cold. Remember, warm cheesecake is what they eat in hell ;)

side view of a no bake cheesecake with a piece cut out of it and fresh berry topping.

Can no bake cheesecake be frozen?

Yes, it’s quite easy! Make the recipe as usual, and be sure to still follow the step to let the cheesecake set up in the refrigerator. Once it has completely set, move the whole pan to the freezer and flash freeze for 30 minutes, then cover tightly, first in plastic wrap and then in heavy aluminum foil. OR stick the whole pie pan in a 2 gallon freezer ziplock bag. After labeling it, return the cheesecake to the freezer. It will be good there for about 3-4 months, but I don’t like to wait too long as the quality starts to go down over time.

To thaw, transfer the sealed pan to the refrigerator and let it chill overnight or for several hours. Do not let it thaw at room temperature. It could make the cheesecake runny and mess with the smooth texture.

no bake cheesecake with mounded fresh strawberry topping and juice dripping down.

No bake cheesecake frequently asked questions

where can i buy cheesecake filling?

Most grocery stores will have a premade tub of cheesecake filling next to the cream cheese in the dairy section. I will say though, that this recipe is SO easy, tastes about 100x better, and doesn’t have any of the preservatives and fillers that the store bought kind does! Check out the recipe card to see how simple it is, you just may change your mind about buying it!!

what is no bake cheesecake filling made of?

No bake cheesecake filling really only has a few ingredients. The main ingredient, of course, is cream cheese. Get a good, high quality brand (I use Philadelphia). It’ll make a big difference in taste and texture! Then, to lighten (and sweeten) things up, sugar, whipped cream and sour cream are also added, plus some browned butter for the BEST flavor. The result is much airier and lighter than traditional cheesecake, but with the same delicious cream cheese flavor.

How do you thicken a no bake cheesecake filling?

Most of the thickening of a no bake cheesecake come from the cream cheese itself, with some stiff whipped cream added in to make it fluffy and add stability. Because there are no eggs or gelatin, a no bake cheesecake will never be as thick or dense as a classic baked cheesecake. Another important part of thickening a no bake cheesecake is to make sure it has plenty of time to set. In other words, the cream and cheese cream need to get down to the proper temperature in order to get firm enough to slice and serve. I recommend at least 6 hours if possible, otherwise you run the risk of a soupier texture. If it is still softer than you like after 6 hours, try putting it in the freezer for about 30 minutes to see if that firms it up a bit more.

is baked cheesecake better than no bake?

It really comes down to personal preference! Personally, I think there’s definitely room for both versions in life. Baked cheesecake is much more dense, almost velvety smooth. I tend to gravitate to it more for winter holidays since it spends quite a while in the oven and feels fancier for holidays. No bake cheesecakes are light, airy, and creamy. They perfectly lend themselves to spring and summer events with little oven time, and the lightness feels much more doable in the hotter weather. I would say yes to either one if offered a piece any time of year though!

can you eat philadelphia no bake cheesecake filling?

Yes! Whether store bought or this homemade version, the filling is not baked or altered in any way (other than setting up in the refrigerator) once it’s added to the crust, and there is nothing raw in it that would make you sick. If you prefer to eat your filling out of a bowl with a spoon vs in a crust, I will not judge you!

a pie server holding a perfectly sliced no bake cheesecake with remaining cheesecake in background.

More cheesecake recipes to love

I am a sucker for cheesecake of all kinds. No bake, Classic Baked Cheesecake, Cheesecake Parfait, cheesecake stuffed inside Strawberries, cheesecake stuffed Cupcakes, even cheesecake in Baklava. Here’s more!

side view of a whole no bake cheesecake smothered with fresh strawberry topping.

Hotter days, cooler treats

Baking is my jam year round, but there are definitely some flavors, textures, and temperatures that do better in different seasons. Have a peek at some of my favorite warm weather treats!

side view of whole no bake cheesecake showing sides of graham cracker crust and berry garnish.

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side view of a slice of no bake cheesecake with strawberry topping and graham crumble on top.
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No Bake Cheesecake

My go-to recipe for No Bake Cheesecake has all the classic elements you love: a dreamy creamy swirly filling on a crispy graham cracker crust. The perfect balance of tart and sweet! I have a secret ingredient that takes it over the top (it's optional but guys, it's so good.) No bake cheesecake is a perfect blank slate, but I am partial to Fresh Strawberry Topping, with extra graham cracker crumbs to sprinkle on top. This recipe is easy and a huge crowd pleaser!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 40 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 377kcal

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 18 full sheets graham crackers* 9.7 ounces, about 2 and 1/2 cups crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup butter melted

For the graham crumble (optional):

  • 9 full sheets graham crackers
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup butter melted

For the cheesecake:

  • 6 tablespoons butter optional
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk optional
  • 1 and 1/4 cups heavy cream**
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages full fat cream cheese softened
  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 batch Fresh Strawberry Topping

Instructions

  • Set out 3 packages of cream cheese, so they can come to room temperature.
  • Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add 2 packages of graham crackers* to a food processor. This is 18 full sheets, or about 9.7 ounces.
  • Add 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Pulse the mixture together until the crackers turn to fine crumbs. (you can smash the crackers in a ziplock, with a rolling pin, if you don't have a food processor.)
  • Melt 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) in the microwave. Add the butter to the crumbs and pulse to combine.
  • Add the crumbs to a 9-inch springform pan. Use a glass or measuring cup to press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and almost all the way up the sides of the pan. While pressing the sides of the pan with the glass, use your thumb to press the top edge of the crust, so that it gets packed in on the top edge.
  • Optional Crumb Topping: Before you pack up your food processor, make the crumb topping, if you want. Add another package of (9) graham crackers to the food processor, add 1 tablespoon sugar, and a pinch of salt. Pulse, then add 1/4 cup melted butter. Scrape the mixture onto a baking sheet and pack it into a flat crust with your hands or the glass.
  • Bake the crust in the springform pan and the baking sheet with the extra crust at the same time. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges have started to brown. Set the springform pan aside to cool. Use your hands or a fork to break up the extra crust. Store this in a serving bowl covered in plastic wrap until you are ready to serve your cheesecake. (Try not to eat it all immediately, this stuff is my ultimate weakness.)
  • Optional: Browned Butter. Next it's time to brown the extra-browns butter so it has time to cool. Add 6 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons whole milk to a small saucepan. Set the pan over medium heat and whisk constantly, or at least very frequently.
  • The butter will foam and pop, then foam again while the browned bits are forming on the bottom of the pan. Keep whisking, using a rubber spatula to work into the corners if it feels like they are starting to stick. You will know the butter is brown when you can see golden bits lifting up through the foam. The mixture will smell nutty.
  • Immediately transfer the browned butter to a small bowl and set aside to cool completely.
  • Whip the cream. Add 1 and 1/4 cups cream* to a large bowl or stand mixer bowl. Beat (using the whisk attachment if you have one) for about 2-4 minutes, until the cream is stiff and almost shaggy. It should stand up straight when you flip the beater upside down. See photos. You want the cream thick, because it is the main stabilizer for this cheesecake, the ingredient that helps it keep it's shape. Scrape the whipped cream into another bowl and put it in the refrigerator right away.
  • In the same bowl (no need to wash), use the whisk attachment to beat the cream cheese. The cream cheese should be completely softened. Beat the cream cheese, stopping to scrape the sides, until it is soft and there are absolutely zero lumps.
  • Add the remaining cheesecake ingredients: 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or sea salt). Beat well until combined.
  • Add the completely cooled browned butter. Beat well, scraping the sides.
  • Remove the whisk attachment or beaters. Use a rubber spatula to fold in 1/3 of the chilled whipped cream. Once it's incorporated, fold in the remaining 2/3 of the whipped cream. Be careful and try not to deflate the whipped cream. Be gentle and don't overdo it.
  • Once the whipped cream is incorporated, scrape the mixture into the completely cooled graham cracker crust. Spread the top evenly and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for 4-12 hours, or up to 2 days.
  • Make the topping. An hour (or up to 24 hours) before you want to serve your cheesecake, make the Fresh Strawberry Topping. Chill the strawberries until you are ready to serve your cheesecake. (You don't have to make this topping, it's just my favorite. You can serve this cheesecake with any fresh berries, a can of cherry pie filling, Hot Fudge, Caramel Sauce, whatever you want.)
  • Serve. If you are absolutely certain your party will eat every slice of the cheesecake, you can pour the strawberry topping right on top the chilled cheesecake. Top with the graham crumble. It makes for a fun and pretty presentation, but it doesn't last.
    If you know you won't eat the whole cheesecake, slice the cheesecake and ladle strawberry topping and graham crumble on top of each plate of cheesecake.
  • Store the cheesecake covered in the fridge. See blog post for freezing options!

Notes

*Crust options: You can use any type of crisp cookie for this crust. Use 9-10 ounces total, which usually comes out to about 2 and 1/2 cups. I love using Nilla Wafers, Biscoff cookies, Gingersnaps, or Walker’s shortbread cookies. Oreos would also work well! Use about half the amount of butter in the crust if you are using Oreos (or any cookie with a filling.) 
**Heavy cream is sold near the milk in the dairy section. It is not coffee creamer. Sometimes it is labeled whipping cream, ultra heavy whipping cream, etc. These names differentiate fat content levels. For making whipped cream, buy the cream with the highest fat content you can! The cream I used is 36% fat content, wish I could have found 40%. 
Nutrition Facts do not include the Strawberry Topping.

Nutrition

Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 263mg | Potassium: 52mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 961IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Beef and Broccoli

Beef and Broccoli can be so hit and miss, right? Sometimes it’s transcendent, other times it’s gloopy and chewy. I’ve figured out the secrets! If you’re a Chinese food lover, make this easy homemade Beef and Broccoli recipe for a healthy dinner that’s faster (and cheaper) than takeout. A few Asian pantry staples are all…

Beef and Broccoli can be so hit and miss, right? Sometimes it’s transcendent, other times it’s gloopy and chewy. I’ve figured out the secrets! If you’re a Chinese food lover, make this easy homemade Beef and Broccoli recipe for a healthy dinner that’s faster (and cheaper) than takeout. A few Asian pantry staples are all you need to make this stir fry that is seriously SO GOOD. Healthy (check) one-pan meal (check) done in less than an hour (check!) Make it with 20 minute Rice or Cauliflower Rice!

Close up of Chinese food beef and broccoli, with sauce and sesame seeds and rice.
Table of Contents
  1. Beef and broccoli stir fry
  2. Beef and broccoli recipe ingredients
  3. How to make beef and broccoli
  4. What to serve with beef broccoli stir fry
  5. How to store beef and broccoli
  6. Can you freeze beef and broccoli?
  7. Beef and broccoli frequently asked questions
  8. Easy beef recipes
  9. Beef and Broccoli Recipe

I went out of state to visit my brother last weekend, who just bought a meth house. Kidding! Kind of. He was halfway through the purchase when he randomly (or maybe inspired!) thought to pay extra for a meth inspection and it came back positive. Gah!!

It’s all cleaned out now. The previous owners took care of decontamination (a tenant was the culprit.) The house was condemned by the state right away after the test came back. I was worried they would raze it to the ground! I’m so glad they were able to get it scrubbed, because the house is so cool!

plate of beef strips with sauce and broccoli and cucumbers.

It was built in 1923, and is sooo beautiful. One hundred year old houses have such a vibe, but they are a lot of work. We spent the weekend deep cleaning his kitchen cupboards and rummaging local antique shops for furniture that will fit the energy of a 1920s bungalow.

It was such a nice change of pace! It’s always so much more fun to clean someone else’s house than to clean your own, you know?? Why is that? If I had half that amount of energy for organizing my own house, we would be eating off the floor over here.

But alas, my 4 children conspire against me daily. Just yesterday I found a baggie of goldfish smashed all over the carpet upstairs, exactly 30 seconds before I had to be in a zoom meeting. You better believe I just left that nonsense right there. Hi, welcome to my house, would you like to clean it? Because I REFUSE.

saucy beef strips and broccoli florets close up

Beef and broccoli stir fry

I’m so excited to tell you about today’s recipe for Beef and Broccoli, and how it blows away any takeout Chinese I’ve ever had.

Honestly guys, I’ve never been a huge Beef and Broccoli fan. I love beef, and I love broccoli, so what’s my deal?? Turns out it’s the sauce I wasn’t in love with, which can sometimes be overwhelmingly sweet, cloyingly thick, or overly…fishy?

side angle shot of beef with broccoli on a plate with rice.

My BFF Sarah helps me with recipe development, and she discovered in testing that it’s the high amount of Oyster Sauce I find a little overwhelming when it comes to some recipes for Beef and Broccoli.

Oyster sauce is pretty magical stuff, and an absolutely essential ingredient for classic Beef and Broccoli. It adds amazing umami flavor, so I didn’t want to leave it out. I love this article all about Oyster Sauce, and reading about how it was made accidentally back in 1888 when someone left Oyster soup on to cook for too long 😂 .

It’s a very concentrated sauce that really amps up the flavor of Beef and Broccoli, I just wanted it to be less of a highlight and more of an accent, if that makes sense. Sarah adjusted the final recipe to have a little less Oyster sauce, and I was absolutely astonished by how much I loved it the next time I made it. The final dish is well balanced; not too sweet, not too salty, but just a perfect blend of rich flavors that is so uniquely Chinese, you will feel like you’re sitting in the restaurant. (Where are my fortune cookies??)

Beef and broccoli recipe ingredients

Is your pantry stocked for Asian cooking? If not, you will need to visit the Asian aisle at your grocery store, but won’t need to make a special trip to an international store. This is an overview, the recipe is at the bottom of the post!

ingredients laid out on a table, including flank steak, brown sugar, broccoli, hoison sauce, salt, sherry wine.
  • 1 pound beef (flank steak, skirt steak, flat iron steak, or ribeye if you’re really treating yourself!)
  • fresh broccoli
  • Shaoxing wine (or sherry cooking wine)
  • low-sodium soy sauce
  • oil
  • oyster sauce
  • hoisin sauce
  • chili paste (like sambal oelek)
  • brown sugar
  • sesame oil
  • cornstarch
  • rice, for serving

How to make beef and broccoli

First things first: pop your beef in the freezer for a few minutes so it gets partially frozen on the edges. This makes it 1000x easier to slice it as thin as we need it for this recipe.

Then we are breaking the cardinal rule of meat butchering: we’re going to slice this baby WITH THE GRAIN. Just once, like this.

flank steak sliced in half with the grain, then sliced into strips against the grain.

THEN we slice against the grain. The first long cut was so that we don’t have like 10 inch long strips of beef. Cutting against the grain means that your knife is perpendicular to where the lines of the meat are running. Can you see it in the photo above?

Meat is made up of long strands, and cutting against the grain means that our KNIFE is doing a lot of the cutting work, instead of relying only on our poor omnivorous teeth. Cutting a fantastic piece of meat very poorly will result in meat that has a chewy, tough texture no matter how much it cost, or how well you cooked it.

strips of beef marinating in shaoxing wine.

Toss your beef into the marinade for a few minutes. This marinade is so stupid easy, it’s just 3 ingredients: cornstarch, low sodium soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine. I had never heard of this wine before! It’s a classic ingredient in Chinese cooking. I had a heck of a time finding it! You can buy it online here, or an international market is probably your best bet. Shaoxing wine is of course traditional and brings the most authentic flavor, but I subbed Sherry cooking wine, and thought it tasted amazing.

Also, have you heard about cornstarch marinades in Chinese cooking? It’s a technique called “velveting” because the cornstarch reacts with the meat and basically acts as a meat tenderizer. It makes the beef so, so tender and perfect.

how to chop broccoli into florets.

Take a hot minute to chop up your broccoli, before things get real over on the stove. If at this point you decide “I want more vegetables!” you could totally slice up some mushrooms, carrots, or peppers to cook along with the broccoli. It’s your thing, do what you wanna do.

Don’t forget the rice. Start the rice now, before we cook the beef, so it has time to steam. Did you catch my last post all about how I make rice for my family? It’s so easy. I usually make white rice for the kids and Cauliflower Rice (or Asian Cauliflower Rice) for me and Eric, because we like to eat low-carb dinners most nights. I often buy the pre-riced frozen cauliflower, because it’s so easy, just heat it up in a pan with some oil and salt.

Now it’s time to sear!

searing strips of beef in a black skillet.

I love to sear my beef in half veggie oil, half sesame oil. Sesame oil is strong but I love love love the flavor. You can skip it and use regular oil if you like.

Whichever way you sear it, just make sure you are leaving enough space in the pan! The meat strips should not be touching each other. If you crowd them all in at once, it will cook but it will not get brown, and you miss out on tons of flavor. It’s so tragic. Don’t do it. Sear in batches and be patient.

You don’t even have to be that patient, this meat is so thin that it cooks in about 1 minute for each side! Remove it all to a plate and make way for some broccoli.

overhead shot of stir frying broccoli in a cast iron skillet.

I also saute my broccoli in half sesame oil, half veggie oil. It’s so good! The other tip for doing the broccoli is to stir the pan constantly, and add water 1 tablespoon at a time. The pan is so hot by this point that the broccoli may start to scorch before it’s cooked all the way through. If you add water, a little bit at a time, it will sizzle and evaporate right away, creating steam that helps cook the broccoli. Keep going 2-3 minutes until you see the florets change color to a darker green. We want crisp-tender, not mushy!

Here are all the ingredients for the final sauce. It’s oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, chili garlic paste, brown sugar, sesame oil, cornstarch, and salt and black pepper It’s sooo good.

sauce ingredients in a bowl, adding sauce to beef and broccoli in black pan.

Add the meat back to the pan, douse the whole thing in sauce, stir it up, let’s goooooo

close up overhead of white plate with stripc of beef, sliced shallot, broccoli florets, and sesame seed.

Don’t forget all the goods! Green onions, sesame seeds, Asian Marinated Cucumber Salad, and some sriracha mayo to round it all out. I’m tellin you guys.

What to serve with beef broccoli stir fry

Beef and broccoli is such a classic takeout pick. I love serving it with White Rice or Cauliflower Rice and calling dinner done. But I also love doing sides or making it a “fakeout” night (get it? fake takeout, cause you’re making it at home) and doing more of my Chinese restaurant favorites. Here are some ideas:

overhead shot of beef with broccoli in a black cast iron skillet.

How to store beef and broccoli

If eating leftover Chinese food straight from the container in the fridge is your thing (raises hand), this recipe is perfect for meal prep. Store it in sectioned containers with rice and you’re done. Make sure your tupperwares are airtight so your lunch doesn’t dry out. It’ll last for 4-5 days in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave for about a minute, depending on your portion size and microwave strength.

Sometimes leftover rice can be dry, but if you heat it up in the microwave along with the beef and broccoli, the moisture from your main dish will help freshen up the rice. You can also sprinkle a teaspoon or so of water on the rice and it helps a ton. Read more about reheating rice here.

Beef and broccoli close-up with rice, onions, and sriracha mayo.

Can you freeze beef and broccoli?

I’m going to say hard pass this time, guys. I don’t recommend freezing your leftovers. The texture of the broccoli is going to be pretty weird after defrosting, so just don’t go there. The reason we love Beef Broccoli is because of the crispy-tenderness of the whole situation. Don’t mess with it.

Beef and broccoli frequently asked questions

What is beef and broccoli sauce made of?

Beef and broccoli sauce is made from Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Sometimes ginger, garlic, hoisin sauce, and chili garlic sauce are added. If you know you love one of these ingredients you can add a little more (or, if it’s not your favorite, a little less.)

What kind of beef for beef and broccoli?

Flank steak is my favorite. Sometimes the best cut of meat is the one you already have, though, or what you can afford. If you’re at the store, decide how fancy you want to go. Ribeye makes an incredible beef and broccoli. All that beautiful marbling means the meat is super melt in your mouth and tender. Cheaper options (but still excellent ones) are flank steak, skirt steak, or flat iron steak. I tried London Broil but didn’t love it for this recipe. Another good choice, although a leaner one, is sirloin.

How do you thicken beef and broccoli?

Cornstarch is the perfect thickener for beef and broccoli sauce. Just a couple teaspoons added transforms the sauce to have a phenomenal creamy texture!

How TO MAKE BEEF TENder for stir fry?

To tenderize the beef we’re using a traditional Chinese method called “velveting.” Meat is marinated in an easy cornstarch slurry for 20 minutes or so, and the cornstarch makes it so incredibly tender.

is beef and broccoli healthy?

Heck yes! All that protein AND the veggies, in one pan?? Yes please. I’d definitely call this a healthy dinner, especially served with Cauliflower Rice, but even with regular white rice it’s still a pretty healthy option!

beef and broccoli stir fry in an orange clay bowl.

Easy beef recipes

Steak might be a special occasion dinner, but cheaper cuts of beef can make a weeknight meal feel just as fancy without the fancy price. Here are some of my favorites meals using high-protein, juicy beef!

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Close up of Chinese food beef and broccoli, with sauce and sesame seeds and rice.
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Beef and Broccoli

Beef and Broccoli can be so hit and miss, right? Sometimes it's transcendent, other times it's gloopy and chewy. I've figured out the secrets! If you're a Chinese food lover, make this easy homemade Beef and Broccoli recipe for a healthy dinner that's faster (and cheaper) than takeout! A few Asian pantry staples are all you need to make this stir fry that is seriously SO GOOD. Healthy (check) one-pan meal (check) done in less than an hour (check!) Make it with 20 minute Rice or Cauliflower Rice!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 people
Calories 313kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound flank steak* (or flat iron, skirt, sirloin, or ribeye steak)
  • 1 pound broccoli florets 2 heads broccoli

For the marinade:

  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch for the marinade
  • 4 and 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce**
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine*** or substitute sherry wine

For the sauce:

For searing

  • vegetable oil
  • sesame oil

For serving:

Instructions

  • Freeze your beef: Put your beef in the freezer so it's easier to slice. 30 minutes is just about perfect.
  • Prep your broccoli. Separate the florets from stems. I like using just the florets, but feel free to cut the stems into small pieces and use them too. You need about a pound of broccoli once it's chopped, about 2 medium heads.
  • Prepare the marinade: Add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, 4 and 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine* to a medium bowl.
  • Slice the beef: We want thin strips or beef that are cut against the grain. If you are using a flank steak or other long cut of beef, make one long vertical cut WITH the grain before you start slicing, so that the strips are not like 8 inches long. See photos.
    Slice the beef against the grain very thin, no more than 1/4 inch for each piece. Each piece should be about 4 inches long. Add the beef strips to the marinade, stir, and set a timer for 20 minutes.
  • Prepare the sauce: While the beef is marinating, prep the sauce in another small bowl. Whisk together 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 3 tablespoons oyster sauce, 1/3 cup Hoisin sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. (Use less salt if all you have is table salt.)
  • Rice: If you plan to serve this with rice, start making it now so it can simmer and steam while you sear the beef. Here's How to make Rice.
  • Stir fry the beef: Heat a cast iron skillet (or the largest heaviest skillet or wok you have) over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom.
  • Lift the slices of marinated beef one at a time, letting the marinade drip off. Add the beef to the pan in a single layer, with 1-2 inches of space in between each strip of beef. (We will be cooking this in several batches) Be very careful not to drop the pieces, this oil is hot and you don't want to splatter yourself.
  • Let the strips cook for 60-90 seconds, until they are browning on the bottom. Use tongs to flip each piece individually. As soon as the second side is browned, remove the beef to a plate. The slices are thin, so they only need a minute or so on each side, and remember, this is steak, so it doesn't exactly need to be well done.
  • Continue to sear the rest of the beef. Add more vegetable and sesame oil as necessary in between batches. If you add too much beef at once, there will be too much liquid being released from the beef. This prevents the browning process. The beef needs space to allow that liquid to evaporate; the liquid evaporating is the only way the beef gets in contact with the oil, which is what does the browning. Science!
  • Stir fry the broccoli: Once all the beef is seared and removed, add 1 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil to the skillet, still set over medium high heat. Add the chopped broccoli florets all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until you see the florets change color to a darker green, about 2 minutes. We want crisp-tender broccoli, not mushy, so keep an eye on it and don't overdo it.
  • Add water to the broccoli, 1 tablespoon at a time once you notice that the bottom of the pan is drying out. The water will evaporate right away and this will help the broccoli to steam. I usually add several tablespoons of water, at least 3-5. Don't let the liquid pool. It should be hot enough that it evaporates immediately.
  • Finish the dish: As soon as the broccoli is cooked (and, let me say it again, NOT MUSHY) add the beef back to the skillet, followed by all sauce. Scrape it all in there. It will immediately begin to bubble. Give everything a quick stir so the beef and broccoli is coated with the sauce, then turn off the burner and remove the pan from the heat so the cooking process stops.
  • Serve hot with the rice. Garnish with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with a garnish of Asian Marinated Cucumbers, it's so good! You can also serve this with Sriracha mayo (1/2 cup mayo stirred with 1 tablespoon sriracha, or to taste.)
  • If you really want to go all out, crisp up some frozen egg rolls in the oven while you're cooking the beef and broccoli, buy some fortune cookies, and it's a whole takeout feast.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Don't freeze!

Notes

*I tested this with flank steak, skirt steak, and ribeye and they were all amazing. Of course ribeye was the most amazing but if this is just a weeknight, no need to splurge! I also tested it with London Broil but I can’t recommend it. It’s just too lean. Sirloin might be the right choice for you if you prefer your beef on the leaner side. 
**If you use regular soy sauce, cut the salt from the recipe.
***If you can’t find Shaoxing wine (it’s tough to find if you’re not at an international market) then you can use a dry sherry wine instead. Cooking sherry wine is also a good substitute!)
****Not a big fan of oyster sauce? Me neither. Just leave it out and add an extra tablespoon or two of hoisin sauce. Your beef and broccoli will still have great flavor. I included it in the recipe because it’s just so classic and people who are already beef and broccoli fans-for-life would miss it too much if I left it out. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 1180mg | Potassium: 809mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 709IU | Vitamin C: 101mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 3mg

How to Cook Rice on the Stove

Do you know how to cook rice on the stove? It’s actually SO easy to make rice in a pot. I promise you don’t need a fancy rice cooker appliance! If you’re tired of burned, mushy, bland rice, we are going to fix that today! I will show you step by step exactly how I…

Do you know how to cook rice on the stove? It’s actually SO easy to make rice in a pot. I promise you don’t need a fancy rice cooker appliance! If you’re tired of burned, mushy, bland rice, we are going to fix that today! I will show you step by step exactly how I make rice for my family, something I do weekly. Rice done right is fluffy and flavorful. No gumminess, no scorching, no crying over burnt rice. Serve it with dinner, or meal prep it with protein and veggies for the week!

Close up of cooked white rice with parsley and a fork.
Table of Contents
  1. Rice, minus the stress and judgment
  2. Should you rinse your rice?
  3. How to cook rice on the stove
  4. Rice rules
  5. What you need to make rice
  6. What is the right ratio of rice to water on the stove?
  7. How to make rice
  8. Toast the rice
  9. What to serve with rice
  10. What to do with leftover rice
  11. How to store rice
  12. How to reheat rice
  13. Cooking rice frequently asked questions
  14. How to Cook Rice on the Stove Recipe

It’s the end of the school year, and summer is in the air! I helped out in my son’s 5th grade class this morning for their “Olympic events.” I was in charge of running a game that was supposed to involve the kids tossing an enormous beach ball back and forth to each other.

This ball was so huge, like bigger than some of the kids’ actual bodies, and it was a super windy day, so this of course resulted in absolute mayhem. Gleeful, delighted mayhem; every kid had a grin on their face a mile wide. What could be better than school ending, no classwork, and the promise of popsicles? (Bouncing a giant beach ball off of your head, that’s what.)

Cooked rice on plate with beef and broccoli and cucumbers.
(That’s Beef Broccoli on the plate, recipe coming stat, it’s so good yall)

Eventually, after us hollering at the kids 100 times to get away from the fence, the ball sailed over it into the street beyond, to championship-level cheering from the kids, and panic-stricken dismay from all the teachers. Another volunteer and I sprinted around the gate and managed to save the ball, which had thankfully gotten stuck in the bushes of the street partition.

If it hadn’t been stopped, the larger-than-life beach ball would have bounded down the steep hill that also happens to be a 45 mph traffic lane. Can you imagine that car accident report? “Driver reports swerving into oncoming traffic after a beach ball the size of Mt. Olympus fell out of the sky onto the hood of his car.” 😳 Whew! Ending the school year with a bang over here??

On to today’s recipe! I’ve wanted to do a basic rice post for years and years but it always felt soooo boring. Doesn’t everyone know how to do this? NO, no they do not, I have found. I rely so much on this tried and true method, it seems unfair that I haven’t shared with you. It’s an important recipe to have in your back pocket, for weeknights and impressive dinners alike.

Rice is the perfect blank page for your stir-fry or curry, but things can go south quickly if you don’t know the rules. We make rice at least 1-2 times a weeks, and both my pre-teens can whip up a pot by themselves. Time to record how to cook rice step by step on the stovetop, for posterity!

indian curry recipe on a white plate with rice, roti, and garnishes
Easy Chicken Curry, my favvv.

Rice, minus the stress and judgment

Rice, rice, baby. Are you one of 99.9% of Americans who gets stressed out about making rice?? Somehow we’ve been conned into thinking that we need a fancy appliance for this no-brainer job that you can do in 10 minutes.

Guys, I’m not kidding. Don’t listen to the rice maker industry. Don’t listen to the folks telling you you are going to screw this up. And please, for the love, don’t listen to the folks telling you to rinse your rice 8 times.

(Seriously, my friend Sarah had a friend when she lived in Japan who rinsed EIGHT TIMES. Actually, the story goes that this particular Japanese woman married an American dude, and the first time he made rice for her she took one bite and said, “How many times did you rinse this?” because she could tell it was three times and not eight times.🤯)

Cooked rice in white pot with wooden spoon and parsley.

Should you rinse your rice?

This story befuddled me, because I’ve tried rinsing rice (3 times! 8 times!) and not rinsing rice and CANNOT tell the difference, at all. (Where is my fine palate now??)

Turns out, this rinsing rule used to be super important, but is a little outdated, at least in the United States.

Rice is a big deal in Asia. Kind of like how the Inuits have 20 different words for snow, the Japanese in particular have gone deeeep into the world of rice. And indeed, if you are cooking some rice you bought overseas, you should follow all the rinsing rules you’ve heard about. Wash and clean that rice like you’re about to sell it on E-bay.

But here in the states? Nah. Rice grown and processed in Japan is not the same as rice in the United States. The reason the Japanese rinse so much is because the rice still has a sticky coating on it called hada nuka (“skin bran”), and if you cook your rice without getting that sticky stuff off, if will turn out gummy and mushy. You can buy “pre-rinsed” rice in Japan, but nobody does, because rinsing is such a cultural thing now.

Cooked rice in a pot with wooden spoon and parsley.

About 30 years ago, rice factories in the United States changed their process to include the removal of the sticky coating. Any rice you are buying here has already been “rinsed.” (You can read all about Japanese rice rinsing and the fascinating impact on the environment over at the Japanese Food Guide.)

If you hand-rinse rice that was already “rinsed” at the factory, you are not only doing a job that has already been done (trying to remove a “skin bran” that is not there), but you actually risk washing off some of the nutrients that are in the rice, sending them straight down the drain. Crazy, right, that it’s taken 30 years to get the memo out about this?? Raise your hand if your mama taught you to rinse the rice?

How to cook rice on the stove

Okay, so now that we’ve cleared up the rinsing situation, how do we make rice that doesn’t burn and scorch on the bottom, that isn’t crunchy when you serve it, and that isn’t a soggy bland mess?

It’s all about the water to rice ratio, and timing.

Measured ingredients for cooking rice in a pot including salt, butter, dry white rice, and water.

It’s not hard. But sometimes, it’s the simplest things that are the easiest to mess up.

Rice rules

  • Don’t rinse the rice. Your mama might have taught you that you need to rinse your rice to remove starch. Rinsing rice removes a tiny amount of starch, but not enough to make a difference. Also, rinsing rice can make it soggy! Even if you drain rinsed rice, it still retains some of the water. If you do insist on rinsing your rice, add 2 fewer tablespoons water when you cook it.
  • ADD SALT, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL YOU HOLD DEAR. Salt doesn’t make your rice taste salty; it makes your rice taste more like rice. This “hold the salt” attitude comes straight from Asian cooking, where those eating it have plans to douse their rice in a saucy and salty main dish (You know how salty soy sauce is, right?) It’s a very traditional choice, but I do not have a Korean grandmother snapping her fingers at me. Even when I make stir fry, I still salt my rice. And rice for Mexican food definitely needs salt. I cannot stress this enough! Salt is the magic ingredient for rice.
  • Remember to turn the heat down once it boils. If you don’t, you can burn the rice onto the bottom of the pan and cleaning it is going to be a pain. Plus, burned rice. Low heat is what you want.
  • Don’t peek at the rice. It’s not putting on a show for you in there! Taking off the lid lets steam escape. If the rice can’t steam, it will cook unevenly and some of it will be hard and crunchy. NOOO crunchy rice is so sad!
  • Don’t use an enormous pot. If you use a pot that’s too large, your rice won’t cook evenly. A pot that is 2 or 3 quart capacity is good for 1 cup of rice, or even doubling it. Only go for a big pot if you’re cooking at least 3 cups of uncooked rice.

What you need to make rice

Ingredients for how to cook rice on the stove with long grain white rice, butter, salt, and water.

You probably have this stuff in your house right now. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for all the details!

  • rice: any kind of white rice, short-grain rice, medium grain rice, long grain rice, basmati rice, or sushi rice (don’t sub jasmine rice, it needs less water!)
  • kosher salt
  • butter or oil, any kind (optional!)

What is the right ratio of rice to water on the stove?

The right ratio for fluffy, perfect rice every time is 1 part rice to 1.5 parts water. You can scale up as much as you want, as long as your pot is big enough to contain it without spilling over. Here is a handy chart I made, mostly for myself, because I’m always trying to figure this out last minute at 5pm, squeezing my fists against my eyeballs, and it’s a disaster 😂 Math: not my strong suit.

DRY White Rice+ Water+ Kosher Salt+ Butter or Oil= COOKED Rice
1 cup1 and 1/2 cups3/4 teaspoon1 tablespoon3 cups
1 and 1/2 cups2 and 1/4 cups1 and 1/8 teaspoon1.5 tablespoons4 and 1/4 cups
2 cups3 cups1 and 1/2 teaspoons2 tablespoons6 cups
3 cups4 and 1/2 cups2 and 1/4 teaspoons3 tablespoons9 cups
4 cups6 cups1 tablespoon1/4 cup12 cups

Remember that we’re talking about the rice to water ratio for short, medium, or long grain white rice, basmati rice, or sushi rice! If you use some other kind of rice for this recipe, it might not turn out. Check the recipe notes for ratios for Jasmine rice, Jasmine is a little diva and needs her own special ratio 🙄 just kidding I love you Jas.

For every cup of uncooked rice, you’ll get about three cups of cooked rice (see the photo below). Generally when you’re serving a group you want 1/2 to 1 cup rice for each person, depending on what you’re serving with the rice. Of course, if you make many more cups of rice than you end up needing you can always freeze it for later (more on that later!)

glass measuring cups showing 1 cup of dry rice and 3 cups of cooked rice.

How to make rice

It’s so easy guys. Toss all the ingredients in a pot. Not too big of a pot, we’re not making soup. The rice won’t cook evenly. Just a medium or small pot is fine. (1, 2, or 3-quart capacity is great.)

Preparing rice to cook on the stove by pouring water into pot with dry rice and butter.

Put the lid on your saucepan and turn the heat to high. As soon as the water starts bubbling (steam will escape from the lid), turn the heat down. I am always bustling around my kitchen doing other stuff while I wait for the rice to boil, and it boils over I swear about half the time. Don’t be like me. Stick around and keep an eye on it. (DON’T give up and buy a rice cooker now. If you can manage to boil pasta, you can stick around to boil rice too. Don’t be a wuss.)

white pot of rice boiling on the stove with lid on.

Once it’s boiling, you are going to be tempted to take off that lid, especially if it boils over. Don’t do it! Just turn the heat down and walk away for 10 minutes.

Here’s the next big step. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat. That’s it. Don’t take off the lid. Don’t move the pot off the stove. Don’t do anything except set a 15 minute timer. We’re letting the rice rest so it can continue steaming just a little, absorbing any extra liquid so it’s nice and fluffy.

After this strenuous waiting period, you are done! You can finally take off the lid, I promise I won’t yell at you this time.

Cooked rice unfluffed in a pot after sitting from cooking on the stove.

Now it’s time to fluff!

Fluffing cooked rice in a pot with a fork.

They always say to fluff the rice with a fork, but any utensil will do. The goal here is to not smoosh the rice. So don’t jam a spoon in and stir. Instead, insert your fork or spoon underneath the rice and gently lift. Do this over and over until your rice looks big and fluffy and maybe like a little cloud that you might just float away on.

Cooked rice in a pot with wooden spoon and parsley.

Toast the rice

There is one easy thing you can do to amp up the flavor of your rice, and that is toasting the dry rice in fat before adding the water. FATTTT yes please.

Cooking rice on the stove with browned butter before and after.

Oh and we’re adding some garlic this time, because garlic is the best. I’m a garlic lover and almost always add this to my rice. Totally optional. (I usually just add a spoonful of jarred garlic.)

Cooked rice using browned butter in a stove just after finishing and with wooden spoon.

Can you see how brown it gets? That’s because the butter gets browned as you cook. This is just regular white rice, plus browned butter – it is not brown rice. If you use oil, it won’t get as brown like this.

Rice cooked with browned butter in a white pot with a wooden spoon.

I mean look at this toasty goodness.

What to serve with rice

Like, you can pretty much serve anything with a pot of hot fresh rice and it’s going to be amazing. But these are some of my all time favorite meals that go perfectly with a side dish of rice.

Korean beef bowl with rice and veggies on a wooden table with bowl of red pepper flakes.
Korean Beef for the winnnnn

What to do with leftover rice

You can warm up leftover rice and serve it with almost anything at all. If you want to incorporate it into your next meal, here are some ideas!

Sheet pan fried rice cooked and ready to eat.
Sheet Pan Chicken Fried Rice is so great for when you seriously misjudged a meal and have a tonnnn of rice leftover 😂

How to store rice

Storing leftover rice is easy. Once it’s cooled, toss it in a ziplock or Tupperware and pop it in the fridge. Make sure it’s tightly sealed. It shouldn’t be on the counter at room temperature for more than 2 hours before you refrigerate or freeze it.

How long does rice keep in the fridge?

Rice will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. After that, you’re living dangerously, and by dangerously I mean risking food poisoning. I’m actually pretty lax when it comes to food that might be suspect from my fridge, to be honest (doesn’t this make you want to come over for dinner?? 😅) But I don’t mess around with rice. It’s so cheap, it’s so fast and easy to make, that if I’m not sure about it, I toss the leftovers and just make more. You can get soooo super sick from bad rice.

ziplock full of cooked rice, labeled with the date.

Can you freeze cooked rice?

Yes you can, and it’s awesome!! As soon as your rice is cool, just put it in a ziplock bag and pop it in the freezer. It will stay fresh for up to six months, and you can add it to other recipes or reheat some to go with dinner whenever you want. Make sure you sprinkle with water before reheating! Read on:

How to reheat rice

The best way to reheat rice is in the microwave with a little water, covered with a plate or microwave cover. For every cup of cooked rice, you’ll want to sprinkle on about 2 teaspoons of water. Rice stored in the fridge dries out, and a little moisture added back in makes the difference between “ugh, leftover rice” and “oh yeah! leftover rice!!” Make sure the rice is covered when you reheat, so that it can steam. If you’ve never reheated rice this way you’re going to be impressed by how much of a difference covereing and adding a bit of water makes. It’s like fresh rice on day 2. Use this method even if you’re reheating from frozen. It might take a little longer, but otherwise it’s the same.

Cooking rice frequently asked questions

WHY RINSE rice?

The purpose of rinsing rice is to remove excess starch, but it’s actually totally unnecessary if you are cooking with rice processed in the United States, since that step was taken care of in processing. (If you want to rinse your rice, go ahead! Just remember to add 2 fewer tablespoons of water per cup of rice.) If you bought your rice in bulk from a market and are concerned about dirt or debris, that’s a totally different (and valid) reason to want to rinse your rice. Just remember to reduce the amount of water.

how do i fix undercooked rice?

Your timer rang, but you can see that there’s still lots of liquid in the pot. Maybe you added too much water, maybe you lifted the lid halfway through and released all the steam, maybe your stove is just acting up. You can still fix your rice! Let the rice continue to simmer for another 3-5 minutes, then leave the lid on and let steam as directed.

how long does rice take to cook?

If you’re cooking sushi rice, basmati rice, short-grain, medium-grain, or long-grain white rice, it takes about 10 minutes to cook on the stovetop and another 10 to continue steaming, with the lid on. Jasmine rice takes the same time, but requires less liquid than the other types mentioned.

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Close of up basmati white rice in a metal pot.
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How to Cook Rice on the Stove

Do you know how to cook rice on the stove? It's actually SO easy to make rice in a pot. I promise you don't need a fancy rice cooker appliance! If you're tired of burned, mushy, bland rice, we are going to fix that today! I will show you step by step exactly how I make rice for my family, something I do weekly. Rice done right is fluffy and flavorful. No gumminess, no scorching, no crying over burnt rice. Serve it with dinner, or meal prep it with protein and veggies for the week!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Asian, Mexican
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Steam Time 15 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 194kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rice sushi, short, medium, or long grain
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water*
  • 1 tablespoons butter** or oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt use 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 clove garlic optional

Instructions

  • Add 1 cup dry rice, 1 and 1/2 cups water, 1 tablespoon butter or oil,** and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt to a medium saucepan. Add 1 clove minced garlic if you like! It's optional! I love the flavor.
  • Boil. Place a lid on the saucepan and turn the heat to HIGH. Stick around until the rice comes to a boil, this only takes a few minutes. Don't walk away, or it will boil over. My rice boils over probably 9 out of 10 times that I make rice, 😆 so don't panic if it happens, you will just have to clean it up. (Actually, my toxic trait is not cleaning up my boiled over rice mess. Welcome to my house, I'm disgusting.)
  • Bring the temperature down to low. As soon as you see steam escaping from beneath the lid, it's boiling. Don't you dare lift that lid. Turn the heat down to LOW. Cook on LOW for 10 minutes.
  • Steam. When the 10-minute timer rings, turn off the heat but don't remove the pot from the stove, leave it right where it is. DON'T peek, don't take off the lid. Set another timer for 15 minutes so that it can steam.
  • Fluff. When the 15-minute timer rings for the steam, you can finally take that lid off. They always say to fluff the rice with a fork; the goal here is to aerate the rice by lifting it gently. Use whatever utensil you want, but "stirring" is not the best method here, you don't want to smoosh your rice. Insert your fork or spatula underneath the rice and lift, over and over, until the rice is fluffy and big and hot and ready for a pat of butter. Yum.
  • Serve hot! Store leftovers covered in the fridge for about 4 days.
  • Freezing Instructions: As soon as your rice is cool, just put it in a ziplock bag and pop it in the freezer. It will stay fresh for up to six months. Reheat in a bowl in the microwave, sprinkled with 2 teaspoons water and covered well so the rice can steam.

Notes

*JASMINE RICE: Jasmine rice is very soft and needs less water. Keep everything the same for the recipe, but use 1 and 1/4 cups water for every 1 cup dry rice. 
**TOASTY: If you like your rice toasted, add the butter or oil to the saucepan by itself and warm it up on medium heat. Add the rice (and garlic, if you are into that) and stir it with a wooden spoon for 3-5 minutes, until the rice has a lovely light toasted aroma and some of the grains are turning a very light golden brown. Add the remaining ingredients and do everything else the same. (The photo of brown-looking rice in the post is actually white rice toasted in butter which had browned. If you use oil, it won’t get as brown.)
Double the recipe: You can double, triple, quadruple this recipe, no problem. See the chart in the blog post for ratios. You may need to let the rice steam at the end for more like 15-30 minutes, instead of the 10 minute steam called for. 
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 175mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 87IU | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Caramelized French Onion Dip

I have your dip recipe for the summer guys!! This French Onion Dip features caramelized onions in all their sweet and savory glory, rounded out with some tangy cream cheese and sour cream. Your potato chips have never known such bliss! I honestly thought I didn’t like onion dip, (it’s so…oily?) but homemade French Onion…

I have your dip recipe for the summer guys!! This French Onion Dip features caramelized onions in all their sweet and savory glory, rounded out with some tangy cream cheese and sour cream. Your potato chips have never known such bliss! I honestly thought I didn’t like onion dip, (it’s so…oily?) but homemade French Onion Dip is a whole nother level of creamy, cheesy caramelized perfection.

hand pulling crinkle cut potato chip scooping up french onion dip.
Table of Contents
  1. The best recipe for French onion dip
  2. What is French onion dip?
  3. French onion dip recipe ingredients
  4. How to make French onion dip
  5. What do you eat with French onion dip?
  6. How long does French onion dip last?
  7. Can you freeze French onion dip?
  8. French onion dip frequently asked questions
  9. More incredible dips and sauces you’ll love!
  10. French Onion Dip Recipe

Growing up, our house backed up to an intersection. Kitty corner from us was our church, where I attended seminary every morning in high school at 6:05am (!!!), and across the street was the high school. I always joked with my friends that my entire life was encapsulated in one intersection.

We were literally 50 yards from everything, but you had to walk down the entire block and then back again to get there. If you wanted to stick with those conventional sidewalks, that is.

Hopping the 6 foot cement fence in the backyard was the obvious solution, but how? My dad came up with the idea of using a ladder, the kind with a shepherd’s hook at the top, that people use for above-ground swimming pools. Voila!

little girl on a ladder on a cement fence with purple tree.
Valentine learning to hop the fence 💕

The whole neighborhood started using the ladder to skip the extra block to school, and it was used for years. My dad still hops the fence to get to church every week. He likes to race my mom, who drives the two blocks (ain’t no way she’s hopping the fence in a skirt), and sometimes he beats her.

When you hop a 6-foot fence several times every single day, you get pretty casual about it, or at least I did in high school. One morning on the way to seminary, when it as still dark outside, I jumped without looking, and landed directly in front of this woman out for her morning jog. She screamed sooo loud and was clearly terrified that a random teenager had literally fallen out of nowhere into her path. We didn’t collide, thank goodness, but it was very close! 16-year-old-me felt so bad, but not so bad that I don’t still kind of laugh about it to this day. (I wonder what HER story is 😅)

I asked my family for more fence hopping stories:

I think you can guess which messages are from my brothers, always keepin it classy 😅

One day, my dad was making scrambled eggs. He went outside, knelt down by the weeds that grew out of the landscape edging we all stepped over every single day on the way to to hop the fence, snipped said weeds with scissors, and sprinkled them over his eggs. Because they were CHIVES. My mind was absolutely blown. Yer a wizard, Dad! I had NO idea we had edible weeds in our yard 😂

I always think of this when I buy chives, like for today’s recipe, which I am SOOO excited about!!

ceramic bowl filled with French onion dip and garnished with snipped chives and potato chips.

The best recipe for French onion dip

I never thought I could adore a dip the way I adore this dip. I love me some caramelized onions, but go ahead and add a ton of creamy cheese and chips? Stop itttt.

This will be the only thing I’m snacking on poolside this summer. If you invite me to your summer BBQ, I’m showing up toting this dip. I might even still be stuck on it come Thanksgiving, where it actually makes a perfect centerpiece to a Charcuterie Board. (I would know, this dip with charcuterie is what I served last November! I’ve been holding out on you for months with this recipe!!)

glass bowl of French onion dip with a few crinkle cut potato chips stuck in the top.

What is French onion dip?

Have you ever had French Onion Soup? If not, please go make that right now, then we can talk.

Just kidding. (Also, did you click over? Those pictures are sooo old but I promise the soup is legit.)

French Onion Dip is just the cheesy, dip-able version of the glorious soup.

The soup starts out with a ton of onions, which we slowly caramelize with the patience of turning coal into diamonds. (Trust me, worth it). Once finished, we immerse them in a rich beef broth. THEN we top it with crusty bread and cheese, which is broiled to perfection. I know, RIGHT??

The dip version takes the flavors and adds a ton more cheese, minus all the liquid, plus potato chips. I mean how can we go wrong here?

French onion dip is specifically made with beef broth flavors. If it doesn’t have the beef component, then it’s just onion dip. I have some BEEF with today’s sneaky snack makers, because there are so many store-bought ready-to-eat dips out there claiming to be French onion, that are really just plain ol’ onion dip. NOT SO, SIR! Give me my beef or give me death. Or something like that.

Onion dip is mostly sour cream with dried minced onion and a few other seasonings, almost like a super oniony ranch. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I can get down with a good onion dip as much as the next guy, but it is not the same!! No beef, no caramelized onions, and doesn’t come close to the deep, savory, almost sweet flavor of French onion dip!

close up of French onion dip showing the creaminess as well as the bits of real, caramelized onions.

French onion dip recipe ingredients

Here’s a quick overview of the ingredients you’ll need to make this dip. Nothing special, the magic happens when we caramelize! Check out the recipe card for exact amounts!

ingredients for french onion dip - cream cheese, onions, beef base, sour cream, and more.
  • yellow onions
  • butter
  • kosher salt
  • granulated sugar
  • cayenne pepper
  • Beef base
  • white wine vinegar
  • cream cheese
  • sour cream
  • garlic
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • lemon juice
  • chives, optional
  • crinkle cut potato chips

How to make French onion dip

This dip takes an hour to make, but only because caramelized onions refuse to be rushed. They are drama queens like that. Caramelizing is not hard work, it just takes a while. The toughest part is actually chopping them up!!

super thinly sliced onions on a wooden cutting board, all ready to be caramelized.

The fact that I was willing to cry my way through these onions is testament to how much I LOVE THIS DIP. One onion I can handle, but three? So many tears. I busted out the onion goggles for sure (they actually work. I use regular swim goggles! They seal to your face better than marketed “onion goggles“. The only downside is that I have raccoon eyes for an hour afterward.)

woman wearing goggles in kitchen

Onion time 😂

My other tip I learned from my mom: when the tears come, run your wrists under cold water from the tap. It works every time! Bodies are weird guys. What do your wrists have to do with your eyeballs?? Just thinking about this makes me want to go try acupuncture.

Toss all your hard-earned onions in a skillet with a couple tablespoons butter. Heat over medium for a few minutes to get them going, then turn the heat down to medium low.

top pic: onions in pan, bottom, onions starting to brown and scorch.

When the pan dries out and the onions start to stick to the pan (and even, eep, start to blacken, yikes) it’s time to add the white wine vinegar. Deglaze the pan, stirring up all the brown bits and glorying in all the flavor you are working up! Then add in some beef base. This addition of beefy flavor is what distinguishes this dip as “French onion.” Without the beef flavor, it would just be onion dip. I love the deep umami it adds!

top pic: beef base in pan with browned onions, bottom pic wooden spoon mixing them together.

And voila, 40-50 minutes later, your onions are caramelized! Don’t they look so good?? Give them a taste. MARVELOUS.

Chop them up now if you didn’t do it before caramelizing. (You can totally chop the onions into a dice before caramelizing. I’m just always crying a river at that point, so I chop after when it’s easier 🤣)

top pic: chefs knife chopping browned onions smaller, bottom pic hand mixer beating cream cheese.

Beat up your softened cream cheese and sour cream.

top pic: beaten cream cheese in glass bowl, bottom pic chopped onion and other ingredients added.

Add in the garlic, Worcestershire, and lemon juice, and of course the onions. Don’t add them hot! Let them cool a little bit so you don’t melt your cream cheese. Fold it all together.

Guys, that’s it!! Dig in! Sprinkle with some chopped fresh chives that you have snipped from the weeds in your yard 😂, or some green onions that you have chopped more finely than usual.

hand holding a crinkle cut potato chip loaded with French onion dip and chive garnish.

What do you eat with French onion dip?

Well if you’re like me, you could eat this stuff straight up with a spoon. But there are a few particular items that I particularly love that work as dippers at parties!

  • crinkle cut potato chips are BY FAR the best potato chip option, with that classic potato chip taste to complement the flavor of the dip and strong enough to scoop inappropriate amounts of it without breaking
  • I love this dip with veggies: carrots especially, but also cucumbers, bell pepper, celery, jicama, snap peas, etc.
  • try other crinkle cut chip flavors: I absolutely love this dip with Salt & Vinegar Chips. Or try different vegetable crinkle cut chips (like sweet potato, tomato, spinach, etc)
  • french fries! hello!
  • pita chips, pretzels, or any kind of cracker
  • slices of good bread like French or sourdough, or crostini (toasted baguettes). Bread would make it feel a little like Spinach Artichoke Dip, hello yum.

You can also use your dip as a condiment to elevate so many foods! Check ’em out:

a crinkle cut potato chip laden with French onion dip hovering over the bowl of dip.

How long does French onion dip last?

First, make sure it’s in an airtight container. Then store it in the refrigerator where it should last for 5-7 days. French onion dip IS PERFECT for making ahead to save you time the day of serving. I’m thinking Thanksgiving, New Years Eve, any potluck ever. It can be served chilled, so it will be ready to pull out and use right away. But don’t limit yourself if you have travel time. This dip is killer when served room temperature. (I actually prefer room temp.)

Can you freeze French onion dip?

I do not recommend it. Dairy, in particular the sour cream in this case, does not do well in the freezing and thawing process. It tends to separate and get watery or grainy. No thank youuuu. Stick to keeping this dip in the fridge for storage. If you don’t think you can eat the whole batch in 5-7 days ((or honestly, you didn’t hear it from me, but it lasts longer than this if well sealed), I recommend either making a half recipe or planning to gift some to friends or neighbors.

two crinkle cut potato chips nestled into french onion dip with snipped chive garnish.

French onion dip frequently asked questions

What is french onion dip made of?

French onion dip starts with a creamy base made up of cream cheese and sour cream. Then we’re adding perfectly golden caramelized onions and rich beef broth flavors are mixed in. That’s it! It does take some time to cook down the onions, but please ditch the onion soup mix because I promise: the knock-your-socks-off flavor is 100% worth it!!

What’s the difference between French onion dip and onion dip?

French onion soup is derived from the flavors of French onions soup. Sweet caramelized onions and savory beef broth are the backbone of the soup, and those same flavors are mixed with a smooth cream cheese and sour cream base to make a dip. The end result is deeply flavored, savory but sweet deliciousness. Onion dip, on the other hand, has no beef influence. It’s just the cheese and the onion. It’s kinda like ranch dip’s more oniony cousin, and is a lighter dip option than French onion.

what is the best chip to eat with French onion dip?

This girl enjoys a quite high dip to chip ratio, so I’m all about the crinkle cut potato chips!! Buy a high quality brand like like Kettle or Boulder Canyon, but really any kind will do ya fine. Basic potato flavor is best, so you get the salt and crunch, but nothing else to compete with the flavors of the dip. And as far as classic thin potato chips, only buy them if you enjoy a frustrating, chip-breaking dip session. They’re just too thin to hold up!

If you can’t find regular crinkle cut potato chips, stick with crinkle cut style, and choose something like a veggie chip (I know some brands have sweet potato chips, or more exotic roots like taro). The next best option is probably a good plain pita chip, or toasty baguettes!

close up showing half a bowl filled with caramelized French onion dip with chive garnish and chips.

More incredible dips and sauces you’ll love!

I’m a sucker for a good condiment. It can totally make a whole meal or even event to have just the right sauce or dipper!! Look through these recipes for your favorite dip recipes and more!

finger and thumb holding a crinkle cut potato chip loaded with French onion dip with chive garnish.

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hand pulling crinkle cut potato chip scooping up french onion dip.
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French Onion Dip

Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 203kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 large yellow onions
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Beef base
  • 1 tablespoon water if needed
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 small clove garlic smashed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • chives chopped, to garnish
  • 1 large bag high quality potato chips for serving

Instructions

  • Set out your block of cream cheese so that it is soft when you need to beat it later.
  • Caramelize the onions: Thinly slice the 3 onions. Thin slices caramelize more evenly than big ol pieces!*
  • Set a 12-inch high sided pan over medium heat. Melt 3 tablespoons butter, then add all the onions. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. The cayenne is for flavor and not heat, if you like things a lil spicy, add 1/4 teaspoon!
  • Saute the onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat to medium low, and settle in for the long haul. Onions take about 40-50 minutes to caramelize fully.
  • Eventually, after 10-15 minutes, the bottom of the pan will get dry and the onions will start sticking to the pan. At this point, deglaze the pan by adding 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar and using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
  • Add 1 teaspoon beef base and stir it all together. Keep sauteing until you have reached the 40-50 minute mark. If the pan gets very dry and the onions start to blacken on the edges, add 1 tablespoon water and stir. Repeat this process as often as necessary. At the end, your onions should be a deep brown caramel color, with no white parts, and not blackened. (not too much, anyway.)
  • Remove the onions from the heat and let cool for a while. When you can handle them, scrape them onto a cutting board and chop into bite-size pieces.*
  • Make the dip: Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add 8 ounces softened cream cheese. Beat with a hand mixer until it is smooth and creamy, and there are no lumps.
  • Add 1 and 1/2 cups sour cream, 1 small clove of minced garlic (about 1 teaspoon), 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Continue beating until it's all mixed together. Give it a taste and add salt and pepper to taste!
  • Use a rubber spatula to fold in the cooled and chopped caramelized onions. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped chives (or green onions are good too, thinly sliced).
  • Serve right away with potato chips! I like the crinkle cut potato chips, I feel like they are sturdier and hold up better for dipping.
  • Store the dip in a covered container in the fridge. It will keep for a couple weeks! (Ask me how I know 😂) This is a GREAT make ahead appetizer, the flavors just get better with time.

Notes

*You can chop your onions into a normal dice before cooking, if you wish. I’m always crying a thousand tears by this point and want to get them in the pan as fast as possible, so I just slice and go! We don’t want long stringy onions in our dip; I always take the step to chop up the onions after they have caramelized. But if you are not a crier, you can do the full dice before cooking, if that’s more convenient! 

Nutrition

Calories: 203kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 632mg | Potassium: 149mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 636IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Are you into rhubarb? If not, I’m here to tell you what’s up. This Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is one of my absolute FAVORITE pies of all time! Tart rhubarb paired with bright and sweet strawberries, tucked into a flaky golden pie crust, OR layered with a truly phenomenal crumble topping, you choose! I honestly can’t…

Are you into rhubarb? If not, I’m here to tell you what’s up. This Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is one of my absolute FAVORITE pies of all time! Tart rhubarb paired with bright and sweet strawberries, tucked into a flaky golden pie crust, OR layered with a truly phenomenal crumble topping, you choose! I honestly can’t decide which I like better, so we’re going with BOTH.

piece of lattice crust rhubarb and strawberry pie with lots of filling in a pie pan.
Table of Contents
  1. Rhubarb forever
  2. Best strawberry rhubarb pie
  3. Strawberry rhubarb pie recipe ingredients
  4. How to make strawberry rhubarb pie
  5. Double Crust Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
  6. Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie
  7. What to serve with rhubarb strawberry pie
  8. Does strawberry rhubarb pie need to be refrigerated?
  9. Can you freeze strawberry rhubarb pie?
  10. Strawberry rhubarb pie frequently asked questions
  11. More fabulous fruit desserts
  12. Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe
  13. Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie:

I spent last week back and forth between home and my friend Mardee’s house, looking out for her kids while she and her husband took a much-needed trip away together. Several friends checked in on me over the course of the week, bringing dinners and making sure I wasn’t breaking down from taking care of two families. (Eric helped sooo much, bless him!)

I told my friends everything with the kids was totally fine, but I was definitely having a mental breakdown trying to wrap my head around all the perfect systems in Mardee’s house.

vertical shot of a whole, baked, lattice crust strawberry rhubarb pie with a serving pie serving spoon.

I spent an entire morning taking pictures of all her under-sink cupboards and sending them to Eric. “Look at these handy shelves Mardee has to organize her cleaning products! There is not a single wadded up grocery bag shoved in the side!” (My under-sink cupboards are the kind where something falls out whenever you open them.)

Or, “Look at Mardee’s pantry. She has BINS for every snack item, applesauces here, granola bars here! Amazing!” I have one bin for all the snacks in my cupboard. It’s full of loose Cheez-It’s and at least twelve half-eaten sleeves of Ritz crackers (because the kids never check to see if there is one already open). Oh, and probably some half eaten pretzels, with literal bite marks in them, because 4-year-old Edison often decides halfway through eating a snack that he’s done with it and just…puts it back.

a slice of crumble topping strawberry rhubarb pie in a pie pan with strawberry slice garnish.

Mardee even has labels on all her kitchen cupboard shelves. Pitchers go here, serving bowls go here. When house guests offer to help unload my dishwasher, they say things like, where does this serving bowl go? And I will say, “Good question. Where would YOU put it in this kitchen??” This exact scenario has happened multiple times.

I took pictures of the ice packs she uses in her kids lunch boxes. Why have I never considered this? My kids don’t want string cheese packed in their lunch anymore because they get floppy and warm by noon. Of course you buy an ice pack to solve this problem. Not me. We just stopped buying string cheese. Guys!!

I’ve never lived in someone else’s house before, pretending to be them. Mardee’s house is like a well oiled machine of perfectly functioning intimidation. She even has laminated chore charts, encouraging signs, and reminders everywhere for her kids.

sign in the bathroom- body sludge.

Like this one 🤣

I spent the entire week searching for handy bins and organizers, and added them all to my Amazon account. Where they still sit, because I can’t get my act together enough to actually follow through on this. My house is just going to remain in its state of body sludge.

Although, Mardee told me when she came back, “In transparency, I don’t think anyone has improved their body-sludge wiping since I made this–even though it is laminated.” Welp. Can’t win them all I guess 😅

Rhubarb forever

Every single year in March or April I start obsessively calling grocery stores near me to chat with the produce guy. “Is there rhubarb yet??” I send texts to every group thread I’m on. “Has anyone seen rhubarb? If you see it, BUY OUT THE STORE and I will come get it from you!” Seriously, this happens every single year. My rhubarb love goes deep, and my tradition of to making Rhubarb Meringue Layers and Rhubarb Shortbread Bars every single spring requires a lot of coordination to get my hands on this stuff! I seriously need to start growing it myself.

looking down at a bunch of about 7 or 8 whole stalks of rhubarb on a wooden cutting board.

Best strawberry rhubarb pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is definitely the most traditional way to use up rhubarb, but I had never even had a slice before a few weeks ago. Every time I get my hands on rhubarb, I make my previous-favorite ​Rhubarb Custard Pie​. That pie is so freaking good that I had no room in my heart to even try America’s beloved Strawberry Rhubarb. But after 16 years of Rhubarb Custard Pie (I celebrate my rhubarbiversary alongside mine and Eric’s anniversary, since his family introduced us) I was finally ready to branch out. You know, maybe go on a few dates.

Y’allllll it has been love at first taste. Strawberry and rhubarb play off each other in the most magical way, the sweetness of the berries and the sharp tartness of the rhubarb combine to make something perfectly balanced. And THEN we wrap it up in a flaky buttery pie crust.

Or do we top with it with a ridiculous amount of buttery crumble?? How to choose??

Let’s try both, shall we?

whole crumble topped rhubarb strawberry pie with slices cut and one removed from pan.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Streusel Crumb Topping (above): A regular pie crust on the bottom, the same strawberry rhubarb filling, and a party on top in the form of some butter, sugar, and flour crumbled together to make the most amazing streusel-y situation of your life. This was the crowd favorite among all my testers.

Double Crust Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (below): The main star of this pie is the fruit fruit fruit, complemented by copious amounts of the flakiest, butteriest pasty crust. It is simple, and I love that you can focus on the flavor of the rhubarb and strawberry. If you threatened me to the point of death, I might admit a small preference for a double crust pie!

But honestly guys, they are both so good. You will have to try them both and let me know which one you love the most! Are we ready? Let’s do this thing!

close up of side view of a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie with flaky crust and strawberry garnish.

Strawberry rhubarb pie recipe ingredients

For a pie, this recipe is pretty easy to throw together. Strawberries, rhubarb, and a just a few extras that you might already have on hand. Full instructions and recipe measurements are included in the recipe card below, this is just an overview!

ingredients for strawberry rhubarb pie like rhubarb, strawberries, butter, lemon, etc.
  • 1 homemade pie crust
  • grenadine syrup, optional!
  • strawberries
  • rhubarb
  • granulated sugar
  • lemon
piece of lattice crust strawberry and rhubarb pie with lots of filling and fresh strawberry garnish.

How to make strawberry rhubarb pie

First things first, grab some rhubarb! I like small pieces of rhubarb in my pie, so I usually slice it lengthwise before chopping.

top pic: several stalks of rhubarb sliced lengthwise, bottom: the sliced stalks being cut perpendicular into cubes.
chopped rhubarb with some ribbony string still attached that the knife struggled to cut through.

In the photo above you can kind of see how rhubarb is a little stubborn when you are chopping it. If you don’t have a very sharp knife, it won’t cut all the way through the ribbon-like outer edge of the rhubarb. Some people peel these off entirely, which is such a shame because it often is the prettiest most colorful part of the rhubarb. No matter how stringy and weird it looks, I promise once it’s cooked, it breaks down into the most delicious pie, so don’t worry about the strange texture right now. Use a sharp knife, cut all the way through, and peel off what you have to, but keep as much as you can!

The other thing you might notice from the photos above is the huge color difference of rhubarb from one stalk to the next! Sometimes you will get red and white rhubarb, sometimes it’s as green as celery with a reddish edge. I love my desserts to look RED because that’s the most appetizing color, so I always soak my chopped rhubarb in grenadine syrup for a couple hours before making my dessert:

chopped rhubarb soaking in grenadine in a glass bowl to get extra red coloring.

This sweetens the rhubarb just a smidge, and turns even the greenest rhubarb a nicer shade of pink. You can absolutely skip this step if you like! Your pie will taste amazing without it!

Drain the rhubarb in a colander and return the drained rhubarb to the same now-empty large bowl. Add the other filling ingredients.

top pic: pie strawberry, rhubarb, sugar and more unmixed in glass bowl, bottom everything all mixed.

Mix it up. Stick it in the fridge if your pie crust isn’t ready yet!

top pic: pie shell fluted in pie pan, bottom: strawberry rhubarb filling poured into shell.

Head over to my Homemade Pie Crust post for a bajillion details about how to make a homemade pie crust. It’s not as hard as you think, especially with egg in the dough like my crust has – it helps bind the dough together and makes it way easier to roll out and less likely to crack.

Double Crust Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Everything is the same up to this point no matter which topping you choose. But here are the details for a double crust.

Don’t forget to dot with butter before putting on the top crust!

top pic: butter dotting top of filling in crust, bottom lattice crust laid on top.

Lattice crusts are not as hard as they look, head over to my Lattice Pie Crust post for all the details!

top pic: pastry brush spreading milk over lattice crust, bottom sugar sprinkled over top.

Brush the top of the pie with milk, or with a combo of milk and egg. With my homemade crust, I always have a half egg leftover, but I don’t like how glossy a straight-up egg wash looks, so I do half milk, half egg. Sprinkle with sugar and she’s ready for the oven!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie

Let’s make our streusel topping! Normally, for a crumb topping (like for Dutch Apple Pie) I would use brown sugar and cinnamon, but not for this pie. Brown sugar has molasses in it, and cinnamon is such a strong spicy flavor. I do not want those deep dark flavors masking the brightness of my lemony fresh rhubarb. But that’s just me! Add in 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon if you want! (and/or 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg would also be good!)

top pic: flour and sugar in a ceramic bowl, bottom melted butter being poured into bowl.

Add in some melted butter, not too hot. I’ve tried so many different ways of making streusel: cutting in cold butter, softened butter, etc.

top pic: stirring melted butter into flour mix, bottom everything almost completely mixed.

But melting, giving it a rough stir, and then chilling and breaking up the crumbles with my hands is my favorite method. You get the biggest most delicious crumbles! Put this mixture in the fridge or freezer for 30 minutes or so. It has to be cold when it goes in the oven, or it will just melt into the pie filling.

looking down at a strawberry rhubarb pie with crumble on top ready to bake.

Add some of the crumble topping to the top of your chilled pie, but NOT all of it. We are adding it in a couple layers to ensure a super crisp topping.

top pic: pie with some baked streusel on top, bottom more streusel added on top of already baked.

About halfway through the bake time, pile on the rest, yes, all of it!! It’s so good you guys.

Now I’m going to show you how to make something you need no matter which type of pie you are making. It’s a homemade pie shield!

top pic: a square piece of foil, bottom the square folded in half to make a pie shield.

No pie goes out of my kitchen without using one of these handy shields. No more overcooked crust edges! Many pies have to be in the oven for a full hour (including today’s recipe) and the crust can get too brown a lot of the time. This foil shield protects your crust, keeping it tender and flaky.

top pic: square foil piece folded twice into quarters, bottom scissors cutting center circle out.
strawberry rhubarb pie with crumble topping with crust protected by a foil shield.

And then the center of your pie can still brown as necessary. I do this for both the crumble pie and for the double crust pie.

a perfectly baked strawberry rhubarb pie with a perfectly cooked lattice crust.

And that’s it!! Which pie are you going to make first?? Call all the grocery stores, find yourself some rhubarb! You need this!

What to serve with rhubarb strawberry pie

As a dessert, there’s really no need to serve this pie alongside anything, except a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yes please! But this is one of my favorite spring time desserts, so here are some of my favorite spring time lunch and dinner recipes to eat beforehand!

looking at the side of a piece of pie with all the strawberry and rhubarb filling showing.

Does strawberry rhubarb pie need to be refrigerated?

Not at first! Like other fruit pies, strawberry rhubarb pie will be good on the counter at room temperature for about two days. Loosely cover the top of the pie plate with plastic wrap so the crust doesn’t get soggy, then slice and eat at will. I can’t personally imagine having leftover pie another two full days after making it. Like, what?! But if you happen to have more self control than I do, transfer any remaining pie to an airtight container and stick it in the fridge, and it should last another day or two (but may start to get runny or soggy).

Can you freeze strawberry rhubarb pie?

The only way I recommend freezing this pie is totally assembled but UNBAKED. It’s actually a really great method for getting all the work done in advance of the day you need it. Prepare the recipe all the way through putting the top crust on and fluting the edges. Flash freeze with the pie plate on top of a cookie sheet in the freezer for about 30-45 minutes. Then, wrap the pie carefully in a few layers of plastic wrap and one layer of heavy foil OR put the whole pie pan in a 2 gallon freezer bag and seal well with as much air removed as possible.

The pie will be good in the freezer for up to 3 months. On baking day, take the pie out of the freezer, unwrap it and brush the milk and sprinkle the sugar on the top crust, then put it in a COLD oven. If you have glass or ceramic pie pans you run the risk of them cracking and breaking if they go straight into a hot oven due to thermal shock from extreme temperature changes. Once placed in the cold oven, go ahead and bring the temperature up to 425. Plan on about double the cook time for baking from frozen.

If you won’t be baking the pie in the next few days and need the pie plate, you can line the pie plate with parchment paper or foil sprayed with non-stick spray before assembly. Flash freeze as described above, then lift the pie out of the pan with the paper/foil. Carefully pull the foil or paper off the crust of the pie. At this point you can use the wrapping, freezing, and baking instructions in the previous paragraphs. I haven’t tried this yet but it’s SUCH a good idea for times like Thanksgiving when you need all your pie dishes at once!

baked strawberry rhubarb pie with crumble topping in pie pan with slice removed.

Strawberry rhubarb pie frequently asked questions

why combine strawberry and rhubarb?

It’s a classic combo for a few reasons. First is that strawberry and rhubarb are both spring harvests (in a garden they actually help each other grow!) so they naturally are in abundance around the same time. It makes sense they would end up together at some point! They’re both a fantastic rosy pinkish red color. Also, rhubarb is quite tart/sour, so it’s often combined with other fruit like strawberries to help tame the acidity. (I mean, for rhubarb wussies. I LOVE me some straight up rhubarb!)

Where is strawberry rhubarb pie popular?

It has a cult following by many throughout the country, but it seems to be most popular in the midwest and great plains areas. Rhubarb needs the ground to freeze to do well, and growth is suppressed at temperatures over 90 degrees, so it makes sense that it’s more of a northern state, colder climate favorite.

why is my strawberry rhubarb pie soupy?

More than likely, the filling what was not cooked long enough, or you forgot to add the thickening agent, in this case cornstarch. The cornstarch needs to bind with the sugars in the fruit to thicken at a high temperature for a certain amount of time in order to thicken. Also, be sure you’re not throwing in extra fruit or juice just because you have it. You’ll want to adjust the recipe and add more cornstarch if you decide you want more fruit in the filling.

How do you keep rhubarb pie from getting soggy?

Now, to me, soggy is different than soupy. See the answer above if your pie is soupy! Soggy is when the crust, either on top or bottom, gets wet and isn’t crisp and flaky anymore. The worst! There are a few things you can do to avoid that. First, bake initially at a very high temperature so the crust cooks quickly and doesn’t soak up liquid from the filling. (That’s why we start at 425 F) Next, make sure the filling is nice and thick, so liquid doesn’t seep into the bottom crust during baking or afterward. Third, make sure you leave the crust uncovered while cooling and barely covered with plastic wrap or foil for storing, so condensation from the pie doesn’t stay in the crust.

a piece of strawberry rhubarb pie in the pan with flaky lattice crust.

More fabulous fruit desserts

side view with all the strawberry rhubarb filling of a piece of pie in a pie pan with strawberry garnish.

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piece of lattice crust rhubarb and strawberry pie with lots of filling in a pie pan.
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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling time 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 411kcal

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 3 and 1/4 cups rhubarb chopped (about 6 stalks, buy 1.5 pounds)
  • 3 and 1/4 cups strawberries chopped (buy 1.5 pounds)
  • 1 and 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter cut in pieces

Pie assembly and serving:

  • 1 tablespoon milk to brush on pie crust
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar for sprinkling on pie crust
  • vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for serving

Instructions

  • Soak your rhubarb in grenadine: This step is totally optional. It helps bring out the RED color of rhubarb. Rhubarb is greenish sometimes, and can look a little funny in a pie. Soaking in grenadine not only sweetens the rhubarb slightly, but brightens the fruit to make your pie more appetizing. After all, we eat with our eyes first. You can skip it no problem!
  • Chop about 4-6 stalks of rhubarb in half lengthwise, if they are thick. Then chop each split stalk into 1/4 inch pieces. You need a very sharp knife for rhubarb, and you need to cut through all the way. If you don't, the edges of the stalk will strand off in ribbons. This is no big deal, but it is kind of annoying, and you often lose the outer edge of red color if you peel off the outside strands. So chop confidently and thoroughly.
  • Measure the rhubarb to make sure you have about 3 and 1/4 cups. (Don't just toss in all that you have.) Add to a medium bowl and pour 1/2 cup grenadine syrup over the top. Stir together well and cover. Chill in the fridge for about 60 minutes, or up to overnight.
  • Make your pie crust: If you know what's good for you, make a homemade pie crust. Seriously. No shade, Pillsbury, but you cannot compete. I've got lots of tips and tricks for success on my pie crust post. Make the recipe as written for a double pie crust.*
  • Roll out your pie dough and place in a deep 9 inch pie dish, with the excess hanging over the edges. Chill in the fridge until your filling is ready.
  • Make the filling. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Drain the rhubarb in a colander. Return the drained rhubarb to the now-empty bowl (no need to wash it.) Chop 3 and 1/4 cups strawberries into bite size pieces. Add to the rhubarb.
  • Add 1 and 1/3 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (I love to use my microplane grater for zesting), 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 cup cornstarch. Stir with a rubber spatula until well combined.
  • Roll out the second pie crust quickly, to keep it cold.
  • Pour the filling into the chilled bottom pie crust. Mound the filling in the center slightly. Chop 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces and scatter them over the top of the strawberry rhubarb filling.
  • Top the pie with the second rolled out crust. You can even make a Lattice Pie Crust if you are feeling fancy! If you top with the whole pie crust, be sure to use a sharp knife to make a few cuts in the top of the pie, so the steam from the filling can vent.
    (If you have any down time at all during the pie assembly process, the pie dough and filled pie should be chilled in the fridge or freezer, if possible. Chilled pie going into a hot oven makes for a super flaky crust!)
  • If you have time and space, freeze the assembled pie for 20 minutes.
  • Place your gorgeous pie on a baking sheet, in case the filling overflows. Brush the top with 1 tablespoon milk. (Or you can do 1 tablespoon milk whisked together with half a beaten egg. I always have a half egg leftover from my homemade pie crust.) Milk brushed on top of the pie will make the crust brown and matte. Egg brushed on will make it brown and shiny. I like a combo :)
  • Sprinkle the brushed pie with 1 tablespoon demerara sugar, or regular granulated sugar is great too.
  • Bake at 425 degrees F, with the rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven, for 15 minutes. The crust on the edge should be turning light brown.
  • Make a pie shield out of tin foil. Get a square of foil that is the same size as your pie. Fold it in half, then in half again. Cut out the center. Open it up again. You should have a square of foil with a circle cut out of the center. See photos above.
  • Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Remove the pie from the oven and place the foil on the edges of the crust. Loosely crimp it around the edges. This will protect it from burning.
  • Return the pie on the baking sheet to the oven. Don't forget, the oven should be at 350 now. Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Take a peek at your pie through the door. If the whole top of the pie looks golden brown, top the pie with another square of tin foil. No need to crimp or anything fancy, literally just place the foil on top of the pie.
  • Bake for another 15 minutes. The pie should be in the oven a total of about an hour.
  • Cool. Take the pie out of the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. It will take at least 3-5 hours for this pie to reach room temperature. If you cut into it early, it will be a juicy mess. (Delicious, but the wrong texture.) Pie! a lesson in patience indeed.
  • Serve this pie with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, you cannot miss out on this opportunity!! Such an amazing combo.

Notes

*Pie Crust: If you are making the Crumble topping, you only need a single pie crust.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie:

Make the pie as directed, until you have the filling poured into the pie crust. Flute the edges of your single pie crust. Skip the 2 tablespoons butter that are normally chopped and sprinkled on top of the pie. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt:
  • 1 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 tablespoons butter (1 stick + 2 tablespoons), melted and cooled
Melt the butter in a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Add the flour to the butter mixture and use a rubber spatula to mix it together. (put your flour bowl back in the cupboard.) See photos, you don’t want to combine the flour and butter too much. Some flour streaks are ok. Put this mixture in the fridge or freezer for 20-40 minutes until it’s chilled. Keep your assembled pie in the fridge or freezer if there is wait time. 
Preheat the oven to 425. When the oven is really hot and the crumble is completely chilled, add less than half of the crumble to the top of the pie. Use your fingers to break up the crumble into chunks that about about the size of a dime or less. You want some sandy bits, and some bigger chunks. Work it with your fingers. Only sprinkle on as much of the mixture as you need to barely cover the strawberry rhubarb filling. Save the remaining crumble in the fridge.
Bake the pie on a metal baking sheet (to protect from overflow) on a rack this is placed in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Then lower the heat to 350. 
Make a tin foil pie shield, see photos in the post.
Remove the pie from the oven and cover the edges of the crust with the tin foil shield.
Don’t forget to lower the heat to 350. Place the pie back in the oven and bake another 15 minutes. 
Remove the pie from the oven one last time. Take off the pie shield and add the remaining crumble, all of it, pile it on. Replace the pie shield on the edges of the pie, making sure the crumble part is exposed. 
Bake at 350 for another 20-30 minutes. (the pie should be in the oven for a total of 50-60 minutes.) Check the pie toward the end, and if the crumble topping looks very brown, get a square of tin foil and place it right on top of the other shield (no need to crimp or anything, just toss it on top.) This is to protect the top from overbrowning, but you want the rhubarb to be in the oven for at least 50-60 minutes, to make sure it gets fully cooked. 

Nutrition

Calories: 411kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 264mg | Potassium: 240mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 119IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1mg

Pig Pickin Cake (Sunshine Cake)

Okay, hear me out folks. I know “Pig Pickin Cake” may not sound the most appealing, but I’M TELLING YOU. This cake is legit. Sometimes called a “Sunshine Cake,” it is a yellow cake with mandarin oranges baked right into it, then layered with pineapple whipped cream. It’s a classic from yesteryear and is SO…

Okay, hear me out folks. I know “Pig Pickin Cake” may not sound the most appealing, but I’M TELLING YOU. This cake is legit. Sometimes called a “Sunshine Cake,” it is a yellow cake with mandarin oranges baked right into it, then layered with pineapple whipped cream. It’s a classic from yesteryear and is SO light, bright, and tasty, you will want to bring it to every summer potluck, picnic, or BBQ this year! Also would be a great dessert for Mother’s Day.

slice of four layers of yellow mandarin cake layered with pineapple whipped cream on a plate.
Table of Contents
  1. Sunshine Cake
  2. What is Pig Pickin’ Cake?
  3. Why do they call it Pig Pickin Cake?
  4. The BEST sunshine cake
  5. Pig Pickin Cake recipe ingredients
  6. How to make pig pickin cake
  7. What to serve with pineapple sunshine cake
  8. How to store sunshine cake
  9. Can you freeze pig pickin cake?
  10. Can you make it ahead?
  11. Pig pickin cake frequently asked questions
  12. More summer desserts to try
  13. Sunshine Cake (Pig Pickin Cake) Recipe

I currently have 4 giant squares of blue painted on my bedroom wall, all slightly different shades (but mostly the same, of course.) Has anyone done this before, painted different colors on the wall to see which one you like?

Guess what, they all look blue. I have ZERO vision when it comes to interior decorating. I won’t know which one I hate the most until I’ve painted the entire room that color, and then it will be too late, and of course I won’t be invested enough to fix it. I will have the blue room that I wanted, only slightly-off, like the Upside Down in Stranger Things. People will walk in and silently judge me. “This is the color she chose for her bedroom??”

side view of sunshine cake with exposed edges to see layers and a slice missing.

That is, of course, if I ever get around to actually painting the wall. It might be my new thing, to have a white wall with 4 blue squares on it. Adding this kind of thing to my to-do list and never following through on it is definitely my m.o.

One time years and years ago, my mom was painting the hallways of the entire house. She chose a slightly different shade of off-white from the previous off-white. She ran out of paint right over the top of her bedroom door. There was a tiny strip of wall about 2-3 feet long that she didn’t have enough to cover. And she just said, heck with it. I’m out.

The two toned paint is still there to this day. It’s not that noticeable of course, you kind of have to know about it to be able to tell.

side view of all four layers each of cake and pineapple whipped cream in a slice of cake.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, guys. Mark my words, these blue squares are going to be on my wall for at least a year. I was visiting my sister in Texas a few weeks ago and noticed a little tan spot right smack in the middle of her kitchen wall. “Thinking about painting?” “Yup. I painted that 2 years ago.” 😂

Sunshine Cake

Who is ready for days and days of sunshine? I have the PERFECT springtime cake to share with you today! My sister Laura (the one with the tan spot in her kitchen, lol) has been telling me for YEARS about this cake that her mother-in-law makes regularly. She tested and tested it to make it juuust right (Laura helps me out with recipe development for the blog!) and we ate her final version together when I came out to visit for the eclipse.

top of a round, decorated pig picking cake with orange slice garnish.

I had never had this cake, and I was blown away! It’s a dangerous cake because it has to be refrigerated, and after we ate it for Easter dinner, there wasn’t enough fridge space to store it all layered and beautiful on it’s platter. We had to chop it up and store it in tupperware.

Which meant that EVERY time I passed through her kitchen I would stop at the fridge with a new fork and grab myself a lil bite. (“I think I need a little treat!” a dangerous concept indeed.) For some reason a tupperware of kinda-smashed cake is a lot easier to steal from than a gorgeous layered cake under a glass dome. No regrets, it was so good. (And sorry I ate all the cake, Laura.)

It’s a very simple recipe that is light and bright and not at all heavy. I love this cake because it almost feels like a trifle with all the layers!

What is Pig Pickin’ Cake?

Weirdest name ever, right?? Okay, forget the name and listen up: We’ve got four thin and delicate layers of buttery mandarin orange cake (whaaat?), stacked with generous pillows of fluffy pineapple whipped cream. Pineapple whipped cream, my friends!

looking straight at a piece of sunshine cake with the first bite taken.

The cake’s other name, Sunshine Cake, is a lot more descriptive. It really does feel like tropical sunshine, perfect for a swelteringly hot day where the idea of heavy hot fudge or cookie dough cupcakes just makes you feel like you need a glass of water. It is perfectly light and refreshing. The best ending to any dinner, bbq, or summer potluck.

The cake only has a few ingredients since it’s a doctored cake mix (which means minimal prep time!). But I wanted to amp up the pineapple flavor so I decided to try adding ground up freeze-dried pineapple to the whipped cream. Whaaaat yes, it is so good my friends. If you know you’re going to have trouble finding freeze dried pineapples, don’t sweat it. This cake is so good the traditional way. I just couldn’t help it, pineapple is my favorite fruit!

slice of sunshine cake showing all the layers on a ceramic plate with a metal fork.

Why do they call it Pig Pickin Cake?

Okay, now for the deets on the name. This cake is a true Southern treat and has a true Southern nickname! It goes back to earlier times when people would get together for a whole pig roast. It’s just what it sounds like! They would roast a whole hog in large underground pits for hours until perfectly cooked, and then party-goers would pick off the tender roasted meat. It’s easy to see how the gatherings became known as pig-pickin’ parties! (I’ve never been and I’d really like to be invited to one. Anyone?!)

This cake somehow became the traditional mascot dessert for pig-pickin parties. I can see why. I’m sure these parties were all going on in the heat of the summer, and this cake is the perfect dessert for a hot and sticky BBQ! I actually call it Sunshine Cake most of the time. Because I mean, just look at this edible sunshine!!

whole pig pickin' cake with a slice cur but not removed, and orange slices as garnish.

The BEST sunshine cake

There are many variations on this cake, it’s an old classic that’s been through a thousand grandma’s-recipe-boxes. But they usually follow the same format: a box of yellow cake mix combined with with mandarin oranges, with pineapple pudding whipped cream. But, being me 😅, I decided to amp up the flavors a bit to get more of that tropical vibe from the oranges and pineapple. So here are a few things we’re doing to make this version the BEST.

  • double the mandarin oranges
  • no mandarin orange syrup; most recipes add in the heavy syrup from the can but I just replaced it with MORE MANDARIN yes please.
  • real whipping cream instead of cool whip. this is a no brainer, duh.
  • freeze dried pineapple, buzzed into a powder and added to the whipped cream. IT’S SO GOOD!! Praise Jesus for this modern age of intense fruit flavors in baked goods. All hail the freeze dried fruit hack.
  • Adding dried sugared mandarin oranges to the top of the cake takes it to a WHOLE new level, more on that later!
4 layer pig pickin' cake with golden cake and topping, plus chopped dried mandarin oranges as garnish.

Pig Pickin Cake recipe ingredients

This recipe is so simple! Just a handful of ingredients to pick up, and some you may already have hanging out in your pantry or fridge. Be sure to check the recipe card for exact ingredient measurements and instructions!

wooden table with yellow cake mix, whipping cream, and other ingredients for pig pickin cake.
  • yellow cake mix
  • canned mandarin oranges
  • vegetable oil
  • eggs
  • canned, crushed pineapple
  • instant vanilla pudding mix
  • whipping cream
  • powdered sugar
  • freeze dried pineapple, totally optional
  • dried sugared mandarin oranges (optional)

How to make pig pickin cake

Layer cakes always feel a little intimidating, but I swear, this one is super duper easy (especially since we are leaving the sides exposed and you don’t have to worry about smooth frosting.) You just dump in all the ingredients:

top all cake ingredients in a metal mixing bowl, bottom, everything all mixed together.

And beat it up like so. You’re gonna feel weird doing this but I promise it works. The mandarins are so tender, they break down easily from the beaters.

pig pickin cake batter divided evenly into 4 metal 8-inch round baking pans.

Then divide the cake into four cake pans. If you don’t have four pans, just pour batter into two pans and you can split the cakes once they are baked.

While the cakes are baking (which goes so fast since they are so thin) make up the whipped topping. Start with the freeze dried pineapple, if you have it! Totally optional. I found it at Whole Foods, but you can also get it online.

left freeze dried pineapple pieces in a food processor, right the pineapple turned into a powder.

Powdered flavor, right here!! Give it a taste. So good.

Meanwhile, softly whip your cream in the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer.

left whipped cream whipped to soft peaks in metal mixing bowl, right pudding mix added to it.

Once soft peaks have formed, add in the vanilla instant pudding mix. This serves two purposes: it provides some of the classic sweet “pudding” flavor for this cake, but more importantly, the starch in the pudding mix serves as a stabilizer, meaning your whipped cream is going to stay cloud-like and dreamy, even when smashed in between layers of cake. No need to fold it with a spatula; just keep using the mixer.

And voila! Stable whipped cream! Even when you dump an entire can of crushed pineapple (with the juice!) into said whipped cream. What!! Yes really.

top pineapple added to stabilized whipped cream, bottom pineapple all mixed in.

Don’t forget to add in the freeze dried pineapple powder at this point, if you have it. It really amps up the flavor!

Once your cakes have cooled, place the first one on your serving platter or cake stand. See how delectably thin they are?? I love it.

top very thin cake layer on plate with thumb, bottom layer of pineapple whipped cream on the cake.

Add about 1/4 of the pineapple whipped cream on top and spread to the edges, but not down the sides.

top added second layer of cake, bottom layer third layer with cream added.

Keep going, adding the next cake and then the next layer of whipped cream.

And that’s it! I think this cake is pretty just as it is, but if you want you can add orange slices, mandarin orange slices, or chamomile flowers on top. (don’t eat the flowers 😂)

One ingredient that I decided to add on top last minute, were chopped up dried mandarin oranges as garnish.

package of trader joes "soft & juicy mandarins" on top of a countertop with plated cake behind it.

Have you had these from Trader Joe’s? You can get them online too. I’m obsessed. Totally unnecessary as a cake garnish, and kind of changes the lightness vibe of the cake (adds a decent amount of chew) but I really loved it.

close up of layered pig pickin cake with thinly chopped dried mandarin oranges on top.

That’s it! She’s ready for the Pig Pickin’ Party! You can serve it right away or refrigerate it and serve the cooled cake later.

What to serve with pineapple sunshine cake

Obviously this cake can definitely stand alone, for dinner, if you’re like me on a low will-power day. That said, I really do think it is SO well suited to its origins: a good and proper cookout! Here are some of my favorite summer party/BBQ recipes that would be the perfect meal to serve before this cake.

How to store sunshine cake

With all the whipped cream, this cake will absolutely need to be kept refrigerated. If you have a top for your cake plate and a ton of fridge space, you can simply cover it and put it in the refrigerator.

If you don’t, you can either cut the cake into smaller pieces and transfer them to airtight containers, or stick toothpicks all around the top of the cake and carefully cover with plastic wrap so the plastic doesn’t stick to the topping. If you transfer to tupperware, just be aware that it may squish together a bit since it is such a moist cake. This is not an apology, because all the flavors come together and it ends up tasting like an amazing trifle! Not ideal for serving at an event, but absolutely ideal for nabbing a forkful with every kitchen pass-through for days on end.

piece of 8 layer pig pickin' cake on a ceramic plate with scalloped edges.

Can you freeze pig pickin cake?

Yes, you can! Transfer slices or the whole cake on top of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and flash freeze for about 30-60 minutes depending on how big the portion is. After flash freezing, carefully wrap the cake in a few layers of plastic wrap and then heavy foil. Be sure to label it! It will be good in the freezer for a month or two. After that, the quality really starts to deteriorate and you risk freezer burn. To use, move from the freezer to the refrigerator and let thaw for several hours or overnight.

If I were trying to make this in advance for later, I would make and freeze just the cake portion. Then, thaw the cake pieces in the refrigerator and make the topping fresh, and assemble.

Can you make it ahead?

On that note, yes, you can. Make and store the cakes tightly in plastic wrap and freeze (unless it’s going to be less than 12 hours from when you are serving it; then just wrap and store on the counter.) Make the whipped cream topping start to finish, and store in the fridge. The pudding helps preserve the whipped cream so it will still be pretty fluffy when you need to use it. Assemble the cake last minute and serve!

slice of caking lying on its side on a ceramic plate, with orange slices as garnish on top.

Pig pickin cake frequently asked questions

Why do they call it pig pickin cake?

It all started a long time ago at community events where people would have “Pig Pickin’s,” parties where they would roast a whole pig and then “pick” the meat off. This cake was the cool thing to bring for these potlucks, and became so synonymous with Pig Pickin’ events that it took on the name!

What is another name for pig pickin cake?

SO MANY NAMES, GUYS! The most common ones aside from Pig Pickin’ Cake are Sunshine Cake, or Pineapple Sunshine Cake, because of bright tropical flavors. There are actually several more though, you ready? Pea Pickin’ Cake, Pig Eatin’ Cake, Pig Lickin’ Cake, Orange Pineapple Layer Cake, Summer Cake, Tropical Dream Cake, Mandarin Crush Cake, Virginia Farmer’s Wife Cake, Arnold Felcher Cake, and even Celestial Snow Cake! I want to hear more about that last one! I’m guessing each locality had their own name. The most popular name overall is definitely Pig Pickin’ Cake, which seems to come from North Carolina (where pig roasts are super popular, so that makes sense!)

side view of a tall piece of sunshine cake with 8 layers, garnished with an orange slice.

More summer desserts to try

I love all the lightness and brightness of summer desserts! Not to mention the fruit. There’s nothing like a nice, COLD treat to top off your BBQ or 4th of July party. Here are some more options you’ll love!

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slice of four layers of yellow mandarin cake layered with pineapple whipped cream on a plate.
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Sunshine Cake (Pig Pickin Cake)

Okay, hear me out folks. I know "Pig-Pickin Cake" does not exactly sound appetizing, but I'M TELLING YOU. This cake is legit. Sometimes called a "Sunshine Cake," it is a yellow cake with mandarin oranges baked right into it, then layered with pineapple whipped cream. It's a classic from yesteryear and is SO light, bright, and tasty, you will want to bring it to every summer potluck, picnic, or BBQ this year! Also would be a great dessert for Mother's Day.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 16
Calories 298kcal

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 (15.25 ounce) yellow cake mix
  • 2 (11-ounce) cans mandarin oranges drained
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs

For the whipped cream topping

  • 3 cups heavy cream*
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 (5.1-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix dry powder
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple with juices
  • 2 (1.5 ounce) packages freeze dried pineapple blended to powder (OPTIONAL)
  • 1/2 cup dried mandarin oranges chopped, optional

Instructions

  • Get yourself set up. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare four (9-inch) round cake pans by tracing the bottom of the cake pan onto parchment paper. Cut out four circles and place in the bottom of each pan. Spray each parchment-lined pan generously with nonstick spray. (if you only have two cake pans, that's fine, prep them the same way.)
  • Make the cake batter. In a large bowl or stand mixer, add 1 box of yellow cake mix. Open 2 cans of mandarin oranges and drain them completely. Add all the canned oranges to the the cake mix in the bowl. Add 1 cup vegetable oil. Add 4 eggs. Beat all of it together with a hand mixer. I know, this feels weird with the oranges, right? Trustttt.
  • Once the batter is completely mixed (the oranges will break down into small bits), carefully spoon the batter into the prepared cake pans. If you have four cake pans, you need 1 and 1/4 cup batter in each pan. (If you are using two cake pans, split the batter evenly between the pans.)
  • Bake the cakes at 350 degrees. If you have four pans, bake them 12-15 minutes, rotating the pans in the oven about the 9 minute mark.
    If you have two pans, bake for 23-30 minutes, checking early to make sure you don't over bake.
    The cake is done when the edges are just starting to pull away from the pans. Don't over bake! A toothpick inserted in the center will come out with no wet batter on it.
  • Let the cakes cool on wire racks. About 15 minutes after they have come out of the oven, carefully flip each cake onto the wire rack. Let cool completely.**
  • Make the whipped cream topping. For best results when whipping cream, put the whisk/beaters and bowl in the freezer 5-10 minutes before whipping. Chilled tools makes the cream whip higher and faster!
    In a large bowl or stand mixer set up with the whisk attachment, add 3 cups of whipping cream.* Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Beat for 2-4 minutes, until soft peaks are forming.
  • Add in the entire 5.1-ounce package of pudding mix. Mix for about 30 seconds. It will start to get very thick and even look a little congealed or grainy. Don't panic.
  • Add the 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple WITH all of the juices. Fold in with a rubber spatula, until it looks light and fluffy.
  • You can stop here, but if you have the freeze dried pineapple, it really bumps up the flavor in this cake! Use a food processor or blender to blend two (1.5 ounce) packages of freeze dried pineapple until it is a fine powder. Add to the whipped cream mixture. Fold in with a rubber spatula until it is light and fluffy and fully combined.
    If you are not ready to assemble the cake now, cover and refrigerate the whipped cream.
  • Split your cakes, if necessary. If you baked the cake in two layers, split each layer horizontally with a large serrated bread knife to make 4 layers. Place your serrated knife at about the halfway down point on the side of the cake, and gently saw back and forth toward the center of the cake. Turn the cake every so often as you cut, to make sure you are cutting evenly.
  • Assemble the cake. Place the first layer of cake down on a serving plate. Top with about 1/4 of the whipped cream topping. Spread to the edges and make sure the whole top is well covered, but not the sides of the cake. Continue with each layer until you've added them all.***
  • Decorate with extra mandarin oranges, fresh pineapple, or pipe on plain whipped cream. OR top with chopped up dried mandarins, you can get them online or at Trader Joe's! Love the chew factor this adds, but it's optional.
  • Store this cake in the fridge, for sure. That whipped cream topping needs to be chilled!

Notes

*Heavy cream is sold near the milk in the dairy section. It is not coffee creamer. Sometimes it is labeled whipping cream, ultra heavy whipping cream, etc. These names differentiate fat content levels. For making whipped cream, buy the cream with the highest fat content you can! The cream I use has 36% fat content. 40% is even better. 
** If you want to speed up the process of cooling your cakes, you can toss them in the freezer for a few minutes! Wrap in plastic wrap if you can’t fit the whole cooling rack in the freezer. Just make sure they stay flat and don’t get misshapen. 
*** The crushed pineapple in this cake is so tasty, but it makes the frosting look kinda weird. It’s just not a smooth frosting like people are expecting on a layer cake, so I don’t like to frost the entire outside of the cake. The “naked cake” trend, with exposed edges, is the answer. But if you prefer, add less whipped cream to each inside layer (about 1 cup per layer) and use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. 

Nutrition

Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 60mg | Fiber: 0.01g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 724IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Mexican Street Corn Dip Recipe

This corn dip recipe tastes just like an elote (Mexican street corn). It is the perfect combo of sweet corn and savory tart cheese. Plus it’s a lot easier to eat AND you get tortilla chips. Win! Originally published June 16, 2017. My cousin Lani has been making this corn dip for every family get-together…

This corn dip recipe tastes just like an elote (Mexican street corn). It is the perfect combo of sweet corn and savory tart cheese. Plus it’s a lot easier to eat AND you get tortilla chips. Win! Originally published June 16, 2017.

Mexican Street Corn Dip
Table of Contents
  1. What is street corn dip?
  2. Mexican Street Corn Dip Recipe Ingredients
  3. How to make Elote Dip
  4. What to Eat with this Street Corn Dip Recipe
  5. More dips you’ll love
  6. Some of my favorite Mexican recipes
  7. Elote Dip Recipe Recipe

My cousin Lani has been making this corn dip for every family get-together in the summer for years, and every time it disappears so fast. I make a point to eat at least 3x my share of it before even bothering to grab a hot dog from the grill (sorry family, I’m the reason you didn’t get any amazing dip…I’m in it for the win.)

Elote Corn Dip

My niece Ella requested this Mexican corn dip for her graduation party a few weeks ago. I volunteered to make it because then I knew I would be able to pin Lani down for the recipe. Lani is one of those amazing cooks who makes amazing food with seemingly no effort. I know it looks all fun and games here on the blog, but if you actually saw me working in my kitchen, I’m sweatin’. (“Wait, was is 1/4 of salt or 1/2 teaspoon??”) Lani just freestyles it and everything comes out incredible.

Mexican Corn Dip Recipe

But she’s REALLY bad at translating her “recipes” for the average lay person (me). “Lani, can I have your recipe for ___ ?” “Oh yeah, it’s so easy, you just take a little__ and a little__ and add it until it’s like ___, you know?”

Sure Lani. Thanks for NOTHING. (One of the top recipes on my site was me trying to recreate a random side dish she made for dinner one time. Obviously that one turned out okay.)

Elote Dip

I called her to get the corn dip and she started explaining how she makes it before I could find a pen. I finally found one and wrote down corn, butter, garlic, red onion, salt, pepper, paprika, mayo, cotija, cilantro. That’s all I could remember from what she said.

But she tried the dip at the party and said it’s even better than when she makes it. She’s probably just buttering me up, but I’ll take it.

Next I want to get her guacamole recipe, but I know she’ll be like Karen, just get some avocados and smash them up with lime juice and add some–and I’ll be like, BUT HOW MANY AVOCADOS LANI and she’ll be like CALM DOWN IT’S JUST GUACAMOLE. #charlatan (Update: it really is kind of embarrassingly easy, and it is my favorite guacamole ever.)

What is street corn dip?

If you’ve ever had elote, you already know you’re going to love this. If you haven’t had it, think of corn on the cob, but with classic Mexican toppings: mayo, crumbly cheese, cilantro, and chili powder. Now imagine it all chopped up in dippable form, so you can serve it with chips at a party. Are you drooling yet?? Let’s make it!

Mexican Street Corn Dip Recipe Ingredients

Here’s a quick list of what you need to make street corn dip. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more details!

  • Fresh corn on the cob (10 cobs)
  • Red onion
  • Salted butter
  • Garlic
  • Paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cotija cheese
  • Cilantro
  • Tortilla chips (for serving)

How to make Elote Dip

Prepping corn on the cob

Lani said to get more corn than you think you need, like 10 cobs for one bowl of dip. It sounds like overkill, I know. But do it. Later one when you can’t stop eating it, bite after bite, you’ll be glad you made the full recipe!

Cutting the corn off of each job

Lop off all that corn. It makes a big ol’ mess on your counter. It’s worth it to get that freshness! Don’t forget to sharpen your knife blade. It makes a big difference when you can easily and quickly shave the kernels off.

Dicing onions for the dip
Crumbled up cotija cheese

Have you ever had Cotija? It’s a dry Mexican cheese. It’s so good on salads, barbacoa, tacos, burrito bowls. It is a flavor you must have when making this elote dip. It usually comes in a round block. You can find it either in the cheese aisle or over with the deli cheese. You simply put a chunk in a bowl and use a fork to break it up.

Adding cilantro to the Mexican Corn Dip

Finally, you add the cilantro and mix it all together. If you’re a cilantro hater you can leave it out. But do try to convert yourself, hater. You’re missing out. Plus it adds a nice color pop.

What to Eat with this Street Corn Dip Recipe

I love serving this dip at BBQs, potlucks, when my family and friends come over, or anytime that I need to impress someone with food. It’s simple to make but so delicious. I am also fine with grabbing the tortilla chips out of the cupboard and making this my lunch.

This would be the perfect summer appetizer to bring to your 4th of July parties coming up!

If you make this recipe, share it on Instagram using the hashtag #TheFoodCharlatan so I can see it! I love that.

More dips you’ll love

Snowy Chili Cheese Dip << To die for!

Sausage Cream Cheese Dip Recipe (Slow Cooker) << this one is perfect for a fall game day

Carol’s Legendary 7 Layer Dip << I don’t know anyone who can resist this stuff (me included)!

Pimiento Cheese Dip << if you don’t know this southern classic, it’s time to try it!

Fresh Bruschetta Lentil Dip << Sounds weird, but it’ a favorite of mine!

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip << always a crowd pleaser!

Whipped Ricotta Dip from Ahead of Thyme

Chaat Dip (Indian Party Dip) from Yellow Thyme

Some of my favorite Mexican recipes

Chicken Fajitas << you guys have been loving these lately!

How to Make Carne Asada << watch out because once you make this at home, the stuff you get at restaurants will pale in comparison

Better than Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice << gorgeous green color and tons of flavor

The Best Chicken Tacos << make these in the crockpot or on the stovetop

Traditional Tejano Carne Guisada (Braised Beef for Tacos) << I love how saucy this is

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad << so refreshing with any Mexican meal

The Best Tres Leches Cake << literally the best end to ANY taco, enchilada, or burrito dinner

Nopales (Cactus Sauteed with Onion) from Adan Medrano

Sopes de Pollo from Beyond Mere Sustenance

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Mexican Street Corn Dip (Elote) from The Food Charlatan
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Elote Dip Recipe

This corn dip recipe is just like an elote (Mexican street corn). It is the perfect combo of sweet corn and savory tart cheese. Plus it's a lot easier to eat AND you get tortilla chips. Win!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 313kcal

Ingredients

  • 10 cobs corn fresh
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick)
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed and minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 5-6 ounces Cotija cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons cilantro chopped
  • tortilla chips for serving

Instructions

  • Husk the corn and use a sharp knife to chop the corn off of the cob. Chop up 1/4 of a red onion.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and let it melt. Add the corn and onion.
  • Let the corn and onion cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the corn is starting to brown and stick to the pan.
  • Add the garlic, paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat.
  • Let the mixture cool slightly.
  • Chop the cilantro. Put the cheese in a bowl and use a spoon or fork to crumble it.
  • Add mayonnaise, Cotija, and cilantro and stir to combine.
  • You can serve this dip warm, room temperature, or cold, though I love it best when it is slightly warm.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 773mg | Potassium: 318mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 926IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 1mg

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

If you want to be everyone’s favorite person at the next party you go to, bring these Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers! I promise they will be the first appetizer to disappear! I’ll show you how to make the 3-cheese spread spiced with smoked paprika and garlic, stuffed into a jalapeño, wrapped in bacon, and baked…

If you want to be everyone’s favorite person at the next party you go to, bring these Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers! I promise they will be the first appetizer to disappear! I’ll show you how to make the 3-cheese spread spiced with smoked paprika and garlic, stuffed into a jalapeño, wrapped in bacon, and baked to crispy perfection. They are irresistible! Originally published December 4, 2019.

bacon wrapped jalapeno popper being dipped in ranch.
Table of Contents
  1. These Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers are a party hit!
  2. Bacon jalapeno poppers ingredients
  3. How to make Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers
  4. Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno variations
  5. How to serve Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
  6. How to store Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers
  7. Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper FAQs
  8. More easy appetizer ideas for your next party!
  9. More jalapeño recipes!
  10. Jalapeno Poppers with Bacon Recipe

These Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers are a party hit!

The other day our smoke alarm went off. We were all in the kitchen making dinner and I was a little confused at first, until Eric yelled and opened the oven door. There we found our pita bread, which we had put in for a quick broil. Except we forgot to set a timer and it was ON FIRE.  Gah!

We hadn’t even smelled any smoke yet, and we were standing literally 2 feet from the oven. I’m sure we would have eventually, but can I just say, thank goodness for smoke detectors! Go check your batteries!

baked jalapeno poppers.

Our kids are going to start thinking kitchen fires are totally normal. I pulled these bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers out of the oven after a quick broil to brown the tops, and all the toothpicks had tiny flames on them. Valentine yelled, “birthday candles!!”

Well I might say yes to blowing out jalapeño-popper-candles instead of birthday-cake-candles on my birthday next year. These poppers are that good. (But really I’m lying. I want the jalapeño poppers AND a cake on my birthday please. Eric. Take notes.)

bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers with ranch.

I’ve made these bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers multiple times for parties, and they are ALWAYS the first thing to go. I mean it’s just really hard to compete with bacon, amiright? It’s embarrassing how many of these poppers I can throw down.

These poppers are good served warm or room temperature, so they are perfect for setting out and forgetting about it at a holiday get together. One less thing to worry about!

Bacon jalapeno poppers ingredients

Here’s a quick list of what you’ll need to make these. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for complete instructions!

  • Cream cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Parmesan cheese.
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Jalapeños
  • Bacon (regular, not thick cut)
a bacon wrapped jalapeno popper.

How to make Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

First start by slicing your jalapeños in half. Don’t cut off the stems! All your filling will seep out the top when it’s baking. You want to keep it in a nice little boat shape.

jalapenos sliced in half on a wooden cutting board.

These poppers are really easy to make.

removing membrane and seeds from jalapenos while wearing gloves.

I like to use a serrated knife to cut the thick membrane at the top, and then use a spoon to finish scraping the rest out. Do yourself a favor and buy some disposable gloves. Have you ever chopped a jalapeno and then rubbed your eye? It’s so painful!!

completely deseeded jalapeno, jalapenos filled with cheese mixture.

The left pepper in the left photo is an example of a jalapeno that has not had the membranes removed very carefully. (On the right of the left photo is a very well seeded jalapeno.) The more membrane and seeds you leave in, the hotter your poppers will be!

shredded cheddar cheese in a measuring cup, mixing cheeses together for jalapeno poppers.

Remember not to overstuff your jalapenos, or the filling will all spill out while baking! But then you get to eat the crispy cheesiness left on the pan, so maybe this is not a bad thing.

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno variations

You can make these with chopped cooked bacon mixed into the cheese mixture, if you prefer. But I feel like that’s a lot less bacon per popper, sooo…

jalapeno poppers around a bowl of ranch.

I also tested these jalapeño poppers by par-baking the bacon. This is good if you like it SPICY. I baked the half slices of bacon (here are more details on how to bake bacon) for about 5-7 minutes at 400, until they were halfway cooked. Then I wrapped them around the jalapeños and secured with a toothpick and baked for only 15 more minutes. If you choose this method, your jalapeños will be much firmer, which makes dipping easier, but also makes the poppers way more spicy. Up to you!

bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers with ranch dip.

To all my keto friends: no need to change a thing on this recipe! It is the perfect keto snack!

How to serve Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

You can stick a toothpick in each of these or just serve them with napkins, for the inevitable cheese-and-bacon grease. They’d be the perfect starter for game day, a BBQ, grilling out, burgers, or even pizza night. 

How to store Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

Make Ahead Refrigerator Instructions: After you have wrapped the poppers in bacon and toothpicked them, you can place them on a plate or baking sheet, cover well with plastic wrap (or put in a tupperware), and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bake as instructed.

unbaked jalapeno poppers wrapped in bacon, secured with a toothpick.

Ready to store for baking later!

Make Ahead Freezer Instructions: After you have wrapped the poppers in bacon and toothpicked them, you can store them in a ziplock or other airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake, let them sit out of the freezer for 30 minutes, then bake as directed. Your bake times will be a little longer, start checking them at around 20 minutes. These poppers are perfect for making ahead for a party!

bacon jalapeno popper dipped in ranch.

Store leftover bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers covered in the fridge.  You can reheat them in the microwave, or for crispier bacon, reheat on a pan in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes until heated through.

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper FAQs

Do you flip jalapeño poppers?

No, don’t flip them! Jalapeno poppers should stay cheese side up. Otherwise you’ll just have a pan of lonely jalapenos, swimming in gooey cheese burning onto your pan. No thank you.

Why are my jalapeño poppers soggy?

Jalapeno poppers will get soggy if you overbake them. That’s why I recommend using thin cut bacon rather than thick cut so that the bacon and jalapenos will be done at the same time. Plus, the longer you cook them, the less spicy they’ll be (and we do want them to be at least a LITTLE spicy, otherwise what’s the point?).

How do you keep jalapeño poppers upright?

Some people like to remove the top (stem end) of a jalapeno and attempt to stuff the cheese mixture down it, then bake it upright so the cheese doesn’t ooze out. Ain’t nobody got time for that!! Slice them in half, fill them with cheese, wrap them in bacon, and bake them. Easy.

Why aren’t my jalapeño poppers spicy?

Not all jalapenos have the same level of heat. If your jalapenos look firm, they’ll be less spicy than ones that look a little wrinkly. If you remove the membranes and seeds completely, the poppers will be less spicy than if you leave some seeds and membrane behind. And if you choose to omit the cayenne pepper these will be a little less spicy than if you include it.

More easy appetizer ideas for your next party!

French Onion Dip << caramelized onions take this to the next level!

10 Easy Holiday Appetizers << these are all good for dipping in ranch. Everybody’s favorite :)

Easy Homemade Guacamole << like, SO EASY.

Carol’s Legendary 7 Layer Dip << I’m telling you, legendary. It’s the mayo in the sour cream layer that does it.

Copycat Chili’s Queso Dip (Slow Cooker) << this stuff disappears so fast. You won’t believe it.

Bacon Wrapped Pineapple with Honey Chipotle Glaze << Bacon wrapped magic!

More jalapeño recipes!

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches << this sandwich involves crushed tortilla chips and it’s SO GOOD.

Jalapeño Popper Cheesy Bread with Bacon << Basically, these poppers, plus bread. What is not to love here.

How to Make Authentic Pico de Gallo << one of the best ways to eat jalapenos. Amen.

Keto Cheddar Jalapeño Muffins from All Day I Dream About Food

Fresh Jalapeño Relish from Cookie and Kate

Quick 10 Minute Pickled Jalapeños from Gimme Delicious

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Jalapeno Poppers with Bacon

If you want to be everyone’s favorite person at the next party you go to, bring these Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers! I promise they will be the first appetizer to disappear! I’ll show you how to make the 3-cheese spread spiced with smoked paprika and garlic, stuffed into a jalapeno, wrapped in bacon, and baked to crispy perfection. They are irresistible!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 169kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1 clove garlic smashed and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 12 jalapenos
  • 12 slices bacon NOT thick cut
  • toothpicks
  • ranch dressing for dipping

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Line a large baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Place an oven-safe cooling rack on top of the baking sheet. The first time I made these, I tried it without the the cooling rack and found that the grease from the bacon soaked into jalapenos, making them soggy and overcooked. I much prefer using a cooling rack.
  • Begin by preparing the filling. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy. 
  • Add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, 1 clove minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. (The cayenne pepper won’t make it more spicy, it just adds a boost of flavor. If you are worried about the heat you can skip it.)
  • Beat all the cheese together until creamy and well blended. Set aside. 
  • Slice all the jalapenos in half vertically. Do not remove the stems, otherwise your filling will spill out the end. Be kind to yourself and wear disposable gloves for this step! Or just be very careful not to rub your eyes the rest of the day!
  • Use a sharp serrated knife and a spoon to remove ALL the seeds and ALL the white membranes inside the peppers. If you want your poppers to be extra spicy, feel free to be lazy on this step! Most of the heat from jalapenos comes from the seeds and membranes, so the more you leave in, the spicier they will be.
  • Use a small spoon or your fingers to fill each jalapeno half with about a tablespoon or less of the cream cheese filling. If you over-stuff, the filling will just overflow the jalapeno in the oven, so don’t go too crazy. (Although if it does overflow, you end up with crispy cheesiness baked into the bottom of your pan, and it’s really quite delicious.)
  • Cut each slice of bacon in half. Wrap each stuffed jalapeno half with one half slice of bacon. Secure with a toothpick and place on the cooling rack that you already prepared. (At this point you can freeze for later. See notes.)
  • Bake at 400 for about 17-25 minutes. Start checking early. The poppers are done when the bacon is as crispy as you like it to be. If you like them to be extra brown on top, you can move the oven rack up to the top level and broil for 1-2 minutes. Don’t walk away!! Be prepared for your toothpicks to turn into little birthday candles. 
  • Let the poppers cool slightly and serve with ranch dressing! I like to serve these at parties because jalapeno poppers are super tasty served either warm or room temperature, so letting them sit out at a party is no problem. 

Notes

I also tested these jalapeno poppers by par-baking the bacon. I baked the half slices of bacon on the cooling rack for about 5-7 minutes at 400, until they were halfway cooked. Then I wrapped them around the jalapenos and secured with a toothpick and baked for only 15 more minutes. If you choose this method, your jalapenos will be much firmer, which makes dipping easier, but also makes the poppers way more spicy. Up to you! 
Make Ahead Freezer Instructions: After you have wrapped the poppers in bacon in step 9, you can store these in a ziplock or other airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake, let them sit out of the freezer for 30 minutes, then bake as directed. Your bake times will be a little longer, start checking them at around 20 minutes. These poppers are perfect for making ahead for a party!
Make Ahead Refrigerator Instructions: After you have wrapped the poppers in bacon in step 9, you can place these on a plate or baking sheet, cover well, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bake as instructed. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1popper | Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 521mg | Potassium: 131mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 565IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 1mg