26 Classic Recipes for Your Repertoire

Herb-Roasted Spatchcock Chicken
Photo: © Fredrika Stjärne

Becoming a well-rounded cook starts with learning a broad base of fundamentals. With a firm grasp of the basics and some practice under your belt, you can begin to get creative, putting your own unique spin on your favorite recipes. Plus, tackling more involved dishes will become more fun and less daunting once you know your way around the kitchen. We've put together this group of recipes to serve as a springboard; from juicy roast chicken to rich beef stew and creamy risotto, this is a selection of classic dishes that every cook should know how to make well. If you'd like to specifically tackle French cuisine, check out this collection, too.

01 of 26

Creamy Spaghetti Carbonara with Peas and Ham

Spring Pea and Ham Carbonara Recipe
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

Perfecting a luscious carbonara depends on treating the eggs just right. First, be sure to toss the cooked pasta with the sauce off the heat so that the eggs will cook evenly once they return to the heat. Second, since the sauce will continue to cook after it leaves the skillet, pull the carbonara off the heat a little sooner than you think you should so it’ll hit the table saucy and creamy.

02 of 26

Caesar Salad

Classic Caesar Salad

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Ali Domrongchai

Just a handful of ingredients come together to make a robust, well-balanced salad. This recipe stays true to the original version of Caesar salad, with crunchy romaine leaves, toasty croutons, and a savory dressing made with anchovies and garlic. A little help from Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice deepens the complexity of the dressing, while a generous scattering of shaved Parmesan makes the dish more substantial.

03 of 26

Herb-Roasted Spatchcock Chicken

Herb-Roasted Spatchcock Chicken
© Fredrika Stjärne

Chef Tyler Florence of Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco gets as much crispiness as possible when roasting chicken by spatchcocking, or butterflying — removing the backbone and flattening the bird so that more of the skin is exposed to direct heat.

04 of 26

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine
© Abby Hocking

Crisp bacon bits and Gruyère cheese flavor this rich and creamy classic quiche, which is encased in a flaky butter-based crust. The secret to the quiche's super-silky texture is the small amount of sour cream whisked into the eggs. Be sure to use pie weights or baking beans when you blind-bake the crust, so it holds its shape and doesn't shrink in the oven.

05 of 26

Classic Cheese Pizza

Classic Cheese Pizza
Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

This recipe turns simple into sublime with the addition of an exceptional pizza dough, low-moisture mozzarella cheese, and an easy-to-make tomato sauce that hits all of the right sweet and savory notes to marry all of the flavors in this pie. A simple garnish of fresh herbs, and you've got perfection on a plate.

06 of 26


Chloe Crespi Photography

Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s bouillabaisse starts with a quick-cooking, but deeply flavored, seafood broth. Layering a base of aromatics with fresh snapper, scallops, shrimp, and a mix of Pernod and dry white wine creates a long-simmered flavor in under an hour. Be sure to use shell-on shrimp; those shells add flavor and body to the stock. 

07 of 26

Shrimp in Garlic Sauce

Shrimp in Garlic Sauce

Diana Chistruga

Based on a popular Spanish tapa, this dish is delicious enough to serve as a main course. You just sauté the shrimp in garlicky, spicy olive oil and then toss them with sherry, lemon juice, and a handful of parsley. The shrimp are equally good hot or at room temperature.

08 of 26

Roasted Mushroom and Vermouth Risotto

Roasted Mushroom and Vermouth Risotto
Christopher Testani

Roasting mushrooms concentrates their flavor, while dry vermouth offers an aromatic kick to this otherwise classic risotto.

09 of 26

Classic Cheeseburgers

Classic Cheeseburgers
Dennis Prescott

"When I started cooking, a juicy, cooked-to-perfection burger was on my top 10 list of things to ace," says cookbook author Dennis Prescott. "This recipe is for a classic, diner-style burger with all my favorite toppings. Adding a mustard layer to the beef before frying creates the most delicious crust — you’ll be an immediate convert."

10 of 26

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Tomato Vinaigrette

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Tomato Vinaigrette.
© Greg DuPree

Grape tomatoes sautéed with capers, shallot, and cumin form a bright, chunky sauce for seared salmon. This recipe is from Ted Allen's cookbook, The Food You Want to Eat.

11 of 26

Pork Fried Rice

Pork Fried Rice

Maxwell Cozzi

This Japanese-style pork fried rice from 2000 F&W Best New Chef Takashi Yagihashi was his favorite childhood after-school snack. It comes together in just 25 minutes, thanks to the inclusion of quick-cooking Chinese barbecued pork.

12 of 26

Mashed Potatoes, Kind of Robuchon-Style

Mashed Potatoes, Kind Of Robuchon-Style
© Bobby Fisher

Chef Joël Robuchon was famous worldwide for his super-silky, rich, light, and buttery mashed potatoes. This is Anthony Bourdain’s version of those potatoes.

13 of 26

Ultimate Buttermilk-Marinated Fried Chicken Breasts

Fried Chicken Sandwich with Anchovy Garlic Dressing
Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Carrie Purcell / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox

2019 F&W Best New Chef Caroline Glover butterflies chicken breast for a quick and even cook in her buttermilk-marinated recipe. To ensure a clean cut, pat the meat dry, then place a clean paper towel under the chicken while you cut through the breast. Glover gives butterflied chicken breast an initial soak in a simple brine and a second soak in buttermilk to deliver juicy, perfectly seasoned chicken that fries up incredibly crispy.

14 of 26

Honey-Tamarind Baby Back Ribs

Honey-Tamarind Baby Back Ribs
© Quentin Bacon

Naturally tart tamarind keeps the honey-based barbecue sauce from becoming too sweet for the luscious, slow-cooked ribs. Opt for dark, runny tamarind concentrate instead of tamarind pulp, which needs to be soaked and strained before using.

15 of 26

Classic Beef Chili

classic beef chili

This is a great classic chili to keep in your back pocket. Fresh poblano, toasty ancho chile powder, oregano, and beer come together to make a flavorful bowl. Serve it alongside tortilla chips or cornbread and shredded cheddar, slices of fresh jalapeño and radishes, chopped scallions, and sour cream.

16 of 26

Cassoulet with Duck Confit

Cassoulet with Duck Confit
© Cedric Angeles

Chef Laurence Jossel created this stripped-down version of the classic French stew, with creamy white beans, luscious store-bought duck confit, smoky French garlic sausage, and slab bacon. Letting the beans rest overnight develops their flavors.

17 of 26

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
© Stephanie Foley

From one deeply flavorful chicken broth, former F&W editor Grace Parisi creates four exceptional soups. Chicken noodle is a classic comfort food, warming in the winter and soothing for some.

18 of 26

Gnocchi with Pomodoro Sauce

Gnocchi with Pomodoro Sauce
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Gnocchi with pomodoro sauce is a simple yet incredibly satisfying combination. In this recipe, which chef Eric Lees used to cook at Spiaggia in Chicago, easy gnocchi made from russet potatoes, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and egg yolks are paired with a buttery tomato sauce laced with fresh basil.

19 of 26

Braised Lamb with Herb-Scented Jus

Braised Lamb with Herb-Scented Jus
© Fredrika Stjärne

Chef David Mawhinny serves this tender braised leg of lamb at dinner parties. He makes focaccia sandwiches with the leftovers.

20 of 26

French Rolled Omelet

French Rolled Omelet
Jennifer Causey

Eggs are the perfect, and often affordable, way to teach proper cooking technique. There’s cracking the eggs correctly; having a place to toss the shells; the best tool used to beat them; the type and quantity of seasoning added before, during, and after cooking; how to heat a pan; when to add the fat; all the visual, aural, aromatic clues of coagulating protein; the essentials of proper presentation; and on and on and on. Cooks are often asked to cook an omelet when they stage at restaurants, and food editor Mary-Frances Heck shares her recipe that's passed the test.

21 of 26

Slow-Roasted Pork Loin with Molasses and Balsamic Glaze

Slow-Roasted Pork Loin with Molasses and Balsamic Glaze. Photo © Petrina Tinslay
© Petrina Tinslay

Chef Scott Conant says this recipe is a perfect reflection of his heritage: The molasses harks back to his father's New England background, and the balsamic vinegar is a tribute to his mother's Italian roots. The marinade is a syrupy glaze that Conant slathers over the pork so it can soak up the flavor before roasting.

22 of 26

Fresh Pasta Dough

Fresh Pasta Dough
Photo by Andrew Bui / Food Styling by Caitlin Haught Brown

Perfect your fresh pasta dough and unlock the key to a lifetime of incredible pasta dishes, from golden-hued fettuccine noodles to ravioli and tortellini. This recipe includes three methods for making it: by hand, with a food processor, or using a stand mixer.

23 of 26

Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce
Courtesy of Tom Hopkins and The Family of Jacques Pépin

For this classic beef stew, chef Jacques Pépin uses a special piece of the shoulder called the flatiron steak. This long, narrow cut is extremely lean, tender, and moist, and it makes an ideal stew. He does not use stock, demi-glace, or even water; he makes his stew strictly with a robust red wine. This is a fantastic winter dish.

24 of 26

Macaroni and Three Cheeses

Macaroni and Three Cheeses
© Quentin Bacon

When legendary athlete Michael Jordan and chef David Walzog were working on the menu for his eponymous steakhouse in Manhattan, Jordan insisted on including macaroni and cheese. White cheddar, gorgonzola, and Parmesan make this deluxe breadcrumb-topped version sing.

25 of 26

Whole Roast Fish with Lemon and Herbs

Whole Roast Fish with Lemon and Herbs
© Fredrika Stjärne

Designer and blogger Athena Calderone often prepares this whole roast fish for her family on Christmas Day — it makes a dramatic centerpiece for a holiday meal. Like the rest of her menu, it tastes fresh and bright, thanks to a double hit of herbs.

26 of 26

Herb and Shallot Potato Gratin

Healthy Potato Gratin with Herbs
© Jonny Valiant

Inspired by a potato gratin at Restaurant Daniel in New York City, this gratin achieves a creamy texture without any dairy, and gets great flavor from thyme and rosemary.

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