Top 10 Recipes of 2021


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The top 10 recipes on Downshiftology this year included the ultimate meal prep breakfast, simple oven baked salmon and chicken ideas, and a hearty vegetarian soup that soothes the soul. But this year was most notable for the insane amount of writing and recipes testing for the Downshiftology cookbook (coming in 2022). Plus, a new milestone on YouTube!

Group photo of top recipes of 2021.

Top 10 Recipes of 2021

While 2020 was a tumultuous year that changed our lives in unfathomable ways, 2021 was a year that many of us found some semblance of a groove within “the new normal.” Or at least we tried our best! At-home cooking was still a top priority for millions of people, though many of us also enjoyed some patio restaurant dining for the first time in a year (and it sure felt like a luxury, didn’t it?).

I was head-down for the vast majority of the year writing my first cookbook (hooray!) which included testing hundreds of new recipes in addition to those you found on the website and YouTube channel. I soon learned that writing a cookbook is a MASSIVE undertaking with an overflowing amount of work (oh, the spreadsheets), so to maintain my sanity I actually produced 40% less content this year on the website and YouTube channel.

I’ll be honest, I was prepared to take a hit to the business. But instead Downshiftology continued to grow and hit new phenomenal milestones. That’s all thanks to you – my loyal downshifters! The content on this website was viewed more than 87 million times (up from 56 million in 2020). And we even hit 2 million subscribers on YouTube (gaining more than 600K new subscribers in 2021). Numbers like that never cease to amaze me!

My overnight oats video went viral on YouTube and gained over 7 million views in less than a year (the fastest growth of any video to date!). While tried-and-true recipes like guacamole, deviled eggs, chicken fajitas, and chicken salad maintained their top spots.

You guys loved our new recipe roundups of the best dinner ideas and breakfast ideas. In addition to themed roundups of the best salad recipes, smoothie recipes, Mediterranean recipes and vegetarian recipes. I’ll try to do more of those in 2022!

Alright, so which new recipes were most popular this year? Well, it should come as no surprise that overnight oats slid into that top spot, given it’s video success. But simple oven baked proteins – for salmon and chicken – were super popular as well. You can’t beat an easy garlic herb topping! Cabbage soup and stuffed mushrooms were vegetarian winners, while my Greek sheet pan chicken was far-and-away reader favorite this year (so many Instagram photos of it!).

As we head into 2022, I can’t wait to share more details about the cookbook, including behind-the-scenes, studio photoshoots, and when pre-sales start. I also haven’t shared the theme of the cookbook yet, but if you know my most popular videos on YouTube, you may be able to guess. *wink*.

I’m so grateful you continue to make my recipes day-after-day, and year-after-year. And with the bulk of work for the cookbook tapering off, I’m incredibly excited to ramp up new recipes for the website and YouTube channel again. Cheers to 2022 friends!

Top 10 Most Viewed New Recipes in 2021

1. Overnight Oats

The ultimate meal prep, grab-and-go breakfast that can be made in a variety of flavors. It’s as easy as stirring together a couple of ingredients in a jar, placing it in the fridge, and enjoying the next morning.

Overnight oats in a few jars with fruits on a table.

2. Best Baked Salmon

Super moist and flakey salmon filets are baked in less than 20 minutes. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner recipe, and you can serve it with a variety of side dishes for a tasty meal!

Baked salmon in a pan next to lemon wedges.

3. Best Baked Chicken Breast

Everyone needs to learn how to master perfectly baked chicken breasts. The simple spice rub on the chicken makes dinner exciting, but it’s the juicy and tender meat that will have your family going back for seconds.

Baked chicken breasts in a pan.

4. Cabbage Soup

This cabbage soup is simultaneous light, hearty, and comforting. It’s packed with a variety of veggies and it’s a nutritional powerhouse!

Cabbage soup in a bowl on a table.

5. Greek Sheet Pan Chicken

For this reader favorite recipe, chicken thighs are doused in the best Greek flavors and nestled around vibrant vegetables, like bell pepper, red onion, zucchini and tomatoes.

Greek sheet pan chicken with vegetables.

6. Barbacoa

Slow cooker beef barbacoa is juicy, meltingly tender, and incredibly easy to make! Top it on bowls and salads, or pile it into tacos.

Beef barbacoa on a plate with lime wedges.

7. Stuffed Mushrooms

Soft mushroom caps are stuffed with a cheesy, herby, and garlicky filling. Then baked until golden with crumbled pecans on top. The perfect appetizer for the holidays!

Stuffed mushrooms on a white plate.

8. White Chicken Chili

This white chicken chili recipe is a light and healthy blend of creamy white beans, shredded chicken, veggies, and the perfect level of spice.

White chicken chili in a bowl next a pot of it.

9. Shrimp Fajitas

You can’t beat shrimp fajitas for an easy, quick, and flavorful meal! Bell peppers, onions, and shrimp are sautéed in one pan, until slightly caramelized, then coated with a homemade fajita seasoning that’s loaded with bold, Mexican spices.

Shrimp fajitas in a pan with avocado slices and lime wedges.

10. Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

Of course a dessert had to sneak in! These gluten-free lemon bars have shortbread-like crust and a luscious filling that’s the perfect balance of sweet and tangy!

While these were the top 10 recipes in 2021, here’s also a quick list of my *all-time* most popular recipes and posts:

It’ll be interesting to see how the all-time rankings change as this blog and wonderful Downshiftology community grows. Best wishes to all of you for a healthy, happy, and safe New Year!

xo, Lisa

PS – If you’re keeping track, here were the Top Recipes of 2020, Top Recipes of 2019Top 10 Recipes of 2018Top 10 Recipes of 2017Top 10 Recipes of 2016, and Top 10 Recipes of 2015.

About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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  1. Thanks for these amazing recipes Lisa.  I’m in Melbourne Australia and I took the mushroom starter to a NYE party.  Lucky I doubled the recipe! They were gone in a flash! 
    Which recipes are ok to freeze? I’d love to fill my freezer with your recipes. Thanks Michelle

    1. Yay, so happy the stuffed mushrooms were a success! They’re always a party favorite. In terms of freezing, I try to list freezer instructions on each individual recipe now. But I have a roundup of meal prep friendly recipes on my site as well. Just search “meal prep recipes” in the top search bar. :)

  2. I love you recipes but as a kosher eater hard to mix chicken and dairy amd to find substitute. Please if you can make more kosher friendly recipe..i would appreciate it

  3. I’ve made all but the shrimp fajitas on the list! Woohoo! Absolutely love love love all your recipes and can’t wait for your cookbook 💜🥳