Ina Garten's Best Recipes According To Fans

When it comes to Ina Garten's recipes — spoiler alert! — they're all winners. But, only a select few of The Barefoot Contessa's dishes have earned Taylor Swift-level loyalty from fans. They often rave about the perfectly crunchy texture of her toppings, the velvety mocha chocolate flavor of her icebox cakes, or the fact that her fried chicken tastes just like sandwiches from famous restaurants. 

Garten is not only a culinary whiz but the beauty of her recipes is she crafts flawless meals designed for those of us with marinara sauce permanently spattered on our kitchen ceilings. And her dishes often feature shortcuts like store-bought cookies, pre-packaged ice cream, or even frozen pie crusts. In her words, "How easy is that?" But the particular dishes included below have earned their coveted status as returning show-stoppers for a reason. 

We scrubbed every inch of the web to find authentic Garten-loving home cooks, and sourced their hands-down, no questions, go-to crowd-favorite recipes from the chef. From savory roast chicken to fluffy coconut cake to that one with the bow tie pasta and peas, it's clear big fan energy is one surefire recipe for success.

Perfect Roast Chicken

This isn't any roast chicken. It's Ina Garten's Perfect Roast Chicken. Of all the recipes buzzing around in kitchens across America, it could be awarded best in show — at least in the "no-fail chicken dinner" championships. We love this bird — maybe even enough to marry it.

Speaking of that, though, this is not the notorious Engagement Chicken recipe. That whimsical story tracks back to an editor's assistant at Glamour magazine in the '80s, who made that chicken and was proposed to shortly thereafter. Engagement Chicken was later reimagined by Garten, and it's eternally been confused with her Perfect Roast Chicken recipe.

Fans on Reddit have posted overwhelming praise for the poultry feast. "It's delicious! I've made it many times," said one, with another simply calling it "amazing." Someone else advised, "Do yourself a favor and serve this roast chicken ... with Ina's version of Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes." 

Along with flawless roastability, fans also point to the added carrots and fennel as recipe standouts — with some copping to adding more carrots than are called for. Curious about the average amount of times you can make this chicken? As one Redditor shared, "This [is] my go-to recipe! I make it every month, if not a few times a month."

Milk Chocolate Oreo Ice Cream

"Luscious milk chocolate ice cream enhanced with Cognac and vanilla with chunks of Oreo. How can you go wrong?" Trent Pheifer shared with Simply Recipes. The Instagram star and stone-cold fan has cooked over 1,200 of Ina Garten's creations and has a firm grasp on her tried and true favorites. Over on TikTok, one fan called it "the most perfect summer dessert."

While store-bought is fine for vanilla ice cream, when it comes to her Milk Chocolate Oreo Ice Cream recipe, Garten warns, "If you're in the mood for chocolate, you can't get the same rich, decadent chocolate flavor from store-bought ice cream that you can by making it yourself." In addition, this recipe features an egg yolk custard base for ultra creaminess, actual Oreo cookie pieces, Valrhona cocoa powder, and Cognac or brandy to mellow out the sweetness. Alcohol also keeps the ice cream scoopable in the freezer (because no one wants to go all "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" just to enjoy a pint).

And, here's an alternative option if you want to avoid possibly jamming up your ice cream machine with cookies (even though that's a delicious problem to have): You can also scoop the ice cream out of the maker once it's done churning, and then gently fold in the cookies instead. Also, maybe you arrange a few choice pieces on top, right before you freeze the dessert, like you're a boutique ice cream shop.

Truffled Mashed Potatoes

America does not mess around when it comes to good mashed potatoes. But, if we had to pick the crème de la spud, it looks like top prize goes to Ina Garten's Truffled Mashed Potatoes recipe. Because truffles. As uber fan Trent Pheifer noted to Simply Recipes, "[Garten] adds truffle butter for a creamy, dreamy rendition that's requested by friends and family every Thanksgiving!"

This recipe won our hearts with the phrase "hot truffle cream" — which is mixed with Parmesan, salt, and pepper, and a couple pounds of those beautiful Yukon Golds. The result is a velvety mashed potato dish that will be gone before you can go back for seconds. Of course it's a shoe-in for holidays, but we'd also snuggle up with these lil smashies for a movie night at home in our sweats.

The ingredient rundown lists white truffle butter (plus regular butter), which is so much easier than hunting for truffles yourself — and tastier than truffle oil. If you're keeping up with the Contessa, Garten's favorite white truffle butter brands are Urbani and D'Artagnan, and it's the primary ingredient she adds to make this potato dish so flavorful

Pesto, Pasta, and Peas

If you need a pasta dish stat, Ina Garten's Pesto, Pasta, and Peas recipe knocks it out of the park. Filled with tiny peas, creamy pesto, and adorable little bowties, it's another home run from our favorite cook. 

If you have half an hour, you've got this dinner on the table — including making the pesto from scratch. Although, Garten says packaged pesto is ok, too, which drops the cook time to just 10 minutes.

If you do make it from scratch while the pasta cools, you can step it up with the chef's hack on her own pesto recipe. She likes to add almost a full cup of mayonnaise (on top of the olive oil that's already in there) to thicken the texture and give the pesto the silkiest possible flavor.

As one TikToker explained, "I'm obsessed with making Ina Garten's pesto pasta salad recipe ... This is a fan-favorite at every cookout, tailgate, party, and potluck."

Beatty's Chocolate Cake

Beatty's Chocolate Cake isn't Ina Garten's original idea. It's Beatty's. But since it's still Garten's most-loved chocolate cake recipe — and also because it's the most luscious, buttercreamy, magical chocolate cake on the planet — it had to make this list.

So ... who is Beatty? She's Garten's friend's grandma. Beatty lived with her dairy farmer hubby in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and offered a chocolate cake add-on for locals to go along with their regular milk delivery. (If we ever figure out time travel, we want to get on that list.) The proverbial cherry on top? A cup of hot coffee is added to the cake batter to take this baby's chocolate flavor over the top.

Redditors have chimed in with comments like "Beatty's chocolate cake never fails me," and "It is incredible!! My go to chocolate cake recipe." Another posted, "Everyone I've made [it] for says it's their favorite chocolate cake. It never fails." You don't even have to be auditioning for "The Great British Bake Off" in order to nail this recipe. As one fan shared, "Even as a total beginner, two thumbs up on the recipe."

Shrimp and Linguine Fra Diavolo

If shrimp and linguine sounds like a regular order for a 1930s mob boss, there may be something to it. Ina Garten's recipe for Shrimp and Linguine Fra Diavolo kicks in a crushed red pepper-spiked fra diavolo sauce (loosely translating to "among the devil"), and it's one hot dish you'll definitely want to keep in your repertoire. You know, for when Uncle Tony comes over.

This tomato-based pasta dish incorporates star ingredients like homemade arrabbiata sauce (Garten says you can also use Rao's brand), garlic, dry white wine, linguine cooked al dente, and 20 of your best-lookin' shrimp. All topped with Japanese panko breadcrumbs — or, as fan Trent Pheifer told Simply Recipes, "Double the batch of panko breadcrumbs — you'll want to put them on everything." That's probably because they're sautéed in butter and tossed with fresh parsley, salt, and pepper.

"It's a dish that was so good the first time I made it, I turned around and made it immediately again. Something that rarely happened while cooking through nearly 1,300 recipes," Pheifer added of the dish. Another TikTok fan especially loved the breadcrumb topping, posting, "Wow, this was such a good idea from Ina, and added a nice little crunch to the pasta." As if Garten would ever think of anything less than a good idea.

Outrageous Brownies

These brownies eat lesser brownies for breakfast. If you search anywhere on the internet, you'll find hoards of fans freaking out over Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies recipe. As even Garten herself recalled to the Food Network, "I think this is the most popular thing I've ever made at Barefoot Contessa and we'd sell like a thousand of them a week."

The best part is, you can be a total beginner to nail this treat that will elicit holy swear words as they come out of the oven smelling like you're an off-duty Willy Wonka. The luxurious chocolate flavor also gets a boost from the addition of instant coffee, and the walnuts and chocolate chips tossed in the flour stay suspended in the mix like a starry night sky. These brownies do need to chill in the fridge before you cut them, though, so they keep their shape. 

"Ina Garten's recipe for outrageous brownies is my favorite recipe ... but the only downside is it makes a huge quantity," wrote one Redditor — as if that's a problem. A TikToker also posted, "Ina makes the most perfect brownie and now so do we." 

Charlie Bird's Farro Salad

A full 180 from brownies, Ina Garten's Charlie Bird's Farro Salad bursts with bright flavor, while using the lightest of ingredients. The original salad first appeared on the menu at New York's Charlie Bird restaurant, and was then published in the New York Times. Ina tasted the dish when it was made by a friend, and knew she had to recreate it herself. "It's absolutely fantastic," she told The National Post. And we agree.

Featuring pearled farro that's been simmered in apple cider, the salad also incorporates fresh cherry tomatoes, radishes, parsley, mint, arugula, and pistachios. A drizzle of lemony vinaigrette helps boost that fresh flavor. Of course, a generous dusting of shaved Parmesan doesn't hurt the situation either.

"Farro is by far my favorite grain and this is my favorite salad in all of Ina's repertoire," Trent Pheifer shared with Simply Recipes. "I love bringing it to potlucks as it holds up relatively well and is a hearty, healthy vegetarian-friendly dish." A Reddit fan posted, "Ina Garten's Charlie Bird salad is my fave salad discovery ... different and delicious." One of her five-star recipe reviewers also noted, "Excellent! Phenomenal symphony of flavors (sweet, salty, bitter, sour) with [a] touch of umami! Thank you! Will be making this again (and again)!"

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

Nobody would ever describe the Barefoot Contessa as lacking anything in the sweet tooth department. And with her Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake, you can bake like the queen herself. (Even better, no actual baking is required). Trent Pheifer told Simply Recipes, "This is the ultimate low-effort, high-reward dessert ... A crowd-pleaser that I make at least once a year." 

Garten's method involves whipping up a decadent mocha cream (there's a quarter cup of Kahlúa in it, along with instant espresso), and layering it in a springform pan with Tate's Bake Shop chocolate chip cookies. Chill overnight in the fridge, and serve a slice with chocolate curls on top. It's so pretty, no one will know it took you just 20 minutes to make.

As one fan shared on, "I've made it twice and I thought it was delicious. Everyone liked it. Also, it is so easy to make." A Reddit fan also shared, "I made this recipe ... for my friend's birthday and it was a huge hit!!" And one five-star icebox cake lover commented, "Every time I make this I get compliments and [get] asked for the recipe!" One writer for Ann Arbor News warned, "The downside to this cake is that once you've made it, you'll start to crave it." Well, too late to do anything about that.

Chicken Thighs with Creamy Mustard Sauce

What's better than regular chicken thighs? Ina Garten's Chicken Thighs with Creamy Mustard Sauce, that's what. This is how basic chicken gets a chef's kiss in 45 minutes or less. Better yet, it's so much easier than it looks. As one Food Network reviewer shared, "I cooked while watching TV in the other room and didn't have to miss Final Jeopardy!" 

To make her dish, Garten elevates bone-in chicken thighs (with the skin on, for all the flavor) into an irresistible stunner with sautéed onions, dry white wine, crème fraîche, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, and a final sprinkle of fresh parsley. Fans serve it over just about anything, including jasmine rice, egg noodles, cauliflower rice, and potatoes. 

Trent Pheifer told Simply Recipes that it's "hands down the Ina recipe I make most often. It's such a simple, yet delicious dish that even a cooking novice can pull off and feel like a chef! You'll be licking the plate." A new convert over on Reddit posted, "I typically don't like (or never had good) bone-in chicken, but this really was excellent. Definitely going to become a regular addition to our dinner rotation." And another commenter noted, "The chicken was seasoned perfectly and the sauce was rich, creamy, and luxurious. The mustard packed a flavor punch that chicken needs."

Coconut Cake

It's got five sticks of butter in it. Enough said. Ina Garten's Coconut Cake recipe bakes up a decadent, yet fluffy confection that's positively jam-packed with coconut flavor. It serves 10 to 12 people, but it could also be single-serve if you believe in yourself. Food Network reviewers have called it "unbelievably good," "best cake recipe ever," and "AWESOME!!!!"

This is that iconic white coconut cake you might find in a bakery case, going full shaggy-chic with shredded coconut pressed all over the buttercream frosting. One bite reveals a tender sponge cake foundation loaded with luscious coconut flavor, with a welcome touch of vanilla and almond extract. All that is to say, it's stupidly good. 

"I was never a big coconut cake fan but changed my opinion with one bite of the moist sponge and oh-so-creamy frosting," Trent Pheifer told Simply Recipes. Over on Redditors, some praised drool-worthy shots of the cake, writing, "This recipe is by far my favorite, it is so good!!" as well as, "Oh man I just love it when there [are] just truckloads of coconut ... I want all the coconut."

Fried Chicken Sandwiches

Ever heard of Shake Shack by any chance? Well, lucky for fans of the chain's fried chicken sandwich, Ina Garten does the trendy Chicken Shack even better than the original. Allow us to introduce you to Garten's Fried Chicken Sandwich recipe. That is, if you haven't already printed it out, framed it, and hung it over your mantle because it's seriously that good.

The Shake Shack version is Garten's go-to fast food sandwich, so she can be trusted to do it justice — and then some. "She gave a fantastic Shake Shack Chicken Sandwich recipe and holy heck it was amazing," posted one Reddit fan. Several others were also shocked at how spot-on the fried chicken, buttermilk herb mayo, dill pickle, Bibb lettuce, and potato bun combo really tasted. The secret apparently is in letting the chicken get its beauty rest in an herbed buttermilk marinade for at least eight hours.

"This will likely be my last meal on Earth," Trent Pheifer confessed to Simply Recipes. Another person shared on Food Network, "My family thought I ordered chicken out!" 

Rigatoni with Sausage & Fennel

Hungry for a meal that will stick to your ribs? Ina Garten's Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel recipe packs a hearty helping of many people's three favorite food groups: carbs, cheese, and sweet Italian sausage. 

"If I had to pick just one of Ina's recipes as my favorite, it'd be this," Trent Pheifer told Simply Recipes, adding, "For all those fearful of fennel, this is the dish that will change your mind." Another shocker, you also don't have to like sausage to crave this dish. One five-star Food Network reviewer posted, "I dislike sausage A LOT. I don't know what possessed me to make this and expect to like it, but I LOVED it."

The recipe also makes enough to feed a small pasta-loving army — not that you need to share. A Redditor posted, "The recipe keeps really well and you can munch on this for a week ... I've made this three times and it's just absolutely delicious every time!" Another person called the recipe "a fat bomb but ... so rich and tasty." 

Yet, maybe the top reason to keep this recipe bookmarked is for when you find yourself in possession of a beautiful bulb of fresh fennel, typically in the autumn months. With this recipe, you can officially rise like an eagle from the ranks of the "what to do with fresh fennel" Google people. 


You know Ina Garten wouldn't leave us hanging out to dry when it comes to cocktails. But, instead of crafting flaming liquor floats, egg whites, or complicated tinctures and infusions, Ina keeps it simple with her own take on a classic — a Cosmopolitan recipe. Featuring vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and lime, there's so many reasons to raise a glass to this drink.

Once a symbol of high society in 1980s New York City, the cosmopolitan cocktail was later immortalized by Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and The City." And now, we can slug vodka and cranberry juice out of a camping mug while wearing our stretchy pants and scrolling Amazon. 

"It's nice and tart, just the way a 'true' cosmo should be," one Food Network reviewer wrote. "Oftentimes cosmos are just heavy with cranberry juice, but not this one." 

Garten famously made the most gigantic version of this cocktail over on Instagram in 2020, delighting all of us with her ridiculously oversized martini glass and signature sense of humor. "I'm still making this classic recipe," wrote one fan, with another commenting to Garten, "This is why you are THE QUEEN!!"

Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs

Wrapping up our list of fan-favorite Ina Garten dishes, we conclude with the Barefoot Contessa's favorite recipe she's ever written: Her Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs. 

Beef short ribs get the luxury treatment here, cooked along with sautéed veggies, a whole bottle of dry red wine, Guinness stout, beef stock, tomatoes, and thyme. This dish would be served atop a bed of Garten's parmesan polenta, her roasted potatoes, or buddied up with a slice of crusty bread to soak up that rich gravy. As the chef shared in a YouTube video, "Now you can see why this is one of my favorites ... this just smells amazing." And — surprise — her fans love it, too.

"This dish was SO good and the depth of flavor was phenomenal!" said one Food Network reviewer. A second chimed in, adding, "A bit of work, but well worth the effort. So flavorful and delicious. This is a keeper." Over on TikTok, one user posted, "Everything smelled so good," while another loyalist remarked, "The meat is just falling off the bone." 

Whether it remains a special occasion dish, or if it slides into regular rotation, Ina Garten's Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs are ready to commit to a long and happy relationship with your belly. Cheers!