What did you learn to cook by heart this year? We believe that utter confidence and enjoyment of cooking lies first in knowing the smartest, simplest ways to cook the essentials. We teach you week in and week out with Cooking Lessons, our step-by-step recipes, designed to be known by heart as you assemble your own toolbox of best recipes and go-to techniques.

This year we published many new Cooking Lessons; here are the 15 most popular ones. And I think you’ll be able to see a theme (hint: it starts with slow and ends with cooker). From pulled pork to crispy asparagus fries and back to pulled chicken, here is what you and your fellow cooks ate most this year.

Classic mac and cheese, made in the slow cooker? This was as yummy and easy as it sounds, and the runaway hit of our new Cooking Lessons this year.

Another slow-cooker classic! This will teach you how to make superbly tender and juicy pulled pork, generous enough for a crowd (or for freezing).

Definitely the easiest way to make reliably moist and tender roast chicken (you can even still get the crispy skin, thanks to the broiler).

Oh, the slow cooker — it keeps on giving! Here’s the chicken recipe you want for Sunday night cooking. Make a batch of shredded chicken to pop onto your salads for the rest of the week.

Basically the best party main dish ever.

The savory comfort breakfast you need this winter.

Back to the slow cooker we go! Have you ever thought to make meatballs in your trusty Crock-Pot? It really is so easy (and there are no splatters).

Such a great technique to know by heart for quick weeknight meals.

Bookmark for spring; this is a delicious way to snack on asparagus!

You know you want ’em.

Master the art of the waffle with this expert recipe.

An essential recipe for any cook.

This playful take on vegetarian bacon is wonderful for vegetarians and omnivores alike with its smoky deliciousness.

A guide to the ultimate Caesar dressing.

This was one of Google’s top-searched recipes of the year, and we know it, as this classic, crispy onion-topped casserole was much-loved by the crowds.

Did you master a new recipe or essential technique this year? What really made a difference to your confidence in the kitchen?

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