Our Favorite Images of 2018

No Serious Eats recipe or story would be complete without photos. They help us understand just how thick our ramen noodles should be, and decide what kind of crust we’re going for on our fried chicken (craggy, always craggy). But our favorite photos aren’t just helpful. They’re bright, eye-grabbing, and make our mouths water. There was a lot to drool over in our photo studio this year; here are our absolute favorite photos of 2018.

Crispy Risotto Pancake

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

A crispy pancake of risotto sizzling in a carbon-steel skillet. It’s such a great play of textures, with each grain of rice on top imprinted with a crackly brown shell, but cracks revealing the golden risotto below. Then there are those tufts of smoke and steam curling up and fading into the gunmetal grey of the pan encompassing it (the pan, in case you can’t tell, was being used for the first time in this shot, hence the lack of dark black seasoning that will eventually develop). —Daniel Gritzer, managing culinary director

Crispy Risotto Pancake »

Carrot Salad Gets a Makeover

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

It’s possible I’m biased, because this fresh and snappy carrot salad was one of my favorite dishes Sohla made this year (and that’s saying something, because she made quite a few hits). But luckily, Vicky’s bright and textured photo does the salad justice. The crisp detail of the picture gives you a sense of just how much care and intention went into shaving, pickling, tossing, dressing, and plating before the camera flashed. It’s almost as fun to look at the picture as it is to eat the salad—but not quite. —Elazar Sontag, editorial assistant

Carrot Salad Gets a Makeover »

Ramen Constellation

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

Vicky Wasik beautifully captures a night sky of floating silky noodles in the midst of constellations and stars made of flour. This dreamy photograph highlights gorgeous textures that you can almost feel. I can stare at this noodle galaxy all day. —Grace Chen, office manager

Ramen Constellation »

Honey Frosting (Italian Buttercream)

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

I could go on about the styling, the way the light captures the sugary texture and refracts through the stripes of honey, but ultimately this picture is dangerous because it looks so good I want to bite my damn monitor. If I were a millennial, this photo would be my tide pod. —Joel Russo, video producer

Honey Frosting (Italian Buttercream) »

German Buttercream Is Vanilla Pudding Whipped With Butter. What’s Not to Like?

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

I’m fascinated by this slightly abstract cake-frosting shot. It recalls gesso being spread on a fresh canvas. What’s more oddly satisfying than spreading one smooth substance evenly across the surface of another? —John Mattia, video producer

German Buttercream Is Vanilla Pudding Whipped With Butter. What’s Not to Like? »

A Seaweed Primer: How to Use Kelp, Nori, Wakame, and More

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

You’d never think seaweed could be beautiful, but Vicky managed to make the sea vegetables (a little respect, please) featured in this guide absolutely gorgeous. This image of purple dulse, all soft edges and floating, mermaid-tail-like leaves, puts me in the trance-like state I associate with peering into an aquarium. But frankly, all of the photos in this article are stunners. —Miranda Kaplan, senior editor

A Seaweed Primer: How to Use Kelp, Nori, Wakame, and More »

Guess the Picture

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

Vicky takes gorgeous pictures for the site every day. But what our readers almost never see are the crazy macro images of ingredients and dishes that she posts in Slack for us to wonder over. The post this image is pulled from is one of my favorites of 2018—gaze upon a mysterious, imagination-inspiring image and then experience the satisfying aha moment when the zoomed out photo is revealed. It adds a whole new dimension to the art we’re all so accustomed to seeing on the site. —Niki Achitoff-Gray, executive managing editor

Guess the Picture »

To Bloom or Not to Bloom: How to Get the Most Out of Saffron

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

This photo, barely resembling food, could be a bacterial slide or a psychedelic live-projection by Liquid Light Lab. I appreciate the simplicity of its two-color pallet and its primeval forms: blobs and squiggles. Not at all appetizing, its unique style stands out against the thousands of mouthwatering images elsewhere on the site. —Maggie Lee, designer

To Bloom or Not to Bloom: How to Get the Most Out of Saffron »

This Super-Crispy Honey Butter Fried Chicken Is Killer With Waffles

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

Fried chicken is one of my favorite foods—and not one that I particularly enjoy making at home, so I always perk up when word spreads that there’s going to be some in the office. When Sohla brought a tray of her spicy honey fried chicken out of the kitchen, everyone clamored around snapping pics for their Instagram feeds (see?), but Vicky had already snagged the best one, capturing a perfect drip (drip drip) of honey falling off of the extra-crispy, extra-craggy chicken. —Paul Cline, VP of product

This Super-Crispy Honey Butter Fried Chicken Is Killer With Waffles »

How to Make Shoyu Ramen Using a Pressure Cooker

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

There are many, many prettier photos that we published this year, but this one means quite a lot to me, since I spent months on the recipes that came together to make this bowl of ramen. —Sho Spaeth, features editor

How to Make Shoyu Ramen Using a Pressure Cooker »

Rethinking American Buttercream

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

This shot of fluffy pink buttercream encapsulates everything I love about baking, which I see as an absolute riot of frivolity—I mean, who needs dessert? Technically, no one. But it’s so sweet and fun and pure, with the capacity to bring us so much joy. —Stella Parks, pastry wizard

Rethinking American Buttercream »

Our Favorite Cereals

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik

This whole post is a starchy, sugary, macro throwback, and the primary image is childhood encapsulated in a photograph: colorful, playful, and pretty messy. It just pops! I mean, Trix… — Tim Aikens, front-end developer

Our Favorite Cereals »

Turn Leftover Sweet Potatoes Into Light and Fluffy Biscuits

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

This roundup wouldn’t be complete without some steam. You guys don’t know how hard it is to capture that perfect moment of whispy vapor—many biscuits are often sacrificed (and by sacrificed, I mean torn open and then eaten by someone immediately) to get a single shot like this. —Vicky Wasik, visual director

Turn Leftover Sweet Potatoes Into Light and Fluffy Biscuits »

Know Your Citrus: A Field Guide to Oranges, Lemons, Limes, and Beyond

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

This shot is all about color. There’s another similar photo in the article that features the citrus rounds with light coming through, and while I love that shot as well, this one stands out thanks to the darker contrast. —Vicky Wasik, visual director

Know Your Citrus: A Field Guide to Oranges, Lemons, Limes, and Beyond »

How to Make Your Own Brownie Mix, for…Emergencies

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

If you use your imagination, this image could easily be an aerial view of some craggy prehistoric rock land. The texture on these brownies create an abstract pattern that I would happily blow up and hang on my wall. —Vicky Wasik, visual director

How to Make Your Own Brownie Mix, for…Emergencies »

Devil’s Food Cake: One Bowl, No Mixer, Diabolically Easy

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

Every once in a while, I get a great sifting moment, and this is one of them. Enjoy. —Vicky Wasik, visual director

Devil’s Food Cake: One Bowl, No Mixer, Diabolically Easy »

Deconstructed Deviled Eggs With Mayonnaise, Anchovies, and Capers

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

I’ve developed an amazing hobby over the last year: ceramics! I think my plates and bowls end up being heavily influenced by the food I shoot. Case in point: this plate and these eggs could not be a better match. Which came first? The plate or the egg? —Vicky Wasik, visual director

Deconstructed Deviled Eggs With Mayonnaise, Anchovies, and Capers Recipe »

How to Make a Fresh-Fruit Swirl for Ice Cream

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

Honestly, this photo is just so fun. Stella’s badass ice cream shirt, the perfect swoosh of the raspberry sauce, the colors—everything came together for one magical moment. —Vicky Wasik, visual director

How to Make a Fresh-Fruit Swirl for Ice Cream »

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

I love this picture. It’s not just because Stella’s biscotti recipe is absolutely perfect, which it is. It’s because it features some of Vicky’s pottery. Did you know she’s a pottery wizard? As of right now, Vicky isn’t selling any of her pieces but I intend to buy a few for my apartment as soon as she does. Then I intend to recreate this whole scene, from the glossy chocolate-dipped biscotti to the speckled plates and that perfectly placed napkin. (Vicky is also really good at floofing linen napkins for her photos but that’s for another post.) —Ariel Kanter, director of commerce strategy and editorial

Almond Biscotti: The Perfect Care-Package Cookie »

How to Make the Crispiest Shredded Hash Browns

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

If you flip this picture upside down, you will see a little Wall-E–looking creature, holding a bouquet of bacon. It’s so flippin’ cute!!! I don’t know why we turned it the other way for the site. —Kristina Bornholtz, social media editor

How to Make the Crispiest Shredded Hash Browns Recipe »

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