A recipe called the "World's Best Lasagna" may very well be the world's best lasagna, or at least the most popular recipe on the Internet. Uploaded to AllRecipes.com in 2001, the decadent, meat-and-cheese-filled concoction, has since racked up 10,439 ratings, has been "pinned" to Pinterest more than 25,000 times and has had 12 million people view it in just the past five years. The popularity of the "World's Best Lasagna" prompted the Washington Post to interview John Chandler, the man behind the most popular recipe on the Internet.
The "World's Best Lasagna" has a top rating of 5 out of 5 stars on AllRecipes.com. But unlike other top-rated recipes that are quick to make and require few ingredients that are inexpensive and readily available, the most popular recipe on the Internet takes 3 hours to prep and cook and has 20 ingredients that are not exactly cheap nor easy to find. But quality ingredients and a little more time is apparently the key to this recipe's success.
Given the popularity of AllRecipes.com - it averages 20 million visits each month, according to analytics firm SimilarWeb, via WaPo - it stands to reason that Chandler's lasagna recipe is the most popular recipe on the English-speaking Internet. AllRecipes.com, which celebrated its 15th anniversary last year, estimates that it has more than 7 million registered users and 30 million unique visitors annually, making it the largest English-language food site in the world, beating Food.com, Cooks.com and Taste of Home. While the "World's Best Lasagna" is likely the most popular recipe online, is it actually the best?
WaPo is critical, calling the sauce, which needs to simmer on the stove for an hour and a half, as good as a jar of Bertoli: "bright and acidic, but not particularly nuanced." Chandler's ricotta filling made with cheese, egg and parsley, is similarly unsophisticated, with WaPo calling it "flat" compared to "the béchamel sauce that's traditional in parts of Italy, or the nutmeg- and mint-tinged varieties that exist elsewhere on AllRecipes." While the recipe makes 12 servings, it certainly doesn't skimp on the meat and cheese (one pound sweet Italian sausage, ¾ pound lean ground beef, 12 ounces, ricotta cheese, ¾ pound mozzarella cheese and ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese.)
Cooks, who have presumably tried making the "World's Best Lasagna", have offered hundreds of tweaks to the Internet's most popular recipe, some of which Chandler has adopted himself. The "World's Best Lasagna" recipe has 7541 reviews. The most helpful, positive review calls it an "Excellent and Authentic recipe!" "The mix of sausage and beef is sublime, so no need for more salt. I always add a dash of nutmeg to the ricotta mixture."
On the other hand, the most helpful, negative review said, "I only used 1/3 of the salt called for ... It was still too salty. It tasted like something you'd buy in the freezer section at the grocery store. Why waste all that time making it at home if it doesn't taste any better than the manufactured stuff and isn't any healthier?"
Have you ever made the Internet's most popular recipe, the "World's Best Lasagna"? Let us know in the comments.