Karen Rankin
Karen Rankin

Karen Rankin

Title: Tester, Developer and Food Stylist

Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Education: B.S. in Marketing and Advertising, University of Alabama; Certificate, Culinary Arts/Chef Training, New York Restaurant School

Expertise: Developing recipes that are nutritionally and visually brand-specific

- Produces Tips from the Test Kitchen for Southern Living
- Owned and operated Snowbird Mountain Lodge

Experience

Karen Rankin is a recipe tester, developer and food stylist. She is also a writer whose work has appeared in EatingWell, Southern Living, MyRecipes, Cooking Light, Real Simple and Food & Wine. She has served as a food stylist for many of those same brands and produces a series of videos for Southern Living called Tips from the Test Kitchen.

As a recipe developer, she brings a sense of creativity and beauty to her work, always focusing on both how the food will taste and how it will look when the diner first views a plate. She finds it important to feed all the senses during a dining experience.

Although she had an interest in cooking at an early age, she pursued a culinary career only after attending college and earning a B.S. degree in advertising and marketing, which was not ultimately the satisfying career choice she had hoped it would be. 

After a career in sales and advertising, Karen began to wonder what else could feed her creative brain. She took a certificate course in culinary arts from the New York Restaurant School in Greenwich Village, New York, and later went to work for Frank Stitt, a beloved and renowned chef back home in Birmingham, Alabama, at Highlands Bar and Grill.

Later she and her then business partner opened and operated an inn in the western North Carolina mountains, Snowbird Mountain Lodge, where she spent 13 years delighting guests with her culinary creations.

Karen fine-tuned her culinary talent during 13 years of running a restaurant of her own, using locally grown products to delight the guests at her lodge. Cooking from the heart for people she loves is her favorite thing to do.

Life brought Karen back to Birmingham in 2010, where she began working with Oxmoor House, testing and developing recipes for numerous books and publications.

About EatingWell

EatingWell has been publishing award-winning journalism about food, nutrition and sustainability since 1990. Learn more about us.
Instant-Pot Cashew Yogurt
Rating: Unrated
New!
It's easy to make homemade vegan yogurt when you use an Instant Pot. This creamy cashew yogurt can be made ahead of time, so prep a batch and keep it on hand for a quick breakfast or snack.
Advertisement
Air-Fryer French Toast Sticks
Rating: Unrated
New!
This air-fryer French toast recipe cuts the toast into strips that are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and perfect for dipping into maple syrup or your favorite fruit compote.
Air-Fryer French Toast
Rating: Unrated
New!
The air fryer in this air-fryer French toast recipe delivers a crispy outside and tender middle, with all the classic flavors dressed up with fresh strawberries and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Air-Fryer Chicken Taquitos
Rating: Unrated
New!
These air-fryer taquitos are crispy on the outside with a warm and zesty chicken-and-bean filling on the inside. Pico de gallo, sour cream and fresh cilantro round out this easy recipe that's perfect for a game-day crowd.
Air-Fryer Breakfast Bowl
Rating: Unrated
New!
These savory breakfast bowls make excellent use of the air fryer. The tortilla is the perfect vehicle for scooping up the egg, pepper and tomato filling—plus it can soak up the runny egg yolk. Lime juice adds brightness to finish the dish.
Inspired by the viral sandwich from Joe & the Juice, we put our twist on the popular tuna-avocado sandwich. Adding chili crisp to the pesto adds delicious flavor, while processing the tuna with avocado creates a wonderfully creamy spread. These sandwiches are packed with texture and flavor, and will quickly make their way into your weekly lunch rotation.
Slow-Cooker Cabbage Roll Soup
Rating: Unrated
New!
This slow-cooker cabbage roll soup has all the essential flavors of a classic cabbage roll and simmers away to create bold, warming flavors. This savory soup has just a hint of sweetness plus heat from hot sauce. The tomatoes and caraway seeds help create depth but don't overshadow the rest of the flavors. The brown rice garnish rounds out the dish.
Advertisement
Braised Green Cabbage
Rating: Unrated
New!
If you're looking for a delicious, healthy vegetable side, it doesn't get better than this braised cabbage recipe. Caraway seeds add a nutty flavor and play well with the shallots, thyme and parsley. Serve alongside roasted chicken, bratwurst or pork chops.
Braised Red Cabbage
Rating: Unrated
New!
Bacon does double duty in this braised cabbage recipe. The drippings are used to cook the cabbage, while the cooked pieces add crispy texture to the final dish. Serve this savory cabbage alongside roasted meat or poultry.
Slow-Cooker Cabbage Roll Soup
Rating: Unrated
New!
This slow-cooker cabbage roll soup has all the essential flavors of a classic cabbage roll and simmers away to create bold, warming flavors. This savory soup has just a hint of sweetness plus heat from hot sauce. The tomatoes and caraway seeds help create depth but don't overshadow the rest of the flavors. The brown rice garnish rounds out the dish.
Braised Green Cabbage
Rating: Unrated
New!
If you're looking for a delicious, healthy vegetable side, it doesn't get better than this braised cabbage recipe. Caraway seeds add a nutty flavor and play well with the shallots, thyme and parsley. Serve alongside roasted chicken, bratwurst or pork chops.
Braised Red Cabbage
Rating: Unrated
New!
Bacon does double duty in this braised cabbage recipe. The drippings are used to cook the cabbage, while the cooked pieces add crispy texture to the final dish. Serve this savory cabbage alongside roasted meat or poultry.
This baked scallop recipe features a delightful balance of a crunchy, golden-brown topping and tender, sweet scallops. They feel decadent like scallops should, thanks to the tasty lemon-butter sauce.
Stuffed Cabbage Soup
Rating: Unrated
20
Like stuffed cabbage? You'll love this easy stuffed cabbage soup. It's got all of the classic flavors of stuffed cabbage without all the fuss of stuffing.
Advertisement
This creamy rotisserie chicken soup has a delicious chicken pot pie feel to it. We call for rotisserie chicken to streamline your prep time--look for a nice big one with lots of breast meat on it. Pair this comforting and easy soup recipe with a green salad, or, if you're really hungry, a grilled cheese sandwich.
Instant-Pot Yogurt
Rating: Unrated
New!
This Instant Pot yogurt is rich, creamy and subtly tangy, with a smooth consistency. For a thicker Greek-style yogurt, strain it in the refrigerator after it's chilled completely. Enjoy the yogurt as is or add it to a smoothie or parfait.
Juicy grilled pork chops with a tiny bit of sweetness and a faint hint of spiciness make for an excellent dinner main that pairs with practically any side. A simple brine imparts flavor, but mostly keeps the pork chops from drying out; just don't marinate the meat for any longer than 4 hours or it'll soften the texture.
In this chicken and asparagus bake recipe, we use one baking sheet to whip up dinner quickly, veggies included. Pounding the chicken thin helps it cook quickly alongside the carrots and potatoes, with asparagus rounding out the meal.
This TikTok-trending, veggie-packed salsa gets inspiration from Texas caviar (aka cowboy caviar), a dish created in 1940 to ring in the New Year by Helen Corbitt, who was a chef at Neiman Marcus. Scoop it up with tortilla chips or try it as a topping for grilled meat or fish, or as a filling for a quick quesadilla. 
Grinder Salad Sandwich
Rating: Unrated
1
Inspired by the viral TikTok trend, we put our own spin on the grinder salad sandwich. We stick to one deli meat, in this case turkey, to cut back on sodium. For the salad topping, additions like bell pepper, red onion and tomato add color and crunch while also amping up the veggies. Whether you call it a grinder, hoagie or sub, you'll want to make this sandwich again and again.
Grilled Peach Salad
Rating: Unrated
New!
This grilled peach salad is packed with bright flavors. Toasted pine nuts add a nice crunch and buttery flavor.
Advertisement
Pear Salad
Rating: Unrated
New!
This pear salad has a lovely balance of sweet, savory, buttery and tangy flavors. There's plenty of sweetness from the Anjou pears that contrasts nicely with the peppery greens. The topping of Parmesan and nutty toasted pecans helps pull together a filling and delicious salad.
Grilled Peaches
Rating: Unrated
New!
Learn how to grill peaches with this quick recipe. Grilled peaches are easy and offer a nice base for optional flavorings. Make them for an appetizer or salad topper, or serve them as a side to roasted or grilled meats.
Copycat Starbucks Pink Drink
Rating: Unrated
New!
Inspired by Starbucks' Pink Drink, we use fresh and frozen fruit to create a tangy, creamy beverage. The natural sweetness of the strawberries and passion fruit eliminates the need for added sugar. Coconut milk adds creaminess, while strawberries contribute to the gorgeous pink hue of this refreshing drink.
Eggplant Meatballs
Rating: Unrated
1
These eggplant meatballs are a creative way to enjoy eggplant! They are packed with savory flavors that are sure to please just about everyone. Cooking the eggplant prior to forming the vegetarian meatballs is a quick way to release moisture to help hold them together.
Crab Bisque
Rating: Unrated
New!
This lighter version of crab bisque is still plenty rich and velvety thanks to lightly thickened half-and-half in place of the more traditional heavy cream. The crab topping with lemon and parsley makes this easy bisque company-worthy while helping to balance the flavors.
Crab Salad
Rating: Unrated
New!
This fresh and clean crab salad sits on top of crunchy romaine lettuce with extra crunch coming from bell pepper and celery. The sweet crab is laced with a creamy dressing (thanks to Greek-style yogurt and mayo) with just a hint of Old Bay seasoning. Lemon and herbs bring it all together and brighten everything up.
This easy and healthy cherry tomato pasta recipe takes just 20 minutes to prep, so it's a perfect weeknight dinner. Cooking garlic cloves whole and then mashing them into the sauce not only saves time, it creates a mellow garlic flavor that melds seamlessly into the silky burst cherry tomatoes.