8 Awesome Podcasts

Best Podcasts 2016

Have you been listening to any great podcasts lately? A year ago, we rounded up seven favorites, and since then I’ve gotten into many more, including a few that started recently. Here are 8 addictive podcasts to add to your playlist, and we’d love to hear your recommendations, too…

IF YOU’RE A foodie
LISTEN TO Splendid Table
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT Warning: This is not a good podcast to listen to on an empty stomach. Hearing people who are passionate about food talk about it in the most lavish way possible makes you yearn for a big bowl of pasta with garlic ramps. Splendid Table is hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, an award-winning food writer and radio journalist. Each week, she talks to a variety of cookbook authors, chefs, wine experts and anthropologists. Listeners come away with ideas about what to make, where to eat and the overall zeitgeist of the food world. You’ll learn the best wine to pair with Doritos (lambrusco!) and where the American tradition of eating frog legs came from (Detroit!). Bon appétit.

IF YOU’RE Obsessed with music
LISTEN TO Song Exploder
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT The genius of this podcast is its simplicity. Each episode focuses on one song, which is lovingly dissected, note by note, by the musician who created it. The result is equally compelling for a listener who’s very knowledgeable about music and someone who likes music but knows nothing about it (me). Recent shows involve the punk-rock legend Iggy Pop breaking down American Valhalla off his most recent album, Björk discussing her song Stonemilker, and Dustin O’Halloran, the composer of the Amazon show Transparent, explaining how he made its theme song. Radio critics everywhere have been freaking out about Song Exploder since it began in 2014, and their praise is well deserved. As New York magazine said, “Song Exploder is probably the best use of the podcast format ever.”

IF YOU’RE Up for a juicy conversation
LISTEN TO Here’s the Thing
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT A couple years ago, after a slew of weird Twitter behavior and public brawls, Alec Baldwin was not the world’s most popular person. He even wrote an essay saying he wanted to hide away forever. And yet… he then debuted his own podcast, produced out of New York’s NPR station, and listeners fell in love with him all over again. Here’s the Thing, which releases episodes twice a month, presents intimate conversations between Baldwin and a vast array of greats — from Amy Schumer to George Stephanopoulos to the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. You’ll lose track of time listening to each episode, and Baldwin turns out to be a generous, knowledgeable host with one of the best radio voices you’ve ever heard.

IF YOU Geek out on fun facts
LISTEN TO Stuff You Should Know
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT What if when you typed something into Google, the answer was spoken back to you by dorky dudes who were extremely knowledgeable on the topic you queried? That’s what Stuff You Should Know does. Co-hosts Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark, both writers from HowStuffWorks, chat in an entertaining yet authoritative way about basically everything. Tornadoes! Cats! The Great Wall of China! This has earned them a long-held spot on the iTunes 10 most popular podcasts list. I recommend listening during your commute, which turns a dutiful part of your day into time well spent. You will be the star of your next cocktail party conversation.

IF YOU’RE A fan of This American Life
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT Anyone susceptible to going down internet rabbit holes will find this show addictive. It’s a series devoted to the culture of the web — things like bizarre Instagram accounts, quirky corners of Reddit and unlikely YouTube sensations. Its hosts, PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, are master storytellers in the vein of This American Life, who manage to make even the most obscure tale feel universally relevant. I broke out in a sweat hearing one of their subjects recount his story of the worst email he accidentally sent to an acquaintance. Afterward, he said, “I’m moving to Los Angeles soon, and I think a large reason is just so I never run into him again.” Eek.

IF YOU’RE Amused by life’s enigmas
LISTEN TO Mystery Show
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT The intrepid host, Starlee Kine, solves everyday mysteries (for example: Exactly how tall is the actor Jake Gyllenhaal, given that the internet doesn’t say?), presenting them through investigative shenanigans and often following tangents that are just as interesting as the main storyline. You feel an unexpected intimacy with the voices in your ear and a warm-fuzzy feeling as Kine cracks each case after just the right amount of suspense.

IF YOU’RE A romantic
LISTEN TO Modern Love
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT Three months ago, when the New York Times introduced a podcast version of its wildly popular column, Modern Love, some diehard fans weren’t sure it would have the same appeal as the written essays, which have been a weekly ritual for millions of readers since they began appearing in print in 2004. But the podcast is elegant and emotional. Plus, the stories are narrated by an array of actors, like Sarah Silverman, America Ferrera, Judd Apatow and January Jones. Prepare to listen to an engrossing collection of true relationship stories — just keep your tissues at the ready.
TRY THIS EPISODE Maddy Just Might Work

IF YOU’RE In the mood to hang with friends
LISTEN TO Another Round
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT Buzzfeed writers Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu host one of the most off-the-cuff audio shows out there. You can sense their friend chemistry — there are frequent breaks for laughter — and the overall vibe is cultural criticism meets Car Talk meets bar crawl, set to groovy music. As the name implies, Clayton and Nigat actually drink on air. (“I got super drunk once,” Clayton admitted in an interview last year.) But underpinning it all are incisive, can’t-stop-listening discussions about race, gender, news and pop culture with a wide range of fascinating guests, which have included the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, the comedian Margaret Cho, Lena Dunham and Hillary Clinton.
TRY THIS EPISODE Madam Secretary, What’s Good?

Thoughts? What other podcasts do you love? Also, Sampler, a podcast about the best podcasts, is a great resource if you’re looking for more ideas.

P.S. 9 fun Instagram accounts and 8 life-changing apps.

(Photo of Carole King by Jim McCrary.)

  1. Carol says...

    My current favorites are Seamwork Radio – stories of how sewing changed the subject’s life – so inspiring!
    The Mom Hour – the two mom hosts pick a theme and share their experiences
    The Broad Experience- all about women and work – fascinating and so true
    Pop Culture Happy Hour – they end each show with what is making them happy – so fun!

  2. Lindley says...

    The Liberation Project has been an amazing find for me! Technically a men’s podcast, but the hosts are so witty and insightful, I get a lot out of it!

  3. Lex says...

    One Bad Mother-parenting/comedy!! Also everything else on Maximum Fun. particularly Judge John Hodgman.

  4. maria says...

    i loooove podcasts! i listen to them while walking on the beach with my son and dog every morning. The other day i listened to Maddy Just might work on Modern Love and it was such an interesting story and so beautifully written it made me tear up (like most of Modern love ha ha)… I just think of podcast as a reinvention of what radio used to be.. Sentimental

  5. Stephanie says...

    The Riveters podcast is my new favorite! Interviews with a wide range of interesting, kick-ass women like US soccer player Brianna Scurry or Senator Tammy Baldwin or Neera Tanden or the first female NFL ref Sarah Thomas – every week there’s an awesome, in-depth interview about a completely new (to me) world.

  6. Foree says...

    Comedy bang bang
    Race wars
    How did this get made
    Sklarbro county and country
    Savage love cast
    Fighter and the kid
    The Todd glass show
    Doug loves movies
    Fresh air
    Bitch Sesh
    Who Charted
    The moth
    Joe rogan
    Boner City

  7. Francine says...

    In Our Time with Melvin Bragg. A BBC4 show that explores one science topic – history, physics, philosophy, even maths – in one episode per week. The host always invites three academics who are knowledgeable and passionate about their topic and I am always amazed at what fascinating topics there are out there that I have never heard about – at least never in that depth. There’s more than a decade of archives!

    My favorite episode is the one on photosynthesis. Recent episode “1816 – the year without a summer” also highly recommended!

  8. Shannon wilhelm says...

    The longest shortest time and Lore – both amazing!

  9. Elizabeth says...

    The Liturgists is a new one I discovered. About the intersection of faith/science/art. A recent podcast on Black+White: Racism in America is a must listen.

  10. Kate says...

    ‘The Guilty Feminist’ nails what it is like to be a feminist in the modern world. Actual laugh out loud moments!

  11. meg says...

    Oh and “Note to Self” , “Reply All” and there is one by “Quiet” author that is okay and of course “TED”

  12. meg says...

    “Stuff Mom Never Told You” 2 thumbs up

  13. Erika Oh says...


  14. Rachel says...

    More people need to know about these:
    The Dollop (American history comedy)
    A Few Things with Claire and Erica (fashion and lifestyle)
    The Scott and the Sassenach (commentary on the Starz series Outlander)
    The Allusionist (linguistics)
    Sawbones (medical history)

  15. Michele R says...

    Dear Sugar is really really great!

  16. I work from home so podcasts keep me from being lonely when I’m doing non-creative work! These are all awesome, and a few other great ones:

    1) Call Your Girlfriend – if you like CoJ, you will love this. So smart but so fun.

    2) #GIRLBOSS RADIO – even though the term #girlboss can grate, Sophia Amoruso is a great interviewer, and every guest has shared extremely powerful stories about getting to where they are now.

    3) You Must Remember this – All the BTS gossip of all the old Hollywood stars whose names you’ve heard but never knew much about. Start with Star Wars (eps 27-39) for some of the best eps – and the one about Hedy Lamarr, how has this not turned into a movie yet?!

    • Foree says...

      You must remember this Manson episodes were spectacular

  17. KR says...

    Another Round is my all-time favorite podcast!

  18. Awesome Etiquette!!!! It’s from the Emily Post Institute and the hosts are Emily’s great great grandchildren.

  19. My fiance and I do not agree on music, at all. So when we’re in the car, we opt for podcasts. We’re taking a long road trip next weekend, and this roundup is perfect! There are only oh so many episodes of This American Life one can listen to in a row :-)

    — Dara //

  20. 99% invisible. So interesting! (For the design/knowledge lovers out there!)

  21. Benita Eldridge says...

    I am hooked on “Good Job Brain!”, a quiz show whereby four fun friends ask each other trivia questions on subjects that interest them. You will learn things that you were NEVER taught in school. It’s funny, quirky, and informative! My other podcasts:
    MoneyGirl and Planet Money

  22. Stacie says...

    The Tell Show

  23. Thanks for these great recommendations!

    Two other favorites:

    ‘Call Your Girlfriend’ is feminist, fun, and real.

    ‘Dear Sugar’ with the amazing author Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, is an advice podcast with so much heart. They are so well-spoken and wise, and they bring special guests on to tackle listener struggles.

  24. Audrey C says...

    Call Your Girlfriend!! Intelligent, informative, and witty conversation.

    I also listen to Stuff You Should Know – I’ve listened to almost every old episode and eagerly await each new one. Love Josh & Chuckers!

  25. Wow I really need to get into more podcasts. Love this list. Thanks Jo! X

  26. Julie says...

    I agree with Rachel, if you’re not listening to Call Your Girlfriend, you are missing out!!!

  27. Tara says...

    The Riveters! @theriveterspod

  28. Obsessed w Lynne Rossetto Kasper – also I’ve listened to virtually every America’s Test Kitchen.

  29. Janelle P says...

    1. Totally Married – husband and wife team, super funny and honest
    2. Conversations with Richard Fidler – Australian, intelligent & fascinating interviews)
    3. Garance Dore Pardon My French – her accent is adorable and her guests are unusual like Isabel Marant and Zosia Mamet
    4. The Blaze – considered and funny discussion of the original Beverly Hills 90210, episode by episode
    5. Mental Illness Happy Hour – heartbreaking, illuminating, dark humour
    Plus standards like Fresh Air and Desert Island Discs. Great rec’s by everyone, I’m definitely going to check out 2 Dope Queens and Call Your Girlfriend. Thanks!

  30. Jenny says...

    Love reading all these comments!
    The Splendid Table (NPR’s cooking & food show)
    The Girl Next Door (two friends and neighbors share cocktails and conversation about parenting, makeup, lifestyle stuff, with a fun sense of humor and friendship).
    The Loh Life, Sandra Tsing Loh’s hilarious 2 minute musings.
    Happier with Gretchen Rubin
    NYT Book Review
    So Chic with Arzo Anwar (fashion and celebrity gossip)
    Sorta Awesome (4 co-hosts talk about pop culture, friendship, anxiety, parenting, lifestyle stuff…like talking to a good friend or neighbor).

  31. Emily says...

    How Did This Get Made

  32. Rachel says...

    Call Your Girlfriend!!! A podcast for long distance besties everwhere – its soooo good.

  33. Kari says...

    2 Dope Queens is THE BEST. It’s turned me into that person who laughs to herself on the subway.

  34. Annie says...

    I discovered Radio Lab through Cup of Jo, which is now one of my most anticipated, stop whatever I’m doing when a new episode comes out, podcast out there! I also listen to the Mystery Show and Modern Love podcasts as well and love them both. Another great one that I don’t think you’ve featured yet is the aptly named, Surprisingly Awesome.

  35. Tim says...

    My top three go-to podcasts:


    And for the quick 5-minute listen here and there:

    The Memory Palace

  36. Katherine says...

    The West Wing Weekly, with Joshua Malina of current Scandal fame and Hrishikesh Hirway of the aforementioned Song Exploder. If you are a West Wing fan, or an Aaron Sorkin fan, or a television writing fan, or a nerd, or a human being, you will love this. It’s a weekly trip down memory lane through the lens of today. So, so great.

    • Tamara says...

      I am loving the West Wing Weekly!! I don’t listen to podcasts EVER, and I am nuts for this.

  37. Suprisingly Awesome is great. In Vancouver we had a 4.something earthquake and I had listened to the concrete episode months before. I used to work in structural engineering so was excited anyways but after that shock am so glad we have high cement standards here!
    I used to listen to podcasts just to get through the slow work. Other favourites are The Girl Nextdoor podcast – two creative mom neighbours who chat over cocktails. Pass it to Bulis – if there is any other sports show with this low barrier for intrigue let me know! It made hockey interesting again!

    Planet Money
    99% Invisible
    (some of) Two White Chick in China

    • I love the Girl Next Door podcast! It’s like listening to my friends talk :)
      Do you listen to Kelsey’s podcast that she does with her husband? Matrimoney? It’s easy to listen to as well!

  38. Elisabeth says...

    If you’re in the mood to laugh: 2 Dope Queens! I just started listening and every morning I’ve felt so happy! Really had me chuckling in the car on my commute.

  39. Bustle recently released a podcast called The Bodcast that I am so into. Also, Ladies Who Lunch is another favorite of mine.

  40. Another vote for ‘You Must Remember This’, the host (Karina) is so good and I was completely hooked on the Manson series. I’ve heard lots of good things about Alec Baldwin’s podcast so I’m going to have to check it out.

  41. Dena says...

    Another vote for 99% Invisible. And Israel Story, which is a self-described Israeli This American Life. I’ve been listening to re/code decode (Kara Swisher interviews leading tech players) and to the AMAZING Employee of the Month, where Catie Lazarus asks people who love what they do (Jon Steward, Cynthia Nixon, Isaac Mizrahi– for example) how they got to where they are. Plus, you can go see it live at Joe’s Pub!

  42. Elisha says...

    I am SO happy you included another round!!! They are seriously my fav.

  43. bethany says...

    THANK YOU for including Another Round on your list. If it wasn’t on there, I was going to recommend it in the comments. It’s my absolute favorite. The show is so insightful and funny, informative and hilarious. Listening to it every week has become a vital part of my self-care routine; I’m currently in the midst of a high-stress time in my life, but I know that on Tuesday nights I can come home, put my earbuds in, and soak up Heben & Tracy’s amazingness while I make myself dinner. For an hour I forget the rest of my life and just laugh with them, and it’s the best.

  44. i LOVE replyall – been listening to them for the past few months, and being an internet nerd – always get excited for their episodes.

    an NPR one I really love is “Hidden Brain” – where they talk about social science studies and why we behave certain ways!

  45. Louisa says...

    On being with Krista Tippett! I can’t believe this isn’t mentioned earlier. Described as “What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? ” – a lot of religious speakers, but also scientists, artists, helpers of all kinds, big thinkers. (You don’t have to be religious to really love it.)

    And another vote for Dear Sugar.

  46. Lynda says...

    I’ve been hooked on Criminal and Only Human

  47. Christina says...

    Dear Sugars is so so so good. It’s like therapy with two loving and emotionally astute people.

    And thanks for these lists! I always find a new favorite when you post them!

  48. Rachel says...

    WNYC’s Death Sex and Money is really good. I get so excited for it every week. Same thing with Dinner Party Download. It is so light and fun. Its a great escape. Also, I know this is an obvious one, but I had never listed to the Nerdist podcast before a couple weeks ago. At first I hated Chris Hardwick, but he is so genuine, and he has a magical ability to make his guests feel comfortable and relaxed. Its really fun to listen to.

  49. Victoria says...

    Bon Appétit Foodcast is amazing! Tons of guest chefs and writers on the show talking about all sorts of food topics.

  50. Alison says...

    If you love old Hollywood –> ‘You Must Remember This’ by Karina Longworth is addicting.

    • So good! My boyfriend and I have gotten hooked on “You Must Remember This” and we’ve been loving the current season. She’s got such a soothing voice and I’m amazed at the amount of research she puts into every season!

  51. Sarah says...

    Awesome Etiquette! Relatable questions from readers (about who to invite to your wedding, whether or not to tip, how to address a college roommate’s music tastes) and thoughtful responses. The hosts have exemplary etiquette themselves. So gracious. Definitely a podcast you can listen to in front of kiddos, which I’m finding is not true of many of them.

  52. Ali says...

    You should check out Longreads– they interview amazing writers about the tricks of the trade– think you would love! Or they should have you on if they haven’t already asked!

  53. Jennifer says...

    My favourite is Linoleum Knife. Two male film critics, spouses of 20 years, get together at their kitchen table every Sunday and talk/argue/laugh about the films they’ve seen that week. They also often get off topic and the glimpses this provides of their daily life together are sweet and hilarious and entertaining.

  54. Roxanne says...

    Stuff Mom Never Told You is my personal favorite “Stuff” podcast.

    I also really like Criminal – the stories Pheobe Judge explores are super interesting. I also love RadioLab – I think it’s one of the best produced Podcasts that I listen to.

    Flash Forward is something that recently got my attention – it explores the idea of a future where something is majorly different. For example, what would it look like if we got rid of all the mosquitos?

  55. ABBY says...

    I just started listening to the new WYNC podcast called “Only Human” it’s gooood.

  56. Rachel says...

    Surprisingly Awesome! Hosted by Adam Davidson and Adam McKay (writer of SNL, the Big Short, Anchorman), “Surprisingly Awesome” is about how things you might expect to be boring (mold, concrete, Chumbawumba’s Tub-thumping) are actually really interesting. You learn so much; a beautiful way to approach the world with wonder.

  57. Lauren says...

    2 Dope Girls is so.freaking.good. Highly recommend if you’re having a bad day and everything seems terrible, put this podcast on and have a laugh and feel everything instantly lighten up. Phoebe and Jessica are two comedians and they talk about sex and feminism and whatever else comes to mind, then feature hilarious stand up acts. Love love.

    • Elisabeth says...

      Agree! It’s called 2 Dope Queens, actually. :) Several friends recommended it but I kept searching for “2 Hot Bitches” and obviously not finding it. Lol.

    • Lauren says...

      Hahah at least we got the “2” part right

  58. Ana says...

    Serial Season 2 has been my favorite so far :) But I love all these other recommendations and I’m gonna get cracking asap!

    Love the site. xx

  59. Sounds Good with Brandon Harvey is a recent favorite. Loved his talk with Ruthie Lindsey.

  60. Jeannie says...

    Thanks for these suggestions! I absolutely LOVE Another Round – those women have great jazz, chemistry on the air together. And, I really enjoy their jokes, laughter, and intelligence!!

  61. emily says...

    Stuff You Should Know is a long time favorite of mine and I love Criminal. I just stumbled on a new one called Two Docs Talk where some doctors in Texas tackle health care issues like Planned Parenthood, Gun Control, and Medicare in a really balanced, refreshing way. I started listening to it for work, but I find myself looking forward to listening to them every time a new episode comes out. They are under 20 minutes and perfect for my commute to the train station.

  62. New York Magazine’s ‘Sex Lives’ podcast makes me laugh and forget about my days of all kids talk as a SAHM of 2! They discuss a wide array of humorous sex topics and take calls from listeners. I love seeing these new recommendations!


  63. Niki says...

    In the vein of Song Exploder, I would recommend Switched On Pop…

  64. Rebecca says...

    I love Another Round!

  65. Kitchen Sisters, 99% Invisible, Desth, Sex and Money and The Longest Shortest Time

  66. Tina says...

    Am I the only one who finds This American Life mind numbingly boring? Lately I’m loving Lore, 2 Dope Queens, and Stuff you Missed in History

    • Min says...

      You are not alone! I really want to like it, but sadly it sits there like the last kid picked for dodge ball.

  67. I’m a big fan of Latino USA! Sometimes mainstream media can be a drag. Latino USA explores untold stories and gives a much better picture of every day issues, chronicling the pressing but also the uplifting. Also, Maria Hinojosa has a great radio voice. “A day at the Bodega” is one of my favorite episodes and a good place to start:

  68. LOVE podcasts!

    -Dinner Party Download- NPR
    -Beautiful Stories by Anonymous People – SO GOOD
    -#girlboss radio with Sophia Amoruso of NastyGal
    – Oh Boy- from Man Repeller

  69. Sarah Beth says...

    What a perfect post!! I have become obsessed with podcasts within the past year and listen to an unhealthy number of them (which will likely increase thanks to this post and all the comments!!) My current favorites are:
    -The Longest Shortest Time
    -Awesome Etiquette (two of the great-grandchildren of Emily Post on etiquette – much more about how to be a kind, courteous person and treat everyone respectfully than stuff dinner rules)
    -Quiet: The Power of Introverts (from the best selling author)
    -Marriage is Funny (a married couple talking about their own adventures within marriage)
    -Modern Love (love this one so much!)
    -The Allusionist (Linguistic history/explanations)
    -Criminal (one of my favorites!! Each episode is on a completely different topic related to criminal activity)
    -Women of the Hour

  70. This is the best. I am obsessed with podcasts and have been reading through everyone’s comments and subscribing to a bunch of new ones! Just to add to the conversation, my tried + true favorites include: Strangers No More, The Lively Show, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, and Marriage is Funny. < I don' t know if anyone has mentioned that one yet!

  71. Lena says...

    Cavern of Secrets! It’s a fantastic series where a ton of really smart, interesting women are interviewed – Tavi Gevinson, Carmen Aguirre, Carrie Brownstein, Tanya Tagaq, etc.

    It feels like you’re hanging out with your smartest, coolest girlfriends. Have a listen!

  72. clare says...

    Sawbones is my second favorite podcast (after ReplyAll).

  73. So fun! I just did a post on my fav podcasts too.. and some of these are new to me. Podcasts are my new addiction.

  74. Emily says...

    West Wing weekly! The whole thing is just a giant smile. I love, love, loved the show and Joshua Malina just started this podcast with the Songexploder guy to talk about each episode, what stands up, what doesn’t, etc. It’s awesome!

  75. RinLin says...

    Oh my god, thank you for the Another Round recommendation (all of them really)! I am loving it! It reminds me of Call Your Girlfriend, which I also love (I mean, how could I not? They did a whole episode on periods!)

  76. Marissa says...

    Alec Baldwin has a podcast?! Pausing my non-stop rewatching of 30 Rock to listen. Thank you!

  77. Sarah says...

    Another childless fan for Longest Shortest Time and Mom & Dad are Fighting. I actually went to one of the “speed dating for mom friends” events for Longest Shortest Time and it was awesome (I volunteered, but the moms were having a great time!).

  78. Gabriela says...

    “Dear Sugar” is so good!! Cheryl Strayed is amazing! Loved the 3 part show about infidelity.

  79. Deeefinitely trying some of your recommendations :) I already started listening to podcasts thanks to Cupofjo, and yes, you made me an addict.

    xx B

  80. Grace says...

    For Crying Out Loud with Lynette Carolla (Adam Carolla’s wife) and Stefanie Wilder Taylor. It’s a parenting-ish podcast and I’ve been listening since 2010. They’re the best!

  81. Kristin says...

    Did anyone mention Lore, or I might be late to the game! Creepy, historical and interesting stories about how fear controls us. I really liked Episode 8 called “The Castle” and the episode about lobotomies is super interesting. I get creeped out just writing that word.

  82. deanna says...

    I really like the Longform podcast. I enjoy their website and that type of journalism. I find their podcast a great companion. It’s really neat to hear about the writers backgrounds and such. I also tend to like some of the discussions about my favorite shows such as Better Call Saul, The Affair, and The Americans.” I also really enjoy the work from FiveThirtyEight. Their podcasts have a wide range of interests from sports to culture to politics. They aren’t particularly long and really work for my inner data nerd. My NYC subway/long walk commute wouldn’t be the same without my podcasts!

  83. I’ve been enjoying “You Must Remember This” since moving out to LA. Very surreal to be running along Hollywood Blvd and look down to see the star of the podcast. She over-enunciates a little at first, but it doesn’t last. The Charles Manson series is haunting. I tried to get into Stuff You Missed in History class, but her voice wasn’t pleasant to my ear. I’ll give Criminal a listen.

  84. Lara says...

    Dear Sugar Radio! Every episode feels like a therapy session (in a good way). I’ll have to add some of these to my list too. Thanks!

  85. Maia says...

    Freakonomics Radio
    Dear Sugar Radio
    Awesome Etiquette
    The Read
    Two Dope Queens
    Black Girls Talking
    Another Round
    Happier with Grethchen Rubin
    Note to Self

  86. Anna says...

    Good choices! Others you and my fellow readers may like:

    Overdue- Two guys review popular and classic books. Insightful but still fun!

    Death, Sex, and Money- Show about the things that connect all people but aren’t always discussed.

    Oh Boy- Interviews with stylish, intelligent, high power ladies.

  87. Sarah says...

    Two Dope Queens! Enough said.

  88. Great post! I love Stuff you Should know and This American Life. I’ll be sure to check out reply all. I recently wrote a post of my favorite podcasts. You can check it out here:

  89. Amy says...

    I’ve never been into podcasts, but The West Wing Weekly has me hooked! I adored the show (and all Aaron Sorkin things), plus Joshua Malina is one of the hosts. It’s a huge West Wing geekfest.

    I also started The Gilmore Guys since I enjoyed West Wing Weekly so much. Why not listen to people talk about my other favorite show.

  90. sarah says...

    Oh good, another podcast post. :)

    I’m so glad to see someone else mentioned Desert Island Discs! Such a gem.

    My latest podcast obsession is Awsome Etiquette. The great great grandchildren of Emily Post (1920s writer and also Etiquette guru) discuss etiquette in any social situation you can think of. It’s not really about what’s the proper fork to use, it’s more about how to better communicate in any social situation. The hosts are extremely likable and in their 30s and they have a really fresh take on etiquette. They inspire you to be a better person! There are a lot of episodes in the archives and I’m jealous of anyone just starting it because I’m all caught up and I have to wait each week for new ones.

    • Charli says...

      I love Awesome Etiquette! I’m an etiquette nerd and I’m always trying to tell people that it’s so much more than forks and introductions. This podcast is a great example of that.

    • Sarah Beth says...

      I love Awesome Etiquette too!! I’ve been binge listening the last month and am almosttt caught up.

    • sarah says...

      Me too, Sarah Beth, I binge listened all this winter/spring (I cried during the episodes about Dan’s wedding since I felt like I knew them already) and have just been so excited that they seem to be gaining popularity. It’s a sincere and positive message done in such an entertaining way.

  91. Mary says...

    Another vote for 99% Invisible. Obsessively working through their back catalog. Intriguing stories and Roman Mars has suuuuch an amazing voice.

    Thanks for the list–you hit some of my favorites and introduced me to some new picks!

  92. Great post, I’m excited to check out ReplyAll. I love This American Life and I’m always looking for another good podcast to add to my repertoire. I recently did a round up of my favorite podcasts. You can see it here:


  93. Kiki says...

    I listen to so many podcasts at work! I love basically everything from Radiotopia and Gimlet. Other favorites are:

    99% Invisible – fascinating stories about design, architecture the built world etc

    Love and Radio – GREAT interviews/storytelling. Some topics are a little risque but it is probably my favorite podcast ever! Start with the Living Room and Bride of the Sea.

    Radiolab – classic

    The Longest Shortest Time – stories from early parenthood – I don’t plan on having any kids, but I still love this! The Accidental Gay Parents are so great.

    2 Dope Queens -hilarious ladies chatting and presenting comedians

    Call your Girlfriend – hilarious ladies discussing pop culture and current events

    Strangers – Also great interview and stories about the human experience

    Millennial – A 20something college grad trying to make it out there

    Here be Monsters – Weird pensive mix of stories about personal experiences, philosophy and science

  94. Kay says...

    This is a great list!
    I just subscribed to Podcast Playlist, I’m really enjoying it!
    They share podcasts I would never find on my own.

  95. AK says...

    Stuff you Missed in History Class, also from! Holly and Tracy are so engaging and knowledgeable, and make the topics interesting and fun.

  96. Sara says...

    Oh God my phone memory is not going to support me subscribing to all these. I echo most of the above recommendations plus:

    BBC Desert Island Discs – an institution on British radio where famous people are interviewed and talk through the 5 discs they’d take to a desert island. Check out the archives – really poignant and interesting to hear about people’s nostalgia surrounding music.
    Criminal – true life crime explored – excellent.
    Snap Judgement – storytelling with a beat is their tagline.
    Strangers – stories about strangers! interesting, poignant.
    StartUp – love this. About starting a podcasting company and then profiles the struggles and ups/downs of other start ups.
    The Allusionist – grammar and words made interesting!
    The Mortified Podcast – so hilarious people reading out their childhood diaries and letters
    Love & Radio – strange and eerie stories. Never know what you’re going to get.
    Radio Diaries – check out the teenage diaries episodes.
    Savage lovecast and The Heart – for love/sex advice and perspectives.

    Am I obsessed?!

  97. Maywyn says...

    Finally I know what a podcast is. I’m listening to Cheddar on The Splendid Table. Thank you for the link. Its great!

  98. Lisa says...

    JV Club- Casual conversations with actors and actresses about the wonderfully awkward teenage years!
    You Must Remember This- Old Hollywood Stories
    Criminal- Creepy and fascinating stories about, well, criminals
    Stuff You Should Know- For those who want to know everything about everything
    Stuff You Missed in History Class- For the history buffs

    • Christine says...

      I love OnBeing! And, along these lines, The One You Feed is very good. Interviews with spiritual leaders and philosophers from a variety of traditions.

      I also love:

      10% Happier with Dan Harris
      Pop Culture Happy Hour
      Invisibilia (when are you coming back?)
      Call Your Girlfriend
      Slate’s Double X Podcast
      99% Invisible
      Fresh Air (natch) p.s., most recent with QuestLove is awesome
      The Active Vegetarian
      One Extraordinary Marriage

  99. My husband and I do a podcast called Fakelore where we look at the historical and folkloric influences behind pop culture. Our latest episode was on Harry Potter.

    • Julie says...

      This sounds amazing! Finding now!

    • Courtney says...

      COOL!!! I’m going to start listening to you!

    • Christine says...

      just subscribed. Looks awesome!

  100. Abbi says...

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned Mom and Dad are fighting. I am so happy when a new episode comes out. Dan Clois throws such a chill spin on all my parenting angst.

  101. Katharine says...

    I adore listening to podcasts while I’m working or cooking, thank you for this great list! I listened to Mortified compulsively in the fall and was relieved to realize I’m not the only weirdo out there ;)

  102. maureen says...

    I love Criminal with Phoebe Judge. Each podcast focuses on some sort of crime or career around catching criminals. Phoebe’s voice is amazing and I love that they are 20 minutes or less. Seems to be all I can devote at the moment.

  103. Christina R says...

    I’m a big fan of Mortified – it has me smiling ear to ear and sometimes laughing out loud (I listen to podcasts as I walk my dog, so I’m fairly sure my entire neighborhood thinks I’m a crazy woman who laughs at the stuff in her head).
    I also love love love RadioLab – their stuff is always so good. I just listened to their episode Birthstory, if you need a starter.
    If you are a Serial fan, always follow it up with the Slate Serial Spoiler Special, which I think is usually even more interesting and engaging than the original Serial episode.

  104. A really recent one that I’ve just fallen hard for is A Paper Year (a newlywed couple interviewing other couples about marriage). It feels like you’re drinking wine in their kitchen as they chat with friends, and I’m not even married!

  105. I LOVE “The Popcast” with Jamie Golden and Knox McCoy. It’s a podcast about all things pop culture, but they also deep-dive into subjects you really want to know/talk about, but might be embarrassed to admit you’d like to know/talk about (Like, why do we not trust Natalie Portman? What is up with Demi Lovato’s rage? Why exactly is Leonardo DiCaprio so good looking – is he handsome or just super intriguing?, etc.). Also, they’re from Alabama and Tennessee, so their accents are charming. It just feels like you’re hanging out with good friends.

    • Amanda -You are a delight.

  106. Meredith says...

    The Pen Addict – a fantastic podcast about pens and stationery.

    • JSLC says...

      Brilliant, I need to listen to this one for sure!

  107. My favorite is Death, Sex & Money hosted by Anna Sale. The stories that are shared are unique, sincere and fascinating and I love Anna’s voice.

    Sampler is also a new favorite. It’s a podcast totally devoted to showcasing other podcasts. It’s brilliant and the host Brittany Luce is like a friend you’ve had for years. Just listen to the first episode where she featured a podcast one by Steve Austin. I was laughing so hard, I had to pull over!

  108. Rachel K says...

    I LOVE ReplyAll, Mystery Show, and Modern Love! I’ll have to listen to the others on this list. I listen to podcasts when I’m getting ready for work and on my commute. It’s such a relaxing part of my morning. I would recommend 2 Dope Queens (as a few others have already mentioned), Gastropod, and Death Sex and Money

  109. My favorite is Death, Sex & Money and it’s hosted by Anna Sale. The storit’s that are shared are unique, sincere and fascinating. And I love Anna’s voice. Deathsexmoney.organization

    Sampler is also a new favorite. It’s a podcast totally devoted to showcasing other podcasts. It’s brilliant and the host Brittany Luce is like a friend you’ve had for years. Just listen to the first episode where she featured a podcast one by Steve Austin. I was laughing so hard, I had to pull over!

  110. Alli says...

    I picked up “The Memory Palace” from last year’s podcast post, and WOW, it’s pretty much the best—short and beautifully composed insights into historical tidbits, and Nate DiMeo’s voice is even more hypnotic than 99% Invisible’s host’s is.

    Though “99% Invisible” is also on the top of my rec list—it’s about design in the way that NPR’s “Planet Money” is about money…which is to say, very broadly defined. Mostly it considers how our built environments came to be and the people and places and trends and history that came together to make them so.

    “Imaginary Worlds” is a MUST for any scifi/fantasy fan—although I think it’s a pretty interesting delve into storytelling and what people find compelling in fiction and why.

    And if you like fiction, I am absolutely ADORING the archives of “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” at the moment.

  111. Great picks! I’ve been a regular listener to most of these. I’d also recommend “Happier With Gretchen Rubin” which is fun and light and “Here to Make Friends” which airs during the Bachelor/Bachelorette seasons. They break down each episode and basically say what we’re all thinking while we watch. It’s so hilarious! For anyone interested, they interviewed Ben and Lauren on the last episode :)

  112. Loribeth says...

    Modern Love makes me cry ALL the tears, every week!

    I am a pretty big history buff and love the historical fiction and fantasy genre, so if anyone else is interested, The Myths and Legends Podcast is fantastic and so well done! The episodes are so well researched and the retelling with a modern perspective gets me every time. Approximately 30 minute episodes that I never want to be over! I’m a huge podcast listener and it is one of my favorites of all time. It reminds me of a podcast version of Rejected Princesses if anyone else follows that blog.

  113. Fresh Air–best interviews ever
    99% Invisible–design
    Planet Money–economics made understandable

  114. Erin Mary says...

    I love the Earwolf Network for comedy podcasts. My faves:

    “U Talkin’ U2 To Me?” with Adam Scott and Scott Aukerman (“Adam Scott Aukerman”) is GOLD. You don’t have to be a U2 fan to like it. It’s weird, self-referential humor and it’s amazing. Also their flagship (I think) podcast, “Comedy Bang Bang” which is also a TV show. Start with the episodes that have guests you’ve hard of/like and go from there.

    “How Did This Get Made?” is a great podcast about bad movies. June Diane Raphael discovers her attraction to Jim Varney in the Ernest Goes to Jail episode and it’s hilarious.

    Also, “Bitch Sesh” with Casey Wilson and Danielle Schinder is a great/hilarious wrap-up of the Real Housewives.

    And for non-Earwolf, I love “Stuff Mom Never Told You” for interesting feminist history and topics.

  115. As a small business owner, I´ve loved Donald Miller´s Story Brand podcast. Great marketing tips!

  116. Erin says...

    Sounds of the Trail if you’re a hiker or Hardcore History for, well, history. I never liked History in school and I love that podcast.

    • Loribeth says...

      Hardcore History is AMAZING!

  117. Elise says...

    Call Your Girlfriend! Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow interview amazing women, discussing pop culture and politics.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i hadn’t listened to this one yet, but i’ve heard SUCH great things. i also love ann friedman’s weekly email.

  118. MrsB says...

    If you love movies try Filmspotting.

  119. Samantha says...

    I’ll have to try these! My current favorites are Beautiful/Anonymous with Chris Gethard (its SO good!), Dear Sugar, and The Longest Shortest Time now that it’s back on air! This doesn’t include the constant classics like This American Life and RadioLab which never disappoint.

    • Mary says...

      Oh yes! Beautiful/Anonymous is a great concept. Loved the young woman who called in to talk about death and wound up taking about her latest “boyfriend”. :)

  120. Lilly says...

    I love the Dear Sugar Podcast, and Happier by Gretchen Rubin and her sister, Elizabeth Craft (sp?). They make me a better person :).

  121. I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon ‘Here’s the Thing’ but I was instantly hooked! Alec Baldwin is such a great interviewer; he always seems to have such a genuine connection with his guests and yes his voice is the PERFECT radio voice for sure!

  122. Emily says...

    I listen to so many of these! Another quirky, fun option is “My Favorite Murderer” – it is part murder mystery, part comedy, and the hosts (Georgia and Karen) are so funny and relatable.

  123. Mary says...

    The Popcast with Knox and Jamie. Pop culture at its finest and laugh out loud funny. Team Knox? Team Jamie?
    Embedded is excellent.
    Here’s The Thing – I like but wish Alec would stop interrupting his guests.
    Off Camera with Sam Jones.
    Y92 has great interview in a live format – Billy Joel and Don Henley, the cast from The Wonder Years was super fun and nostalgic.

    • Courtney says...

      The Popcast is so good! I’ve been binge-listening for the past three weeks.

    • Yes! The Popcast is the funniest podcast I’ve ever listened to. I’ve been binge-listening for like three weeks now.

    • Laura says...

      I also wish he would stop interrupting. thank you.

    • Kelly says...

      Agree on the interrupting!

    • Being in the same text space with Sam Jones is MAGICAL. Thank you Mary!

  124. MO says...

    Mystery Show is great but has not been on for months and months.

  125. Amanda G says...

    Also from under the How Stuff Works umbrella, Stuff You Missed in History Class is also a lot of fun! I recently learned about a hair-brained scheme in the early 1900s to bring hippos to the U.S. as livestock! It’s entertaining and the hosts are funny and have great chemistry, plus you can add to your off-the-wall knowledge that always comes in handy during bar trivia or dinner party conversation starters :)

  126. Diana McHale says...

    Spilled Milk! It is also about food, and makes me hungry every time, but Matthew and Molly are hilarious and I laugh out loud with them. Plus they have been doing this for 6+ years so there are plenty of archives to keep you busy. I have them to thank for turning my family on to White Cheddar Cheez Its, we seriously cannot get enough of them.

    • Sarah says...

      Spilled milk makes me laugh every single week. Adore it!

    • Gabriela says...

      I love Molly and Matthew!!

    • Michelle says...

      Was about to nominate Spilled Milk. Love Molly and Matthew’s dynamic! They’re my favourite podcast to listen to while cooking at the end of the day (even if I learn approximately zero new things about, say, ham & cheese sandwiches). ;)

  127. stacey says...

    Another vote for You Must Remember This!

  128. Johanna says...

    Mystery Show is/was (?) so great! I heard the first episode and downloaded the rest and my husband and I listened to them on our road trip around Iceland last summer. It always feels great to make my husband a fan of something. But since then I’ve been asking myself (in the voice of my toddler) “Where’d it go??” Starlee, we love you! Come back!!

  129. Melanie says...

    I have really enjoyed listening to the Black Tapes Podcast. It is inspired by Serial, but is a fictional exploration of the paranormal. A bit creepy, but if you enjoy that feeling it is a great escape.

    • Heather says...

      I LOVE black tapes! Can’t wait for a new episode

  130. Kelly says...

    Greater Boston! It’s a new, documentary-style podcast about a fictional Boston. It’s very different from most of the other podcasts I listen to & feels like a more human Welcome to Nightvale.

  131. Molly says...

    I love The Longest Shortest Time! Hillary Frank is such a great host and the stories are endearing and thought provoking.

  132. Anne says...

    Love getting new podcast recommendations–thanks! Two I would add: Call Your Girlfriend with Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sou, very much in the same vein as Another Round. Their tagline is “a podcast for long distance besties everywhere.” Also I am obsessed with the new-ish podcast from WNYC: 2 Dope Queens with daily show correspondent Jessica Williams and her comedian friend Phoebe Robinson. They bring on their comic friends to do short stand-up sets. It’s recorded live in NYC and it is HILARIOUS. I have to hold back laughing out loud while I listen at work. Highly recommend.

  133. Alex says...

    Also PJ Vogt from Reply All has the best laugh ever.

    • Kat says...


    • Xiomara says...

      He totally does! It’s all at once jolly and evil???

  134. hokidoki13 says...

    if you love traveling especially traveling to europe, listen to Travel with Rick Steves. if you are inquisitive about taboo subject, listen to Death, Sex and Love

  135. Sarah says...

    I’m working my way through the archives of Ask Me Another. It’s a fun NPR game show that includes word play, musical games, and celebrity guests. I often have to stop myself from answering questions out loud while listening on the metro!

  136. Elisabeth says...

    My new favorite is “Oh No, Ross and Carrie!” If you’re interested in fringe science, alternative medicine, or “offbeat” (some cultish) religious groups — from a skeptical, scientific, yet open-minded point of view — this is for you. These two are HILARIOUS as they discuss their adventures in everything from reiki to juice cleanses to Aetherianism to Scientology.

  137. Heather says...

    Yaaaaussss! I love podcasts so much. Will check ALL of these out.

    I am still going down a delightful podcast black hole thanks to a recent beauty uniform I read here! Adina from SW Basics! I looked at her social media accounts and saw that she had been interviewed on the WANT podcast (Women Against Negative Talk, my new jam). Then I dove into WANT pods and heard their interview of Jessica Murnane. That led me to Jessica’s One Part Podcast. I also dove into #girlboss podcasts yesterday (her first interview was Charlize Theron!)

    In short, Cup of Jo is awesome for my podcast game!

  138. I’m currently obsessed with podcasts. My favorites –

    Death, Sex, and Money for some amazing interviews on both fun and hard topics

    Anna Farris Is Unqualified for celebrity interviews and lots of silliness, straight up fun

    Call Your Girlfriend for smart lady conversations, seriously just like listening in on a bestie conversation

    Women of the Hour for a lady centered hour hosted by Lena Dunham

    Thanks for your recs =)

    • Sarah says...

      I’ve been into Anna Faris’s Unqualified, as well! Sometimes I do find her a bit annoying…simply because she tends to get off topic and whatever they were trying to discuss just kind of dies, but overall, she seems quite genuine and real, which I appreciate! I loved the episode with Rosie O’Donnell and Jenna Dewan Tatum (which hubby Chris Pratt makes an adorable cameo in!).

    • I just binged Unqualified and loved it (and am still loving it even though I’m caught up now and have to wait for the next episode). It’s funny and quirky and just pure entertainment…although I did occasionally find myself wanting to call in and tell her she was wrong! Ha!

  139. I’m suuuuper obsessed with You Must Remember This. My family already inexplicably knows a lot about early Hollywood Trivia as far as like, the ins and outs of social happenings and who married who and drama, I don’ t know why it’s just something we know a lot about, but I’m really enjoying hearing it in this kind of narrative rather than random tidbits? I prefer the episodes about the earliest days of hollywood into the early 40s, but they’re all excellent. I think I’m about 40 episodes in and there are around maybe 60? Really good stuff!

  140. Thanks for sharing, I’m so intrigued by Alec Baldwin’s podcast will be giving it a listen for sure.

  141. Alyssa says...

    I just started listening to Embedded. It reminds me of Serial, but it’s only 30-60 minutes and dives into a newsworthy topic to get “embedded” and learn more. I love it!

    You can never go wrong with Fresh Air and I love the Lively Show. Another new favorite is Fat Mascara. The beauty editors at Cosmo and Marie Claire talk about the lastest in beauty and interview someone in the industry and it’s awesome!

  142. Lindsey says...

    Great list! I’m loving “2 Dope Queens” – it’s hilarious.

    • Sarah says...

      2 Dope Queens is AMAZE <3 I was so excited that they record live in BK but their shows are sold out for a while.

    • Joanna Goddard says...


  143. lisa says...

    God, I love Mystery Show. The mysteries are often silly, but the narrative and story that unfolds so touching. Please tell me it is coming back. I obsessively check my feed and don’t see anything since last year.

    • I am a huge Mystery Show fan and Belt Buckle was the best! She said she is coming back but is on hiatus working on the next episodes.

    • Rachel K says...

      I’m also anxiously awaiting new episodes!