It seems that every week the internet unveils a new cooking trend: the beginning of lockdown brought us Dalgona coffee, last year everyone was making baked feta pasta, and who can forget the iconic salmon rice bowl? Beyond being eye-catching in your feed, viral recipes can inspire your everyday cooking and expand your skills with new flavors and techniques. Case in point: this year’s most popular recipes. Scroll through to see the trends that took over our feeds, then try whipping up one of these dishes for yourself.
All Things Toast
It seems like the “millennial-favorite” avocado toast has opened up a world of innovative ways to elevate a plain piece of bread, because the pantry staple is having a major moment in our feeds. Think: custard toast, ricotta toast, pizza toast — the options are practically endless. If you’re in a breakfast bind, or simply want to treat yourself to an Instagram-worthy snack, try whipping up that last bit of ricotta in a food processor, then spread it on a piece of whole grain toast with a drizzle of honey. Or, you can layer on some leftover marinara sauce, mozzarella, and slices of pepperoni over a thick-cut piece of sourdough.
Cheesy Rice Cakes
This snack hack draws inspiration from the iconic Korean street food tteokbokki and will fulfill your late-night cravings. It’s cheesy, chewy, and crunchy — hitting that texture trifecta. To make it, soften a sheet of rice paper in water, layer a slice of American cheese on top, then roll it up like a burrito. To cook, pan fry with a bit of oil until the cheese melts and the rice “cakes” get crispy. If you really want to channel the night market vibes, place a few of the rice cakes on a stick before frying and serve them with a side of gochujang sauce.
Oatmeal is finally getting the rebrand it deserves. To transform your regular breakfast into a warm, cake-like dish, mix up rolled oats with milk, some sugar, and a pinch of salt. But, instead of cooking it in the microwave or stovetop, place the oatmeal in an oven-proof dish and bake it. Try customizing the dish to your liking; stir in tahini for a mellow, sesame flavor or throw in a bit of vanilla bean paste to lend a more dessert-like finish. You can also top the baked oats with fresh fruit and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Egg Over Rice
Here’s a recipe that’s healthy and unfussy: tamago kake gohan. It’s a breakfast staple in Japan that simply translates to “egg over rice.” To make it, crack a raw egg over a bowl of steaming hot rice, then use chopsticks to vigorously mix the ingredients together. The steaming rice helps to cook the egg ever-so-slightly. Once combined, you’ll have a creamy, frothy, porridge-like bowl of rice that’s super satisfying. If you want to level up the recipe, add a splash of soy sauce, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and sliced scallions.
There’s a reason why influencers turn to meal-kit subscriptions: they allow you to venture into new cuisines and flavors, without scouring the internet for recipes or even taking a trip to the grocery store. Consider Blue Apron’s Wellness menu, which features ingredients like whole grains, vegetables, and lean sources of protein, so you can prioritize your health (all while expanding your skills in the kitchen). You can personalize the boxes to your preferences, like customizing your protein option or even selecting vegetarian-only recipes. Bonus: new subscribers receive $110 off their first five orders and even get free shipping on the first kit.
Green Goddess Salad
Call this green goddess salad a gateway salad; it’s a recipe that will open your eyes to the wonderful world of colorful and unapologetically delicious salads. Start by chopping up some cabbage and cucumbers and placing them into a bowl. Then throw a ripe avocado into a blender along with any herbs you have on hand, a squeeze of lemon, a shallot, a clove of garlic, a handful of walnuts, and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Once blended, pour the dressing over the cabbage and scoop it up with a handful of tortilla chips. Trust us: you’re going to want to add this dressing into your recipe repertoire.
Chili Garlic Oil Instant Ramen
Is this really a viral recipe roundup if you don’t have a ramen hack on the list? Not here! While your ramen is cooking, place chopped garlic, green onion, and ginger into your serving bowl along with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and the seasoning packet. Heat up a couple tablespoons of an oil with a high smoke point —like canola or vegetable oil. Pour the hot oil over the aromatics and the seasonings, then stir in the drained noodles. The noodles will be bouncy, chewy, and seasoned with just the right amount of garlicky chili oil, making it the perfect dish for when you return home after hitting the bars.
Ice Cream Creme Brûlée
While creme brûlée is often reserved for sophisticated French establishments, you can actually make a version of this bougie dessert at home with three basic ingredients: ice cream, an egg, and sugar. Melt plain vanilla ice cream in the microwave then once cooled, whisk the egg into the melted ice cream until smooth, then transfer the mixture into a ramekin. Place the ramekin in a baking dish that’s filled with water, then bake until the cream has set. When you’re ready to serve, sprinkle some sugar on top and torch it until it’s golden brown. If you don’t have a torch, you can broil the ramekin in the oven for five minutes. To serve, crack the brûléed top open and enjoy the creamy, crispy, sugar-y goodness.
Eggs are the most versatile ingredient in the kitchen; they can be used in practically every dish from breakfast to dessert. But if you’ve overcooked a hardboiled egg, there’s a new technique that magically transforms it into something that’s light and fluffy with a delectable texture. All you need to do is peel a hard boiled egg and gently grate it. Use this technique to elevate your avocado toast, or make a grated egg salad —you can even grate just the yolks for a fun spin on deviled eggs.
Mushrooms Over Meat
With the push towards veggie-heavy meals for sustainability, people are choosing mushrooms over meat — and for good reason: they can mimic the same texture of some of our favorite cuts. There are fried oyster mushroom po’boys, wild mushroom tacos, even chicken of the woods steaks. But if you don’t want to drop a decent amount of money on foraged shrooms from the farmers market, you can learn how to grow your own at home with a DIY kit.