The Most Viral Cooking Trends Of 2021

An Instacart survey in 2021 revealed that 36% of Americans changed their approach to cooking based on social media, and 44% tried their hand at making a social media food trend. But, what is it that makes a cooking trend go viral? There's a number of factors, and a big one seems to be the ease of making it. Adam Rapoport, the editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit, told Vox, "The recipes that do go viral have to be perceived as cookable. [...] That's imperative, that the recipe seems like something the home cook can make."

Ease in making a dish also includes ingredient consideration; they have to be ingredients that are easy to get and not intimidating to cook. "It's never going to be a fish. It might be a chicken, but probably not," food writer Alison Roman explained to Vox as well. "Because you have people that are afraid to cook chicken, you have vegetarians. You're eliminating an audience just by sheer virtue of the fact that it's chicken."

So, what were some of 2021's most viral cooking trends?

Baked feta pasta first went viral in Finland

No 2021 food roundup would be complete without baked feta pasta. In late January, Finnish food blogger Jenni Hayrinen posted a video on TikTok of the dish, and people around the world went crazy for it. Hayrinen first came up with the idea in 2019, and her Instagram post of it then went viral in Finland to the extent that "the stores actually ran out of feta cheese," Hayrinen told Today.

It's a simple dish to make: Put olive oil in a pan, then a block of feta in the middle with tomatoes around it. Then, add some red chilis, garlic, salt, and pepper before topping with a drizzle of more olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then turn it up to 440 for another 10 minutes. Mix the cheese and tomatoes together, add some fresh basil, and all that's left is to mix in your cooked pasta.

The tortilla hack can be customized with just about anything

The #TortillaTrend aka the #TortillaChallenge aka the #TortillaHack went viral in 2021 on TikTok as a way to make a yummy wrap/quesadilla with basically endless flavor combos easy to eat (per Inquiring Chef). The basics of the recipe: Start with a burrito-sized flour tortilla and make a single cut from the center to the outer edge.

This is when you add the filling. Think of the tortilla as split into quadrants, and put a different ingredient in each quadrant. Start with the quadrant to the left of the slit in the tortilla and fill the rest going clockwise. In the first two quadrants, put ingredients that are best fresh, while things you want warmer or melted, should be put in the other two quadrants. Starting with quadrant one, you then fold the tortilla into triangles. Pop it into a panini press or a skillet with some oil and cook until the tortilla is golden brown.

Lizzo helped make nature's cereal go viral

Sherwayne Mears posted the TikTok of his breakfast that he called nature's cereal in February. When Lizzo posted a video of her trying out the recipe on TikTok, it went virtual, resulting in Instacart orders for its ingredients to skyrocket — up 94% at the peak.

It's an easy recipe to put together. You just need a mix of pomegranate seeds, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries with coconut water poured over it. "Whenever I eat this cereal first thing in the morning, it helps with digestion," Mears said in the video, "But the number one thing that I notice when I eat this is the energy level. The energy level is through the roof. I literally felt like I could run a marathon."

Chris Evans was a fan of pesto eggs before they trended

"I don't know if you've ever had pesto eggs, but if you haven't, you're missing out," Chris Evans told Men's Journal in 2019. Two years later, a TikTok by registered dietitian Amy Wilichowski of pesto eggs blew up the Internet. Viewed millions of times, it's another super simple, super customizable, and super tasty dish.

In the video, she explained the method: "All you do is use pesto instead of the normal cooking oil that you cook your eggs in. You can do a fried egg, scrambled eggs, a sunny-side-up egg."

After cooking up the eggs, Wilichowski said she likes to put them on toast with ricotta, smashed avocado, honey, and chili flakes.

The easiest cooking trend involved honey

One of the simplest food trends in 2021 only required honey as an ingredient. Frozen honey jelly became big on TikTok in the summer. It could have been because it was a sweet and cool treat to enjoy during those extra warm days. All you need to do to make your own frozen jelly is to take some honey and freeze it. Since honey does not freeze solid, according to Carolina Honeybees, it instead becomes a jelly-like substance that makes the perfect snack. You can even experiment with your honey jelly by adding in different food colors or fruity flavors, using Jell-O powder.