Top 10 TikTok Food Trends of 2021
When it comes to food trends over the last few years, people turned to TikTok and never looked back. When recipes or ideas go viral on TikTok, the entire internet tends to get excited (we will never look at hot cocoa or a block of feta the same way again). As the year comes to a close, we took a look at some of the most memorable TikTok food trends. From cooking hacks to surprising food combinations and everything in between, here are our top 10 favorite TikTok trends of 2021.
Related: These Are the 10 Food Trends You're Going to See Everywhere in 2022, According to Whole Foods
1. At-Home Quesadilla
2021 started off the year with a delicious viral quesadilla hack. Simply slice a tortilla halfway through, add different fillings to each of the four quadrants, do some folding, brown it in a pan and voilà! You have a delicious, healthy lunch ready in minutes. From breakfast to dinner to dessert, flavor possibilities are endless. As an added bonus, these can be enjoyed with one hand and are relatively mess-free. This trend took on many different forms over the course of the year, and even included this version using nori.
2. Baked Feta
Pictured Recipe: Baked Tomato & Feta Pasta
What can we say about the Baked Feta trend that hasn't already been said? It makes a delicious pasta, works well as a dip and was even converted into a soup by some. This trend sparked a multitude of baked cheese dishes that were undeniably decadent and surprisingly easy to make. We have Finnish food artist and blogger, Jenni Häyrinen, to thank for that (@liemessa on Instagram and TikTok).
The baked feta pasta uses just six ingredients, not counting basics we all have in our kitchen, like salt, pepper and olive oil—cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, garlic, chilis, basil and pasta—and is ready in just 25 minutes, which is perfect for busy weeknights. Bonus: It all comes together in just two pans (read: fewer dishes to wash). To help make this comforting dinner a little healthier, use whole-wheat pasta or a higher-fiber bean-based pasta (like Banza) and add extra veggies in whenever you have the chance.
3. Corn Ribs
TikTok has always been a leader in plant-based versions of popular dishes (for example, Tabitha Brown's viral Carrot Bacon). The Corn Ribs trend was no exception. To create a rib lookalike, this recipe requires cutting corn through the middle into quarters (the key to getting the corn curved like traditional ribs is to leave some core connecting the kernels). Add olive oil and spices, roast or air fry and serve with whatever dipping sauces you like. This feels like the finger food version of our Mexican Street Corn Dip recipe—and we are all here for it.
4. Baked Oats
Pictured Recipe: Birthday-Cake Baked Oats
Baked oats took over TikTok in all shapes and forms, from Birthday Cake flavored oats to Blueberry Muffin flavored ones and more. We love how customizable the baked oats concept is, plus that it's built around oats, which are EatingWell staff dietitians' pick for #1 breakfast food. Seriously, check out all the proven health benefits of oats! Not to mention, these baked oat recipes make it feel like you're eating dessert for breakfast.
5. Vegetable Burger Buns
While we are big fans of bread and traditional burger buns (especially whole-wheat ones), the vegetable burger bun trend on TikTok caused quite a stir on the internet. It all started with two videos shared by TikTok user and food blogger Janelle Rohner that racked up more than 9.4 million views. Rohner swaps traditional burger buns for a bell pepper that is cut in half and hollowed out. This trend allows people to up their vegetable intake and have a gluten-free meal with minimal ingredients. Plus, it has 20 fewer grams of carbs for people following a low-carb diet. While we aren't ready to completely give up bread or buns, the vegetable burger buns are a fun occasional swap to give your burger a nutrition boost.
6. Smashed Vegetables
Pictured Recipe: Crispy Smashed Brussels Sprouts
We are big fans of any smashed vegetables, from cucumbers to potatoes. But TikTok gravitated towards smashed Brussels sprouts. Not only are they slightly lower in carbs compared to their spud siblings, they're also higher in vitamin A and feature more layers to soak up even more flavor and add extra-crispy texture. Inspired by TikTok-ers like @ballehurns who whipped up a sweet and spicy rendition, @chez_jorge topped his with a punchy garlic chili oil and @aboutthismuch suggests a luscious lemon yogurt sauce. Basically, the flavor possibilities are endless. Try our Crispy Smashed Brussels Sprouts for yourself to see what all the hype is about, and don't be afraid to get creative with flavor combos.
7. Nature's Cereal
This TikTok trend is somewhere between a smoothie, a slushie, infused water and a fruit salad. Nature's Cereal gained serious traction on the internet after receiving an "I'm addicted y'all" review from Lizzo. The recipe—believed to be originally shared by TikTok user @natures_food—calls for fruit (often berries and pomegranate arils) topped with ice and coconut water, served in a bowl just as you might cover bran flakes with milk. It's hydrating, packed with electrolytes and offers some fiber, but is lacking on the fat and protein front to be a full meal in itself. (Add a side of a couple eggs or a slice of nut-butter topped toast, and now we're talking!).
8. Pesto Eggs
One of the reasons we love several TikTok food trends is because they offer up easy ways to elevate common foods that you might not have thought of before. Enter: pesto eggs. The pesto eggs TikTok trend, which seems to have made one of its first appearances on the app in a post from user @amywilichowski, is a simple way to add bold flavor to your otherwise plain eggs. Rather than cooking eggs in oil, butter or cooking spray, you spread a spoonful of pesto into your non-stick pan before cracking a couple of eggs in the middle. You can use the method for fried or scrambled eggs, according to @amywilichowski. Swapping your cooking oil for pesto is an easy way to add major flavor and end up with a brightly colored, nutritious combo.
9. Pasta Chips
The pasta chips TikTok trend might take the cake for being the most creative way to eat pasta that we've seen in a while. Making the rounds with more than 22 million video views on TikTok, pasta chips involve first boiling pasta as you normally would, then dressing it up with seasonings of your choice, adding olive oil and cheese, and popping it into the air fryer or oven until they're crispy. The result? Crunchy, flavorful, handheld pasta ready for your snacking pleasure. The best part about pasta chips (other than how amazing they taste) is that they can be easily adapted to any noodles, sauces, cooking methods, and even time constraints you're working with. It's a seriously versatile snack that can be made in a matter of minutes.
10. Salmon Rice Bowl
Last but certainly not least, one of the latest viral TikTok food trends is the salmon rice bowl. First posted by TikTok food star Emily Mariko, this trend is a creative and healthy way to make your leftovers feel exciting. Simply flake apart cooked salmon, top it with rice and mix it all together with soy sauce, mayo and sriracha. You can garnish your bowl however you like, but Mariko enjoys it with sliced cucumbers, seaweed snacks and kimchi.