• TikTok has become a major platform for all kinds of videos, from choreographed dances to clever and unique cooking how-tos.
  • Food hacks and creative recipes do especially well on TikTok because they use familiar ingredients and clear, approachable steps.
  • The most popular ones often tap into nostalgia or save time.
  • We’ll show you how to make three of TikTok’s top food trends: pancake cereal, Dalgona coffee, and three-step creme brulee.
  • Read more: 15 comforting meals we’re cooking at home

As people quarantining at home this summer look for ways to fill the time, they’re flocking to online classes, intense workouts…and TikTok. The social media platform, now reportedly two billion app downloads strong, has proven to be an entertaining respite from external stresses and the pressure to be productive during these times.

On TikTok, you can log an endless number of finger scroll-miles watching users dance to catchy pop anthems or act out skits that only get funnier the more you replay them.

Quick home cooking clips have also claimed a major corner of the app and taken on a life of their own.

TikTok has made stars of ordinary home cooks eager to share food hacks and elevated personalities like vegan influencer Tabitha Brown, whose three million followers delight in her warm and playful recipe advice.

Where TikTok’s cooking content diverges from other platforms is in its focus on creative recipes and authentic production, sans polished set-ups and lighting schemes.

Best practices advised by the TikTok Creator team highlight the importance of approachability: “Videos are not only instructional but also feel like they’re coming from a friend,” TikTok representative Christine Alabastro told us, and, “voiceover is a great way to incorporate a human touch and personality into a video.”

Much like other areas of the app, the food world on TikTok feels democratic – as long as your contribution is clever or time-saving, and it feels authentic, there’s a good chance that users will recreate it in their own kitchens.

From there, a trend picks up speed and feeds into itself. The more often users see it on the app, the more motivated they are to try the original, or put their own spin on it.

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dalgona coffee 4

Foto: Dalgona coffee inspired TikTok. Source: Sally Kaplan/Business Insider

Popular food trends on TikTok right now are aesthetically pleasing twists on familiar dishes.

Anneta Konstantinides, a lifestyle editor at Insider who reports on TikTok, says, “I’m definitely seeing miniature as a huge trend for these TikTok pieces, and influencers have said the same to me as well.”

At the time of this article’s publication, videos with the hashtag #MiniTutorials have 2 billion combined views. A particularly popular mini food idea, #PancakeCereal, has 985 million combined views and has inspired scores of spinoffs, including cookie cereal and donut cereal.

Konstantinides believes the trend works because it’s cute but also reflects nostalgia and our current mood. “Cookies, pancakes, and cereal are all things we had as kids when we were living at home with our parents, and now we’re making them for ourselves while in quarantine. I think it brings us back to our childhood a bit, especially those of us who can’t be with our parents right now,” she says.

Dalgona coffee, the beautiful whipped beverage that has origins in various countries including India, Greece, and Libya, and was popularized by Korean YouTubers in early 2020, is another one that comes up again and again.

“It’s truly perfect for Instagram and TikTok,” says Konstantinides. “It looks impressive in photos and it needs a bit of time to make, which we all have right now! And the fact that you can so easily tweak the recipe and make so many kinds of whips, even vegan, has made it very accessible.”

While the above trends can take some time to master, users are also looking to cut corners in the kitchen.

“Much of the current food and drink content on TikTok is focused around hacks…there’s a lot of content right now that’s about simplicity and using ingredients that you already have in your home, rather than a really elaborate recipe or cooking tutorial like you’ll see on YouTube,” says Mary Keane-Dawson, group CEO of influencer marketing platform Takumi, which advises clients on food and drink content strategy on TikTok.

Examples include demos on how to cut a large and unwieldy watermelon or freeze herbs and olive oil in an ice cube tray for easy storage and meal prep. Many of these tips and tricks have floated around the Internet for years, but TikTok, with its 60-second clip limit and tools to easily add text, voiceovers, and other effects, lends itself perfectly to the genre.

It’s telling that even when users are stuck at home and theoretically have all the time in the world, they still find comfort in optimizing that time and making their lives easier. Another explanation is that as stay-at-home orders drag on, the initial shiny excitement of creating complex meals wears away and people just want to stay fed with little effort.

While we can’t predict the exact recipes that will become popular in upcoming months, we’re guessing that aesthetics, nostalgia, and hacks will remain relevant themes in home kitchens everywhere, for a long time to come. If you want to try some of the best TikTok food trends, we’ve included recipes, tips, and recommended products below.

Here’s how to make 3 of the best TikTok food trends at home:


Dalgona coffee

Foto: Recipe popularized by user @imhannahcho Source: Sally Kaplan/Business Insider

What you need:

Steps:

  1. Mix coffee, sugar, and water in a bowl until liquid turns into a thick whip.
  2. Spoon the mixture on top of a glass of milk and stir until well-combined.

Notes:

  • You must use instant coffee, but you can substitute any granulated sweetener and milk.
  • While hand whisking technically works, it takes a long time and will tire out your arms. Try to use an electric mixing tool to save time and energy. I didn’t have a hand mixer and used a hand blender instead.
  • There are also variations for whipped Thai tea and matcha available online.

Where to buy the tools:


Pancake cereal

Foto: Source: Jada Wong/Business Insider

What you need:

Steps:

  1. Make your pancake batter.
  2. Pour it into a squeeze bottle or a plastic bag with a small hole cut in the corner.
  3. Heat your griddle or pan, then drop small portions of batter onto the surface.
  4. Flip them with a spatula – you don’t need to turn them individually.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with maple syrup. You can also add milk.

Notes:

  • Variations of this trend include cookies and donuts.
  • Turn the heat up to make your pancakes crispier and more cereal-like.

Where to buy the tools:


Easy crème brûlée

Foto: Recipe popularized by user @shefshaq Source: Flickr / jpellgen

What you need:

  • Your favorite vanilla ice cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Ramekin
  • Baking dish

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Melt half a cup of ice cream in the microwave and mix in egg yolk.
  3. Pour the mixture in a ramekin.
  4. Pour hot water into a baking dish, then place the ramekin in the dish. Bake for 40-50 minutes.
  5. Once the crème brûlée has set and cooled down, cover it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  6. Caramelize the sugar in a pan over low heat, then pour the liquid over the creme brulee. The sugar should harden naturally.

Notes:

  • If you own a blow torch, you can sprinkle the sugar over the top and melt it that way. You can also use the broil setting on your oven.
  • You can use flavored ice cream as well, here are our favorites. If you do, use the entire egg, not just the egg yolk.

Where to buy the tools: