Trendspotting is a favorite activity at Allrecipes. Monitoring the cooking interests based on the 1.3 billion visits of home cooks make to our site annually is revealing and inspiring. Along with daily searches for everyday family dinner ideas and treats, the pursuits of our cook community reflects trends in flavors, cooking styles, dietary interests, ethnic cuisines, and more. Is cauliflower edging out kale as a veggie superstar? (Yes.) Are Korean dishes the hot new Asian cuisine? (Yes.) Will cabbage, savory yogurt, and “good fats” grab cooks’ attention in 2016? (The odds are “yes.”) Reflecting what’s on dinner tables right now, as well as what’s next in shopping carts and kitchens, we’re sharing a recap of 2015 food trends. A bonus: Our predictions for 2016.

 

Trends We’ve Seen in 2015

CLEAN EATING APPEAL

What’s in that box? More and more consumers want to know, and it’s not just because they’re dieting. The demand spans generations, but millennials and GenXers are seriously pushing this trend. While the term means different things to different people—from unprocessed foods to no artificial additives—it’s universally connected with a healthful lifestyle, and it shows no signs of disappearing in 2016.

Clean Eating Image

Allrecipes’ Top 5 Most Popular Clean Eating Recipes

HOMEMADE LIKE GRANDMA MADE

Biscuits, frosting, dressings, and more are climbing the charts as cooks discover homemade is best, not to mention budget-friendly. An outgrowth of the “clean eating” trend and millennials’ DIY interests, homemade “made from scratch” selections go beyond the standard cakes, pies, cookies and casseroles, reflecting home cooks’ expanded interests.

Homemade chart

Allrecipes’ Top 5 Most Popular Homemade Recipes

KITCHEN CREATIVITY (AKA “HACKS”)
Clever cooks—read millennials—wanting to show off their kitchen style used cookware and appliances in new ways and inspired a surge in easy, wacky twists for popular everyday dishes. Why not cook hash browns in a waffle iron or make lasagna muffins? These kitchen hacks, a spin-off of 2014’s food mash-ups, topped by cronuts and spaghetti bread, gave comfort food a new twist.

Allrecipes’ Top 5 Most Popular Recipes with a Twist

PALEO… IT’S MORE THAN JUST A DIET

On the rise since 2013, the Paleo diet came into its own in 2015 as a lifestyle. Twenty-first century cavemen and cavewomen sought recipes that skipped dairy products, grains and processed foods in favor of red and white meats, fish, vegetables and fruits. No longer a fad diet, Paleo people are mainstream.

Paleo Over Time

Allrecipes’ Top 5 Most Popular Paleo Recipes

SLOW COOKER/FAMILY-FRIENDLY MEALS

BFF to busy home cooks who need to get dinner on the table fast, the slow cooker is a year-round asset. While still primarily a wintertime appliance, its appeal has grown significantly over the past year as its versatility proves itself. What other appliance can prepare both barbecue and pot roast?

Slow Cooker

Allrecipes’ Top 5 Most Popular Slow Cooker Recipes

SAVORY OR SWEET FOR 2016?

Anticipating the flavors and foods of 2016 is the sweet part of trendspotting. Tracking data directions and observing spontaneous surges in recipe searches are signposts we note daily. So what’s next, and what might be? Here are five trends we’ve already seen building, plus seven tasty food trend predictions for 2016 from Allrecipes’ food-savvy editorial team.

1 – IS CAULIFLOWER THE NEW KALE?

Kale is king for cooks striving to have their families eat more vegetables, a goal for 68% of respondents in last year’s Healthy Eating Survey. Cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower and cabbage are in the spotlight as “good for you” greenies with searches for cauliflower soaring in the past year, a trend everyone expects will continue in 2016.

Cauliflower trend

Allrecipes’ Top 5 Most Popular Cauliflower Recipes

2 – CABBAGE CRAVINGS

From slaw to corned beef, roasted or fried, cabbage appeal will keep climbing. It’s hard to beat its versatility and comfort food persona in soups, cabbage rolls and casseroles, and its healthy profile has made it popular with the weight-loss crowd.

Cabbage chart

Allrecipes’ Top 5 Most Popular Cabbage Recipes

3 – MUFFIN MAKEOVERS & MEALMAKERS

Reinventing what goes into a muffin tin is a millennial trademark. Comfort food favorites such as meatloaf and omelets become grab-and-go meals in portion-controlled sizes when baked in muffin cups. A bonus: these small bites are super kid-friendly, so expect to see more variations in 2016.

Meatloaf muffins

Allrecipes’ Top 5 Most Popular “Savory Muffins with a Twist” Recipes

4 – S’MORES INDOORS

A sweet treat for all ages, they are even sweeter when the campfire is traded for the comforts of a home kitchen. We anticipate inventive home cooks will create new ways to make the campfire classic over a stove or inside an oven.

smores 2

Allrecipes’ Top 5 Most Popular s’mores indoors recipes

5 – DIY BASICS

Why buy it if you can make it yourself, save money, and know exactly which ingredients are in the dish? An extension of the homemade trend, home cooks will be preparing even more pantry staples in 2016. From sausage to liqueurs, vanilla extract, homemade cheese and almond butter, the list of key search words for “made from scratch” basics will be long and delicious in 2016.

DIY basics

Allrecipes’ Top 5 Most Popular DIY Basics Recipes

Here’s to a delicious New Year!

– Judith Dern