What is America cooking? What are the popular recipes that are bringing Americans around the dinner table each night? What are the top and most sought-after recipes that Americans are cooking—and are you making them, too? These are the questions that we here at The Daily Meal wanted answered. Through extensive recipe research and a coveted craving committee (our trusted Daily Meal readers), we’ve rounded out the top 25 recipes that Americans can’t seem to make enough of — and the answers may surprise you.
So, what did America cook over the past year? To arrive at the answer, we took a look at the very starting point of every dish: a recipe. Whether it’s a detailed list of measured ingredients with precise directions or simply a verbal story passed down through generations, they are all recipes and the foundation of cooking. Without these culinary records, many dishes would not be available to us today and our world of cooking would not be what it is today. Your grandmother’s pasta sauce scribbled down on a crumpled piece of paper would not have evolved into your beloved family pasta recipe that you make today. All of our favorite foods that we love to make have been developed through years of tweaking and developing recipes.
To find what America’s favorite recipes were this past year, we broke it down to the ingredients and set out to discover America's most popular foods. By using data collected from common food searches at The Daily Meal and many of the country’s other leading search engines and food websites, we were able to develop a comprehensive list of the most searched food terms of 2013. From there, we took our research a step farther to find out what recipes America loves to make with those foods. By finding out how many times each recipe was searched, we crafted a unique algorithm that weighted The Daily Meal searches against other search engines and food websites to yield a search score for each recipe that would help us rank the recipes.
America’s 25 favorite recipes to make at home can tell us a lot about the country and what kinds of cuisine and ingredient trends occur in the home kitchen. Americans desire simple and hearty meals that require little prep time and enlist the help of handy kitchen appliances. While chicken ranked as the most searched food term in one of the most popular search engines, crock-pot chicken ranked as one of the most popular ways to prepare chicken. Recipes for lasagna, meatballs, pasta sauce, and spaghetti also topped our list, proving that Italian cuisine is a hallmark in American home kitchens and is an essential part of a home-cooked meal. There were also a few American classics that don’t seem to be losing favor among the home cooks, making it clear that traditional recipes are here to stay.
America seems to be cooking a variety of dishes — all equally delicious, but some sweeter than others. There were plenty of recipes to satisfy any sweet tooth that made our list. Cakes, pies, cookies, and a few sweet breakfast recipes were among America’s favorites. With plenty of hearty comfort food recipes making the list, it is clear that America still has a sweet spot for dessert.
So, check out our list and see how it compares to what you’ve been cooking. Some recipes may surprise you while others are classics. For some of these recipes, you might even have your own special family version that you make over and over again. Variation is the key and makes each recipe unique in its own way. Take this list as inspiration to cook something delicious in the kitchen. Whether you are creating your own recipes by taking a few notes from professional recipes or trying something new and following recipes precisely, the important part of cooking is experimenting with new flavors, cooking techniques, and ingredients. Turn to these recipes to help teach you the fundamentals of cooking and create one of America’s favorite meals.
Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.