America's Most Popular Recipes of 2012

1. Pork Chops


With a top monthly search score of 9,239,208, pork chop recipes grabs the number one spot on our most searched recipes list. While pork ranked slightly lower on the overall list of foods searched, pork chops climbed the highest, outranking other searches for pork such as tenderloin, roast pork, and pulled pork recipes. They were visually popular this year as well, as they fell under the top ten food searches on Pinterest for the past year as well. Chops are the most flavorful and tender part of a pig, which is why we’re not surprised that most people are choosing to work with that particular cut.  With their light, white meat, pork chops are incredibly versatile, which is why we think such a basic search such as pork chops recipes came out as the most popular. This pork chop recipe proves that just a few key ingredients are needed to create a bold and flavorful result.  

Click here to see the Peppercorn Brined Pork Chops Recipe

2. Meatballs


Although beef was a common food searched by our country over the past year, people’s motives for searching for the ingredient became clear as we dove deeper into our research: they wanted it ground and they wanted it in the form of meatballs. Outranking another ground beef staple, hamburgers, the classic dish scored a total monthly search of 7,497,858, and received various search variations, including "Italian," "Swedish," and "turkey." This meatball recipe puts a Southwestern spin on the country favorite and uses cumin and chiles to result in a unique meatball.

Click here to see the Southwestern Meatballs Recipe

3. Chocolate Cake


As we mentioned earlier, our country is constantly on the hunt for something decadent. During our research, we found that cake was a popular search throughout the year, and chocolate cake was the most searched recipe in this category, with a score of 7,436,845 monthly searches. This chocolate cake recipe is the epitome of indulgence, made with Chambord liquor and heavy cream, and warmed in the microwave.

Click here to see the Microwaved Warm Chocolate Cake Recipe

4. Chocolate Chip Cookies


Cookies were a very popular term on the Web this year, and surprisingly the classic and basic chocolate chip cookie recipe stole the show with a monthly search score of 6,067,983. As the fourth most searched recipe of 2012, these findings only add to our conclusion that we are simple creatures at heart, and it also continued the theme of chocolate that we see throughout recipe searches. This recipe is as basic as it gets, and the results are the cakey, small treats that we all yearn for.

Click here to see the Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

5. Bread

With a monthly search score of 4,760,753, bread fell into the top five searched recipes for 2012. Popular all over the country, bread was a consistently searched throughout the year, along with searches such as "loaf pan bread recipes" and "banana bread recipes." Its popularity is not lost on us, as it as staple in many household kitchens because it is versatile and inexpensive to make. This country oat bread recipe yields a chewy texture and will satiate anyone's craving for homemade bread. 

Click here to see the Chewy Country Oat Bread Recipe

6. Pasta Salad


We were optimistic when we saw salad show up in the top 10 food searches of 2012, but were disappointed to see that people weren’t looking for a healthy and green recipe, but instead something that is dominated by heavy ingredients like carbohydrates and mayonnaise. With a monthly search score of 4,197,795, pasta salad comes in at the number six most searched recipe. This pasta salad recipe cuts back on some of the fattier ingredients, and is made with an iron-rich green, which gives us hope that pasta salad can not only be a popular recipe search but a healthy one as well.

Click here to see the Herby Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

9. Banana Bread


The food term banana was another popular one on the top searched food terms list, and banana bread recipes proved to be the most highly sought-after banana dish, earning the number nine spot with a monthly search score of 2,253,470, as well as being one of the top ten searches on Pinterest as well. Banana bread is one of the easiest baking recipes out there, and we believe it's a popular one because it’s resourceful: it’s a great way to use old bananas. This recipe is a basic and straightforward way for you to create a lovely baked dish.

Click here to see the Banana Bread Recipe

10. Beef Steak


During our research, we found that the term steak was a constant theme among 2012 searches. Interestingly enough, the most basic and simple form of steaks, a "beef steak," scored the highest in recipes, with a monthly search total of 2,214,708. The enthusiastic search for beef steak recipes does not really surprise us, as it is the most common cut of a steak used, confirming our conclusion that when people are craving steak, they’re craving it in the most simple of ways. This taco recipe uses top-round beef steak and stuffs it into corn tortillas with a spicy tomatillo and avocado salsa.

Click here to see the Steak Tacos with Avocado Tomatillo Salsa Recipe

11. Baked Chicken

Although chicken was one of most searched food items over the past year on The Daily Meal, popular search engines, and Pinterest, recipes for how to cook with it ranked lower than others. The most popular search for chicken recipes was baked chicken, with a total search score of 1,885,650. The interest over time for baked chicken recipes remained constant throughout the year, with a slight peak in searches closer to the fall of 2012. The popularity of baked chicken recipes is not lost on us, as it is one of the easiest ways to prepare the inexpensive poultry. This recipe requires bold spices and just a few minutes in the oven to get a tender, flavorful chicken meal.

Click here to see the Spicy Baked Chicken Recipe

12. Chicken Soup


Soup was another commonly searched term over the past year across all search outlets including Pitnerest, with peaks in searches in early 2012 and this fall. What soup is everyone craving this year? Comforting chicken soup topped the list. Interesting to note is that colder states such as Alaska, the Dakotas, and Wyoming yielded the highest searches for the soothing and warm dish. Try this gluten-free recipe that uses rice noodles and a hearty chicken stock.  

Click here to see the Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

13. Apple Pie


As people constantly searched for apples this past year, on Pinterest and elsewhere, there was only one thing they wanted to do with them: bake some pie. With a score of 1,524,533, apple pie ranked among the highest searches in states such as Maine, Vermont, and North Dakota. Along with pies, people were also searching for crisps, tarts, and pie crusts, proving that apples are a favorite in the baking department. This apple pie recipe calls for the tart Granny Smith variety for a tangy and sweet result. 

Click here to see the Apple Pie Recipe

14. Pizza Dough


More and more people were looking to learn how to make their own pizza dough in the year 2012. Time of year had little effect on the popularity of this search, which scored 1,498,536 according to our algorithm, and it was among other pizza searches that included sauce, topping, and other popular pizza recipes. This low-sodium pizza dough recipe is a much healthier alternative to takeout and satiates everyone’s cravings when it comes to crust with a crispy finish and has a hint of Parmesan flavoring.

Click here to see the Crispy Low-Sodium 'Parmesan' Pizza Crust Recipe

15. Cornbread


Cornbread was the highest search result for the food term corn, proving that bread was a constant theme over the past year. With a score of 1,222,621, cornbread remained a consistently popular search in 2012 and was one of the very few dishes searched for in the corn category. This recipe is as simple as cornbread gets, and calls for just a few basic ingredients to get that sought-after cornbread result.

Click here to see the Tennessee Corn Bread Recipe

16. Mashed Potatoes


Potatoes have been a constant food staple in our country over the years, and 2012 was no different. With several different potato recipes floating around, there was only one that came out on top for most searched this past year and that was mashed potatoes. Receiving a search score of 852,638, it was a consistent search throughout the country over the past year, and was among other search results including "garlic mashed potatoes" and "mashed sweet potatoes." This mashed potato recipe uses one of the other popular potato searches, garlic, and classic Yukon Gold potatoes to yield ultra-creamy and smooth mashed potato.

Click here to see the Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Recipes

17. Chicken and Rice


Chicken once again remains a popular theme in recipe searches over the past year. While rice fell under the top 25 searches terms, we found that the most sought-after recipes using the food were ones that included chicken and well, with a score of 840,059. This recipe puts a Greek spin on the highly desired recipe, calling for herb-marinated grilled chicken and saffron-infused rice.

Click  here to see the Grilled Chicken Pitas and Greek Slaw Recipe

18. Pumpkin Pie


Pumpkin was another popular term this past year and just as we saw with apples and bananas, most people were looking to bake with the fall staple. The most popular searched recipe for pumpkin was pumpkin pie, with a score of 833,208, and it outranked other searches such as bread, muffins, and cheesecake. Not surprisingly, it received its most searches in November of 2011, with its popularity rising again as we approach fall and the holiday seasons. This recipe takes the bulk of the work out of making pumpkin pie, as it calls for canned pumpkin purée and a pre-made pie crust, making it easier than ever to enjoy the highly popular pastry.

Click here to see the Pumpkin Pie Recipe

19. Deviled Eggs


We were not surprised to see egg as one of the most popular food searches, but were intrigued to see that most people wanted to know how to make a deviled version. As the most popular recipe searched for under eggs, deviled eggs received a score of 455,904 and had the highest number of searches during the winter holiday season and, not surprisingly, the spring. Another interesting thing to note is the correlation between “party foods,” which was a top searched food term on Pinterest, with this highly sought-after dish that is great for passing at parties.  While deviled eggs are a traditional holiday dish for many, we liked this recipe that incorporates avocado because it puts a unique and unlikely spin on the dish.

Click here to see the Avocado Deviled Eggs Recipe

20. Chicken Chili


People were constantly searching for chili over the past year and there was one common theme throughout: chicken and white. Not surprisingly, as chicken has been a popular theme for many other types of dishes on this list, chicken chili ranked the highest for the food term with a score of 449,228. We like this recipe for chicken chili because it uses another popular food search of 2012 from Pinterest, the slow cooker, to give you an authentic and flavorful dish.

Click here to see the Slow Cooker White Chicken Chile Recipe

21. Baked Salmon


While researching top recipes for the popular food search salmon, we were not surprised to see that people were also looking for the easy route with this protein, and were constantly searching for baked salmon recipes, which outranked grilled and smoked by more than double. Baked salmon received a score of 415,939 and was most popular in states that an abundance of fresh salmon: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California. This recipe puts a crunch on the popular fish and can be put together in no time. 

Click here to see the Crunchy Baked Ginger-Dill Salmon Recipe

22. Shrimp Scampi


While shrimp cocktail, grilled shrimp, or shrimp tacos were on the forefront of our mind when we saw the food shrimp on the most popular list, we learned that like many of our other findings, America’s cravings for this popular shellfish followed a basic theme: pasta. Yielding the highest searches along the Eastern Seaboard, shrimp scampi was a consistent search through 2012 with a score of 392,686. We like this recipe because it pays homage to an area where the dish was most highly searched, using Cajun seasoning and red pepper flakes to give it a Southern kick.

Click here to see the Shrimp Scampi Recipe

23. Chocolate Cupcakes

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Chocolate is once again a theme in the most searched recipes of 2012. Chocolate cupcakes earned the number 22 spot with a search score of 377,421 and remained a constant favorite throughout the year. For an entirely new take on the sought-after dish, try this spicy cupcake recipe that calls for Tabasco and an unusually low amount of flour to yield a spicy and soft baked treat.

Click here to see the Chocolate-Tabasco Cupcake Recipe

24. Fish Tacos


The fact that fish tacos are among the most searched for recipes shows that Americans are searching for specifics, meaning they know what they want to cook before they head to the Internet. Other popular searches in this category included "tilapia" and "fish taco sauce" One of our favorite ways to enjoy fish tacos are Baja-style, and this cod recipe by the famed chef Richard Sandoval pairs the crispy fish with poblano tartar sauce and pickled cucumbers.

Click here to see the Crispy Cod Tacos Recipe

25. Bean Chili


Beans were another popular food search this past year and for recipes using beans, chili ranked the highest with a score of 247,139.  Bean was a popular recipe search in Northern states and the Midwest, and it received the highest number of searches during the colder months of the year. This recipe uses not one but three beans to produce a hearty and flavorful stew.

Click here to see Lisa's Delicious 3-Bean Chili Recipe

7. Spaghetti

Pasta was a very popular food search over the past year, and there was one common kind of pasta that people were looking for: spaghetti. As the most popular pasta used in cooking, spaghetti scored a total of 4,077,061 monthly searches to earn it the number seven spot. This spaghetti recipe is made with a savory tomato sauce to give a special flavor to the commonly used starch.

Click here to see the Spaghetti al Pomodoro Recipe

8. Pasta Sauce


As people constantly searched for pasta this past year, it's no surprise they were also looking for a sauce to go with it. Earning a score of 4,059,443 monthly searches, pasta sauce earned the number eight spot, outranking other sauce recipes such as "barbecue sauce," "hot sauce," and "apple sauce." While pasta sauce remains a mainstream recipe throughout the country, this tomato pasta sauce is a new rendition of the highly sought-after condiment.

Click here to see the Green Tomato Pasta Sauce Recipe