2022 in Food: The Top Trends of the Year

From Corn Kid to a soda with unlikely origins, these were the moments that defined food and drinks in 2022. How many did you try?

2022 was a year for the books. From Corn Kid to salad scandals to a soda with unlikely origins, it was a year of high highs and low lows. I polled our team's hive mind for the top moments and trends from the past year that defined how and what we cooked, ate, and drank. And, I even threw in a few we'd rather leave in the past. So scroll through our picks for 2022's top trends and see how many you remember!

Person of the Year: Corn Kid

Apologies if you only just got the It's Corn song un-stuck from your head. If anything, that only goes to prove the point that Corn Kid A.K.A. Tariq, a 7 year-old New Yorker who went viral for his love of corn, was the food personality of 2022. His wholesome, unbridled enthusiasm for corn captured the heart of the internet and its accompanying song lived rent-free in our heads all year long.

In Memoriam: Choco Taco

We've never seen quite an uproar for a snack like the backlash that arrived when Klondike announced the discontinuation of the Choco Taco. Suddenly the nostlagic treat was on everyone's lips, with ice cream company Salt & Straw even going so far as to producing its own homemade version, a "Chocolate Tacolate". No word on whether it will make a glorious return in Summer 2023, but if this year has taught us anything, it's that if customers ask and ask (and beg on social media), they (typically) receive. Speaking of...

Back From the Dead: Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza

While some treats met their untimely demise, others returned from the fast food 'graveyard'. It was a year of comebacks for nostalgic fast food treats from McDonald's Boo Buckets to Popeye's Cajun Rice, but the item on everyone's lips was Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza. We gave it a try and were well ... disappointed. We found our homemade Mexican pizza, and even the Trader Joe's dupe to be tastier versions of this Tex-Mex-Italian mashup. Safe to say you can probably chock all the hype up to millennial nostalgia.

Drink of the Year: Soda

From Dirty Shirleys to Balsamic Coke to Dirty Sodas, creative takes on classic bubbly beverages were everywhere. The New York Times declared Dirty Shirley, a spiked adult take on a Shirley Temple, the "drink of the summer" back in May, setting the tone for the rest of the season, and 2022.

On TikTok, two major soda trends emerged: "Healthy" soda and Dirty Soda (not to be confused with the aforementioned boozy soda). The former was a concoction of balsamic vinegar and flavored seltzer that one TikToker claimed tasted like Coke, dividing the internet and our staff. Dirty soda, unlike its name suggests, is an alcohol-free drink that originated in LDS (Latter Day Saints) communities in Utah. Videos of employees making different varieties of dirty soda—a mix of soda pop, cream or milk, and flavored syrup—at Utah's fames dirty soda shops took TikTok by storm.

Anyway you drink it, nostalgia seems to have won out again, and twists on our favorite childhood soft drinks were the name of the beverage game in 2022.

Biggest Trend/Eye Roll: Boards

I can already see the eyes rolling, but sorry! You cannot tell me 'boards' were not the most ubiquitous trend in 2022! What started with charcuterie, dessert, and grazing boards evolved into butter boards, cream cheese boards, even frosting boards.

In a post-COVID world, it seems we, as a society, bounced back to socializing in a big way with an emphasis on communal centerpiece boards. The more share-able, smear-able, and snack-able, the better. Of course, this was also one of the more divisive trends of 2022, but based on its runaway popularity, we have to assume all press is good press.

Ingredient of the Year: Butter

Sorry to every other ingredient, but 2022 was the year of butter. From the aforementioned butter boards to compound butters to making homemade butter, the stuff was everywhere—so much so that some markets experienced butter shortages. It was also the year that we learned the difference between European, cultured, and clarified butter, and enjoyed cooking, baking, and devouring all of them.

I'd like to formally acknowledge the runner-up, as well: garlic. Celebrate both by making this viral garlic butter and thank me later.

Biggest Food Scandal: The Friends Salad

While Olivia Wilde's salad dressing trended during the dramatic press tour for Don't Worry Darling, the real salad scandal of the year was Jennifer Aniston's oft-mythologized Friends salad. Back in June, Aniston revealed that the salad everyone thought she made and ate daily on the set of Friends was not the right salad.

Rather than the Mediterranean-inspired grain-feta-herb salad everyone on the internet was recreating, it was actually closer to a Cobb salad with chicken, egg whites, garbanzo beans, bacon, and a basic vinaigrette. Oops! Just goes to show how much influence celebrity-driven recipes can have. Aniston did confirm that she and co-stars Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow did eat that salad near daily while filming the show, so not all of my dreams were crushed.

Best Hack: Better-than-Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Who knew one ingredient could transform a store-bought shortcut like this?! The internet—and our team—went wild for the hack that makes canned cinnamon rolls taste (dare we say) better than homemade. It went viral on TikTok and we confirmed: Pouring a thin layer of heavy cream in your dish before adding the cinnamon rolls and baking makes the final product extra moist, rich, and fluffy. That tip, along with our other cinnamon roll hacks, will have you never wanting to make them from scratch again.

Appliance of the Year: Air Fryer

No surprise here; The air fryer still reigns supreme. Blackstone griddles trended, as did the Ninja Creami, but the air fryer remains the appliance on everyone's wishlists, if not countertops. What couldn't be made better in an air fryer? PB & J sandwich? Yup. Even the most kid-hated veggies? You bet. Anything your oven can do, the air fryer can do better. Well, maybe not anything.

Best Left in 2022: Gourmet Cookies

Sorry to the Crumbl lovers out there, but I'm over it. They're expensive, over-rated, and, at times, straight up bad. I'd like to formally bid adieu to the trend of stuffed and topped, underbaked and overpriced cookie chains. Runner up for this category is pink sauce, but I'd like to forget about that viral condiment as soon as possible!

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