10 Must-Know Food Trends of 2024 (We Surveyed Thousands of Home Cooks and Experts!)

published Apr 10, 2024
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Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

For home cooks who want to keep growing their skill sets, there are always ingredients and cooking methods to discover. However, it’s nearly impossible to try every idea you see online. You also don’t want to totally abandon your go-to recipes that work time after time. 

So, how can you stay curious while still ensuring that you always cook something delicious, and don’t spend a fortune or extra time you don’t have? 

To determine The State of Home Cooking in 2024 and what worthy trends are on the rise, we went straight to the source, surveying both home cooks and culinary experts about what they can’t wait to make and eat this year. (Interested in what they had to say last year? Check out the 2023 survey results here.) In one survey, we asked 3,119 home cooks about how they cook for themselves and their families week after week. In another, we tapped 52 food experts (including influencers, cookbook authors, and recipe developers) for their insights into what foods and flavors we can expect to see everywhere in the coming months. 

There’s one thing home cooks and experts definitely agree on: Creating quick, budget-friendly meals while still experimenting with new recipes and ingredients is key.  

Here’s what else our respondents have to say about food and cooking right now.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

2024 Is All About Low-Effort Cooking

Our home cooks want to use their time efficiently because they’re in the kitchen a lot. From Monday to Friday, they cook dinner on average 4 nights during the week and 1.5 on the weekends.

Because our readers are in the kitchen night after night, it makes sense that when asked about their 2024 cooking vibe, 54% point to “quick/time-saving,” and 52% identify “low-effort/high-reward” as their focus this year. “I’m hoping to learn more quick recipes, like one pot, one sheet pan, etc.,” says The Kitchn reader Kim K. in Athens, Georgia.

The biggest portion of our home cooks (43%) consider a “quick and easy” recipe to be one that takes 30 minutes or less. (The next largest portion, 24%, caps the cooking time at 20 minutes.) Even though our readers cook often, they also have other priorities for their time. “I don’t want to spend tons of time cooking; I’d rather spend it with my family,” says Tina O. of Las Vegas. 

Credit: The Kitchn

When picking out a dish to make, our readers don’t want to mess with a lot of ingredients. An average of five is the sweet spot for the home cooks who say they pay attention to how many ingredients a recipe needs. That’s fewer than the seven ingredients respondents cooked with on average in 2023, indicating home cooks might want even simpler recipes in 2024. 

Our surveys also pinpointed four-ingredient recipes and “homemade-ish” recipes as solutions for the 54% of home cooks who have a hard time finding easy recipes to make. They want shortcuts that require less work than many from-scratch recipes but still deliver on flavor.

All of that said, “simple” definitely doesn’t equal “repetitive.” The majority of our readers (75%) only repeat recipes every two weeks at most.

Credit: Laura Rege

It’s the Year of Mash-Ups

Nearly half (48%) of home cooks say they want to try more new recipes in 2024. One easy place to start is to fuse two meals you love, like grilled cheese and tomato soup. Most of our experts (62%) selected creative mash-ups of popular foods and flavors as an emerging trend that will continue to grow this year. 

At The Kitchn, we’re no strangers to combining two classics into one beloved recipe, like French onion soup chicken and pizza mac and cheese. Our experts also view this as a broader trend building on cuisine fusions. “People are being inspired by restaurant chefs who are pushing the boundaries with food fusions and global flavors,” says food writer Lizzy Briskin. “I think home chefs are becoming more adventurous, playful, and curious in the kitchen.”

Chef and writer Yana Gilbuena-Babu is excited to see more “cuisine mash-ups/crossovers,” and Arlyn Osborne, a chef, baker, and food writer, anticipates more “Asian American mash-ups.”

Meanwhile, food writer and recipe developer Stephanie Ganz expects food combinations to take a more personal turn in 2024. She thinks we’ll hear much more about third-culture cuisine, in which people embrace their unique lived experiences, combining their cultures and traditions into something totally new. 

Credit: Photo: Shutterstock

Pantry Items Are Getting Their Moment

You need a well-stocked pantry to get dinner on the table night after night. In fact, plenty of our experts (40%) tapped “pantry-friendly” as a go-to cooking vibe for 2024, which is in line with the 76% of home cooks whose top consideration when choosing a recipe is whether they have the ingredients on hand.

You should “stock the pantry with tons of sauces [and] condiments that can take a basic dish from meh to wow,” suggests recipe developer and influencer Erin Antoniak

Recipe developer Nisha Vora agrees, saying, “High-impact pantry staples … can add so much oomph to even simple meals like beans and rice.” 

Looking for some options? Our experts picked black vinegar, fish sauce, and sesame oil as rising pantry staples

Chef Edy Massih is excited about introducing new ingredients and using what you have. “[Find] new pantry products and [play] around with them!” he says. When working with what you’ve got, Massih says he also loves “making a meal around a pantry item that you find in the back of the cabinet that is not expired yet!”

Credit: Photo: Christine Gallary

International Ingredients Are Everywhere

As our experts’ picks for pantry staples show, 2024 is the year for home cooks to branch out. Cookbook author Sandra Gutierrez loves that now you “can order anything at a click of a button.” She says ingredients like “achiote, black garlic, ají amarillo, harissa, and hibiscus flowers are only the beginning.” Looking at more ingredients gaining popularity in 2024, experts have their eyes on Calabrian chilis, gochujang, and black sesame.

This accessibility is sparking a fire within home cooks. “People are curious and engaged about unfamiliar foods and willing to try them in a way they never were before,” says cookbook author and recipe editor Ivy Manning. “It’s so much easier to source Korean rice cakes, Roman garum, a rainbow of misos, jollof rice seasonings, Burmese fermented tea leaves, Nepali momo, etc.,” she adds.

Vora believes “Asian ingredients, particularly condiments, will become more mainstream for American home cooks.” 

Food writer and recipe developer Olga Koutseridi is thrilled about “the increasing interest in Slavic, Eastern European, Balkan, and Central Asian cuisine.” Koutseridi says “there is also a growing interest in regional baking and historical recipes.”

This boost in both curiosity and access may lead to more people trying new-to-them cooking techniques. Specifically, 35% of our experts say you can expect to see a rise in Korean cooking methods on TikTok and Instagram Reels this year. 

“More cultures are being represented in food media, and I’m loving taking deep dives into ingredients and recipes that are getting more recognition,” says recipe developer and food stylist ​​Kat Boytsova.

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer ; Prop Styling: Tom Hoerup

Budget Is Top of Mind (Food Waste Too)

Unsurprisingly, home cooks want to keep their expenses down to cope with rising food costs. Our experts picked budget-conscious (62%) as the top focus for home cooking in 2024, and 51% of home cooks agree. Cookbook author Marisa McClellan believes “budget cooking” is on the rise, pointing to recipes that help cooks “stretch every morsel so that you don’t sacrifice flavor.” 

Affordability is crucial when you’re making dinner almost every night. Most of our readers don’t stick to strict grocery budgets, but they do search for deals. A majority of home cooks (83%) take some action to keep costs down when an item is more expensive than usual — for example, 41% try to purchase the item cheaper from another brand, and 30% wait to buy until it’s on sale or they can find a coupon to bring down the price. Additionally, 53% of home cooks consider which store has lower prices when determining where to grocery shop. 

For many home cooks, grocery costs and food waste go hand in hand. A majority (73%) are concerned about wasting food because it wastes money. “I’m attempting to [be] more budget-conscious, waste less, and try more new foods that are not familiar,” says reader Lynn V. from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Meanwhile, 50% of readers say they’re concerned with food waste because it’s not environmentally conscious.  

“I think we will continue to see more sustainable meals, not necessarily all plant-based, but a flex plant-based, where the point is to make the most of your ingredients,” says Marissa Gencarelli, owner of Yoli Tortilleria. She says it’s “nothing new” to use a whole chicken for three different meals, but cooks are looking at it through “a different lens,” more “budget and environmentally focused.” Ben Weiner, a recipe tester, developer, and food stylist, also advocates cooking with a “whole animal” to be more sustainable. He suggests “utilizing scraps for vinegars, broths, just about anything!”

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

And Now for Some Trend Quick Hits …

Over the years, so many ingredients and flavors have gotten their time to shine in the kitchen, so we took stock of where our experts’ and home cooks’ palates are heading in 2024.

The Days of Disguising Vegetables Are Over

In our results, 79% of experts emphasize plant-based eating will remain very popular. Vora says she sees these types of meals becoming more ubiquitous “among folks who are not 100% plant-based but are increasingly open to eating plant-based meals more regularly.” That tracks with our readership; 74% say they prepare meat-based meals for dinner at least three times per week, while 30% say they’d like to eat plant-based foods more in 2024. 

Chef and food photographer Sara Haas thinks you’ll see simpler vegetables. “Main dishes will look like cauliflower, eggplant, broccoli — not turned into something they’re not,” she says.

Let’s Hear It for Mushrooms

Baker and cookbook author Abi Balingit says 2024 is the year of mushroom everything!” Our experts and home cooks agree, both putting mushrooms in their top four recent trends worth the hype (home cooks went as far as to rank them number one!). Food publicist Mindy Fox is seeing gourmet varieties like lion’s mane and trumpet mushrooms grabbing more attention. 

Chili Crisp Is Losing Steam (Maybe)

Our experts and home cooks couldn’t agree on this one. A majority (65%) of experts believe in the staying power of chili crisp, but its popularity is waning with home cooks (only 19% think it’s a flavor worth sticking with). Because spicy sauces topped the lists of trends in 2023, this could indicate a decline in spicier flavors — or it could mean that home cooks are exploring more ways to pack a punch, like with Calabrian chilis, which 44% of experts say are heating up (literally).

Credit: Photo: Shutterstock

Fruity Flavors Will Reign Supreme 

As the weather gets warmer, you’ll love what tied for the number-one flavor profile of the year, according to our experts: yuzu and passion fruit. Yuzu is a citrus fruit from East Asia that brightens sauces, marinades, and even cocktails! And prepare to see passion fruit pop up in more desserts and smoothies. 

You Do You in Your Kitchen 

The biggest takeaway from our surveys, though, is that you should try the flavors and recipes that make sense for your life. The home cooks we surveyed aren’t stressing about keeping up with every single trend: 60% identified “tried-and-true” as their top cooking vibe for 2024. So, when you find yourself in the kitchen, make what you love and have fun when you can!