Long Read

The Social Food Guide


The most loved dishes and cuisines on social media


Social media allows us to share every aspect of our day to day lives, but there’s been one type of content that has dominated our feeds since day one and that’s people sharing what’s on their plate!


Whether it’s a five-star meal in a fine dining restaurant, a quick bite of street food that you picked up on the way home, or your latest nutritious masterpiece as you show off how well your new diet is going, we all love sharing and scrolling through images of food when it comes to social media.


But which items, dishes and types of cuisine have the most fans on social media? Here are the trending topics when it comes to all things food, looking at views, hashtags and searches!

The most popular food trends on social media

  1. Banana bread

TikTok views: 275.2 million

Instagram posts: 2 million

Annual search volume: 13 million


If there’s one food that has dominated social media in the last year or so its banana bread and the figures back that up, as the most popular trend on both Instagram (just under 2 million posts) and Google (just under 13 million annual searches), although interestingly, it wasn’t quite as popular on TikTok.


Although it may seem like banana bread only came into our lives in the post-pandemic world, it’s actually been a favourite of bakers for years, dating all the way back to the 1930s.


  1. Focaccia

TikTok views: 162.6 million

Instagram posts: 1.2 million

Annual search volume: 13 million


Another type of bread takes second place, this time focaccia, and like banana bread, it was more popular on Insta and with Google searches than on TikTok.


In particular, people have been taking their focaccia and turning it into works of art, decorating their fresh loaves with herbs and veg to create floral scenes that have been racking up the social media views.


  1. Crème brûlée

TikTok views: 93.1 million

Instagram posts: 927,697

Annual search volume: 10.8 million


This classic dessert has had something of a renaissance in the TikTok era, with one recipe in particular taking social media by storm, using just three ingredients to make the perfect crème brûlée.


Usually, crème brûlée is a tricky dessert to perfect, but thanks to TikTok you can now pull it off with just egg yolks, granulated white sugar and vanilla ice cream!


The most popular dishes on social media

  1. Pizza

TikTok views: 14.8 billion

Instagram posts: 55.8 million

Annual search volume: 177.1 million


As one of the most popular foods in the world, pizza narrowly takes the top spot, with 14.8 billion views on TikTok and 55 million posts on Insta, but it does take the title as the most searched dish on the web, with an incredible 177 million people searching for pizza in the last twelve months.


Whether you’re meat feast or veggie, pineapple or no pineapple, or prefer it straight out of the box or as a leftover treat the next day, there’s a slice for everyone.


  1. Sushi

TikTok views: 4.8 billion

Instagram posts: 30.8 million

Annual search volume: 80 million


Sushi is often misunderstood and confused with a similar dish, sashimi, which consists of sliced raw fish, but the Japanese delicacy has still become hugely popular around the world.


Usually accompanied by pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce, sushi is a healthy dish that can equally be enjoyed in a classy restaurant setting or picking up from a supermarket or high street eatery on the go.


  1. Curry

TikTok views: 1.9 billion

Instagram posts: 9.4 million

Annual search volume: 77.2 million


The term curry covers a fairly wide range of dishes from the Indian subcontinent, renowned for its invigorating spices and flavours (although milder versions are equally enjoyable!).


Different regions all have their own specialities when it comes to curry, but it’s been a worldwide dish for some time now, with cultures around the world putting their own spin on the traditional curry.

The most popular food items on social media

  1. Chicken

TikTok views: 12 billion

Instagram posts: 29.4 million

Annual search volume: 23.2 million


Chicken takes first place with 12 billion views on TikTok and just under 30 million Insta posts and chicken is the bedrock of many amazing dishes whether it’s a classic Sunday roast, grilled on the barbeque or fried in a fast-food bucket and makes it the most popular meat/poultry item on our list.


  1. Cheese

TikTok views: 10 billion

Instagram posts: 26.5 million

Annual search volume: 13.3 million


Cheese has always been a staple food and there are all kinds of artisan varieties available today, whether it’s mozzarella, camembert, brie, halloumi, or a classic cheddar.


It’s also clearly a firm favourite on social media, with 10 billion views on TikTok, appearing in 26.5 million Instagram posts and being searches 13.3 million times on Google.


  1. Pasta

TikTok views: 7.2 billion

Instagram posts: 27.7 million

Annual search volume: 15.8 million


Pasta is the foundation of many favourite recipes such as spaghetti bolognese, to lasagna, linguine and much much more.


On top of this, it’s super easy to prepare, which perhaps goes some way to explaining just why it’s so popular on social media!

The most popular types of cuisine on social media


  1. Chinese

TikTok views: 2.1 billion

Instagram posts: 6.9 million

Annual search volume: 32 million


It’s an argument that has divided many families when the time comes to choose a takeaway menu or restaurant to eat at, but the world’s favourite cuisine (according to social media at least) is Chinese!


Sweet and sour pork, kung pao chicken, fried noodles and chow mein are just some of the incredible dishes to come out of China, famous for its colour, taste and aroma, which is why it takes top spot on our list!


  1. Indian

TikTok views: 3.2 billion

Instagram posts: 9.9 million

Annual search volume: 6.85 million


If you like to inject a bit of spice, then you can’t go far wrong with Indian cuisine, and while the majority of the most famous Indian dishes consist of curries such as tikka masala, vindaloo, balti, bhuna and more, there’s a lot more to Indian food too.


Indian was the most popular cuisine on TikTok, with 3.2 billion views and racked up just under 10 million posts on Instagram.


  1. Japanese

TikTok views: 1.2 billion

Instagram posts: 16.6 million

Annual search volume: 4.2 million


Japanese food has become increasingly popular over the last couple of decades and takes third place on our list, with an incredible 16.6 million posts on Instagram.


As well as sushi, Japan has given us the likes of ramen, udon noodles, tofu, tempura and more!

The most popular desserts on social media

  1. Cake

TikTok views: 28 billion

Instagram posts: 103.9 million

Annual search volume: 35.3 million


Taking the top spot as social media’s favourite dessert is cake, and with so many of us turning to baking during the last 18 months or so, perhaps it should be no surprise.


The hashtag #cake has over 20 billion views on TikTok and over 100 million posts on Instagram, featuring all manner of tasty looking treats, whether its birthday cake, chocolate cake, cupcakes, the list truly does go on and on!


  1. Chocolate

TikTok views: 21.8 billion

Instagram posts: 99.3 million

Annual search volume: 30.5 million


Whether it’s on its own as a treat or as part of a delicious dessert, we’re a world of chocoholics.


We all have our favourite types but there’s something about chocolate that we just can’t get enough of, with videos totalling over 21 billion views on TikTok and just under 100 million posts mentioning chocolate on Instagram.


  1. Ice cream

TikTok views: 22.5 billion

Instagram posts: 42.7 million

Annual search volume: 56.2 million


In third place, it’s another type of food with seemingly endless varieties and flavours to choose from, which is probably a big part of the reason why we love it so much.


Ice cream has racked up over 22.5 billion views on TikTok and 42 million posts on Instagram, but just don’t spend too long lining up the perfect shot or it could melt away by the time you’ve applied the right filter!


For each section we looked at the number of views on TikTok videos using hashtags mentioning the food or cuisine in question, as well as the number of Instagram posts using the same hashtag, and the number of global Google searches between June 2020 and May 2021, sourced using Google Ads Keyword Planner, all correct as of July 9 2021.


To create our “social score” we gave each dish, item, or type of cuisine a normalised score out of ten on for each of the three factors, before taking an average of these three scores.

Scott Stockdale

Scott Stockdale

Writer and expert

Scott graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2018. It was during this time that his love of fitness and nutrition truly began. He enjoys travelling, football, and hosts a podcast about entrepreneurship.