As I get older I get more and more fascinated with food statistics. I like finding out how popular foods are in the United States and in the rest of the world. Many times on my YouTube channel I have done long live streams where I chatted with my followers about my favorite worldwide foods. In this article, I focus on the Top 10 most popular foods in America.
This is not an exhaustive list and is somewhat subjective, the term “popular” in and of it self is slightly subjective but has objective data to back it up. I pulled the data from many different sources (cited) and other lists, but looking at the list I tend to agree. Also, I will include links to recipes that I have for each of those items on this list.
That way you can make your own if you want. Especially if you live outside of the US and want to try making one of the most popular foods in America at home. And for the most part, all of these foods are pretty easy to make. Let’s get started!
11. Chicken nuggets
Despite news that chicken nugget sales are dropping around the country, they’re still super popular. The reason for the downturn is that many of us prefer chicken tenders, a (sometimes) less-processed option. You can’t say “chicken nuggets” without conjuring an image of the classic McDonald’s menu item. With that in mind, here are a couple of interesting nuggets of information for you: McDonald’s revamped its nuggets back in 2016, but they still come in four shapes.
10. Miso soup
A staple of Japanese take-out orders, miso soup is the perfect meal to warm you up in the winter. But even some of its most ardent fans are clueless about the main ingredient: Miso paste, which gives miso soup its umami flavor, is made from fermented soybeans. It’s essential for miso soup, but the paste also tastes great in salad dressings and marinades.
More soybeans! Miso soup is made of fermented soybeans, whereas edamame is made up of young soybeans that have been harvested before they ripen. They are then boiled in salt water and served as an appetizer or side. Just remember to toss the shell!
8. Garlic naan
Grilled dough? Count us (and the rest of America) in! Naan gets coated in butter and rises in a tandoori oven or on a skillet until it’s puffy and ready to eat. Interestingly, garlic naan made the list, while the basic version didn’t. The difference here is that minced garlic is pressed into the dough before cooking. If you want to go all in, you can also brush on some garlic butter after the bread is finished cooking.
7. Mozzarella sticks
People have been frying cheese since the Middle Ages, but the bar snack we’ve come to know and love originated in Wisconsin in the 1970s. There’s no doubt Wisconsin knows its cheese. The state produces 600 varieties, boasts more cows than people, and even has a festival dedicated to the stuff. Getting hungry? Find out which is the best all-you-can-eat buffet in your state.
6. Pad thai
In the 1930s and 40s, the Thai government took steps to Westernize the country. Not only did it change the country’s name from Siam to Thailand, but it also developed pad Thai. The national dish, made with rice noodles, has since become an American favorite.
5. French fries
The average American eats 48 pounds of french fries a year, and yet the people of Belgium beat us, demolishing 165 pounds per year. French fries have been around for more than 200 years, but they didn’t find their soul mate, ketchup, until the mid-1940s.
4. Cheese pizza
As much as Americans love experimenting with toppings, tossing everything from pepperoni and sausage to pineapple and anchovies on their pizzas, nothing beats a plain cheese pie. They call it a classic for a reason. Also a classic (and a delicious post-pizza treat)? Ice cream. Here’s the best ice cream shop in every state.
3. Hash browns
Both hash browns and home fries are favorites at diners across the country, but only one is popular enough to make this list. Sliding in at number three are hash brows, grated breakfast potatoes that are pan-fried until they’re crispy on the outside and softer in the middle. Home fries are also cooked in a skillet, but they’re made of diced potatoes that are cooked with onions and paprika.
Is there anything more American than a hamburger? Yes, a cheeseburger, which lands in the number two slot on this list of America’s favorite foods. According to research done by National Today, American cheese is the most popular cheese for topping a burger, followed closely by cheddar, then pepper jack, Swiss, and provolone.
1. Burrito bowl
Chipotle lovers have often debated whether the burrito or burrito bowl is better, with some fans claiming burrito bowls offer more food. This year, the bowls have it! The dish ranked second in Grubhub’s 2020 survey, only to rise in ranks this year. The upward trajectory is pretty impressive, considering the dish only became popular in the 2000s.