2020 has been quite the year. Amid the trauma, political turmoil and the pandemic, there were also celebrations, happiness and lots of really bored people sharing fun food content on TikTok.
TMRW is rewinding the TikTok clock to share our favorite viral food posts of the year. In honor of the most helpful hacks, dreamiest drinks and jaw-dropping creations from kitchens across the world, here are 11 of this year’s biggest hits.
1. Cloud bread
Everyone needed a little lightness during 2020’s darkest days, and cloud bread was just the food trend to do it. The airy, pastel-colored bread actually originated with the Atkins diet several decades ago and resurged on TikTok in August. Made with just egg whites, corn starch and white sugar, today’s version of cloud bread comes together quickly and easily. Some folks made versions of the bread in its natural milky color, but others found that electric blues and sunset pinks upped the ethereal ante.
2. Three-ingredient creme brulee
While many restaurants were closed, one TikToker made it simple to enjoy one elegant French dessert at home. Typically, creme brulee is made with about five or six ingredients. But this quick version required just three: egg yolks, granulated white sugar and vanilla ice cream. TODAY tested it out and it was foolproof and delicious.
3. Nacho table
For folks who love a good low-country boil emptied out across a table for family and friends to enjoy, one viral video kicked things up a notch-o. (That was a nacho joke. So sorry.) At the start of summer, TikTok user @stefherder shared a video her family’s ingenious dinner: the “nacho table.” Swapping seafood for tortilla chips doused in queso and ground beef, they spread the contents across a long wooden table lined in aluminum foil with bowls full of toppings in the middle. The idea went viral with many people trying out their own spins, including a similarly structured “pasta table” that was basically condemned by viewers.
4. Pancake cereal
In April, a craze over “pancake cereal” spread through TikTok and Instagram. At first glance it looked like a new boxed cereal that looked like little pancakes. But the dish was created by cooking up a batch of teeny, tiny pancakes served in a bowl, then topped with any number of ingredients, like butter, maple syrup, fruit, chocolate chips and even milk.
Let’s just say it was proof that many of us had too much time on our hands to flip batch after batch of baby pancakes in the morning … or at night. Nobody was really keeping track.
5. Whipped coffee
One of the first big trends to whip its way into our hearts at the start of quarantine, this dreamy drink seriously took off on social media — and for good reason. The video seemed to originate in South Korea where it’s known as “dalgona coffee” because of how much it tastes like the Korean honeycomb toffee dalgona. In a taste test, TODAY’s editor described it as a “coffee milkshake” that turned out sweet, velvety and airy.
Plus, it looks great for the ‘gram.
6. The life-changing coffee creamer hack
Those who enjoy the milky, flavored liquids in their morning coffee know how tricky the tin foil tops can be to remove. But that all changed in October thanks to a mom of three who posted on the social media platform. The hack involves using the top portion of the bottle’s plastic cap to simply puncture the foil — and voila, time saved!
7. “Ratatouille” musical numbers
The people who love this classic French dish as much as they love Remy the Rat from the Disney movie “Ratatouille” created fake musical numbers on TikTok. The songs and choreography got so popular that Playbill announced it’s been made into an actual filmed production, which people can stream on TodayTix.com on Jan. 1.
8. The one-stop shop for homemade popcorn
Movie theaters may have closed but one TikToker made this popcorn maker a hot ticket item. In a 15-second clip, TikTok user Madeline LeBlanc managed to catch the attention of more than 6 million viewers when she whipped up a batch of popcorn. There were no bags involved, no stove-top mishaps or buttery messes — just one uniquely designed pitcher that made movie theater-style popcorn in a matter of minutes. TODAY tested the reusable Ecolution Micro-Pop Popcorn Popper, which cost $15, and fully approved.
9. The cutest chef we’ve ever seen
Ilirian Kameraj, who turns 3 this month, went viral for his adorable cooking demos. His mom, who runs his Instagram and TikTok accounts, began filming the cute shorts of her son as a fun pastime during the pandemic, but her little guy has loved cooking everything from roast chicken, lamb and cupcakes since he was just 1-year-old. TODAY’s Hoda and Jenna were lucky enough to get a personal cooking demo from Chef Ilarian in November.
10. People baiting Gordon Ramsay with terrible cooking demos
Before the onset of virtual everything, catching Gordon Ramsay’s attention meant you had to be one of the many restaurants competing for a spot on his show “Kitchen Nightmares.” Well, the pandemic changed that. If one good thing came out of 2020, it’s that anyone can post their own kitchen nightmare on TikTok and if it’s bad enough by Ramsay’s standards, get his famously cruel feedback.
The chef started his own TikTok back in January and began responding to the tag #ramsayreacts weekly in a split screen reviewing home cooks’ culinary slips. His own daughter even goaded him — and he totally took the bait.
11. The Starbucks taste tester who realized she had COVID-19 on camera
Starbucks continued to be a key character in many viral videos despite limited service through lockdowns. TikTokers created Frappuccino ordering hacks and filmed baristas performing good deeds during work hours. But perhaps most memorable was when a teen who films Starbucks taste tests realized she had COVID-19 while filming.
On Dec. 1, Maryn Short ordered a saccharine drink with whipped cream, heavy cream, five pumps of vanilla syrup and three pumps of caramel syrup — but when she went to take a sip of the drink, she realized she couldn’t taste anything and panicked. Short later shared that she tested positive but mended quickly and used the incident to inspire others to be proactive about testing as cases surge.
Needless to say, the taste test gone awry was indicative of this year. So here’s to bringing on 2021!