As a human being alive in the 21st century, you will likely be unsurprised to hear that your Google searches are never just between you and Google. They become a commodity that gets aggregated, packaged up, and gifted to us at the end of each year as Google Trends releases its annual report on America’s top trending searches from the previous 12 months. In 2022, just as each year before it, Americans were on the hunt for good eats.
Note that these are not the things that were searched for most in 2022, but rather, the top trending searches, which Google defines as “searches that had a high spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2022 as compared to 2021.” As a result, this is arguably a better snapshot of our life in food this year, rather than a peek at what we’re consistently wondering about from one year to the next (such as, say, how to hard boil eggs or whether it’s okay to make banana bread with unripe bananas).
Here were the top five trending recipes we searched for in 2022:
5. Mango pie
4. Quick pancake
3. Marry Me Chicken
2. Cincinnati Chili
Mango pie was the most recent recipe to spike in interest, with a sharp uptick the week of Thanksgiving. Samin Nosrat’s recipe at NYT Cooking is often searched for around the holiday, but that’s been around since 2019. The likely source of this year’s interest in particular is Hrishikesh Hirway’s discussion of the dish on CBS Sunday Morning’s Thanksgiving edition.
If you haven’t heard of “Marry Me Chicken,” the third top trending recipe of 2022, then you’re probably not on TikTok. The recipe isn’t new, but a video tutorial was posted on April 2 by @cookinginthemidwest and it has racked up over 1.4 million likes.
Cincinnati Chili? That’s easy: Everyone wanted a regionally specific way to cheer on the Bengals at this year’s Super Bowl.
Sugo, a traditional tomato sauce, peaked around Thanksgiving and is set to spike again this Christmas, suggesting that in a year marked by painfully high turkey prices, people were seeking delicious, comforting crowd pleasers that have nothing to do with meat.
“Quick pancake” is the only term that seems to have sustained interest throughout the year, with its highest peak occurring in June. Maybe no one wants to stand over a stove very long during the summer?
And though the Google Trends might suggest a craving for sweets, we weren’t particularly into chocolate this year—at least, not more than any other year. “Cacao” was a top trending search because, like so many other Google searches that spiked in 2022—rupee, homer, etc.—the word was a solution to Wordle, specifically on June 18. (Wordle’s formidable influence on our search data can be seen hilariously clearly in this Google Trends chart.)
What recipes might 2023 bring us? Only time—or more accurately, TikTok—will tell.