It’s impossible to scroll through Instagram without stumbling upon dozens of drool-worthy food photos. Thanks to the platform’s FOMO-inducing ways, Instagram is also responsible for popularizing some of the biggest food trends to grace blogs and magazines, restaurant menus, and home kitchens around the world. Here are 10 whacky food trends brought to us by Instagram users.
- Unicorn foods
From toast and bagels to sushi, smoothies, and layer cakes, it’s hard to think of a food that hasn’t been rainbow-ized for the sake of the ‘gram. It all started when a New Jersey bagel shop featured the rainbow bagel in 2015. Since then, we’ve seen multicolored treats pop up everywhere, from big chains including Starbucks (hello, Unicorn Frappuccino) to blogs (maybe you’ve seen Adeline Waugh’s Mermaid Toast), and local spots like The Good Sort in NYC (rainbow iced latté, anyone?). You can find all sorts of other multi-colored treats on Instagram.
- Smoothie bowls
Think of smoothie bowls as a cross between a smoothie, soft serve ice cream, and granola. Typically, smoothie bowls are made with a mixture of fruit, protein powder, and liquid of choice—such as milk, juice, coconut water—blended into a thick, soft serve-like consistency, poured into a bowl, and topped with an assortment of goodies such as chia seeds, fresh fruit, coconut chips, and granola. What makes this food fad particularly photogenic? Instagrammers around the world love to beautifully arrange toppings to create eye popping bowls of colorful, healthy goodness. A word of caution: If you want to keep your smoothie bowl healthy, stick to a few good-for-you toppings rather than turn your breakfast into dessert.
- Avocado toast
For this trend, we’re not just talking about half an avocado haphazardly smooshed onto a piece of toast. Avocado toast can be crazy fancy. Instagram proves people are getting creative with their avocado toast accoutrements, from a simple poached egg to an assortment of fancy ingredients such as smoked mozzarella and pumpkin seed from Coco & Cru, smoked salmon and vegan cheese, strawberries and chives, or a gluten-free avocado toast on sweet potato toast from Peach and Green, Even the simple versions are fancy in presentation, with avocado roses and pixelated avocado.
- Chia pudding
All it takes to make the base of a chia pudding bowl is chia seeds and your choice of milk. What makes this easy and super healthy treat an Instagram favorite is how creative you get with toppings and flavorings. Some choose to go the dessert route (a combination of cocoa powder, agave, and coconut milk makes for the perfect treat to satisfy any chocolate craving), while others opt for fruity concoctions, soaking the seeds in a blend of fruit and milk. The unique look of the soaked chia seeds combined with creative and perfectly arranged toppings make for intriguing images, which is likely the reason this food trend has gained so much popularity on the platform.
- Cloud eggs
This updated take on baked eggs may take a few more steps than your basic scramble, but the result is a picture-worthy treat that will impress any brunch guest. The technique requires whipping egg whites into stiff peaks before plopping them into cloud-like piles on a baking sheet, topping each with an egg white, and baking. The results are perfectly fluffy egg whites with a runny yolk. Don’t get your taste hopes up, though—the whipped egg whites can be a bit bland. Pro tip: Fold shredded cheese or chopped ham or bacon into the egg whites for a pop of flavor.
- Blue majik
Derived from popular super green superfood spirulina, Blue Majik is a fine powder made from the blue-green algae. Like it’s green sister, Blue Majik is packed with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Thanks to its signature natural color, when added to anything it turns it a special hue of blue (which, of course, makes for a pretty special ‘gram). Instagrammers add it to smoothie bowls, baked goods, drinks, and more.
- Crazy milkshakes
Behold, all your childhood dreams come true: Milkshakes topped with full slices of cake, mounds of cotton candy, childhood favorite cereals like this Fruit Loops Milkshake from Kellogg’s NYCmore have become all the rage. These new-fangled shakes draw crowds looking for the perfect picture (and to consume a few days’ worth of sugar in one sitting). We have Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in NYC to thank for kicking this trend into high gear. They’re known for their crazy shakes and are loved by patrons who want that perfect over-the-top treat to snap.
- Activated charcoal foods
Thanks to Instagram, thousands of followers have developed an obsession with jet black foods. From lemonade and burger buns to pasta and ice cream, food trucks and shops around the world have been adding activated charcoal to recipes to entice fans who want to cross to the dark side.
- Crazy donuts
From sushi donuts made from ice, seaweed, and raw fish to galaxy-inspired options, donut fans go crazy over creative combinations. Even before Instagram was a thing, one of the first establishments to capitalize on this trend was Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, Oregon. But since wild and whacky donuts have taken off on social media, donut shops and home cooks alike have tried their hands at creating all sorts of crazy concoctions, from s’mores donuts to donuts topped with fried chicken.
- Mason jar salads
While they are pretty, mason jar salads are perhaps the least functional trendy food item on this list. Who can successfully eat a salad out of a tall jar? Regardless, it’s the layered look of these salads that make them an Instagram favorite (and they are super portable). Jar salad aficionados add the dressing and hearty toppings on the bottom and lettuce on the top so that the lettuce doesn’t wilt. Shake it all up before serving for a perfect travel-friendly (and picture perfect) lunch. If you want in on the trend, but would rather not eat out of a jar, pour your salad into a bowl after storing and shaking it in the jar.
Ready to take some like-worthy photos? Whether you head to the kitchen to recreate these crazy ideas yourself or opt to buy them instead, this guide will help you get your Instagram food trend fill.