Food Predictions for 2016


Check out our forecast of food trends that will shape what you order, eat, watch and read this year.


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Bake It Till You Make It

Good news: Carbs and cheese are back in.

Look for cheesy bread like khachapuri (aka melted cheese in a bread bowl), pao de queijo (Brazilian cheese balls), and tartines and flatbreads topped with everything your heart (and stomach) desires. Classic Jewish foods like bagels and babka will also make a comeback, as well as beautiful Pinterest-worthy cakes that actually taste good.

Get the Recipe: Fig and Blue Cheese Flatbread

Fast-Food Frenzy

Recently, top chefs have been creating better versions of fast food — like the transformed chicken sandwich at David Chang's Fuku in New York City — and that trend will continue in 2016.

Look for flip-flops with high-end street food and low-end fine dining that take Grandma's favorite casserole and turn it on its head. The new standard of "fine-casual" dining will include new favorites like grain bowls and arepas, and classic fast-food restaurants will elevate their ingredients, too.

Eat with Your Eyes

Instead of jumping through hoops, just watch loops of your favorite recipes in GIF form.

Visual recipes are going to take off more in 2016, including short videos on Vine and Instagram, how-to infographics and animated step-by-step guides. 

See More Photos: Kelsey Nixon's Best Recipes from Kelsey's Homemade as Cinemagraphs

Robot Sous Chefs and PJ Party Cooking

Everything you need to cook will be available at the tap of a screen next year — and it may not even be a person delivering your packages.

Get ready to live like the Jetsons as humans and drones alike help you buy groceries and prepare dinner with meal kit services like Blue Apron and store-to-door shopping apps.

Vegging Out

Lean, mean protein isn't just about meat anymore. In 2016, we'll see more people fuel up by reaching for plants, including legumes, nuts, pulses and seeds.

With Silicon Valley fired up trying to create alternative vegan meats and dairy, and legume chips and chia seed snacks becoming the new normal, get ready to taste the future.

See More Photos: 5 Breakfast Bowl Recipes That Are Worth Waking Up For

Waste Not, Want Not

Even though dumpster diving isn't quite in vogue yet, using food waste is becoming shockingly trendy. Get ahead of the game by picking "ugly" produce and repurposing leftovers.

Also look for grocery stores specializing in almost-expired food with significant markdowns, and restaurants washing dishes with compressed air to save water.

Pint-Sized Invasion

Get ready to feel old, because kids are about to take over the culinary world. Food-obsessed millenials' offspring are now having fun with food at home, on TV, in restaurants as kid critics and even in bookstores with their own cookbooks. 

Watch out, Bobby Flay — kids are coming for your job.

Watch the Video: Pretentious Food Critic Baby

Tropical Thunder

Hula skirts are optional for the tropical food revolution.

Look for coconut everything — coconut chips could take over kale chips' throne — poke bowls becoming the new sushi, and Spam popping up on menus. Oh, and tiki drinks with umbrellas are always in, so say "bottoms up" to mai tais.

Pucker Up

Fermented food was big in 2015, but now we're moving on to even funkier flavors. Astringent, tannic and puckery foods and drinks like sour beer, pickled green strawberries and unripe fruit, smoked food and lye-dipped pretzels will be the new normal.

Even if you turned your nose up at such foods before, chances are that you'll be diving in headfirst in 2016.

Sheet Happens

It may be time to give your vegetable spiralizer a break and reach for a more familiar tool: the sheet pan. One-pan dinners are the new "set it and forget it" easy meal, and many home cooks are taking a cue from restaurants and using their broiler to quickly cook food, too.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts

Checks and Balances

Restaurateur Danny Meyer changed the game in New York when he eliminated tipping and moved to a service-included model in 2015, and other companies are following suit.

Even though you may not be tipping at the end of your meal anymore, some restaurants may move toward an Uber/Yelp-style rating system for customer feedback, so you can use your phone for more than table Instagramming.

Get 'Em While They're Hot

The hottest food trends of 2016 are all about sweet and savory. Look for miso baked goods like doughnuts and butterscotch, ice cream sandwiches being made more with actual bread, and hot honey drizzled on everything.

Tree- and plant-based waters like maple and cactus will also be on the rise, as well as new unique combinations like pork floss, birthday-cake-flavored everything and boozy root beer.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Banana Bread Ice Cream Sandwiches

Look Back at 2015

Before the New Year, remember 2015's best food moments, including Pizza Rat and TV shows like Master of None.

See More Photos: Best 2015 Food Moments