The Biggest Viral Cooking Hacks of 2021 (Thus Far)

These 16 cooking hacks are the absolute best of 2021 (thus far)!

Viral food trends and hacks are viral for a reason, right? Sometimes, it's that they come with an unexpected twist, other times it's that they are so simple and easy that they up our kitchen game and give us more free time. Sometimes they are undeniably delicious, and other times they flop. Regardless, they hit the internet and everyone wants to give them a try.

In 2020, it was the whipped coffee craze, mini pancake cereal, and lots of other mini cereals like mini donut cereal and mini croissant cereal. Some were more delicious than others. Some were easier and more money-saving than others, but all of them were a huge part of the food pop culture that broke the internet in 2020, and I'm grateful I got to try and love many of them.

In 2021, many new, and some of late 2020's food hacks, have taken over the internet just like their predecessors. Here are 2021's biggest and best food trends and hacks for the first half of the year. From toast hacks to ramen hacks, anyone who loves food and loves a good food hack is sure to find something to entice their tastebuds!

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Viral Corn Ribs

Viral corn ribs are another hack I initially felt skeptical about. I didn't quite get the idea of cutting the corn into the rib shapes it's viral for, but, now having tried the viral trend, I get it. Corn ribs remind me a lot of elotes. If you don't know, elote is grilled Mexican street corn and it's a serious food experience that everyone should have at least once in their life. Corn ribs include the spices typically used to season pork ribs, but a lot of people are adding cotija cheese like you would with Mexican street corn. The combination is so delicious and perfect for those who are vegan, vegetarian, or just corn-lovers.

This recipe is another that was difficult to find a creator for. Sometimes these recipes go wild, and finding the root of the genius prooves difficult. However, we did find this recipe from @spicednice and she appears to at least be one of the first, if not the creator of the recipe in February of 2021.

How to make corn ribs

Viral Corn Ribs

The spices used on corn ribs are: lemon pepper, garlic pepper, chilli powder, pepper, smoke paprika, and salt.

  1. Cut the corn on the con into sections of four
  2. Mix spices and olive oil
  3. Brush it on the corn ribs
  4. Add chipotle lime mayo (made by yourself)
  5. Air fry them (this is how it's typically done but you could bake or fry them)
  6. Optionally: add cotija cheese to garnish and your chili lime mayo

For the full recipe, take a peek @spicednice's tutorial and try it for yourself!

TikTok Ramen Noodles

Yum! That is all I have to say, or type. Okay, I'm just kidding, but this hack is amazing. Another hack that revamps an original that is otherwise boring but edible, TikTok ramen noodles are viral because they make a cheap packet of noodles taste much more substantial and less like packet seasoning. While I have nothing against these affordable noodles just the way they are, this viral trend makes them so much tastier. Not only is this viral hack delicious, it's extremely practical (like a lot of the hacks on this list).

By adding a few affordable additions, a packet of noodles becomes a bowl of noodles with serious umami flavor and additional protein. TikTok ramen noodles are a great college dorm-room hack, but they are also tasty enough that everyone should give them a go at least once. Finding an original creator of the dish proved extremely difficult, but one of the first to make the dish is @williamcraft09 with 1.2 million views on his tutorial of the viral recipe.

How to make viral TikTok ramen noodles

TikTok Noodles

Don't worry. This hack doesn't make a convenient package of noodles that much harder to make. It's very simple. Here's how to do it:

  1. Boil your ramen.
  2. While it's boiling, add a tablespoon of butter to a saucepan on medium heat.
  3. Add 1/2 a tablespoon of minced garlic.
  4. Add a tablespoon of soy sauce and a dash of red pepper flakes.
  5. Add 1/2 a teaspoon of brown sugar.
  6. Toss your noodles in the sauce.
  7. Fry or poach an egg and add it on top (or you can scramble it in with your noodles) and add everything bagel seasoning for garnish.
  8. Optional: add some sliced green onion.
Boxed Mac and Cheese Hack

While I prefer to make my own mac and cheese with homemade cheese sauce, this trick is pretty amazing if you have boxed mac and cheese at home and want to give it a facelift. The boxed mac and cheese hack is cheesier, creamier, and more substantial than its predecessor pre-hack, the boring boxed mac and cheese with no extra additions or hackery. Because of the way the mac and cheese is cooked using this hack, the noodles even have more flavor and a better texture. In a pinch, the boxed mac and cheese hack could almost trick you into thinking it's homemade (almost).

This clever boxed mac and cheese hack was created by @saucedchef, a TikTok food blogger who is known for creating delicious, easy meals with a food hackery edge. So far, it has 1.8 million views and is still going strong as one of the best food hacks of 2021.

What the boxed mac and cheese hack is about

Boxed Mac and Cheese Hack

The boxed mac and cheese hack is simple. It doesn't include adding a bunch of extra ingredients or doing anything complicated. It's practical. Here's how to get it done:

  1. Add one cup of water to your pan.
  2. Add one cup of milk to your pan.
  3. Bring the liquid to a simmer.
  4. Add your cheese packet that came with the boxed mac and cheese and stir to combine.
  5. Add your noodles and cook for the box's recommended time.
  6. Once it's ready, add a dash of hot sauce and a cup of shredded cheese.

Optional addition: Instead of adding hot sauce, add 1/4 cup of salsa. Trust me. It's delicious.

McDonald's 3 Ingredient Hasbrowns

If you are craving McDonald's breakfast, and it's after 10 am, don't fret. You can make their crispy, addicting, totally probably bad for you hashbrowns at home. This hack is an absolute gem. It's so close to the original that there's no way it wasn't going to go viral on social media. To add to the authenticity of these copycat McDonald's hashbrowns, they only require three basic ingredients that most of us either carry in our households already, or that we can pick up at our local supermarket at an affordable price.

What's even more interesting about this recipe, is that it was created by a Michelin-trained chef! So, you know it's as good as the hype. Poppy O'Toole, @poppy_cooks on social, posted her video, and though she knew it was a good one, never expected it to go viral. Well, at the beginning of 2021 it did, and I am here for it.

3 ingredient hashbrowns

Copycat McDonald's Hashbrowns

Copycat McDonald's hashbrowns only require three ingredients and one pan, which is part of what makes them so appealing. What are these three magical ingredients that create the best copycat dish of 2021? Here are the three simple ingredients you need for these hashbrowns:

  • 1 large Potato
  • An egg
  • Oil

Of course, you'll want to season with salt and pepper, but other than that, 3 ingredients are all you need for a tasty, chef-approved food trend like this one.

Watermelon Hack

Watermelons are one of my favorite fruits of all time, but I never buy them because they are such a hassle to cut and store and serve. They are messy and require the right tools (a quality, serrated knife) to get through the thick exterior of the watermelon. This watermelon toothpick hack is another jaw-dropper that made me want to start buying watermelons again just in time for summer.

The watermelon toothpick hack is so popular, it even has an entire viral Reddit thread dedicated to figuring out if the hack is the real deal or not. Emerging at the end of 2020, the watermelon toothpick hack is steadily going viral on social media into 2021 and I'm happy to say it's the real deal.

How to open a watermelon with a toothpick

Watermelon Opening Hack

To open a watermelon with a toothpick, follow these simple steps:

  1. Push a toothpick into the watermelon rind, close to the bottom of the watermelon.
  2. Flick the root of the watermelon.

Keep in mind, this trick is best when tried on ripe watermelons.

Watch the video:

Oven Toast Hack

My best friend has five kids. I don't know how she does it, but I'm always in awe. Having no kids, it's a mystery to me how she gets enough food for five kids on the table and can keep it all warm. Whenever the whole family visits for dinner, I have a hard time knowing how much to cook and how to get creative with cooking it so that it doesn't take all day and everything stays warm when it's time to serve. It's a struggle. For all you big families out there, I feel for you when dinner time rolls around. This hack is for you all!

If you've ever wanted to know how to make a lot of toast, and fast, this oven toast hack is the way to go. I don't know what creative genius came up with this toast for a crowd hack, but thank you!

How to make toast for a crowd

Oven Toast Hack
  1. Position the middle rack right above the lower rack in your oven.
  2. Preheat your oven to 450°C (842°F).
  3. Make sure you have a tray lined with parchment paper.
  4. When the oven is preheated, pull out the bottom rack and set down your tray so that the bottom of your bread can rest there.
  5. Using tongs, put your bread between the bars on the middle rack of your oven.
  6. Toast for about 6 minutes, turn and toast for about another 6 minutes.
Donut Dump Cake

Dump cakes have been around for ages. I grew up eating dump cakes. However, dump cakes, specifically the donut dump cake, have gone viral. I'm a huge donut fan; you know the whole famous question, "if you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring?" I would bring donuts and my cats (and books of course). Nobody is bringing just one thing, I don't care who you are, you have at least a few items you have to have.

I love this donut dump cake. It's sweet, but it isn't so sweet that it makes your cheeks hurt. It's donut flavored, which means it's already got a leg up on most viral trends, and it's all made in one pan for easy cleanup. Janelle Elise Flom @janelleelise created this fun hack that took over the internet and gained millions of views practically overnight (17.6 million views to be exact).

Dump cake sensations

Viral Donut Dump Cakes

There are many dump cakes going viral right now! Here are a few of them to try out:

  • Donut dump cake- Try the most viral dump cake on the internet first!
  • Oreo dump cake- people everywhere are also drooling for the Oreo dump cake. Made almost exactly the same as the donut dump cake, but with Oreos. What's not to love?
Accordion Potato Hack

I think this viral trend might be the most fun of the bunch. Accordion potatoes, a lot like Hasselback potatoes, are easy and crispy and a lot of fun to try out. I find them kind of artistic and creative in comparison with a lot of the food trends of 2021. If you love french fries and Hasselback potatoes, the accordion potato trend is like a tasty hybrid of the two.

The accordion potato trend went viral on TikTok and is going as far as to make them into breakfast sandwiches using the potatoes as the "bread." Though we couldn't decipher the inventor, Farrah J, @spicednice on TikTok, has over 1.7 million views on her accordion potato tutorial, and the trend is continuing to evolve!

How to cut an accordion potato

Accordion Potato Hack
  1. Peel your potatoes
  2. Cut the rounded ends off the potatoes
  3. Place it vertically and slice it longwise into about four or five vertical slices
  4. Lay each slice flat side down and place it between two skewers
  5. Cut across the slice horizontally using the skewers as stoppers
  6. Flip each slice over, skewers on either side, and cut diagonally
  7. Pull it apart

The rest of the cooking process is super easy. To try the full recipe visit TikTok and give it a try.

Grilled Cheese Flipping Hack

The simplest hack on this list, the grilled cheese hack, isn't about how to cook it, what to put in it, or what to put on the bread, This trick is as simple as how to flip it when cooking. The grilled cheese hack literally made my mouth drop. How can I possibly be flipping my grilled cheese wrong all my life until watching a TikTok video that served me some at-home cooking humility? This flipping technique helps avoid any messy flipping or separation between the slices of bread.

To flip your grilled cheese the right way, or the easier way try these steps:

  1. Using your spatula, pick up your grilled cheese without flipping.
  2. Pick up the pan and turn it upside down on top of your grilled cheese.
  3. Keep the spatula pressed to the grilled cheese and flip the pan right side up.


Watch the video:

Nature's Cereal

When I first saw this recipe go viral, I was completely against it. I didn't understand how fruit and ice consisted of a hack and I thought it was one of those hacks that people try to make work (kind of how Gretchen Wieners tried to make "fetch" happen in Mean Girls), but after eating a bowl very skeptically, this hack became one of my favorite food hacks of 2021. Even Lizzo approves. I thought everyone was crazy at first, but I get it. It's refreshing. It's easy. It's extremely healthy, and it's a natural sweet tooth cure.

Sherwayne Mears, @nature's food on TikTok, created this dish when he was hungry and laying in bed one night, and the dish blew up the internet in a way he never expected when artist Lizzo fell for the food trend.

What is in nature's cereal

Nature's Cereal

Well, natural ingredients of course! This "cereal" is as simple and natural as it gets with only a few ingredients. Here are the standard ingredients for nature's cereal:

  • Berries- strawberries and blueberries are typically added, though you can add blackberries too.
  • Pomegranate seeds- for some extra crunch!
  • Coconut water- the "milk" in this "cereal."
  • Optional: ice cubes
Butter Softening Hack

Ever need to soften butter for a recipe but you forgot, so you end up trying to hurriedly soften butter only to melt it in your microwave in the record time of fifteen seconds? I know I cannot be the only one who's done this and done it several times over the course of my adulthood. If so, this cooking hack is for you! It's easy. Like really, really easy, and it doesn't require anything you don't already have in your kitchen.

Many celebrities and TikTokers have been celebrated for this simplistic butter softening hack, so the words out on the original inventor. However, Chrissy Teigan has been known as one of the first to try it out and spread the knowledge, which she says she learned from Fab Life. Regardless, I love it, and it will be one of my favorite kitchen hacks of the many years to come.

How to soften butter

Butter Softening Hack

This has to be the "right" way to soften butter, if there is a "right" way. Here's how to do it:

  1. If your faucet gets hot enough, fill a measuring glass (it must be real glass not plastic) with hot water and let it sit for about five minutes. If it doesn't get very hot, microwave it with the water in the glass for a couple of minutes (make sure the glass you use is microwave-safe or try using a large, ceramic coffee mug).
  2. Place the butter vertically, and on a flat surface.
  3. Cover it with the hot glass for five minutes.


Potato Chip Marshmallow Squares

We all know sweet and salty is one of the best flavor combinations of all time. That's why millions of people dip their french fries in their shakes and eat chocolate-covered pretzels. It's good. Plain and simple. When I saw the potato chip marshmallow square trend, I knew it had to be good because well, sweet and salty snacks are the best snacks. If you've ever had chocolate-covered chips, this food trend is right up there with the best chocolate-covered chips you've ever had. I vote this trend as the best sweet food trend of 2021.

This recipe has been posted everywhere from Food Network to TikTok and has exploded in popularity. While we can find no original creator due to the spider web that is viral food trends, we know from deep diving the internet that the trend has actually been around for years, only to make its mark on social media in 2021.

Ruffle's Krispy treats additions

Potato Chip Marshmallow Squares

There are many ways to make Ruffle's Krispy treats and take them up another notch. Here are just a few ways to amp up the sweet treat:

  • Funfetti style- Add sprinkles throughout and a sprinkling on top.
  • Candy- Add your favorite candy throughout.
  • Peanut butter- add a little peanut butter to your marshmallow mixture and top the squares with a drizzle of chocolate.
Egg Sandwich Hack

I could eat this breakfast sandwich every morning. Honestly, I could eat it for lunch and dinner too. It's so simple, all you need is one pan, and there's no crazy mess or clean up with this food trend. The egg sandwich hack, also known as the breakfast sandwich hack, is a genius use of tools and probably the only way I will ever be able to make an omelet (or something resembling an omelet at least). If you love eggs and love a good, affordable breakfast sandwich, give this one a try.

The originator of this trend is hard to track down, but we tracked down a video from 2019, when the trend was first created, by Al Dente Diva. She appears to be the inventor of this clever hack, which really hit the ground running and went viral in 2021.

Egg sandwich hack options

Egg Sandwich Hack

There are many ways to individualize the egg sandwich hack. Adding different cheeses and fillings that suit your diet and food preferences is what makes this hack adaptable and versatile. Here are just a few ways to switch up the breakfast sandwich trend:

  • Vegetarian- instead of adding meat, add a slice of tomato and a handful of fresh spinach.
  • Meat lovers- add sausage crumbles, a slice of ham, and bacon.
  • Pizza style- add marinara sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese.
Creamy Ramen Hack

It's no surprise there are so many ramen hacks out in 2021. A real money-saver, these budget-friendly noodles are endlessly versatile. There's so much that can be done with a packet of ramen. There are salads made with ramen, TikTok ramen noodles that went viral in 2021 also, and people have been adding American cheese slices and eggs to their ramen since the dawn of ramen (maybe not, but you get the idea).

Carbonara ramen started out in Japan and blew up in popularity from there. Theresa @teekeatz on TikTok, shared this viral trend on TikTok and got 6.7 million views. Creamy carbonara ramen, also known as mayo ramen, is the best ramen hack of the year, decade, century. There, I said it! It's so creamy, luxurious, and simple, and it makes it taste like the kind of ramen you might get from a restaurant versus a package. Anyone can make it and everyone should!

What's in creamy ramen

Creamy Ramen Hack

Want to know what goes into creamy carbonara ramen that makes it so creamy. Here it is:

  • Kewpie mayo (regular if you don't have kewpie mayo)
  • Grated garlic
  • An egg
  • Ramen seasoning packet
  • Cooked ramen
  • Some of the boiling water
Baked Feta Pasta

At a very close second place, this pasta dish is hearty, simple, and perfect for impressing that date or dinner party with. Since baked feta pasta only requires a few ingredients, it's affordable and easy for even those at-home cooks who aren't the best in the kitchen. The only kicker with this recipe is that since there are so few ingredients, it's better to use ingredients that are high-quality and fresh. Sometimes, this isn't always doable, and it can be more expensive, but baked feta pasta is definitely the easiest, and tastiest, pasta dish of 2021.

Jenni Hayrinen created the viral dish calling it "uunifetapasta," Finnish for oven feta pasta. Shortly after, Finland ran out of feta cheese blocks, and shortly after that, towns all over America started running out of feta cheese blocks too. Once I could finally find feta cheese blocks near me, I made baked feta pasta with a twist, and let me tell you, if you don't know what all the fuss is about, go buy a feta cheese block and you will.

Baked feta pasta possibilities (pastabilities)

Baked Feta Pasta

The original version of baked feta pasta includes cherry tomatoes, a feta cheese block, olive oil, pasta, basil, and pasta water. However, there are several variations of baked feta pasta at this point. Here are a few different ways to make baked feta pasta with a twist:

  • Greek baked feta pasta- add olives, artichokes, basil, and grilled chicken.
  • Roasted vegetables- add roasted eggplant, yellow squash, and mushrooms. Cut them bite-sized and roast them with the other vegetables.
  • Shrimp- add shrimp and a squeeze of lemon juice to the tomatoes and feta when roasting.
TikTok Tortilla Hack

The TikTok tortilla hack is undeniably my favorite cooking hack of 2021. It's easy. Anyone can make a TikTok tortilla wrap. My best friend's kids even make them for lunches. They are incredibly versatile and can be stuffed with any type of ingredients you can imagine. They are so adaptable that they can be made for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even dessert. They can be cooked using one pan, or press, require very little cleanup, are affordable to make, and they taste amazing. I've yet to have a TikTok tortilla wrap that I didn't like.

It's no wonder the internet lost their minds when this simple hack hit the internet. There are very few times a hack emerges that really makes you wonder if you've been doing it wrong all along, and this tortilla hack is one of those rare instances. When I made my first TikTok tortilla wrap and took my first bite, I couldn't help but laugh. I made them for lunch for a week straight after that. Best week ever.

There are mixed reports on who created the TikTok tortilla wrap hack, but, after some research, Ayeh from Cooking with Ayeh appears to be the first food blogger to post the recipe in December of 2020. The cooking hack really took off at the beginning of 2021 and is still popular, well, everywhere.

Inside a TikTok tortilla

TokTok Tortilla Hack

What is the TikTok tortilla hack? Basically, instead of wrapping your ingredients up in a cold wrap or tortilla, you lay your wrap flat and layer your ingredients in pizza-like sections. Then, you fold each section over itself and grill it on both sides or cook it on a panini press.

These toasty tortillas can be filled with many kinds of ingredients for any meal type. Here are a few examples:

  • Breakfast tortilla wraps- scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon or sausage, and mayo or salsa.
  • Dessert tortilla wraps- Nutella, bananas, strawberries, marshmallows or marshmallow spread, and cinnamon sugar sprinkled on the outside.
  • Turkey bacon tortilla wrap- sliced turkey, avocado, mayo, tomato, and lettuce.

The combinations are endless! Try it out with whatever ingredients you prefer.

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