The BHG Test Kitchen Breaks Down the 10 Most-Googled Recipes of 2022
From Marry Me chicken to mango pie, the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen has expert advice for making all of 2022’s top recipes.
It was quite a year for food—from TikTok to TV shows, pop culture really influenced what people were cooking in 2022. To recap all the trends, Google released its “Year in Search” in December, broken down by categories like news, people, and movies. Top-searched recipes can be summed up in regional dishes, salads, pastas, and sandwiches; quick eats with fresh ingredients seemed to be a focus—and our Test Kitchen has thoughts on all of it.
Here’s a breakdown of each of the top 10 most-Googled recipes, with helpful tips on cooking, serving, storing, and more.
What Our Test Kitchen Thinks of the Most Googled Recipes of 2022
Short for sugo di pomodoro, this traditional Italian tomato sauce was the top searched recipe of 2022 and points to an increased interest in authentic cooking. It’s built with flavors from classic Italian ingredients like olive oil, garlic, and basil, and it can be used in dishes like pasta, pizza, gnocchi—you get the idea.
“The main difference between pomodoro sauce and marinara sauce is that pomodoro is blended smooth,” says Test Kitchen culinary specialist Emily Nienhaus. Technically speaking, marinara can have other ingredients like vegetables or parmesan and is traditionally left chunky. Pomodoro sauce has simpler ingredients but also has a complexity of flavor that comes from caramelizing the garlic, onions, and tomatoes before blending.”
2. Cincinnati Chili
If you’re not from Ohio (or you’re not a huge chili fanatic), this could be the first time you’re hearing of Cincinnati chili. It’s a staple to the city featured in the dish’s name and stands out from other chili recipes with its addition of spices, from cinnamon to all spice, and has roots in Greek cuisine.
“Oftentimes Cincinnati chili is seasoned with chocolate—sometimes in the form of cocoa powder—cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ground cloves,” says Test Kitchen director Lynn Blanchard. “The chili is ordered using a number system based on the topping you want. ‘2 Way’ is chili plus spaghetti, ‘3 Way’ is chili, spaghetti, and shredded cheddar cheese, ‘4 Way’ is all of the above plus onions, and ‘5 way’ is all of the above plus kidney beans. In my experience, the toppings and seasonings can vary, but what makes this dish unique is serving over spaghetti.”
3. Marry Me Chicken
Legend has it that if you make this chicken for your partner, they’ll immediately ask for your hand in marriage (at least that’s where the name supposedly comes from). It involves only about 30 minutes of preparation and cooking time, and browning the chicken in butter and oil and letting it simmer in the sauce take the juiciness and richness to another level.
“Dredging the chicken in flour then searing it in oil not only creates a unique texture but the browning elevates the flavor of the chicken,” Nienhaus says. “The sun dried tomatoes provide a sweet and tart flavor that elevates the neutral base of the dish, which is heavy cream. The other star of the dish is the parmesan cheese. Most recipes use an abundance of this cheese, creating a delicious salty, umami flavor that balances well with the sweetness and tartness of the tomatoes.”
4. Quick Pancake
Among trendy avocado toasts and acai bowls, there’s nothing quite like a classic pancake breakfast. A “quick pancake” recipe was in high demand in 2022, and while these flapjacks are straightforward to make, there are quite a few takes on what method makes the best stack.
“An electric griddle is a great way to cook pancakes, as you can regulate the heat using the temperature control,” Blanchard says. “You can also use a skillet on your cooktop. You will want to preheat your skillet over medium to medium high heat before adding a bit of cooking oil.”
Blanchard suggests using oil over butter (butter can burn if it gets too hot) and has found that it helps to let the batter sit for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking. This helps the flour get fully hydrated and gives the baking powder a chance to become more active. For a secret ingredient, she adds 2 teaspoons of lemon juice with the milk—it gives the baking powder a bit of an extra boost, creating lighter, fluffier pancakes.
5. Mango Pie
Creamy and tropical, mango pie piqued the interest of many last year. It’s the perfect summer potluck dessert (mangoes are in season from May to September), but you can use frozen, defrosted mangoes if you’re craving it any other time of year.
“The flavor and texture of homemade pie crust is certainly worth the effort,” Blanchard says. “It takes a bit of patience as you are learning how to handle the dough but with a bit of practice, you will master it in no time.”
To make pie crust from scratch, Blanchard uses shortening, which you typically store at room temperature, but stores hers in the refrigerator so it's chilled and ready when she incorporates it into the flour. Cut-in the shortening into the flour with a pastry blender, fork, or food processor.
She opts for incorporating ice-cold water, as it helps keep the fat cold to create flaky layers. Sprinkling the water in a tablespoon at a time helps bring the dough together and can prevent adding too much, which can create a tough pastry.
Trim the pastry to just beyond the edge of the plate and have fun crimping the edge.
6. Green Goddess Salad
Another reason to love Trader Joe’s: This recipe was inspired by the grocer’s popular salad dressing, and the original TikTok recipe video has over 22 million views. With increased health consciousness and more people following a vegan lifestyle, it’s not too surprising that the Green Goddess salad was a favorite in 2022. The dressing features fresh ingredients like basil, shallot, lemon juice, and spinach.
Niehaus predicts plant-based eating will continue to grow in 2023.
“Especially at the start of the year, a lot of people like to do Veg-January, and I think sometimes that just carries over to a lifestyle,” she says. “I also predict that ‘freegan’ or flexitarian diets will become more popular.”
To store salad, she recommends not dressing it until it’s ready to be eaten. Because the Green Goddess salad uses cabbage, which is a heartier green, if it’s dressed it’ll last much longer than a leaf salad. Storing the vegetable components or crunchy toppings separately will also help it from getting soggy.
7. Jennifer Aniston Salad
When the internet found out that Jennifer Aniston allegedly ate this salad on the set of Friends for 10 years straight, it understandably took off. While the original viral recipe ended up not being accurate, which Aniston called out in an Allure video, the real one surpassed it with over 800,000 likes on TikTok. She describes it as a “butchered Cobb salad,” consisting of iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, chickpeas, salami, turkey bacon, chicken, and pecorino romano.
Niehaus believes strongly that there are six main components to a good salad: Mixed greens or darker greens for the base, tossed with some fresh herbs and lightly salted; two to three thoughtful, supporting veggies; a good protein; homemade vinaigrette; something salty (like olives, cheese, capers, or cured meat); and something crunchy, (nuts, seeds, croutons, or fried wontons).
“This salad is pretty close to meeting my criteria,” she says. “It has a pretty basic base, I would probably zhuzh it up a little bit. It has one supporting vegetable, tomatoes, and has three protein sources: chicken, chickpeas. and turkey bacon. The turkey bacon doubles as something salty and something crunchy. The pecorino is also a salty element, and she adds a homemade vinaigrette in the video. It satisfies most of the elements I laid out.”
8. Grinder Sandwich
Another TikTok-famous recipe here! This one is basically just another name for a standard Italian sub with a little added twist. It has the signature thick, crusty bread, sliced cheese, and Italian meats (like salami and prosciutto). What sets it apart is the “grinder salad” used as a topping, which is made with mayo, iceberg lettuce, pepperoncini, and more.
“I think that the salad is a fun idea because it incorporates all of the classic condiments you would typically use on a grinder into each and every bite,” Nienhaus says. “The trick is to assemble and eat immediately otherwise the ‘salad’ portion will get very soggy.”
Because the filling has a good amount of moisture, thick, crusty bread is necessary and adds texture and structure to the sandwich.
9. Bella Hadid Sandwich
Basically anything Bella Hadid touches becomes a trend, food included. After she posted a TikTok of herself on a picnic with a homemade sandwich, users couldn’t help but comment on how good it looked. She later posted an official tutorial, which now has 1.4 million likes. Packed with red onion, lettuce, pepperoncini, tomato, salami, turkey, cheese, and basil aioli, it’s easy to see why people were searching for the recipe.
Test Kitchen culinary specialist Addelyn Evans believes every good sandwich requires a sauce for maximum flavor and texture.
“Sauce not only adds balance to a sandwich, but moisture,” she says. “An aioli can add creaminess from a mayonnaise base that a crusty baguette [with] meats need. A vinegar-based sauce adds acidity to cut the richness of fatty meats and creamy cheeses.”
She also suggests using oil, mustard, pesto, and hot sauce, depending on what type of sandwich you’re making.
10. The Bear Spaghetti
Hulu’s The Bear contributed two main things to pop culture last year: The phrase “Yes, chef” and this spaghetti recipe. While only three ingredients written on a notecard are shown in the series, the internet was able to fill in the blanks and recreate the dish. San Marzano tomatoes are a necessity in the sauce, along with fresh basil, chili flakes, and garlic blended with olive oil.
San Marzano are the preferred canned tomatoes because of their lower acidity and consistency, Evans explains. They also provide the thickening agent that tomato paste does, plus a richer, sweeter flavor than other options.
In the show, main character Carmy flash fries the basil instead of simmering it in the sauce, which Evans says is a newer technique.
“Most recipes call for adding fresh basil at the end of a recipe to get the most flavor from it,” she says. “It’s always important to bloom your spices, which allows them to release their natural oils. The technique he uses of adding the chili flakes to the oil instead of the sauce is the best route to go for maximum flavor and spice.”