In this article, we focus on the most popular recipe ingredients in over 20,000 recipes sampled from Epicurious in 2019.
Data analytics on recipes can be helpful for many reasons.
One is so that we can see trends on what are popular or ‘hot’ food items. Another reason could be for nutrition analytics. Here, we want to help the avid cook optimize their ingredient stockpile for this year’s current recipes.
The Top Five Most Popular Ingredients
Having a handle on the most popular recipe ingredients can be quite useful in stocking your fridge or pantry. For example, this year, extra virgin olive oil topped the list at just under 5% of all recipes. Compared to canola oil, olive oil has less calories, less fat and an extra helping of iron. As an ingredient with a fairly long shelf live, it would be great to stock up on when there’s a sale in the super market.
Similarly, all purpose flour, who is right on top of its good friend, butter is number two on the list. At just below 5% of all recipes, flour is also non-perishable. Buying it in bulk can help you save time and money next time you have a baking craving or want to thicken up a winter soup.
Chicken, which includes recipes that call for breast, legs or patties, is at number four. Top of the list of animal proteins, it’s also one of the most affordable. Compared to beef, chicken has less calories, less fat and a more balanced profile of essential amino acids.
Unsurprisingly, salt and sugar land the next two spots at five and six. They are staples in seasoning and many dishes as a call for flavor. Sugar comes in a few forms, white, brown, turbinado, etc. Comparing white versus brown sugar, brown sugar is a bit better for you as it contains small amounts of calcium and magnesium.
The Complete List of Most Frequent Ingredients
The entire list of our top 30 most popular recipe ingredients is below:
A Word on Ingredient Categories
Notably, 23 or more than three quarters of the ingredients are vegetarian friendly (highlighted in green and yellow). Shrimp, a pescatarian favorite, takes the 30th spot.
18, or 60% of the ingredients are vegan which means the majority of top 30 ingredients is vegan-friendly. This is an ongoing trend. As one example, almonds outranked bacon in terms of popularity in recipes in 2019.
This analysis was completed through a sampled dataset of Epicurious recipes in 2019. We merged similar ingredient through automated text analysis. For example, extra-virgin olive oil is merged with its parent group, olive oil.
Further analysis on the ingredient best friends will follow this post.