10 viral TikTok recipes and whether they're worth the hype

·9-min read

What can't we learn from TikTok? Seriously. We've got hair slugging, the 12-3-30 workout, and spot-nixing beauty hacks down to a science, all thanks to the nifty little video-sharing app. Beauty and workout tips aren't all that TikTok has to offer, though; it has become the place to go for all sorts of lifestyle content, including healthy recipes and diet inspo.

From Lizzo showing us how to whip up the tastiest vegan lunches to next-level wilderness cooking (we're looking at you, @menwiththepot), TikTok is home to countless creators on #foodtok who are determined to open our eyes to a whole new world of healthy, mouthwatering meals in one minute or less. And with hundreds of thousands of videos and 5.7 billion views on the #healthyrecipes tag alone, we're spoilt for choice. To save you the trouble of endless scrolling, we've rounded up 10 of TikTok's biggest viral culinary creations and asked Rhiannon Lambert, registered nutritionist, best-selling author, and host of the Food For Thought podcast, to weigh in on whether their health creds actually hold up.

Emily Mariko's Salmon Rice Bowl

If you've not come across the name 'Emily Mariko' whilst on the hunt for your next lunchtime fix, then are you even on FoodTok? The lifestyle influencer has taken TikTok – nay, the world – by storm with her famous salmon rice bowl. The dish, made from leftovers, is as simple as it is delicious and, having racked up over 100 million likes since first posting the recipe online, Mariko has inspired just about everyone to give it a whirl.

Registered nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert (@rhitrition) praises the use of oily fish as it is 'packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to be linked to a reduced incidence of certain health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases.' Em's meal is pretty well balanced with a good mix of healthy fats, protein, and carbs. To up the fibre content, Lambert suggests switching out white rice for a wholegrain alternative.

To make the dish, gently flake 1 cooked salmon fillet and spread it across a plate. Top the salmon with a serving of leftover rice and microwave until cooked through. Add a splash of soy sauce, sriracha, and kewpie mayo and mix well. Serve with a side of kimchi and seaweed sheets.

Bear in mind that it might be best to skip the seaweed sheets if you're pregnant, says Rhiannon because the high levels of iodine can harm unborn babies. Instead, throw in half a sliced avocado for a healthy fats boost.

Kimchi Cucumber

Fermented foods are the MVP when it comes to gut health. But, if you're running low on kimchi or home fermentation isn't your thing, then this kimchi-inspired cucumber side salad will cure your cravings and help your health. Although this recipe isn't fermented like traditional kimchi, Lambert says that garlic may act as a prebiotic for the gut. 'Prebiotic foods feed the existing gut bacteria so that they can thrive and work effectively to help maintain good gut health.'

My Nguyen of @myhealthydish on TikTok shared the spicy snack with her 4 million followers and it is super easy to make. Simply add 8 chopped cucumbers, a small diced shallot, crushed garlic, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, chilli powder, salt, and pepper, to a container with a lid. Give it a good shake then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and you're good to go.

Air Fried Carrot Chips

Are there any foods out there that have escaped the pull of the air fryer? Maybe, but carrots are not one of them. Air fried carrot chips are the latest viral trend on #airfryertok – yep, that's a thing – and they're quick and healthy. Air fryer (or oven) at the ready, add sliced carrots, onion powder, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, and a healthy drizzle of olive oil to a tray and cook for 20 minutes, or until crisp. Top with parmesan cheese et voilà! Using an air fryer means they'll be cooked in no time and 'it also means you'll be reducing the amount of fat that you cook with because the air fryer doesn't need a lot of oil,' says Lambert. Not only that, carrots are a great source of Vitamin A which helps to keep our cell repair and turnover in check.

Baked Feta Pasta

Believe it or not, baked feta pasta isn't actually a TikTok make. Food blogger Jenni Häyrinen first posted the 'unnifetapasta' to her website in 2019 and, although responsible for a feta shortage in Finland, the now-viral dish didn't ride its first wave of foodtok fame until 2021 when MacKenzie Smith of @grilledcheesesocial shared the recipe to her TikTok page. Since then, #bakedfetapasta has garnered 166.7 million views and has inspired the creation of similar recipes like French-style Boursin pasta, boozy vodka pasta á la Gigi Hadid, and Rhiannon's own baked pasta dish using Philadelphia cream cheese. 'I like this trend because it's a recipe that you can add to,' says Lambert. 'For example, you can mix up the vegetables that you want to put in which helps to create diet diversity, which is important for a healthy gut.'

To make this recipe, add cherry tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper to an oven-proof dish. Mix well, then place an entire block of feta cheese in the centre of the dish. Roast in the oven at 200 degrees celsius for 35 minutes. In the meantime, boil your favourite pasta. Once cooked, remove the feta from the oven and add your cooked pasta to the dish. Mix well to create a creamy pasta sauce.

Green Goddess Salad

Amassing over 21 million views and 1.7 million likes, @bakedbymelissa's green goddess salad has proven seriously popular with foodtokers. Even TikTok's salad guru @thesaladlab recreated the veggie medley, and it looks delish. While the salad is packed full of micronutrients that help our bodies function optimally, Lambert suggests balancing the meal out with protein. To keep it plant-based, you could add tofu or tempeh. 'Alternatively, you could top with lean white meats or fish.'

For the base, add 1 finely chopped white cabbage, diced cucumber, and a handful of chives to a large bowl. For the dressing, blend olive oil, lemon juice, 1 small shallot, garlic, baby spinach, walnuts and cashews, basil, chives, and nutritional yeast into a thick paste. Add to the base and toss well.

Custard Toast

Hear us out with this one...custard toast is yet another air fryer creation born on TikTok and it has been making the rounds as what @cookingwithayeh calls 'dessert for brekkie, but healthy.' The 'custard' isn't actually custard at all, instead, it is a mixture of greek yoghurt, egg, and maple syrup. 'Using greek yoghurt, that contains live strains of friendly bacteria, will help to directly increase the population of 'good' bacteria in your gut,' Rhiannon points out. Indent your bread to make a well, pour in the faux custard, add your fave toppings, and bake in the air fryer until golden.

Jennifer Aniston's 'Friends' Salad

Namedrop Jennifer Aniston as a lover of just about anything to do with health and wellness and the whole internet will be scrambling to try it out, and her famous 'Friends' salad is no different. Almost two decades since the birth of Jen's salad, TikToker's have breathed new life into the recipe and created several variations of the iconic salad. As we approach the summer months, salads are a great meal to add to the mix and this recipe in particular 'would make a great side dish at a family BBQ,' says Lambert. Although, the salad is lacking in protein so you could top it with 'chicken, prawns, halloumi, or mackerel to increase the protein and make it a more balanced main meal.'

Shannon Doherty's (@athomewithshannon) take on the dish includes cucumber, feta cheese, garbanzo beans, red onion, bulgur, pistachios, parsley, and mint. Like Aniston, Shannon enjoys the salad sans dressing. But we think that a drizzle of lemon and olive oil would taste great.

Seitan Chicken Wings

With vegetarian and vegan diets on the up, good plant-based meat alternatives are like gold dust. Tofu, tempeh, and soy products are all popular meat subs but often don't have the same texture as the real thing. That's where seitan comes in. Say what? Seitan is a 'wheat meat' that is made by kneading wheat flour and water into a dough and rinsing away the starch to leave pure gluten behind.

TikTok's veggie and vegan communities are constantly sharing delicious and healthy plant-based meals to #vegetarianrecipes and #veganrecipes, tags that clock in at around 42 million and 5.2 billion views respectively.

@texykitchen1 posted her take on seitan chicken wings in a bid to ‘prove [her] husband wrong’ about meat subs. While these ‘chicken’ wings probably could convince even the most committed carnivore to cut down on meat, they don’t have much nutritional value. If you are going to use this recipe on the reg, Lambert recommends incorporating it into a healthy and balanced diet to ensure your nutritional needs are being met.

Hailey Bieber's Pizza Toast

Supermodel Hailey Bieber turned to TikTok earlier this year to share her 'quick and easy' pizza toast in a vid that now has over 800k likes. The best part about Hailey's meal? It's super versatile and can be switched up with any of your fave fresh toppings. Rhiannon Lambert notes that this recipe is a great way to reduce your salt intake as most ready-made or takeaway pizzas contain large amounts of salt, and by making it at home you are in charge of how much salt you add.'

Hailey uses olive oil-drizzled sourdough slices as her base and goes for burrata, sliced tomatoes, and marinara sauce as the toppings. She finishes the slices with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, and a dash of truffle oil. Caj. If truffle oil and burrata aren't staples in your kitchen, mozzarella and olive oil will do the trick.

Nature's Cereal

Essentially a deconstructed smoothie, nature's cereal consists of a selection of berries, ice, and coconut water. Created by TikTok user @natures_food, the #naturescereal tag has over 949.9 million views and has even caught the eye of vegan singer, Lizzo. Her take on the fruity cereal includes blueberries, strawberries, and pomegranate seeds. Lambert notes that this refreshing breakfast is high in vitamins, such as vitamin C which is important for maintaining a healthy immune system and skin, and antioxidants like anthocyanins which may be protective of certain chronic diseases.'

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