Rating TikTok's viral recipes

Illustration by Aleah Green

They say food brings people together and as TikTok has been reaching new heights of popularity with most people practicing social distancing, several viral recipe videos have taken the app by storm. Be it a breakfast sandwich or something as seemingly outlandish as pancake cereal, the following TikTok recipes have been viewed, liked, shared and recreated thousands of times. I decided to try some of TikTok’s viral recipes for myself to see if they are really worth all the hype.

Each recipe will be rated on a one to five scale, five being the best. The rating will be based on how easy each recipe is to make and how tasty the end result is. While I did end up liking some recipes more than others, I encourage anyone to try the recipes that catch their attention because admittedly, testing them all out was loads of fun.

Breakfast sandwich: 3/5

The TikTok-famous breakfast sandwich contains similar ingredients to your average breakfast sandwich, but the twist lies in how the egg is cooked.

To recreate the viral breakfast sandwich, one will need three eggs, two slices of bread, sliced meat of choice and cheese of choice. The recipe can also be veganized by substituting the eggs for a cup of JUST Egg, the cheese for a vegan cheese, and the meat for tofurkey or veggies of choice.

First, whisk up the eggs, then pour them into a greased frying pan set to medium heat. Then, immediately after pouring the eggs, dip one slice of bread in the egg on one side and then flip the bread onto the egg on its other side. Make sure to leave enough room on the pan to do the same with the other slice of bread. Wait until the eggs cook solid to scoop under them to flip everything over. Now, put the meat and cheese on half of the sandwich and flip one slice of bread to close it. Toast each side for a bit longer until the desired look is reached.

While this sandwich was quick to make, I would say the process was far too elaborate to end up with a sort of bland taste. Presentation-wise, the TikTok breakfast sandwich was glowing. Its toasty exterior and the gooiness of the melting cheese looked great. However, its taste was mediocre, hence the rating. I think one of the main sources of the uninteresting taste is the way the egg is cooked with the bread. The dip-and-flip method gives the bread a strong French toast vibe without tasting much like French toast at all. The bread and egg element of this sandwich might taste better if a sweeter type of bread is used. That way, the French toast vibe won’t be so horribly misplaced. Additionally, the TikTok breakfast sandwich could also become more interesting with more experimentation with spices and sandwich fillings. The tutorials for this sandwich don’t even instruct basic seasoning of the eggs, and frankly, the meat and cheese only filling makes the sandwich taste like it was made for a picky toddler. I would suggest giving this breakfast sandwich some dimension by experimenting with spices, different kinds of cheese, vegetables or other ingredients. While the TikTok-viral breakfast sandwich wasn’t necessarily my favorite, it definitely has so much potential to be delicious.

Pancake cereal: 4/5

TikTok is swarming with people making mini versions of their favorite foods and eating them out of a bowl, all inspired by the famous pancake cereal recipe. Creating the batter for pancake cereal is simple: Just follow the instructions on your favorite pancake mix. What makes pancake cereal stand out from normal pancakes, is the fact that the pancakes tend to only range from the size of dimes or nickels. While many recommend putting the pancake batter into a squeeze bottle, spooning out the mixture and putting small dollops on a griddle or frying pan will also do the trick. It is important to remember that since these are far smaller than typical pancakes, they might need to cook at a lower heat and for less time than normal. When the tops start to bubble, it’s time to flip them. After accumulating your desired number of mini pancakes, serve them up in a bowl and top off with syrup.

I thought the pancake cereal was actually easier to make than normal pancakes, which can be such a chore sometimes with all the waiting and flipping. The mini pancakes made the process very quick because they didn’t take long to cook, and I was able to make about two dozen at a time in just one pan. Despite this, the pancake cereal didn’t taste any different from normal pancakes, however, I thought the eating experience was something more enjoyable. It was simply amusing to be eating little pancakes out of a bowl with a spoon. I think the pancake cereal deserved its four-star rating because of that amusement and the fact that it inspired so many more TikTok “cereal” variations to surface. Pancake cereal walked so all the variations of this recipe could run, and for that I am grateful.

Grape Sour Patch Kids: 5/5

While I disapprove of this treat’s naming, which calls a healthier version of a snack “skinny,” I have to admit that seeing people claim that grapes with lime juice taste just like Sour Patch Kids intrigued me. To make this sour treat, first wash and dry some grapes. While many videos don’t instruct you to cut the grapes in half, some do. So, I did, too. Next, squeeze lime juice in to taste. I used the juice of two limes for about two cups of grapes. At this point, some videos stop and say the recipe is complete, but others encourage viewers to freeze the grapes for about an hour and then mix in sugar to taste, which I would definitely recommend.

This recipe turned out delicious. Freezing the grapes and adding sugar certainly made them taste more similar to Sour Patch Kids. This recipe couldn’t have been easier to make and surprised me with how tasty it ended up being. I can confidently say this TikTok Sour Patch Kids dupe wiggled its way into a steady place in my diet. I feel better about eating a bowl of these grapes than I do a handful of sour candies, but I honestly think I enjoyed these better.

Carrot bacon: 2/5

This recipe comes from vegan social media influencer Tabitha Brown. As a fan of Brown’s, I was eager to make her carrot bacon from a video with over 18 million views. Brown instructs viewers to start by using a peeler to create thin, yet long, carrot strips. Then, coat the strips in maple syrup, liquid smoke, garlic powder, smoked paprika and onion powder. Once evenly coated, the carrot strips can go into the oven or an air fryer at 380 degrees for five minutes. Once they are finished, the carrot bacon is supposed to be crunchy.

This recipe smelled delicious, but when I ate it, I wasn’t the biggest fan. I think I had a hard time making the carrot bacon because there were no measurements included for the coating. So, I was left to just eyeball what looked closest to Brown’s which I hoped would turn out far better than it actually did. I also think since Brown used an air fryer in her video, her carrot bacon was able to be crunchier than my oven-made ones turned out. It wasn’t all that appealing to eat slightly mushy seasoned carrot strips, not to mention, some of the thinner strips were too burnt to eat. Ultimately, I think with enough determination, as well as trial and error, I could end up making some carrot bacon I enjoy, but I think this famous TikTok recipe deserved its two-star rating.

Buffalo cauliflower wings: 3/5

I have been seeing people make buffalo cauliflower wings all over TikTok, so I was excited to give the recipe a try. This recipe calls for one head of cauliflower, three-fourths cup of flour, two teaspoons of garlic powder, one teaspoon of paprika, a dash of pepper, one cup of dairy-free milk, buffalo sauce and dipping sauce of your choice.

To make the dish, first preheat your oven to 450 degrees, then cut the cauliflower head into chicken wing-sized florets. Next, create a batter mixture using the flour, garlic powder, paprika, pepper and nondairy milk. This mixture should be comparable to the consistency of pancake batter. Now, dip your cauliflower florets completely into the batter mixture, place them on a lined baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. After the time is up and the batter coating the florets is completely cooked, let the cauliflower cool. Then, coat each floret with buffalo sauce and bake again for another 20 minutes. I would suggest rotating and shaking up the baking sheets to avoid burning the cauliflower wings. After they are done baking this time, let them cook and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

All in all, I was impressed with the taste of this dish. They weren’t necessarily a replica of real chicken wings, but I thought they were pretty good nonetheless. The only think I wished was different about the wings was that I wanted them to be a little crunchier on the outside, so they didn’t have the mushy roasted vegetable texture. I think this could be mended with the use of an air fryer if one is at your disposal. The reason I only gave this recipe three stars is because I thought it was rather tricky to make for a TikTok recipe. It took me about an hour and a half to make. My biggest bone to pick with this recipe, though, was that in its second round of baking, the bottoms of my cauliflower wings were burned. I wish I knew beforehand that I should have been shaking up the baking tray to shift the pieces around so that they didn’t burn. Though, I do think I will be trying this recipe again but will play around with my own modifications with how its cooked to make the texture more appealing to me.

Cookie cereal: 4/5

Cookie cereal creations started popping up across TikTok after the creation of pancake cereal and while cookie cereal, or Cookie Crisp, technically already exists, making the cookies fresh sounded too good to resist trying. To make the recipe extra simple, creators recommend using a premade chocolate chip cookie dough for your cookie cereal. First, one must take their dough and divide it into tiny pieces and roll them into balls. If you think your cookie pieces are small enough, I advise going a little smaller just to be sure because of how much cookies can expand while baking. Then, simply bake your mini cookies for about two minutes at a time at 350 degrees until they look like your ideal cookie. Finally, cookie cereal is served in a bowl with milk of your choice.

Again, eating cookies with a spoon is amusing as is eating pancakes the same way, but there was nothing remarkably extraordinary about cookie cereal. Sure, cookies are good — and the combination of cookies and milk is already legendary — so, cookie cereal was bound to be a hit. The only reasons the cookie cereal didn’t get all the way to five stars is because it was tedious to make such little cookie pieces, despite the fact they baked so quickly, and because there was nothing new about this recipe that knocked my socks off the way the grape Sour Patch Kids alternative did.

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