As the weather gets chillier and the evenings darker, many of us are making ourselves cosy and cooking up our favourite comfort foods. It’s no surprise then that the demand for comfort food rises each winter, with a 19% increase in Google searches last month in Ireland and an 8% increase in TikTok searches.
But which comforting recipes are people turning to?
New data from HelloFresh Ireland has uncovered the world’s top 10 favourite comfort foods. Using a comprehensive analysis of Reddit and Google data, the foods that have been found to bring the most solace are:
The world’s favourite comfort foods
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Mac and Cheese
- Mashed Potatoes
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chocolate Cake
Head of Culinary at HelloFresh Ireland, Hannah Duxbury, who specialises in designing recipes with mass appeal, discusses why she believes these foods are favoured: “Comfort foods often have a nostalgic or emotional connection to our past. They provide a sense of familiarity and security, triggering positive feelings. The top 10 foods identified in this study are rich in flavours and textures and often associated with happy memories, making them irresistible choices for people seeking comfort on a plate. At HelloFresh Ireland, we find that many hearty Irish recipes are among our most popular for similar reasons.”
Carbohydrates stimulate the production of serotonin, which is associated with mood regulation and a sense of well-being. The consumption of hearty carbs can lead to a temporary increase in serotonin levels, contributing to feelings of comfort and happiness. What’s more, the satisfying and filling nature of carb dishes also provides a physical feeling of fullness and contentment, further enhancing their appeal as comfort foods.
Hannah has also provided recipes that she recommends turning to for comfort:
- Chicken and sweetcorn soup. The warm broth of this soup is hydrating, while the chicken and vegetables provide a blend of flavours that can be both familiar and nourishing.
- Sausages with spinach and colcannon. Mashed potatoes are the world’s fourth favourite comfort food, and rightly so. They’re a good source of carbohydrates, which we know can boost serotonin levels. Add spinach for extra nutrients and turn it into colcannon for the ultimate Irish nostalgia meal.
- Mexican style cheesy beef hash with freshly made guacamole. Guacamole is another great comfort food because not only is it rich and creamy, but avocado’s superfood properties mean it’s packed with mood-boosting nutrients. Serve with cheesy, crispy potatoes in a Mexican hash for even more comfort.