The 10 Most Popular Foods in the USA and How Much Is Served Each Year
According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American eats roughly 1,996 pounds of food per year. For reference, that’s about a ton! This means that there are a lot of competing varieties of cuisines for Americans to consume. But, of this food, what rises to the top? In this article, we’ll be discussing the top ten most popular foods in the USA as of 2023.
There is unfortunately no singular source to objectively measure this kind of data. However, websites like YouGov, which is the site that we’ll be using, crowdsource and use polls to determine their results. The reference that we’re using is the most popular American dishes as of Q3 of 2023, the most up-to-date at the time this article is being written. This way, although it might not be objective, the list will be as accurate as possible.
10. Apple Pie
It makes sense that the only dessert to make this top ten list is apple pie. This dessert is quintessentially American, and for good reason, too! In fact, it was one of the very first desserts made in the United States in the 1600s. Whether it’s due to its historic origins, or simply its incredible taste, the apple pie landed at number ten in the list of the top ten dishes. According to the American Pie Council (APC), $700 million worth of pies are sold in United States grocery stores each year. This doesn’t even account for the amount that is created and distributed at restaurants and inside people’s homes!
9. Steak and Fries
Next up on our list of the most popular foods in the USA is a classic combo: Steak and fries! This dish is commonly served in restaurants across the nation. Perhaps the best part about this meal is how versatile it can be. Some places have exceptionally high-end versions of this meal, while others offer budget options. Perhaps this versatility is what makes it so popular. In the United States, beef consumption reached a new all-time high in 2021. This means that, if these trends continue, steak will remain popular for quite some time!
8. Mashed Potatoes
If there’s one vegetable that Americans enjoy, it’s the potato! This starchy substance can open the door to dozens of possible food products. One such method is mashing them up, creating the eighth most popular dish on our list. There aren’t any direct references for the amount of mashed potatoes served each year. But, there is information about who enjoys them. According to YouGov, mashed potatoes are enjoyed far more by Gen X than Baby Boomers or Millenials. Only 78% of Millenials enjoy them, as opposed to 88% of Gen X.
7. Fried Chicken
Next up on our list of the most popular foods in the USA is another well-loved American meat: Chicken! Chicken is consumed and enjoyed in a number of forms throughout the United States, but one way that people certainly prefer it is fried. Fried food is common throughout the nation, but fried chicken is a fan-favorite, with hundreds of restaurant franchises dedicated to this special dish.
Seventh on the list, Statista reports that 178.98 million Americans consumed fried chicken in 2020. However, this number is going up, and rapidly! It is projected that this figure will increase to 184.02 million next year, in 2024. Only time will tell, but it seems that the future of this fried dish is bright and boiling!
6. Steak and Baked Potato
You thought you’d seen the last of steak on this list, didn’t you? Well, guess again! Coming in sixth place on our list of the most popular foods in the USA, a steak and baked potato combination has seized higher popularity than its fried counterpart. The reason behind this can only be speculated, but perhaps the public perceives this combination as healthier because of the manner in which the potato is cooked. Or, more likely, it’s just preferred! In any case, it shouldn’t be shocking to see Steak land twice on this list. After all, Americans eat an average of 274 pounds of meat every year!
Next up on our list is a classic American staple. If you’ve ever been to the States, or any fast food restaurant in the world for that matter, chances are you’ve seen some kind of burger on the menu. As it is known today, the hamburger was created somewhere between 1885 and 1904. This is the dish that singlehandedly crafted the business model that is “fast food,” and the game has been changed ever since. Want to see how many burgers are being sold at the fast food giant McDonald’s in real-time? You can check out this website and watch them fly off the shelves for a visual representation of the world’s burger consumption.
4. Grilled Cheese
When the weather gets chilly and the tomato soup is on the stove, time and time again the American people will whip up a grilled cheese sandwich. According to consumer research firm NDP Group Inc., people in America are eating about 2.2 billion of these sandwiches each year! With dozens of popular styles, and different seasonings, cheeses, and toppings, it’s a sandwich that you can really make your own. A timeless classic and reinvention opportunity all at once, it’s true that you can never go wrong with a grilled cheese.
If you thought that burgers were popular, wait until you hear about their cheesier cousin! If you think these two sandwiches are comparable, then think again! According to one poll, 13% of Americans preferred regular burgers, while 20% preferred their cheesy counterpart! Americans eat billions of burgers each year, and when broken down by person, the average American eats three burgers a week! An iconic symbol of American culture, the burger phenomenon makes sense to land so high up on the list.
2. Hash Browns
Our last two items on the list of the most popular foods in the USA are both potato-related! Who would’ve thought, right? Holding the number two spot is a breakfast staple, a quintessential diner side. That’s right, it’s the hash brown! There might be multiple ways to serve up potatoes, but this is a non-negotiable favorite.
1. French Fries
Last, but certainly not least, on our list are french fries! Did you know that, according to Washington State University, the average American eats 34 pounds of French fries each year? It might have France in the name, but this dish has definitely settled into its reputation of being all-American! No matter where you stop to eat- somewhere high-end, a fast food joint, or even a simple food truck at a local park, they’re sure to have fries on the menu! The popularity of French fries is not going to be taking a dive any time soon, so you better get used to this dish being a loud and proud favorite.