The Best YouTube Food Channels
I’ve been into YouTube since the days of 'Charlie Bit My Finger' and 'Numa Numa. Got no idea what either of those things are? Well, then consider yourself lucky. All you really need to know is that YouTube has changed a great deal over the last 15 years. It’s transformed from "that website with lots of cat videos" into a bonafide entertainment platform where careers can be launched and six-figure livings can be earned.
The way that YouTube has embraced the world of food and cooking and provided a genuine alternative to mainstream media pathways is nothing short of impressive. You no longer have to have an expensive, well-produced show on the Food Network to launch a successful career in food media – you just have to have a half-decent camera and an understanding of what the internet wants to see. I often find myself turning to YouTube when I want to learn something new in the kitchen but, even then, I find that the sheer range of cooking videos and how-to instructionals out there can be a little bit overwhelming. So who should you trust when it comes to content and how can you avoid the unhelpful clickbait? That's where this round-up of the very best YouTube food channels should hopefully come in handy.
There's a heap of exciting and entertaining YouTube food channels you should be subscribed to. Some are capable of making you a better cook while others might simply provide you with some light and frothy food-related entertainment to watch while you scoff your dinner. There’s a YouTube food channel out there for pretty much every mood and every food. From Maangchi’s hugely popular cooking channel to the city food tours from TOPJAW, these are my pick of the best YouTube food channels. Don’t forget to like and subscribe.
Chinese Cooking Demystified
Chinese Cooking Demystified is a super wholesome YouTube channel dedicated to – you guessed it – Chinese cooking. Chris Thomas and Stephanie Li are a food-obsessed couple based in Shenzhen, China and their videos provide an informative, yet approachable, breakdown of how to make traditional Chinese recipes. Each video offers a glimpse into China’s diverse regional culinary scene while also providing some context and back story behind the dishes they cook. Even if you never make any of the recipes for yourself, you can still get a lot out of watching CCD’s channel.
Binging With Babish
Andrew Rea (aka Babish) is one of the most successful food YouTubers of all time. So much so that he’s now launched his very own Babish Culinary Universe that encompasses a range of talented internet food personalities. Combining his love for food and film, Rea sets out every week to recreate the foods you've always wanted to try from movies and television. If you’ve ever wondered how you would go about making a krabby patty like Spongebob, then this is the channel for you. Binging With Babish is a funny and fresh alternative to the fustiness of the Food Network and Rea’s more recent foray into the non-film and TV recipe world, via his ‘Basics with Babish’ series, is equally brilliant.
About to Eat
About To Eat is a fairly new YouTube food channel that describes itself as being about “the excitement of knowing something wonderful is coming”. Which is rather lovely, isn’t it? The videos on this channel place a focus on the stories and people behind the dishes we know and love and offer a real food lover’s perspective into the behind-the-scenes of what we eat. Alongside your more typical “I Only Ate Pixar Foods For 24 Hours”-style YouTube challenges as well. Hosts Andrew Ilnyckyj and Inga Lam know how to work the camera and their explorations into different cuisines and dishes are earnest and entertaining. About to Eat is great to watch with a meal on your plate.
Director Will Warr and host Jesse Burgess are the top men behind the TOPJAW YouTube channel – a venture the pair started in order to document their favourite things to eat, drink, and do. If you’re the sort of person who gets a real kick out of sourcing out the best eats in whatever city you’re in, then it’s likely you’ll get a kick out of TOPJAW’s videos. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a guide on what to eat in London over a 24-hour time period or a beginner’s intro to sourdough bread, the production value on TOPJAW’s videos is always excellent and the chemistry between Jesse and Will means the antics are often highly entertaining. Give this YouTube food channel a go if you want to be very, very jealous of the TOPJAW lifestyle.
Emily Kim (aka Maangchi) is a Korean-American YouTuber who you should absolutely have on your radar. Kim’s YouTube channel is essentially a Korean cooking show in miniature, offering how-to recipe videos on dishes like ojingeo-jeot and eomuk-guksu that don’t pander to a Euro-centric or American audience. As host of the show, Kim is highly engaging and enthusiastic; she never fails to make me feel like I can tackle whatever culinary challenge she’s about to throw my way. Whether I actually complete that challenge is beside the point. Kim is the cooking instructor you’ve always wanted and Maangchi is one of the best YouTube food channels around.
It’s fairly likely that you’re already familiar with Matty Matheson and his signature style of cooking. The man’s written numerous cookbooks and was a regular presenter on VICE’s It's Suppertime! and Dead Set on Life series. Matheson’s now got his own YouTube channel where he’s constantly looking to test the limits of flavour with recipe videos and food-related cooking challenges. The dishes he whips up always look delicious and Matheson never fails to be a riot when the camera’s on him. Subscribe if you want to have Matty scream and shout at you in a loveable fashion.
Cooking With Dog
Cooking with Dog is a YouTube cooking show featuring a canine host named Francis and a mysterious Japanese chef who simply goes by: ‘Chef’. At least, it was until Francis died a few years ago. Although Cooking with Dog is still going with a stuffed animal as Francis’s cuddly replacement, I’d recommend going back through the older videos and re-watching the channel’s halcyon days. Chef is a great talent and it’s obvious she knows her way around the kitchen but it was Francis’s calming presence that made this food YouTube channel an essential watch.
J. Kenji López-Alt
J. Kenji López-Alt is a chef and award-winning cookbook author who also happens to run one of the sweetest (and tastiest) YouTube channels in existence. The videos on his channel mostly involve López-Alt cooking with a camera strapped to his forehead so you can see how he thinks about food and moves around the kitchen. The POV-technique gives you a real feel for how to tackle whatever dish is on the menu and López-Alt’s narration is as soothing and comforting as the food he cooks. López-Alt makes it look effortless and it’s impossible to watch his videos without being motivated to get cracking in the kitchen.
The Serious Eats YouTube channel is a neat extension of the website’s food and recipe content and an excellent account to subscribe to if you’re interested in learning more about in-depth cooking techniques, tips, and tricks. None of the videos on Serious Eats are going to blow your mind but they’re all well shot and get to the point fairly quickly. If you’re after straightforward recipe videos that aren’t bogged down in gimmicks or click bait-y hooks, this is probably the perfect YouTube food channel for you.
The NYT Cooking channel is a YouTube food channel that balances entertainment and personality with sound advice and easy-to-follow techniques. Regular appearances from New York Times editors, writers, and contributors mean you’ll always get a video from an expert in their given field and it’s that thorough knowledge that really shines through. YouTube is unfortunately a platform that’s rife with people who have no idea what they’re talking about and NYT Cooking is an informative and engaging antidote to that. If I could only subscribe to one food-related YouTube channel, it’d probably be this one.
Jun Yoshizuki’s JunsKitchen channel is full of videos with delicious recipes and adorable cats. It’s basically exactly what the internet was created for. Jun doesn’t post very often but you can be assured of some quality content when he does. Most videos, which are accompanied by delicate piano music and Jun’s honeyed voiceover, take you from the sourcing of the ingredients of a specific dish all the way through to its eventual completion. With, of course, some ample footage of Jun’s cats scattered throughout. JunsKitchen is the most relaxing YouTube food channel I’ve ever stumble upon and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Want a YouTube food channel to binge when you've got the munchies? Well, MUNCHIES is ideal viewing for that situation. You'll find plenty of drool-worthy recipe videos on the channel but it's in the series and through the engaging original video content that offers a perspective on the intersection where humans and food connect where the channel fares best. The 'Street Food Icons' series is heartwarming stuff and champions the various diaspora communities dotted across America by highlighting the food they make and the vital role they play in their local communities. Definitely worth a watch. Even when you're not high as a kite.
When it comes to YouTube food channels that can fill that Bon Appétit-shaped hole in your life, there’s not many that are more up to the task than Food52. Series from ex-BA alum like Rick Martinez and Sohla El-Waylly are obviously a big draw but Food52’s homegrown ‘Big Little Recipes’ series – which aims to highlight simple recipes you can make with just two or three ingredients – is the shining gem in the channel’s crown. Hosted by Food52’s brilliant food editor Emma Laperruque, those videos have got me through dinner on many days when I’ve been depressed and desperate for cooking inspiration.
First We Feast
First We Feast is one of the most popular YouTube food channels because of its flagship series, Hot Ones. It’s the show with hot questions with even hotter wings where celebrity guests are interviewed while they eat a progressively (and aggressively) spicy array of chicken wings. Everyone from Scarlett Johanssen to Shaquille O’Neal has made an appearance on the show; never failing to deliver footage of genuine A-listers properly sweating it out. Hot Ones might pull in the largest viewing figures but other series on the First We Feast channel like The Burger Show, Tacos Con Todo, and Burger Scholar Sessions are also worth checking out.
Claire Saffitz x Dessert Person
Claire Saffitz is a big dessert person and her Dessert Person YouTube channel is one of the best about if you want to get inventive with your bakes. Claire, who you’ll likely know from her days at the BA Test Kitchen, is a highly engaging host and no matter the difficulty of the task at hand she always manages to make it look approachable and fun. Whether she’s showing you how to make the perfect, treacly topping for a walnut maple sticky bun or manically explaining the flavour matrix of a chocolate brownie (“a cakey brownie is just chocolate cake”), half-sour Saffitz always delivers the goods. Subscribe to this YouTube food channel if you want to give your eyes a freshly baked treat.
Started by a group of friends in London, SORTEDfood has grown to become one of the largest YouTube food channels in the UK. A viral behemoth of the blighty food media landscape. The videos – which are posted every Wednesday and Sunday – tend to involve attempting kooky cooking challenges or reviewing bizarre kitchen gadgets and tools. The end results are often a lot of fun and surprisingly informative, too.
Joshua Weissman makes cooking videos with a focus on “food that’s exciting”. The subject of Weissman’s videos can be anything from the perfect homemade omelette to one-dollar sushi rolls you can make with minimal ingredients though it’s his recreations of dishes from fast-food chains like Taco Bell and Pizza Hut which steal the show. The recipes are are usually pretty approachable and you can give most of them a go straight off the bat; however, it’s Weissman’s dry sense of humour and entertaining asides that separates his content from the blander instructional videos out there.
Mandy Fu's Souped Up is a lovely little YouTube food channel where Mandy uploads videos of how to make traditional Chinese recipes each and every week. Dishes might range from basic minced pork and long bean stir-fries to more in-depth dim sum preparations but Mandy’s infectious joy for cooking never falters. It’s impossible to watch any of Mandy’s videos without getting immensely hungry and the fact that she’s always keen to tuck into her own food at the end is a testament to how delicious her recipes are and what a genuinely passionate host she is.