When it comes to digesting food media, we’re all for skipping the unnecessarily bloated blog posts that are written strictly for Google SEO rankings in favor of informational YouTube videos and Instagram posts. But honestly, it can be hard to keep track of all that visual learning while you’re also trying to cook. That’s where food podcasts come in. These easily digestible information sources are delivered directly to your earholes so you can keep working on that stock, soup, or bouillabaisse while still learning something in the process. Here’s our current list of the best podcasts for food lovers:
The Splendid Table
The better part of thirty years ago, acclaimed food writer and teacher Lynne Rossetto Kasper was raking in awards for her book The Splendid Table from the likes of James Beard and Julia Child when she teamed up with producer Sally Swift to create a “radio program for people who love to eat” of the same name. The Splendid Table grew from a Minnesota Public Radio show in 1997 to become the international sensation–almost inarguably the most listened to food podcast out there–that it is today.
If we were asked what we want in a podcast, we’d answer a combination of somber tones and incredible knowledge… which is exactly what you get with our new favorite podcast Home Cooking. Launched in early 2020 at the very beginning of the pandemic, Home Cooking is all about taking whatever you have on hand–seriously, listeners can submit voice memos with questions/pantry options–and turning it into delicious meals. It’s hosted by Samin Nosrat (the award-winning chef/author of one the cookbooks everyone should own Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat) and Hrishikesh Hirway (the multi-hyphenate you’ll recognize from Song Exploder, The West Wing Weekly, and Partners) which makes it one of the best podcasts out right now–regardless of the indispensable and invaluable food knowledge.
Mike and Tom Eat Snacks
Started more than a decade ago, Mike and Tom Eat Snacks–aka MATES aka Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanagh go off on hilarious tangents while reviewing snack foods–is one of the longest-running, most beloved, and hilarious podcasts that has ever been created. It just so happens it’s also about all the empty carbs, quick munchies, and readily available snacks that we’re all guilty of consuming in between meals. They went on quite an extensive hiatus, but now–cue the uproarious applause–the dynamic duo of snacks, dietary diversion, and potential diabetes is back with a whole complement of new episodes. Before you ask, yes, they more than deliver on their previous best, the “Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Cream,” one of our favorite podcast episodes of all time.
On the air for more than a decade–and recipient of James Beard, Webby, and Saveur awards–this podcast hosted by Dan Pashman has consistently been a venue for food science, history, race, culture, economics, and a guiding light for all the guests that will become your future favorite cookbook authors. Billed as “it’s not for foodies, it’s for EATERS,” The Sporkful checks all the boxes when it comes to food and cooking podcasts, which makes it one of our absolute favorites–even if we’re learning something in the process.
While we absolutely love all things Dave Chang–including Ugly Delicious, the Momofuku Seasonings and Sauces, his Momofuku cookbook, and the Dave Chang Show podcast–if we had to pick one thing from his media empire that you needed to indulge in, it would be the Recipe Club podcast he hosts with Chris Ying and a rotating cast of guest chefs. Every week, the entire cast of characters faces off in a game show-style competition with a specific theme/ingredient in order to collect the most votes and become the winner. You’ll be entertained, amused, inundated with facts, and you’ll even learn something in the process because this is one of the best podcasts out there. (Fingers crossed it comes back for season 2).
Gastropod has been one of my favorite podcasts–food-related or otherwise–since its inception in 2013. To this day, the combination of award-winning producer Cynthia Graber and author Nicola Twilley still delivers one of the best food podcasts based on food science, history, and interesting perspectives combined with knowledge from other experts in every related field. Whether you want to know about tofu, water, edibles, chile peppers, whiskey, TV Dinners, or literally anything in between, there’s a Gastropod episode that will teach you more than you ever thought you wanted, or needed, to know.
Proof is a podcast from America’s Test Kitchen that eschews all the gadgets, kitchen accouterments, and traditional recipes in favor of the, as they say, “weird, surprising, and funny backstories around food.” That should be weird, but it’s not with the way it’s delivered. With episodes focusing on everything from New England’s obsession with Old Bay Seasoning, Olive Tree Cafe’s role in feeding America’s stand-up comedians, the revival of a lost apple variety, Jello salad, and the ice cream truck music controversy, every episode of Proof is chock full of an incredible amount of food history and facts you’ll be glad you learned…and will happily use as conversational fodder for decades.