Why Americans are too scared to cook in their own kitchens


One in four Americans admits they’re intimidated by cooking in their own kitchen.

A poll of 2,000 US adults who regularly cook found nearly one-third (29%) are so overwhelmed by some recipes, they’ll ask others in their household to prepare the meal instead.

Six in 10 found themselves intimidated the most by international foods they love, due to recipes that have too many steps or ingredients involved (45%), seem too complicated (42%) or are easy to mess up (32%).

Forty-three percent admitted to even making the simplest recipes unnecessarily complicated.

Commissioned by Fresh Express and conducted by OnePoll, the study revealed the most popular nations producing beloved international dishes are Mexico (36%), Italy (32%) and China (25%).

Meanwhile, many respondents shared their favorite international dishes they love to eat, but fear making at home: pasta from scratch (34%), Beef Wellington (33%), sushi (27%), enchiladas (25%) and pad thai (25%).

Similarly, respondents said if they could learn to perfect just one international dish, they would choose pasta from scratch (27%), enchiladas (27%) or tacos (24%).

When it comes to exploring in the kitchen, 69% agreed they would be more likely to make international-inspired dishes at home if they were easier to make and 48% said they feel like professional chefs whenever they use international ingredients in their cooking.

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1 in 4 Americans admit they're intimidated by cooking and 60% are intimidated the most by their favorite international foods.
A recent survey reveals that many adults who regularly cook often fear making international dishes at home.
OnePoll for Fresh Express

48% feel like a professional chef when they use international ingredients in their cooking.
When asked if they could learn to perfect just one international dish, 27% of participants said they would choose pasta from scratch and another 27% chose enchiladas.
OnePoll for Fresh Express

“It can be intimidating to dive into preparing new dishes or international cuisines – especially when you feel unsure where to start,” said Arturo Chavez, marketing manager at Fresh Express. “For those of us who love to experiment in the kitchen, getting cooking inspiration from international recipes can help you discover new ingredients or experience your favorite globally-inspired flavors from the comfort of your own home.” 

Results found Italy and Greece topped the list of nations with the best salads (27%), while Italy was the respondents’ first choice for dinner (51%). 

France was named the “crème de la crème” for its desserts (26%), and Ethiopia creates the best snack foods (21%). Mexico dominated the early-in-the-day foods, named the favorite for breakfast (28%), lunch (34%) and appetizers (29%).


A couple cooks with a large pot in their kitchen.
Arturo Chavez, the marketing manager at Fresh Express, believes that “getting cooking inspiration from international recipes can help you discover new ingredients or experience your favorite globally-inspired flavors from the comfort of your own home.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

What countries make the best type of meals? Italy is the top choice for dinner (51%), Italy and Greece lead for salads (27%), France is the "crème de la crème" for desserts (21%) and Ethiopia creates the best snack foods (21%).
Sixty-two percent of those surveyed look for cooking shortcuts when they try new ingredients in addition to adding ingredients.
OnePoll for Fresh Express

Over half (57%) said they like using international ingredients in recipes they’re already familiar with for better-tasting dishes — but, if given the choice to add any three ingredients or spices to make any dish taste better, they would choose garlic (58%), cheese (46%) and bacon (39%). 

In addition to adding ingredients, 62% look for cooking shortcuts when trying new recipes. The top sources for time-saving inspiration for them were YouTube (53%), cookbooks (44%), online articles (39%), family members (38%), friends (32%) and TikTok (29%).

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“While trying out new recipes is one of the many joys of cooking, incorporating international flavors into dishes is often easier than one might think – especially if you know where to start,” said John Wadsworth, director of product development at Fresh Express. “We hope to empower people in the kitchen with convenient and consistently fresh salads that incorporate the ingredients people love, making it easier than ever to explore the flavors of the world, right at home.”


Top international dishes respondents love to eat but fear making at home: pasta from scratch, beef wellington, sushi, enchiladas, and pad thai.
John Wadsworth of Fresh Express hopes to make it “easier than ever to explore the flavors of the world, right at home.”
OnePoll for Fresh Express

TOP 10 INTERNATIONAL DISHES PEOPLE LOVE EATING, BUT FEAR MAKING

  • Pasta from scratch – 34%
  • Beef Wellington – 33%
  • Sushi – 27%
  • Enchiladas – 25%
  • Pad Thai – 25%
  • Seafood – 25%
  • Barbequed meats/Brisket – 25%
  • Souffle – 24%
  • Kimchi – 22%
  • Tikka Masala – 22%



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