Many of us are trapped in the Instagram vortex. In the absence of sleep or anything to do, you scroll and scroll (and scroll) until you pause at a video of someone throwing something into a pan. The ASMR of the sizzling is enough to inspire your own attempt at cooking or, at the very least, offer a welcome distraction.
It seems everyone — that college friend you never see in person but still follow, your favorite chef, your celebrity crush — is cooking on Instagram. The hashtag #quarantinecooking has nearly 200,000 tags.
Some videos offer real cooking tips. Others provide self-validation: My kitchen is somehow cleaner than yours? Winning.
Here’s a list of chefs and celebrities to follow on Instagram, for the next time you’re trapped in the vortex and never want to (or simply can’t) get out:
Jet Tila @jettila
The cookbook author and chef said he’s gained about 20,000 followers since he started posting regular cooking content during the quarantine. He gives easy-to-follow directions and recipes for naan, fried rice, Thai BBQ chicken and more, using microphones and LED light panels — and sometimes even a GoPro and a DSLR — for professional-looking videos. His most popular video (56,000 views and 250 comments) features a recipe for pad Thai.
“It’s a service that I can provide people,” Tila said. “I’m not different from any other dad with two young kids trying to stay sane.”
The videos have also been a good way for him to build his brand. In addition to an influx of followers, he said he sold about 500 of his cookbooks from his home after it sold out on Amazon.
Mei Lin @meilin21
Forget sourdough bread. The Nightshade chef has started a chung yu bang (scallion pancake) trend on Instagram. She’s also making how-to videos for Japanese cheesecake (with that good jiggle) and posting them in her Stories, along with sticky banoffee pudding, and pork and chive dumplings. But Lin should win any and all awards available for her cheddar-and-chive biscuits brushed with duck fat: She includes close-up shots of the many layers and uses the biscuits to make a fried Spam sandwich. Extra points for her excellent use of appropriate GIFs. (Mind-blown emoji here.)
José Andres @chefjoseandres
Andres bounces around his kitchen, typically flanked by his daughters. He challenges himself to make fried rice, pasta pomodoro and chicken with cauliflower in the time it takes to finish a song from “Hamilton.” He labels them #RecipesForThePeople and the entire family sings along. This is the feel-good content we need right now.
The chef, who has restaurants in San Francisco as well as a Korean sauce brand and new cook-at-home Korean BBQ kit, started posting at least one video a day during quarantine in his Stories. He shares his dumplings, omurice and dalgona coffee. And he borrows TikTok techniques like snapping to transition from a bunch of ingredients to a finished dish. Oh said he recently ordered a $30 lamp clip to use as a tripod for his iPhone and makes trips to the grocery store specifically for his videos.
“I went out and bought baking soda for that banana bread,” Oh said. “I risked getting coronavirus to make this video.”
Nyesha Arrington @nyeshajoyce
You could classify Arrington’s Instagram cooking as comfort food but with a healthy twist. She delivers satisfying views of bubbling pots of cumin-scented tomato sauce and sizzling skillets full of spinach. She’s mixing up green garlic chile oil for her spinach and egg whites, chickpea pasta dough and gluten-free pancakes. You can find the recipes in her posts or archived stories.
Zoë Komarin @zoefoodparty
Known best for her stuffed pita pop-up parties, Komarin is showing followers how to make her hummus and chickpea pancakes in her archived Stories. Komarin also started a fun series of videos called “What’s in Yer Fridge!?” in which she cooks something envy-worthy using whatever is in an unsuspecting friend’s fridge (filmed pre-quarantine). At Dan Levy’s house, she made a deluxe egg McMuffin fit for a star of “Schitts Creek.” There’s also a demo for kimchi pancakes because why not?
Daniele Uditi @danieleuditi
Although the Pizzana chef doesn’t normally post start-to-finish cooking videos, his Story typically features things like close-up mixing videos of cheesy pasta patate e provola with a soundtrack of Concertino Napoletano’s “‘O marenariello” (think: lots of mandolin). There are also plenty of cross sections of every carb imaginable, including ciabatta, pizza dough and baguettes. And Uditi is starting up a “Cucina Con Daniele” cooking series via Instagram Live. In the most recent video: how to make cacio e pepe with Pizzana co-owner and Sprinkles Cupcakes maven Candace Nelson.
Eric Ripert @ericripert
The Le Bernardin chef’s videos of Gran ma French toast, shrimp pasta, roasted leg of lamb and grated salad aren’t shot in any special way, but they’re mesmerizing. Sometimes there’s music in the background. Sometimes it’s silent. He’s your not-quite-tech-savvy dad filming himself cooking, complete with off-center angles and incomplete steps. But you love him and everything he does and will continue to watch anyway.
Christina Tosi @christinatosi
Watching Tosi make pumpkin dog biscuits for her dog, Butter (yes, that’s actually her name), then feed them to her after Butter does tricks will make you feel better about whatever situation you’re in right now. The Milk Bar chef bakes for humans too in a series she’s calling #bakingclub. She goes live once a day with a new recipe and playlist. There’s veggie cake, homemade sprinkles, pizza and compost pancakes. Most of the videos are saved under the “baking club” archive.
Ludo Lefebvre @chefludo
Lefebvre’s feed is full of recipes that will help us be our best wannabe French selves during quarantine: gougères, the poofiest cheese soufflé, apple layer cake and the perfect French omelet, cooked by the Petit Trois chef wearing a shirt with a picture of said omelet. He’s also a dad in a tie-dye sweatsuit making easy one-pot dishes like healthy vegetables and rice for the family.
Emmy Rossum @emmy
The actress has a quarantine cooking Story archive in which she posts chopped salad, bison chili, salmon with pesto and cherry tomatoes, keto almond flour muffins, and ratatouille. You might get a recipe for Sunday morning oatmeal one day, followed by a picture of her dog the next.
Florence Pugh @florencepugh
In addition to helpful cooking tips (like how to cut, clean and roast butternut squash), Pugh offers frequently hilarious commentary while she cooks, with information on where she gets her ingredients and why she’s cooking what she’s cooking. She also does mental check-ins with her 1.4 million followers.
James McAvoy @jamesmcavoyrealdeal
Between posts asking for support for NHS workers, McAvoy cooks. He hasn’t gotten into videos just yet, but he posts pictures of “bored of breakfast during quarantine” cheesy scones, glazed doughnuts and fork biscuits. All the photos come with pictures of the recipes. But the actor isn’t just a baker. He wants you to try his auntie Trisha’s recipe for chicken karahi too.
Natalie Portman @natalieportman
Portman makes the classiest videos of the bunch. The demos of her cooking leeks with croutons, and beet and potato salad, are edited with some tight ingredient shots mixed in, all strung together with folksy French jazz in the background. And everything she makes is plant-based.