'90s style background with pink, turquoise green, and yellow shapes

Dotdash Meredith / Sabrina Tan

I Love the ‘90s

Explore iconic food moments that defined a decade and shaped who we are today.

Nothing takes me back to the '90s as quickly as the sound of dial-up. A sound forever seared into the brains of anyone old enough to remember the advent of the internet. Back when floppy disks were part of the required school supplies list each year, slap bracelets were all the rage, and butterfly clips adorned many teenage girls' heads. (A trend I'm particularly grateful doesn't exist anymore.)

Three photos of Nigella Lawson cooking on a graphic design background

Dotdash Meredith / Sabrina Tan

American Online (AOL) reigned supreme and food blogs were popping up all over the place like daisies in a midsummer field. The dot-com era was booming and pop culture, music, and Food Network stars like Nigella Lawson were setting the stage for future generations to come. All of which helped to set up the foundation for The Spruce Eats.

As the computer became more integrated into the standard American household, consumers turned to the internet for all sorts of information, especially about their food. In 1996, the groundwork for About.com, a digital repository of information about hundreds of curated topics including food and cooking, was established. Two decades later, About.com would become Dotdash (and then Dotdash Meredith), the parent company of The Spruce Eats.

Join us on a walk down memory lane as we reminisce over the most iconic food moments that transformed the food space as we know it and see which iconic dishes had the most impact on us Editors.

Dotdash Meredith / Sabrina Tan

Moments That Defined a Decade in Food

The '90s was a transformative decade for us. Ranging anywhere from prepubescent children to college-aged young adults, these years were pivotal in shaping who we would become as grown-ups and Food Editors. From iconic '90s foods to the original food influencers, what better way to express our appreciation and fondness for this foundational timeframe than to return to the moments that truly shaped the landscape of food and cooking for years to come, both in restaurants and in home kitchens?

Four bottles of Clearly Canadian above a pink envelope with a letter with hearts coming out.

Dotdash Meredith / Sabrina Tan

Photo composite of '90s-style lunchbox with squeezits, gushers, HiC, cosmic brownies, and Trix Yogurt

Dotdash Meredith / Sabrina Tan

Our Favorite ‘90s Snacks

With plastic superhero lunch boxes, vibrant/psychedelic Lisa Frank thermoses, and the subtle (or not so subtle) art of trading snacks that was happening in the cafeteria, the ‘90s were what we consider the epitome of school snack culture. (Like pop culture, but with snacks.) Join us on our snack journey to some of our favorite recipes that you can make at home.

Cosmic Brownies

The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  • Cosmic Brownies: There are two types of people in this world: people who like fudgy brownies, and everyone else — luckily, cosmic brownies have universal appeal. This recipe is a sure crowd-pleaser.
  • Fruit Roll-Ups: Fruit Roll-Ups are one of our favorite snacks—even as adults. This homemade recipe for strawberry fruit leather is easy to adapt to any flavor you desire.
mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  • Mozzarella Sticks: What’s not to like about fried cheese? This mozzarella sticks recipe is ooey, gooey, crunchy, and creamy. Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce or take it up a notch with a sprinkle of sugar and coat in honey.
  • Hot Pockets: For this homemade (and slightly more grown-up) ham and cheese hot pocket, you’ll lean on some pantry staples and an unexpected ingredient for a trip down memory lane.
  • Bagel Bites: Enjoy pizza in the morning, pizza in the evenin', and pizza at supper time, because when pizza is on a bagel, you can eat pizza anytime.
Tiramisu Viennetta on a white platter

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  • Toaster Strudels: Homemade toaster strudels are so much tastier than the freezer version. These light and flaky pastries are filled with sweet raspberry jam and ready to be devoured.
  • Viennetta Cake: Last, but certainly not least, we recreated the classic Viennetta cake with tiramisu-inspired flavors. Using store-bought vanilla and coffee ice creams, this retro cake has laminated ribbons of magic shell, finished with ruffles of mascarpone cream, and, of course, dusted with cocoa powder.