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America’s Top Guilty Food Pleasures

Have you ever caught yourself indulging in a guilty food pleasure so bizarre that you quickly checked to make sure no one was watching? Or perhaps you’ve whipped up a snack so unique when the house was empty, a food combination you’re not quite ready to share with the world? You’re not alone and might be surprised by what we have in common.

We surveyed Americans to discover their most unexpected and unique food confessions. Think peanut butter and pickle sandwiches are strange? Our survey has revealed the nation’s most bizarre eating habits, from skipping traditional meals to those cooking at home just once a year.

81% of Gen Zer’s Admit To Skipping Breakfast – 1 in 4 Baby Boomers Could Never

Did you know that a whopping 81% of Gen Zers admit to skipping what many consider the most important meal of the day—breakfast? Meanwhile, 1 in 4 Baby Boomers could never imagine missing their morning meal.

But here’s a quirky twist: a large number of people, despite skipping breakfast, thoroughly enjoy eating breakfast foods for dinner. It appears that breakfast isn’t just for the morning anymore. It’s a guilty pleasure enjoyed any time of day.

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America's Guilty Pleasures Breakfast

Over 1 in 3 people who only cook once a day save their cooking skills for lunch or dinner and skip cooking their breakfast meals. But here’s the surprising part: despite skipping breakfast, a whopping 3 in 4 Americans admit that they enjoy eating breakfast for dinner! There’s a special place in our hearts for breakfast foods, no matter the time of day.

Breakfast doesn’t have to be a morning-only thing. Making a batch of fluffy pancakes or waffles is the perfect way to enjoy the sweeter side of breakfast any time of the day. I’m a savory breakfast-for-dinner person, so I lean towards buttered toast with creamy scrambled eggs or these breakfast tacos.

Over 1 in 4 Americans Admit to Guilty Snack Pleasures

Are you aware that over half of all Americans confess to late-night snacking as their guilty pleasure? And topping the chart of midnight snackers are Gen Zers, with 62% admitting to indulging in this habit.

Here are more fun snack pleasure insights:

America's Guilty Pleasures Snack Foods

But that’s not all! Regarding leftovers, 83% of Americans enjoy eating them as they are. However, Millennials are the most likely to refuse to eat leftovers at all, and Baby Boomers are the most likely to eat something way past its expiration date. (We’re talking more than a year past the expiration date!)

Quirky Combos: Exploring America’s Most Unique Food Pairings

Can you guess the top 5 guilty pleasure foods? Here they are: pizza takes the crown, followed by ice cream and chocolate cake in a delightful tie for second place.

America's Guilty Pleasures Comfort Snacks

Chips and the all-time classic combo of burgers and fries earned spots on the list. Interestingly, Millennials have the deepest love for pizza, while Baby Boomers can’t resist ice cream as their guilty pleasure food.

As for America’s most intriguing and weird food combinations, pineapple on pizza has emerged as a hotly debated topic, with 59% of people admitting to being fans. Other unique pairings include french fries dipped in milkshakes, which have stolen the hearts of 45% of respondents, and apple slices with cheese, which have delighted 32% of Americans.

Here’s What Each State Is Secretly Snacking On

We now know what the top food combinations are for Americans, but do any regions stand out for their top-liked food combinations? We analyzed the state-level data to find out:

While French fries in milkshakes are the top-liked quirky food combination in 60% of states, a few states stood out for enjoying some strange snack foods. Arkansans and Rhode Islanders admit to snacking on pickles wrapped in ham slices, while those in Vermont enjoy pickles in a bit of a different way—on a peanut butter and pickle sandwich.

Along with Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, enjoy their macaroni and cheese with the addition of ketchup. Kansans enjoy spaghetti with maple syrup, and those in Delaware enjoy the occasional serving of pickles and ice cream!

Dessert Anytime: America’s Love for Sweets at All Hours

When it comes to desserts, nearly 9 out of 10 Americans believe that dessert is best enjoyed at any time of the day, not just after dinner. This love for sweets highlights a nationwide guilty pleasure, with cake and cookies being the most loved options.

America's Guilty Sweets and Desserts

When it comes to the eternal question of sweet versus salty desserts, sweetness seems to prevail, with a whopping 84% of people leaning towards the sugary side.

As for America’s sweet treat preference, cake and cookies emerge as the reigning champions, comprising 57% of the favorite guilty pleasure desserts enjoyed by Americans. Whether it’s a decadent chocolate cupcake or a warm, gooey homemade cookie, there’s something truly special about finishing off your meal with a delicious dessert. (Bonus points if it’s homemade!)

What Our Food Choices Reveal About Us

So there you have it, a glimpse into America’s quirky and guilty food pleasures. From the privacy of midnight snacks to the public debate over pineapple on pizza, it’s clear that Americans embrace a wide range of tastes and traditions when it comes to food. Keep cooking, tasting, and confessing because every bite and every secret snack continues to tell the rich story of food in America.


We surveyed 1,014 Americans on their various food confessions and preferences, as well as an additional 6,300 Americans on their dessert-specific preferences, and combined the data for the above findings.

The data is based on self-reported answers, meaning respondents may have had biases or discrepancies between their own reported ability and their actual abilities. To help ensure that all respondents took our survey seriously, they were required to identify and correctly answer an attention-check question. Survey data have certain limitations related to self-reporting.

Source: News Release