Revealed: The most commonly used ingredients in MasterChef dishes

Showing in 60 countries around the world, MasterChef's popularity is global but what does it take to be crowned the winner?

Published 18th Jul 2019
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

Kitchen company Magnet have analysed a sample of 1,254 ingredients from 123 recipes across the four most popular MasterChef UK and US formats of the show to determine which ingredients future contestants should consider when creating their finale menu. Or what budding chefs may want to try out at home.

From chocolate to duck, the results mean you could soon be cooking like a pro.

The top ingredients

The most commonly used ingredient across all four formats of the show analysed is in fact chocolate, appearing in 14 per cent of all the winner’s final menus.

Things then take a fruity turn with both apples and raspberries featuring in 9 per cent of the winning recipes and lemon and lime in 7 per cent.

Duck, lamb, and pigeon are the most commonly used meats by the champions.

Here’s the top 10 most commonly used ingredients in MasterChef

MasterChef ingredients

Picture: Magnet

1. Chocolate

2. Apples

3. Raspberry

4. Duck

5. Lamb

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6. Lime

7. Pigeon

8. Beetroot

9. Lemon

10. Pistachio

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The team also looked at how recipes and winning ingredients differed from the UK and US shows. As well as this, they looked at differences between professional and celebrity contestants.

Chocolate comes out number one again, featuring in 18 per cent of all winning recipes created in the last ten series.

Lobster is the meat of choice – 12 per cent of the winning menus have contained this seafood staple. Other common meats include pigeon (11 per cent), venison (9 per cent), and lamb (9 per cent).

Here’s the top 10 most commonly used ingredients in MasterChef UK

1. Chocolate

2. Fennel

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3. Lime

4. Lobster

5. Mango

6. Pigeon

7. Saffron

8. Venison

9. Carrot

10. Lamb

While chocolate remains in the top three for American contestants, the most popular ingredient comes from a far unlikelier source - Quail. The small bird takes the top spot with 11 per cent of chefs using it. Other choices of meat include pork, duck, and lamb; all of which feature in 7 per cent of the winner’s recipes.

Here’s the top 10 most commonly used ingredients in MasterChef USA:

1. Quail

2. Lime

3. Chocolate

4. Mascarpone

5. Pork

6. Duck

7. Cherry

8. Raspberry

9. Lamb

10. Pistachio

Celebrity Masterchef UK

More traditional ingredients feature in the celebrities’ winning menus, including peas (20 per cent), potatoes, onions, and butter (all 10 per cent).

While three variations of meat feature in the top ten, they appear much lower down on the list than in any of the other formats analysed, with scallops being the most commonly used sea food at 7 per cent.

Here’s the top 10 most commonly used ingredients in Celebrity MasterChef UK

1. Pea

2. Apple

3. Potatoes

4. Onion

5. Butter

6. Scallops

7. Veal

8. Truffle

9. Pancetta

10. Almond

Masterchef - The Professionals

MasterChef ingredients

Picture: MasterChef

Proving it really is the ingredient of winners, chocolate takes the top spot again, with 24 per cent of all finalists’ menus containing it.

Fruit, such as lemon (18 per cent) and raspberries (15 per cent) closely follow, with pigeon and beetroot rounding out the top five.

Banana makes its only appearance in the top ten, with the popular fruit appearing in 14 per cent of all the winning recipes.

Here’s the top 10 most commonly used ingredients in MasterChef: The Professionals

1. Chocolate

2. Lemon

3. Raspberries

4. Pigeon

5. Beetroot

6. Banana

7. Beef

8. Duck

9. Pistachio

10. Venison

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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