Our Favorite Cooking Fails

Cooking failures

Stories of funny cooking failures


Even the best cooks and bakers mess up—mixing the wrong ingredients, forgetting a step, letting distractions get the best of them. What are some of our favorite missteps, and genuine funny failures? Enjoy a few totally true tales of cooking and baking foibles.

Substitution slip-up

I was making white chicken chili for friends. I realized I didn't have any half-and-half so I substituted a quart of eggnog I had on hand. Apparently, eggnog is not the same as half-and-half. —Sara W.

Cereal and eggs?

My grandfather was a good cook and owned a restaurant. One Easter he decided to add shredded wheat to deviled eggs to make the filling go further. There were some surprised faces at the dinner table. —Erin W.

A famous pie flub

I was making my famous lemon meringue pie and hit the temperature dial during browning; then I didn't realize the timer went off. The meringue was burned to a crisp. —Ann L.

Sand for sugar

My sweet grandma was an excellent cook, even when macular degeneration had stolen most of her vision. We'll never forget the time she made a beautiful pie using my aunt's souvenir white beach sand instead of sugar. —Jen A.

Cooking ingredients

Measure twice

The first time I decided to bake a pie that called for three pounds of apples, I went to the grocery store and thought that the white bags of apples they sold were one pound each, instead of five pounds each. It wasn't until I had peeled and cored 15 pounds of apples that I realized I might have more than needed for a single pie. I ended up making multiple pies and lots of applesauce! —Val V.

Liner notes

When my sister was in her 20s and had a new boyfriend; she wanted to make him his favorite cherry pie. She had no clue how to make pie, so she used frozen pie crust and canned filling. The pie came out looking just fine, but after a few bites she asked him how it was. He said it was pretty good, except could she leave out the waxed paper next time? She had forgotten to remove the paper liner. —Kathleen N.

Cinnamon swap

Early in my marriage I attempted to make tacos with ground beef. I had no idea what spices to use, and really, didn't have the right ones anyway. I reasoned that cinnamon can be spicy if used in a large enough amount. —Mary N.

A relaxed holiday

My mom always did Thanksgiving for as much of the extended family as she could get. One year, as she was rushing around–she cooked everything–and it was almost done. She decided she would improve it by giving everyone a vitamin with the first course. No one said no to mom, and everyone took their pill. But in the rush, she'd given everyone one of the muscle relaxants she took for back pain. It was the most relaxed Thanksgiving ever. —Deb S.

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