Top 5 Ways To Remove Burnt Taste From Foods

Be Quick

We’ve all done it. We’re making our favourite stove-top dish and the phone rings, the doorbell rings or a herd of gazelle runs through the backyard and distracts us for just a minute, but it’s too late. You forgot about what you were cooking long enough to cause problems. It’s started to burn. While it’s frustrating, don’t take time to beat yourself up yet, if you move quickly, you may be able to still save the day!

Start by getting the pot off the heat right away to avoid making the problem worse as you figure out what to do next. Once you have a moment to think go through the list of options below and decide on your best course of action.

Top Five

#1 – The Switcheroo – Many things can be salvaged by scooping out the contents of one pot, and placing them into a clean one. It is critical that when you do this you DO NOT SCRAPE the burnt pot. You will likely lose a bit off the bottom for your final product but that’s OK. Once you have a new clean pot filled with your food, you can taste it and add or alter things as necessary. I have used this technique many times with great success, often without any negative impact to the dish I am cooking.

#2 – Ingredient  Experiment – If changing your pot has left you with a light burnt taste or smell this can often be remedied by playing with the ingredients a bit. Some things that I have used successfully include adding your favourite sweetener or any of a variety of vinegars including: red/white wine, cider or balsamic. In addition adding extra spices can mask the flavours considerably.  The key here is to pick ingredients that fits with the dish you are preparing but have a particular and neutralizing effect on the offending taste or smell. Doing this when coupled with #1 on our list of best ways to remove burnt taste from foods can have impressive results.

#3 – The Almighty Spud – In addition to being a favourite of many in its own right, the potato can actually be used as a tool in the case of some burnt recipes. It goes without saying that if your dish already has potatoes in it, this may be the kiss of death for salvaging your recipe. Potatoes may have absorbed much of the burnt flavour and smell and unless you can remove them and add fresh potatoes it might be too late. That said if you have some time and patience, add a couple of raw peeled potatoes cut in half to your pot and simmer for another 30-45 minutes on low heat, then remove. The potatoes will absorb much if not all of the problem. After taking this step you can always tweak the recipe with ingredients as outlined in #2 above.

#4 – Just A Trim – In cases where you are cooking solo items or dishes that do not have much liquid associated with them there is an oft overlooked but obvious way of dealing with the problem. Many things can just be trimmed of their scarred exterior. If you plan on giving this method a try, I highly recommend you grab a sharp chef knife and a good set of tongs. Hold the food with the tongs and trim off and burnt parts. Do this for each item that needs attention. Once this is done, consider a few moments in a pan or toaster oven to bring back a nice coloured look to the food. Personally, I like a tiny bit of oil in a clean pan to get a nice texture on the outside of the item or a toaster oven to lightly brown it. Obviously, you want to make sure you pay extra close attention to it while it is browning so you don’t end up with a big mess all over again.

#5 – Change Your Tune – I once had to run an errand while cooking and left relatively inexperienced cook in charge of watching and stirring a batch of simmering homemade chilli while I was gone. At some point the bottom of the chilli began to burn and the instinct of my friend was to give it a really good stir to stop the burning. It was a perfect time for #1 on our list of best ways to remove burnt taste from foods. When I returned the damage was done and we didn’t have time to remedy the situation before dinner so we made other arrangements. Another friend of mine took it home and stated that she just thought of it as “smoky” flavoured chilli and ate that chilli all week. While it is not a good idea to eat the actual items that are burnt, once they are removed perhaps the remaining smells and light flavours can just be overcome with a slight change in perspective. “Smoky Chili,” who knew?

**Bonus Item – I am throwing this item onto the list as a bonus because while I haven’t tried it myself, some people swear by it though, and that is peanut butter. Wisdom From Grandma swears that peanut butter will save the day when dealing with soups and stews and who am I to argue. When push comes to shove someday, I am definitely keeping this in my back pocket, just in case.

Do you have your own technique that is not mentioned here? Share it with us! Tried one from the list above? Tell us how it went!

Happy cooking.


Posted on October 19, 2011, in Beginners, Cooking Tips, Kitchen How To, Top 5 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 70 Comments.

  1. Bacon… if the smoky taste isn’t too strong, adding bacon makes the smoky taste “right” in the context of the food…this works better for spaghetti sauce or chili, not so good for lemon meringue pie

  2. I tried Step 1 switching pots, step 2 adding additional ingredients and spices, then peanut butter didn’t help and finally added the cut potatoes for later removal and it worked like a charm.

  3. Peanut Butter works like a bomb with burnt stews 🙂

  4. Peanut butter works. I made some chili in my pressure cooker and I invariably scorched it. After carefully dipping the good out, I mixed in a couple tablespoons of creamy peanut butter and my picky daughter could not taste that it had been scorched.

  5. I think it depends on what you have burned. Peanut butter works for some. And so does vinegar and sugar in some. Found this in a 1970. Cookbook – barbecue sauce! Works great if you have a tomatoe based soup!

  6. The peanut butter really works!!!
    I tried it on a curry I made today… Now all I need to do is get rid of the saltieness

  7. I found that 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and a small can of tomato paste salvaged my burnt moose meat soup. The original ingredients were: 4 chopped potatoes, 2 lbs chopped moose meat, 2 cups of rice, 1 can of stewed tomatoes, 1 package of beefy onion soup starter, 3 diced celery stalks, 3 diced carrots, 1 can of corn, and 1 can of green beans. Of course I left the soup on too long taking care of my son, and most of the potatoes burnt at the bottom, so I ladled the top half of the soup into a different pot immediately after I fenced the pot from heat, then I added the cinnamon and tomato paste. A bit more thick of a soup, more like a stew, but it saved the day!

  8. The peanut butter works!!!

  9. I just scorched a huge pot of chili I was cooking for a neighborhood gathering. I was horrified. I took it off the heat and changed pots. It still tasted smokey so I added 2 tbs. peanut butter and let it set uncovered for a couple of hours. It tastes pretty good. Just warn people if you try this because of allergies.

  10. Take the pot and put it in very cold wwater, big searing sounds result, but if you do this before anything else, you don’t get the burned taste and as a bonus, the burned stuff comes up much easier when washed and scrubbed.. Don’t ask me how or why this works– It’s magic

    • So you wet your food with cold water…

      • No, you don’t wet your food. You just run cold water in the sink with the stopper in and them put the pot in it (with the food in it).

        I just scorched my homemade chicken soup, did the cold water trick and also added a spoonful of peanut butter. No one could tell the difference!

        It’s good to note the steps I took in case this can help the next cook:
        1. Soaked pot in cold water for a few minutes
        2. Transfered food into another pot. Careful not to scrape the bottom of the pot to avoid transferring burnt ingredients
        3. Removed burnt food from original pot and washed it out, then transferred soup back into pot
        4. Added a spoonful of peanut butter and stirred until melted.

        Happy cooking ladies!!

  11. Thanks so much! A bit of vinegar, a spoon of peanut butter, and some creative spicing saved my giant 3-gallon pot of spaghetti sauce!

  12. I just burnt my beef Casserole. So I took your advice swapped the pot. In addition, I took off the stove chopped up fresh parsley let it sit in the casserole for 10 min prior to serving. Worked like a charm 😀

  13. Omg!! I tried the bonus tip, adding the peanut butter to the soup and it worked! I was both pleasantly surprised and grateful….Thanks a million!

  14. Just saved a huge pot of rice pudding by using the potato trick and also added extra vanilla essence! Thanks so much!!

  15. OMG! I love you! I am preparing chili today. I got all my ingredients together, put the lid on…and forgot to turn the oven down! All that preparation, not to mention money wasted! I looked up how to get rid of burnt taste and smell to find you. I had already switched pots, but brought along the unwanted burnt smell. When I read the peanut butter trick, I figured I’d try it with a cup of the chili and a bit of the peanut butter, so not to make the whole pot worse, if it didn’t work. AMAZINGLY, IT WORKS! Not only a little bit, but my chili is COMPLETELY saved!!! Totally Amazed! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Breezy Rae, Philadelphia, PA

  16. Thank you so much! I scorched the bottom of a pan of soup and thought I was gonna have to throw it out, thanks to you and all the peanut butter comments the day was saved!

  17. One method I have used has been to add margarine or some other sort of fat in order to dissipate the taste of burnt. It works pretty well. Just add a couple of tablespoons of margarine per liter of soup.

  18. Aynour soliman

    Thank you so much I was making beef stew and the pot got burned a little so my tomato sauce was ruined !! After adding peanut butter and rosemary and pay leaves my day was saved

  19. Any idea how to repair scorched cream corn?

  20. Chilli or Spaghetti suace; Did the potatoes’test, adding spices, vineagar, worcistershire, pekapepper, more fresh herbs…still taste the burnt!….THEN I add up COCOA (2tbs) to a 4 pints recipient > WORKED!!!! I don’t know if just the cocoa would have work or the combination of all the steps I did!??

  21. Thanks just saved two gallons of green tomato catsup peanut butter worked

  22. Thanks for the tip it worked I used balsamic vinegar. Way better

  23. idk but i am trusting you people about the peanut butter….. my son burned my entire pot of chicken stew tonight. we’ll see….

  24. Scorched pot of lentils salvaged with Almond Butter. Many thanks to all who suggested peanut butter, for that gave me the inspiration to try my almond butter. Worked great.

  25. Awesome. Peanut butter worked in my chili!

  26. I cooked a HUGE pot of chicken spaghetti tonight and some of the cheese burned in the bottom of the pot and it has the scorched taste, anyone have any recommendations for that? It’s not soupy so I can’t really boil it any longer to do the potatoes!! Help 😩😩😩

  27. Joan Gruttadauria

    All these comments are wonderful but my problem is not the scorching itself but the odor which remains in the aftermath! My PC liner pot absolutely reeks of burned pot roast and although I washed and rewashed it still stinks! What recommendations are out there to get the pot back to normal so that I can begin cooking in it again without everything tasting like burned pot roast?

    • I would take a box of baking soda and pour the entire box in, put the lid on and leave it for a few days. Then I would dump the power and wash the pot. Then I would cut a lemon or two and throw it into the pot with a couple of cinnamon sticks. Fill the pot with water and simmer for a couple of hours on very low. This should help, and make your house smell delicious. Good luck!

      • I just burnt my chili and ithas a burnt taste so im trying the potato if that dont help i will try the peanut butter immad at my self thanks for ? All the tips

    • Vinegar! Do half and half with water. Bring to a boil then let cool beforebwashing with dish detergent.


      When I scorch food I first scrub out what I can and then add vinager and salt to cover let set over night and scorched comes right out. No smell or after taste.

  28. scorched boiled potatoes,added a fresh potatoe and continued worked!

  29. burnt my cranberry sauce…..too late to run out and buy more for Thanksgiving dinner…added some peanut butter…took out the burnt taste and smell…will have to see how it tastes cold to determine whether I’ll serve it or open a can…

  30. Cider vinegar, potato, onion, instant coffee, peanut butter, soy sauce, Thai fish sauce. This will all go thru cheesecloth. I burned nice home made chicken stock from scratch that I was in the process of making. It tastes better but does not taste like chicken any more. More like burnt caramelized onions and celery.

    • Forgot to mention…some chunks of stale bread.

    • Also added some outside cabbage leaves. This will need serious doctoring once I strain it out I think I should have just tossed it. Nice dark brown color, though, and I guess I could make onion soup or mushroom soup. Not sure if the “rescue” was worth the effort since I am not going to end up with what I started out making. Who knows, I may just toss it all anyway. But I tried…

    • Ok… stock will strain overnight but I’m afraid the PB will congeal with cooling. I salvaged the potatoes, though. They picked up the acid from the vinegar and some saltiness but taste like slow roasted potatoes that have been cooked with a pot roast. Toss them with some butter and back in the oven and they’ll be tasty. Still think the stock will go bye-bye since it tastes like PB. I was making chicken bone broth so unless I come up with a Thai dish using peanuts, I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Best to start over.

      • BIG TIME FAIL! PB did congeal so no rescued stock. However, I still have the potatoes I added to absorb the burnt taste. As mentioned, they taste like potatoes cooked with a pot roast. So, lesson learned? I should have thrown it out as un-saveble instead of wasting my time and effort.

  31. We are making pork hocks and beans. We scorch the bottom of the pot slightly and there is in order and burnt taste to the beans. What can we do to remove the smell and burnt taste as well?

  32. what about for red beans and rice (with out the rice yet)? what do you recommend please

  33. I just burnt my chili i was mad at my self I just putthe potato in thenifthat dont help I Will try The peanut butter thanks , for all the tips

  34. I just made a pot of chili it is burnt I put 2 potatoes in hope it helps if not I will try peanut butter

  35. Made potato soup and left the hubby in charge, came home and it smells and tastes burned! No more potatoes left to add. I’m not sure peanut butter would taste well. Help!

  36. Scorched my beef and noodles…gonna try the peanut butter…wish me luck

  37. I forgot to turn the heat down on a thick vegetable stew, burning it badly on the bottom. I quickly poured the stew into a clean pot, added 3 Tb. organic, creamy peanut butter, 3 Tb. organic balsamic vinegar, and 1 Tb. organic brown sugar. Completely covered the burned taste, and added a nice complexity to the flavor. Thank you!!

  38. The peanut butter trick absolutely worked. No burnt taste and you can’t even tell its in there. Slightly sweet taste not overpowering at all, and it actually made the chili taste better than the original! Thanks!

  39. I just added brown sugar, powdered cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, celery seed, pepper, few drops of vanilla to my burned tasted ham, cabbage and 15 bean soup no more burned taste! tastes delicious now! I also never have stinky house from cooking cabbage because I add green celery leaves when cooking. thanks for all the advice!

  40. Laurene Park

    I made a huge pot of turkey soup. Got waylaid and it burnt the bottom. We transferred to another pot but terrible burnt taste remains. What can I do. I will try peanut butter and potatoes. Any other suggestion.

  41. Thank you, will try a couple of raw potatoes into my little but burnt chicken and tomato sauce for pasta.

  42. For curries and stews – after switching the pots – place a slice of bread on the top and leave to cook on low heat for about 5 minutes. Take out the bread carefully and voila – burnt taste and smell gone…

  43. What works for home made noodles?

  44. Gonna try the potatoes trick in a batch of strawberry butter…..

  45. A tablespoon of peanut butter usually works!

  46. Adding sugar takes away the taste, not all of it but most

  47. Made black berry jam,scorched it. How could I remove the burnt taste? Allready canned it and just tasted it. Ugh!

  48. I was making pear sauce and it burned. So I went on Google and I found this website and sure enough I tried the peanut butter and two cups I’m the sauce I used a half a tablespoon of peanut butter, Plus a half a teaspoon Himalayan mineral salt. It’s not the same thing, but it is good enough to eat. I won’t be serving it to guests, for certain. But I saved 9 cups of the pearsauce.

  49. This sounds crazy but it works. I had scorched sauce, don’t even know where i read this but I took a raw potatoe, cut in half. This helped some, but it still had a scorched taste. now the secret,, take a teaspoonful of peanut butter, (smooth) and mix it in, keep doing this one teaspoon at a time and your sauce will be good as new.

  50. OH Thank You Grandma!!
    Peanut butter fixed it ASAP. BEAUTIFUL pot of stew then in a flash was burned. I used 1tsp and I stirred, the stink disapeared almost instantly and all is BEAUTIFUL again. Taste GREAT

  51. Catherine Rausch

    I was just this afternoon making a big pot of beef stew, got distracted and the pan went dry, It was the meat and spices only, I hadn’t added veggies yet, but the meat scorched, and all the spice stuff was black. The first thing I did was turn off the heat, and add water to the pan.
    Then I scooped all of the meat out of the pan and into a colander, where I rinsed and rubbed as much of the black off of the meat as I could. I tasted it, and thankfully well done beef is OK in stew. I covered the meat with a can of beef broth, and water, and added 3 low Sodium Herbox bouillon packages, because they have good seasoning, and replace the black broth I was left with. The pot of black broth I’d been building for a few hours, I added water to, and peeled & quartered some mediocre potatoes. I added the stew veggies to the ‘good pot’ and put am boiling the reject potatoes in the burnt broth left from the disaster.

    I was raised by my Grandmother who raised her children during the depression. When my Mom became disabled she raised me and my sister and took care of my Mother. Although my husband and I can afford new stew meat and veggies if needed, I’m 10 miles from a grocery store. I can’t order a pizza delivery when I screw up. I DON”T give up on dinner easily.

    But I DO have a Beagle who doesn’t criticize.

    I’ll let you know how it turned out!


  52. Catherine Rausch

    Well, I saved the stew! It turned out pretty good.

  53. How do I get the burned taste out of my maple syrup?

  1. Pingback: How To Get Rid Of Scorched Taste In Beans | WorldsBank

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