13 Food Pairings We'll Never Understand (And 9 We Didn't Know We Needed To Try Until Now)

Some food combinations seem strange but somehow manage to work incredibly well. They complement each other beautifully and bring out the best flavors in each other. We’re not giving dating advice here, but it’s true that sometimes opposites do attract, sweet and salty being probably some of the best examples of this! Think salted caramel or Nutella with pretty much anything. Some combos, however, just don't work. We can’t understand why anyone would eat them, let alone come up with the idea for them in the first place. Pizza with bananas on top? Or peanut butter and onion sandwiches? See yourself out.

That being said, some of the most amazing flavor combinations were discovered by accident. Adding Maltesers to your bucket of popcorn? Genius. Bolognese and cheese toastie? Standing ovation. They’re so wrong, but just feel sooo right. Others… are just wrong.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not give some of these crazy food pairings a try? We can’t promise you’ll like them on any level whatsoever. Some foods seem to be ruined by the addition of something obscure—like soy sauce on ice cream. Why would you do that to your poor ice cream? What did it ever do to you?

Some people can’t get enough of these weird food pairings. Peanut butter and pickle sandwiches are actually a thing, believe it or not. Many people use orange juice in the place of milk on their cereal. Who’s to say why? Each to their own, but we’ll pass.

22 Nope: Apple Pie + Cheese


Apple pie is one of those quintessential desserts that remind you of home. Melted cheese is awesome on most savory things. But putting apple pie and cheese together? Not sure we’re a fan. Although cheese does pair perfectly with fruit paste and wine, an apple pie is just perfect on its own. The texture of the cheese in combination with the soft, sweet, cinnamony apple and crisp pastry would throw me off. I could maybe understand apple pie with a soft cheese, like Brie or blue cheese. But melty, chewy cheddar? Or even worse, just a slice grabbed from the fridge? Apparently, it’s actually a thing. Each to their own, I say!

21 Nope: Vanilla Ice Cream + Soy Sauce


We started off strong with the odd apple pie and cheese pairing, but this combination of vanilla ice cream and soy sauce is really upping the ante. I’m highly confused by this one. Salty and sweet—sure. Salted caramel is heavenly. But vanilla and soy sauce?! It’s just taking that salty-sweet combination way too far. I can’t say I’ve tried this one, but honestly, I really don’t want to. Let’s keep soy sauce to a condiment for sushi or in cooking. For savory stuff. I’d love to know what this person was thinking when he or she decided to put these together for the first time…

20 Need To Try: Prosciutto + Melon


So, the whole sweet and savory thing is a bit confusing. But the combination of prosciutto and rockmelon (or cantaloupe, if you prefer) is completely unreal. Because both of the flavors on their own are so mild, they somehow work so well together without canceling one another out. Prosciutto and melon together are actually very popular in Italy—you’ll find it on the menu of many authentic restaurants. This is a case where the saltiness of the prosciutto and the sweetness of the melon work so well together. The sweetness isn’t overpowering at all to the extent you could consider it a savory entrée.

19 Nope: Peanut Butter + Onion


Does this one really need any explanation whatsoever?! We’re talking raw onion, chopped or sliced, with dollops of peanut butter, smooshed between two pieces of bread. I get that wacky sandwiches are the trendy thing now, but come on... Onion?! I’m flabbergasted. It’s just as bad as eating a raw onion like you would an apple. Tears streaming down your face… less from the actual onion and more at the sheer dismay you’re feeling towards the atrocity you’ve created. Does anyone actually eat this on the regular? If this is weirdly something that does tickle your fancy, maybe stay at least one meter away from people until you’ve brushed your teeth. Twice.

18 Nope: Chocolate + Cheese Pizza


Now, we love dessert pizzas—that crispy base, lashings of rich Nutella, some marshmallows, maybe some peanut butter, banana or strawberries on top, too. Now, who on Earth thought to add mozzarella to this?! It’s pretty difficult to go wrong with chocolate in any form, but I think whoever invented this chocolate and cheese pizza didn’t quite understand what was meant by dessert pizza. I'd go so far as to say that a dessert pizza isn’t actually a pizza, so please, don’t put cheese on it. I wonder if they put the tomato base on it, as well...

17 Need To Try: McDonald's Ice Cream + Fries


Alright, so I know I bagged on dipping fries in honey. But for some stupidly insane reason, dipping McDonald’s fries in their soft serve ice cream is just so good. I don’t know why; it just is. It’s pretty popular, too. Again, it’s that sweet and salty combination that just really hits the spot. You wouldn’t mix these two normally. I want answers. Why is it so good, McDonald’s? What’s your secret to contradicting the laws of nature? Why am I always craving chicken nuggets? I mean… anyways. There’s something so strangely satisfying about this odd pairing that’s so wrong but just feels so right.

16 Nope: Ice Cream + Olive Oil


We can’t understand how this one would even work in the first place. Do you add the olive oil on top of your vanilla ice cream, or is it blended in first? How does that even work? Surely it would split. Aside from the technicalities, the sharp, peppery, slightly bitter taste of olive oil would probably ruin a good ice cream, in my opinion. Plus, it would make the mouthfeel way too oily, fatty, and creamy. Apparently olive oil and ice cream are a delicacy in some places, but maybe they have a special way of making it so it doesn’t taste like you accidentally spilled your salad dressing on your dessert.

15 Need To Try: Maltesers + Popcorn


A sweet, chocolatey snack and a salty, buttery snack—both crispy and crunchy. Why not put them together? The chocolate coating and the malt center of the Maltesers are just the beginning of the perfect cinema snack. Combined with the buttery, salty light popcorn, you’ve got yourself a winner. If you chuck in the packet of Maltesers into the box of popcorn while it’s still hot, the chocolate coating will melt slightly, making it even better. Sticky, buttery fingers and all, you definitely won’t regret trying out this combination next time you’re at the flicks. You won’t want to share!

14 Nope: Cheetos + Milk


People’s creativity really does amaze us sometimes. Like, really... Who would’ve thought to put Cheetos in a bowl and add milk as though it was your breakfast cereal? Aside from being a very poor breakfast in itself, it’s just simply baffling that this would even taste good. People would argue with us, though! Even though Cheetos on their own are a big tick, we can’t say Cheetos cereal is on our list of foods to try. It would be like putting crisps in a bowl and adding milk for some kind of potato cereal. But cheese flavored. Count us out!

13 Need To Try: Chips + Nutella


Along the same wavelength as Maltesers and popcorn, there’s just something so ridiculously good about mixing salty snacks and chocolate. Who would’ve thought it’d be such a thing? Chocolate-coated potato crisps are actually a thing you can buy, and some ice cream shops even mix potato crisps in with their ice creams. It’s just too good. Make your own, simplified version of chocolate-coated crisps by dipping them in Nutella. Completely indulgent, it’s an amazing treat. With that being said, Nutella works with most things. You could probably dip carrot sticks in it, and they'd be amazing. Hashtag health, hashtag treat yourself.

12 Nope: Pizza + Banana


Does pineapple belong on pizza? Yes. Yes, it does. Does any other fruit of any sort belong on pizza? Absolutely not. The door’s that way. As if there wasn’t already enough debate about pineapple belonging on pizza, let's add banana to the almost-political controversy. Banana is probably the most polarizing fruit out there—you either love it or you hate it. Pineapple is probably one of the most liked fruits in existence. If pineapple on pizza gets this rap, how could banana be any better?! Simply absurd. Hoping to never see banana as a topping on pizza at any pizza store, ever.

11 Nope: Peanut Butter + Pickles


Peanut butter and pickles are two of the most common foods people obsess over. Peanut butter on literally everything. Drinking pickle juice straight from the jar. Now, someone who does both of these might actually enjoy a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. But for those of us that don’t obsess over either and simply enjoy them in a reasonable amount, we would probably throw this sandwich halfway across the room. I’m not sure it even matters, but the type of pickle you use could potentially make it even worse. Are they dill pickles? Straight off of a McDonald’s burger? Actually, we don’t want to know.

10 Need To Try: Sugar + Bread


Simple is best, right? You might laugh at the thought of putting sugar and butter on a slice of bread, but it’s actually probably the easiest dessert you can think of. Fairy bread is effectively the same thing—a national ‘delicacy’ popular in Australia, white bread is lashed with butter and topped with heaps of rainbow sprinkles. Now, if you think that seems somewhat reasonable, then why not take another shortcut and just use sugar? Again, not the most well-balanced meal out there. But as a dessert, it’s ticking all the boxes. Chewy, soft, sweet, moreish. Need I say more?

9 Nope: Cereal + Orange Juice


Using orange juice as a last resort when you run out of milk for your breakfast cereal is something we’ve only ever seen on television shows. They usually end up spitting it out, too. We understand the thought process, but do people actually like this? Or was it posted as just a joke? Because really, it’s very funny. Spit takes are always a cracker. Or is it a genuine breakfast choice for some people? I would think orange juice has just too much sweetness and acidity to complement any choice of breakfast cereal. Eat your cereal dry, if you must!

8 Need To Try: Bolognese + Cheese Toastie

Instagram: kirbiecravings

My only disappointment with this dish is that I didn’t discover it sooner. If you thought that the classic cheese toastie was one of the most delicious meals known to man (which it is, obviously), strap yourself in for this Bolognese toastie—it’s about to rock your world. Yes, it’s literally just adding your leftover bolognese pasta between two slices of bread with cheese. Pop it straight in your sandwich press, and voilà. How is it so simple, yet so life-changing-ly good?! I don’t have the answer, but I do have a question—why aren’t you going to make this right now?

7 Nope: Hot Dog + Twinkie


Sorry, let's clarify that: Hot Dog IN a Twinkie. As in, a Twinkie roll instead of a bread roll. As in, cream inside what could’ve been a perfectly good hot dog. And then add mustard and ketchup? Sorry, what?! I’m not sure in what world a meat sausage would be considered an excellent addition to a sweet dessert food. This Twinkie hot dog isn’t a cute lookalike, where the sausage is actually fondant. It’s a real meat-stuffed sausage. Inside a cream-filled pastry. A sausage éclair, if you will. Let’s stick to good old hot dogs in regular bread rolls. Please.

6 Need To Try: Peanut Butter + Burger

Instagram: michael.stamper

While peanut butter works well on pretty much anything, I was pretty skeptical about actually putting it on a burger. But then, I remembered how fantastic Beef Satay is, and my worries dissolved instantly. Whilst I’m still opposed to combining peanut butter with pickles and/or onion in a burger, they might just make the cut if it’s a really good burger. We know that peanut butter and celery has always been a thing, so combining it with other vegetables like lettuce should be fine. Peanut butter takes everything to the next level, and a juicy burger is no exception!

5 Nope: Olives + White Chocolate


Again, salty-sweet desserts are a wonderful discovery that should be recognized. Salted chocolate is super popular, and of course, so is salted caramel. Salt is used as a flavor enhancer—it brings out the flavor of whatever it is you’re using it on. You could say it makes food taste more like itself. I’m baffled as to why anyone would want salty olives in combination with white chocolate in order to make it taste more… well, olivey and chocolatey—just seems super odd. Olives and white chocolate on their lonesome are absolutely fantastic. Why ruin a good thing?

4 Need To Try: Mango + Chili


Mango is one of those fruits that are so sweet and delicious, it complements many other flavors. It nicely balances out the spiciness of chili and creates a taste sensation in your mouth that you’ll unlikely find with any another food combination. Street food stalls around South East Asia and Mexico sell mango with chili salt as a cheap and super tasty snack. You’ll also find this combo with lime, too, just to zest things up a bit. That being said, the chili is still spicy, so if you’re not great with heat, don’t be fooled by how appetizing it looks!

3 Nope: Fries + Honey


Just in case you wanted your meal time to get super messy and sticky, try dipping your fries in a packet of honey, and watch as your table grows ever stickier. Don’t get me wrong—honey is definitely delicious on most things, even savory foods. Honey chicken, anyone? But actually dipping fries in honey just seems a little too odd. It’s not even remotely close to ketchup! This is something I’d probably be up to trying, but I can’t imagine I’d be a fan—if the sticky sweetness doesn’t go absolutely everywhere and attract the entire ant kingdom, that is.

2 Need To Try: Fries + Bread


Carbs upon carbs. Mmmm. The famous combination of fries in bread or as it’s known in Britain, a ‘chip butty,’ somehow works so well. You wouldn’t believe it from just looking at potatoes and bread, but we all love both of them, so why not put them together with a bit of butter to hold it all in? Whilst it’s not the most balanced meal option, a chip butty is a must try wherever in the world you are. Adding crisps to sandwiches is also an amazing revelation to have, as it’ll take your lunchtime meal to absolutely the next level.

1 Nope: Ketchup + Popcorn


Okay, at least both ketchup and popcorn are both savory foods. We’re making some sort of progress here. That being said, it doesn’t take away from the fact that combining the two would probably taste really, really weird. I have so many questions to ask here… like wouldn’t the sauce make the popcorn soggy after a while? Wouldn’t the hot popcorn and cold sauce be a strange mouth sensation? What’s so wrong with normal, quality, buttery popcorn that you decided it was entirely necessary to add ketchup?! I mean, you do you. We’ll just pass when the bucket comes round our way.

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