As a young child, I, like so many other children, spent hours playing mad scientist in the kitchen while coming up with all kinds of crazy concoctions, some of which were definitively weird (such as the KLC: ketchup, lettuce, cheese sandwich), while others were on par with culinary genii, like the time my kiddy brain added mustard to scrambled eggs, thinking no one in the history of making eggs had thought of it before! Okay, maybe not in the genius category, but still, it was intuitive (give a little girl some credit!). I want a world where this method of fun applies to all kitchen endeavors, and the following Coca-Cola-based recipes do just that—they successfully take all the whimsy and adventure of a kid’s perspective and apply it in the kitchen for some amazing recipe modifications!
We’ve all heard of the explosive combination of Mentos and Coke (yikes) or the classic southern snack of coke and peanuts, but it’s time to take it to the next level. Prepare to explode (not literally!) all preconceptions of what you thought cola could do in the kitchen. The following list provides amazing inspiration for delicious dishes you simply must try in your own home tonight! If you’re anything like me, you usually have a can of Coke or two hiding in the back of the fridge, and it’s time you made good use of it!
And the best part about these recipes is that these are family-approved recipes that your loved ones are certain to enjoy. I mean, just tell kids that they’re eating Coca-Cola for dinner, and you’ll be the most popular adult in their world (wink, wink). So, let’s get into it and explore the fascinating world of cooking with Coke!
20 Cola Caramelized Onion Soup
A classic comfort food, nothing beats the savory delicious taste of a bowl of perfectly rendered caramelized onion soup brilliantly topped with croutons and gooey melted cheese. This twist from Genius Kitchen takes the best of the standard dish and combines it with the classic taste of Coca-Cola. The result is a hint of sweetness that perfectly complements the profile of the caramelized onions and the savory nature of the beef broth base. As any true cheese fanatic will tell you, there's no limit to the amount of cheese you can pile high atop each bowl–so, go crazy! This recipe will have you craving onion soup in your sleep!
19 Cola Glazed Ham
When preparing the old-fashioned classic that's glazed ham, the glaze is the centerpiece of all your efforts. Indeed, the glaze is certainly a determining factor for flavor and juiciness and can be the make-or-break factor at your next holiday get-together. In the south, the sweet/savory combination is king, and cola adds a unique twist that replaces the brown sugar traditionally used as a sweetener. Did you know that the addition of cola as a sugar substitute was first introduced during a time when sugar was closely rationed and homemakers had to get creative in the kitchen? The addition of Coke to traditional ham recipes brings pork to new heights; it truly is the perfect ingredient to caramelize the outside of the ham while sealing in all those tasty juices. Get it here.
18 Chocolate Cola Cake
Straight up, this cake is only for those with a sweet tooth!! Combining marshmallows, heaping cups of sugar, and the famous cola, this cake will have you running to the dentist—but for an excellent reason! Marshmallows add a delightfully ooey-gooey consistency that elevates this cake to the ‘something to die for’ category, while the buttermilk adds a light sumptuous texture when combined with baking soda—a true baker’s secret! Find it here.
17 Slow Cooker Cola Ribs
Sometimes, the best recipes are the simplest, as is the case with this classic Southern style slow cooker ribs recipe from Cincy Shopper. A heavenly combination of salt and pepper, store-bought BBQ sauce, and classic Coca-Cola brings this recipe together for a simple weeknight meal you can throw together in the morning and come home to starving after a long day at the office. The convenience of a slow cooker or instant pot is what will make this a staple in your kitchen on days when you really don’t feel like slaving away in the kitchen but still crave the comforting taste of home cooking.
16 Coke-Glazed Pastry Puffs
Everyone loves a good pastry puff—add some Brie cheese in there, and you’re well on your way to culinary genius. This recipe from Metro goes down the classic sweet-savory road, combining Brie cheese and a cola glaze heaped atop a freshly baked pastry puff. Buying store-bought pastry dough saves majorly on time, but if you’re looking for an excuse to hang out in the kitchen, try this homemade version from Baking A Moment. While the pastry bakes, prepare the simple glaze by simmering a combination of cola and brown sugar for a delicious ooey-gooey appetizer or the perfect side dish with a pork roast!
15 Cola Glazed Wings
Simplicity is brilliance, especially when it tastes amazing! These eastern-style chicken wings are just that, combining classic cola with soy sauce for a tangy glaze perfect for finger-lickin' wings. An expert tip for extra crispy wings is to lightly dust the raw wings with baking soda, placing the wings on a rack (with a drippings pan underneath) for about 45-50 minutes at 300 degrees. The skin renders out beautifully, and the wings can then be coated with the pre-prepped sauce and sautéed to finish them off in the skillet. It’s a perfectly easy meal to prepare for your whole family, and believe me, they’ll be asking for this dish again and again!
14 Cola Baked Beans
Hearty, savory baked beans—the addition of cola adds a unique tangy twist to this classic side dish. A phenomenal southern classic, the twist of cola might even entice the pickiest of eaters to the table for a taste of these hearty baked beans! Using dried beans in place of premade canned beans can not only save on the budget but also double or even triple the quantity to freeze or can for a rainy day. The only trick is to remember to rehydrate the beans the night before and thoroughly rinse the excess starches afterward for a fail-proof method for making the very best baked beans in the neighborhood!
13 Cherry Coke Salad
This is an intriguing recipe involving pineapple, gelatin, and cherry cola into a condensed salad that brings one to reminisce about the heydays of jellied salad (remember jellied coleslaw?!). In this case, the jelly salad gets modernized with a cherry cola twist, and some have even taken the extra step of adding in layers of cool whip to their jellied creations! The possibilities are endless—add a topping of chopped pecans or almonds for a nutty variation, or simply enjoy as is! Perfect for the club luncheon or your neighborhood potluck, this salad is sure to get raving reviews from those you share it with! Get the recipe here.
12 Minestrone A-La-Cola
Featuring everything in the pantry save the kitchen sink, hearty minestrone soup gets a makeover in this cola-infused version! Minestrone is one of those soups that's incredibly easy to customize, easily allowing for the substitution of whatever veggies have been forgotten in the depths of the crisper in place of running out to the produce section of the grocery store. Usually, my secret trick is to put a good dose of balsamic vinegar in the pot, but in this case, Coca-Cola supplies the extra tangy flavor, especially in addition to Worcestershire sauce and smoky bacon bits! Mmmm, cola and bacon… this is a soup dreamed up in heaven!
11 Cola Can Chicken
It’s time the rotisserie chicken got upgraded to true foodie height, and this recipe achieves just that. We’ve all heard of beer can chicken, a method that infuses flavor and moisture all in one step by simply placing the whole chicken head first onto the can. The method has become so popular that you can even buy stands to support your beer-can chicken as it cooks! But if beer can achieve such results, it stands to reason that the intensity of cola should meet and exceed all expectations, and believe me, it does! The sweetness of the cola infuses into the meat of the bird, and if you want to get creative, a spicy dry rub balances the sweet-savory flavor profile perfectly.
10 Coca-Cola Soft Serve Ice Cream
This one from The Kitchn inarguably takes top prize for creativity and effort required—and also an ice cream machine, which means we're entering true foodie territory! Brimming with nostalgia, the combination of cola and ice cream brings back dreamy memories of summers filled with backyard water fights, nights at the drive-in, and ice cream floats to top it all off. The addition of homemade peanut brittle makes this recipe soar high above the measly standards of the average that demands less than the perfection of decadence. A double or triple batch is recommended because you're not going to want to share any of this incredibly tasty treat with anyone!
9 Cherry Coke BBQ Burgers
If you’re like me, grilling season is all year round. Whether the sun is shining outside in 30-degree heat or a Canadian blizzard is raging outside, I never make the compromise of cooking burgers on the stovetop, and neither should you! Nothing beats the smoky char taste of the barbeque grill, and even if it means bundling up in minus 25-degree weather, the result is always worth it. Meet your next favorite BBQ recipe: the Cherry Coke Burger! Made with a sauce using tart red wine vinegar and cherry preserves in a base of Cherry Coke, the sweet-tangy flavor profile is a beautiful complement to a perfectly charred burger!
8 Cola Carrot Cake
When Easter comes rolling around the corner, it's hard to resist the urge to bake up the Easter Bunny’s favorite sweet treat, and this new spin involving Coca-Cola brings the temptation to irresistible heights! So, let’s get out the mixing bowl and start grating those carrots because it's time to get crazy with some cola in our cake batter! Cola and carrots—what could go wrong? Apparently, nothing at all, according to this delicious carrot cola cake recipe from Recipe Lion! Adding adorable mini Coke bottle candies to the edges functions as a whimsical decoration in place of traditional carrots! Kids and grown-ups alike will fall in love with this recipe, making it an excellent choice for dinner parties, birthdays, potlucks etc.
7 Coca-Cola Beef Tacos
These days, street eats and food trucks are all the rage, and the taco is the veritable king of all street foods. Conceived in the heydays of the food truck revolution, the new beef taco incorporates the heartiness of slow-cooked pulled beef with a tangy-sweet base and a variety of freshly pickled vegetables as accoutrements. In this new innovation, the marinade and the sauce incorporate classic Coca-Cola! As a base flavor, cola beautifully incorporates pungent garlic and spicy jalapenos to create a sweet and spicy profile that'll linger in your foodie memory for weeks to come, and the splash of fish sauce elevates the dish to authentically eastern levels.
6 Virginia Peanut Pie with Coke Reduction
Close to the HQ of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia, a new spin was put on an old classic in the kitchen of a favorite locals' dive, JCT’s Kitchen. Atlanta pastry chef Taria Camerino dreamed up her version of the classic peanut pie and was nice enough to share it with Coca-Cola recipe innovators and eventually, the rest of the world. It's a revelation in Peanut Pie! The secret? Two full bottles of Coca-Cola reduced to a glaze along with salted roasted peanuts. It’s a new take on the classic southern snack of peanuts and coke, which apparently, people throw right into the pop. Am I crazy, or is this kind of weird? In any case, this version seems much more appealing!
5 Chocolate Ganache Toast with Cola Syrup
With a sprinkle of green perfect for St Patrick’s day, this is the breakfast of champions to keep you going all day (and night thanks to all that sugar!). A killer combination of cola and stout give this breakfast its backbone (skip on the stout, and add a cup of dark roast coffee to kick up the flavors a notch), mixed together in a syrupy sauce that's nothing short of heavenly. Brioche is hands down the only bread to use when making this recipe, as the soft thickness absorbs all the flavors of the egg mixture and crisps up perfectly in the pan. The only thing missing from this recipe is a side of extra-thick bacon!
4 Cola Beef Brisket
Brisket is one of those dishes that is, on the surface, an intimidating cut of beef to work with, especially for beginners. As a motley assemblage of muscle and fat cut from the chest of the animal, brisket needs the tenderizing factors of low heat and time, and this method from Recipe Lion takes the methodology seriously—25 hours, serious! Yes, you read that right—over the course of 25 hours at a low heat of 200 degrees F, your brisket will tenderize into something that'll essentially melt apart on your dinner plate. Using a generous amount of liquid and keeping an eye on the brisket as it roasts and basting it every so often will give you an unforgettable meal–all you have to do is set the temperature and let your oven do the work!
3 Chocolate Chip N' Cola Cookies
Chocolate chip n' cola cookies put a new spin on our traditional sweet-tooth cravings. As a replacement for sugar, it works wonderfully by adding a lightened consistency from the carbonation (think of the same effect soda water has on a batter) and a delicious, distinct sweetness that's unique from brown sugar or confectioners. Truly a comfort-food delight, this recipe comes straight from the bull’s mouth–the Coca-Cola bull, that is! The cola giant is featuring a lineup of recipe innovations all using their classic cola products. The cola cookie is a home run in our books and will be with your kids as well as those who consider themselves a kid at heart!
2 Coca-Cola Sheet Cake
Who can resist a sheet cake? Better question: who can resist the ease of MAKING a sheet cake? Simply put, I cannot, and with this recipe, you’ll find yourself equally inspired to get back into the kitchen for some baking to ring in the Spring Season! And yes, I'm getting ahead of myself–when is that darn groundhog going to poke his head out and tell us when spring is anyway?
In the meantime, treat yourself to the soul-warming dessert that's Coca-Cola Sheet Cake! Crunchy pecans and decadent chocolate icing adorn the top of this irresistibly easy and delicious cake from Crazy For Crust!
1 Coca-Cola Balsamic Dressing
Some cola with your salad? Sure thing! This next recipe from Coca-Cola strikes the perfect harmony between indulgence and health with a plethora of fresh vegetables including beets, beans, and cherry tomatoes all beautifully dressed up with a tangy cola-balsamic vinaigrette dressing. The sugars in the cola mixed with the acidity of the apple cider vinegar meld together lovingly in an olive oil base, providing a perfectly balanced vinaigrette that you can easily double or even triple for leftovers throughout the week. The beauty of this dressing is that it’s an easy, tasty way to incorporate more fresh veggies into a diet!