Remember when you were a kid, and you'd put nearly everything on anything? You’d make the weirdest combinations—like putting sprinkles on sandwiches, scooping sugar-filled icing on fruit, drizzling ketchup on fruits, vegetables, and grains, and pouring chocolate milk in cereal. Admittedly, some of these inventions were absolute genius (like the chocolate milk and cereal combo), but others were just wrong.
Nowadays, it’s common to find hundreds of food posts on your Facebook wall, Instagram feed, and social media sites. There always seems to be a new discovery for “the new best flavor combination,” the “world’s greatest cake,” or the “world’s weirdest sandwich.” I’m definitely in support of a little innovation, but some people have taken it too far… Combinations like burgers and cinnamon buns or rice and ketchup are nauseating! Thankfully, some food combinations have turned out a little better! Pairing sweet and salty ingredients (like chips and ice cream), creates a surprisingly addicting taste—one that's sure to impress your guests!
The problem is, it’s really hard to tell which of these crazy combos are good and which are best avoided. Impressing guests with new flavors is fun—unless the combination leaves a sour taste… To help you out, I’ve developed a list of popular food combinations—some that are genius and others that didn’t turn out so well… So, without further ado, these are the top 20 weirdest food combinations around today—ten that’ll make you wish you never tried them and 10 that’ll make you come back for seconds… or thirds…
20 Try: Ham and Jam
When two ingredients rhyme, they’ve gotta work, right? In this case-YES. The jam topping tastes like a little bite from Thanksgiving dinner. The only difference is that instead of cranberry sauce, you’re using a fresh raspberry or strawberry jam! Be careful, though; jams made from oranges, peaches, or blueberries don’t do the pork justice—the flavors just don’t match up quite right. So, next time you’re craving a taste of Thanksgiving dinner (which, for me, is nearly every day…), try picking up a piece of pork from the local butcher, and top it with a big scoop of fresh strawberry or red berry jam! If you don’t have the time to roast a whole ham, simply grab a few slices of ham from the deli, and make a nice jam-and-ham grilled sandwich!
19 Avoid: Spaghetti and Burger
Spaghetti stuffed between two burger buns might sound tempting to a carb lover, but this is definitely a combo that should be ignored. The strands of spaghetti are unexpected (and not in a good way)... They create a confusing texture—instead of a juicy, succulent burger with fresh toppings, you get a mouthful of stringy spaghetti—ew. The main flavors you taste are from the bland carbs—the bread and the spaghetti. If you’re planning to have a spaghetti burger, opt for a plate of pasta (dressed in tomato, alfredo, or some other flavourful sauce) with garlic toast instead. You’ll still get a healthy dose of carbs, but you’ll actually enjoy the flavor!
18 Try: Marshmallow and popcorn
Are you someone who just can’t get enough sweet and sticky Rice Krispies treats? Or, are you the person in the movie theater who can devour an entire bag of popcorn all by yourself? If you’re anything like me, you’re BOTH! This combination was one that caught me by surprise—and I’m not complaining. Honestly, the combination isn’t much different than a classic Rice Krispies bar. You still get the ooey-gooey, crispy texture, but the popcorn adds a little more crunch and a nice subtle buttery flavor. It reminds me a bit of caramel popcorn, but a little lighter and fluffier (from the marshmallows!). Mashed together, the popcorn and the marshmallow may not look the most appealing—but don’t judge this book by its cover—you’ll be missing out on a delicious treat!
17 Avoid: Banana and Mayonnaise
Let’s be honest—a mushy banana, a piece of white bread, and a spoonful of mayo is the perfect recipe for a soggy mess… There really isn’t much of a flavor in this combo—the banana and mayo both have subtle flavors, and neither one wants to take the lead. Unfortunately, the sandwich turns into a squishy and soggy mess, with little to no flavor. Instead, try pairing the banana with peanut butter and bacon. Put the toppings on a pancake, a sweetened tortilla, or a crispy slice of toast. If you’re a mayo lover, try a roast beef, tomato, lettuce, and mayo grilled sandwich!
16 Try: Vanilla Ice Cream and Soy Sauce
If you’re someone who loves trying new ice cream flavors, this one should be next on your list! The truth is, soy sauce isn’t good only in stir-fries and foods from Asia—it also serves as a great topping for ice cream. Spice up your boring ‘ol bowl of vanilla ice cream by adding a drizzle of soy sauce. The soy sauce transforms the vanilla ice cream into a sweet and salty dessert that's sure to surprise your taste buds (in the best way). Next time you go for your midnight bowl of ice cream, top it with a dash of soy sauce, and prepare yourself for your new favorite combo!
15 Avoid: Orange Juice and Cereal
Most people enjoy a nice cold glass of orange juice with their morning bowl of cereal—but this DOES NOT mean they should be combined!!! Pouring orange juice overtop a bowl of Cheerios (or whatever your breakfast cereal of choice is) simply ruins the flavor, and it all turns to mush. Milk is a much better option—it adds a subtle flavor with a hint of sweetness and a creamy texture. All of these factors are reasons why milk and cereal taste so good together! Orange juice is thinner, less creamy, and overpowers any sort of flavor in the cereal. Even worse, the acidity of the orange juice is likely to break down the cereal quicker, turning it to a mushy mess. In the end, you’re just left with a bowl of chunky orange juice—yum...
14 Try: Apples and Grilled Cheese
There’s a lot of controversy about the apple and cheddar cheese duo… We’ve all heard of the apple pie and cheddar cheese trend, but what about an apple and cheddar cheese grilled sandwich?? It might sound odd, but the grilled apple brings about a wonderful sweetness that complements the (sometimes overpowering) richness of the cheddar cheese. Honestly, a normal grilled cheese sandwich can sometimes be too... um... cheesy… The flavor of the sharp cheddar is just too strong for my liking. The acidity and the sweetness in the apple cut right through the sharp cheddar flavor and dulls it down a bit—in the best way!! Now, the sandwich is sweet, salty, and has a nice (but subtle) cheesy flavor—finally, a unique and enjoyable grilled cheese sandwich!
13 Avoid: Chocolate and Pizza
We have two fan favorites trying to mash together into one “masterpiece.” Let’s get one thing straight—chocolate is NOT a pizza topping, and the two should NEVER be on the same plate. Not sure what it would taste like? Try spreading some tomato sauce on a piece of chocolate and melting a bit of cheese on top… Sound appetizing? Probably not… Let’s stick to tradition for dinner pizzas—topped with tomato sauce, meats, veggies, and lots of cheese—NO chocolate, sweets, or other nonsense… If you're really craving a chocolate-and-pizza combination, try making a dessert pizza. Use a pancake or sugar-coated tortilla as a base, and top it with fruit, whipping cream, and chocolate—now that's a proper chocolate pizza!
12 Try: Potato chips and ice cream
You might be noticing a common sweet-and-salty trend here, but honestly, when you find the perfect balance of these two flavors, the combination is hard to resist! This one is definitely controversial, but I think it’s genius! Instead of adding crunch to your ice cream with even more sugary ingredients (like sprinkles or chocolate chips), try switching it up with a contrast of salt! Feeling extra adventurous? Try mixing up the flavors—try with salt and vinegar chips with vanilla ice cream or regular chips with a chocolate ice cream! These matchups certainly aren’t healthy ones, but they surely won’t fail to satisfy your sweet (and salty) tooth!
11 Avoid: Popcorn and Ketchup
Ketchup might be tasty, but it doesn’t mean it goes with everything… Especially not buttery popcorn. The ketchup soaks into the popcorn and takes away from its addicting crunch. Instead, you’re left with a soggy mess that tastes a bit like giant lumps of ketchup… To all my fellow ketchup lovers out there, this is where the line is drawn. Enjoy your ketchup on burgers, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, and hot dogs, but leave the popcorn alone. Searching for a different flavor to add to your popcorn? Try using a flavored butter (by infusing it with garlic, rosemary, or herbs) salt and pepper, turmeric, curry powder, or chipotle spice. If you’re extra adventurous, try coating it in a little honey, cinnamon, sugar, or maple syrup! But, please, leave the ketchup on the shelf...
10 Try: Avocado and Jam
This one sounds a little odd, but trust me when I say, it's DELICIOUS! You get a nice smooth, creamy, rich texture from the avocado, and the jam packs in a sweet little surprise! The best part is—the combo tastes like a dessert, but it’s actually really healthy!! The avocado contains a generous dose of healthy fats, vitamin E, and vitamin B-6. The jam (assuming you’re using a natural fruit-based jam) contains plenty of vitamins and minerals! Want to try it at home? Simply puree an avocado (until there are no lumps left), and spread it on top of a crispy piece of toast. Then, drop a few spoonfuls of your favorite jam (the go-to choice is strawberry) and eat up.
9 Avoid: Peanut Butter and Scrambled Eggs
Peanut butter is admittedly one of my favorite ingredients, so I never thought I'd find a food that didn’t go well with the addicting nutty spread. Unfortunately, I think I just found it: scrambled eggs. When I first saw this combination trending on the internet, I was excited. Peanut butter is crunchy and salty, and I usually have salt with my scrambled eggs anyways, so I thought the combination might actually work. I made myself a quick batch and… HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT! The flavors of the egg and the peanut butter clashed, and I couldn’t stand to take another bite. Even worse, the peanut butter made the eggs extra sticky and clumpy—ew. Do yourself a favor, and leave these two foods separate on the plate—they’re great alone, but as a duo, they’re a disaster!
8 Try: Peanut butter and Beef (Burger)
As I just mentioned, peanut butter is one of my all-time favorite spreads—I honestly can't get enough of the crunchy, nutty, and creamy mixture! I never considered using it as a topping for a burger, but when I tried the "Sk8er Boy" burger from The Works, I was hooked. The burger was topped with peanut butter, jack cheese, and bacon—sounds a little weird, but it was AMAZING. The salty, crunchy, and creamy peanut butter complements the umami taste of the beef so well! If you haven't tried it, you've gotta head to The Works to try one of their peanut butter and burger combos—STAT!
7 Avoid: Oreos and Orange Juice
No, no, no. This trend needs to stop. Since when did it become okay to pair Oreos with anything other than milk??? Orange juice turns the Oreo into a mushy, somewhat acidic, somewhat orangey, and somewhat lumpy mess!! I’m not sure who started this trend, but I think it’s time we end this fad once and for all. If you spend your money on a box of Oreos, don’t ruin it! Whether it be vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, or any other crazy flavor of Oreo—pair with a nice cold glass of 2% milk! The original milk and oreo combo was perfect—and when something ain’t broke, don’t go trying to fix it!
6 Try: Banana and bacon
Ever heard of the classic Elvis combo of peanut butter, banana, and bacon?? Well, it turns out, you don’t actually need the peanut butter in there to make a unique flavor experience! The banana and bacon combo is the best part! Try having a banana pancake topped with crispy layers of bacon for a delicious breakfast! If you’re really adventurous, try wrapping a slice of banana with a strip of bacon—dip it in a bit of maple syrup, and enjoy!! If you really want to add some peanut butter, go ahead, but there’s no need—the banana and bacon speak for themselves (and they really do sing a nice tune!).
5 Avoid: Cinnamon Roll and Burger (Beef)
Okay, it’s one thing to be creative with the type of burger bun you use—like using ramen, rice, or vegetables as a base—but some people have taken it too far. Some people have decided to try out this combination of cinnamon rolls and burger meat—ew. Just because you love two foods, it doesn’t mean you should combine them into the same dish… This is definitely no exception—a sweet bread roll, plus a warm cinnamon glaze, plus a big juicy burger equals a disaster. Keep these two fan favorites separate. Save the burger (with a normal bun) for dinner, and indulge in the cinnamon roll for a satisfying dessert!
4 Try: Sweet Potato and Peanut Butter
My friends always give me the weirdest looks when I mention this crazy combo—but the minute they try it, they’re hooked. It might sound odd, but the salty peanut butter and the sugary sweet potato complement each other perfectly and create an addicting combo! My advice? Use crunchy peanut butter to add a little texture to the smooth and creamy sweet potato! There are endless ways to enjoy this delicious duo; dip sweet potato fries in some warm peanut butter, bake a sweet potato and top it with crunchy peanut butter and dried cranberries, or bake up a batch of sweet potato and peanut butter cookies for a soft, delicate, and fluffy dessert!
3 Avoid: Banana Bread and Cheese
I’m not really sure where this one came from, and I have no clue why—who decided it was a good idea to pair cheese with banana bread? When I saw this combo, I was terrified, and after I tasted it, my suspicions were confirmed. Banana bread is such a classic lunch dessert or mid-afternoon snack. The subtle sweet flavor and light and airy texture make for the perfect midday or nighttime treat! The addition of cheese makes no sense—it only takes away from the subtle sweetness of the banana. The cheese transforms the delicate bread into a heavy, cheesy, and confusing mess. If you really want to add something to your banana bread, try spreading a bit of butter or strawberry jam instead!
2 Try: Cottage Cheese and Cereal
Next time you’re grabbing yourself a bowl of cereal, swap out your milk with a few scoops of cottage cheese! Skeptical? Don’t be! The cottage cheese offers a nice creamy and cheesy taste that boring ol’ milk just can’t. The subtle saltiness from the cottage cheese makes for a mouth-watering sweet-and-salty combo! Plus, with about 14g of protein in just ½ cup of cottage cheese, you’ll be adding in some protein to start your day off strong! Try mixing the cottage cheese with a crunchy cereal like Vector or your favorite toasted granola. Choosing a crunchier cereal will ensure the mixture doesn’t go soggy—and it’ll add the perfect crispy bite to the thick and creamy cottage cheese.
1 Avoid: Ketchup and Rice
I know ketchup is a tasty condiment, but that doesn’t mean you should put it on everything… When I was a kid, I did exactly that (and I think most of us can relate). I’d drizzle ketchup on my eggs, tacos, mashed potatoes, and even apples! I’ve finally come to the realization that pouring ketchup on foods simply ruins their delicious, natural flavors. Rice is no exception—the ketchup takes away from the subtle flavors of the delicate and fluffy grain! Quite honestly, ketchup only really works with a few grains such as potatoes (fries), bread (for a sandwich, burger, or hot dog), and mac and cheese. Leave the rice for stir-fries and soups, and save the ketchup for burgers and hot dogs.