I Taste-Tested The 19 Unusual Food Combinations You All Told Me Were Surprisingly Delicious, And I'm Low-Key Shocked How Good Some Were
Hello, my foodie friends! My name's Hannah, and I love eating and writing about food. Whether I'm on a restaurant tour around New York City with a famous YouTuber or subjecting my parents to my favorite drunk snacks from college, I'm always brainstorming ways to connect with people over food!
So, I decided to conduct an experiment where I asked you, members of the BuzzFeed Community, to tell me some unusual food combos that shouldn't work together but are actually shockingly delicious. After my first attempt at this experiment (you can read that here), I realized that you all may be onto something. While some combos definitely didn't do it for me, others were absolute game-changers. So, I'm back for more! Here are 19 unusual (but potentially delicious) food combos and all of my unfiltered thoughts on each exciting bite! Enjoy!
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1."In Nebraska, we eat chili with cinnamon rolls on the side."
I've heard from a few midwestern friends that this is a must-try, soooo fine, I'm doing it.
I really, REALLY freakin' love these little Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, and I don't think even a bowl of chili can stand in the way of that.
Well, alright, it's not bad. Do I prefer my cinnamon rolls sans beans and beef? Of course! I'm a simple woman! BUT, I wasn't disgusted; I wasn't traumatized. I could see the appeal. I know there are chili recipes out there that call for cinnamon, so the flavor combination does make sense. While I don't think I'll be going back to this snack anytime soon, I didn't mind it in the moment!
2."Swiss cheese and peanut butter on sourdough bread, prepared like a grilled cheese. Don't knock it 'til you try it. It was a family invention that my grandma made as a struggle meal when my dad was growing up, and now it's a family tradition."
Gotta say, even before trying this one out: I get it. I wouldn't have thought of this combo on my own, but now that I'm giving it a go, it feels right. I might not feel similarly about other cheeses, but somehow Swiss makes sense. It's a mild cheese that's a bit sweet and nutty. I like the direction we're taking this.
I reallyyy went over the top with the peanut butter because I was at the end of the jar (and why skimp?!). I was surprised by how heavy the sandwich felt when I was cooking it and went to flip it.
OOOOH, yes! What a delicious mess! This turned out really great. My sandwich was absolutely oozing with peanut butter, which I think was a great call. As peanut butter tends to do, it dominated the sandwich's flavor. But the nuttiness of the Swiss cheese was not lost, and it complemented the peanut butter perfectly. Don't sleep on this combination! I think adding jelly would be terrific too.
3."I like slathering my pizzas with chocolate pudding every once in a while."
Two things I dearly love, coming together as one! Sure, why not??? This is fine.
Would I prefer to eat these separately? Of course! I'd rather fully experience the slice of pizza, then enjoy the pudding cup, and call it a day. Since I love both so much individually, I just have to hope that combining them doesn't turn me off from either too much.
Aesthetically, this has to be the most foul-looking combination EVER. Sorry I didn't completely smear the dog turd of chocolate pudding around, but I really didn't want to cover the entire slice and potentially ruin it! God, it genuinely looked so offensive that I couldn't stop giggling like a little kid. But I was in too deep to back out, so I forged on with the tiny shred of dignity I had left. Despite the horrendous appearance, it tasted fine! Now, would I smear chocolate pudding on a "gourmet" slice of pizza from a restaurant? Nah, that just feels wasteful. It was fine on the DiGiorno, but that's about as far as I'd take it. It made the slice heavier and wetter, so not totally ideal. It tasted just fine, but it didn't feel like a pairing. The flavors weren't complementing each other. Both components were just there, doing their own thing. So, while the taste was fine and enjoyable enough, it didn't feel like a groundbreaking combo.
4."Put bacon in vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup."
Well, I've had chocolate-covered bacon before, so this doesn't seem like a far cry from that. But never in my life have I crumbled bacon bits over a bowl of ice cream. There's a first time for everything, I guess!
New ice cream sundae just dropped.
Success!!! The smokiness of the bacon paired sooo well with the sweetness of the ice cream and the chocolate. They balanced each other out nicely, and neither flavor outdid the other. I also really liked the way the cold ice cream changed the texture of the bacon. It made the bits chewier, and I liked that added consistency. When you're making dessert, bacon may not be the first ingredient on your mind, but a little bit goes a long way when paired with something sweet, and I think it's a flavor profile worth exploring.
5."Chips Ahoy! cookies and Frito Lay bean dip."
Wow, why? Where did this one come from? I am DYING to know the origin story here. Gotta say, I was pumped to get some Chips Ahoy! in my pantry, but that bean dip was making me skeptical.
I had to peel off a metal lid to crack open the can of bean dip, and boy, did it remind me of opening cat food — smell and all! Felt like I was about to dig into some Fancy Feast. 🐈
Well, this one's gonna haunt me. Never once have I thought "gee, I wish this had less flavor" while eating food, but that's exactly how this bean dip made me feel. Did it have to have so much flavor??? To be clear, it wasn't a bad flavor, it was just NOT compatible with the cookie I was using to scoop it up. I don't know about you, but I don't tend to pair my cookies with flavors of garlic and onion. The pairing was also texturally confusing. The cookie didn't have enough crunch to mimic that "chips and dip" feel. Everything was a bit too soft. Some things in life are just meant to be, and some aren't. Personally, I'd say this pairing falls into the latter category.
6."Try original Fritos dipped in cream cheese!"
Okay, perhaps this is a more appropriate chip and dip situation that I can get behind. Cream cheese is good with dang near everything, so I have hope.
God, you should see my pantry and fridge right now. My regular groceries are shoved in the back and probably expiring as we speak while I'm spending my lunch hours dunking every type of chip, cracker, and cookie into every "dip" imaginable. Gotta keep the Tums on hand.
Huzzah! This pair is palatable! Cream cheese is so good, y'all. Of course this works. I mean, it's basically like dipping chips into onion dip. Rich, creamy, and almost a neutralizer for the saltiness of the Fritos! I can dig it.
7."Make a bowl of Chef Boyardee ravioli and some peanut butter toast. Put ravioli on your toast and enjoy. It's really delicious and something my mom taught me. It also works with spaghetti."
Noooo. Please. I'm scared!! They only had meat-filled ravioli, and somehow that's making this whole thing so much worse for me.
Upon opening the can, I was met with quite a bit of déjà vu. Though I never had Chef Boyardee as a kid, I do recall having a few run-ins with SpaghettiOs, and it turns out they have the same smell. Oh boy! Listen, not to sound elitist, but as someone who makes quite a bit of homemade pasta and sauce, this just doesn't appeal to me. But for the sake of science, here we go!
I mean absolutely no disrespect to you or your mom, but this was the combo that broke me. It was just such a mess — runny sauce and slippery ravioli were going everywhere. The seasoning of the beef did NOT complement the peanut butter toast, and the sauce morphed with the peanut butter to create a gelatinous nightmare. Overall, this contained too many flavors that simply did not belong together. The beef was not a welcome addition. Maybe cheese would've been better? Probably not by much. I'm sorry.
8."Try red wine and Coke. It's not bad."
There was a little red wine left over from my parent's visit, so it was the perfect time to try this pair! Red wine isn't my go-to beverage, but I don't hate it. I usually just prefer a white or rosé. And I do enjoy a Coke from time to time, but I've certainly never mixed it with wine! Rum? Sure! Wine feels more questionable. But hey, I know this combo isn't totally uncommon, so maybe there's hope.
Maybe this was a bad call (I am unsure), but I did not chill the Coke beforehand. Since the wine was room temp, I figured the Coke should match its energy. Was that wrong? I really don't know!
Bottom's up!! Haha okay, a few thoughts: Something about these two together just made me grit my teeth. Like, I swear the liquids were coating my teeth as I drank them. Sometimes red wine can tint your teeth, and sugary, bubbly Coke sometimes makes my teeth feel weird, so this combo just made me want to brush my teeth! Otherwise, both beverages are much better APART! It was tolerable, but the whole time I was sipping (and you better believe I finished it), I was wishing I was having one drink or the other, not both at once. It sort of tasted like a stale, flat Coke that sat in someone's warm car for too long. Not heinous, but not ~fab.~
9."I love peanut butter and cheese whiz sandwiches. I've eaten them since I was a kid."
Oh, good grief. Is this experiment going to ruin my love of peanut butter? I'm starting to associate it with some pretty questionable flavors. It would be pretty dang hard to make me hate PB, but I'm getting scared.
So. Much. ORANGE. If I could go back in time, I'd definitely scrape off some of that excess cheese.
Look at that bad boy ooze. Yikes!! But in all honesty, this was not nearly as odd or offensive as I expected it to be. Sure, it was a little odd — definitely too salty — but overall, not heinous! When it comes to PB + cheese sandwiches, I think I'll stick to the PB + Swiss combo, but I'm pleasantly surprised. My expectations were pretty low, so maybe that's it. Or maybe it's the fact that processed cheese sometimes just hits the spot. There, I said it!!
10."Put Everything but the Bagel seasoning on top of mac 'n' cheese."
I know this Everything but the Bagel seasoning is a big hit right now, and as a lover of everything bagels (and mac 'n' cheese), this seems like a no-brainer.
Kraft mac 'n' cheese will never NOT hit the spot. It's such a comfort food for me. That being said, left undoctored, it is fairly basic. I'm all for adding a little pizzazz.
Okay, as a "special" pairing, this didn't really do anything for me. I like the seasoning and I think it has many great uses, but it makes the mac 'n' cheese too salty. I like the crunchy texture provided by the seeds, but this isn't really a full-blown combo, I suppose. It's just a heavily-salted bowl of mac 'n' cheese. And if the picture looks like I added too much seasoning, keep in mind that's how it looked before I mixed it up. I really didn't use that much considering the size of my mac helping. It was good, but a bit unnecessary. I think I need to try this again, but using Everything but the Elote seasoning from Trader Joe's. There's a thought!!
11."Cheddar Bay Biscuits (from Red Lobster) dipped in apple sauce."
Did you know you can buy the Red Lobster biscuit mix at the grocery store?!?! Game changer. Maybe it won't have the same appeal as a basket of hot biscuits at the restaurant, but I'm optimistic.
I suppose this will be my breakfast for the day!
Woooo, it's a winner! 1. LOVE the biscuits — very tasty! Anything with cheese, butter, garlic, or carbs is always gonna be high on my list. 2. Apple sauce is just so refreshing, I totally get the impulse to dip all sorts of food into it. The crispy, cheesy bottom of the biscuit was particularly good for dipping. I was digging the salty + sweet thing going on here. I used that bread to reallyyy lap up every last bit of apple sauce from the dish. It was also *extra* nice because the biscuit was still warm! Divine.
12."Dip pizza crust in soda (especially root beer). Haters gonna hate, but it’s really no different than dipping a fry in your milkshake!"
Oooops, a stuffed crust is probably not the ideal crust for this little experiment, but it's fine! I can make this work!
One thing about me is that I freakin' LOVE root beer! It's especially delicious with a slice of pizza. This combo feels made for me.
So yeah, a non-stuffed crust is your best bet here. It just works better when the crust is absorbing all that root beer goodness and there's no cheese standing in the way! After dipping it first with the cheese still in the crust, I opted to try again after pulling the cheese out and leaving the crust hollow. Plain crust works best! But I still enjoyed this! I don't like a soggy crust, but I wouldn't say that's the goal here. The root beer merely softens the toughness of the crust and makes it easier to bite/tear! I enjoy drinking a cold root beer with pizza anyway, so I like how this kicks things up a notch.
13."Regular Cheetos and peanut butter. Yum."
Hmm...I'm suspicious. On the one hand, peanut butter is food of the gods and pairs beautifully with so many flavors. On the other hand, ~Cheetos.~ Don't get me wrong, I love a good Cheeto (NOT the hot ones), but do we really have to do this with peanut butter?
Lunch of champions! 😤 Nothing says you've "made it" in life quite like slathering peanut butter on a cheese puff in the name of your career. Yeah, I get paid to do this.
Ahh yes, another texturally confusing duo. Perhaps it would've been less jarring if I had spread my glob of peanut butter evenly down the Cheeto. But I also feel like that might've made things worse? I really don't know. The peanut butter was, of course, the star of the show. It was the dominant flavor in my first bite (since that was where the PB glob was situated), but once I went back in and got the rest of the Cheeto, I could really taste the two flavors in tandem. The consensus: not bad. I didn't hear angels sing or see fireworks or anything, but I also didn't feel compelled to wash my mouth out or chase the bite with something less ~unusual.~ I don't know if I'd reach for this pairing again, but it was totally edible in the moment.
14."Nutter Butter cookies and pickles."
Peanut butter and pickles: tale as old as time. People just love the idea of seeing pickles and peanut butter together. It feels a little wrong, and that's what makes it so right. Right?
Maybe my sense of humor is broken, but I laughed so hard when I looked down at my plate and this was all I saw. There's just something so tragic about this photo. They just don't look like they belong together.
I'm such a pickle person, and I think I've made it clear that I love peanut butter, so pairings like these don't scare me. Would I actively choose to soggy up my Nutter Butters with pickle juice? No, not exactly. But, when I have to do so in the name of *science*....well, it's not so bad. Minus the fact that my cookie started to get soggy while I was documenting everything, this works texturally. The crunch of the pickle with the crunch of the cookie has a nice snap to it. Neither the pickle nor the peanut butter took over as dominant flavors. They worked in tandem to be confusingly tasty. Not bad.
15."I like dipping mozzarella sticks in cookies 'n' cream ice cream."
Be still, my rumbling tummy. Alright, nothing too avant-garde here! Just two delicious dairy dishes (haha, alliteration) that I know all too well.
This feels like a dinner that a 7-year-old would make for themselves. Hey, that's not a complaint — just an observation!
Hmmm. Are these special as a combo, or are they just two snacks I happen to like individually? I don't think there was anything particularly striking about pairing these two together. I don't feel like I discovered some magical food secret. I just dipped one tasty thing into another tasty thing, and it was fine! I didn't love taking my piping hot mozzarella stick and submerging it into freezing cold ice cream because a mozz stick is best served hot! The temperature and texture were not ideal, in my opinion. But I love dairy, so any complaints feel moot. It was nothing to call home about, but I enjoyed it enough because I love both fried cheese and ice cream. I think I'll stick to eating these snacks individually, though.
16."A fried egg, cheese, and grape jelly on an everything bagel."
Actually, this sounds pretty great! I'm all for a savory breakfast sandwich, and I think adding a little bit of sweetness could be really tasty.
She's a beauty! But wow, she is a mess. Between the jelly, egg yolk, and melted cheese, this is a multi-napkin meal.
Umm, it's even better than I expected! It sounded good in theory, but it's amazing in practice. The grape jelly is a stellar addition to a classic egg and cheese bagel sandwich. It cuts some of the intense saltiness from the bagel, cheese, and the egg, and it just makes for a scrumptious bite!! Seriously, I have no notes. I'm obsessed. I WILL be having this again.
17."Cottage cheese and potato chips! Sounds odd, but it's delicious. My mother ate it when I was a kid, and my siblings and I loved it when she’d share. Now, my kiddo eats it too!"
Well, I sure do love a potato chip, but cottage cheese makes me grimace a little bit. It's not even a texture thing! I love a creamy food!! And we've established that I find dairy to be delightful! But there's something about cottage cheese that straight-up doesn't appeal to me. It needs to be well mixed with something; it can't be the star of the show.
Not my first choice for dip, but it'll have to do!!
OK, not bad! But also a little bland, in my opinion. The chips are good and salty, and thank goodness, because the cottage cheese doesn't provide much additional flavor. Sure, it's creamy and seems like it could be a good dip, but there's just not enough happenin'. The cottage cheese needs a whole lot of seasoning to make this a truly delicious pairing. If I were to try this again (on my own and not for the sake of an article taste test), I'd find a way to give the cottage cheese some added pizzazz — maybe make it into a more savory, seasoned dip. Then, I think I'd be pleased with this pairing.
18."Chocolate ice cream and nacho cheese Doritos."
As far as snack foods go, I'm a pretty big fan of nacho cheese Doritos. Those are some seriously good chips. Obviously, I adore chocolate ice cream (because I have a soul), but, as far as toppings go, chips are ~not~ my first choice...ESPECIALLY cheesy chips.
When I sat down with this bowl in front of me, my roommate looked at me like I had just committed a crime. I normally like a salty + sweet pairing, but this was a bit of a stretch. Just off the bat, the bowl kind of smelled like feet. I guess chocolate + fake cheese would not be a great scent for a candle. Texturally, I think it could've been better. My ice cream was super frozen and not that creamy or scoopable, so it wasn't the best "dip" for the chips. Something about the flavor of corn chips with ice cream isn't really for me. It wasn't too bad, but the taste reminded me of having acid reflux, soooo...yeah. It very much felt like a snack someone may enjoy while under the influence, LOL.
19.Finally: "A Snickers candy bar and orange juice."
Hmm, I prefer my orange juice paired with champagne. Okay, but seriously, orange juice is a lovely beverage for brunch and a fabulous mixer, but I've never eaten a meal and thought, "God, I wish I had some orange juice to pair with this right now." I especially don't see the appeal of chocolate and peanuts with OJ.
Why is this picture so dramatic? Lol, it looks like the candy bars are having a séance.
Alright, I don't have any strong opinions. Sorry to disappoint! This just doesn't feel like a pairing. The flavors really don't mix at all. I don't feel like I've gained any new insight from this experience. It tasted exactly like what it was — eating a Snickers bar and washing it down with orange juice — nothing more, and nothing less. It wasn't putrid, but it wasn't interesting. Sorry!
So, what did we learn here? You can pair peanut butter with pretty much anything, but that doesn't mean I'll like it! Grape jelly is the perfect addition to any savory breakfast sandwich. Oh, and I'm not a fan of Chef Boyardee (my inner child needed to know).
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