These cooking fixes are intended to help you get the best possible result from your meals, even if you mess up! I love spending time in the kitchen and I especially love trying out new recipes. But, that doesn’t mean every meal is a home run! I’ve had some terrible results and the following are some of the ways I turned a disaster into something still edible.
Over-Salting Can Be Fixed!
I especially have this issue when I make soup! I don’t follow a recipe for my mom’s chicken soup and I have never managed to write down the proper proportions. It’s not surprising that sometimes I’m heavy-handed with the salt and a dash becomes a dump.
To fix a too-salty soup, I squirt in a few drops of lemon juice. I find that the acid counteracts the salt without changing the flavour of the soup. Just go slow and taste test after each squirt and stir. You can also find other solutions here.
Made It Too Sweet? Here’s Help
Much like too salty, lemon juice works well to add acidity to a sweet dish. It’s one of the many reasons we often add a bit of lemon into an apple pie! Here’s a great pie recipe that uses this helpful hint.
Cooking Fixes for Sour Tastes
It’s easier than you think to make something taste too sour, especially with acidic food like vinegars and tomatoes. You can rectify this by being a sweetie! Add something like honey or cream to your dish to balance out the sourness. Maple syrup is also a healthy option.
Too Thick? No Problem!
This one is easy-peasy to fix. Simply add more cream, broth or water depending on the main liquid base in your recipe. You could use wine as well but you’ll want to cook it for a bit longer to allow the liquor to burn off.
Add your liquid a little at a time to ensure you don’t make it too thin!
Too Thin? Bulk It Up
This is a bit tricker to fix because it really depends on what you’re making and how it was prepared.
For a vegetable-based soup you could either puree a portion of it or add some cream/milk.
Beef or chicken stews can be thickened by stirring in a slurry, a bit at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. This also works for sauces and gravies.
If you’ve made a tomato sauce or other type of pasta sauce, the pasta you add will thicken the sauce a bit. You could also throw in some grated cheese of your choice for added bulk and taste!
Cooking Fixes For Under-Baking
Having a wet cake is my personal nightmare. I stress every time! But don’t worry, you can still fix this with a little more time and love.
First of all, make sure you’re using a toothpick to check the middle of your cake. Before you remove it from the oven, poke the middle and if the toothpick comes out dry, you’re good. If it’s still wet, keep it in the oven at the current temperature and check it every 3-5 minutes.
If you have removed your cake from the oven for any longer than 5 minutes, reduce your oven heat and cover your cake with tinfoil before you return it to the oven. Check it every 3-5 minutes.
Fix That Under-Cooked Dish!
Eating under-cooked meats, especially pork, chicken and eggs, can cause food poisoning as a result of bacteria or viruses. You should always consider using a food thermometer and cook according to proper cooking times for your meal.
Most meats will continue to cook and increase a few degrees when they are removed from the heat. If still not at the proper temperature, you can return them to the stove or oven. Personally, when this happens to me (and it does!) I like to slice up the meal before I return it to the oven so it cooks faster and more evenly.
I would recommend avoiding the microwave as that can dry out your dish.
Too Spicy? Let’s Tame That Beast
One time, while I was making a slow-cooker chilli, I accidentally added cayenne pepper instead of chilli powder! Fortunately, I noticed it before serving and was able to make the dish a bit more mild. I did this by adding…. butter! The fat in butter helps bind the spiciness so you don’t have to add a warning sign to your meal.
You’ve probably heard that milk is good for taming heat as well, which is also true in cooking. Cream or milk will work equally as well as butter if you’re making a dairy-based dish.
Cooking shouldn’t be stressful but if you find yourself with a recipe-fail, these cooking fixes will get you back on track! If you’re looking for similar kitchen help, you may find 5 Things you should NEVER put in your Instant Pot and Air Fryer Mistakes I Learned the Hard Way helpful articles to keep on hand.