It happens to the best of us! If you spend any time in the kitchen at some point you’ll burn the food. Before you toss it out, read our tips and see if you can salvage whatever it is you’re making.
Of course, if the entire meal is charcoal there’s nothing you can do to save it. In this case, throw it out and start again. However, often only the surface of the food or the base of the pot gets burned.
Most of the food will still be edible, but you want to know how to mask or remove the burnt taste and smell. Read on for 7 approaches you can use.
How To Remove Burnt Smell From Food
1. Change the pot
If you were cooking on the stovetop and only the bottom of the pot got burnt, immediately tip the food out into a clean pot. Do not scrape any of the stuck food off the bottom of the first pot. This may solve the problem or you may need to apply another fix as well.
2. Cut it out
If you have burned something like a piece of meat, potatoes, or other solid foods, you might be able to cut the burned bits off. Use a sharp knife for this job.
If it’s a whole chicken or roast leg, cut off the burned bits and instead of serving it as a whole roast, change the plan and remove the meat from the bones (tossing out any burned bits) then add the meat to a sauce.
Think of a sauce that compliments smokey flavors such as a creamy pepper or mushroom one, or what about a barbeque type sauce? Thinking of the meat as “smoked” rather than “burned” can change how it tastes immediately!
Try shredding the meat into a sauce and using it in wraps or tortillas. If it’s a loaf of homebaked bread you’ve scorched, cut the outer crust off and use the center for crumbs. Toast the crumbs, season them, and use them as a delicious crunchy topping for baked dishes.
3. Potato to the rescue
Potatoes are known to absorb flavors and odors in a dish. If you have burned a dish containing gravy such as stew or curry, peel and roughly cut a few potatoes. Add them to the pot and simmer the dish gently for another half an hour or so. Remove and discard the potatoes.
4. Adding acidity
Acidic ingredients seem to balance out a burned flavor but be careful not to overdo it. Depending on your recipe, try adding one of these:
- Lemon juice
- White wine
- Red wine
5. Use creamy products
Sometimes a little creaminess can mask a burnt flavor. This fix is best for saucy foods or those containing gravy. Depending on your recipe, try adding a few tablespoons of one of the following:
- Plain yogurt
- Coconut cream
6. Add sauces
If you’ve burned the BBQ or grilled food, you can opt for sauces, including gooseberry sauce and cranberry sauce.
These sweet sauces will perfectly mask up the burnt smell, and no one will even know you had a little accident at home. Alternatively, use sauces such as creamy garlic, mushroom, or green peppercorn.
7. Try cinnamon
It will depend on your recipe if you can use this fix, but if you have cooked any type of curry, spicy food, or sweet milky dish, try adding a half teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Its sweet aromatic smell and flavor seem to make burn taste and smell well.
The Bottom Line
We hope our tips will help you to fix your burned food so that it won’t be wasted. Remember to eliminate the burnt odor from the kitchen too as this will influence how people perceive the food.
Try boiling a small pot with cinnamon sticks or coffee beans on the stove to impart a lovely smell.