20 Popular Foods And Drinks That Were Invented By Accident

Did you know that some of your favorite foods and drinks were invented by mistake? That’s right – from cheese puffs to champagne, some of the most delicious things in the world were not created intentionally.

Here are 20 foods, snacks, and drinks that were made accidentally:

1. Brownies

Who would have thought that one of the most delicious chocolate desserts was invented by accident? That’s right! The brownies we all love were a mishap, but definitely a happy one.

One legend says that Fanny Farmer made brownies while modifying her famous chocolate cookie to be baked in a rectangular pan. According to another story, a chef added a bit too much melted chocolate into the cookie dough. Whichever of the stories is correct, we are tremendously grateful for this tasty mistake!

2. Coke

The widely-famous soft drink Coca-Cola was developed back in 1885 in Atlanta. It was initially meant to be medicine. However, John Pemberton, who is considered the father of the refreshing beverage, kept the recipe a secret and started selling it as a “brain tonic.”

What Pemberton did not hide was the fact that back then, Coca-Cola contained cocaine extracted from the coca leaf and caffeine from kola nuts. As Prohibition in the United States banned similar substances, the added cocaine was no longer a part of the recipe, but the drink remained everyone’s favorite refresher.

3. Nutella

During WWII, the notable Italian baker Pietro Ferrero was trying to create a cheaper yet rich in flavor chocolate alternative. That’s how he invented everyone’s favorite chocolate spread – using hazelnuts, sugar, and just a pinch of cocoa.

4. Potato chips

Simple fried potatoes no longer satisfied the needs of chef George Crum’s customers back in 1853. So, to serve their requests for less thick and spongy fries, the culinarian decided to overcook super thinly sliced potatoes. That’s how he created the chips many of us cannot imagine binging a Netflix show without.

5. Beer

Beer is undoubtedly one of the oldest drinks we have ever produced. It was invented nearly 6,000 years ago by Mesopotamians. At the time, they were quite annoyed that the grains they had been storing for making bread would go soggy and ferment into liquid due to the yeast in the air. Eventually, they realized this bizarre liquid had incredible potential and turned it into the cooling beverage we know today.

6. Cheese

You read that right! Cheese was also invented by mistake. According to a legend, 4,000 years ago, an Arabin merchant accidentally produced cheese from carrying milk in a sheep’s stomach pouch for far too long.

The trader was traveling across a desert, not having a single clue that at the end of his long journey, he would deliver not milk but cheese with the help of the enzymes in the pouch.

7. Tofu

An ancient Chinese cook randomly made tofu by being a little too clumsy. He mixed the natural coagulant called nigari into soybean milk, and thus became the very first person in the world to produce the plant-based “cheese.” Although tofu became widely-popular during the 20th century, it dates back to 2,000 years ago.

8. Coffee

You probably know that coffee originally came from Ethiopia. But did you know that goats are believed to be the founders of the magical uplifting effect of the beans?

According to an old myth, a goat herder named Kaldi noticed how his goats would become excessively active and energetic and wouldn’t sleep at night after eating this particular tree’s berries. He then reported this unusual side effect to a local monastery, where the drink we know today was eventually made. So, yes, we should all thank goats for this magical potion most of us cannot wake up and be productive without.

9. Chocolate chip cookies

The recipe for chocolate chip cookies was first published in a Boston newspaper, which drastically increased Nestle’s chocolate bar sales. However, it was yet another baking mishap.

One day, when Ruth Wakefield wanted to surprise her guests with chocolate cookies, she realized she had run out of powdered baker’s chocolate. To quickly fix the situation, she decided to break up Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate bar and go with it. Since Ruth’s recipe made it to the newspapers, the company gave her a lifetime supply of the chocolate. Imagine that!

10. Buffalo wings


Who would have thought that a misplaced order was the reason we get to enjoy Buffalo wings today? According to a tale, Teresa Bellismo, who worked at The Anchor Bar, in Buffalo, New York, originally ordered chicken necks, but she got wings instead. But she didn’t want the food to go to waste, so she tossed the wings into the frier and soaked them up with her signature sauce. That’s how she invented the finger-licking snack.

11. Cheese puffs


One story says that around the 1930s, Edward Wilson, who was nothing but a man working in a Wisconsin company back then, decided to taste the puffed mashed corn kernel from the partially cooked animal feed they produced. Curious enough, Wilson added some seasoning to the puffs and realized they were actually pretty amazing.

12. Nachos

Have you heard of gnacio ‘Nacho’ Anaya Garcia? According to an urban legend, one day, while Garcia was working in the kitchen in Piedras Negras, a few US military wives from a nearby base passed by for a snack.

The cook was nowhere to be found, so he decided to throw together some tortillas topped with cheese and jalapeños as a quick fix for the ladies’ cravings. He later named the dish Nachos Especiales.

13. Hawaiian pizza

While many people oppose the idea of putting pineapple on pizza, it is undoubtedly one of the most popular types of pizzas in the world. Well, it may come as no shock that it was not invented intentionally.

Credits: Sally’s Baking Addiction

In fact, it was accidentally made while two Greek brothers living in Canada in the ’50s were experimenting with various toppings. One of them thought of putting ham and pineapple to see how it would taste, and he was quite surprised when his little experiment actually tasted pretty decent.

14. Sandwiches

Today, you can basically put everything between two slices of bread and call it a sandwich. But have you wondered why do we call it that way? Interestingly, one of the most famous comfort foods was named after John Montagu, the noble 4th Earl of Sandwich.

In 1762, Montagu ordered his cook to prepare something to eat while gambling so that he wouldn’t have to leave his game. The chef brought him some beef in between toasted bread. Yes, it was that simple!

15. Chimichangas

If you are an admirer of Mexican-American cuisine, then you definitely love chimichangas. But did you know that they are just a deep-fried burrito?

Credits: Lil’ Luna

In the early 1920s, Monica Flin from El Charro Cafe accidentally tossed a burrito into the deep fryer. Since she was at work and she wasn’t allowed to swear, she just yelled “chimichanga.” The rest is history.

16. Ice popsicles

Fran Efferson was only 11 when he invented ice popsicles. One time, as he was playing with his water and powdered soda mix, he left a wooden stirrer inside.

The next day, the mix was frozen, but that didn’t stop the then-kid from giving it a lick. It turned out that it was quite yummy, so Efferson decided to start selling it around the neighborhood and amusement parks. Needless to mention, it was a huge success!

17. Champagne

Once upon a time, there was a feud between winemakers from France’s Champagne region and those making Burgundy wines. So, the first ones wanted to step up their game. Thanks to the cold winters in the region and the fact that the yeast couldn’t stay active in the below-freezing temperatures, the natural fermenting process of their wine paused.

As soon as spring came along, the process continued, but eventually, carbon dioxide gas that would pop the weak bottles was released. Over time, the winemakers managed to keep their bottles intact and continued producing the fancy beverage.

18. Chewing gum

Chewing gum was known thousands of years ago amongst the Mayas and Aztecs. They called it chicle, which was a natural rubbery substance extracted from sapodilla trees.

However, it became popular thanks to scientist Thomas Adams Sr., who got a chicle supply through an exiled Mexican President and tried to convert it into some useful industrial substance. That’s how he created chewing gum.

19. Nashville hot chicken

Similar to the Buffalo wings, the Nashville hot chicken was also not intentionally made to be so darn delicious. It was actually a revenge meal!

Credits: Girls Can Grill

Thornton Prince III’s girlfriend wanted to punish him for cheating on her, so she prepared him an extra hot fried chicken breast for breakfast. However, her vengeance plan didn’t work since Thornton actually enjoyed the meal. In fact, he enjoyed it so much that in the 1930s, he opened his own BBQ Chicken Shack restaurant.

20. Brandy

Credits: Girls Can Grill

It is believed that brandy was made to fortify wine so that it could make it through long, intercontinental journeys. In the past, it was stored in wooden casks, which resulted in improving the original distilled spirit and made it much more enjoyable. People eventually decided to make it a drink of its own, and that turned out to be quite a revolutionary decision!

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