9 Famous Foods That Were Created By Complete Accident

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Oops ... Let's Do That Again

We've made our fair share of mistakes in the kitchen, and they typically end in disaster. Every once in a while, they instead end up being barely salvageable, but rarely do they turn out better than we intended. Throughout history, on the other hand, there have been several chemical and cooking mishaps that have resulted in some now-famous foods and drinks. 

corn flakes with milk breakfast

1. Corn Flakes

Corn Flakes have been a stalwart in the cereal aisle for more than a century, and although they might seem like one of the most unspectacular products, they're rooted in a complicated history. In 1894, W.K. Kellogg and his brother, Dr. John Kellogg, created a wheat-based cereal for patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, where Dr. Kellogg was superintendent. 

When the brothers accidentally left cooked wheat to sit and go stale, they rolled the stale wheat, and instead of a continuous sheet, it broke into flakes. They toasted the flakes and served them to the patients, who loved them. From there, they experimented with corn to market the cereal to a wider audience. After a prolonged legal squabble over which brother should be credited for the cereal, the Corn Flakes we know today were born. 

Homemade Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies

2. Chocolate Chip Cookies

The classic chocolate chip cookie recipe is a staple in households and bakeries alike, and its recipe is probably the most memorized of all for bakers in both settings. But the beloved recipe's creation is owed entirely to an accidental discovery in the 1930s by Ruth Wakefield, co-owner of the Toll House Inn.

Wakefield was baking a batch of chocolate cookies when she ran out of baker’s chocolate. As a substitute, she broke a bar of Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate into small pieces, expecting them to melt and blend into the dough. Instead, the chocolate pieces retained their shape, softening but not fully melting. The result was a delightful new kind of cookie with chunks of gooey chocolate embedded in a buttery, crispy base, which quickly became a favorite among her guests and led to the creation of the iconic Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe. 

Related: 10 Gooey Dessert Recipes That Start With Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough

Homemade Gooey Butter Cake

3. Gooey Butter Cake

Another '30s baking snafu that turned into a beloved dessert is gooey butter cake, which was created in St. Louis by a local German-American baker who mistakenly used the wrong proportions of butter and flour while trying to make a standard butter cake. 

Instead of discarding the mishap, the baker decided to sell the result. And we personally are so glad he did. The cake turned out to have a unique, gooey texture on top with a dense, chewy base. Entirely delicious. 

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4. Popsicles

In 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson left a mixture of powdered soda, water, and a stirring stick in a cup on his Oakland, California, porch. Overnight, the temperature dropped, and the next morning he discovered the mixture had frozen solid, with the stirring stick in place as a convenient handle. Fascinated by his discovery, Frank began making these "Epsicles" for his friends and family. Years later, in 1923, he patented the concept and began mass-producing the frozen treats under the name "Popsicle." 

Related: The True Origins of 18 Classic 'American' Foods

potato chips

5. Potato Chips

It's not always a bad thing when customers complain about their food. In 1853, George Crum, a chef at Moon's Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York, had a customer who sent back an order of French fries, complaining they were too thick and soggy. In response, Crum, in a fit of frustration, sliced the potatoes as thin as possible, fried them until they were crispy, and added extra salt. To his surprise, the customer loved the new creation — which became what we now know and love as the potato chip.

Coke Bottle And Glass

6. Coca-Cola

We can remember moments in our childhood when our mothers took us to get "Coke syrup" to combat a tummy ache, and now that we know the origin of one of the world's favorite sodas, it all makes perfect sense. 

The beloved beverage was created by accident in 1886 by Dr. John Pemberton, an Atlanta-based pharmacist. Dr. Pemberton was attempting to develop a medicinal tonic, and he concocted a syrup using coca leaves and kola nuts, two ingredients known for their stimulating properties. One day, a batch of syrup was accidentally mixed with carbonated water instead of plain water at a local pharmacy. The resulting fizzy drink was unexpectedly refreshing and delicious. Recognizing its potential as a soft drink rather than just a medicine, Dr. Pemberton began selling it at soda fountains, and the rest is history. 

Related: Fun and Little-Known Facts About Coca-Cola

Homemade yogurt in glass jar on wooden table.

7. Yogurt

Yogurt's roots run super deep, dating back thousands of years ago, likely in Central Asia or the Middle East. Ancient herders used animal stomachs as containers to store and transport milk, and because of the natural enzymes present in the animals' stomachs, coupled with the warm climate, the milk would ferment, turning into a tangy, thick substance — yogurt. 

Lea & Perrins The Original Worcestershire Sauce

8. Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce, the savory condiment known for its complex flavor is also one of our favorite oopsies, created in the early 19th century by chemists John Lea and William Perrins in Worcester, England. Lord Marcus Sandys, a nobleman returning to England from India, requested that Lea & Perrins replicate a sauce he had enjoyed during his travels. The chemists mixed a variety of ingredients, including anchovies, tamarind, molasses, and spices. The initial concoction was so disgusting that they set it aside in a cellar and forgot about it. 

Months later, they rediscovered the sauce and found that it had fermented and aged into a rich, flavorful sauce. So, not only is this stuff hard to pronounce, but it's also proof that sometimes when you let stuff "spoil," it becomes delicious instead.

Hand holding an Ice Cream with Newquay town defocused in the background.

9. Ice Cream Cones

Plenty of amazing things have come from Worlds Fairs, although we'd wager most of those things were intentional. Ice cream cones, on the other hand, were the happiest accident at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. Ernest Hamwi, a Syrian concessionaire selling zalabia, a type of thin, crispy waffle, found himself next to an ice cream vendor who ran out of dishes to serve his ice cream. Seeing an opportunity, Hamwi quickly rolled one of his waffles into a cone shape while it was still warm and handed it to the vendor, who scooped ice cream into it. This ingenious solution delighted fairgoers and proved to be a huge hit. We admit we're still delighted every time we get an ice cream cone. Good job, Hamwi.