11 Quick and Clever Fixes for Common Kitchen Fails

Turn a “whoops!” right back into a “wow!” with tricks that totally solve everyday cooking mistakes.

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It Happens to Everyone

Sometimes that dish you’ve painstakingly planned can go from perfect to "Pinterest fail" right before your eyes. But instead of crying over burnt cookies, too-salty dinners or crumbly breads, accept the challenge of remedying these kitchen mishaps.

The Gravy Came Out Lumpy

If your turkey sidekick (or other pan sauce) isn’t silky-smooth, reach for the immersion blender. In just a few seconds, you can blitz away any unwanted bumps.

The Chili Is Too Spicy

Dairy mellows spice, so serve this hearty dish with lots of sour cream and cheese — and warn your guests that the party is about to heat up.

The Mac and Cheese Didn't Brown

When you make this classic dish casserole-style, you want a crispy and golden top. But if it’s cooked through and hasn’t browned yet, just pop it under the broiler to get it there.

The Lasagna Layers Are Sliding

This slippery dish gets excited if you slice into it too soon. Wait 10 minutes before cutting any more, to let the layers firm up (but remember that a slightly sloppy plate will taste just as good).

The Fries Are Limp and Greasy

If you’ve taken the time to fry your own potatoes, they'd better satisfy! Hotter oil should help, so boost the heat on your burner and toss the fries in again until they are golden brown.

The Cake Layers Came Out in Pieces

Don’t fret if a birthday cake breaks when you try to free it from the pan — the fix is literally built into the recipe. Just use frosting to “glue” the pieces together and camouflage any not-so-pretty spots.

The Spaghetti Sauce Is Too Salty

Add more tomatoes or a splash of lemon juice to brighten the flavor and balance out the salt.

The Cookies Burned

This isn’t a problem — it’s an opportunity. Grate off the burnt bottoms with a rasp, and spread on frosting, ice cream or whipped cream. Then make a sandwich with another cookie on top: The wet filling will soften the cookies and blunt the burnt flavor (and make dessert a lot more fun!).

The Dip Is Too Thick

There’s nothing that disappoints quite like breaking a chip halfway into delicious onion dip. Whisk the dip to loosen it up, and add a little water if necessary.

The Banana Bread Won't Leave the Loaf Pan

If your pound cake or quick bread is stubborn, start by cutting and prying out one slice from the end. Then use an offset spatula as a lever to boost remaining cake out. Or, throw caution to the wind and cut the whole cake into cubes — just tell everyone you really meant to make trifle.

The Pie Crust Burned

If your perfectly crimped edge turned black instead of golden (oops!), just trim it off and pretend it never existed — there will still be plenty of crust to eat on the sides and bottom, and you can call the presentation “rustic.”

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