HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


What foods smell better than they taste?


*Fresh baked bread

*BBQ Sauce

*Anything baked with cinnamon

*Anything baked with nutmeg

Not saying any of these foods taste bad, per se, just saying that these foods smell better than they actually taste.

Any additions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Waffle cones being baked. Their scent is devilish, but as an ice cream cone, they are not as good as the scent would suggest.

    1. I agree with waffle cones.

      Bananas are it for me. I like the smell of a banana, but then I try to eat one and it just doesn't do it for me.

      p.s. I love a good spicy bbq sauce

      1. Freshly ground coffee smells better than brewed coffee tastes.

        5 Replies
          1. re: Seldomsated

            My husband would totally agree with that one.

            1. re: luv2bake

              Way. And beer brewing smells like heaven, 1000x better than the finished product tastes.


            2. re: Seldomsated

              I'm with you. Ground coffee smells divine, but I can't stand drinking it.

            3. Fish and chips and the Fry-O-Later grease pit they came from in the back of the restaurant.

              1. Vanilla extract... every once and awhile I take a taste, just to make sure it still tastes bad!

                1. IMHO, great wine

                  I love the taste but I die for the nose

                    1. re: mothrpoet

                      I must disagree. And I must go pour myself one.

                    2. Most coffee ... funnel cakes ...

                      PS Not all coffee. My mother & her husband are coffee connoisseurs, and I have had excellent coffee at their house--food ecstasy coffee. I had no idea it could be that good.

                      1. Fried Liver and onions....

                        1. I LOVE fresh-baked bread. I guess it depends on the bread, though. Fresh-baked Wonder bread smells great, but I don't want to eat it.

                          1. Fresh Durian. Childhood memories play a big part.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: mellie

                              Are you sure you don't have that backwards? I call it "The smell from Hell, the taste from Heaven."

                              1. re: Gary Soup

                                To me, a really fresh good durian smells uniquely fragrant. I like to eat it too although in small doses. I miss the smell more than the taste.

                                1. re: mellie

                                  Gosh, mellie, I hope you stay away from the cat box and look carefully before you eat other things.

                            2. Those roasted nuts on the street in New York City.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: optimal forager

                                the cinnamon nuts - YES! the most deceitful smell ever. they smell heavenly - they often taste and feel as if you'd pried up some 10-year-old gum from the sidewalk, rolled it in sugar, and tossed it in your mouth.

                                1. I would say cooking meat, but then again, I'm vegetarian.

                                  I agree about the coffee and the fried foods.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: piccola

                                    Well I don't eat red meat, I find pork especially has a disgusting flavour, but when roasting or BBQing I enjoy the smell too.

                                  2. Almost any kind of biscotti. Vegetarian chili.

                                    1. Durian.

                                      (just kidding)

                                      My vote goes to popcorn. I always crave it when it's popping and regret it after the first chomp.

                                        1. Coffee, without a doubt. I want to eat the air when I smell it. I like coffee a lot, but I've never had a cup that tasted as good as the smell of coffee being ground.

                                          foiegras, please go find out what kind of coffee your mother serves and how she makes it and report back immediately!

                                            1. Hot dogs. They're good - and depending on the circumstances (Saturday night, 3 a.m., running the bar out of a keg of your favorite beer) they can be downright amazing - but the smell of them always promises a better experience than what you get when you finally dig in.

                                              1. high quality butter, especially when it's melting slowly on a warm baguette, a sizzling steak, or simply in the pan

                                                1. Let's be specific here: PERCOLATED coffee. While a really good drip coffee can have a robust flavor that may or may not align with its aroma, coffee brewing in a percolator sends forth a bewitching aroma that the finished product cannot possibly match, for the simple reason that the heat of the brewing process strips out the volatile flavors and puts them into the air instead of into your cup.

                                                  1. I love the smell of liver and onions cooking and want to vomit everytime I get sucked into trying it. Tastes like some awful sawdust made from metal.

                                                    9 Replies
                                                    1. re: MeffaBabe

                                                      If it even tasted that good, I might eat it every now & then.

                                                      That is by far the worst food memory of my childhood. My parents loved it, and my brother & I could barely down it with bottles of ketchup to hide the taste. Those were the worst tears-at-the-table nights!

                                                      1. re: luv2bake

                                                        say, you're not related to me, are you?

                                                        1. re: misterbrucie

                                                          LOL I don't know - did you also cry & carry on about the "worms" (bean sprouts) in chicken chow mein and gag on every bite?

                                                          And the water chestnuts used to feel like fingernails on a chalkboard on my teeth. Ugh!

                                                          I love all that stuff now, but not then.

                                                          So, are you my brother? :)

                                                          1. re: luv2bake

                                                            I don't know if this video will work, but if it does, it's hilarious... http://video.google.com/videoplay?doc... You guys will definitely appreciate it!

                                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                                              LOL I have to send that to my parents with a "liver or chow mein" subject!

                                                              Except that if I'd carried on like that, I wouldn't have been able to sit down for about a month. And I might not have had any teeth to chew with, either!!

                                                              1. re: luv2bake

                                                                KatieNell, that video is hysterical, although just like luv2bake, I too would have suffered the consequences if I had carried on like that.

                                                                I remember one specific occasion as a kid when my grandmother prepared a spinach soup for me. When she wasn't looking, I threw it down the toilet and flushed it away. She gathered that I had eaten it too quickly. She also heard the flush. Needless to say, I couldn't sit down for a while!

                                                                1. re: sandrina

                                                                  Ooooo - ouch!

                                                                  My feat - and to this day I have NO idea how they didn't figure it out - was holding chicken chow mein in my mouth while semi-holding my breath (like taking medicine) - and going to the bathroom. I don't remember if I excused myself and then took a bite (surely that would have made them suspicious) or how I did it, and my parents don't remember my doing it. I could only get away with it once per meal, but I'll tell you, that was the biggest bite I could possibly stuff in my mouth and, I felt, well worth it!

                                                      2. re: MeffaBabe

                                                        It doesn't even smell good to me. Makes me nauseous just to think about it.

                                                        1. re: MeffaBabe

                                                          ARe you sure it has to be liver? I love the smell of frying onions, and they taste just as good.

                                                          1. I like the smell of those boxed cake mixes like Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker, etc. as they bake. They give off a comforting buttery aroma. The taste of them is not so great though.

                                                            1. Chocolate. I know many may disagree, but i remember smelling some chocolate being made at some place and i felt like i HAD to get some, right then. made my poor boyfriend pull over and didnt find that the taste of the chocolate was as good as the smell. I'd rather smell chocolate any day rather than eat it.

                                                              1. French fries... they smell so good but I don't like potatoes.

                                                                1. Some "chicken" dish I got in Chinatown in Seattle years ago.Smelled ok but was slippery biggest chunks of "chicken" I ever ate.I couldn't even finish the meal.I'll never eat "Zebra"?again.

                                                                  1. Not quite along the same lines, but when desperate, I will bring a Lean Cuisine to work for lunch. They sure do smell good. Taste-not so good.

                                                                    1. plain potato chips

                                                                      cumin (toasted)


                                                                      1. -----

                                                                        I have always said that Pop Corn smells of a sweaty gym socks. (Phew!) But the taste is excellent.

                                                                        Coffee is about the opposite of Pop Corn. Smells great but tastes would be closer to the sweaty gym socks.