HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


What is the most ridiculous recipe suggestion you have ever read on the "back of the box"?

I think the funniest recipe I have ever read was for "Cinnabon French Toast". Yes, you would have to dip a gooey Cinnabon roll into an egg batter, and then fry it to make it. It might just kill you.

Boxes of cereal and crackers often have some unusual, if not downright disgusting, suggestions on how to use more product. What is the worst recipe suggestion you have seen on any food package?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. To pour a can of Chunky soup over some carbohydrate or another and try to pass it off as dinner.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      Umm. You forgot the French's onions. They give it that extra something.

        1. re: pine time

          Perhaps if I'd done that they might've given it a go.

    2. I eat a really high fiber cereal called Smart Bran by Nature's Path. There were some recipes printed on the inside of the carton. I believe text on the box mentioned this. So after consuming the cereal, I tore open the box. There were some recipes all right. Printed so faintly on the dark inside surface of the box that I couldn't read them! I couldn't even make out the recipe titles!

      2 Replies
      1. re: sueatmo

        Offtopic slightly, but one of my most prized possessions is a hang tag from a Bertolli olive oil bottle. It's a form to fill out and send in to get a book of recipes. It's printed in white type on a dark green background …

        1. Not so much a recipe suggestion as it is 'lost in translation' instructions - I buy packs of dried ramen noodles from my local asian supermarket. The english instructions tell me to boil them furiously for 8 minutes, then stir, and boil for another 2. Then I am to add all of the meats I would like to eat with a vegetable and boil again. The final step is to add seasoning to make it taste.

          Thankfully I never needed to use the instructions, but I can't imagine what people would think if they'd followed them to the letter as a learner.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ultimatepotato

            Prolly that you have no concept of al dente, or that you reaaaaalllly like mooshy foodstuffs. :)

            1. In the early 90's,Land O' Lakes unsalted BUTTER pound box.Was a recipe for oatmeal-raisin
              cookies on the inside of the box.No butter in the ingredient list,instead MARGERINE.

              Called the 800#,? me-what gives ? answer,isn't there a coupon for our new,healthy non-butter product in the box? me,no ..We will be glad to send you some coupons.Me,no thanks,butter is my preferred only choice.The customer service rep was ? that I still used butter considering the health risks etc.All while her paycheck is signed by a BUTTER company.

              I was annoyed enough to not have bought LoL butter since.

              21 Replies
              1. re: lcool

                That's funny.

                I thought of another one: Ritz Crackers' "Mock Apple Pie". It had no apples.

                1. re: RGC1982

                  please,what is "Mock Apple Pie"

                  1. re: lcool

                    It used Ritz crackers instead of Apples. I remember seeing the recipe on the box but not the exact ingredients, but as I recall it had a ton of sugar and cinnamon in it as well as, obviously, a lot of Ritzes. Still seems to me it would be awfully salty.

                    1. re: acgold7

                      my question was literal,not a definition question about mock
                      I was curious,with Ritz dry what else makes up the filling and perhaps why then is it called "Mock Apple Pie"

                      1. re: lcool

                        Ask and ye shall receive:


                        Apparently you make a sugar syrup and pour it over the crackers. Sounds lovely.

                        Frankly, if it's supposed to simulate apple pie, I'd use apple juice for the syrup instead of water.

                        1. re: acgold7

                          reads like a waste of even bad pastry crust and oven time

                        2. re: lcool

                          I read somewhere that because of the ingredients: sugar, cinnamon and lemon - our taste buds identify it (taste-memorywise, that is) as apple pie because of the duality. It's like a flavor/texture confusion, because you kinda are primally "expecting" that taste...and that's what you get.
                          I'm not quite sure this post made any sense at all, but here goes.

                          1. re: mamachef

                            Thanks for the explanation, mamachef! I was wondering how on earth they could come up with a mock apple pie when there is nothing remotely apple-like in those ingredients. Interesting! Still, I think I'll pass.

                            1. re: mamachef

                              My neighbor, who makes a lot of shake n'bake and tuna casserole, brought us one of these when we moved into our house in 85. It was actually very good, in a junky kind of way!

                          2. re: acgold7

                            I think this was a Depression recipe. Ritz crackers were less expensive then (I suppose) than apples were. Not sure why it has remained of interest though.

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I'm pretty sure that's it.

                              1. re: acgold7

                                Exactamente, ladies. I believe the original recipe was printed on the box in the early twenties. I have not read it in awhile, but it included an ingredient that texturized the apples. I need to look this up, because I don't think that ingredient is on the current Ritz recipe. But: I have eaten it, at a cakewalk. I won it. And you know what? It tasted like an apple pie invented by somebody who never even SAW an apple. I've said this before: it was to apples what St. Joseph's baby aspirin is to oranges. Okay, going to check out the original recipe. And all that being said, it wasn't awful, but it sure the hell was NOT apple pie.
                                'K, I just looked it up. The ingredient IS in the current recipe: it's cream of tartar that texturizes this apples. In the original, they called it tartaric acid phosphate, which sounded too Star Trek to me. Years later, I'd have known that, but I was young and naive, and now I'm old w/ a memory lapse. : )

                                1. re: mamachef

                                  thank you
                                  and the early twenties is a whole different era economically
                                  1913 edition quite different from the 1923 and 1937 of the same book are really reflect varied economic times

                                  1. re: mamachef

                                    >>>Exactamente, ladies.<<<
                                    This will be news to my wife.

                                    1. re: mamachef

                                      According to Jean Anderson in American Century Cookbook. p. 387, Mock Apple Pie made with Ritz crackers "appeared in the '30s and remains popular in deepest heartland. To my greatest surprise, in leafing through late-nineteenth-century cookbooks, I found. . . " [another version of mock apple pie made with soda crackers.]. Weird, huh?

                                      The American Century Cookbook was copyrighted in 1997. Apparently some folks make Mock Apple Pie today, although I imagine they buy the crusts instead of making those from scratch.

                                      According to Anderson Nabisco introduced Ritz crackers to the Philly/Baltimore area first in 1934. They went national in 1935. She also states, "Mock Apple Pie is the most requested Nabisco recipe of all time."

                                      So the recipe concept is old, but the Ritz version dates from the Depression. I really can't imagine why anyone would make the recipe! Apples are available cheaply all year long.

                                      1. re: mamachef

                                        Oh but baby St Joseph's aspirin tasted sooo good, baby.

                                    2. re: sueatmo

                                      But sugar and cinnamon were costly and most citrus was nearly luxury goods out of the growing area and season by any standards at that time.
                                      There are many mock,frugal etc recipes in my century plus cookbooks.With a little help from my history of food books they make sense,Lent and countless other fast days that were on the calendar at the time.

                                2. re: RGC1982

                                  Hence the use of the term Mock, i.e. imitation or fake. You wouldn't expect Mock (x) to have any (x) in it.

                                  1. re: acgold7

                                    I remember it fondly. Mock apple pie fooled a lot of people in its day (50's maybe), and really wasn't too bad.

                                    1. re: junescook

                                      Mock apple pie has won over some Chowhound hearts, along with other "fake" fruit pies:

                                    2. re: acgold7

                                      An apple pie would be a mock mock apple pie.

                                3. Shredded Wheat "Mock Baklava". IIRC, it went something like this: "Drizzle honey over 2 Nabisco Shredded Wheat biscuits, sprinkle with chopped nuts."

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Steve Green

                                    DING, DING, DING! We have a winner! That's not a "mock baklava" but a MOCKERY. :) Who thinks this sh*t up?!

                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                      The creative ones who work at the Processed Food, Inc. test kitchens, that's who thinks this up.

                                      Wow, Mock Baklava is way worse than Mock Apple Pie.

                                    2. re: Steve Green

                                      "Anyone can make Kataife, a Greek Pastry, using Shredded Wheat cereal..."


                                      So this is a "Mock Kataïfi."

                                    3. one of my favorites that irks me every time i see it...
                                      Sandra Lee's Sugar Cookies -- on the side of a box of powdered sugar. ingredients include store-bought sugar cookie dough, the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and i think that's it, or maybe an egg? essentially take the **sugar cookie** dough you bought and add more cream cheese and powdered sugar.... to make **sugar cookie** dough. (i know the taste will be slightly different, but still...

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Emme

                                        That recipe right there is the purest essence of the Sandra Lee empire. Buy a base product and spice it up or somehow change it; saves time. I've done the same thing myself, as a cook for a large number of very hungry people on a nightly basis: started with jarred tomato sauce to which I added sauteed veg and meatballs, more tomatoes, etc. - and for me, it's not a desperation move: it's a necessity. I enjoy making tomato gravy from scratch AT HOME - and I do it yearly - but am not about to undertake it for the young gents I'm responsible for feeding.

                                        All that being said, I guess I don't really understand her "draw." Oh well.
                                        Oh, and BTW? IMO, that Baklava sounds purely evil. :)

                                        1. re: mamachef

                                          totally different... as you say, a necessity... if i was desperate and just needed cookies, and was going to buy the dough to feed a throng, then i'll just bake em. i'm not buying dough to alter the dough.

                                          pasta sauce, different animal. can be a good starting point if short on time. i suppose really many shortcuts can be justified and a-ok given the circumstances. :)

                                        2. re: Emme

                                          I think I saw a similar Sandra Lee recipe for Snickerdoodles. Also storebought sugar cookie dough with some other things mushed in, and then rolled in cinnamon sugar. Not from the back of a box, but I remember flipping through channels and seeing SL make an "Apple Pie Napoleon" by mashing up a storebought Dutch Apple Pie, and layering with Cool Whip between layers of puff pastry. Like most of the world, I'm busy and wouldn't fault anyone for using cooking shortcuts, but most of her recipes look and sound pretty disgusting.

                                        3. There's good reason to harp and to haw upon Ritz

                                          That "Mock Apple Pie" is really firm evidence.

                                          But sometime in late 60's or maybe early 70's
                                          there appeared on the back of that box of them Ritz
                                          a recipe for what they called broccoli casserole.

                                          It caught the keen eye of my mother-in-law
                                          who relished her role as "the housewife",
                                          and this became truly her signature dish.

                                          Heck yes it was full of eggs, mayo, and cream of mushroom soup,
                                          along with severe quantities of hand-crumbled Ritz.
                                          But we snarfed it and loved it. Lauded it... demanded it.
                                          She reveled in our praise
                                          and she dang well deserved it.

                                          She has passed on, but exists in our memories
                                          as the loving mother cook.

                                          I still have her recipe card.
                                          In that innocence of 70's it talks about hot sauce
                                          as a way to make mild cheese a bit sharper.

                                          She gave gift to me
                                          with her waltz in small kitchen
                                          while crumbling Ritz in her broccoli casserole.

                                          1. For some inexplicable reason the back of Smash mashed potato mix instructs you to mix it with hot water instead of either (a) hurling it back on the shelf and walking swiftly away or (b) if it's too late and you've already bought/ been given it throwing it in the bin and setting the bin on fire.

                                            Completely inexplicable I tell you.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Muchlove

                                              lol - where are those cute aliens rolling on the floor laughing (ROFL alluding to the other thread).

                                              1. re: Muchlove

                                                Ah, it's products like that which just plead "throw me in the donate to charity box"!