From Yoghurt To Popsicles, 10 Foods Created By Accident
Image Credit: Watermelon popsicles, Pexels

It may astonish you that some of the most beloved foods and drinks were created entirely by chance. Ask any inventor, and they will attest to the challenging and unpredictable nature of the creative process. Rarely does an idea materialize perfectly on the first attempt, precisely as envisioned, and effortlessly make its way to the market. Instead, it often involves countless trials and errors, and occasionally, one of those experiments yields an unexpected and remarkable outcome.

These culinary marvels range from creations that underwent years of refinement and innovation after the initial accidental discovery to those that simply resulted from an item slipping into a deep fryer. As with many origin stories, the complete truth may have been lost over time, and myths have taken their place. Thus, it's difficult to verify the authenticity of each account (we indicate instances where this is the case). However, according to famous legends, all foods and beverages were inadvertently invented.


An eleven-year-old boy developed Popsicles. In 1905, a young Frank Epperson in San Francisco combined sugar with soda powder and left the mixture to sit out overnight. Because of the extreme temperature, it froze. He sampled it for the first time that morning and found it delicious. Frank named it Epsicle. In 1924, at the insistence of his children, he patented the frozen treat and renamed it Popsicle (a play on the word Pop's 'Sicle').

Chocolate Chip Cookies

In the 1930s, chocolate chip cookies became popular after their accidental creation by Toll House Inn owner Ruth Wakefield of Whitman, Massachusetts. What was her secret? She assumed the chocolate bars would melt in the oven and tossed the pieces into the cookie batter. The world benefited from her blunder, as these are among the most beloved cookies.


Humans have consumed yoghurt for aeons. Making it in Turkey dates back to at least the sixth century BC, as is generally accepted. How, therefore, did it come to light? According to historical accounts, Central Asian herders would use animal guts as lunch containers to keep their surplus goat's milk. When some herders opened the containers, they were surprised to find the milk had thickened and become sour. Why? Yoghurt was accidentally discovered when beneficial bacteria flourished in the milk while it was in the gastric bags.

A bowl of yoghurt with fruits, Image Source: Pexels

Cheese Curls

An extruder is a machine that presses a slurry of grain mash or dough down a funnel to form a specific shape, and it is essential to the production of many foods, including cheese curls. The original purpose of the extruder that ultimately led to cheese curls was to crush grain for use as animal feed. Cheese curls were developed by experimentation. Wet corn kernels (passed through the machine to keep it from clogging) came out crushed into a tube-like shape, and Flakall Company employee Edward Wilson took some home, fried them, and found that they tasted really nice.


A Dairy Queen franchisee named Omar Knedlik inadvertently stored some sodas in the freezer and left them too long in 1958. This was the inspiration for the now-iconic Slurpee sold by 7-Eleven. When Knedlik's partially frozen sodas became popular, he decided to capitalize on the trend by developing a mechanism to dispense them (using a car's air conditioning unit): the Icee dispenser. Recognizing a lucrative opportunity in 1965, 7-Eleven's upper management purchased an Icee dispenser for each store and renamed the semi frozen treat the Slurpee.


There are multiple theories about how tofu came to be in ancient China. There are two myths about how soy milk became congealed: a cook accidentally spilt the coagulant nigari into the saucepan, and the other says that boiling soybeans were mixed with salt containing calcium and magnesium.


A bottle of champagne, Image Source: Pexels

Champagne was accidentally invented by winemakers whose original goal was to create a simple white wine. The secondary fermentation, which resulted in the carbon dioxide bubbles, was an unwelcome side consequence of the region's cooler environment. The delicate glass bottles would break, wasting a lot of wine because of the bubbles. Champagne didn't exist until stronger glass bottles were invented, and the resulting golden, carbonated drink was tasted and found to be outstanding.

Corn Flakes

There was a trend in the late 1800s among Seventh-day Adventists to eat only bland vegetarian foods (long tale). Therefore, John Harvey Kellogg, administrator of the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan, decided to create new bland foods for his patients. Thus, he requested his younger sibling, Will Keith Kellogg, to devise some dishes. When will came from work one day, he found that he had left a pot of stale maize and wheat sitting out. Corn Flakes were developed by trial and error.


Who would have thought chimichangas had such a tangled history? As with many classic foods, many eateries claim to be the first to serve the now-iconic deep-fried burrito. One common tale is that Monica Flin, owner of El Charro Café in Arizona, made burritos for a late-night snack when her niece accidentally bumped into her, sending one flying into a vat of sizzling oil. Chimichangas didn't exist until Flin yelled, "Chimichanga!" and the rest, as they say, is history.

Potato Chips

The accidental creation of one of the most consumed snack foods in history dates back to 1853. When chef George Crum was working at New York's Moon's Lake House, a customer kept sending back orders of French fries because they weren't crispy enough. Crum brought them back to the table after slicing the potatoes incredibly thin, frying them in hot oil, and seasoning them with salt. Saratoga Chips were the original name for what we now know as the common potato chip.