It happens to the best cooks: Leave the burner on too high or use a pot that’s too thin, and your soup or stew scorches. A recent Chowhound discussion focused on ways to salvage these seemingly doomed dishes.

A first course of action, once you realize the bottom has burned, is to avoid stirring, then carefully ladle the contents of the pot into another container, stopping before you reach the scorched part.

If that doesn’t work, and your recipe is a robust one, the addition of warm-tasting or even pungent spices such as cinnamon, cumin, and curry powder can effectively mask a lingering burnt flavor. Stirring in some peanut butter also “work[s] like a charm,” mzlisapizza says.

Don’t be tempted to dilute your soup with milk or cream, Karl S warns, since rich dairy products “will just carry the burnt flavor even further.”

Finally, buckwheat buttermilk girl points out that the best offense can be a good defense. After burning too many soups, she bought a heat diffuser to protect simmering pots.

Discuss: Fixing Burnt Soup?

Photo of CHOW’s Basic Vegetable Soup by Chris Rochelle /

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