This will save you from a lot of Pinterest fails.

By Betty Gold and Grace Elkus
Updated July 23, 2020
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Grace Elkus

Spend five minutes on Pinterest, and you’ll likely come across a variety of Pinterest food “hacks”—everything from two-ingredient recipes to instructions for making meals in mason jars to how to DIY your favorite store-bought snacks. We’re endlessly intrigued by these so-called shortcuts and surprising techniques—and always on board with finding ways to cook faster and smarter—so we took to the test kitchen and tried them out ourselves. Wondering which worked? Read on for the results. Once you've got your Pinterest recipes down pat, try your hand at these surprisingly smart home appliance hacks.

Grace Elkus

1

We were skeptical that this cake would deliver on its promises—one simple batter, three distinct cake layers. But we were proven wrong when we sliced into the dessert and discovered a dense bottom layer, a custard center, and a delicate sponge cake on top.

The verdict? It works!

2

We couldn’t resist trying out this trend, which has been applied to everything from donuts to Oreos. We made ours by combining powdered sugar and milk to form a glaze, then swirling in red, maroon, and navy blue gel food coloring. It’s not an everyday project, but it is fun on occasion.

The verdict? It works!

3

If there’s a way to make our cakes look the ones made in professional bakeries, we want to know—which is why we were tempted by this seemingly simple recipe. To make the fondant, you melt marshmallows until smooth, then stir in powdered sugar until it forms a dough-like consistency. Technically it worked, but it wasn’t very stretchy, and would still look fairly messy if you attempted to lay it over a cake.

The verdict? It works—but we wouldn’t do it again.

4

It’s no secret that blended bananas can act as a natural thickener and sweetener (that’s why they’re often used in smoothies). So it’s actually not too crazy to blend bananas with milk and simple syrup to create a delicious add-in for cold-brew. We LOVED this hack.

The verdict? It works!

Grace Elkus

5

Also known as chocoflan, this decadent dessert is comprised of one layer of chocolate cake and one layer of flan. Where’s the magic? Even though you pour the custard-y flan batter on top of the cake batter, it will sink to the bottom of the pan while baking, reversing the two layers. Now that's what we call an impressive party trick.

The verdict? It works!

6

This super-simple hack is great for lunchboxes or as an after-school snack. Slice off the crust of two pieces of sandwich bread, slightly overlap them, and flatten with a rolling pin so the slices become one (alternatively, you can start with a tortilla). Spread peanut butter onto the bread, place one whole banana in the center, roll it up, and slice into pieces.

The verdict? It works!

7

This hack turned out to be as ridiculous as it looks. To create it, we sliced an avocado in half horizontally, removed the pit, and scooped it out of the skin. Then we topped one half with a burger and fixins, and topped that with the second half, which we had brushed with rice vinegar and sprinkled with sesame seeds. And while it certainly looked Pinterest-worthy, it was way too tall to take a bite of, resulting in avocado all over our faces. Not to mention that we don’t recommend eating an entire avocado in one sitting.

The verdict? It’s a mess!

8

You shouldn’t have to be at a party to enjoy guacamole, which is why we love this single-serve hack. Simply score half of an avocado, add a squeeze of lime juice, some kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, and a dollop of salsa, and you’ve got yourself a mini bowl of guac.

The verdict? It works!

RELATED: The Unexpected Tip That Will Make Your GuacamoleSo Much Better

Matt Bowman/Getty Images

9

If you’re hoping to combine your caffeine with your morning meal, this tasty creation is just for you. We loved the combination of creamy oatmeal, frothy milk, intense espresso and crunchy granola.

The verdict? It works!

10

The recipe we found on Pinterest told us to toss an entire lemon in the blender with water, sugar, and ice. Predictably, we ended up swallowing pith and seeds. You could try removing those before blending, but I still don’t think you’d end up with a tasty product.

The verdict? Make real lemonade!

11

Let’s just get right to the point: these two-ingredient pancakes won’t fulfill a craving for a stack of silver dollars. However, a mashed banana mixed with two eggs makes for a crepe-like pancake that’s good with peanut butter. The cooked, mashed sweet potato mixed with two eggs wasn’t horrible, but it lacked in flavor. Don’t bother with chocolate cake mix mixed with a half cup of whole milk (yep, we tried that). It’s simply not worth it.

The verdict? Stick to the real deal. If you do want to try, go for the banana variety.

12

Slices of sweet potatoes can never replace a slice of seedy, whole-grain bread or a crusty piece of sourdough, but it is a good option for anyone sensitive to gluten. We were surprised that when cooked in the toaster and smeared with peanut butter or avocado, the sweet potato toast was surprisingly good. Be warned: you have to toast the sweet potato slices four times before they soften enough to eat, so isn't nearly as speedy as bread.

The verdict? Better than expected, but we likely wouldn’t make it again.

13

This was arguably the biggest fail of the entire bunch. The idea is that you cut off the rind of a watermelon, frost the melon with Cool Whip, top it with fruit, and slice it like a cake. Ours was just a slippery mess, and we would have preferred a plain, Cool Whip-free slice of juicy watermelon.

The verdict? Not worth it!

Grace Elkus

14

Good news for gluten-free friends: this quick bread recipe couldn’t be, well, quicker. The batter, which is made with raw cashews, gets whipped up in the blender, then bakes into a loaf perfect for peanut butter toast. No kneading, rising, or bread maker required.

The verdict? It works, but if you're not GF, you'll likely want a more traditional slice of bread.

15

This hack turned out to be surprisingly successful. We blew up a few balloons, rinsed them off, sprayed them with cooking spray, dipped them in melted chocolate, then refrigerated on wax paper. Once solid, we popped the balloons, peeled them off, and were left with edible chocolate bowls for ice cream. Next time, we'll dip the chocolate in sprinkles before refrigerating.

The verdict? It works!

16

This blended drink, made with lemon juice, ice, water, and vanilla ice cream, tastes just as you would suspect: like a creamy, sweet frozen lemonade from the fair. It’s very thick, but more refreshing than a plain vanilla shake.

The verdict? It works!

Grace Elkus

17

How could we resist a waffle made from puff pastry, allegedly resulting in the flakiest waffle we've ever tried? But cooking puff pastry alone in the waffle iron result in a dry and flavorless product. Chocolate chips helped, and our savory version (stuffed with shredded cheese) was by far the best. Still, we likely wouldn't make it again.

The verdict? You'll need to pile on the fillings and serve the croffle with a dipping sauce to make this hack worth it.

18

In short, we tried to form raw cookie dough around the underside of a muffin tin to create edible cups for ice cream. When baked, the dough expanded into one giant mess.

The verdict? Never. Again.

19

This trick, as you can probably guess, wasn’t worth the effort. We scooped ice cream into a resealable freezer bag, snipped off the corner, and “piped” it onto cupcakes. However, it didn’t look very pretty, and it was extremely cold to bite into.

The verdict? Stick to ice cream on cones, and frosting on cupcakes.

20

When you crack an egg into a tomato and place it in the oven, it takes a surprisingly long time for the egg white to cook (and therefore, it’s just not worth it). Warm avocados are really not our thing. That leaves us with an egg fried in a slice of bell pepper on the stovetop, which was the best of the bunch, but still a little fussy.

The verdict? Eat your eggs with a side of veggies, instead of inside your veggies.

21

If you’re looking to create a perfectly round egg for a breakfast sandwich, this hack won’t do you wrong. Set a mason jar ring in a nonstick pan, pour in a scrambled egg, and let cook until set.

The verdict? It works, but we have a better method for breakfast sandwiches that will feed a crowd.

Grace Elkus

22

This trick made us feel like magicians. We boiled purple cabbage in water until it dyed the water purple, cooked rice noodles in the dyed water, then squeezed lemon juice on half, which turned the purple noodles pink. Then, took this trick and made it even better by putting the noodles in fruit-and-veggie-filled summer rolls. This is a super fun dish to try out this summer.

The verdict? It works!

23

Put the word Nutella in the title and we’re down to try it. But unfortunately, these brownies had the consistency of a spongy, flat frittata. The idea is that you beat eggs at medium-high speed until tripled in size and pale in color, about eight minutes. Then, you add one cup of Nutella, mix until incorporated, pour into a pan, and bake. It only takes a few more minutes to make brownies from scratch, which is what we recommend.

The verdict? Don’t bother!

24

Technically this worked—but I'd rather just eat black beans or cookies, and not the two together. The only ingredients are a can of black beans and chocolate cake mix, so it's not like you can even call these a healthier dessert option.

The verdict? Don't do it.

Philip Friedman

25

This hack couldn't be more simple. Combine 12 ounces chopped chocolate and 1/4 cup coconut oil in a double boiler until melted. When poured over ice cream, it will immediately harden into a chocolate shell. Magic!

The verdict? It works!

26

When you take Funfetti cake mix and whisk in a can of Sprite, the result is a surprisingly delicious cupcake with a subtle lemon-lime flavor. These were very moist, and everyone unanimously agreed they would go back for seconds. Pinterest is filled with other variations.

The verdict? It works!

27

Though refrigerated cinnamon rolls can be cooked in the waffle iron, it felt counterintuitive. When baked in the oven, they rise into fluffy pastries. But when smushed in the waffle iron, they flatten. Similarly, frozen tator tots become warm and crisp in the waffle iron, but they aren't a replacement for shredded hash browns. And cooking eggs in a waffle iron makes for a tough, far-from-fluffy omelet.

The verdict? Save the waffle iron for waffles. Or try using it to cook bacon.

Grace Elkus

28

The idea here is that you can place dried pasta in a mug, cover it with water, and microwave until al dente—presumably less time and clean-up than cooking it on the stovetop. But after many rounds of testing, we found it took about six minutes total, almost as long as it takes in a pot of boiling water.

The verdict? Only a good hack for dorm-dwelling college students.