I have a question about modifying a recipe ("what can I add to X?") or flavor pairing ("what tastes good with X?" - can I ask it here?

Note: this is a summary of "Should 'what can I add to X' questions be closed by default?", transformed into concise FAQ form. If you'd like to contribute, please discuss and/or edit the canonical answer, rather than providing an additional answer.

1 Answer 1


Requests for help with flavor pairings or modifying a recipe must make a reasonable effort to describe the specific goal.

In other words, these would be closed:

  • What can I add to X to make it better?
  • What are some common/uncommon ingredients to add to X?
  • How can I improve the flavor/texture of X?
  • What goes well with X?

If your question is like those, this site isn't a good fit, though you might be interested in How can I find flavors that pair well with a given ingredient? to help you find where else to look!

On the other hand, these are great questions:

  • What can I add to a roast to give it a smoky flavour?
  • How can I make carrot cake taste more fruity and fresh?
  • What can I add to ice cream to prevent ice crystals?
  • How can I stabilize a vinaigrette (prevent it from separating)?
  • How can I get more "crunch" in my homemade salsa (without changing the taste)?
  • How can I make my chili hotter (without changing the taste)?

The general reason behind this guideline and examples is that we want to avoid polls - questions where there are tons of good answers, and voting is just based on people's personal opinions and tastes. Polls are both too broad and too subjective for our site.

But we do like specific questions with specific goals. While there's still some room for flexibility, creativity, and subjectivity even with a specific goal, it limits the number of answers and makes it possible to vote objectively based on whether an answer is helpful.

  • IMHO, there's much more nuance in this answer than the rules of the non-meta site would suggest. I don't know if this is a "thing that is done" on stack exchange, but it might be helpful to link to your answer in the "on topic" rules. I know it would've saved me time Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 22:40

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