• Cooking with Chemistry



Cooking with Chemistry

Cooking with Chemistry was first presented as a one-day hands-on workshop for teachers at ChemEd 97, held at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, August 3-7, 1997.

Click on one of the titles below to read some experiments and activities from Cooking with Chemistry, a work in progress, by David A. Katz:

These are PDF files and require Acrobat Reader

Safety with Food Chemistry Experiments

Food Additives - What They Do

Beef Jerky - A Method to Preserve Food Without Refrigeration


Butter in a Bottle

Blender Butter

Candy Making:

Partial Thermal Degradation of Mixed Saccharides With Protein Inclusions with Teacher Notes

Taffy: Partial Thermal Degradation of a Mixed Saccharides Triol Solution with Teacher Notes


Caramels Recipes for both vanilla and chocolate caramels.

Caramel Corn with a method for making microwave popcorn in a plain paper bag

Gummy Candy Make your own gummy candy. Two variations.

Pop Rocks Make a fizzy candy.

Tootsie Rolls Make Tootsie Rolls

Rock Candy (crystalized sugar) Grow your own edible sugar crystals.

Reference for the chemistry of candy making:

Edwards, W. P., The Science of Sugar Confectionery, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK, 2000.

Books for candy making:

Gehring, Abigail R., Classic Candy, Skyhorse Publishing, New York, NY, 2013.

Kendrick, Ruth A. and Pauline H. Atkinson, Candymaking, HP Books, 1987.  

Sharrock, Jane, Who Wants Candy, HP Books, New York, 2004.  

Wilbur, Todd, A Treasury of Top Secret Recipes, Plume, 1999.   

Look up specific recipes on the Internet.  You will find multiple versions for each recipe.  Read comments to help you decide which recipes, or modifications, are most likely to succeed.

Cheese Making:

Easy Cheese


Chromatography of Food Colors with Teacher Notes This experiment is based on an FDA procedure using a liquid ion exchange resin to extract the food colors.

Chromatography of Food Colors This experiment is a modification of the previous procedure. This uses a piece of wool yarn to extract the food colors.

Dry Ice Root Beer

Energy of a Peanut (calorimetry) with Teacher Notes

Glue from Milk

Ice Cream:

Effect of Freezing Point Depression on Mixed Saccharides-Protein Solutions with Teacher Notes

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

Iron From Cereal with Teacher Notes and a Letter from General Mills responding to an inquiry about the iron in the cereal

Make Your Own Orange Drink: An experiment in how additives affect our food


Map Your Microwave

MOLasses Cookies A treat for MOLE Day (6:02 am to 6:02 pm on October 23 every year)

Peanut and Nut Butters

Molecular Gastronomy

Chocolate Chantilly A molecular gastronomy process to make a chocolate mousse

Fruit Juice Caviar A molecular gastronomy process to make caviar-type beads of fruit juice.

30-Second Microwave Chocolate Cake

2 Microwave Chocolate Cake Recipes

Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies


Zip-Lock Pickles Make barrel-type pickles in a zip-lock bag.

Quick Pickles Pickles in about an hour using standard cucumbers

Quick Cabbage Salad (Quick Slaw) in as little as an hour

Corned Beef


Popcorn Unerstanding why popcorn pops

Microwave Popcorn How microwave popcron works and how you can make low calorie popcorn in your microwave.

Potato Chips:

Potato chips

Potato Chip Tasting

Determination of Fat in Potato Chips

Testing the Waters: How Good is That Bottled Water and How Effective is Your Water Filter with Teacher Notes

Titration: Standardization of a Base and Analysis of Stomach Antacid Tablets with Teacher Notes


The Great Biscuit Baking Trials


How Yeast Works

Philadelphia soft pretzels

Root beer/Birch beer

Ginger ale

Measurement Equivalents for Science Activities

Mass-Volume Equivalents of Common Chemical Solids

Grades of Purity of Chemicals

Temperature Chart

Some Reference Books on Chemistry and Cooking

McGee, Harold, On Food and Cooking, Revised and updated edition, Scribners, 2004

McGee, Harold, The Curious Cook, Collier Books, 1990

Grosser, Arthur E., The Cookbook Decoder, Beaufort, 1981

Corriher, Shirley O., Cookwise, Morrow, 1997

Corriher, Shirley O., Bakewise, Scribner, 2008

Rosenthal, Sylvia, and Fran Shinagel, How Cooking Works, Macmillan, 1981

Coultate, Tom, and Jill Davies, Food, The Definitive Guide, Royal Society of Chemistry, 1994

Beckett, Stephen T., The Science of Chocolate, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2008

Clarke, C., The Science of Ice Cream, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2004

Some TelevisionShows About food

American Eats focuses on the history of American foods and cooking. It was broadcast on the History Channel in 2006. Topics included Hot Dogs, Pizza, Ice Cream, and more. Episodes are ocasionally shown on the History Channel, some are available on youtube, and on TV.com. Some episodes are available on DVD.

Food Tech was a series broadcast on the History Channel in 2010. Host Bobby Bognar examined different meals such as Cheeseburger and Fries, Chinese Take-out, Mexican, Southern Fried, and more. Each episode traces the making of the foods that are part of the meals from farm to processing. Episodes are rerun on the History Chanel and can be found on youtube and TV.com.

Food Factory is the "How Its Made" of food. This show appears on the Food Network in Canada. It shows how favorite foods are made from raw materials to finished products. Usually 3 or 4 foods are shown in each episode.


Photo courtesy of Aztec Press, Pima Community College