Combining the five tastes to improve your cooking

Our taste buds can perceive 5 different tastes. Unlock more potential in the food you cook by combining them in fun and unique ways!

The founder, Mikkel Bengtsen

Mikkel Bengtsen


Oct. 23, 2021

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Something I didn't know until recently: there are 5 universally accepted tastes that our taste buds can perceive.

You can add more flavor to your food by combining them in different ways. It opens up a whole new world of flavor, which I'm actively experimenting with and you should be too.

Here they are with some ideas of how to combine them:


This first one everyone knows. Sweetness, a important source of energy and a taste filled with pleasure.

It indicates the presence of sugar, which gets quite addictive. The sweet taste is versatile and blends well with the other basic tastes.

For instance when adding banana on top of a slice of bread with peanut butter the whole flavor combo is much improved. Try it yourself.


Sourness is a taste often linked to acidity. Your mind probably immediately thinks of lemons, limes and the likes. These are perfect examples of the sourness taste.

They are a wonderful addition to add an extra kick to recipes. Try squeezing a slice of lime over a bowl of Pad Thai or any other stir fry.


Another one everybody is familiar with. Salt. This one is a necessary part of any diet and enhances the flavor of most food.

Though it's easy to overconsume salt so be mindful. Saltiness is a flavor enhancer and combines especially well with sweetness.

Just a pinch of salt will improve sweet dishes or baked goods with even more delicious flavor.


On to probably the most sensitive of the five tastes. Bitterness, which you might describe as unpleasant in some circumstances.

However, adding a bit of bitterness can make your food more interesting and full in taste. Think dark chocolate pieces in banana cake or coffee.


Finally, umami. The taste I personally didn't know about before. Examples of umami flavors are mushrooms, asparagus or some meat.

The flavor is more passive than the other tastes, but you will get a more complete flavor by adding a bit of umami in one way or another. Get creative.

An extra tip which isn't a taste per se, but certainly improves recipes and perceived flavor: texture and smell.

Toasting your bread for a sandwich or adding nuts or crotons to a salat unlocks more flavor and makes the entire dish better.

That's also why roasting your spices at the beginning of a recipe often provides an additional boost of flavor.

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