Science Fair Experiment Ideas: Food and Cooking Chemistry

Girl Peeling Onions Wearing Goggles
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Some of the safest and most interesting science fair projects involve the foods we eat.

Food chemistry projects have the advantage of using materials that are readily available and generally nontoxic.

A Few Ideas

Think about ways you can explore questions related to food and cooking, and use these questions to help trigger more food chemistry ideas.

  • Does eating hot or spicy food change your body temperature?
  • Does mint gum or mouthwash really chill your mouth?
  • Will chilling an onion before cutting it keep you from crying?
  • If you shake up different kinds or brands of soft drinks (e.g., carbonated), will they all spew the same amount?
  • Do all breakfast cereals that say they have 100 percent of the U.S. recommended daily allowance of iron really have the same amount? (Here's the test.)
  • Are all potato chips equally greasy? (You can crush them to get uniform samples and look at the diameter of a grease spot on brown paper.) Is greasiness different if different oils are used (e.g., peanut versus soybean)?
  • Does eating breakfast have an effect on school performance?
  • Do the same types of mold grow on all types of bread?
  • Does increasing the ethylene concentration ripen fruit more quickly?
  • Does light affect the rate at which foods spoil?
  • Do foods containing preservatives really stay fresh longer than foods without them?
  • How does time or season of harvest affect the chemistry and nutritional content of food?
  • Does exposure to light affect the amount of vitamin C in juice?
  • Can you use a household water filter to remove flavor or color from other liquids?
  • Does the power of a microwave affect how well it makes popcorn?
  • Can you tell/taste the difference between these beef cuts—hamburger, ground chuck, and ground round—after they have been cooked?
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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Science Fair Experiment Ideas: Food and Cooking Chemistry." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 27). Science Fair Experiment Ideas: Food and Cooking Chemistry. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Science Fair Experiment Ideas: Food and Cooking Chemistry." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 31, 2023).