Apples, Potatoes, & Onions

Trick your tastebuds by closing your nose.

Apples, Potatoes, & Onions Experiment

Materials Checklist

Our tongues play a huge role in determining the flavors of the foods we eat... But, they might not play as big a role as you think. Believe it or not, our tongues only do 20% of the work. Researchers have estimated that approximately 80% of what we interpret as taste actually comes from smell.

In this experiment, we're going to see just how important our sense of smell is to experiencing taste. As crazy as it seems, we'll bet that without your sense of smell, you won't be able to tell slices of apple, potato, and onion apart! This experiment requires the help of an adult. Never handle knives or sharp objects without adult supervision.

Before You Start - Lab Safety

Always remember to wear eye protection during science experiments. Never handle sharp objects, open flames, chemicals, or other dangerous objects without adult permission and supervision.

I promise! Signed, ___________________________________


  1. Step 1

    Thoroughly wash the apple, onion, and potato, and ask an adult to cut small, paper thin slices of each.

  2. Step 2

    Close your eyes and, without knowing which is which, taste one slice of each of the fruits and vegetables. You should be able to easily tell which is which.

  3. Step 3

    Now, close your eyes again, but this time also pinch your nose closed with your fingers. Try each of the samples again and see if you can tell which is which. You might be surprised at how similarly they appear to taste to one another.

Materials Checklist



On 11 March 2020, Alex said,
"Awesome!! Hope you had fun and maybe learned something new too!"
On 11 March 2020, Anonymous Primate said,
"This was a really cool experiment..... :) :("

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