These tips and tricks will change the way you cook.
I spend A LOT of time scouring the internet for the best cooking tips and tricks. In fact, it’s my full-time job. So you can imagine I’ve seen, heard, and tried just about every food and beverage hack out there. The following list includes the best cooking tips that have actually impressed me. Ready to save time in the kitchen and improve your home cooking? Read on. 👀
Make the easiest poached eggs in the microwave.
IMHO, poaching is the toughest egg cooking method to master. If you’re nervous about your eggs falling apart in a pot of boiling water, try poaching in the microwave.
Read more: How To Poach Eggs In The Microwave
Or poach them in plastic baggies to keep the whites together.
Line a small cup or ramekin with plastic wrap, coat it with a small bit of oil, crack an egg into the cup, then gather the sides of the plastic wrap and twist it into a pouch. Easier than traditional poaching, this method ensures that your eggs stay together when you add them to boiling water.
Read more: How to Poach Eggs in Plastic Pouches
Grill fish over slices of lemon to prevent sticking.
Cooking fish — like halibut, swordfish, or salmon — on the barbecue tastes delicious, but I always find my fish gets stuck to the grates of the grill. To prevent sticking, cut a lemon and place the lemon slices on top of the grill underneath the fish. Then go ahead and barbecue your fish as you normally would.
Read more: How To Prevent Fish From Sticking To The Grill
Freeze butter, garlic, and ginger before grating.
And freeze onions before cutting to prevent crying.
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed
I’ve attempted a handful of hacks to see which was the most effective in preventing crying, and freezing onions before slicing was a clear winner. Pop your onions in the freezer for as little as 15 minutes before cutting them and you’ll hardly shed a tear.
Read more: We Discovered The Absolute Best Way To Cut Onions Without Crying
Freeze herbs in ice cube trays so you always have them on hand.
Faith Durand via The Kitchn / Via thekitchn.com
freezer hack: If you have fresh herbs that are going to go bad, chop them up and freeze them in ice cube trays with olive oil. Just defrost them in the microwave or in a skillet whenever you need herbs for cooking!
Read more: How To Preserve Your Leftover Herbs
Make better-for-you keto waffles with protein powder, egg whites, and mashed banana.
Waffles are typically made with flour, whole eggs, milk, and vegetable oil, so until I tried it for myself, I never would have believed that you could make actually satisfying waffles with just protein powder, egg whites, and mashed banana. Turns out, these low-carb, protein-packed waffles are actually delicious! They’re crispy on the outside, moist and fluffy on the inside, and they actually taste doughy despite the fact they don’t contain any flour.
Read more: How To Make Miracle Protein Waffles
Hardboil a dozen eggs at one time in the oven.
This trick is especially handy if you’re boiling eggs in a big batch or meal prepping. Just place an egg into each pocket of a muffin tin and bake them at 325ºF. Depending on how long you cook them, you can bake eggs that taste soft-boiled, medium-boiled, or hard-boiled.
Read more: How To “Boil” Eggs In The Oven
Make tropical piña coladas with just three ingredients.
Craving a frozen cocktail to mentally transport you to a tropical island? Don’t sweat it. These three-ingredient piña coladas couldn’t be easier…and they taste incredible too. All you need is rum, full fat coconut milk, and frozen pineapple chunks. Toss everything in a blender with some more ice and voilà.
Read more: How To Make The Easiest Piña Coladas At Home
Boil pasta directly in cream-based sauce.
This one-pot pasta trick is a true game changer. You don’t even have to wait for the water to boil. Just heat olive oil and garlic in a large skillet or saucepan, stir in chicken broth, butter, milk (or cream), and pasta, bring it to a boil, and cook until the pasta is al dente. The result: pasta alfredo that takes very minimal effort.
Read more: 10 Genius Pasta Hacks That Actually Work
Microwave squash to make it easier to cut.
Cutting a whole squash is one of my greatest kitchen-related fears. Each time I go to cut a spaghetti squash, I can imagine slicing my finger off — UNTIL I learned this handy trick for softening squash in the microwave. You can do this with any kind of gourd, like acorn, delicata, butternut, or spaghetti squash. Use a knife to poke a few slits around the squash’s exterior, then microwave it for five minutes. Remove it from the microwave and it’ll be ever-so-slightly softened and easy to cut.
Make flourless pancakes with just three ingredients.
This is one of those miracle recipes that seemed way too good to be true…except it actually works. The pancake batter is made with just mashed sweet potato, eggs, and ground cinnamon. Spoon it onto a griddle or non-stick skillet with some ghee or butter, and you’ve got delicious pancakes. Just be sure to cook them about three minutes on each side until they’re fully cooked and fluffy on the inside with a nice crispy coating on the outside.
Read more: How To Make Three Ingredient Better-For-You Pancakes
Freeze your proteins before cutting them to make clean, even slices.
It’s much easier to thinly and evenly slice protein when they’re cold. Let’s say you’re cutting chicken breast or flank steak for stir-fry, prosciutto for wrapping something like shrimp or scallops, or bacon. Put that protein in the freezer for as little as 20 minutes before you start prepping, and it’ll make a huge difference.
Whip up take-out style sesame chicken in your air fryer (with no oil required).
When I first tried
this recipe, I wanted to shout about it from the rooftops. It tastes just as good as your favorite take-out sesame chicken, but the chicken is cooked in the air fryer (meaning no heavy frying in lots of oil). Tossed in sesame sauce, the final result is sticky-sweet and still tastes totally indulgent.
Read more: I Finally Got An Air Fryer, And It’s Totally Changed My Home Cooking
Add soy sauce to basically any savory dish to enhance the flavor.
Turn canned jackfruit into a meatless substitute for pulled pork.
I’m always looking for creative ways to cook satisfying meatless recipes, and BBQ jackfruit is one of the best plant-based meals I’ve found online. Simmered in your favorite barbecue sauce and shredded, jackfruit takes on the taste and texture of pulled pork.
Read more: How To Make BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sliders
Spiralize hot dogs before grilling for an even char.
If you’re a fan of a nicely charred hot dog or sausage, you’ll love this summer grilling hack. Instead of just tossing hot dogs on the grill, use a wooden skewer and pairing knife to spiralize it. Then pull the skewer out and grill it normally, turning it several times to char the surface evenly. The spiralized hot dog gets crispier and crunchier on the outside
and the ridges serve as perfect little indents for your condiments. But the grilling hacks don’t end there.
Read more: 13 Underrated Grilling Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner
Use sour cream in place of milk for boxed mac ‘n’ cheese.
Most boxed mac ‘n’ cheeses call for a few tablespoons of milk, but try swapping the milk for sour cream. The result is even more luscious and creamy.
Add a splash of olive oil to pasta water to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
Fabrizio Fadda / Getty Images
This trick goes especially for homemade pasta, which can often clump together. Add a drizzle of olive oil to your pasta water before boiling to ensure those noodles don’t stick together.
Coat the bread of your grilled cheese sandwich in mayo before pan-frying.
BuzzFeed, Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed
There’s nothing quite like a grilled cheese sandwich with crispy golden-brown bread and decadent, melty cheese. To achieve the ultimate crunch, prepare your grilled cheese sandwich and spread a bit of mayonnaise on the outside of the bread. When you pan-fry the sandwich in butter, the mayo gives it that extra oomph.
Read more: This Is The Secret Ingredient For Perfect Grilled Cheese
Use nonstick cooking spray or oil when measuring sticky ingredients.
Brycia James / Getty Images
If you’re measuring out sticky ingredients like honey, teriyaki sauce, peanut butter, or tahini, coat the measuring cup or spoon in a little bit of olive oil or non-stick cooking spray. It’ll help the sticky ingredients slide right out.
Use frozen grapes to chill wine without watering it down.
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed
So you forgot to chill the wine? Instead of watering it down with ice cubes, add a few frozen grapes (or really any frozen fruit) to your glass. The grapes will chill the wine quickly without altering the taste or diluting it.
Read more: How To Chill Wine Quickly Without Diluting It
Heat your baking sheet before roasting anything from salmon to veggies.
Keep your baking sheet in the oven while it preheats. Roasting ingredients like broccoli, salmon fillets, sweet potato, or chicken sausage on a pre-heated surface not only speeds up the cooking time, but it also makes the food crispier and tastier.
Use coffee in chocolate baked goods to boost the flavor.
Use cornstarch for the creamiest scrambled eggs.
Stir an egg yolk directly into cooked pasta for the easiest carbonara.
This is maybe the simplest and most indulgent pasta recipe that can be made in 15 minutes flat. To make classic carbonara, you whisk together egg yolks and Parmesan to make an egg-based sauce, but in this shortcut version, you just remove your pasta from the stovetop, crack an egg yolk onto it, and stir everything together. Easy and delightful!
Read more: This Lazy Carbonara Is The Easiest, Most Delicious Way To Eat Pasta
Freeze sliced avocado on parchment paper.
Foodtastic mom / Via oodtasticmom.com
If (for some reason), you find yourself with leftover avocado, you can actually freeze it in halves, slices, or chunks so you never have to waste it again. Just freeze the avocado on parchment paper, then transfer it to a freezer bag.
Read more: 13 Useful Hacks Every Avocado Lover Needs to Know
Make pizza in no time with a flour tortilla.
Everyone loves pizza, right? Well, this hack allows you to whip up this comfort food in no time, even if you don’t have pizza dough on hand. Start with a flour tortilla and heat it on a skillet. Add your favorite pizza toppings and then bake it or throw it back on the stovetop until it’s crispy and melty.
Read more: This TikTok Tortilla Pizza Trick Actually Tastes Amazing
“Roast” garlic in the microwave in just minutes.
Faith Durand/The Kitchn / Via thekitchn.com
There’s nothing quite like crusty bread dripped in creamy roasted garlic. While roasting garlic in the oven takes close to an hour, you can achieve a very similar effect by
using your handy microwave. Trim the head of a garlic bulb and place it in a microwave-safe bowl topped with two tablespoons of water, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Microwave it for eight minutes until soft, then squeeze the garlic from the skin.
Read more: How To Roast Garlic In The Microwave
Don’t throw away excess pasta water!
You might be tempted to strain your pasta and toss the leftover water, but that starchy, cloudy, salty pasta water is like liquid gold in the kitchen. Add a bit of the water back to your pasta sauce to enhance the flavor, use it to cook beans, or even to make homemade bread and focaccia.
Add a dash of mustard to mac ‘n’ cheese to bring out the flavor.
When making mac ‘n’ cheese from scratch, incorporate some type of mustard to your cheese sauce (mustard powder, yellow mustard, or Dijon all work). The vinegar-y acidity of the mustard cuts the heavier ingredients and creates a more balanced flavor. The final result is super creamy and rich mac ‘n’ cheese with a bit of a kick and complexity to it. The sharp flavor of the mustard totally enhances the flavor of whatever cheese you’re using.
Recipe: Always Add This Condiment To Your Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Turn an instant ramen seasoning packet into a gourmet sauce.
There are lots of ways to elevate a package of instant ramen, but my favorite version comes from a
TikTok video. Instead of boiling basic ramen soup, use both the noodles and the seasoning packet to make a ramen stir-fry. Combine the seasoning packet with what you have on hand like soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha, garlic, and ginger. Cook the ramen and toss into a delicious noodle dish.
Read more: This Ramen TikTok Hack Is Actually A Game Changer
Freeze individual packs of fruits and veggies for on-the-go smoothies.
Instead of constantly buying fresh produce for your morning smoothie, meal prep and make little freezer baggies that contain your favorite combination of fruits and veggies. When you’re ready to make a smoothie, just add the pre-cut frozen produce to your blender with milk or yogurt.
Use wet paper towels to chill wine and beer quickly.
Ripen an avocado in 10 minutes flat in the oven.
Whip cottage cheese or cream cheese in a food processor to make a ricotta substitute.
The Kitchn / Via thekitchn.com
Perhaps you’re making lasagna or a baked pasta dish that calls for ricotta, but you don’t have any on hand. Here’s a fun little trick: take store-bought cream cheese or cottage cheese and
pulse it in the blender or food processor for two minutes. It’ll turn whipped, fluffy, and perfect to use in your recipe in place of ricotta cheese.
Bake uncooked pasta in the oven directly in its sauce.
For the best baked pasta, you can start with uncooked noodles. Just grab your favorite noodles (tubular pasta like penne or rigatoni works best here), cover them in sauce and a little bit of water, and cook them in the oven covered in aluminum foil — no boiling required.
Read more: This Baked Pasta Is So Easy, You Don’t Even Have To Boil Water
Freeze fruit and booze in ice cubes for easy sangria.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, I love making sangria. So, after seeing these fruit and booze ice cubes on Pinterest, I always make a batch to keep on hand for my sangria needs. I just chop up my favorite fruit like strawberries and peaches and freeze them in ice cube molds with a bit of Cointreau, Triple Sec, or brandy. When I’m ready to make sangria, I just pop an ice cube or two into a glass and top it with wine.
Read more: These Sangria Ice Cubes Will Change Your At-Home Cocktail-Making
Make no-knead bread with just four ingredients.
Before I started baking, I was
so intimidated by the idea of making bread from scratch. But this miracle recipe for four-ingredient no-knead bread changed my mind. At first, I thought the recipe was too good to be true…but it comes out just as perfect as promised. The bread has a super-crispy outer layer and an airy, warm, and ever-so-slightly doughy inside.
Read more: This No-Knead Bread Recipe Completely Blew My Mind
Turn any boxed cake mix into cookie dough with eggs and oil.
Amazon, Getty Images
With a few simple additions, you can turn literally any cake mix into chewy cookies. Follow this general ratio: 1 boxed cake mix + 1/2 cup vegetable oil + 2 large eggs. Try it with Funfetti, red velvet, or basic yellow or chocolate cake mix.
16 Genius Ways To Make Legit Cookies With Cake Mix
Add mayo to boxed cake mix to make it super moist.
One of the best baking hacks I’ve ever come across is this trick for turning boxed cake mix into a luxurious, moist, and decadent dessert with the help of one secret ingredient: mayo. Try following
this recipe to prepare any boxed cake mix, which calls for a cup of mayo in addition to vegetables and eggs.
Read more: 23 Baking Hacks That Actually Work
Bake eggs on a sheet pan to make big batch omelets.
Maybe you’re cooking eggs for a family, a brunch crowd, or perhaps you’re just meal-prepping for yourself. In any case, try making sheet pan eggs. Just whisk eggs in a bowl, toss in your favorite omelet add-ins, and spread the egg mixture on a greased baking sheet. Bake it for 15 minutes at 450˚F and slice.
Read more: How To Make Time-Saving Sheet Pan Eggs
Cook starches in broth or stock instead of water.
This might seem overly simple, but cooking starches like rice, couscous, quinoa, faro, or even potatoes in a liquid other than water makes them so much tastier. Next time, try making rice in chicken broth or boiling your potatoes in milk.
Or use sweet potatoes, squash, and coconut milk for an indulgent yet totally dairy free mac ‘n’ cheese.
Don’t waste veggie scraps! Collect them and turn them into stock.
Minimalist Baker / Via minimalistbaker.com
Never throw away your leftover veggies, even if you think they’re just scraps. Instead, store those leftovers in the freezer until they accumulate. Then you can turn them into a savory and hearty
veggie broth that tastes worlds better than the store-bought stuff.
Use a soup can to convert any old cake pan into a Bundt pan.
Tasty / Via tasty.co
Confession: I’ve never owned a Bundt pan. Once in a blue moon when a recipe calls for one, I just place a soup can in the middle of a regular cake pan and weigh it down with uncooked rice or dried beans. There you have it: a makeshift Bundt pan.
Add pudding to your dough for extra chewy cookies.
If you love sinking your teeth into a warm, chewy cookie, this hack is for you. Mix a bit of vanilla pudding mix into your cookie batter until combined, then bake them as you normally would. The final cookies will have that extra gooey ~je ne sais quoi.~
Read more: This Trick For Chewy Cookies Is Actually Borderline Genius
Make the creamiest homemade pasta sauce with tomatoes, olive oil, and feta.
Do you know an amazing cooking hack that wasn’t mentioned? Tell us about it in the comments below!