Cooking can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a little bit daunting for beginners. So if you don't know where to start or are struggling to produce good results, don't worry. We have you covered!
In this article, we will share some hacks and tips that will make cooking a little bit easier for you. So get ready to take your skills to the next level!
Extremely Helpful Cooking Tips
The following tips are extremely helpful and easy to implement!
- Make Inexpensive Cakes
- The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Use a Secret Ingredient for Cookies
- Brown Butter
- Add Extra Flavor to Your Dishes
- Don't Grease Your Pans
- How to Use Your Whisk
- Make Perfect Bread
- Utilize Vinegar
- Prevent Baked Goods From Sticking
- Don't Add Extra Seasoning to The Entire Meal
- Homemade Salad Dressing Hack
- Prevent a Messy Kitchen
- Learn Techniques Rather Than Recipes
- Prep Your Ingredients
- Sharpen Your Knives
- Properly Reheat Baked Goods
- Make The Best Tea
- Make Your Baked Goods Amazing
- Invest in a Bench Scraper
- Purchase a Meat Thermometer
- Use Prep Bowls to Your Advantage
- Use Enough Spices
- Cook Pasta With Less Water
- Season Every Ingredient
- Pre-Salt Meat
- Saute The Spices With The Onions
- The Best Way to Peel Ginger
- Grate Butter for Pastries
- Dry Brine Meat
- How to Get Crispier Wings
- Prevent Basil From Browning
- Great Buttermilk Substitutes
- DIY Popcorn Salt
- Make Fluffy Basmati Rice
- Butter Your Pasta Sauce
- Just Add Pickle Juice
- Secret Mac & Cheese Ingredient
- Costco Cookie Hack
- Don't Be Afraid of MSG
- Utilize The Flavor in Anchovies
- Look at Boxes for Great Recipes
- Make Perfect Sushi Rice
- Use Stuffing in Place of Breadcrumbs
- Potato Salad Secrets
- Pesto for Nut Allergies
- Perfect Pasta Salad
- Secret Ingredient for Tuna Salad
- The Perfect French Toast
- Secret Ingredient for Flavorful Mashed Potatoes
- The Best Homemade Salsa
- Banana Bread Hack
- Simple Trick for Perfectly Juicy Burgers
- Homemade Bread Hack
- Make Delicious Tartlets
- Minced Garlic Hack
- Chicken Stock Hack
- Use Scissors Instead of a Knife
- Cut Peppers Without The Burn
- Don't Discard Your Veggie Scraps
- Stop Cutting Off Ends
- Boost The Flavor of Garlic Bread
- Elevate Your Sweet Breads
- Shredded Mozzarella Hack
- Easily Microwave Baked Potatoes
- Boiled Potatoes Hack
- Amazing Flavor Hack
- Delicious One-Pot Meals
- Incredible Cheese Sauce
- Elevate Your Casseroles
- No More Flour For Coating Pans
- Easy Browned Beef
- Boost The Flavor of Noodles
- You're Using The Wrong Chicken
- Vegetable Cutting Hack
- These Game-Changing Cooking Hacks Are So Helpful!
Make Inexpensive Cakes
You don't need to make a cake from scratch to make a beautiful and delicious cake for special events. Box mixes are inexpensive and work just as great! Your guests will never know the difference.
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Use the recipe on the back of the Tollhouse chocolate chip bag and follow it to the letter. Everyone will think you have the best of the best chocolate chip cookies.
Use a Secret Ingredient for Cookies
Use Jello vanilla pudding powder to substitute half the sugar in cookies! It keeps them super soft for days and gives them almost a cake interior.
When cooking and baking, you have to brown the butter, no one ever takes the time to brown the butter, but it is a game-changer!
Add Extra Flavor to Your Dishes
If you think something's missing in a dish, and you can't figure out what, it's probably acid! Add a splash of vinegar, some lemon juice, or whatever you think will go best, and your dish will have much better flavor!
Don't Grease Your Pans
Stop wasting your time, greasing your pans! If you don't want your food to stick, use parchment paper instead! You can even purchase it in pre-cut sheets.
How to Use Your Whisk
When you're hand whisking something and want to mix the stuff together or incorporate air into it, use a straight back and forth motion rather than a circular or whip motion.
It's much more efficient because the whisk wires going back and forth apply the most shear force to the ingredients.
Make Perfect Bread
Use a thermometer instead of a timer to determine whether your bread is done baking or not.
Having multiple kinds of vinegar on hand is a godsend! They're all so useful in different ways: Apple Cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar. You can even use white vinegar for cleaning up your cooking space!
Prevent Baked Goods From Sticking
Use silicone baking mats! You will get the same nonstick qualities as parchment paper(or even better), but they are reusable and more cost-effective as well as eco-friendly.
Don't Add Extra Seasoning to The Entire Meal
If you're not sure if something needs more salt, vinegar, hot sauce, sugar, soy sauce, etc., dish a little into a bowl and season it with what you think is missing. Does it taste better? If yes, season the whole batch. If not, try again. There's no danger of ruining the whole pot of soup or batch of stew if you just do a little side experiment first.
Homemade Salad Dressing Hack
When making your own homemade salad dressing, taste it before putting it on your salad. If a spoonful tastes really strong, it will be the perfect flavor mixed into your greens!
Prevent a Messy Kitchen
Clean as you go while you are cooking. Don't wait till the end and have to wash everything at once.
Learn Techniques Rather Than Recipes
Learn techniques instead of recipes. Cooking is not always finding a recipe, going to the store to buy ingredients, then following the recipe to make the dish. While sometimes that's perfectly fine, doing it day-to-day ends up being cumbersome, boring, and restrictive.
It's way more practical to look in the fridge, see what you have on hand, and apply a fitting technique to it - stir fry, sauté, soup, fried rice, a stew, a roast, etc.
Prep Your Ingredients
It is essential to prep your ingredients before you start cooking. Make sure that you cut and wash all of your ingredients beforehand and put them in containers for convenience. This way, when it's time to cook, everything will be ready and waiting for you!
Sharpen Your Knives
If you want to change the chopping game in your kitchen, getting good chef's knives and working with a whetstone is key! A freshly-sharpened chef's knife will pass through a potato as if you are cutting through a marshmallow!
Properly Reheat Baked Goods
There is nothing better than freshly-baked muffins, but you can't always eat them in one sitting. However, when you reheat them, they tend to get dried out. Try this hack if you want a beautiful warm muffin, but yours are two days old!
Put your leftover muffin in a paper bag with a moist paper towel and microwave it for 20 seconds on high. It will taste like it just came out of the oven!
Hint: the moist paper towel trick also works with baguettes and leftover rice!
Make The Best Tea
When dissolving sugar in cold iced tea, stir with a back and forth motion instead of a circular motion to completely dissolve the sugar. Circular motions just get the grains moving with the liquid without dissolving properly.
Make Your Baked Goods Amazing
Are you measuring your sugar, flour, and other baking ingredients with measuring cups and spoons? Try measuring your ingredients by weight instead with a food scale! Then, your recipe will be much more accurate, and your baked goods will be so much better!
Invest in a Bench Scraper
A bench scraper or bench knife is a rectangular, flat piece of steel that has a handle along one edge. It's like a wide, dull knife that can be used to portion, divide, scoop and transfer pieces of dough.
It is also extremely useful for scooping up chopped veggies and other foods and can even help you to clean your countertops!
Purchase a Meat Thermometer
No more eye-balling your food to make sure it is done! A meat thermometer will allow you to know the exact temperature of your food so that you know it is done and ready to eat.
A meat thermometer doesn't only work on meat, though. You can use it to check the temperature of other foods, too, like baked potatoes, casseroles, and more!
Use Prep Bowls to Your Advantage
Buy some inexpensive plastic prep bowls in different sizes. You can use them to place veggies as you chop them, use another bowl for discarded stems and other trash, another bowl for mixing or blending spices, and more!
Use Enough Spices
See it, smell it, taste it. In regards to spices, almost everyone starts out not adding enough of the spices they use. You have to add enough of the spices to see them in the dish, which will lead to you smelling them in the dish, which will lead to you tasting them in the dish. By doing this, the flavor of your dishes will significantly improve!
Cook Pasta With Less Water
Cook pasta in way less water, so the water gets more starchy. Don't drain the pasta; tong it over into a pan of sauce. Add a ladle or so of the pasta water to the pasta/sauce combo and cook it down a bit.
Season Every Ingredient
Season each ingredient rather than the entire dish. Also, add salt multiple times during the cooking process instead of adding it all at the end.
Salt your meat the day before. It gives salt time to penetrate the meat, adds flavor throughout, helps retain moisture by changing the chemical structure of the meat, and helps crisping/browning by removing excess moisture.
Saute The Spices With The Onions
When using spices like turmeric and masala, don't just sprinkle them on here and there like salt and pepper for flavor. Frying them brings out some amazing taste.
The Best Way to Peel Ginger
Use a spoon to peel your fresh ginger! Or for a stronger ginger flavor, freeze the root and then grate it into the dish, skin and all.
Grate Butter for Pastries
Grate your butter when it's frozen to make pastries. There's no need to use a pastry cutter to make your butter pea-sized. Just grate it on the large holes and pop it back in the freezer while you get your other ingredients together.
Dry Brine Meat
Just put salt on your meat a day ahead of time and leave it uncovered in the fridge. It keeps the meat so much juicer, adds flavor, and helps with searing/crisping. It's especially great for lean meat like chicken or pork chops that tend to overcook and dry out easily.
How to Get Crispier Wings
Leave uncovered chicken wings in the fridge overnight. Then, cook them in your air fryer, and they will come out so crispy. The fridge draws a lot of moisture out of the skin. Just toss them in some well-seasoned flour, and cook them. Then toss them in some sauce.
Prevent Basil From Browning
Slice a basil leaf parallel to the big vein that runs through it and not across. It will prevent it from browning.
Great Buttermilk Substitutes
Suppose your recipe calls for buttermilk, but you don't have any on hand. In that case, you can use a mixture of lemon juice and milk, a mixture of vinegar and milk, or yogurt as a decent substitute.
DIY Popcorn Salt
Make your own popcorn salt by pulsing kosher salt in a coffee grinder. It will make the salt very fine and perfect for popcorn. You can store it in an airtight container.
Make Fluffy Basmati Rice
Soak the rice for 30 minutes beforehand, and then drain it off. When you turn the heat off of the rice and let it sit, take a clean kitchen towel and place it in between the pot and the lid. This will catch the excess steam, preventing it from condensing on the lid and dripping back down.
Butter Your Pasta Sauce
Try putting a decent amount of butter in a red pasta sauce. It will taste twice as good, and no one will be able to guess the secret!
Just Add Pickle Juice
Try adding pickle juice to tuna or chicken salad. It adds just the right amount of tartness and that delicious pickle flavor!
Secret Mac & Cheese Ingredient
When making homemade mac and cheese, season it with the secret ingredient. Dry mustard! The flavor it will give is a game-changer.
Costco Cookie Hack
Costco has cashew clusters that are insanely good! There's always a bunch of crumbs and dust at the bottom of the bag. Grind it up and use it as part of your flour when making cookies. So delicious!
Don't Be Afraid of MSG
Sprinkling MSG powder can really elevate a dish. But people can be so afraid of it because they've been fed misinformation about its health effects. So unless a guest specifically mentions an allergy, try adding MSG to your food for a punch of flavor!
Utilize The Flavor in Anchovies
Try adding mashed-up anchovies or anchovies paste to dressings, pasta sauces, gravy, and more. No one can pinpoint the taste, and everyone loves it!
Look at Boxes for Great Recipes
Sometimes products have really great recipes on their boxes! For example, the banana pudding recipe on the back of the Nilla Wafer box is to die for!
Make Perfect Sushi Rice
Add sushi rice, water from the top of the rice to the knuckle of your index finger, and put on sensor cook for rice white. It will be the perfect texture, and you won't have to worry about water boiling over when you try to make it on the stove.
You can also use any brand of regular white vinegar to season it for a great flavor. For every one cup of rice, add half a cup of vinegar, two tablespoons of sugar, and a half teaspoon of salt. Yum!
Use Stuffing in Place of Breadcrumbs
When cooking anything that requires breadcrumbs, use chicken flavored StoveTop Stuffing mix instead! The flavor will be incredible! You can even use the stuffing mix as a replacement for croutons in a salad.
Potato Salad Secrets
Onions are often argued about with potato salad, but a quarter of one that's minced til it's basically water (or grated) is perfect in potato salad. That plus chives as a garnish make it delicious even to people who hate onions.
Use huge potato chunks and overcook them so that when you mix, they disintegrate a bit into the mayo and other ingredients, and you're left with now-regular-sized chunks.
Two benefits: the potatoes seem to soak up more of the sauce (so make sure you refrigerate it and then add more the next day), and the sauce tastes more integrated. Plus, now your chunks are normal-sized and feel more naturally shaped.
You can also add horseradish to balance out the savory without thinning the salad, and you have a winner!
Pesto for Nut Allergies
For those that are allergic to nuts, you can make pesto with (cooked) quinoa in place of pine nuts. It makes a really nice thick paste, and it's perfect for a pizza base, in lasagna, etc. It's a little too thick for pasta sauce, but you could probably thin it out with more oil.
Perfect Pasta Salad
Mix the pasta when hot with the Italian salad dressing and diced stick pepperoni. The hot pasta will make the pepperoni sweat, and the grease amplifies the flavor. Then, of course, add salad supreme and whatever else you want. You can do feta cheese & roasted tricolor peppers, and roasted tomatoes too!
Secret Ingredient for Tuna Salad
Add a little bit of soy sauce to your tuna salad to make the flavor pop! After trying this hack, you will never make your tuna salad the old way again.
The Perfect French Toast
Instead of milk, use vanilla or plain full-fat yogurt in your soaking mixture for French toast. It turns out perfectly every time.
Secret Ingredient for Flavorful Mashed Potatoes
Make mashed potato gravy with butter, flour, water, and the secret ingredient, a Ramen flavor packet! You can use beef, chicken, or creamy chicken for amazing flavor.
The Best Homemade Salsa
All you need is a big can of whole tomatoes, a big sweet onion cut into fourths, one jalapeno with seeds cut up, cilantro, and lime juice. Put everything into a food processor for about 30 seconds and add a dash of salt at the end.
Banana Bread Hack
Freeze your overripe bananas and thaw them when you are ready to make banana bread. Freezing the bananas makes them so much sweeter!
Simple Trick for Perfectly Juicy Burgers
Use a good quality ground chuck with 20% fat, keep the meat very cold, handle it as little as possible, and don't salt it except for the outside right before cooking. Make a divot in the middle to keep the patty from swelling. You will have perfect, juicy burgers every time!
Homemade Bread Hack
Add citric acid to bread dough. Making it a bit acidic makes the yeast go nuts, and even "heavy" bread rise more than you'd expect. You could use lemon juice or vinegar, I suppose. Still, citric acid (in granules) is easy to find (Indian section of supermarkets, or "gourmet" stores). It will hang out happily in your cupboard forever.
Make Delicious Tartlets
Use refrigerated rolled pie crust (the ones that come in the rolls, not in a pie tin) and jello vanilla pudding made with heavy cream rather than homemade pastry cream. Make some homemade whipped cream and put a bit of homemade bourbon vanilla extract in it. Slice some strawberries and kiwi, throw some berries on the top, dust with powdered sugar, and it's a nice dessert that only took an hour at most.
Minced Garlic Hack
No need for a garlic press with this awesome minced garlic hack! You may not know this, but they actually sell already-minced garlic in a glass jar at most grocery stores!
Chicken Stock Hack
Use a chicken stock cube in your pasta water while the pasta cooks. It has the double use of flavoring the pasta water, so if you're using a splash for your sauce, it's got a more umami, meaty flavor, and it also doubles the tastiness of your pasta!
Use Scissors Instead of a Knife
Use scissors to cut just about anything you can. You can easily cut up anything from chicken thighs to veggies to herbs, and it goes much quicker than chopping with a knife.
Cut Peppers Without The Burn
Cutting hot peppers and don't want an unfortunate accident in the bathroom (peeing, changing contacts, etc.) later? When done, rub a little neutral oil (canola, vegetable) on your hands, then wash with a little dish soap. The capsaicin (the spicy chemical in the peppers) essentially binds with the oil. Then the dish soap takes care of the oil on your hands.
Don't Discard Your Veggie Scraps
Save all the scraps from your vegetables, including onions, garlic, bell peppers, carrots, celery, herb stems, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc. Collect them in a freezer bag, and when it's full, I turn it into stock and then use that stock to replace the water while cooking rice, quinoa, lentils, etc.
Stop Cutting Off Ends
Do not start chopping your veggies by cutting off the ends. You can use the ends as a handle to help you to chop the rest of the vegetables.
Boost The Flavor of Garlic Bread
Put some lemon zest into your garlic butter, specifically for garlic bread. It's an absolute game-changer, even if you add just a little bit.
Elevate Your Sweet Breads
Add a splash of orange juice to pumpkin or banana bread. The acidity really adds some brightness against the spices and makes it taste amazing!
Shredded Mozzarella Hack
Put a block of mozzarella in the freezer for an hour or 2 to make it easier to grate.
Easily Microwave Baked Potatoes
The microwave is extremely useful for potatoes in a pinch to speed up the whole process. For baked potatoes, microwave them in plastic wrap for 5 minutes, then throw them in the oven for 15. You'll have perfect baked potatoes in 20 minutes instead of 60!
Boiled Potatoes Hack
Add a splash of vinegar in the water to boil potatoes for either potato salad or for roasting after boiling.
Amazing Flavor Hack
Try mixing butter and soy sauce in the same dish. It will quickly become one of your favorite flavor combinations. It's excellent in just about any savory dish. It works especially well with mushrooms.
Delicious One-Pot Meals
Cook your vegetables in the last few minutes of boiling water for a pasta dish. They soak up that starchy deliciousness, and it will turn many of your recipes into one-pot meals.
Incredible Cheese Sauce
Use Sodium Citrate to make a cheese sauce. It lets the milk and cheese mix together smoothly, basically producing homemade Velveeta. It will revolutionize your mac and cheese game!
Elevate Your Casseroles
Try using olive brine/pickle brine to add flavor to a lot of dishes like casseroles, stews, etc. It adds a nice depth of flavor.
No More Flour For Coating Pans
When you bake, grease your pans, but instead of using flour to coat them, use granulated sugar. It makes the edges sweet and crunchy and will save you from needing to use icing or frosting.
Easy Browned Beef
Use a potato masher for browning ground beef. It chops it up so nicely and cooks quickly.
Boost The Flavor of Noodles
Toss your cooked noodles in toasted sesame oil after they've drained. It takes their flavor to another level.
You're Using The Wrong Chicken
Never use chicken breasts! Always use chicken thighs instead. Seriously, they're a little fattier sure but make chicken dishes taste amazing instead of average.
Vegetable Cutting Hack
When you're cutting broccoli or cauliflower, turn it upside down. Then rotate it as you cut the stem part. It is so much cleaner than cutting through the flowery part from the top, and you get really nice florets.
These Game-Changing Cooking Hacks Are So Helpful!
Cooking can be a lot easier with these hacks and tips. From prepping your ingredients to using the right tools, we have you covered. So get ready to take your cooking skills to the next level!