Cooking Hacks That Will Save You Time in the Kitchen

The internet has introduced us to all kinds of innovative life hacks and simple, time-saving tips to use in our daily lives. These clever little tricks can help us in a range of ways, often involving the use of simple items to solve common problems in unexpected ways, and there are plenty of great hacks you can try out in the kitchen.

A strawberry with a straw being pushed through it
Photo by Kapustin Igor / Shutterstock

Whether you consider yourself to be a total catastrophe in the kitchen or a pretty good cook, there are always ways you can improve your culinary experiences and make things simpler for yourself. From hulling strawberries and dicing watermelons to keeping your wooden spoons nice and clean, these top tips will change the way you cook forever!

Keep Your Ice Cream Nice and Soft

We’ve all been in that classic situation of wanting to eat some ice cream but having to wait for it to warm up and soften a little before finally being able to enjoy it. Usually, you have to take the tub out of the freezer and wait for 15-20 minutes to even be able to scoop it.

A tub of ice cream in a zip-top bag
Source: Imgur

But with this neat hack, you can keep your ice cream soft and smooth, no matter what. All you have to do is put the tub inside a zip-top freezer bag before putting it into the freezer. The bag acts as a layer of insulation, preventing the ice cream from getting too frosty and keeping it nice and creamy.

Preserve Your Herbs

Fresh herbs are such important ingredients in so many recipes. They can bring so much flavor into your dishes and are often way better to use than dried herbs, but the only problem is that fresh herbs don’t last too long. Fortunately, there is a great way you can save them, and it’s really simple to do, with no in-depth cooking experience or expertise required.

Frozen herb and oil ice cubes
Photo by New Africa / Shutterstock

The trick here is to place your herbs in a mixture of oil, water, or stock and then drizzle the mixture into an ice cube tray. Simply freeze your herby liquid in the freezer, creating herb-filled ice cubes that you can then pop out and use in your cooking with ease. It’s so simple, even a first-time cook can do it.

An Unexpected Use of Dental Floss

There are some simple items probably sitting around in your home right now that could help you out so much in the kitchen, and you might be surprised to learn that dental floss is one of them! Dental floss actually has a whole host of different cooking uses, so it’s great to keep some handy whenever you’re preparing a new recipe. One super use of dental floss is for cutting into soft foods like Swiss rolls or soft cheeses.

Dental floss is being used to cut a Swiss roll
Source: Imgur

Dental floss works wonders at cutting through these soft foods, and it has many other potential uses in the kitchen too. You can use it to divide big cakes into layers, without the need for a knife, and it often causes way less mess to cut or divide using dental floss, rather than a serrated blade. Just don’t forget to use unflavored floss for this hack.

Measure Honey the Right Way

Honey is a wonderful ingredient and very healthy too, offering all kinds of benefits for the body, but it’s notoriously sticky and messy. It can be super hard to pour honey out into a cup or even a spoon, but there’s a clever little trick you can use to measure out honey without making a mess.

Pam sitting next to Molasses, Honey, and Maple Syrup
Source: Imgur

The key here is to spray some Pam or smear a little bit of vegetable oil onto the surface where you want to pour the honey. The oil acts as a barrier, preventing the honey from sticking and making it so much easier to manage. It also cuts down on waste, as you won’t lose any honey that would usually stay stuck to your spoons and cups.

Scan Your Eggs for Safety

Eggs are one of the most essential items of food in many modern diets. Rich in protein and other important nutrients, they’re perfect for people who want to eat healthily and have lots of energy to get through the day, and there are so many great ways you can enjoy eggs. But how do you know when they’re fresh?

Eggs are placed in glasses of water
Photo by Kunertus / Shutterstock

Usually, you simply have to crack them open and see what’s inside, but there’s a clever hack you can try out instead. Place your egg into a glass or bowl filled with water and a bit of salt. If the egg sinks, it’s still fresh. If it floats, it’s no good and should be thrown away. If the egg hovers in the middle, it’s still good but not super fresh, so it should be used quickly.

Keep Cakes Nice and Fresh

Everyone loves cake, and it’s especially enjoyable for special occasions like birthdays, weddings, and other important celebrations. Sadly, one of the downsides of cake is that it can start to lose its freshness quite quickly, especially once you’ve started slicing it and exposed some of the inside pieces to the air.

Slices of bread are placed over the exposed parts of a cake
Source: Imgur

To prevent those exposed parts from going dry and tasteless, try placing a slice of bread on them and securing it in place with a toothpick. The bread will go dry over time, but the cake underneath will stay nice and moist for longer. When it’s time to cut a new slice, simply remove the bread, enjoy your cake, and place the slices back over the newly-exposed sections.

A Frozen Coffee Full of Flavor

Many people can’t go a single morning without a cup of coffee. It’s the perfect drink to help you wake up and face the day, filling your body with life and energy before you step outside. However, when you’re in a bit of a rush, you might not have time to wait around and let your coffee cool down enough to drink.

Coffee ice cubes are added to a cup
Photo by Fortyforks / Shutterstock

So, what can you do? Well, the next time you make a pot of coffee, try freezing some of it in an ice cube tray. This way, you’ll be able to add those ice cubes to your next cup of coffee, cooling it down quickly and efficiently, without taking anything away from the flavor. It’s way better than adding cold water.

Remove Bits of Shell

We’ve all been in this situation; you’ve just cracked an egg and accidentally let a little bit of the shell fall in with your cake mixture or into a mug. Nobody wants to eat an eggshell, so you have to reach in there and fish it out, but it can be quite difficult to grab those tiny, slippery pieces between your fingers.

A wet hand reaches in to remove a piece of eggshell
Source: Imgur

Fortunately, there’s a really simple way you can make this little task a lot easier. All you need to do is rinse your fingers under cold water before trying to reach in and pull the shell out. With wet fingers, it’s way easier to reach into the egg, and you’ll be amazed by just how effective this little cooking hack can be.

Scoop out the Seeds

Every Halloween, countless families all follow the same ritual of buying a pumpkin and carving it with funny faces or spooky images to decorate their homes and yards. You might also simply be carving up a pumpkin or squash to make tasty treats in the kitchen, but we all know that one of the worst parts of the process is removing all those sticky, slimy seeds inside.

An ice cream scoop is used to remove pumpkin seeds
Source: Imgur

Well, there’s a really clever little hack that can help you remove countless seeds in a matter of seconds. The trick is to use an ice cream scoop, rather than a regular spoon. The edges on ice cream scoops tend to be sharper, making them much better at tearing through the pulp inside a pumpkin or similar vegetable, and scoops are bigger than spoons too, letting you gather more seeds.

Make Pancake Shapes

Pancakes are a delicious treat at any time of the day, often enjoyed for breakfast by the whole family, and 99% of pancakes are made in the same roughly circular shape. Still, if you’d like to try something different, you don’t need to be a professional chef to make fun pancake shapes for your kids.

Cookie cutters being used to make different shaped pancakes
Source: Imgur

The key here is to make use of cookie cutters. Even though they’re designed for cookie dough, they work perfectly fine with pancake batter too. Simply line them up on your pan and pour in the pancake mixture. Kids absolutely love chowing down on pancakes shaped like animals and Christmas decorations, and you can experiment with cookie cutters of all different shapes and styles.

The Best Way to Squeeze a Lemon

Lemon juice is so useful in the kitchen, and it has many different uses. It can help to cancel out certain spices if you added a little too much to your dish, and it can be used to keep certain foods fresh for longer, too, as well as being a great addition to things like seafood. But squeezing a lemon in your hands can make quite a mess, so why not try this little trick?

Tongs being used to squeeze a lemon half
Photo batjaket / Shutterstock

All you need to do is position the lemon segment in between some tongs and then squeeze the ends to push out all of that juice. This keeps your fingers nice and clean, while also putting a strong and equal force along the length of the lemon to get as much of the juice as possible out of the fruit.

Make Your Own Gummy Worms

Gummy worms or gummy snakes are hugely popular with kids and a bit of a guilty pleasure for lots of grown-ups too, but you don’t always have to buy them from the store. You can make your own quite easily, using nothing but straws and a few simple ingredients, and it’s a great thing to try with your children.

Straws being used to make homemade gummy worms
Source: Pinterest

To start off, grab some straws, a mason jar, food coloring, whipping cream, jello, and gelatin. Next, mix up the jello, gelatin, and food coloring with a few cups of hot water and let the mixture cool before adding the cream. Then simply pour the mixture into straws that have been tightly packed together in a mason jar and leave them to cool in the fridge.

Super Speedy Dinners

There are times when we’re a little too busy or tired, to spend hours in the kitchen, cooking something long and laborious. It can be tempting, in these kinds of situations, to simply order some takeout or stop off at your local fast food joint, but a better solution can be achieved with nothing but a few zip-lock freezer bags.

Some frozen sweet chili chicken in a freezer bag
Source: Pinterest

All you need to do is prepare a little extra food next time you cook and then freeze some of it in bags. All the hard work of chopping veggies, marinating meats, and adding herbs and spices are already done, so all you need to do is heat the food back up and enjoy a tasty meal in a matter of minutes.

Easy Whipped Cream

Ever tried making whipped cream? It’s really tiring. You usually have to place some cream into a bowl and then use either a manual or electric mixer or whisk to whip it up into a frothy, cloudy texture. It takes a long time and can be quite harsh on your muscles if you’re using the manual method, but there is another way.

Whipped cream in a mason jar
Source: Imgur

For this hack, all you need is a mason jar and some heavy cream. To start off, pour the cream into the jar and then secure the lid on top. Next, simply start shaking the jar around as fast as you can. Within just a couple of minutes, you can open it up to find fluffy whipped cream inside.

Poached Eggs in an Instant

There are so many different ways you can cook eggs. You can fry them, boil them, scramble them, and more, and many people enjoy the unique texture and taste of a poached egg, but it can be quite a tricky technique to pull off on your own. With this little trick, you’ll be poaching eggs like a pro in no time at all.

Eggs being poached in plastic bags
Photo by WoodsyPhotos / Shutterstock

All you have to do is crack the eggs inside some high-quality plastic bags (they need to have a melting point of at least 250 degrees). Next, place the bags into some boiling water for a few minutes and pull them back out. You’ll find that the eggs inside have been poached to perfection, and you can then carefully extract them from the bags and put them onto your plate.

Peel a Clementine the Right Way

Clementines are juicy treats for people of all ages, but they can be pretty tricky to peel. Often, you find yourself dealing with sticky hands and lots of little broken slices squirting juice all over the place. But there’s a little trick that can help you enjoy your clementines much more cleanly and easily.

A clementine being peeled correctly
Source: Imgur

For this trick, all you need to do is stop peeling the entire clementine. Instead, just get rid of the top, then cut out a single slice. From there, you can roll out the rest of the peel in one long strip, just like in the picture. It’s such a simple thing to do!

Decorate Your Cake Like a Pro

Many people enjoy baking cakes at home, but we often worry that our baked creations just don’t seem to look as good as the fancy cakes you see in stores or professional bakeries. How can you get your cakes to look better without bringing a pro baker into your kitchen? Well, there’s a simple trick, and all you need is a little bit of lace.

Lace is used to create an intricate pattern
Source: Pinterest

As you can see in the picture, you can use a piece of lace cloth and then sprinkle some powdered sugar over the top. The sugar will fall through the gaps and form a beautiful pattern on the top of your cake. Your friends and family won’t believe it!

Baked With Love

Here’s another top tip for the next time you decide to bake some cakes. Usually, you probably make cakes in the classic round shape. Still, there’s a very clever little trick you can try out to create beautiful heart-shaped cakes instead, perfect for special occasions like Valentine’s Day or for handing out as gifts to your nearest and dearest.

Marbles being used to make heart-shaped cakes
Source: Imgur

The trick here is to place a small marble or other heat resistant object besides your cake or muffin liners, before or after filling them up with cake batter. The marble will push the liner inwards at an angle, allowing your cake to bake in a cute heart shape. Once the marbles are in place, all you need to do is bake your cakes as normal.

Makeshift Rolling Pin

Many years ago, it seemed like a rolling pin was one of those must-have items, an essential part of any kitchen. Nowadays, however, people have discovered that classic wooden rolling pins really aren’t all that needed at all. In fact, you might have a better alternative just sitting in your kitchen right now in the form of a wine bottle.

A wine bottle being used as a rolling pin
Source: Pinterest

Yes, wine bottles are absolutely amazing as alternative rolling pins. In fact, they might be even better! The glass is less likely to stick to the dough than wood, especially if you dust a little bit of flour over the outside of the bottle before you start. Just remember to be extra careful when using a wine bottle as a rolling pin. If you happen to slip or drop the bottle on the floor, it could shatter and cause a lot of mess or even injure you.

Slice a Watermelon Flawlessly

Watermelons are super fruits at any time of year. They’re especially popular in the summer months due to their refreshing nature and delicious taste. But it can be quite difficult for amateur cooks to cut them up properly, and many people often make a mess or waste large parts of the fruit when trying to slice a watermelon. Here’s a little trick to make it easier.

A watermelon being sliced into cubes
Source: Pinterest

For this trick, all you need to do is divide the watermelon into four quarters. Next, turn the melon so that the flesh is facing you and cut horizontal and vertical lines into the fruit to form a kind of checkerboard pattern. When you’re done, you can flip the melon over and then watch as all the little cubes fall right out.

Mashed Potatoes in Minutes

Lots of people enjoy mashed potatoes. They’re so tasty mixed up with a little butter or cream, but they can take so long to make, especially when you have to worry about boiling the potatoes for many minutes. What if you could make mashed potatoes in a fraction of the time? Well, that’s truly possible with this little trick.

Two potatoes ready to cook in the microwave. / A photograph of mashed potatoes
Photo by Andrew E Gardner, Shutterstock / Sokor Space, Shutterstock

This simple cooking hack involves rinsing your potatoes in water and then placing them in the microwave (in a microwave-friendly bowl or on a microwave-friendly plate) for about eight minutes, or a little more or less, depending on how powerful your microwave is. When you take them out, the potatoes will be soft and ready to mash. Then, all you need to do is mash them up, add some butter and seasonings and enjoy.

DIY Taco Shells

Lots of families have their own ‘taco night’ each week, but did you know that you don’t always have to buy your own taco shells? If ever you forget to buy any or just want to try making your own, it’s surprisingly simple to do so. All you need is simple tortillas, either store-bought or homemade.

Tortillas placed over an oven rack
Source: Pinterest

To do this trick, place the tortillas in the oven, taking care to fold them over the rack, as seen in the picture. Next, turn on the oven and cook the shells for just a few minutes. They’ll start to grill in the heat, going slightly golden and crispy, as well as becoming more solidly formed in that distinctive shell shape. Then, all you need to do is fill them up with meat, salsa, and anything else you enjoy.

Make Fruit Ripen Faster

We’ve all been in this situation: you bought some fruit and really want to eat it, but it’s just not ripe enough. Maybe those bananas are still a little green, or your avocados are too firm to be tasty. Usually, you simply have to sit and wait for the ripening process to freshen up your fruit, but there’s actually a neat way to make it happen much faster.

Avocados in a paper bag
Photo by Arantxa Forcada Garcia / Shutterstock

The trick here is to place your fruit that needs ripening into a simple paper bag. You see, when the fruit is placed in a paper bag, the concentrated ethylene gas helps to soften it. It works wonders on things like bananas, peaches, and more.

A Tasty Measuring Trick

Following a recipe isn’t always easy. Sometimes, we can get a little lost with all those ingredients, forgetting whether we’ve already added2 cups of flour or 3. Well, there are a few ways you can solve this common issue, and one of the most fun and tasty solutions involves M&Ms.

M&Ms placed on a napkin
Source: Imgur

For this trick, prepare a bag of M&Ms in front of you, and place a corresponding number of M&Ms to match whatever you’re measuring out. If you need 5 cups of flour, for example, place 5 M&Ms in front of you. Now, every time you add a cup, eat an M&M. This system will let you enjoy a tasty snack while also keeping track of your measurements.

Soften Butter

Butter is an essential ingredient in so many recipes, but it’s easy to accidentally leave it in the fridge too long and then find yourself struggling to stir your mixtures with a big lump of hardened butter. You might try to soften it in the microwave, but that can be pretty hard, so give this a try instead.

Butter softening on a hot plate
Photo by zkruger / Shutterstock

With this method, all you need is a cup of water. Place it in the microwave and heat it up. Next, place your butter on a plate and then place it into the microwave and close the door, but don’t switch it on. The warm mist in the air will help to soften the butter, without the risk of it melting.

Simple Cheese Sticks

Fried cheese is one of those guilty pleasures that so many people love, but making fried cheese sticks can be a little tricky if you don’t know-how. Fortunately, there’s a really simple way to enjoy some fried cheesy goodness without needing to know any complicated recipes at all.

Simple fried cheese sticks cooking in a pan
Source: Imgur

To follow this recipe, grab yourself some cheese and a few slices of bread. Cut the crust off the bread and then flatten it with a rolling pin. Place a slice of cheese onto each slice of bread and roll it up like a Swiss roll. Then fry the rolls of bread in a pan until the outside is nice and crispy, and the cheese inside has melted.

Peel Garlic More Easily

Garlic is an essential ingredient in thousands of recipes, used in all kinds of cooking from Asian curries to Italian dishes and more. It’s also very healthy, offering a great range of benefits for the body, but it can be tricky to chop and peel. Here’s a trick to help out.

A knife being used for crushing garlic, peeling it in the process
Photo by Nungning20 / Shutterstock

With this trick, you’ll be able to peel garlic cloves in an instant. All you need to do is remove the cloves from the bulb. Next, take a chef’s knife and position it over your cloves. Then, carefully, whack the knife from above into the cloves. The skin should peel right off without any hassle. Many chefs around the world use this clever trick every day.

Cheap Ricotta Alternative

Lots of people love to make lasagna. It’s a classic and hearty Italian meal the whole family can enjoy, great for get-togethers or even ideal to prepare for parties and potlucks. However, one of the issues a lot of people face is the high price of ricotta cheese. Well, there’s a way you can get around it, making a ricotta-free lasagna with the same great taste.

A lasagna prepared with cottage cheese
Photo by Fanfo / Shutterstock

All you need to do is buy cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese. It’s usually a lot cheaper, and you can mix it up in a mixer until it’s more or less the same consistency as ricotta. Plus, it’s less fattening, so you can eat lasagna more often without worrying about the calories.

Very Flavorful Fish

Grilling fish can be quite a tricky task. Fish is way more fragile than meats like beef and chicken, and it can easily fall apart as you try to move it around or if you happen to grill it for too long. A really clever way to get around this is by using a few slices of lemon.

A piece of salmon is grilled on a bed of lemon slices
Source: Flickr

The next time you’re grilling up some fish, place a few lemon slices down beforehand and then place the fish on top. The lemon will act as a barrier to let the fish cook without getting too crumbly or breaking apart, as well as infusing it with flavor. This hack is both flavorful and functional at the same time!

Make Guacamole Quickly and Simply

One of the best Mexican foods of all time, guacamole is perfect served alongside some nachos or spread on the inside of your tacos, and it’s so easy to make, but mashing up the avocados can be a challenge. Well, there’s a simple way you can make this tedious task a whole lot easier, using just one item you probably already own.

Mashing avocados with a potato masher
Source: Imgur

Most people tend to mash avocados with the back of a fork, but try using a potato masher instead! It’s designed for mashing, after all, and it works just as well on ripe avocados as it does on soft potatoes. Mashing with an actual masher helps to create a really smooth and creamy consistency in your avocado, free from any unwanted clumps or lumps.

Extra Gooey Brownies

Brownies are a super tasty sweet treat the whole family can enjoy, and they’re pretty easy to make too, but you can sometimes get mixed results. It’s easy to accidentally overcook brownies or fail to get the mixture just right, resulting in hard and dry cakes that lack that soft, gooey texture we all enjoy.

Soft brownies made with coffee and two cups of coffee sitting next to them
Photo by Rybalchenko Nadezhda / Shutterstock

This hack can help you get extra soft and gooey brownies every time, and it’s as simple as 1, 2, 3. The first part is to brew a cup of coffee while preparing your brownie mix. Next, add that coffee into your mixture instead of water. You’ll be amazed at how the coffee works to soften the brownies and bring out the rich flavor of the chocolate.

Separate Your Eggs With Ease

Some recipes will ask you to separate egg whites and egg yolks. Maybe you only need to use the whites to make a low-fat dish, or perhaps you need the yolks separate to add into the mixture later on. Either way, it can be tricky to separate yolks from whites, especially with eggs being so sticky and hard to handle.

A bottle being used to suck up egg yolks
Photo by Levent Konuk / Shutterstock

Lots of people have their own unique techniques for separating the whites and the yolks, but if you’re looking for a foolproof system that works more or less every time, try this one. Grab a plastic bottle and position the open rim above the yolk, then squeeze the bottle gently to suck up the yolk and remove it. It might take a bit of practice to get the hang of this one, but once you nail it, it’ll work like a dream.

Perfectly Smooth Chocolate Cups

Ever been amazed at the expert skills of a professional chocolatier? They can work wonders with chocolate, creating unique shapes and crazy designs with their amazing skills, and it might all seem utterly impossible to an amateur home cook, but there are a few chocolate tricks you can learn, starting with this one.

Balloons used to make chocolate cups
Source: Imgur

To make some perfect chocolate cups, all you need is chocolate and balloons! Start off by melting some chocolate in a bowl and then blow up a balloon. Dip the balloon into the chocolate and place it in the fridge to cool down. When that’s done, simply pop the balloon and marvel at your perfectly formed chocolate bowls that can be used for all kinds of things.

Stop the Overflow

There are times when you need to leave something bubbling up on the stove and can’t always be there to keep an eye on it. Lots of people have busy schedules and multiple responsibilities, and it can be so frustrating to leave for a few minutes and get back to the kitchen to see that your bubbling water has started to spill all over the stove.

A wooden spoon positioned over a pot with boiling water
Photo by Levent Konuk / Shutterstock

This little trick can help with that. All you need to do is position a wooden spoon right over the top of your saucepan. This spoon will actually prevent the water from flowing over the sides and making a mess everywhere. It’s a hugely important hack for busy people.

Check the Temperature of Your Oil

There are countless recipes out there that involve the use of some form of oil. It’s the ultimate ingredient for frying, but we often tend to add our other ingredients before the oil has actually gotten to the right temperature, as it’s so hard to tell how hot oil really is.

A wooden spoon used to test the oil temperature
Source: Pinterest

Oil doesn’t bubble up like water, but there is a way you can test the heat without putting yourself at risk. Simply grab a wooden spoon or other wooden cooking utensils and place them into the oil. As seen in the picture, the oil should start to bubble up around the wood if it’s hot and ready to start frying. If it doesn’t bubble, you’ll need to leave it a little longer.

Better Box Cakes

When you don’t have too much time to spare but want to bake something sweet and tasty, a box cake is a great option. They’re quick and easy, with most of the hard work done on your behalf, and all you usually need to do is add in a few extra ingredients like oil, water, and eggs. However, many box cakes end up being a little dry and disappointing when they come out of the oven.

A chocolate fudge box cake
Photo by Africa Studio / Shutterstock

This top tip can help you take your box cakes to the next level, giving them a truly homemade taste. The key here is to ignore the on-the-box instructions and add different ingredients instead. If the box tells you to add water, add milk. If it tells you to add oil, add butter. And if it tells you to add one egg, add two. These extra ingredients will vastly improve the flavor and texture of your cake.

Make Your Own Pasta Sauce With Ease

Making your own pasta sauce is so much better than using the pre-made canned sauces out there, but it can also be quite a long and tiring process. Wouldn’t it be better if there was a simpler and faster way? Well, maybe there is, and this top tip can help you enjoy delicious pasta sauce with ease.

A pan of tomato sauce
Photo by Alp Aksoy / Shutterstock

The trick here is to actually use canned tomato sauce but add in some of your own ingredients to vastly improve the flavor. First, prepare a pan and heat up some olive oil. Then add some chopped garlic and onion powder before applying the canned sauce. The garlic and onion will really help out with the flavor, giving your sauce an authentic taste.

Steam Veggies Without a Steamer

Steaming your vegetables is one of the best ways you can cook them. It keeps all the vitamins and nutrients inside, and it doesn’t involve the use of any extra fat, too, so it’s super healthy. The only problem is that many people don’t have a steamer and don’t want to buy yet another kitchen appliance, but there’s a way you can steam your veggies without even using a steamer.

Vegetables in parchment paper bags
Source: Imgur

This trick involves parchment paper. All you need to do is prepare some parchment paper parcels and then rinse off your veggies in a bowl. Don’t let them dry off. Instead, place them straight into the parchment paper parcels and fold the paper over them. You can even add a little seasoning here like herbs, lemon slices, salt, and pepper to add some extra flavor. Then all you need to do is place your veggies in the oven for about half an hour.

Make Frothy Milk in a Flash

Many of us love to stop off at our local coffee shops and grab a frothy cappuccino or other milky drink, and we often marvel at how the baristas can make such frothy milk so quickly and easily with their high-powered coffee machines. Well, you don’t need a fancy machine to make frothy milk in your very own home!

Frothy milk in a jar
Source: Pinterest

For this trick, all you need to do is pour your milk into a little jar, like an old jam or jelly jar. Next, secure the lid tightly in place, so you don’t make a mess and then start shaking the jar around as fast as you can. After that, place the jar into the microwave for about 30 seconds (make sure there are no metal pieces on your jar for safety), and you’ll get super frothy milk at the end.

An Alternative Ice Cube

Many people use ice cubes to cool down their drinks, keeping them frosty and refreshing, perfect for those warm, sunny days. But have you ever noticed how too many ice cubes could actually ruin the flavor of your drinks? As they melt, they add water to the mixture, diluting your sodas, wines, and more.

Grapes being used as ice cubes
Source: Pinterest

Well, here’s a neat trick to keep your drinks cool without the unwanted side effect of affecting their flavor. Use frozen grapes instead! You can place some grapes in the freezer and then use them just like ice cubes to keep your drinks cool, and they won’t impact the flavor negatively. You can try this out with other fruits, too, like blueberries.

Master the Art of the Grilled Cheese

The grilled cheese sandwich is an American classic. It’s so simple, and everyone loves that distinctive taste of crisp, toasted, golden bread with tasty, stringy, melted cheese inside. Making grilled cheese is easy, but it can be pretty time-consuming.

A row of grilled cheese sandwiches
Source: Imgur

Here’s a way to speed up your grilled cheese creations and become a true master of the grilled cheese sandwich! All you need to do is preheat your oven with cooking sheets inside. Next, place the sandwiches on a greased cooking sheet and then add one of the heated sheets from the oven right on top. The heat will actually help to cook both the top and bottom of your sandwich equally.

Super Simple Pizza Dough

Pizza is one of the world’s most favorite foods. Always popular, no matter where you go or who you talk to, pizza is a classic, but many people find it super boring to make their own dough. This means that a lot of folks buy pre-made dough balls from local restaurants or grocery stores, but you might be surprised how easy it can be to make your own.

A woman spreading sauce on her homemade pizza dough in the shape of a heart
Photo by Mikhaylovskiy / Shutterstock

Instead of ordering takeout pizza or buying dough somewhere else, simply grab a cup of Greek yogurt and mix it up with a cup of self-rising flour. That’s it. No other ingredients are necessary, and once you’ve mixed these two elements together and rolled out the dough into a pizza shape, you’re ready to start adding those toppings.

Make Rice in the Microwave

Got a craving for some rice but not enough space on the stove to cook it up? Maybe you just don’t have the time to stand around and keep an eye on it, or maybe you just want a super speedy alternative to using your pots and pans. Either way, there’s a quick and easy way to cook rice using nothing but a microwave.

A woman preparing rice in the microwave
Photo by sergemi / Shutterstock

For this trick, simply place your rice in a microwave-safe container and then fill it up with water. The water should get to about 1 inch above the rice. Next, cover it up, and place the container into the microwave for about 9 minutes, give or take depending on the power and settings of your appliance. Once the microwave beeps, you’ll find some tasty, perfectly cooked rice waiting for you.

Stop Oil Splatters With Ease

Many people like to cook with various oils each day, but it can be so annoying as the heat builds up and that oil starts spitting and splattering all over your nice, clean kitchen. It can be hell to clean up afterward, and all those little splashes of oil can sometimes hurt your skin if they make contact. There has to be a better way, right?

A chef putting some salt into a pan with oil
Photo by Prasert Wongchindawest / Shutterstock

Well, there is! All you really need to do is add a sprinkle of salt into the pan with the oil. Due to some pretty complex science that we won’t detail here, the salt prevents the oil from splattering and spitting around, keeping your skin safe, your kitchen clean, and letting you enjoy your favorite recipes.

Pop Those Pits in a Flash

There’s nothing quite like a fresh cherry. They’re among the tastiest fruits around, and everyone loves it when cherry season arrives, and we can start enjoying them regularly. But there’s just one problem: the pits. Cherry pits are really frustrating, and it’s easy to get yourself in a mess trying to pick them out or spit them out while eating your cherries.

A cherry placed over a bottle with a chopstick poking through
Source: Imgur

Well, here’s a really neat way to remove the pits from cherries without making a mess. All you need to do is grab an empty bottle, like a soda or beer bottle, and a chopstick. Position the cherries on the top of the bottle and poke the chopstick through to push the pits out.

Add a Little Fire to Your Chili

Chili is another hugely popular dish that many people enjoy eating on a weekly basis. Filled with meat, beans, and flavor, chili can be enjoyed by the whole family and is super to share with your nearest and dearest. But it’s absolutely vital to get the spice balance right when making your chili to really give it enough of a kick, without creating something that’s too hot or simple inedible.

A pot of Chili with a wooden spoon next to it
Photo by Stephanie Frey / Shutterstock

Most people try to simply sprinkle in lots of chili powder when making a chili, but it’s easy to make mistakes and add too little or not enough. Try this tip instead: add some cinnamon. It might sound strange, but just a few pinches of cinnamon can add a lot of warmth and really bring out the flavors of the other ingredients in your chili.

Do Your Cooking on Sundays

In the modern world, many people have super busy schedules. We have jobs, families, friends, hobbies, and so much more to think about, and a lot of us don’t have enough time to spend hours and hours in the kitchen each and every night, but we still want to enjoy great-tasting, homemade meals.

Meal Prep laid out on a table
Photo by DebsG / Shutterstock

How can we solve this problem? It’s simple: do all your cooking on Sundays. Most people are free on Sundays, and it’s easy to dedicate 2-3 hours of the day to preparing veggies, meats, fish, rice, and other ingredients that you can then store in plastic containers, ready to be reheated and enjoyed in the week ahead. You’ll be amazed at what a life-changing tip this can be.

Much Healthier Pancakes

Pancakes are a delicious breakfast treat, but many people see them as an indulgence or guilty pleasure, due to their high fat and sugar content. A lot of people, therefore, prevent themselves from enjoying pancakes too often, especially if they’re on a diet. Fortunately, there’s a really great way for you to make pancakes with way less fat content using a few different ingredients.

A stack of chocolate protein pancakes
Photo by Marius Venter / Shutterstock

For this healthy pancake recipe, you’ll need to mix protein powder, almond milk, oat flour, and coconut oil. The flavor won’t be quite the same as regular pancakes, but the nutritional value is way better, and you can still change the flavor by adding different toppings like mixed fruits or chopped nuts.

The Perfect Poaching Method

There are so many different ways you can prepare eggs, and poaching is one of the best. A poached egg is a truly unique delight, with its own special texture and flavor, but many people end up frying their eggs instead as they just can’t master the difficult technique of poaching. Well, here’s a trick to make it all a lot easier.

An egg without the shell after it is soaked in vinegar
Photo by optimarc / Shutterstock

If you want to obtain a perfectly poached egg, the key is to keep the egg in the right shape while the water boils around it. That might seem tricky, but if you soak the eggs in white vinegar for a few minutes before breaking them open, you’ll be amazed to see that they keep their shape really well.

Homemade Hash Browns

Almost every American loves hash browns. They go so well with other breakfast treats like eggs and bacon, but they can be so time-consuming to make. In fact, many people simply skip them each morning because they don’t want to spend all that time preparing them, but there is a great way to make hash browns more easily and speedily.

Hash browns being prepared in a waffle iron
Photo by Joshua Resnick / Shutterstock

For this trick, all you need is a waffle iron! Simply shred your potatoes like normal and then sprinkle some of the shredded pieces onto a waffle iron, before switching it on and closing it shut. After just a few minutes, you’ll get a perfectly cooked, waffle shaped hash brown, ready to eat and enjoy.

Bring Bread Back to Life

There’s nothing quite like a freshly baked loaf or baguette, but one of the many issues people tend to face with fresh and proper bread is that it goes stale and hard so quickly. Within just a day or two, those soft loaves can suddenly turn into rocks, but there is a way around this problem.

Homemade bread in a towel
Photo by Golubovy / Shutterstock

All you need to do is sprinkle the bread with water and then place it in the oven for about 5-10 minutes on a low to medium heat. You can also try wrapping the bread in a damp towel before cooking it in the oven. Either way, when you open the oven door, the bread will have softened down a lot. It’ll be nice and crusty, ready to enjoy.

Slice Tomatoes in an Instant

Chopping certain fruits and veggies is easy, but others can be a real pain. For example, cherry tomatoes can be quite tricky to chop as you need to spend a lot of time going through each and every one of them to prepare a salad, sandwich, or some other snack. They’re also prone to squirting juice everywhere as you pierce them with the knife.

A plastic lid is used to hold down cherry tomatoes for slicing
Source: Imgur

This little trick can help you save a ton of time and prevent a lot of mess associated with cutting cherry tomatoes. Simply gather a few of them together under a plastic container lid or small plate. Apply gentle pressure from above to keep the tomatoes in place and then slice them from the side. This trick also works great with grapes!

Dry Herbs by Yourself

Fresh herbs are almost always better to use than their dried counterparts, but there’s nothing wrong with dried herbs, and they can add a lot of flavor to many mixtures and recipes. But why should you buy your own dried herbs from the grocery store when it’s so easy to make your own?

Herbs being dried in a microwave
Source: Pinterest

If you’re in the habit of buying fresh herbs regularly and want to ensure that not a single leaf goes to waste, you can try drying them out yourself. All you need to do is place the herbs on a piece of parchment paper and put it in the microwave for about 20 seconds, repeating the process as many times as needed until the leaves are all dried out. After that’s done, you can crush them up and place them in a jar or container for future use.

Let Your Onions Chill Out

Red onions are an amazing ingredient. They’re great on pizza, perfect for chilis, and ideal for all kinds of other dishes too, adding so much flavor to many meals. The only issue is that sometimes, they can be a little too overpowering, canceling out other ingredients, and dominating your dishes.

Red onions soaking in ice water
Source: Imgur

Well, there’s a great and simple trick you can try to reduce the potent flavor of your red onions. All you need to do is prepare some icy water and then soak the onions in the bowl for about 10 minutes before using them in your recipes. The ice water will help the sulfur compounds in your onions fade away, reducing their strength but still preserving their crisp texture.

Get Rid of Fats

One of the common issues that cooks have to deal with when preparing a meaty soup, stew, or broth is all the fat that builds up on top as the mixture cooks. It’s never a fun job trying to scoop that fat out and toss it away, but it’s vital for anyone who wants to enjoy a tasty and healthy dish.

A pan filled with soup and an ice cube being placed in
Source: Imgur

Fortunately, there’s a really smart and simple way for you to remove the fat without needing to spend ages and ages scooping it out with a spoon. All you need to do is add a couple of ice cubes into the broth. The fat will actually start to congeal around the cold spots, forming more solid pieces that are way easier to remove.

Avoid Stinky Garlic Hands

Garlic is one of those ingredients we all love to eat in a wide range of dishes, but often hate to prepare. There are so many little issues with preparing garlic. Peeling it can be a problem, chopping the tiny pieces can be risky, and having to deal with stinky hands when you’re done is another big issue for a lot of people too.

A person washing their hands while rubbing a spoon
Photo by Madrolly / Shutterstock

Usually, it can seem almost impossible to make that garlic smell get off your fingers, even with soap and water. Well, here’s a trick that can help. The next time you have garlic-smelling hands, wash them under cold water while rubbing your fingers over something like a spoon. The smell will fade away a lot faster.

Stay Safe While Chopping

As children, we all learn the golden rule that knives need to be handled with care, and even the most experienced chefs sometimes cut their fingers or accidentally slice themselves while preparing fruits, veggies, and meats. If you have a recipe that involves a whole lot of chopping and you want to stay safe, this tip might help out.

A wet paper towel placed under a chopping board
Source: Pinterest

All you need to do is place a wet cloth underneath your chopping board. The cloth will actually help to provide friction, securing the board in place and preventing it from unexpectedly slipping and sliding around as you chop. This will help to minimize the risk of you accidentally hurting yourself as you prepare your tasty meals.

Designate Your Chopping Boards

Have you ever stopped to think about the different ingredients you chop up on your chopping boards? Fruits and veggies are fine, but things like fish and meat can be filled with bacteria. If you start chopping up raw meat on one board and then use it to chop something else, you can easily contaminate your food and potentially cause a serious case of food poisoning!

Different ingredients being prepared on different boards
Source: Imgur

This is why it’s so important to have designated chopping boards for different foods. Many stores these days sell multi-colored boards, and you can assign each color to a type of food. Your red board can be used for meat, for example, while your blue board is for fish, and your green board is for veggies. This system can really improve the health and hygiene of your kitchen.

Hulling Made Simple

When preparing strawberries for tarts, cakes, or just simply to enjoy on their own in a bowl, you need to hull them. Hulling is basically the culinary term for ‘removing the green bit’ and also involves removing some of the harder and flavorless parts from the inside. It can be a little tricky and time-consuming, but we’ve got a hack for that.

A strawberry with a straw being pushed through it
Photo by Kapustin Igor / Shutterstock

If you’ve ever wanted to find a quick and simple method for hulling strawberries, here it is. All you need to do is use a straw! Just push the straw through the bottom of the strawberry until it breaks through the top. It removes the whole center of the strawberry, ensuring that you won’t have any nasty hard bits when you eat it later on.

The Easiest Boiled Eggs

Boiling an egg can seem like quite a challenge to inexperienced or first-time cooks, but it becomes easier and easier the more often you do it. Still, even experienced cooks can have issues extracting the boiled eggs from their shells without breaking them. Fortunately, there is once again a simple hack that can help you enjoy perfect hard-boiled eggs without any shell problems.

The shell being removed from a boiled egg
Photo by pkproject / Shutterstock

All you need to do is add a little baking soda or vinegar to the water you use to boil the eggs. The extra acidity in the water provided by the soda or vinegar helps to break the shell down, making it a lot easier for you to remove them when the boiling process is complete.

Evenly Sliced Meat Every Time

If you already think you’re a pretty good cook, one thing you might want to work on is presentation. Cooking meals is easy for some people, but preparing them in a beautiful and balanced way can be a little trickier, especially when meat is involved as it can be so tricky to make even attractive slices.

Some frozen meat being sliced
Source: Imgur

Well, here’s a little trick to make your meats look a lot better on the plate. Try freezing them just a little before slicing them. The freezing process adds structure and strength to the meat, keeping it in place while you slice through it. This allows you to make really neat and even slices that can then be added to stir-fries, tartars, or used for curing, and smoking too.

Bring Your Honey Back From the Brink

Honey is an amazingly healthy and tasty ingredient that can be enjoyed in countless different ways. Still, one thing you may have noticed is that if you leave honey in the kitchen cabinets for too long without using it, it may start to go hard. Honey crystallizes over time, and many people make the mistake of thinking that it’s no longer good to eat.

Crystallized honey melting in hot water
Source: Imgur

In fact, crystallized honey is perfectly healthy, but you have to put in a little effort to bring it back to a liquid form and make it more malleable once again. To do this, place the jar of honey into a bowl of hot water and let it sit there for a while. The crystals will begin to melt as time goes by.

Put Butter Back Together

Some recipes call for melted butter, but sometimes, you might melt a little too much and then worry that you won’t be able to use it anymore. If you don’t like wasting ingredients and don’t want to toss that butter away, there is actually a way you can bring it back together in a solid form.

Melted butter solidifies in an ice bath
Source: Pinterest

The trick here is to place the melted butter back into the tub and then place the tub in a bath of ice and icy water. The cold temperatures will slowly but surely bring the butter back to a solid. If you put the tub in the fridge, on the other hand, the butter may curdle instead, so this is definitely the best way to do it.

Keep Your Eyes Safe From Onions

Onions are essential ingredients in thousands of different recipes, but there’s one problem that countless people have to deal with every single time they chop an onion. Of course, we’re talking about how onions make you cry as you chop them. They release a chemical into the air, which can make your eyes sting and start to water, and some people actually avoid using onions at all because of this issue.

A man about to cut an onion with goggles on
Photo by Sherwood / Shutterstock

Luckily, there is a way to keep your eyes safe whenever you chop an onion. All you need to do is freeze the onion before you slice it. This actually makes the slicing process easier and prevents the chemical from being released. Another trick is to chop the onions underwater, but this can be tricky, or you can try holding a piece of bread in your mouth to soak up the chemicals before they hit your eyes.

The Right Way to De-Kernel Corn

Many people enjoy eating corn straight from the cob, and it’s a great-tasting treat when grilled up on a burger and served with a little spiced butter sitting on top, but there are some occasions where you might want to de-kernel your corn cobs, and this can be a bit of a tricky and time-consuming process.

A knife and bundt pan are used to de-kernel corn
Source: Pinterest

However, slicing the kernels from your corn cobs can be a lot easier with the aid of a bundt pan. All you need to do is place the pointed end of the cob down into the pan to hold it in place and then grab a very sharp knife. Slice the knife downwards along the sides of the cob, letting the kernels fall right off into the pan below.

Get More From Your Fruit

Lemon juice is one of the most essential ingredients to keep in any kitchen. It can have so many uses, from adding flavor to fish to balancing out spices and herbs in certain recipes and even helping to make your homemade smoothies last a little longer too. The best way to get lemon juice is from freshly squeezed lemons, but even with some serious squeezing, a lot of juice gets wasted and stays inside the fruit.

Lemons being squeezed after being in the microwave
Photo by batjaket / Shutterstock

This trick will allow you to get much more juice out of every lemon, and all you need to do is use a microwave. Place the lemons inside the microwave for about 15-20 seconds. The heat will help to get the juices flowing, so to speak, and break down some of the bonds inside the lemon, making it easier to squeeze. This trick works with oranges and limes too.

Keep Fruit Fresh For Longer

Fresh fruit is something that belongs in every home. Rich in vitamins of all kinds, fruit can be highly beneficial to the human body and serves as a super healthy snack for any time of day, but one issue with fresh fruit is that it can start to go off quite quickly, especially once you’ve sliced it.

An apple sliced into four sections
Photo by marigold-y / Shutterstock

Many people slice lemons and apples and then try to make them last a little longer in the fridge, but they quickly start to go brown. However, if you store your fruit in a mixture of water, honey, and lemon juice, the oxidation process that usually makes it go brown will happen way more slowly, keeping your fruit fresh and delicious for longer.

A Better Way to Use Plastic Wrap

Plastic wrap is another important item in any kitchen or pantry, so useful for covering up food and keeping it safe and fresh for longer. Unfortunately, plastic wrap is often pretty difficult to actually use as it can stick to itself or your food, making it hard to wrap around anything.

Plastic wrap is used to cover a plate of food
Photo by / Shutterstock

There’s actually a little science-infused home hack you can try out to make this process a lot simpler. All you need to do is place your plastic wrap in the fridge for a little while before using it. The cold temperatures will make the plastic much easier to work with and way simpler to get off the roll and around your food.

Clean Your Spoons

Cleaning metal spoons is easy enough, and plastic or silicone spoons are quite simple to look after too, but what about wooden spoons? Wood is much harder to clean, especially when it starts to stain due to sauces and stews. Over the years, wooden spoons can go from being brand new and sparkly clean to dirty, stained, and even smelly.

Several wooden spoons
Photo by Africa Studio / Shutterstock

Looking for a good way to clean your wooden spoons without needing to replace them? All you need to do is put them in a saucepan filled with water. Let the water boil for a while, with the spoons inside, and then place it in the sun to dry. This should really help to remove stains and encrusted dirt from your spoons, giving them a whole new lease of life.

Keep Baked Goods Fresh

From crusty bread to tasty cakes, many people like to bake all kinds of foods, but sometimes you might bake a little more than you bargained for and start to worry that your baked goods will lose their freshness and flavor before you can actually finish eating them. This is a common problem that a lot of people face all over the world, but there is a really simple way to get around it.

An apple sitting next to a slice of cake
Photo by jorgebxx / Shutterstock

All you need to do is place some slices of apple in with your baked goods and keep them in boxes or containers. A single slice of apple can make all the difference, helping to keep your baked treats moist and fresh for longer. It really works!

A Clever Use of a Rubber Band

Measuring out each of your ingredients is so important when following a recipe. If you add a little too much or not quite enough of one or more of the ingredients, the whole dish can be ruined or just won’t taste as great as it might have. Believe it or not, one of the simplest items of all can help to solve this issue and aid you in measuring everything equally.

A rubber band around the top to the bottom of a cup
Source: Pinterest

The item you need is a simple rubber band. All you need to do is stretch the rubber band around your jar or pot. Then, when you dip the measuring spoon into the ingredient and pull it back out, the band will actually swipe off the top excess layer of your chosen ingredient, ensuring that the right amount is left in the measuring spoon.

Extend the Life of Your Tomatoes

Tomatoes are amazing fruits that are key for many styles of cuisine all over the globe. From Mexican dishes to Italian classics, many of the world’s favorite recipes involve the use of lots of fresh tomatoes. But, sadly, tomatoes have one of the shortest lifespans of any fruit! They can start to rot and go bad very quickly before you even have time to use them.

Several ripe tomatoes upside down
Source: Pinterest

Luckily, there’s a great way you can extend the freshness of your tomatoes, and all you need to do is store them upside down! By placing the stalks on the bottom, you’ll help to prevent air from entering the tomato and speeding up the rotting process. It’s also best to store them at room temperature, rather than in the fridge, as this will also help them to stay fresher for longer.

Break up Those Sugar Bricks

If left unattended for some time, sugar can start to harden. It forms into big clumps or even brick-like shapes that can be a real hassle to deal with. Usually, you have to just hack away at these sugar bricks with spoons or other implements to break them down, but there is a better way.

A brick of sugar being softened
Source: Pinterest

All you really need to do is place your sugar blocks into the microwave (in a microwave-friendly container or bowl) beside a small glass of water for just 5-10 seconds. The moisture from the water and the heat of the microwave will help to break down the sugar bricks, resulting in a soft bowl of sugar ready for your recipes.

Microwave Your Pasta

How do you cook pasta? You probably heat up some water on the stove in a big pan and then wait for it to boil before adding the pasta pieces. That’s how most people do it, but what if your stove is full of other pans preparing other ingredients? Or what if you don’t necessarily have access to a stove right now? Well, this little trick can help you out, as long as you have a microwave nearby.

Noodles with an egg being cooked in a microwave
Photo by nat1806 / Shutterstock

It’s perfectly possible to cook pasta in the microwave. Simply place the right amount of pasta in a bowl or container and then cover it up with water, ensuring that the water covers all the pasta but still leaving a bit of a gap to the rim of your bowl, so it doesn’t overflow. Next, turn on the microwave for a few minutes.

Clean Your Cast Iron Pan

Cast iron pots and pans are so useful. Used for many years, these sturdy old pans can stand up to anything and are still better and more durable than most of the fancy modern alternatives out there, but they can be quite difficult to clean, especially when marks and stains from sauces and stews start to build up.

Salt being used to clean a pan
Source: Twitter

Fortunately, there’s yet another hack you can use to clean up your cast iron pots and pans in a matter of minutes, and all you’ll need for this one is a little bit of salt. Use a salt scrub to remove bits of stuck-on food and stains from your cast iron pans. This will clean them up without affecting the built-up seasoning, so it’s way better and more efficient than using soap and water.

Prevent Potatoes From Going Brown

If you love to use potatoes for fries, hash browns, mashed potatoes, and more, you’ll know how frustrating it can be when your potato slices start to go brown within mere minutes of having chopped them up. It doesn’t actually make the potatoes unsafe to eat, but it’s never nice to see all those brown bits, caused by the starch that starts to be released during the oxidation process.

Cut up potato cubes in a bowl of water
Photo by Joerg Beuge / Shutterstock

There is a really simple way to keep your potatoes clean and fresh without any browning occurring, and all you need is a bit of water. Simply prepare a bowl filled up with cold water when chopping your potatoes for fries and other tasty treats. As you slice each potato, place the pieces in the water. This will prevent them from turning brown, keeping them fresh until you’re ready to start cooking.

Clean Wooden Chopping Boards

Wooden things like spoons and chopping boards are really useful but tend to be a lot harder to keep clean when compared to plastic, ceramic, or metal items. This is especially true of wooden chopping boards, which can get dirty and even become a home for many kinds of bacteria if not cleaned properly.

Salt and lemon being used to clean a chopping board
Source: Pinterest

Here’s a way to keep your wooden boards nice and clean using nothing but natural ingredients you probably already have sitting in the kitchen right now. You’ll need a lemon and some salt. Simply cover the board with salt and then rub all over it with half a sliced lemon. This will rub away stains, kill bacteria, and remove bits of encrusted food, too, as well as giving your board a lovely smell when you’re finished.