Revolutionary Cooking Hacks: 40+ Tips To Make Mealtime A BreezeBy Aakash M
Some people are not born with a passion for cooking. Some people are naturals at it, while for other people, excelling at it requires years of hard work and patience.
However, we all start small, and those who want to dive into the culinary world need to start with the foundations of it. It would involve a lot of practice, pausing videos to take notes, and of course, special tips from people who know what they’re doing with regard to cooking.
Talking about people who know stuff related to cooking, there’s a subreddit called “Cooking” where you can find a lot of cooking-related tips that will give a boost to your culinary skills. We have saved the best tips for you to take a look at!
Garlic is a highly essential item with regard to cooking. It’s used in so many dishes from every cuisine, so almost everybody from every place can take something away from this tip. When cooking with a bulb of garlic, you have to smash the garlic, but some people might find that difficult to do.
Instead of cutting it with the sharp part of your knife or using any other trick, the simplest thing you could do is smash the garlic with the flat part of your knife. It’s almost as if this tip was right in front of our eyes all the time.
If you ever accidentally cut your finger while chopping veggies, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not skilled enough to chop veggies properly. Maybe you weren’t paying attention, and maybe you didn’t hear of this trick that would make things safer.
When you’re chopping veggies, and especially if we’re talking about cylindrical vegetables like a carrot or a cucumber, you should always make sure that you create a flat surface on the veggie so that it won’t roll over the place and save you from accidentally cutting your finger.
Remove the roots
We have seen numerous garlic smashing tutorials, but it’s astonishing how almost all of them so conveniently forget about one thing that is extremely essential to take care of before you smash the garlic with the flat of your knife.
Always make sure that you cut the root off the garlic before you start smashing it with the side of your knife. If you were wondering why things were so messy and challenging even after learning the knife trick with garlic, that’s why.
When we’re talking about cutting onions, people usually peel the outer layer off, and then they cut off both ends of the onion before they get to the part where they start slicing it. What if we told you that there was a better way to slice your onions?
It’s actually pretty simple. Instead of cutting both ends of the onion, leave the bottom part out. When you leave the root out, you’ll be able to dice or slice with more perfection and ease. That’s because that end holds all the layers together.
When baking, we need to be precise with the quantity of the ingredients while preparing something, and that is why we always weigh our ingredients. But, there are some foundational things that you should be aware of to measure and tweak your ingredients accurately.
For starters, always measure by weight and never by volume. If you always follow this one tip, you’ll easily be able to tweak your recipes and maintain consistency in them. It brings in more accuracy, and measuring weight precisely is more manageable than measuring volume.
If your food is ever missing flavor, following this tip can prove to be a lifesaver for you. Save leftover bacon grease! Also, saute onions with it to make things better. Store it, and it will go a long way for you when your food is missing out on some flavor.
You can always add the leftover bacon grease when your food needs a boost. Olive oil and butter are often used in these situations, so you can substitute them by adding bacon grease here. Bacon fat is liquid gold in terms of taste, but watch out for the bad cholesterol!
Salt and pepper are two very crucial elements of seasonings, but they’re not everything. So, when somebody talks about seasoning to taste, it’s not always just adding some salt and pepper. There is a lot more to it than that.
It could literally mean anything because you could add sugar, acid, or anything else that’s relevant to what you’re preparing. So, it’s not about adding salt or pepper to the food. It’s more about balancing all the elements inside it.
Down a notch
Do you know why, most of the time, the frying or searing isn’t perfectly done? That’s because the heat is too high. It feels as if you need a lot of heat for frying, but that’s really not the case.
Instead of heating it up, keep the flame between medium and medium-high. That’s comfortable, and you’ll be able to fry or sear to perfection. Also, there aren’t that many everyday dishes that’d require you to cook on a high flame all the time.
Here’s a little secret for cooking bacon on cast iron. It would be best if you always placed the bacon in the pan right when it’s cold. After that, you should warm up the bacon that’s in the pan. It’s a pretty convenient method, to be honest.
Bacon sticking onto the pans after cooking is always a problem, but this tip pretty much eliminates that problem. When you do it this way, you won’t have to use any additional fats to prevent the bacon from sticking to the pan.
Here is a microwave cleanliness tip for you. We often use them a lot, and sometimes, we can’t prevent those disasters when certain food items explode inside the microwave. It all gets burnt, dirty, and spreads everywhere inside the microwave.
Let’s take mac and cheese, for example. Instead of scraping the hard burnt pasta with your hand or trying any other inefficient cleaning hack, use paper towels. It would clear things up in seconds, and you can use the same trick for regularly cleaning microwaves.
Roasted veggies are simply delicious. But here’s a tip that would be of help while roasting veggies —always roast them for longer than you think the necessary duration would be. If you don’t, they’ll be undercooked, and nobody likes them that way.
Many people often avoid roasted veggies because they sometimes feel like they haven’t been cooked properly. But, the thing is that you need to cook them for some more time because that’s when the moisture goes away, and they start to get all yummy.
This tip was learned by watching Masterchef. Meat sticking on pans is quite an irritating situation. Irrespective of how much oil or butter you use, there is always a concern that some of it will get stuck on your non-stick pan.
When you try to force the meat to unstick while searing it, it just rips apart. What should be done in such a situation? There’s a simple solution — let the fat render out. Give the meat some time, and it will unstick itself once some of the fat is gone!
He’s not everywhere
It is always good to finish your food in one sitting, but sometimes, we can’t do that. In those cases, throwing the food away isn’t the best option. You can always store it and eat it later by putting it in your freezer.
We know Gordon Ramsay’s big on fresh food, but you can relax. If you microwave and eat what was remaining from your previous meal, he’s not gonna come and scream at you. You’ll be saving food, which is an excellent thing.
Enjoying a pizza in the middle of the night is a fantastic feeling. We usually do that when there’s some pizza left in the fridge, and there’s an intense craving for it. We have a tip for you to make your late-night cold pizza even more enjoyable.
Here’s what you can do when you’re about to microwave your cold pizza — sprinkle some water on the plate before you start microwaving it. That will soften the crust of the pizza that has hardened because of staying in the fridge for too long. It makes it way tastier.
Those who are concerned with cooking new and tasty dishes try their best to make sure that the amount of perfection in their final product is 100%. If you’re making fried rice, here’s a tip that could help you make a perfect bowl of steaming hot fried rice.
You should always make use of cooked rice that has been in the fridge overnight. The reason behind this is that the rice is dry, and it won’t stick when you fry it—a simple trick but one that will make all the difference.
That’s what’s missing.
When you cook a dish and taste it to see how it is, or even when your loved one cooks a dish and asks you to taste and tell if it’s all perfect, there are moments when it feels as if there’s something missing.
It feels like everything is on point, but there’s one element that’s missing. Most of the time, that element is acidity. In such situations, always add a little bit of lemon juice. It’ll change the situation entirely and amplify the goodness of what you have prepared.
Just a pinch
We agree that salt is what enhances the flavor of the food, but that’s not always the situation. Too much of it can make the taste of the dish worse. It would be best if you always were careful with the quantity of salt in the food, and it’s best to be precise.
Always remember that if you’re cooking something that’s eventually going to thicken up and reduce, don’t add too much salt. To be on the safer side, put a little less than what you ordinarily would because you don’t want to oversalt it.
When you’re preparing soup, you need to make sure that it’s not too thick and it’s not too thin. It needs to be in the middle of the extremes. But we all mess up sometimes. If you find your soup on the extremes, don’t worry.
We’ve got you covered. For instance, if your soup is too thin, you can thicken it by adding instant mashed potatoes. Not everybody keeps a box of that around them all the time, but if a lot of soup is cooked in your household, you better start keeping it in case of an emergency!
Time is money
That quote also applies to cooking. There are times when we are in a hurry, so this tip would be of great use during those times when you can’t afford to waste any time. Always keep a small bowl next to you while peeling veggies.
You can use that bowl to store all the peel scraps. That’s way better than peeling veggies and having to go back and forth from the kitchen to the place where the trash can is inside the house. Also, it’s better if you don’t throw the peels in the trash. You can compost them.
If you’re preparing a fish filet, this tip will make your life much better. When you’re preparing a salmon filet, for instance, add a layer of Greek yogurt to it before baking. It has multiple benefits, and it will make the filet yummier.
When you add a layer of Greek yogurt to the salmon, it prevents it from getting all dried up in the oven. It retains moisture and keeps it soft and flaky. Also, let’s not forget how Greek yogurt makes the nutritious fish filet even more nutritious.
A wise lesson
The person who shared this cooking tip took 30 years to learn it. We are glad that we could compress and present three decades of learning in a short form for you. So, if you see any cut-up chickens for sale, buy them. Don’t think twice.
It’s better to stock up on it. When you go home and freeze it, you can then separate the individual pieces and figure it all out. It’s way better than freezing the entire chicken as one big solid mass. Using cut-up chicken also makes it convenient in terms of preparation.
Use when fresh
When you purchase special ingredients, instead of stockpiling them, use them when they’re at their best and their freshest. There’s no point in purchasing all the saffron or vanilla pods when you’ll let them go bad by storing them for too long.
It’s true that their price gets more and more intimidating as days pass, but what good would it be if you use too little and store the rest? It’s eventually gonna degrade, and you won’t even be able to enjoy its flavor in your everyday meal to the fullest.
We have all probably faced an issue with the food splattering everywhere while cooking. Since we’re talking about bacon, you can easily prevent a lot of problems with just one change — cooking your bacon on a tray lined with parchment paper.
If you cook it on a tray that has parchment paper on it, you’ll see that there are no splattering problems anymore. Also, the bacon won’t even curl up, and you’ll be able to cook it more evenly. Lastly, you’ll be able to cook around a pound in just one go.
When you’re cutting vegetables, you need to be very careful because one second of distraction could divert your attention, and you might end up cutting your finger by accident. Even when you’re using a cutting board, you need to be careful.
Sometimes, the cutting board might slip while you’re using it to chop veggies. To prevent that and many other problems, use a damp towel under the cutting board. It stops the board from slipping or moving around the counter while you’re using it.
Getting it together
While preparing pasta, it’s crucial to ensure that the sauce has been perfectly absorbed by the pasta. A lack of balance could affect the dish’s taste. To take care of that, you just need to save some pasta water while draining it.
When you save the pasta water before draining it all, you’ll be able to bring the sauce together because the starchy water will act as an emulsifier. Once you try this trick out, the difference in the taste and the evenness of the flavor will be substantial.
If you’re preparing a chicken dish that requires shredded chicken, use a simple hand mixer instead of painstakingly shredding the chicken with a fork or a knife. You’ll soon find out that it’s incredibly convenient and shreds the chicken to perfection.
Shredded chicken is commonly used in sandwiches, tacos, pizzas, and similar dishes. But be very careful while shredding it. It’s best always to use the hand mixer at low speed because the goal is to ensure that the chicken has been evenly shredded.
If you’re baking things and you’re looking for an element that could substitute oil, we have an alternative for you. Consider using applesauce in place of oil. But, it’s better to be precise and not extremely generous with using applesauce.
If you go over the board with the applesauce, it might hamper with the texture of whatever you’re preparing, and when you taste it, you might sense a subtle apple flavor in it. But if you know how to use it accurately, it’ll be the best alternative ever!
For the win
For preparing some dishes, if your sauce isn’t perfect, then it might ruin everything for you. It’s pretty easy to accidentally mess up the ingredients or the number of ingredients in your sauce. Worry no more because there is a way out of it.
You see, it’s pretty simple to revive the magic in your sauce. All you need to add in the beginning is some anchovies. They’ll literally change the game. They’re pretty salty, so ordinarily, you might find it overwhelming to balance them, but in sauces, they’re great.
There are certain dishes where we need to make sure that the meat has been sliced into very thin pieces. Now, slicing meat into thin pieces can be difficult if the meat is at room temperature, so it’s better if you avoid that.
Instead, use frozen or partially frozen meat. When the meat is frozen, it cuts pretty easily, especially into blocks or thin pieces. It works amazingly for strips of meat or even for the end pieces of bacon. Try it out sometime!
For those who don’t know how to cut a pomegranate, we get it; it is a bit complicated, but we’ll figure it out together! When they don’t know, people always cut it in half, spread their fingers over it and bang it with a spoon while holding it upside down, but there’s another way.
All you’ll be needing is a bowl of water to separate the pods from the flesh. The flesh will float while the pods will sink. That is pretty much it! Cool, right? Now you can spare yourself all that cumbersome work.
When you think about the key to good cooking, many of you would say that fresh ingredients are the most important thing here. It seems like it, but honestly, that’s not the correct answer. There are things that matter more than the freshness of the ingredients.
The freshness of ingredients does matter to some extent, but good technique is the key to good cooking. If there’s no good technique, how would the end product even taste good? Fresh ingredients just complement your good cooking and give it an edge.
When cutting in cubes
Cutting the meat into little blocks and cubes of one inch is really common, be it for an appetizer or even if you have to add it to a stew. Most people use knives to cut the meat into little cubes, but there’s an easier way to do that.
Cutting the meat into little cubes is way easier with scissors or kitchen shears as compared to a knife. If not, at least make sure that the knife is sharp enough, and to make the cuts more precise, use frozen or partially frozen meat.
When making meatballs
Even thinking of meatballs makes our mouths water. When you’re making meatballs, take a teaspoon of the mixture and heat it in the microwave for half a minute. Then, taste it for seasoning. You’ll have a much better idea of the final product this way.
To make things even better, microwave your plates before you plate them. Voila! That’s called carry-over cooking, and it’s much better than putting your food on a cold plate since that could also change the texture and consistency of the food.
A game changer
Here’s a question: do you refrain from using certain items because you don’t like washing small items with your hands — like a silicone muffin cup, for example? We’ve all been there, so there’s nothing to be concerned about. If you look enough, you’ll find an intelligent hack for every annoying situation.
If you face this problem as well, the best thing to do would be to put the small items in the dishwasher. Then, put your cookie cooling rack on top of these items. Not only will they be adequately cleaned, but they’ll also stay put until you take them out!
Squeeze the juice
Squeezing the juice out of citrus fruits is genuinely satisfying. There are many tools that would do the job here, and gladly, we know how good each one of them could be after trying almost all of them, so it’s time for a revelation!
You might be using the old-fashioned glass lemon press or even the plastic or wooden ones. There are some who’d also be using the electric ones. But, the Mexican-style hinged lemon press is hands down the best tool among all of them.
Here’s a tip straight out of the cookbook of legendary French chef Jaques Pepin. Not only will this save a lot of time, but it will also prevent your fingers from getting greasy while you butter the parchment before baking a cake.
When you butter it round for a cake pan, butter one side of the parchment generously. Then, lay the rounded side of the butter down in the cake pan and glide it with your fingers. After that, take it out and put it back in the pan with the opposite side up.
Sunny side up
Preparing poached eggs can be incredibly messy if you’re new to it and don’t know how to do it properly, so it’s better that you know a few things to make the entire process simpler and the poached eggs tastier.
Most people use a saucepan to poach their eggs, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But using a frying pan is much easier. Once you crack the egg, it sinks to the bottom. There’s no need to add vinegar or swirl it around or do anything else!
We often spill a lot of things in the kitchen by accident. In most cases, this happens when we open something in the wrong manner. Who would want their tomato sauce to be spilled all over the kitchen? There’s a way to make sure that never happens again.
Open both sides of the tomato paste can, and then push only one side of the lids through. After that, take off the other lid — easy peasy. We know that the standard way is not as complicated as this one, but there won’t be any spillage this way.
If you want to maintain the freshness of your parsley, here’s what you can do. Mince it and store it in a gallon ziplock bag and freeze it. After it’s frozen, squeeze out the air in it, roll it up, and tuck it deep in the freezer.
It will stay green for a long time, and you can use it according to your convenience. Even with tomato paste, just empty the can in a freezer bag, flatten it, then freeze it. This way, you can take what you need without wasting most of the sauce in the can.
A flavorful experience
You can try it for yourself — this trick will always work. If you’re preparing some pasta and it feels like there’s something missing in the tomato sauce, it’s probably butter. You’ll be surprised to see the difference a little bit of butter makes.
You only need to add one or two tablespoons of butter at the end of cooking the tomato paste. The difference in flavor will be noticeable, and you’d see that the addition of butter added to the richness of the existing flavor.
There are many dishes that are entirely dependent on the kind of spices that are added to them. To make those dishes even better, you need to work on improving the spices for the seasoning, and there’s a very simple method to do that.
Before you add the spices, toast them in a pan until they’re fragrant. It’ll barely take you a minute, and the dish will smell and taste amazing. It amplifies the taste and the flavor, so you don’t even need to add a lot of spices.
An all-round tool
The tool that you see in the image below is called an ulu. It’s not the regular knife that we see every day, but it’s the knife that’s used by Alaska native women in their kitchens. To put things shortly, it is an amazing multipurpose tool.
It takes care of everything from slicing to dicing, deboning, and even fileting. It’s best to keep it as sharp as possible for more efficiency. With the ulu, you’ll be able to learn new kinds of knife cuts and improve your culinary skills!
For those who’re wondering why their meat or their food never browns even though they always try to sear it, let us explain a common reason. Your pan must have water in it. Even if it’s just a few sprinkles, it’s not gonna let it brown.
The browning of food from searing is called the Maillard process. If there’s water in the pan and the temperature is less than boiling temperature, it won’t happen. For the food to sear, it needs to be between 140-165 degrees. That’s why we always wipe the moisture off steaks before searing them.
If you’re trying to cook something new, you should always keep on tasting it until it’s perfect. “Taste as you go” is a very important thing to do while cooking to ensure the balance of all the ingredients and, of course, the taste.
When you don’t taste as you go, you’d never know if the final product has been overly seasoned or bland. When you taste as you go, you will notice that the food tastes way better with some tweaks. Where did we learn this from? Well, Kitchen Nightmares!
When you’re slicing an onion, you should remember this tip to make the process easier for you. People won’t notice it, but those who slice onions know that not slicing or dicing an onion correctly doesn’t feel so satisfying. It feels odd.
While slicing onions, leave the hairy side intact. Don’t ever cut it off because that’s what makes things difficult. When you don’t cut the hairy side, it will hold all the layers together, making it easy for you to slice it accurately.