24 Clever Hacks To Make Cooking Way Easier

Diply 12 Apr 2018

I try to cook at home as much as possible. It's healthier for me and definitely makes a difference in my wallet.

But sometimes it just feels like so much work!

So in order to defeat my laziness, I've spent a lot of time finding quicker, easier ways to get things done in the kitchen. These are some of the best.

1. Put cold citrus fruits in the microwave before juicing.

Instagram | @ the_salty_seahorse

15–20 seconds will make the fruit just barely warm, but not hot. Cold lemons, limes, or oranges don't release as much juice as warm ones, so that quick nuke can make a big difference.

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2. Use a kitchen scale for better baking.

Instagram | @bombaytrixie

Even using the same measuring cups, different bakers end up with different amounts of flour. The same goes for most baking ingredients.

A scale will let you get exact amounts faster and with fewer dishes to wash when you're done.

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3. Old eggs are much easier to peel.

Instagram | @willieboysf

If you find yourself struggling to get the shells off your boiled eggs, they might be too fresh. Over time, the membranes inside become less clingy, so aim for eggs at least a week old.

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4. Make your own buttermilk substitute for better baking.

The Stay at Home Chef | The Stay at Home Chef

The acidic tang of buttermilk doesn't just make baked goods tastier, but it also helps leaveners like baking soda do their job better.

If you don't have any on hand, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice per cup of regular milk. Let sit for 5–10 minutes before using.

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5. Use a narrow bottle and a chopstick to pit cherries quickly.

YouTube | Rumble Viral

The bottle just needs to have an opening smaller than the diameter of your cherries. Set one on the bottle's mouth and use the narrow end of a chopstick to pop the pit right down into the bottle.

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6. Combine your pancake batter in a zip-top bag for a mess-free breakfast. 

YouTube | FOOD & WINE

I don't think I've ever made pancakes without dribbling batter from the ladle onto my counter or stove. From now on, I'm going to mix everything together in a bag!

Once mixed, just snip a corner off for easy dispensing. Toss the bag when it's empty.

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7. Use a spoon to peel ginger.

Suzanne Lenzer | The Kitchn

Ginger skin is very thin, but the bumps and grooves make using a knife or a peeler annoying. Instead, use the edge of a spoon.

Leftover peeled ginger can be stored in the freezer.

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8. Be strategic about what fruits and veggies you buy precut or whole.

Instagram | @ayshasolange

You will always pay more for precut produce, but what you gain is time. Try cutting them up yourself and freezing the chunks in portions.

If you do buy precut, wash everything before eating as the lack of skin or rind can cause bacterial growth.

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9. Cut soft foods with dental floss.

Teaspoon of Spice | Teaspoon of Spice

From goat cheese to cake to homemade cinnamon rolls, soft food can be hard to cut cleanly without squashing it at the same time.

Plain dental floss — no flavor or wax! — will cut cleanly every time.

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10. Use a fine mesh sieve to perfectly poach eggs.

Cook the Story | Cook the Story

It's the finest bits of egg white that ruin a poached egg. Cracking over a mesh sieve will separate those out, leaving you with the good stuff.

I wish I'd known this trick 10 years ago.

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11. Easily separate eggs with an empty water bottle.

YouTube | Foodinese

This can take a couple of tries to master, but once you've got it down, you'll be separating eggs quickly and easily with no mess.

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12. Utilize your freezer to save more money.

Instagram | @rescma07

Don't just fill your freezer with pizzas and call it a day. Buy food on sale and freeze in individual portions for easy, inexpensive meals.

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13. But make sure you properly pack your freezer for optimal space and efficiency. 

Instagram | @outnumbered3two1

Remove frozen meals from their bulky boxes and freeze your leftovers as flat as possible. Not only will it save space, but the food will freeze faster, resulting in less flavor damage.

They defrost more quickly this way, too!

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14. Freeze fresh herbs in oil for great flavor with less waste.

Faith Durand | The Kitchn

Stop me if you've heard this one: a recipe calls for a couple teaspoons of a fresh herb, but all the grocery store sells is giant bushels.

Instead of wasting the leftovers, chop them up and freeze them in a bit of olive oil.

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15. Keep baked goods fresh longer by storing with a slice of bread.

JoanWZ | Thrifty Fun

Including one in the airtight container with your cookies will help keep them moist and chewy. If you find that the cookies touching the bread end up a little soggy, add a piece of paper towel between them.

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16. Revive stale bread with a bit of water and the microwave.

Instructables | kelleymarie

Wet a paper towel and wrap the stale bread in it, then microwave for 10 seconds. The moisture will make the bread soft again.

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17. My secret weapon in Italian cooking? Coffee!

Twitter | @sarahdeanyeah

A bit of cold coffee, or even a spoon of the instant stuff, can add a whole lot of depth to that bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. Don't worry, it doesn't make your sauce taste like coffee.

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18. Make meat easier to slice thinly by partially freezing it first.

Just One Cookbook | Just One Cookbook

You don't want to freeze it solid, but by putting your cut of meat in for 30–60 minutes it'll stiffen up and make those thin slices much easier.

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19. Peel potatoes the easy way.

YouTube | AOL

Instead of manually peeling all your spuds before boiling, toss them in with the skins. Once they've cooked, immediately chill them in ice water. The skins will come right off.

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20. Roast veggies in large batches.

Instagram | @ thisisnothere

Roasting is as easy as tossing in a bit of oil and laying your veggies out on a sheet pan. They keep for as long as a week in the fridge, so you can add them to omelets, sandwiches, or even blitz them into a tasty soup.

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21. Freeze and grate butter for flakier pie crusts and biscuits.

Christine Gallary | The Kitchn

Grated butter incorporates into dough more easily, and the colder, the better.

You can also freeze soft cheeses, like mozzarella, to make grating easier.

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22. Preheat your baking tray for crisper meals without flipping.

Instagram | @eatplaylivewellness

If your sheet pan is hot before you add the food, it will heat everything more evenly and you won't need to flip halfway through.

Note: Don't preheat a tray when baking, it will result in burnt cookies and cakes.

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23. Prep and cook like an assembly line. 

Instagram | @meunovoape_301

Don't peel and chop each potato individually. Instead, peel them all first, then chop them all. It's more efficient. Do the same with all your food prep, and don't try to prep and cook at the same time.

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24. Keep those knives sharp!

GIPHY

Dull knives aren't assafe as sharp ones and just mean more work for you. If you need to exert any force to get your knife to cut cleanly, it's time to get out the sharpening stone.

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