You thought you knew it all. Of course you know that frozen grapes are the best ice cubes for wine and that you should be chopping your onions with the stove vent on to prevent tears. You’ve mastered the art of turning a recipe for two into a banquet for twelve. In your kitchen, the rule is: If they can dish it, you can take it. So when you see a best food hacks article, you probably think to yourself, “I doubt there is anything I haven’t already read.”
Well, today we are here to surprise you. Rather than kitchen hacks that make cooking life simpler, we’ve stepped it up a notch to bring you some life-changing tricks that will take your cooking game from spectacular to how-do-they-always-create-kitchen-perfection good.
1. Prevent soggy pies
There is nothing more disappointing than baking the perfect pie for a party only to know that it will be soggy by the time that you get it there. It seems so insulting that a juicy, delicious pie filling will make your flaky crust limp.
Thankfully, pasty genius and Serious Eats food blogger Stella Parks has a simple cooking tips solution for you: Epsom salts. Follow her directions on the best way to place the Epsom salts below your pie in its container, and you are sure to have a flaky crust and a melt-in-your-mouth inside when you arrive at your next party.
2. Remove egg shells
Stray bits of shell are bound to escape when you’re cracking eggs. However, before you fish them out, wet your fingers.
Water will act like a magnet and the little shell shards will stick to your finger without you having to chase them around the bowl.
3. Keep your cookies moist
If you’re tired of having to eat all of your homemade cookies within the week because otherwise they’ll get dry and crumbly, there is now a solution.
When you store your cookies in an airtight bag or container, add a slice of bread. It will keep them as moist as they were the day you took them out of the oven.
4. Turn frosting into fondant
Fondant looks beautiful when done properly, but it still doesn’t make up for the fact that it never tastes quite like real frosting. Luckily, Brooke Edwards of Frost Me Up came to the rescue and developed a solution to this problem.
All you need is white frosting and a paper towel. See the complete tutorial on how to create a pseudo-fondant cake here.
5. Tenderize your meat
If you add fresh pineapple juice or crushed pineapple to your meat marinades, not only will it lend the meat its natural sweetness, but it will also perfectly tenderize it.
6. The amazing bread secret
If you don’t know already, pickle juice is great to boost the flavor in potato salad, brine meats, and even add a little interest to your cocktails. However, it’s greatest contribution to the culinary world might be its ability to make your homemade bread tangy and fluffy.
Instead of adding warm water to proof your yeast, try substituting pickle juice. The results are shockingly delicious. Get the recipe here.
7. Breakfast for a crowd
Have to feed a crowd for breakfast? Sheet pan eggs are your new best friend. Simply mix like you would scramble, pour onto a sheet pan, and bake until the desired consistency is reached.
Cut out portions in fun shapes with cookie cutters or a biscuit cutter, and you’ll have about 12 egg sandwiches ready at once. Find the full tutorial at Food52.
8. Don’t dot your butter, sprinkle it
The next time a recipe calls for you to “dot” butter on top of a casserole (it makes the dish richer and helps it brown better in the oven), try sprinkling it instead.
Grate your cold butter over the large holes of a plane grater and then distribute them evenly over your dish. Much easier than trying to slice off uniform chunks by hand!
9. Preserve your bananas
Have you ever wondered why occasionally you buy a bunch of bananas and the stems are wrapped in plastic?
Well, that’s because if you wrap the tops in plastic wrap they will last up to 5 days longer! Useful if you only grocery shop on the weekends or just like to eat your bananas a little greener.
10. Become an egg expert
Did you know that you can check if an egg is properly hard boiled by spinning it? That’s because hard boiled eggs spin easily and raw eggs do not.
Similarly, you can test the freshness of an egg by putting it in a glass of water. You’ll know if your eggs are off because spoiled eggs float while fresh eggs do not.
11. Keep spices fresh longer
Spices are meant to be kept dry. So if you are sprinkling them on your food while it’s still on the stove, you are breaking the cardinal rule of spice preservation, especially for fresh herbs.
Whenever you dispense salt, pepper, oregano, or whatever else over a steamy dish, the water vapor penetrates the spice container causing mold, mildew and rot when all that extra moisture can’t escape.
12. Cut carbs, not flavor
For healthy eating, the easiest way to do so is to swap out zucchini noodles for pasta to cut down on gluten and carbs.
Simply sweat the zucchini noodles in a sauté pan to soften them before saucing it up. With the swap, you can even afford to do a fresh four-ingredient sauce with lemon juice, butter, parmesan cheese, and pepper!
13. Don’t waste peanut butter
Do you love peanut butter, but loathe the very end of the jar? It’s impossible to use it all, so the next time you make your instant or old-fashioned oatmeal (or even your ramen), pour it directly into the jar.
The heat will pull the peanut butter away from the sides and flavor your quick breakfast so easily.
14. Create the perfect ice cream sandwich
Craving an ice cream sandwich with cookies on the end? Simply slice discs from the pint carton of your favorite ice cream and peel away the cardboard.
You’ll have the perfect disc of ice cream to sandwich between your favorite cookies. Might I recommend Pepperidge Farm? Their cookies just seem to fit the size of pint cartons.
15. Breakfast on-the-go
Meal prepping sounds tedious, but in reality, it just comes down to popping eggs, pre-cooked bacon or sausage, and spinach into muffin tins and baking on a Sunday morning.
When they come out, top with easy cheese and freeze. For breakfast on-the-go that is not fast food, pop the egg rounds between a sliced English muffin, microwave while you’re getting ready in the morning, and boom! A wholesome breakfast.
16. Guilty pleasure grilled cheeses
You think the mayonnaise on the outside of the bread is a hack? Just wait. Spray nonstick cooking spray in your waffle iron. Place a layer of frozen hash browns down, then add cheese, and finish with more hash browns.
Cook in your waffle iron. Remove, let cool. Voila! The most decadent grilled cheese you could ever imagine. Additionally, you could make a lattice with frozen french fries, but that’s more time-consuming. Find the full tutorial on Thrillist.