Food Hacks

16 cooking hacks that will make you wonder why no one told you sooner

April 14th, 2021

Any kind of life-hack is welcome to know. Perhaps we’re all shy to admit it, but we humans can be quite the lazy creatures most of the time. If something lets me finish a task without much effort, then I’ll gladly take it.

And what other place would benefit from some life hacks more than the kitchen? With the amount of planning, preparing, measuring, cutting and whatnot, the kitchen is hands-down the busiest place in the house. With some cooking hacks to spare, maybe your next task in the kitchen might not be so painful to do anymore?

These hacks come from no other than Reddit, the Internet’s gathering hub for obscure, random topics and discussions that’ll get you lost reading them at 2 in the morning. R/cooking had a rather large thread discussing cooking hacks, and the internet is now all the richer thanks to it!

1. Crumple your problems away.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Nicole Machalou on Pexels Source: Nicole Machalou on Pexels

Parchment paper is a Godsend for baking, if only it cooperated most of the time. Ohanse has this really helpful trick that will save us all some trouble.

“If you’re working with parchment paper and are sick of it curling up on you, just crumple and uncrumple the shit out of it before you put it on your baking tray or whatever.”

2. A splash of orange juice will do wonders for pumpkin and banana bread, and blueberry muffins!

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Kezia Lynn on Pexels Source: Kezia Lynn on Pexels

User JMSidhe knows what they’re doing, and our banana bread is going to taste so much better from now on.

“Adding a splash of orange juice to pumpkin or banana bread. The acidity really adds some brightness against the spices.”

3. Use canola or vegetable oil to save yourself from some unwanted pain.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Artem Beliaikin on Pexels Source: Artem Beliaikin on Pexels

We all hate handling hot peppers and having to not touch our faces and other body parts afterwards. It’s just not worth the pain. Lots of solutions have been thrown here and there for the pepper problem, but user CorneliusJenkins has what may be the best solution to share with us.

Cutting hot peppers and don’t want an unfortunate accident in the bathroom (peeing, changing contacts, etc) later? When done, rub a little neutral oil (canola, vegetable) on your hands, then wash with a little dish soap. The capsaicin (spicy chemical in the peppers) essentially binds with the oil, then the dish soap takes care of the oil on your hands.

4. Butter and soy sauce are the most unlikely duo.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
ponce_photography on Pixabay Source: ponce_photography on Pixabay
Butter and soy? You could be forgiven for thinking that this combo is a bit mad, but in practice, it works extraordinarily well for savory dishes. User PotusChrist was generous enough to enlighten the cooking world with this tip.
swiggle1 dot pattern2
Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels Source: Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels

I never tried mixing butter and soy sauce in the same dish until I was in my late twenties, but once I tried it, it quickly became one of my favorite flavor combinations. It’s excellent in just about any savory dish. It works especially well with mushrooms.

5. Microwave your potatoes before baking them.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
HolgersFotografie on Pixabay Source: HolgersFotografie on Pixabay

Thanks to user calinet6, you could cut down your potato baking time by quite a bit with this trick.

“Pierce them with a fork, microwave them for five minutes, then throw them in the oven for 15. You’ll get perfect baked potatoes in 20 minutes instead of an hour. It speeds everything up and they come out just as delicious.”

6. Garlic butter could always benefit from some lemon zest!

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Tara Winstead on Pexels Source: Tara Winstead on Pexels

“Lemon zest in garlic butter, specifically for garlic bread. It’s an absolute game-changer, even just a little bit.”

We’ll take your word for it, PhatChance52. A bit of lemon zest never hurt anyone!

7. Cook your veggies in the pasta water.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
JESHOOTS-com on Pixabay Source: JESHOOTS-com on Pixabay
User Krinklie informed the rest of us that pasta water has more uses than simply hydrating your pasta.
“Not sure if it counts as weird but cooking my vegetable in the last few minutes of boiling water for my pasta dish. They soak up that starchy deliciousness and it turns many of my recipes into one-pot cooking recipes.”

8. Potato mashers aren’t just for potatoes.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
WikiMedia Images on Pixabay Source: WikiMedia Images on Pixabay
If it can mash potatoes, it can probably mash other things just as efficiently. User heybigbuddy did the testing for all of us.

“I’ve never used my potato masher for actual potatoes. I pretty much use it exclusively to break up ground meat and to crush whole tomatoes for sauce.”

9. Nothing’s more important than having room to work.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
moiranazzari on Pixabay Source: moiranazzari on Pixabay

Much like choosing clothes based on how many pockets they have, picking chopping boards based on how many things you can chop at a time seems like

“Buy the biggest damn cutting board you can fit on your counter. Having actual room to work instead of trying to squeeze into a space smaller than your knife will save you time and headaches beyond belief.” – Reddit user BigSweetness

10. You can make your fries and roasted potatoes crispier with some icy water.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
NEOSiAM on Pexels Source: NEOSiAM on Pexels
I’m a big fan of any dish that has potatoes in it. Mashed, fried, baked or turned into fries. So if I ever want my fries or roasted potatoes to be as crispy as possible, I can thank this tip from Reddit user cellists_wet_dream.
“It’s a well known trick to soak fries in ice water to make them crispy, but standard practice is to soak them for a few hours. Whenever I’m cutting potatoes for frying or roasting in oil, I throw them in a bowl of ice water as I go. When I’m done, I swirl them to wash off excess starch, drain, and pat mostly dry. They don’t soak for more than a few minutes, but even this short period is long enough to make them really crispy and significantly reduce how much they stick.”

11. Ginger is easier to grate if you put it in the freezer first.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Angele J on Peels Source: Angele J on Peels
Ginger is fantastic in any soup, stew, platter or mix. If only it were easier to grate, right? Thanks to Reddit user 365eats, it could very well be!

“Keep ginger in the freezer. Use a micro plane or grater to grate the frozen ginger into sauces, fried rice, etc.”

12. Are you cutting broccoli and cauliflower the right way?

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Arina Krasnikova on Pexels Source: Arina Krasnikova on Pexels

Cutting broccoli and cauliflower without accidentally flattening and massacring the poor veggies is easier said than done. So we’re very thankful to user January1171 for sharing this useful piece of advice!

“When you’re cutting broccoli or cauliflower, turn it upside down. Then rotate it as you cut the stem part. SO MUCH CLEANER than cutting through the flowery part from the top, and you get really nice florets”

13. Who needs flour when you have granulated sugar?

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels Source: Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels
Flour has always been the go-to coating for baking pans. Though as well as it works, some experimenting with other options can’t hurt, as user topazlacee discovered.

“When I bake, I grease my pans, but instead of using flour to coat it, I use granulated sugar. It makes the edges sweet and crunchy, and saves me from needing to use icing or frosting.”

14. Olive or pickle brine can elevate your stews from good to great.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
JESHOOTS on Pexels Source: JESHOOTS on Pexels

“I use olive brine/pickle brine to add flavour a lot of dishes like casseroles, stews, etc. It adds a nice depth of flavour.” – skakkuru on Reddit

Fancy a casserole or a stew? See if you have some pickle or olive brine to spare. Your casserole deserves to be as good as possible.

15. A splash of vinegar, and your soup is saved!

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Dietmar Rabich on Wikimedia Commons - License CC BY-SA 4.0 Source: Dietmar Rabich on Wikimedia Commons - License CC BY-SA 4.0

We’ve all been there. You’re preparing a soup and give it a quick taste test, only to find out that it’s too salty. Not to worry, some vinegar can help a lot more than you think!

“If your soup/stew is too salty, a splash of vinegar usually balances it out” – misfireish on Reddit

16. One man’s trash is…. the same man’s cooking stock?

“I don’t think it’s weird but I save all the scraps of my vegetables — onions, garlic, bell peppers, carrots, celery, herb stems, tomatoes, mushrooms — and collect them in a freezer bag and when it’s full I turn it into stock and then use that stock to replace the water while cooking rice, quinoa, lentils, etc.”

swiggle1 dot pattern2
YouTube screenshot via The Domestic Geek Source: YouTube screenshot via The Domestic Geek

Reddit user Grendels-mum is showing us how to not be wasteful, and we might just be thanking them when we find ourselves doing this in the future!

Oh, Reddit, please don’t ever stop being everyone’s unlikely source of useful information. With just 16 of these cooking hacks, r/cooking has already saved everyone a lot of trouble and frustration in their kitchens!

Please share this article too, it wouldn’t hurt to share these hacks with more people.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: [r/cooking on Reddit, The Domestic Geek on YouTube,]