Cooking is such a blast because it requires us to use every single one of our senses to prepare something that both nourishes and spreads love. What makes time in the kitchen even more enjoyable is learning some cooking hacks and tips that will save you time and money as well as better results, meaning, more delicious food! Knowing some handy cooking tips will improve you and your family’s lives as you’ll get to spend more time with the ones you love.
We’ve rounded up the best cooking tips and hacks that ask you to take just a couple of steps that will fundamentally change how you perform certain tasks in the kitchen. From knowing how to properly store foods to learning how to keep your knives sharp, you’ve got to see these game-changing cooking tips and hacks.
Discover the Best Cooking Tips and Hacks Below to Learn How to Make the Most of Your Time in the Kitchen.
Make Your Cutting Board Stay In Place
Have you ever found yourself chopping vegetables on your cutting board only for the board to slide around on your kitchen counter? One way to keep your board in place is to wet a paper towel and put it under your board to keep it from moving. A thin kitchen towel that’s been moistened will also do the trick.
No More Garlic Fingers
Garlic improves many of the dishes we enjoy. The only bad thing about it is the pungent smell it leaves on your fingers after chopping it up. To get rid of the unpleasant odor, rub your fingers and hands over your stainless steel kitchen sink for thirty seconds. Really rub the tips of your fingers over the metal! Then, wash your hands and you should have no smell!
Ants go for the sweetest things they can find and granulated sugar is a treat they just can’t seem to resist. It’s the worst! So, what can you do? Put a few cloves in your sugar jar and the ants won’t touch the stuff. They detest the smell of cloves and won’t bother the sweet stuff.
The Corn Hack
Shucking corn can be a messy pain but there’s one way to get those husks off with ease. Place your ears of corn on a microwave-safe and microwave them for about 30-60 seconds. It creates steam which makes the husks fall right off of your corn. How easy is it that?
Dry Brine Your Meats
If you salt your meat about an hour or so before you cook it, you’re doing better than most other home cooks. But, for the best results, dry brine your pork, beef, and chicken and let it hang out in the fridge overnight. That gives the salt time to deeply penetrate the meat so that every bite is full of flavor.
How to Remove Seeds
Removing the seeds from vegetables like squash and pumpkin can be a messy, stringy challenge. You likely are doing it with a spoon but another kitchen tool works much better. Use an ice cream scoop to get out the seeds. Almost all scoops have a sharper edge to them that makes getting rock-hard ice cream a breeze, That same feature makes getting rid of the seeds so much easier. It’s such an easy cooking hack!
Save Your Fats
Here’s one of the kitchen hacks that we really urge you to exercise. Do not throw away your bacon fat. Nicely rendered fat is the perfect swap for olive oil on most vegetables. It is such an amazing flavor enhancer that can be used in place of other fats (think about replacing butter for your next roux with it because it’s amazing) in recipes and is beautiful to drizzle over a veggie bake.
A Recipe Is a Guide Not a Law
If you’re baking a cake, you want to precisely follow a recipe so that you don’t mess it up. Recipes for cooking can be easily altered to your personal tastes. For instance, if you love garlic, cook with more garlic. If you like spicier foods, go ahead and add another pepper to that dish. This is less of a cooking hack and more of a way to ask you to follow your gut when you’re whipping something up.
Keeping Guacamole Green
Guacamole is one of the best snacking foods on the planet. However, it does tend to turn brown quickly adding lime juice tends to help with this but if you’re looking for a better way to keep your guac in the refrigerator, simply cover it with a thin layer of water. It will keep oxygen from getting to the dip, meaning it will stay that vibrant green color. It’s such a great hack that’s as easy as it gets.
Another Avocado Hack
Do you know how to pick a perfectly ripe avocado? Start by looking for only the darkest avocados lighter colored ones are not typically ripe. Find a good candidate and pop off the stem and look at the color underneath. An avocado that is too ripe will be brown under the stem and will be useless to just about everyone. An avocado that is just right will be green underneath the stem.
Easiest Ice Cream Hack
Ice cream can turn rock hard in the freezer and it takes ages to thaw out just enough that you can eat it. A simple hack to keep it from turning into a block of ice is to put the container in a plastic Ziplock bag before throwing it in the freezer. Yep, that’s all you got to do to keep it fresh. Further, remember to flatten down the top of your ice cream to prevent freezer burn.
Keeping That Brown Sugar Soft
Now, we all know that brown sugar can easily go rock hard. If you need to loosen a brick of sugar up, simply microwave it for a few seconds and you’ll be good to go. However, if you find that a pain to do, you can keep your brown sugar from going hard in the first place. Simply store the sugar with a piece of bread or a marshmallow. It’s that easy!
Most recipes you read have been tested on a gas range. That means if you have electric or induction, you will need to adjust accordingly. Gas ranges tend to run hotter so just tick up the heat a bit to keep you rolling right along with the recipe.
The Great Citrus Hacks
For lemons, limes, oranges, etc., let them come up to room temperature before use if you had them in the refrigerator. If you don’t have time to wait, you can submerge the fruit in hat water for a minute or two to get the juices flowing. Further, rolling your citrus under your palm will help release the juice as well.
Keep the Veggies Crunchy
If you’re cooking for adults, don’t stew your vegetables down to a mash. Veggies that retain their crunch are so much more pleasing to eat. So, don’t make baby food for yourself and your friends. Instead, consider cooking vegetables quickly!
The Fruit Salad Hack
Throughout summer, fruit salad makes for such a refreshing treat. But, a couple of the ingredients do get rather gross in a fruit salad. Bananas and apples turn brown so quickly. If you’d like to avoid that, put them on the bottom of your salad when you go to construct it.
Finish Your Dishes with Acid
One of the best things you can do to help balance and enhance flavors in a dish is to finish it with an acid. You can use a squeeze of lemon juice or wine or wine vinegar, or distilled vinegar to help bring an added zip to a dish. This is especially true for sauces, soups, and gravies. If you taste your dish and think it needs something, try an acid. It usually gets the job done.
A Piece of Cake Floss Hack
Cutting a cake precisely can seem impossible. While most go for a large knife or cutter, the best thing to reach for is dental floss. You can use (unscented/unflavored) floss to accurately cut cakes and other baked goods but also cheese. It’s so much easier than a knife and you’ll achieve some seriously clean lines.
A Hack for Spicy Foods
If a curry or sauce is too spicy, add some potatoes, cream, tomato sauce, or coconut milk to balance it. Any sort of creamy things will work (also consider using sour cream). Adding a creamy element will mellow the spice to make it very nice.
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Easy Boiled Eggs Hack
For easy peeling, use a thumb tack to poke a small hole in the bottom of an egg before boiling. It will make separating the shell from the egg much easier. It’s not perfect but it does work most of the time. Another note: really fresh eggs are not ideal for boiling. Older eggs will peel more easily.
If you’re trying to add richness to a sauce, soup, or gravy, a nut butter like cashew butter is ideal. You want to use the unsweetened kind. It will add smoothness and a rounder mouthfeel that your dish could be lacking. It’s great for vegans and vegetarians who don’t to use cream, cheese, butter, etc.
Try This Hack for Crunchy French Fries
For the crunchiest French fries, let potatoes sit in cool water for about half an hour, or quickly blanch them before frying. This removes starch and helps keep the fries crispier for longer. We definitely prefer the soak method over blanching. But, both will deliver for you.
It Takes Time
How long does it take to caramelize onions? Every single person seems to have a different answer to this question. The answer is tricky because getting onions to the point of being “caramelized” is a subjective thing. For the best results, 30-45 minutes is about the right time for your onions to be just right. But, if you’re over higher heat, it could go faster. If you’re lower, it could take even longer.
Tomatoes Are Hot Natured
Whatever you do to a tomato, do not store it in the refrigerator. Storing your tomatoes in cold actually changes the chemicals that make them taste good. Further, the texture changes too into a more mealy feel. The best place for your tomatoes is on a sunny window sill. They really do love keeping warm.
Roast Those Tomatoes
Have you ever wondered how a great Italian restaurant makes such a good red sauce? They know how to build a massive depth of flavor through high-temperature roasting. Any type of tomato, be it canned or fresh, big or small, can benefit from a blast of hot air in the oven. With a little olive and salt, roast your tomatoes at about 425 degrees until you see that the sugars have caramelized. Then, those deeply flavorful gems go into your red sauce or other dishes. It’s a cooking hack that really makes a difference.
Most home cooks make the mistake of trying something new for a dinner party or gathering. If you don’t want the added stress, make dishes that you know how to do and can do them well. Further, don’t make it too hard on yourself. Do as many make-ahead dishes as possible so that you actually get to enjoy your party and not just cook the entire time! You really can be the host with the most!
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
One of the more counterintuitive things people do in the kitchen is to wait until cooking is finished to season and taste the foods their making. It’s important to season and taste along the way so you know how things are coming together. Your ingredients absorb salt and flavor as they cook meaning that if you skip it, you’re missing out on fully flavorful ingredients. It doesn’t like a hack but you really should be salting and sampling as you go.
Use Your Toaster More Often
You can make use of your toaster far beyond just toast. Use it to roast vegetables, bake bacon, and toast spices. This is an essential hack if your kitchen is hot. A toaster puts off less heat than your oven and can bring you the same results.
The Newspaper Refresher Hack
Got a weird smell going on in your refrigerator? Take a newspaper, wet it using water, make a ball of it, and put it in the middle of the refrigerator. Take it out after six or seven hours, and the smell will be gone. Can you believe this hack? It’s just so darn easy and a great way to make another use for an old paper.
Potatoes and onions might be delicious when cooked together but the opposite is true for the produce. Do not store your onions and potatoes together because the onions cause potatoes to rot. They are best to keep separate until you’re ready to prepare them. We don’t know why they are so fussy but we’re glad to have this hack.
The Salt and Grinder Hack
To keep the blades in your spice grinder and mixers, grind up a little bit of salt to give the blades a refresh. If you do this every couple of months or so you will notice a big difference over time.
This is not really a cooking hack but more of a best practice to get into. Do not leave handles on pots and pans hanging over your counter’s edge. If you are heating water or oil, this is even more important. By pushing the handles away from you, you’re less likely to bump into a handle and send it flying all over your kitchen!
Remove Odors from Your Freezer with This Hack
Our freezers can put off some bad smells but it’s not the end of the world. Chop or tear up some mint leaves and let them sit uncovered in your freezer. You’ll soon notice that any unpleasant odors are gone. It’s that simple!
Clean Your Dirty Pans
Some of us are guiltier than others when it comes to cleaning up after making dinner. If you happened to skip clean-up right after you’ve eaten and instead let the mess sit overnight, you will be facing a herculean task to get them cleaned. But, this hack helps! The next time you’ve got a very hard pan to wash, put two tablespoons of vinegar and four tablespoons of water in and bring it to simmer. The vinegar will eat through the mess in a matter of minutes.
Keep It Fizzy Hack
Gently add frozen ice cubes to your already poured soda to retain more carbonation. You likely grew up putting ice first, then soda, but it’s the other way around! This is such a useful hack for those who enjoy fizzy drinks out there.
When You Should Salt That Water
When making pasta, wait to add the salt to the pot until the water starts to boil. Saltwater has a higher boiling point and a higher specific heat, so it will take longer and uses more energy to heat than if we add it when it starts to boil. It’s also better for your pots and pans to wai to salt water. For your pasta, make sure to add a liberal amount of salt to the water to ensure that the pasta is properly seasoned.
A Genius Cooking Spray Hack
When a recipe calls for you to coat a baking dish with a cooking spray, open your dishwasher and place the dish on the door. Then you can spray away, and any over-shots will get washed away with your next load. If you don’t have a dishwasher, you can spray your dish over the sink to catch the excess.
A Better Way to Fry
When you are deep frying, use a tong to hold each bit of food as you toss it into the oil. Make sure you hold it under the surface of the oil prior to releasing it. By doing this, the exterior will be sealed which means that it will not stick to the pot or to the food as well. It’s already a great hack but it also is a great way to get food frying without splashing oil on your kitchen or yourself.
Punch Up the Flavor
If you are not baking, substitute different cooking liquids. Many recipes will call for you to add water but by adding a stock that’s flavorful, you’re going to get even better-tasting end results. This is a tip that’s great but we urge you to sample your cooking liquids for seasoning to determine the right level of salt to add.
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A Better Way to Measure
The only accurate way to ensure that you’re measuring out your baking ingredients properly is to use a kitchen scale. Measuring cups cause some ingredients to compact while others don’t get packed tightly enough. An inexpensive kitchen scale is a great addition to your kitchen toolbox. You’ll bake better treats and more by measuring out your ingredients.
If you liked these cooking hacks and tips, continue reading for the most exciting celebrity cookbooks to drop in recent years. Discover some amazing books with the perfect recipes for you below:
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: The New Frontier
$14.99 at the time of publication
Ree Drummond became a celebrity because of her cooking, so you know you’ll love all of her homestyle recipes that will leave your belly and family wanting more! Now that’s a good gift for yourself or someone else!
Gordon Ramsay Quick and Delicious: 100 Recipes to Cook in 30 Minutes or Less
$19.96 at the time of publication
The best thing about getting Gordon Ramsay’s cookbook is that you get to experience all of his delicious food without him screaming at you! The other best thing is that all of the recipes will only have you cooking for 30 minutes! Now that’s a gift!
Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life: A Cookbook
$18.02 at the time of publication
Memories and recipes? Count us in! Rachael Ray’s cookbook has become a New York Times Bestseller and features over 125 meals! Amazing!
From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen
$12.74 at the time of publication
All that time hanging out with Martha Stewart, Snoop Dogg is now a cookbook author as well as a rapper! And it’s a #1 best seller! What a fun and brilliant gift this would make!
Antoni in the Kitchen
$18.14 at the time of publication
We watched his unbelievable skills in the hit Netflix series Queer Eye. Now we get to enjoy all his incredible recipes at home! This cookbook is a gift to us all!
Stirring Up Fun with Food: Over 115 Simple, Delicious Ways to Be Creative in the Kitchen
$20.99 at the time of publication
Sarah Michelle Gellar has graced the big and small screens ever since she was a youngster. And now that she is a wife and mother, she’s showcasing her skills in the kitchen with her very own cookbook!
Back to the Kitchen: 75 Delicious, Real Recipes (& True Stories) from a Food-Obsessed Actor
$14.48 at the time of publication
And guess what, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s husband, actor Freddie Prinze Jr. also has a cookbook of his own as well! It sounds like this husband and wife duo make some pretty great dinners!
IT’S ALL GOOD: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great
$19.98 at the time of publication
And if you’re looking for some healthier options that will help you look and feel good, then actress and founder of Goop Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook has your back! And if you know a Paltrow fan, this cookbook would make a great gift.
True Roots: A Mindful Kitchen
$14.14 at the time of publication
From reality TV to a cookbook author and mother of three, Kristin Cavallari has become a staple in many people’s kitchens. This particular cookbook is her first of three. All of the recipes in this particular cookbook are free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar! You can get her second cookbook here.
The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook
$13.95 at the time of publication
If you have little ones running around your home right now, then this is the cookbook you need. We know many of you have had to cancel your vacations this past year and maybe that vacation was supposed to be a few days at Disney World. Well, this cookbook brings the parks’ cuisines straight into your homes. Now, this is a fun gift!
The Full Plate
$15 at the time of publication
This is easily one of my favorite cookbooks by Ayesha Curry. Why? Well because every recipe takes no time at all to make! Seriously, most of the time I’m sitting at my dining room table 30 minutes after starting the meal from scratch. And I haven’t met a recipe from this book that didn’t force me to let out an audible “yum!”
$18.49 at the time of publication
From Spy Kids to tacos, Danny Trejo’s taco recipes not only bring food from your kitchen to your table but the recipes also come with stories. And don’t let the title of the cookbook fool you, he also has donut recipes and more included as well! Amazing!
Cravings: Hungry for More
$11.07 at the time of publication
Another Hollywood favorite to become a staple in her fans’ kitchens is Chrissy Teigen. And her cookbooks are amazing. From cookies to fish, salads to smashed potatoes, every recipe in this cookbook “will have you hungry for more.” Get it? Not to mention, this would make a great gift for Chrissy Teigen fans!
Just Feed Me
$18.08 at the time of publication
Another great gift would be this one as well! Singer Jessie James Decker isn’t just a successful singer, she’s a successful cookbook author as well. A New York Times bestseller, this cookbook has all the comfort food you could ever need! There are also quite a few delicious drink recipes in it as well!
Magnolia Table, Volume 2: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering
$17 at the time of publication
The queen of HGTV is doing it again. With her second cookbook, Joanna Gaines is proving she’s a jack of all trades. With more than 16,000 reviews and a five-star rating, customers are loving these recipes. And the best part about these recipes is that they make enough to share with the whole family, so you never have to second guess what to make for a family dinner again! And we said it once, we will say it again, these cookbooks make great gifts as well!
Bobby at Home: Fearless Flavors from My Kitchen
$22.04 at the time of publication
When it comes to cookbooks, one group that is sure to not let you down is celebrity chefs, like Bobby Flay. His cookbook from 2019 has over 165 recipes inside of it meaning you’ll never be bored in the kitchen after buying this.
Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen
$11.98 at the time of publication
Another country music sensation turned cookbook author is Trisha Yearwood. Now, this particular cookbook isn’t new, in fact, it’s been around for 7 years so far. However, this one shares a story of her roots, her marriage to Garth Brooks, and her years in Nashville making music that many of us still listen to today! So if you know someone who enjoys Trisha, Garth, and the food they eat, get them this as a gift!
Valerie’s Home Cooking
$16.78 at the time of publication
Valerie Bertinelli doesn’t just have a show on Food Network, but she also has a cookbook filled with over 100 recipes. This one also isn’t new, but it can be new to you! From acting to the kitchen, Bertinelli will wow you with her delicious foods. That’s a fact and a great gift!
Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms Your Life, for a Healthier, More Gorgeous You
$16.47 at the time of publication
Also published in 2017, Tia Mowry of Sister, Sister fame is walking her fans through food in a way that will ultimately change the way we look at food and our overall lifestyle. Through her recipes, you will not only be eating healthier but tastier as well!
Pull Up a Chair
$17.98 at the time of publication
Where are all my Saved By The Bell fans at? Remember Kelly Kapowski? Well, the actress who played her, Tiffani Thiessen, is now a cookbook author as well! Following her stint as a Cooking Channel host of Dinner at Tiffani’s, the actress published a cookbook that features recipes that are family-focused and delicious! What a fun gift!
RELATED: Beloved Celebrity Couple Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard Have a Baby Line at Walmart Called Hello Bello—Check It Out!
There you have it! From the bright lights of Hollywood to your dining room table, with these cookbooks, you’ll have dinner ready in no time at all! You have to love that and so will the people who you will buy these as gifts for!
And for other items and gifts you may be in the market for, check out Mamas Uncut’s shopping page for thousands of more items to shop! Happy cooking!
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Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 1 Discover the Best Cooking Tips and Hacks Below to Learn How to Make the Most of Your Time in the Kitchen.
- 1.1 Make Your Cutting Board Stay In Place
- 1.2 No More Garlic Fingers
- 1.3 No Ants
- 1.4 The Corn Hack
- 1.5 Dry Brine Your Meats
- 1.6 How to Remove Seeds
- 1.7 Save Your Fats
- 1.8 A Recipe Is a Guide Not a Law
- 1.9 Keeping Guacamole Green
- 1.10 Another Avocado Hack
- 1.11 Easiest Ice Cream Hack
- 1.12 Keeping That Brown Sugar Soft
- 1.13 Adjusting Temperature
- 1.14 The Great Citrus Hacks
- 1.15 Keep the Veggies Crunchy
- 1.16 The Fruit Salad Hack
- 1.17 Finish Your Dishes with Acid
- 1.18 A Piece of Cake Floss Hack
- 1.19 A Hack for Spicy Foods
- 1.20 Easy Boiled Eggs Hack
- 1.21 Added Richness
- 1.22 Try This Hack for Crunchy French Fries
- 1.23 It Takes Time
- 1.24 Tomatoes Are Hot Natured
- 1.25 Roast Those Tomatoes
- 1.26 Hosting Hacks
- 1.27 Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
- 1.28 Use Your Toaster More Often
- 1.29 The Newspaper Refresher Hack
- 1.30 Not Friends
- 1.31 The Salt and Grinder Hack
- 1.32 Safety First
- 1.33 Remove Odors from Your Freezer with This Hack
- 1.34 Clean Your Dirty Pans
- 1.35 Keep It Fizzy Hack
- 1.36 When You Should Salt That Water
- 1.37 A Genius Cooking Spray Hack
- 1.38 A Better Way to Fry
- 1.39 Punch Up the Flavor
- 1.40 A Better Way to Measure
- 2 The Pioneer Woman Cooks: The New Frontier
- 3 Gordon Ramsay Quick and Delicious: 100 Recipes to Cook in 30 Minutes or Less
- 4 Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life: A Cookbook
- 5 From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen
- 6 Antoni in the Kitchen
- 7 Stirring Up Fun with Food: Over 115 Simple, Delicious Ways to Be Creative in the Kitchen
- 8 Back to the Kitchen: 75 Delicious, Real Recipes (& True Stories) from a Food-Obsessed Actor
- 9 IT’S ALL GOOD: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great
- 10 True Roots: A Mindful Kitchen
- 11 The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook
- 12 The Full Plate
- 13 Trejo’s Tacos
- 14 Cravings: Hungry for More
- 15 Just Feed Me
- 16 Magnolia Table, Volume 2: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering
- 17 Bobby at Home: Fearless Flavors from My Kitchen
- 18 Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen
- 19 Valerie’s Home Cooking
- 20 Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms Your Life, for a Healthier, More Gorgeous You
- 21 Pull Up a Chair
Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.