29 Cooking Hacks You Should Know By Now

1. The M&M trick:

“My mom used this one when I was too young to keep up with how many of something I’d put in. If you need six cups of flour, put out six M&M’s. When you put a cup in, eat an M&M. Continue until they’re gone.” —Megan Durham, Facebook

ID: 9781802

2. The best way to measure honey or sticky things:

“If you need to measure out honey, spray the measuring cup/spoon with a little bit of Pam or vegetable oil. It will pour out SO much easier, and you don’t lose half your honey because it’s stuck to the measuring cup!” —Alex Merry Asal, Facebook

ID: 9781909

3. The easiest way to soften butter:

“My mom taught me how to soften butter in the microwave quickly. She would heat up a cup of water for a minute or two and then put the butter on a plate, put it in the microwave, and close the door. The radiant heat from heating up the water would soften the butter without melting it.” —Alaire Mansell, Facebook

ID: 9782093

4. The best way to spice up your chili:

“I kid you not, put a little cinnamon in your homemade chili. This happened by accident to a friend of my mom’s (she reached for the chili powder and grabbed the cinnamon instead), and we’ve adopted the tradition. It adds a nice, hearty warmth to the chili, and it’s pretty much the best thing ever.” —Chris Roll, Facebook

ID: 9781940

5. The other best way to spice up your chili:

“Putting a little cocoa powder in your chili upgrades it as well!” —Leah Lyon, Facebook

ID: 9781948

6. The cheaper ricotta cheese substitute:

“My mom taught me that if I ever use a recipe that asks for ricotta cheese, buy cottage cheese instead and puree it until it is the same consistency. I use this trick whenever I make lasagna, or once when I made gnocchi. You save a little money and your food still tastes great!” —Danielle Jain, Facebook

ID: 9781996

7. The secret to perfect scrambled eggs:

“My mom always made the best scrambled eggs and omelets. The trick is to add cottage cheese instead of milk…and I don’t even like cottage cheese, but I swear by this one!” —Cassie Jean, Facebook

ID: 9782016

8. The best way to upgrade a cake from a box mix:

“When baking a cake from a box mix, substitute butter for the oil, milk for the water, and add one more egg than the recipe calls for. I promise your cake will taste like the magic word: moist.” —Nikki Hilton, Facebook

ID: 9782240

9. The right temperature for making pies and cakes:

“If you’re making something like biscuits or pie crusts (things you want fluffy and flaky), keep everything as cold as possible (including dipping your hands in ice water prior to handling the dough). If you’re making a cake, make sure everything is room temperature.” —Laurie Lapham, Facebook

ID: 9781924

10. The easiest way to check if cooking oil is ready for frying:

“To check if the cooking oil for frying is hot enough, insert a wooden spoon/ladle. If it starts to bubble around the wood, the oil is ready.” —Kashaf Syar, Facebook

ID: 9782200

11. The cleanest way to cook:

“When you are cooking, clean as you go. If you’re done using something, put it away. Put dirty dishes in the sink, don’t leave it out. By the time you’re done cooking, you will prevent the kitchen from looking like a tornado flew by.” —Jessica Elle Nicholas, Facebook

ID: 9782247

12. The best way to upgrade canned pasta sauces:

“Make any canned pasta sauce taste better by putting some olive oil in a hot pan then brown garlic and onion powder, then pour the sauce on top! It makes it taste homemade (this is coming from an Italian girl!). —alexl466d7056e

ID: 9782382

13. The best way to upgrade your hot chocolate:

“Chili powder in hot chocolate literally makes the best hot chocolate ever. Or if you don’t like spicy, put in a little bit of vanilla extract.” —goldy

ID: 9782361

14. The only way to fry bacon:

“My grandma sprinkles a little bit of flour on bacon before she fries it. The flour cuts down on the grease splatter and makes the bacon extra crispy!” —legallybrunette92

ID: 9782366

15. The smartest way to make guacamole:

“My father taught me to use a potato masher when you make guac. It makes it smooth with just the right amount of clumps.” —tiffanymoore419

ID: 9782549

17. The smartest way to cook vegetables:

“Cut up all your vegetables the same size, so they will cook in the same amount of time.” —tomb4adc7727a

ID: 9782414

18. The secret to good soup:

“When making soup, sauté the vegetables first — don’t just throw everything in and expect it to have flavor.” —popalinga

ID: 9782610

19. The tip to up your brownie game:

“Whenever a chocolate cake or brownie recipe calls for adding water, substitute with coffee instead. It brings out the richness of the chocolate.” —sabrinahartn

ID: 9782626

20. The thing you have to do before cooking rice:

“Always wash your rice before cooking. It removes the extra starch so it doesn’t clump together.” —dayletl

ID: 9782645

21. The best way to save your fingers:

“ALWAYS make sure you are constantly sharpening your knife. Using a dull knife is more dangerous than using a sharp one.” —maxieg710

ID: 9782656

22. The correct way to make the perfect Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese:

“My dad taught me that when making Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese, you should first add the butter to the pasta (let it completely melt and cover), then the orange cheese mixed evenly, and then pour the milk in slowly until you reach desired thickness. This is the best way to mix these ingredients.” —Jamie Zaccaria, Facebook

ID: 9781951

23. The smartest way to make pasta:

“My mom taught me that after you drain the pasta, always coat the noodles with a couple of spoonfuls of whatever sauce you’re using. It keeps the pasta from clumping together and drying out!” —audreyc4fd0d88c2

ID: 9782669

24. The wine you should actually cook with:

“Never cook with wine you wouldn’t serve guests at the table.” —IBeMeUC

ID: 9782685

25. The only way to bake cookies:

“Refrigerating cookie dough makes them SO much better. I typically prepare the dough one day and then bake the next. Makes a huge difference!” —Brittany Jean Louise, Facebook.

ID: 9782122

26. The thing you can add to any meal:

“Add frozen spinach to everything — meatballs, pasta dishes, pizza, etc. — for an easy health boost for a college cook.” —haleym4e69f535d

ID: 9782722

27. The best way to mix your food:

“I mix basically everything with my (clean) hands because that’s the way my mom did it. Guacamole, artichoke dip, pasta salad, biscuits, certain types of cookies… Spoons and electric mixers all get in the way of proper consistency.” —maggiep

ID: 9782839

28. The best investment:

“Never use soap on a cast-iron pan, and invest in really good cooking gear. High-quality pots and pans and that sort of thing make a HUGE difference in how your food cooks.” —Grayson Zebulon Rank, Facebook

ID: 9782045

29. The buttermilk substitute:

“If you don’t have buttermilk for a recipe, add a little vinegar to regular milk and let it sit. Then you can make pancakes or biscuits with that delicious tangy flavor.” —blairh4be1d768b

ID: 9782887

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

ID: 9789335

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