Although many of us probably think of ourselves as competent cooks, nobody can know everything about how to work most efficiently in the kitchen. Sometimes we’ll learn a method for doing something and continue doing it by force of habit without thinking of alternatives. Still, it’s never too late to learn some new tricks on how to do things. With that in mind, today we’re going to go over some simple ways to make your kitchen life a little easier. Here are 35 perfect kitchen hacks that should make things run a little more smoothly.
1. Deseed cherries with chopsticks
Fresh cherries are absolutely delicious, but taking the seeds out of them can be a bit of a pain. If you have an entire bag of them, why not just do them all at once? To accomplish this, get a Coke bottle and a chopstick. Carefully put each cherry on top of the bottle and use the chopstick to push the seed through the bottom into the bottle. Easy!
2. Use a wine bottle to roll out dough.
Sometimes when we’re working with dough for biscuits or cookies, we realized that we don’t have a real rolling pin handy. On the other hand, you may simply not want to use a rolling pin for whatever reason. In these cases, find an empty wine bottle lying around and use that instead—some people say that it works even better than a rolling pin does!
3. Use a water bottle to separate egg yolks.
Many recipes call for just egg whites or just egg yolks. Typically, we just carefully crack the egg and try to sort it out over a bowl using either half of the shell. Still, this can easily result in cracked yolks or a mix of the elements involved. To avoid this, simply get an empty water bottle, squeeze it a little and hold the opening close to the yolk. Release the tension to suck the yolk cleanly into the bottle.
4. Keep spaghetti in a water bottle.
Though spaghetti noodles often make for easy dinner recipes, there’s a common problem after we open the package. Putting the open noodles back in the cupboard often leads to them falling out of the plastic and making a mess. Once again, there’s a simple solution. Get another empty water bottle and stick the bunch of spaghetti noodles right through the opening. This way they’ll stand up straight and stay in one place!
5. Mix pancake batter in an empty water bottle.
Although pancakes are delicious, the actual process of making pancakes can be a little bit messy. If you make pancakes in a bowl, you have to ladle it out into the pan (and probably spill it all over the place in the process). Fortunately, there’s an easier way. Instead of using many different dishes and utensils, mix your actual batter in a water bottle and give it a shake to combine it. After that, you can spill the batter right into the pan for much less mess.
6. Hang soda bottles with magnets.
If you like to keep soda around the house, it can easily fill up your fridge in a hurry. To keep the space in your fridge, you can make an easy access rack for your soda bottles with a little bit of ingenuity. To do this, install a small metal rack over your kitchen sink so that you can slide your bottles into it. Buy some little magnets and snap them onto the top of your bottles. This way, you can pull one down every time you want one.
7. Use egg cartons as a holder for condiment bottles.
Egg cartons are ideal for holding eggs, but what else are they really good for? As it turns out, they can be repurposed to help you safe a little room in your fridge. Once you’ve used all your eggs, take some scissors and trim up your egg carton, keeping only the part with hollows in it to hold eggs. Set that part in one of your refrigerator door shelves and you can use it to store condiment bottles in upside down.
8. Use sticky clothing hooks to hold up pot lids.
Everyone stores pots and pans differently, but if you’re trying to save space by stacking pots, storing the lids in an efficient way is sometimes difficult. Fortunately, we have a solution for this! All you need to do is go to a store and get some easy stick-on plastic hooks that are often used to hang towels or clothes. Stick two of them up in a row slightly tilted inward towards each other and rest the lip of your pan lids in between them. Though you’ll have to measure each one to make sure it’s the right fit, this is a simple hack anyone can do.
9. Store knives in a cup of rice.
Having a knife block is a good way to keep a nice set of knives in good condition, but what do you do with the odd ones out? Maybe you have a few knives that you use all the time that don’t have a home, but you want them to be easily accessible. To take care of this issue, get a glass or a jar and fill it up with some dry grains of rice. This way you can simply stick the blades down into the cup and pull a knife out easily whenever you need one.
10. Use coat hanger clips to close open bags (and hang them).
Open bags in the pantry can be a real pain. If we bake a lot or use grains and noodles in our cooking regularly, chances are we have a lot of open bags roughly rolled up and stuffed in the cupboard without much organization. To bring your pantry up to speed, try using some metal coat hangers with sliding clips on them to close your food bags. If you install a little rack somewhere in your kitchen, you can even hang them up for easy access.
11. Write your pill schedule onto the pill bottle itself.
If you have any medications that you have to take regularly, you may have noticed how tricky it can be to remember when to take them (and if you’ve taken them already). It gets even trickier if you have multiple bottles to keep track of. Although some people pre-fill pill caddies to keep themselves organized, there’s another method available as well. Instead of guessing, take the labels off your vitamin bottles and write an actual schedule on the bottle with a pen. Every time you take your pills, put a mark in the appropriate spot.
12. Store avocado with onion to keep it fresh.
Avocados are a healthy source of fat that you can eat with most meals. Still, you don’t always want to use a whole one when you’re cooking. Though you can store the leftovers in the fridge, the exposed area often turns brown from the air exposure. To stop this, throw a chunk of onion in the container to make sure the surface stays fresh.
13. Use a rubber band to help level off spoon measurements.
Most powdered foods and ingredients come in containers that you can easily measure out of with a teaspoon or a tablespoon. On the ones where you can’t, however, the cooking process can become difficult and messy. Anytime you need a little extra help, try wrapping a rubber band around the entire container to easily level off your scoops.
14. Pin cut veggies together with toothpicks to keep them fresh.
Though some veggies are easy enough to use in one sitting, sometimes we want to save some of the leftovers in the fridge. In the case of something like zucchini, it’s easy to let the cut end dry out. To fix this, chop the very end of the zucchini off and set it aside. When you’re done slicing what you’ll use, take a toothpick and pin the end over the cut end to keep the whole thing fresh for next time.
15. Keep your hand in a plastic bag while cutting peppers.
Cutting hot peppers can be irritating if you have sensitive skin. Even if you don’t, there’s always the risk of moving your hand to your eye and accidentally getting some spice in there. To get around this, put one of your hands in a plastic bag while cutting peppers. When you’re done, take your hand out and you’ll know it’s completely safe.
16. Crush your garlic for easier peeling.
Garlic tastes delicious in a wide variety of dishes, but it sure is a pain to peel by hand. Fortunately, there’s a much easier way to do it. Instead of actually peeling your garlic cloves, use the flat part of a big knife to crush the clove first. Afterwards, the skin will come off easily and you can continue prepping the rest of the food however you’d like.
17. Dice onions the professional way.
For many home chefs, onions are a particularly annoying veggie. We can never seem to cut them without crying and we never know how to approach them most efficiently. Fortunately, there’s one foolproof trick. First, cut your onion in half through the root and peel it. Set the cut side down and put two horizontal cuts into the onion, carefully. Make a series of vertical cuts into the onion towards the root after that. Finally, twist the onion and start slicing down in rows, moving towards the root. By the end, you should have a perfectly diced onion with no tears.
18. Deseed your peppers the proper way.
Red, yellow and green peppers can add plenty of flavor to a fajita dish. Despite that, however, the cutting process can be annoying—particularly when it comes to getting the seeds out. To do it the easy way, first cut off the tops and bottoms of your peppers. After that, slide your knife in the pepper and follow around the edges in a circle. When done correctly, the middle and the seeds should come out with ease.
19. Cut baby tomatoes between two plates.
Baby tomatoes are delicious in salads, adding a nice burst of flavor. If you’re cutting a lot of them, though, it pays to have a more efficient method than just doing one at a time. Next time you’re doing it, get out two plates and put your tomatoes between them. Put some pressure on the top plate with your hand to hold the tomatoes and place and slide a knife between them. At the end, all of your tomatoes will be cut in half at once.
20. Peel ginger with a spoon.
Adding fresh ginger to your list of spices is sure to add a lot of flavor to your cooking. Still, peeling the actual ginger root can be difficult if you’re not sure how to do it. Instead of using a knife, try using a spoon to peel it instead. The process will be much safer and you’ll end up wasting less of the actual ginger.
21. Chew gum while you cut onions.
No matter how good we are at chopping them, cutting a lot of onions will typically result in some tears. For one way to avoid this, try chewing gum while you cut them up! We’re not exactly sure why this trick works but it definitely helps.
22. Dip the onions in water and use a fan.
23. Peel potatoes the easy way with a cold water bath.
Although we all own a potato peeler, we’re probably in agreement that it’s not that easy to use them. If you’re boiling potatoes, though, there’s actually an easier way. First, let your potatoes boil as you usually would. At the end, throw your potatoes in an ice cold water bath and you should be able to peel the skins right off without a problem.
24. Peel a lot of garlic at once by shaking it.
As we mentioned before, peeling garlic is pretty annoying to all chefs, no matter their level of expertise. Just like the crushing it trick, there are ways to make the process easier. If you need to peel a lot of garlic, throw it all in a sealed container and give it a good shake. When you open the container up, all the skins should have peeled themselves right off.
25. Peel corn the easy way with a few cuts.
While it’s not particularly hard to peel ears of corn, it can still be a time-consuming process. To speed it up a little, try cutting off the root end of the corn and then squeezing the cob out from the other side. Though you’ll lose a little bit, the process should go much more quickly.
26. Use steel wool to peel carrots.
Are we sensing a common theme in these hacks? Once again, though peeling carrots is easy, it takes a lot of time and can produce a lot of waste. Fortunately, if you use some steel wool to grind the outside layer off, you waste less carrot and can move more quickly as well.
27. Use the shake method to easily peel hard boiled eggs.
If you have a bunch of hard boiled eggs prepared, put them in a sealed container with water and give the container a hard shake. Much like the garlic hack we mentioned above, the shaking process will crack up the outsides and make them much easier to peel when it’s time to eat.
28. Do the float test to see how fresh your eggs are.
If you’ve had some eggs in the fridge for a long time, it can be tough to tell which ones are still good to eat and which ones have gone bad. Fortunately, there’s a simple test you can do to find out. Fill a glass with water and try to float your egg in it. If it sinks to the bottom, it’s a good egg. If it floats, you should throw it out.
29. Use empty muffin wrappers when eating popsicles.
Popsicles are a perfect dessert for the summer, when it’s particularly hot outside. Still, they can easily drip all over your hand if you’re not careful. To fix this, buy some empty muffin slips and stab the popsicle stick through the middle of it. This way, you’ll have a kind of drip guard available to you while you eat your cold dessert.
30. Soften your butter with a hot glass.
Sometimes your recipe calls for softened butter—which is a problem if we always keep our butter in the fridge. To heat your butter up in a hurry, try getting a hot glass and putting the butter inside it for about a minute. When you lift the glass up, the butter should be warm enough to cut and to spread however you’d like.
31. Use a fork and a hammer to tenderize your meat perfectly.
If you don’t already do so, tenderizing your meat before cooking it can be a great way to add some texture and flavor. Even if you don’t have a meat hammer handy, we have an easy hack to fix the problem. Get a real hammer and tape a fork over the end of it. Now, you can hammer away at your meat without harming it.
32. Turn your lemons into spray bottles.
Many recipes call for just a little bit of lemon juice, but there seems to be no way to get it out of the lemon without completely chopping one up or juicing it. Instead, try cutting just the end off of a lemon and putting the spraying portion of a mini spray bottle into it. This way, you can get spritzes of lemon juice whenever you need them.
33. Use a straw to pit your strawberries.
Remember the cherry trick we talked about earlier? Turns out you can do a similar technique with strawberries. Instead of plucking the tops off of these things individually, use a straw or a chopstick to stab the green part of the berry right off instead.
34. Make baked potato roses with sliced potatoes.
There are plenty of different ways to make potatoes and sometimes we want to do things a little fancier than we usually do. For those cases, why not try slicing up your potatoes thinly, laying the slices out so that they overlap one another and rolling them up into these potato flowers? Carefully put each roll-up into a muffin tin and bake for a delicious treat for the whole family.
35. Use a spoon to scoop out your kiwis.
Although kiwis are definitely sweet and delicious, they’re also a bit tricky to peel if you don’t know how. The best way we’ve found is to cut the ends off with a knife and then use a spoon for the rest of it. When done correctly, the skin should fall right off leaving only the tasty fruit behind.
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