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25 Smart Cooking Tricks That Will Make You Say "What?! OMG!"

Mind blowing.

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We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their favorite hacks to make cooking faster and easier. Here are some of their genius suggestions!

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1. Boil pasta faster in a frying pan instead of a pot.

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It actually works! The wider surface area of the frying pan means the water gets hotter and the pasta cooks faster.

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This video actually recommends putting the pasta in the pan while the water is cold.

2. Or cook it in the microwave.

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This works best when you're just making pasta for one. It's as easy as putting pasta in a bowl/mug with enough water to cover it, then microwaving for a few minutes (it's trial and error, not gonna lie), stirring every minute or so.

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See how to do it here and check out more pasta hacks here.

3. Flick a drop of water onto the pan to know when your pan is preheated.

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This video says that you will know that the pan is at the perfect temperature when the water forms two beads. Carefully wipe out excess water with a dish towel before you pour in the oil.

Read about the science behind this here.

4. Freeze onions so that you don't have to chop them every time you cook.

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I cut up a bunch of onions and freeze them in sandwich bags. The next time I'm making a dish, I can just take one out and throw the onions in the pan. That way, I don't have to deal with tears every time I cook.

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So that the onions don't get stuck together, freeze them on a flat surface before packing them in a baggie. See how to do it here.

5. And freeze leftover scallions in a used water bottle.

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Cut spring onions and store in an empty water bottle in the freezer. I never use all of my spring onions at once, so I cut them up and put them into a water bottle so I can freeze them. They last for about 2-3 months.

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6. Pour a glug of white vinegar into boiling water for perfectly poached eggs, or easy-peel boiled eggs.

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A glug of white vinegar makes boiled eggs easier to peel and poached eggs less likely to stick to the pan.

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Learn how to poach eggs here.

8. Prep and freeze chicken breasts in your favorite marinades for days you need a quick dinner.

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Whenever I buy raw chicken breasts I get home and portion them out for two. I mix a marinade in a quart-size Ziploc, add the chicken, and put it in the freezer. I take a pack out in the morning and thaw it in the fridge so that it's ready to be baked by dinnertime.

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See the recipe for this sweet chili marinade here and get more chicken marinade recipes here.

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11. Spray your measuring cup with cooking oil before measuring something sticky such as honey or maple syrup.

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It will pour out super easily and you won't need to dirty up a spatula to scrape out the rest!

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Read more about it here and get more tips like this one here.

12. Crack an egg on a flat surface instead of on the edge of a bowl to avoid the dreaded eggshell bits in your bowl.

15. Vigorously shake garlic cloves garlic cloves in a lidded container to peel them all at once.

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I hate peeling garlic. I was skeptical of this trick, but it really works!

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See more chopping tricks here.

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16. Keep salt and pepper pots next to your stove for quick pinches.

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Life is so much easier when you have small bowls of salt and pepper next to the stove available for quick pinching during cooking.

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Get these really pretty ones from Amazon for $14.95.

17. Cover a stick of butter with a heated glass to soften in 3 minutes or less.

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Forgot to soften butter? No problem! Boil water and pour into a glass. Empty the glass, and flip it upside down to cover the butter.

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18. Strain pasta over frozen peas to defrost 'em without a microwave (and mix them right into your pasta).

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I add the frozen peas to the colander in the sink and when the pasta's done, I strain it over the peas and the hot water usually softens and cooks them right up!

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Get the recipe for this one-pot pasta here.

20. Store your brown sugar with a slice of bread to keep it softer for longer.

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You could also store it with a marshmallow or sliced apple. If you need to soften brown sugar, you can just microwave it with a wet paper towel. Read more here.

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22. Follow Alton Brown's advice to steam eggs instead of boiling them, and the shells will just slide right off.

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I actually learned this trick from Alton Brown, but I steam my eggs instead of boiling them. Put a pot that has a steamer basket and a couple inches of water over low heat. Pop a few eggs in, and cover when you start to see steam. After 12 minutes, pop the eggs into ice cold water. The shell literally slides off!

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Alton Brown also suggests storing eggs on their side in the fridge. Watch the video for more tips.

23. Microwave butternut squash to easily extract the good stuff from the peel.

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After halving and de-seeding a butternut squash, put it in a casserole dish with an inch of water and microwave for 12 minutes. It's ready when you can easily pierce through the skin with a fork. See how to do it here and read about more microwave tricks here.

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