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26 Cooking Hacks Everyone Should Know About

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We recently asked BuzzFeed Community to tell us about the flavor upgrades they use when cooking. Here are 26 of the best.

1. Give your cookies a kick with a dash of coffee.

@madebyneen / Via instagram.com

Add a 1 tsp of fresh (not used) coffee grounds to your chocolate chip cookie dough. It brings out more flavor of the chocolate chips without making it taste like coffee.

lorriem2

2. And add a teeny bit of coffee to your spaghetti sauce.

@inthiscrazymugclub / Via instagram.com

Adding a dash — and I mean a dash — of instant coffee to homemade spaghetti sauce gives it umami that is out of this world! My dad taught me this trick many years ago and I still do it to this day.

ashleyt4224cf451

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3. Heat leftover pizza in a pan for crispy crust.

cosmopolitan.com

Reheat pizza in a pan. Put it on medium heat and cook the cheese side first — the grease from the cheese is all you need to make the crust crispy.

angelicaschurch

Get more hacks for old pizza here.

5. Lay bacon over parchment paper before baking it to make it extra crispy.

inspiredimperfection.com

Cook bacon in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes but — here's the trick — on PARCHMENT PAPER. Your bacon will come out perfect and evenly cooked.

jrt4bb0c6c8a

Get the full recipe here.

6. And put raw bacon in a cold pan if you're cooking it on the stove.

reddit.com

When cooking bacon, don't lay it in a hot pan! Put the raw bacon in the pan, then turn on the stove. I love to cook, but I honestly didn't know about this until this year, so my bacon always came out overcooked. But now it's perfect!

brittneeg3

Read about more foods that you should cook in a cold pan here.

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8. And stack your sandwiches with mayo on the cheese side.

@dafoodie / Via instagram.com

Sandwiches always taste better when you spread the mayo on the cheese side and the mustard on the meat side. Every sandwich I make using this rule tastes amazing.

meredithr4851774cc

9. Sweeten up your mac 'n' cheese with a can of corn.

@_fat_and_happy_ / Via instagram.com, @the_persian_foodie / Via instagram.com

Adding (drained) canned corn to mac 'n' cheese adds a nice sweetness as well as vitamins and nutrients.

13emily1313

10. Slather Greek yogurt on your salmon before cooking to prevent it from drying out.

clubnarwhalblog.com

Whenever I bake salmon, I top it with Greek yogurt first. It's delicious and will prevent the salmon from drying out.

schmelendez

See how to use yogurt to make crunchy breaded salmon here.

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11. And heat the baking sheet before cooking salmon on it so that it gets a nice sear without overcooking.

recipetineats.com

When cooking salmon, I pop a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees while the salmon marinates. When I put the salmon on the hot sheet in the oven, I turn the heat down to 250 or so. The salmon gets beautifully seared on the outside while gently cooking on the inside.

gracer44b97a530

Get a recipe for One-Pan Chili Lime salmon here, and get more easy salmon dinners here.

12. Blend avocados in your smoothies for a creamy texture.

cookienameddesire.com

If you are dairy intolerant like me, avocados are a great substitute for yogurt or milk in smoothies. It makes them creamy without adding much flavor.

carolinem47e6064c1

Get the recipe for this avocado, chocolate, and peanut butter smoothie here and get more awesome smoothie recipes here.

13. And freeze overripe bananas so that you don't need to use ice in your smoothies.

Dara Michalski / Via thepioneerwoman.com

When I don’t use bananas fast enough and they turn brown, I cut them in half and peel them and freeze them. Good for making smoothies (so you can bypass the ice) and banana bread!

carolinem47e6064c1

Get the best way to freeze your bananas here.

14. Add wine to dishes that need an extra kick.

buzzfeed.com

When a dish needs a little something extra, I usually add wine. Fish, chicken, steak, pasta sauces, etc. Makes for amazing flavor when you let it simmer for a long period of time. Low and slow baby!

carolinem47e6064c1

Learn how to make red wine spaghetti here.

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15. Freeze cheese slices for the perfect melt on your cheeseburgers.

@chezza_eats / Via instagram.com

When making burgers, I like to use frozen cheese slices. It keeps the cheese from melting down into the pan or grill and gives you great coverage.

candinicolew

16. Sift your flour to make fluffy baked goods like muffins.

http://@megandawn.photos / Via instagram.com

If you are baking and want light and fluffy baked goods such as donuts and muffins, sift the flour first. It makes a difference.

rachelbethh

It also helps mix flour with your other dry ingredients more easily. Learn more about why you should sift your flour here.

17. And throw in an extra yolk for cake-y cookies.

seriouseats.com

Want soft, fluffy cookies? Add an extra egg yolk to any cookie recipe and you'll have softer cookies that taste like they just came out of the oven for days.

merlexcal84

Learn more about how eggs affect your cookies here.

18. Add salt to your oatmeal and sugar to your tomatoes.

bonappetit.com, eatlovenamaste.com

When cooking with tomatoes in whatever form, add a tiny bit of sugar. It really balances out the acidity. Add a pinch of salt to your oatmeal to enhance the flavor.

laurav435c969fa

Learn other tricks for making good oatmeal here and get the recipe for homemade tomato sauce here.

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19. And add a bit of chile to your chocolate.

seriouseats.com

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This works best when you actually have to heat the chile, so adding it to your baked goods or hot chocolate is a better bet than including it in homemade ice cream. Read more about which chilies pair well with the kind of chocolate you're cooking with here.

20. Put paprika in everything.

Greentellect_studio / Getty Images

This may sound a little weird but...PAPRIKA! I swear, most times when you taste a dish and feel like it "needs a little something", it's normally paprika. It just ups the flavor of any savory dish!

jamied41

Learn more about using paprika in dishes here.

21. Use lemon juice to make a prettier, tangier apple pie.

@ofmonstersandgiulia / Via instagram.com

When making apple pie, I add three tablespoons of lemon juice to the cut apples before I mix them into the filling. It keeps the apples nice and crisp, and stops them from browning. It also gives it a nice tang to go with the sugary filling. Perfect apple pie every time!

heyoptimisthay

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23. Rinse your rice to remove the starch and improve the flavor.

chowhound.com

bjazzy85

Rinsing your rice is actually specific to the kind of rice you're cooking with: you want to rinse certain to remove the talc, but you don't want to rinse sticky rice or risotto, both of which are supposed to be, well, stickier. Read more here.

24. And don't rinse your cooked pasta, especially if you're eating it with sauce.

buzzfeed.com

DON'T EVER RINSE PASTA. It removes the wonderful starchy coating that makes your sauces stick to the pasta. Save some pasta water when you're draining and add if the pasta and sauce mixture becomes to sticky too sticky.

carolinem47e6064c1

While it's definitely true that the starch helps sauce stick to your pasta, you do want to rinse your pasta if you're putting it in a stir fry or making a pasta salad because the starch will make the pasta gummy in these scenarios. Learn more here and get the ~ultimate spaghetti recipe here.

26. Save onion and garlic skins for homemade broths.

skillet.lifehacker.com

Store bones and scraps from vegetables in the freezer — especially onion and garlic skins because they add a rich color and flavor to your broth. When you have enough, you can make bone broth. Soak bones in cold water with vinegar for an hour before cooking, it helps extract more of the minerals.

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