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"It's The Trick To Truly Excellent Fried Rice": People Are Sharing The One Change They Make To A Dish To Make It Taste Even Better

"I'd been making pasta one way my whole life until I learned about this."

If you browse the internet, you'll come across a whole lot of cooking tips. But how do you know which are actually worth trying? Well, I combed through the r/AskCulinary subreddit and responses from the BuzzFeed Community and compiled this list of seriously smart cooking tips that will upgrade a ton of your favorite meals.

Oh, and by the way, some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

1. "For perfect fried eggs, try basting them in olive oil. Start with about a quarter inch of olive oil in a small pan. When the oil just begins to smoke, carefully add the egg. Lower the heat and carefully baste spoonfuls of oil over the top of the egg. Cook for about a minute and a half, then move to a paper towel or slice of toast to soak up all that delicious olive oil. Cooking them this way gives a slightly crispy but still tender white and a slightly runny yolk that is just beginning to set."

Close-up of fried eggs cooking in a pan

2. "For chewy, soft cookies, set your oven timer for five minutes earlier than your recipe states. The biggest trick for getting chewy chocolate chip cookies? Not overbaking them. You want your cookies to be barely browned and not look wet in the center. When you press on them, you should be able to make an indent, but it should not feel raw. As soon as they reach this point, take them out."

Sheet pan of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies shot from above

3. "People will tell you that day-old rice is the trick to excellent fried rice, but it's actually compound butter. I've found that at restaurants, they almost never use plain butter. Most use a compound butter made with garlic. When I make it at home, I also add MSG and ginger and call it umami butter. Try it at home, and your fried rice will taste hibachi-style."

Cooking fried rice in a skillet

4. "Instead of using traditional Italian bread crumbs, add boxed dry stuffing mix to your meatloaf. It makes the final dish so much more moist and takes it to the next level."

Meatloaf at a dinner table

5. "For crispy, restaurant-style tofu, pop your extra-firm tofu into the freezer before cooking. Don't even tear open the package; just leave it in the freezer overnight. Once it's cooked, the initial freezing gives it that spongy, meaty texture that it seems only restaurants can achieve."

Someone cutting a block of firm tofu

6. "Add a spoonful of chive cream cheese (in addition to butter and milk) when making boxed mac 'n' cheese. It makes it so creamy, cheesy, and flavorful."

Stirring cream cheese into mac 'n' cheese

7. "Add chocolate pudding mix to boxed brownies. It makes them even more moist and chocolaty."

Brownie batter in a bowl

8. "The next time you make lasagna, try using béchamel in place of ricotta cheese. It's popular in Egyptian and Greek cooking, and it's absolutely delicious."

Person making lasagna in a baking dish

9. "For the best pasta sauces, use less water when boiling your noodles. Try cooking your pasta in a large, deep-dish sauté pan with enough water to just cover the pasta. The water will be much starchier and will create a silky sauce that clings to the pasta."

Pasta with sauce in a skillet

10. "For the creamiest scrambled eggs, use cornstarch. Add a little bit of cornstarch (or, if you prefer, sour cream) to your beaten eggs. Then cook them slowly over a low heat in a bit of butter for the creamiest scrambled eggs ever."

Beating eggs in a bowl

11. "If you're making mashed potatoes, bring them to a boil with the water instead of adding potatoes to already boiling water. It makes them way creamier when mashed."

Mashing boiled potatoes in a bowl

12. "When making French toast, try using melted vanilla ice cream in place of three-quarters of the milk. It tastes custardy and creamy and unbelievable."

An overhead shot of a person preparing French toast

13. "Add butter to instant ramen in order to thicken the broth and make it stick to the noodles. It adds so much more flavor and makes a cheap bag of instant ramen taste more restaurant quality."

14. "Cook grilled cheese with both softened butter and melted butter. If you butter your bread with softened butter instead of just melting the butter in the pan, you'll get a much more flavorful (and crispy) result. The fat solids emulsified in the softened butter make the bread crispier when it gets toasted over high heat."

A grilled cheese sizzling in a pan

15. "For the crispiest, freshest salads, chop up juicy vegetables — like tomatoes, peppers, or cucumber — and salt them before you add them to the salad. It'll remove some of the excess moisture so things don't get soggy, and it'll brighten up the whole salad without making it 'salty.'"

A person slicing cherry tomatoes

16. "Boil pasta directly in a cream-based sauce. This one-pot pasta trick is a true game changer. You don't even have to wait for the water to boil. Just heat olive oil and garlic in a large skillet or saucepan; stir in chicken broth, butter, milk (or cream), and pasta; then bring it to a boil and cook until the pasta is al dente. The result: pasta Alfredo that takes very minimal effort."

A bowl of fettuccine Alfredo

17. "Put lemon juice in your pancake batter. (After all, it's in the Bisquick Ultimate Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pancakes recipe.) My wife was stunned that after 25 years together, she only just found out that this is how I make my pancakes."

A person taking a pancake out of a pan

18. "Roast your meatballs in an empty egg carton. It's a trick I learned from Alton Brown. Just spray the egg carton with cooking spray and roast the meatballs inside it. They come out crispy all over and slide out of the carton so easily."

An egg carton with meatballs in it

19. "Simmer your bacon in a little bit of water before you fry it. Fill a regular frying pan up with a half inch of water, then lay your bacon slices in a single layer in the pan. Simmer the bacon slices until all of the water evaporates. Once the pan is dry, keep cooking the bacon until it gets nice and crispy — just as you normally would. The general idea is that the water helps render the fat, and by the time the water evaporates, your bacon will have rendered off enough fat to help it get nice and crispy."

Bacon cooking in a skillet

20. "Add mayo to boxed cake batter to make it even better. Mayo — which is mostly eggs and oil — makes the end product even more moist. (And don't worry, mayo haters: You can't taste the stuff.)"

Mixing cake batter in a bowl

21. "Add a bit of vodka to piecrust to make it flakier. Too much water in pie dough can result in a tougher crust. But if you swap some of that water for vodka, most of the latter will evaporate when the pie bakes. The end result? A perfectly flaky crust."

Two pies on a tabletop

22. "For completely foolproof fish, try making it en papillote, aka cooked in parchment paper packets. The little packets trap moisture and gently steam the fillet, preventing it from drying out. This is a great technique to start with, as it's both easy to make and very forgiving. Load the packet up with aromatics such as lemon slices, herbs, and garlic, and you're on your way to perfectly cooked fish."

Salmon and zucchini in parchment paper

23. "When baking chocolate cake, cupcakes, or really any chocolate baked goods, if the recipe calls for water, swap it out for the same amount of freshly brewed, cooled coffee. The flavor is incredible."

Chocolate batter in cupcake holders

24. "If you're making fried chicken, dribble a little water, hot sauce, or, best of all, buttermilk into your dry dredge. Just pour a little in and mix it around the dry mixture until you have some clumps. The little bits that form will stick to your chicken and provide extra texture and crispiness once fried."

Removing fried chicken from oil

25. Put a small indent in the center of your burger patties before grilling to help them cook evenly. I learned this one from Bobby Flay. Burgers shrink when cooking, but indenting the center of the patties prevents them from bloating."

A person shaping hamburger patties

26. "Poach eggs in plastic baggies to keep the whites intact. Line a small cup or ramekin with plastic wrap, coat it with a small bit of oil, crack an egg into the cup, then gather the sides of the plastic wrap and twist it into a pouch. Easier than traditional poaching, this method ensures that your eggs stay together when you add them to boiling water."

An egg in a bowl lined with plastic wrap

What's the best cooking tip you know? Tell us in the comments below.