Skip To Content

    19 Borderline Genius Food Hacks You'll Wish You Knew Yesterday

    From secret ingredients to time-saving tricks, these hacks will improve your cooking.

    Everyone could use a few great kitchen hacks. These tips, tricks, and ingredient swaps will save you time in the kitchen, take the effort out of cooking, and make your food taste worlds better.

    1. If you don't want to make a mess of your stove, try these microwave blueberry pancakes in a mug.

    A spoon taking a scoop of blueberry pancakes from a mug.
    Just Microwave It / Via

    Need a breakfast to get out of bed for? Mix pancake mix, water, and your favorite add-in like blueberries, sliced banana, or chocolate chip in a mug and pop it in the microwave. Get the recipe for microwave blueberry pancakes here.

    2. Or take the work and challenge out of boiling poached eggs and make them in the microwave.

    Spend With Pennies / Via

    Just crack an egg into a mixture of water and vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and microwave for one minute. Then put your perfectly poached eggs on avocado toast, eggs Benedict, or a basic green salad for some extra protein. Get the recipe for microwave poached eggs here.

    3. On the topic of eggs, did you know you can hard-boil dozens of eggs at once in the oven?

    Wholesome Yum / Via

    You can make eggs hard-boiled, medium-boiled, or soft-boiled depending on how long you cook them in the oven. For a perfect medium-boiled taste, give them about 26 minutes at 325 degrees F. Make a big batch of hard-boiled eggs on Sunday, store them in the fridge, and eat them throughout the whole week. Get the recipe for hard-boiled eggs in the oven here.

    4. To quickly slice a handful of cherry tomatoes, place them between two plastic container lids to hold the tomatoes in place and slice them in one fell swoop.

    Hands slicing cherry tomatoes between two plastic storage container lids.
    Williams Sonoma / Via

    Cut your salad prep time in half with this handy trick.

    5. Rather than buy fresh herbs often, just freeze your favorite chopped herbs like basil, thyme, or rosemary in ice cube trays and use them in your cooking.

    6. Use your blender to turn whole lemons into delicious, fresh lemonade.

    The Cookful / Via

    No more juicing lemons. Just cut lemons into eight slices each, toss them into a blender (rinds and all!) with ice cubes, water, and sugar. That's all you need for instant lemonade! Get the recipe for blender lemonade here.

    7. No time to defrost butter from your freezer? Just use a cheese grater to shred it into soft pieces that you can use instantly.

    8. Easily peel a mango with the help of a water glass.

    9. Make the easiest pasta ever by cooking it in a pan. Then, you can add your favorite sauce and forget about dirtying extra pots.

    Uncooked spaghetti in a pan.
    BuzzFeed / Via

    Start by combining uncooked pasta and cold water in a pan. Turn the stove to medium heat and stir the noodles occasionally until they're just al dente. Then, add your favorite sauce. There's almost no mess and no wasted water.

    Watch exactly how to make pasta in a pan here.

    10. If your avocados are constantly going bad, freeze slices or chunks so you always have perfectly ripe, ready-to-eat avo.

    11. Use baking powder for the crispiest roasted chicken ever.

    Craving Tasty / Via

    Whether you're making chicken thighs, wings, or even roasting a whole bird, coat the chicken in salt, pepper, and baking powder. If you've planned in advance, let the chicken sit in the fridge for a few hours. When you roast it, the skin will be delightfully brown and crispy. Get the recipe for extra crispy chicken here.

    12. Make tender roasted garlic in about three minutes in the microwave.

    A head of roasted garlic.
    Crunchy Creamy Sweet / Via

    Then, use that roasted garlic to add flavor to pasta, chicken, steak, or our absolute favorite, schmear it on freshly baked bread in place of butter. Learn how to roast garlic in the microwave here.

    13. For restaurant-quality salmon, forget traditional recipes and cook those fillets skin side up.

    Four salmon fillets in a skillet cooking skin side up.
    Once Upon a Chef / Via

    Most people will tell you to cook salmon skin side down, but the trick to super delicious fish is by starting skin side up. Heat oil or butter in a pan until it's nice and hot, then add the fish skin side up. Flip it once between serving. This creates super crispy skin and flaky, moist salmon. Get the recipe for restaurant-style pan-seared salmon here.

    14. Add cornstarch to scrambled eggs to make them way creamier.

    A plate of super creamy scrambled eggs with some arugula, salt, and pepper.
    Lady and Pups / Via

    Adding a tiny bit of milk and cornstarch to beaten eggs completely changes the final result. Your scrambled eggs will be deliciously creamy and custardy. Get the recipe for 15-second creamy scrambled eggs here.

    15. Upgrade mac 'n' cheese (even the boxed kind) with a sprinkle of dry mustard or a spoonful of Dijon.

    A bowl of boxed mac 'n' cheese.
    Getty Images

    Add the mustard while the mac 'n' cheese is still saucy and mix until thoroughly combined. The tangy mustard is the perfect complement to the creamy mac 'n' cheese.

    16. Oh, and if you're grilling fish, brush it with some mayonnaise so it doesn't stick.

    Three salon fillets with lemon and rosemary on a lit barbecue.
    Getty Images

    A little bit of mayo will prevent your fish from sticking better than other fats like olive oil. And tbh, you won't taste it at all when the fish is done cooking.

    17. Upgrade boxed cake mix into a fancy dessert with just three simple ingredients.

    A doctored-up slice of cake made from boxed cake mix.
    Dinner Then Dessert / Via

    Want to make dollar cake mix taste like something totally gourmet? Follow the back of your boxed cake mix but add an extra egg, use milk in lieu of water, and swap butter for the oil. Learn how to hack boxed cake mix here.

    18. If you're making chicken cutlets but run out of breadcrumbs, you can substitute tons of ingredients in your kitchen like crushed potato chips, corn flakes, Ritz crackers, pretzels, or even nuts.

    My Baking Addiction / Via

    Get the recipe for pretzel crusted chicken bites here and Ritz cracker chicken here.

    19. For quick roasted veggies, preheat the oven with the baking sheet inside.

    Roasted fruits and vegetables like butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, and sliced apples on a baking sheet.
    Getty Images

    That way, the baking sheet is already hot when you add the vegetables. Veggies cook faster, get crispier, and you don't even have to flip them mid-way.