Skip To Content

    People Are Sharing Their Most Life-Changing Cooking Hacks, And They Might Actually Surprise You

    "Just this one ingredient makes such a remarkable difference, especially in tomato sauces."

    When you cook at home, you're constantly learning new tips and tricks. So redditor u/leonardo-di-caprisun asked, "What’s your best weird but life-changing cooking hack?" Read on for some responses that might actually change your home cooking.

    1. "Put chicken stock cubes in the water to boil pasta."

    Straining penne pasta from boiling water.

    2. "If you're cutting hot peppers and don't want an unfortunate accident later on, rub a little neutral oil (canola, vegetable) on your hands when finished, then wash with a little dish soap."

    "The capsaicin (spicy chemical in the peppers) essentially binds with the oil. Then the dish soap takes care of the oil on your hands." —u/CorneliusJenkins

    3. "Add a splash of orange juice to pumpkin or banana bread. The acidity really adds some brightness against the spices."

    Ingredients for baking including orange juice, oil, flour, and eggs

    4. "Keep ginger in the freezer. Use a microplane or grater to grate the frozen ginger into sauces, fried rice, etc. It's easier to work with when it's frozen."


    5. "Baking powder on chicken skin makes it extra crispy."

    A crispy chicken leg on a plate with mashed potatoes and corn

    6. "I use olive brine/pickle brine to add flavor to a lot of dishes like casseroles, stews, etc. It adds a nice depth."


    7. "I save all my vegetable scraps — onions, garlic, bell peppers, carrots, celery, herb stems — and collect them in a freezer bag. When it’s full I turn it into stock and then use that stock to cook rice, quinoa, lentils, etc..."

    Adding veggie scraps to a pot for stock

    8. "I keep Parmesan rinds in my freezer for stock, sauces, and stews. I just throw it in after everything else to simmer. It makes a remarkable difference, especially in tomato sauces."


    9. "Pour leftover stock into ice cube trays so you always have frozen flavor starters."

    Stock ice cubes in a tray and some in a glass

    10. "Mixing butter and soy sauce in the same dish. It's one of my favorite flavor combinations."

    "It's excellent in just about any savory dish, and it works especially well with mushrooms." —u/PotusChrist

    11. "Add a splash of vinegar in the water to boil potatoes for either potato salad or roasted potatoes. It stops them from falling apart."

    Potatoes boiling in water.

    12. "When you're cutting broccoli or cauliflower, turn it upside down. Then rotate it as you cut the stem part."

    "It's so much cleaner than cutting through the flowery part from the top, and you get really nice florets." —u/January1171

    13. "The microwave is extremely useful to speed up the whole process for making baked potatoes. I microwave them for five minutes, then throw them in the oven for 15. Perfect baked potatoes in 20 minutes instead of an hour."

    14. "When I bake, I grease my pans, but instead of using flour to coat it, I use granulated sugar. It makes the edges sweet and crunchy and saves me from needing to use icing or frosting."


    15. "Cooking vegetables in boiling water during the last few minutes of making pasta. They soak up that starchy deliciousness and it turns many of my recipes into one-pot recipes."

    A plate of veggie pasta

    16. "Toss noodles in toasted sesame oil after they’ve drained. Takes them to another level."


    17. "Lemon zest in garlic butter, specifically for garlic bread. It's an absolute game changer, even if you use just a little bit."

    18. "Use a potato masher for browning ground beef."

    "While the meat is still raw, push down with the masher and use a spatula to scrape the meat that pushes through. Once it starts to brown, the masher helps crumble it." —u/MKE1969

    19. "When roasting meat, add your herbs and spices in order of coarse to fine. For example, add thyme, then coarse black pepper, then cayenne, then garlic powder. It helps everything stick to the meat better."

    A piece of salmon topped with fresh herbs and spices.

    20. "Pre-toast flour for roux. Spread flour in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F, stirring often, until it’s toasty. Cool and store, and use it as the flour in any roux to speed up the process.

    "If you have toasted flour on hand, you’re always halfway to gumbo at any moment, and it’s a nice flavor boost for other kinds of flour-based sauces and gravies!" —u/whateverpieces

    21. "When making sauces, batters, or soups, measure out oily ingredients (butter, olive oil) before sticky (honey, agave, maple syrup). You don't need to wash the spoon. The sticky ingredient will slide right out."

    Measuring olive oil into a spoon

    22. "For easy minced garlic anytime, blend up a bunch of peeled garlic with a little olive oil. Pour the mixture into a freezer bag, squeeze out excess air, and freeze flat. Just slice off a chunk anytime you need garlic."


    23. "When making biscuits or pie dough, just take a frozen stick of butter and grate it on the coarse side of a cheese grater."

    Grated butter

    24. "Save and freeze bacon grease. Then use it to cook a variety of foods. Try using it to make popcorn!"


    25. "If your soup or stew is too salty, a splash of vinegar usually balances it out."

    Italian soups with olive oil and cheese on the side

    26. "If you have a gas stove, try heating tortillas directly on the grate. The flames will create toasty spots, and the tortillas get much warmer and tastier."


    27. "If a cake recipe calls for milk and eggs, a can of 7Up works equally well. The cake will come out extra moist and light."

    Cake mix in a bowl.

    28. "Rehydrate garlic powder/granulated garlic with about equal parts water to garlic. Let it sit while you prepare your ingredients. Makes a huge difference in taste if it's all you have."


    29. "Mixing in some soy sauce to eggs adds good flavor. Mix in some toasted sesame oil and a dash of smoked paprika, and eggs take on a subtle, bacon-like taste."

    30. "I always keep a jar of mayonnaise with a touch of olive oil and basil in the fridge. Goes with anything."


    31. "Never use chicken breasts. Always substitute chicken thighs. Seriously, it makes chicken dishes taste amazing instead of average."

    Roasted chicken thighs with red pepper

    32. "I use scissors to cut just about anything I can. It always seems to weird people out when I cut up chicken thighs in particular, but I could honestly never go back to cutting them with a knife."


    33. "For fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley, store them in a mason jar filled [with] water. Place a plastic bag over the tops of the herbs. Fresh herbs will last up to a month or more."

    Herbs growing on countertop

    Do you have a surprising yet useful food hack that actually works? Tell us in the comments below.