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Here Are Alton Brown's Most Nerdy (And Brilliant) Cooking Hacks

From pasta to coffee to meatballs.

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Alton Brown might just be the king of kitchen hacks...

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From cooking bacon to boiling eggs, it seems that he always has some clever trick up his sleeve.

So here are 12 of his most genius cooking tricks you can use in your own kitchen:

1. Instead of milk or water, add a bit of mayonnaise to your scrambled eggs to make them perfectly creamy.

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In Brown's newest cookbook, EveryDayCook, he suggests ditching the usual water or milk for something completely unexpected — mayo! According to him, this makes them "creamier than egg, or even egg and dairy alone, can produce."

2. Start cooking your pasta in a small pot of cold water instead of a huge pot of boiling water.

"I now very much prefer the texture of pasta when it’s cooked in a little bit of cold water," he told BuzzFeed. "Add your pasta to a pot, then pour in just enough cold water to cover the noodles." Once the water boils, reduce it to a simmer and cook until the pasta is perfectly al dente. This'll save you time, water, and energy — and your pasta will taste just as good. See how to do it here.
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"I now very much prefer the texture of pasta when it’s cooked in a little bit of cold water," he told BuzzFeed. "Add your pasta to a pot, then pour in just enough cold water to cover the noodles." Once the water boils, reduce it to a simmer and cook until the pasta is perfectly al dente. This'll save you time, water, and energy — and your pasta will taste just as good. See how to do it here.

3. Roast your meatballs in an egg carton so it absorbs all of the excess fat...

This genius hack (posted to Brown's Instagram page) is all about helping the meatballs get crispy all over. The cardboard absorbs all of the extra fat as they cook and makes sure they don't get soggy and steam in their own juices. See how to do it here.
Instagram: @altonbrown

This genius hack (posted to Brown's Instagram page) is all about helping the meatballs get crispy all over. The cardboard absorbs all of the extra fat as they cook and makes sure they don't get soggy and steam in their own juices. See how to do it here.

4. Or use it to store bottles upside down in the fridge.

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Storing condiments upside down is a no-brainer when it comes to getting every last drop, but not all bottles are designed to be stored that way. Brown's solution? Cut the top off an egg carton and store them in the slots — super easy, and super practical. See how to do it here.

5. Instead of popping popcorn in a pot, pop it in a metal bowl so the popped kernels rise to the top and don't burn.

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The idea here is that the popped kernels will move their way up the sides of the bowl and be less likely to burn. The problem with a regular pot is that the popped kernels remain on the bottom of the pot (which is super hot) and sometimes burn. See how to do it here.

6. Wrap a few rubber bands to the ends of your tongs to give them a better grip — perfect for picking up things like hot ramekins or jars in boiling water.

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This assures that you won't accidentally drop something hot or burn yourself trying to fish something slippery out of boiling water (like a jar or ramekin from a water bath).

7. Soak skewers in a bottle of water — when you unscrew the cap, they'll naturally float to the top and be super easy to take out.

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Most kebab recipes call for skewers that have been presoaked, but sometimes it's too late and you already started cooking. To solve that dilemma, Brown stores his skewers directly in an old water bottle, fills it with water, and keeps it in the fridge so they're always ready. The best part? Once you unscrew the cap, the skewers float up to the top so you don't even have to get your hands wet. See how to do it here.

8. Steam your hard-boiled eggs instead of boiling them to make 'em super easy to peel.

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When Brown isn't baking his hard-boiled eggs, he turns to his just-as-unexpected method of steaming them. He also makes sure to check how fresh they are using the Julian date (the numerical number 001–365 that tells you the exact date they were packed on) and stores them on their side to make sure the yolk is perfectly centered. See how to do it here.

9. To make your chocolate chip cookies chewy (like the kind you get from grocery store bakeries) use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour...

If you're the kind of person who prefers chewy cookies to crispy ones, Brown's recipe is for you. He swaps all-purpose flour for bread flour (a high-protein flour) that gives them a super-chewy texture like the kind you get from a bakery. We actually tried the technique and they were legit super chewy (in a good way!). Get the recipe here.
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If you're the kind of person who prefers chewy cookies to crispy ones, Brown's recipe is for you. He swaps all-purpose flour for bread flour (a high-protein flour) that gives them a super-chewy texture like the kind you get from a bakery. We actually tried the technique and they were legit super chewy (in a good way!). Get the recipe here.

10. And spray the baking sheet with a little bit of water to help parchment paper stick to it.

Brown tackles the struggle of dealing with curling parchment paper by adhering it to the sheet pan with a bit of water — it'll glue the parchment down and won't affect the cookies (or whatever else you're baking). See how to do it here.
Thomasshanahan / Getty Images

Brown tackles the struggle of dealing with curling parchment paper by adhering it to the sheet pan with a bit of water — it'll glue the parchment down and won't affect the cookies (or whatever else you're baking). See how to do it here.

11. Add a pinch of salt to your morning coffee to make it taste less bitter.

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Salt cuts bitterness in food, so it makes sense that Brown adds a bit of salt to his coffee to also cut the bitterness. To make six cups of coffee, use 12 tablespoons of coffee and a quarter teaspoon of salt. (Especially helpful if you're drinking cheap coffee!) See how to do it here.

12. If you want grilled chicken but it's too cold out to fire up the grill, cook your chicken on a panini press to give it those dark grill marks and charred flavor.

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It'll give you that wonderful flavor without having to fire up the grill (and works great with boneless breasts as well). Brown even grills asparagus, peaches, and bacon on the panini press, so nothing is off limits! See how to do it here.

Did we miss any of his best tips? Let us know in the comments!

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