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16 Cooking Tips That'll Make You Say "Why Didn't I Know About These Sooner"?

Learn the secrets to a perfect grilled cheese and super creamy mashed potatoes.

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Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

We asked the BuzzFeed Community to send us their best everyday cooking tips for the kitchen. Here are what they tried and loved:

1. For the perfect ready-to-use recipe starters, freeze fresh herbs with some olive oil.

thekitchn.com

Don't you hate when you buy fresh herbs for a recipe, have some left over, and slowly watch them wither and die in the fridge? No more! Take the leftover herbs and put them in an ice cube tray with olive oil. Next time you need that seasoning, you have a delicious flavor nugget ready to go. This works with fresh herbs, minced garlic, grated ginger, etc.

— Stephanie Marie, Facebook

Learn more about the method here and get more ice cube tray hacks here.

2. To prevent melted chocolate from clumping or burning, melt butter first, remove the pan from the heat — and then add chocolate chips.

The residual heat from the saucepan will melt the chocolate in the butter, and you'll have perfect, creamy, non-burnt chocolate to use in your recipes! —clarabow22
Lenkaprusova / Getty Images

The residual heat from the saucepan will melt the chocolate in the butter, and you'll have perfect, creamy, non-burnt chocolate to use in your recipes!

clarabow22

3. Spread butter under the skin of your turkey to make it super brown and crispy.

Tasty / youtube.com

nina34botello

Separating the skin from the meat with your hands can be a bit tricky, but all you need is to be patient and delicate. And the result is so worth it: The skin gets way crispier because it's been separated from the meat and the fat from the butter helps brown it beautifully.

Learn more about this method here.

4. Crack an egg into your mashed potatoes, when they're almost ready, to make them extra creamy.

—ailledForget about cream and butter, the secret to super creamy mashed potatoes is apparently adding an egg to the mix (after all, it works for pasta carbonara so why not here?). And if you're worried about adding a raw egg to your food, fear not: The heat of the mashed potatoes will cook it and make it safe to eat. Get the recipe here.
Karpenkovdenis / Getty Images

ailled

Forget about cream and butter, the secret to super creamy mashed potatoes is apparently adding an egg to the mix (after all, it works for pasta carbonara so why not here?). And if you're worried about adding a raw egg to your food, fear not: The heat of the mashed potatoes will cook it and make it safe to eat.

Get the recipe here.

5. For super juicy chicken breasts, quickly brine them before you cook them. All you need is water, salt, and 15 minutes.

It has so much more flavor and it will be so juicy!—candacerenshawGet the recipe here.
gimmesomeoven.com

It has so much more flavor and it will be so juicy!

candacerenshaw

Get the recipe here.

6. Roll cookie dough between two sheets of plastic wrap before you chill it for easy cleanup.

After it’s chilled, you can just cut out your shapes and bake them. It works great. There’s no extra flour so cookies don’t get tough and you don’t have to roll a disk of super cold dough, which is basically impossible.—catherinea4a17aa808
youtube.com

After it’s chilled, you can just cut out your shapes and bake them. It works great. There’s no extra flour so cookies don’t get tough and you don’t have to roll a disk of super cold dough, which is basically impossible.

catherinea4a17aa808

7. For delicious vegan desserts, try using aquafaba (AKA chickpea water) as a substitute for cream or eggs.

Mary's Test Kitchen / youtube.com, the flexitarian / theflexitarian.co.uk

I’ve made some pretty awesome vegan chocolate mousse with that!

angeleee

Get the recipe for the chocolate mousse here and more ideas on how to use aquafaba here.

8. Make peeling butternut squash less of a headache by microwaving the squash for a few minutes first.

I cut off the top and bottom, stabbed the crap out of the squash with a fork, and microwaved it for 3-5 minutes. Once cooled, I could peel the skin with a peeler instead of a knife (where I felt I was either losing half the squash or leaving part of the skin on).—cassied49bf08b7a
Nungning20 / Getty Images

I cut off the top and bottom, stabbed the crap out of the squash with a fork, and microwaved it for 3-5 minutes. Once cooled, I could peel the skin with a peeler instead of a knife (where I felt I was either losing half the squash or leaving part of the skin on).

cassied49bf08b7a

9. Take your dish to the next level by finishing it off with a touch of acid.

I’ve always sort of scoffed at TV chefs who squeeze lemon into and onto everything but now I get it. Acidity, saltiness, and sweetness are the holy trinity of food and if you taste your cooking and find that “something, not sure what” is missing, I bet adding a little lemon, lime, or balsamic vinegar will make all the difference.—lenaw44605591e
Gorodenkoff / Getty Images

I’ve always sort of scoffed at TV chefs who squeeze lemon into and onto everything but now I get it. Acidity, saltiness, and sweetness are the holy trinity of food and if you taste your cooking and find that “something, not sure what” is missing, I bet adding a little lemon, lime, or balsamic vinegar will make all the difference.

lenaw44605591e

10. Use ground coffee to enhance the flavor of chocolate cake.

—carlye419733f4cThe bitterness of the coffee will add an amazing depth of flavor to your chocolate. Adding a teaspoon of espresso powder to your batter works too.
Barol16 / Getty Images

carlye419733f4c

The bitterness of the coffee will add an amazing depth of flavor to your chocolate. Adding a teaspoon of espresso powder to your batter works too.

11. Use broth instead of water to add flavor to your savory dishes.

Substituting stock or broth for water when cooking adds so much flavor. I use it for gravies, potatoes, rice, when boiling chicken to shred, soups, etc...— Stephanie Pentz, Facebook
Bonchan / Getty Images

Substituting stock or broth for water when cooking adds so much flavor. I use it for gravies, potatoes, rice, when boiling chicken to shred, soups, etc...

— Stephanie Pentz, Facebook

12. Add mayo to your cake batters for a super moist cake. We swear, it works.

alwaysorderdessert.com

Sounds gross but I swear to god it makes such a great difference.

maddsb

When you think about it, mayo is just eggs and oil so it makes sense it'd work wonder in a cake.

Get the recipe for those cupcakes here.

13. For the perfect sear, pat your meat dry with paper towel before cooking.

youtube.com

It helps the seasoning stick and it will make the skin nice and crispy. Seriously, it makes a huge difference when cooking steak, chicken, and fish. It takes your food from boring and squishy to restaurant quality.

hollyj16

14. When baking a cheesecake, line your pan with foil for better heat distribution.

thekitchn.com

if you're ever making cheesecake, line the outside of your pan with aluminum foil, to ensure that a) the water doesn't get in when you do a water bath and b) you get a more even heat distribution!

lexiemasangkay

Get the recipe here.

15. Freeze your ginger to make it easier to grate.

This way, it also won't go bad.—kortneeb
Lecic / Getty Images

This way, it also won't go bad.

kortneeb

16. And use mayo instead of butter for your grilled cheese sandwiches. This will give you a super golden and crispy crust.

Emily Fleischaker / BuzzFeed

— Jas Harvelle, Facebook

Again, mayo is mostly fat, so it's no wonder it makes for a great flavor booster and promotes browning.

Find more cooking hacks using mayo here.

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Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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