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18 Cooking Hacks That'll Make You Say, "How Come Nobody Told Me This Earlier?"

These are seriously smart.

When it comes to cooking, there are tons of little kitchen habits and tips that can make your final dish easier, faster, tastier — or all three! 🔪

A recent Reddit thread in /r/Cooking asked people for their favorite weird but brilliant cooking hacks, tips, and tricks. Here are some of the best:

1. Mix soy sauce and butter to instantly boost the flavor of savory dishes.

2. Start baked potatoes in the microwave, not the oven.

"Pierce them with a fork, microwave them for five minutes, then throw them in the oven for 15. You'll get perfect baked potatoes in 20 minutes instead of an hour. It speeds everything up and they come out just as delicious."


3. When cutting broccoli or cauliflower, turn it upside down first.

Broccoli florets on a cutting board.

4. Flavor your pasta water with a chicken stock cube.

"I'll put one in my water while the pasta cooks. It flavors the pasta water, so if you’re using a splash for your sauce, it’ll have a more umami, meaty flavor. It also doubles the tastiness of your pasta, since the noodles cook directly in it."


5. Store ginger in the freezer to make it easier to grate.

A piece of whole ginger on a cutting board.

6. Add a splash of orange juice to pumpkin bread, banana bread, or cranberry muffins.

7. After cutting hot peppers, rub canola or vegetable oil on your hands, then wash them with dish soap.

"The capsaicin (a spicy chemical in the peppers) essentially binds with the oil, then the soap takes care of the oil on your hands. This lets you avoid an unfortunate accident later, like when peeing or changing contact lenses."


8. Use olive brine or pickle brine to upgrade savory dishes or as the base of a vinaigrette.

A jar of pickles next to a jar of green olives.

9. Always put lemon zest in garlic butter.

"Specifically for garlic bread. Even adding just a little bit is an absolute game changer."


10. To prevent parchment paper from curling up on a baking tray, crumple and uncrumple it before placing it down.

A kitchen drawer containing parchment paper and tin foil rolls.

11. Cook small veggies in the same pot as your pasta water.

"Just toss them in during the last few minutes of cooking the pasta noodles. They soak up that starchy deliciousness, and it turns many of my dishes into one-pot recipes."


12. Use a potato masher to break up ground meat.

A stainless steel potato masher.

13. Instead of using flour on your greased baking pans, use granulated sugar.

"The sugar makes the edges sweet and crunchy and saves me from needing to use icing or frosting."


14. Collect all your veggie scraps in a freezer bag — then use them to make stock.

15. Coat your spoon (or scoop) with vegetable oil before using it to pour batter into cupcake tins.

Cupcake batter being scooped into a cupcake tin.

16. For the crispiest fried or roasted potatoes, dip them in ice water first.

"It’s a well-known trick to soak fries in ice water to make them crispy, but standard practice is to soak them for a few hours. Whenever I’m cutting potatoes for frying or roasting in oil, I throw them in a bowl of ice water as I go. When I’m done, I swirl them to wash off excess starch, then drain, then pat dry. They don’t soak for more than a few minutes, but even this short period is long enough to make them really crispy and significantly reduce how much they stick."


17. If your soup or stew turns out too salty, add a splash of vinegar.

A bottle of red wine vinegar.

18. Buy the biggest cutting board you can find.

"Of course, you want one that'll still fit on your counter, but having actual room to work instead of trying to squeeze into a too-small space will save you time and headaches beyond belief."


What's a tip or trick you wish you'd learned sooner in the kitchen? Share in the comments! 🍳

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