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37 Genius Cooking Hacks That Will Make All Of Your Favorite Holiday Recipes Taste Even Better

You're gonna want to bookmark this.

1. Use soy sauce in your gravy — homemade or store-bought — for extra depth of flavor.

2. Simmer a pot of mulled wine on the stove before your guests arrive for the most delicious DIY potpourri ever.

Mulled wine ingredients

3. Instead of relying on your turkey's pop-up thermometer, do the math to figure out exactly how long you should be cooking your bird.

Roasted turkey in a roasting tray inside a GE Smart Oven, attached to a meat thermometer inside the oven.

4. For the best cookies, let your cookie dough rest in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Cookie dough balls

5. Quickly transform a plain, store-bought cheesecake into an eye-catching holiday dessert with just four ingredients.

6. For next-level flaky pie crust, replace some of the water in the recipe with a bit of vodka.

Pie crust with and without vodka

7. Take the extra ten minutes or so to write out your Holiday Cooking Game-plan.

Person sitting down to write in a notebook.

8. If you want a juicy turkey, be ~patient~ and let it rest for at least 20 minutes after you take it out of the oven.

Turkey resting

9. Want to make latkes but can't be bothered with all the grating? Use frozen tater tots or hash browns as a shortcut.

10. Do yourself (and your guests) a massive favor by setting the table the night before.

People sitting around at a Thanksgiving table and toasting with their drinking glasses.

11. For the best mashed potatoes of your ENTIRE life, follow Tyler Florence's excellent advice to boil the potatoes directly in a pot of heavy cream.

12. Run canned pumpkin purée through your food processor for an even smoother and silkier pumpkin pie filling.

13. For a perfect bird that won't take all day, ask your butcher to spatchcock your turkey.

Spatchcock turkey

14. Follow Thomas Keller's example and use two types of chocolate for extra indulgent chocolate chip cookies.

15. For easily re-heatable dishes or straight-forward desserts, the potluck format is super helpful (and occasionally hilarious).

Potluck of a variety of different foods on a portable table.

16. Use squeeze bottles to make cookie decorating with icing easier.

Decorating with squeeze bottles

17. Create a simple (but well-stocked) drink station that you won’t have to attend to while you prep an entire meal.

18. Wrap your turkey in a buttery cheesecloth, like Julia Child used to, so you don't have to keep basting it throughout cooking.

19. Take your champagne game to the next level with three super easy tips.

Glasses of champagne

20. Enlisting the help of a baking stone means your oven-baked dishes will cook in a much more predictable fashion.

Two loaves of bread on a hot baking stone.

21. Cut down on time spent peeling potatoes by boiling them, skin-on, then quickly scrubbing off the skins.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Unless you can find a willing potato peeling assistant — a difficult role to acquire a willing helper — you’ll probably spend far too long meticulously peeling a bag of potatoes for one recipe or another. After boiling potatoes and dunking them in ice water, the peels will quickly scrub right off. During the holidays, any time-saving hack is one worth implementing.


22. If even the thought of making a lattice pie crust exhausts you, try twisting the dough you use to top your pies with a minimal-effort (but truly impressive) spiral pattern.

23. To keep mashed potatoes warm without requiring any precious stovetop real estate, keep them nice and toasty in your slow cooker.

Mashed potatoes in a slow cooker, ready to serve

24. A bit of a fancy tip from Ina Garten: Add a splash of Cognac (or brandy) to your gravy for extra flavor.

25. Put that slow cooker to use and make hot chocolate for the whole family.

26. For a super brown and crispy turkey, spread butter under the skin of the bird before roasting it.

27. Grating frozen butter into your pie crust will yield super flaky results in half the time it would take to manually “cut” it in.

28. Adding a spoonful of mustard to your mac 'n' cheese will balance out its flavors and make it even tastier.

Mac 'n' cheese with mustard

29. For added depth of flavor, brown the butter you use in your chocolate chip cookies.

30. If you live in a cold climate (and temperatures permit), think of the good ol’ outdoors as a second fridge.

Two bottles of beer packed into snow to keep cool.

31. Bake your desserts a day before the big meal.

Pumpkin pie baking in the oven.

32. Learn how to tent your turkey with foil when the skin is browning faster than the meat is cooking, and you'll avoid any burnt bird catastrophes.

Roasted turkey in roasting pan, next to a tent of aluminum foil.

33. If you make your own cranberry sauce, Jamie Oliver recommends adding apples, sugar, and cinnamon to the cranberries for extra yumminess.

34. Either toast your bread in the oven or let it sit out overnight before you use it to make stuffing.

35. Make your own peppermint candy cane dust to add a festive touch to your holiday desserts.

Homemade candy cane dust

36. To prevent your cookies from going stale, place a slice of white bread in your cookie jar.

A chocolate chip cookie next to a slice of white bread

37. For any dishes you’ll make the day-of, designate cooking vessels well enough in advance so you won't end up needing to take a last-minute trip to the store on the busiest day of the year.

What's your best holiday cooking hack? Share in the comments!