When it comes to cooking, my mother always told me it's better to work smarter, not harder. There are a lot of little ways that you can make your cooking, baking, and organizing in the kitchen much easier without putting in much effort.
These are some kitchen hacks that you'll wish you'd known, like, yesterday.
Make It Easier To Find Things In The Fridge With A Lazy Susan
There are few things more frustrating than when you're looking for a specific item in the fridge and you have to empty all the jars and bottles out to get to it. Just put items on a lazy Susan and spin to find what you want.
Stop Your Bowls From Sliding Around
When mixing in the kitchen, it can be troublesome to have the bowl sliding around on the countertop. To make it stay still, dampen a cloth and put it under the bowl.
Use An Old Kleenex Box To Store Plastic Bags
I swear that everyone has that one drawer or cupboard that contains a messy collection of plastic grocery shopping bags. To organize them, just use double-sided tape to stick an empty Kleenex box to a cabinet door and stuff them in.
Cut And Plate Cake Like A Pro
Want to cut your cheesecakes with clean lines? Put your knife into a cup with hot water for a minute, pull it out, dry it off, and then use it to cut the cake into slices.
Organize Your Fridge Using Beer-Bottle Six Packs
Tired of all your small bottles falling over every time you open the fridge? Take an old cardboard box from a six-pack and use it to store bottles in your fridge.
Keep Cutting Boards Organized
If you're constantly having to straighten up all kinds of items in your cupboards/draws, instead, organize and keep your cutting boards and trays standing upright using a standing file organizer.
Stop Cheese From Sticking To The Grater
One of the most annoying parts about grating cheese is how the pieces of cheese get stuck to the metal. In order to help them slide right off, spray the grater with cooking oil.
Easy DIY For Restaurant-Style Potato Wedges
Want some of those thick wedge-style fries but hate all the work that goes into cutting up potatoes? Just cut one end off of each potato and use and apple slicer to cut them into wedges.
Store Pot Lids Without Any Hassle
If you want an easy and convenient way to store pot lids, simply install two towel racks onto the inside of a cupboard door and balance the lids on it by their handles.
Soften Butter Faster
Have you ever had one of those days where you forgot to take the butter out of the fridge in preparation for baking? No problem! Cut butter into small cubes and leave it out on the counter: it will soften in 20 minutes or less.
Use A Hanging Fruit Basket To Save Counter Space
Not only does a hanging fruit basket look cool, but it also allows you to store more fruit without having to worry about losing counter space. All you need to do is install a hook from the wall or ceiling.
Use A Tension Rod To Create Storage Under The Sink
To keep the space under your sink organized and your cleaning supplies easy to find, put a tension rod across the inside of the cupboard and hang all your most frequently used supplies on it.
Pit Cherries Without Too Much Effort
Pitting cherries, especially for baking, can be a tedious process. To make things easier, place the cherry on the mouth of an empty beer bottle stem-side up, and push the pit out and into the bottle using a chopstick.
Keep Cookies Soft With A Piece Of Bread
Keep cookies and other homebaked goods from getting stale and hard by closing them in an airtight container with a slice of store-bought white bread. This keeps them tasting fresh days after they were originally baked.
Reuse Jars To Store Dry Goods
This one is a win for your pantry organization and the environment. Repurpose old jars as containers for your dry goods. It also makes it easier to find what you're looking for at a glance.
Ripen Fruit Faster With A Paper Bag
Have a fruit or vegetable that's just not quite ripe enough yet? Putting it in a paper bag and leaving it on the counter allows the concentrated ethylene in the bag to speed up the ripening process.
Freeze Single Servings Of Sauces In An Ice Tray
When you have extra sauces or gravy left over from a meal, save it by pouring it into the squares of an ice tray, covering it, and sticking it in the freezer. These single servings are easy to pop out and defrost when you want to add flavors to a new meal.
Remove Squash Seeds With An Ice Cream Scoop
Remove seeds from vegetables like squash or pumpkin using an ice cream scoop. The sharp edge of the scoop makes it easier to cut through the fibers and gooey stuff than if you use a regular spoon or your hand.
Keep Your Tea Towels From Falling
Tired of your tea towels ending up on the floor after someone dries their hands? Add adhesive velcro strips (or sew them on if you're crafty) to keep the towel secured in its hanging spot.
Stop Brown Sugar From Hardening
While putting a terracotta figure in your jar of brown sugar can help prevent clumping, adding an orange peel or an apple slice can have the same effect of keeping the sugar soft and separate.
Keep Ice Cream Cold With Bubble Wrap
Worried about your ice cream melting in the trunk of the car during a long drive? Put some bubble wrap around it and it will stay firm for hours. Bubble wrap is an incredible insulator.
Check To See If Eggs Are Still Good To Eat
If you want to know if your eggs are still good to eat, just put them in a bowl of cold water. If they sink to the bottom, they're still good, but if they float, they've likely gone bad.
Use A Shower Cap To Cover And Store Leftovers
Using a clean plastic shower cap to cover leftovers keeps bugs and bacteria away from your food, is easier to put on and take off neatly than plastic wrap, and is reusable.
Get More Juice With Less Effort
When a recipe calls for lemon juice, microwave the lemon for 7–10 seconds and then roll the lemon back and forth on the counter a bit. When you finally do squeeze it, more juice will come out with less effort on your part.
Open Stubborn Jars With The Help Of A Rubber Band
Have a jar that won't budge? Wrap a rubber band around the lid and use the extra grip to help you twist it off. If you're still having trouble, try running the bottle under hot water for a minute and then try again.
Keep Potatoes From Discoloring With Water
If you have recently diced or shredded potatoes and want to keep them from turning a brownish-gray color from their original white, put them in cold water until you're ready to cook them.
Stop Ingredients From Sticking To Measuring Cups
Before measuring sticky ingredients such as honey or molasses for a recipe, either run the measuring cup under hot water or coat it in oil. When you pour whatever substance you're measuring into the bowl, it will all slide out easily.
Remove Shells From Boiled Eggs Without The Hassle
To make removing the shells from hard-boiled eggs easier, add a pinch of baking soda or vinegar to the water while boiling them. To make things even easier, run the eggs under cold water after they're cooked before taking the shell off.
Don't Waste Time Flipping Foods In The Oven
Flipping foods half-way through cooking is recommended in many recipes, but you can achieve the same effect by simply preheating the pan/tray before putting it back in the oven with the food on it.
Foam Milk Without A Frother
Want to get that café-style latte but don't have a fancy milk-frother to help you out? Just put some milk into a clean jar, shake it vigorously for about a minute (or until the milk has almost doubled in size), and then heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Make Eggs A Breeze To Peel
Instead of boiling eggs the traditional way in a pot of water, try steaming up a dozen eggs in a steamer basket and suspending it over boiling water for 15 to 16 minutes.
The shells will slip right off.
Put Ice Cream In A Bag In The Freezer
Here's a trick to avoid Ice cream getting hard in the freezer and needing to thaw it when you just want to eat it .
To keep the right consistency, put the container in a plastic zip-lock bag before putting it in the freezer.
Saved Time With Scrambled Eggs In The Microwave
Need eggs on the go in the morning? Put some nonstick spray in a bowl then crack some eggs in it.
Mix it with some milk, your favorite seasonings, and microwave it at 30-second intervals, stirring after each, for a total of 90 seconds. Breakfast is served!
Freeze Soup Starters To Stay Warm Year-Round
Do you crave fresh flavor year-round but can only get what is in season at the farmer's market? Freeze your favorite vegetables after cutting them in resealable bags.
For a classic soup starter (mirepoix) try mixing 2/3 onion with 1/3 carrot and celery for a sweet and hearty flavor.
Keep Bananas Longer
Before adding bananas to your frozen pile to hopefully make banana bread one day, use this hack to keep them fresher longer.
Separate each banana then wrap the end with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap blocks ethylene gases from releasing out of the stem, and stop them from ripening too fast.
Save Your Onions From Burning While Cooking
If you are sautéing onions and they start to get too brown and burn, toss in an ice cube to cool down the pan fast.
The water will evaporate quickly, saving the onions without making them too mushy either.
Use A Waffle Iron To Make The Best Hashbrowns
It can get tricky making hashbrowns on a pan, so save yourself the headache by throwing them on a waffle iron and slamming it shut.
They will turn out golden and even with minimal effort.
Fill An Ice Tray With Coffee For An Extra Boost
Tired of having your ice coffee diluted from the melting ice? Rather than using standard ice cubes, freeze an ice cube tray with your favorite coffee blend.
Toss those in your cold brew instead so you can get that cold drink without watering down the taste.
Chill Your Wine Super Fast
Who likes warm white wine? To quickly chill your wine after coming back from the store, put the bottle in ice water with a small handful of salt and turn every few minutes or so.
You'll be sipping on a refreshing glass of wine in as little as 20 minutes!
Get That Greasy Flavor With Less Fat
You gotta love that greasy meatball family recipe for its rich flavor, but for your diet? Not so much.
To make it healthier and drain away any excess fat, place meatballs on a baking rack. The extra fat drips away, while still retaining that browned, caramelized exterior everyone loves.
Now That's A Kitchen Hack
If you're doing a recipe that calls for only egg whites, you can actually separate the egg using a sifter! The yolk will sit on top of the mesh if you don't jostle it around too much.
Want To Make Some Starbucks Drinks At Home?
It may seem like a super simple trick, but keeping a bottle of vanilla syrup on hand is the secret to making your favorite Starbucks drinks at home. They're inexpensive, and you'll be able to make iced lattes, iced coffees, hot lattes and more.