100 Cooking Tips and Hacks

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Do you love being in the kitchen but wish you knew more tips, tricks and hacks?  I do too.  I never had any interest in being in the kitchen or learning any recipes growing up.  I dreamed of being anywhere but home & career class in junior high and high school.  But now that I am a mom and wife, (and even though my kids will barely eat anything other than a PB & J), I LOOOVE being in the kitchen!  I hope these cooking tips and hacks help you as much as they’ve helped me.

100 Cooking Tips and Hacks

1. Don’t have any buttermilk? Add 1 tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk.

2. Ready to peel the shells off eggs? Wet your fingers first—the peels won’t stick.

3. Guesstimating baking powder amounts is easy when you remember this formula: 1 tsp. baking powder per each cup of flour.

4. No baking powder? Substitute ½ cup yogurt, sour cream or buttermilk for the liquids in the recipe. Then add ½ tsp. baking soda.

5. Don’t add too much baking powder: Your cake or quickbread will actually rise less; not more. And taste bitter.

6. For gluten-free gravy, throw away the flour. Try cornstarch, arrowroot powder or tapioca starch instead.

7. For low fat baking, use applesauce instead of butter, oil or margarine. Your baking will be a little heavier, but tasty.

8. When trying to remember which to use, keep this in mind: Baking powder adds acidity; baking soda is alkaline.

9. Save time by pre-prepping ingredients for recipes you often make, and storing them , sealed, in your refrigerator or freezer.

10. Before putting your cake in the oven, let your filled baking tin gently drop straight down on the counter. It knocks out air bubbles.

11. To keep brown sugar soft, stick a piece of apple or a slice of bread in the bag. You’ll never have to find rock-hard sugar again.

12. If you want to prevent cookies from hardening, store them in a sealed cookie jar with a slice of apple.
13. Buy frozen Yorkshire Puddings to go with your roast. They heat easily in one pan for only 3 minutes—and there is no messy clean-up.
14. Never make fudge on humid days. The sugar will go “grainy”. Make fudge on cool, clear days – and use a marble board or countertop.
15. “Room temperature” ingredients or liquids should feel neither cold nor hot when you test them on the back of your wrist.
16. Put a few grains of rice in your salt shaker, if you live in a humid climate. This will stop your salt from clumping.

17. Flour your surfaces or flour your dough before rolling—and to make extra-sure it doesn’t stick, place between floured parchment paper.
18. Follow recipes exactly, the first time you make them. After that, you’ll have a much better idea on how to successfully adjust ingredients.
19. Don’t store meats in your refrigerator without first putting them on a dish, to catch blood that might escape and contaminate your fridge.
20. Remember that the outside of frozen turkeys will thaw much faster than the inside, so thaw yours in the fridge for safety.
21. If thawing a turkey in cold water, it is vital for food safety that you change the water every half hour.
22. Make sure you put all leftovers back in the fridge within two hours of serving. After that, food can begin to spoil.
23. When making holiday meals, first clear your counters. Remove unnecessary items to give yourself maximum work space.
24. When buying your holiday squash, save time by choosing pre-cut, pre-peeled, packaged fresh squash.
25. Beef keeps longer in the freezer than fish or chicken. You can store beef for up to six months; fish and chicken, no more than three.
26. Buying fresh, local fruit and freezing it in a chest freezer ensures that you and your family can enjoy it all year round.
27. If you plan to freeze a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, invest in a vacuum sealer.
28. Don’t try to freeze vegetables that are normally eaten raw (lettuce, celery, etc.) They will not freeze successfully.
29. Blanch vegetables before freezing to stop sugars turning to starch—which does happen quickly after picking.

30. To blanch vegetables, drop them into boiling water for a minute or two: Then drain and plunge them into ice water.
31. You can store asparagus for up to two weeks in your refrigerator, if you stand it in a jar of cold water with tips up.

32. Make 3-4 days’ worth of carrot sticks in advance and store in your refrigerator in a glass container of cold water, for maximum freshness.
33. Make up salads in a jar for lunch: Heavy items like carrot slices at the bottom; grains, fruit and nuts in the middle, greens at the top.
34. Assemble all your blanching and freezing equipment ahead of time. Speed is everything, when it comes to successful blanching.
35. Blanch peppers only if you plan to serve them cooked at a future date. For crisper peppers, freeze raw.
36. Fruit does not need to be blanched before freezing—but you can freeze it in a light syrup, if desired.
37. Did you know that frozen bananas make wonderful, creamy “ice cream”, when puréed in a food processor?
38. If you’re going to freeze bananas, always choose ones that are fully ripe. Even at the edge of over-ripe is preferable to under-ripe.
39. You can freeze bananas in or out of the peel—but they will last longer out of the peel and look nicer when served “as is”.

40. Be aware that if you freeze bananas in the peel, the peel will turn black. This is normal, and the bananas inside are perfectly good.
41. For under-ripe bananas, bake them on a cookie tray for 40 minutes at 300ºF. The skins will turn black, but when cool, they’ll be ripe.
42. To freeze bananas for banana bread, purée first, and add 1 tsp. lemon juice per cup of purée. Mix well. Store in plastic tubs.
43. If you want frozen banana pieces or slices, remove the peel and cut into chunks or slices first. They are impossible to cut when frozen.
44. If you want to stop clumping from occurring, first freeze fruit or vegetables pieces on a tray. Then quickly bag the frozen pieces.
45. Be sure to pat your fruit or veggie pieces thoroughly dry with paper towel, before freezing.
46. For optimal freezing of fruits, meat and vegetables, freeze in a deep freezer at zero degrees. Buy a freezer thermometer.
47. When freezing anything, be sure to mark the date frozen on the bag or label and mark the expiry date too, if you wish.
48. All baking ingredients—including eggs—should be at room temperature for at least an hour before baking.
49. If a recipe calls for separating your eggs, do so while they are still refrigerator-cold. It will be much easier.

50. Whipping up a meringue? Make sure your egg whites are at room temperature
51. Worried that your eggs have been in the fridge too long? Put one in a bowl of water. If it sinks, it’s still fresh.
52. When trying to soften butter more quickly, don’t cut in a chunk…use a cheese grater to make fine pieces.

53. If a recipe tells you to alternate dry and wet ingredients, start and end with dry ingredients.
54. Keep all your cake decorating utensils and ingredients in one small plastic tub with a lid. You’ll never lose a cake icing tip, that way.
55. Are you someone who always uses a cookbook? Buy a cookbook holder from a kitchen store or online—it will make your life easier.
56. Running your mixers at half-speed or lower will greatly extend their lifespans.
57. Try turning a metal magazine holder on its side and sliding into your kitchen drawer to stop items from jamming up your drawer.
58. De-clutter your kitchen at least once every six months. Donate pots and pans you don’t use. Throw out ingredients you’ve never touched.
59. Invest in a jar-opener. It is an inexpensive utensil—and you’ll be surprised at how often you find yourself using it.
60. If you can’t open a jar and have no jar opener, try slipping on a rubber kitchen glove first.

61. Use plain dental floss to cut cheeses and other soft foods. Use a sawing motion; or circle the item with the floss—and pull.
62. Use pots with two handles if you have health issues like arthritis. This will make your grip more stable—and help you avoid accidents.
63. Can’t reach items on your top kitchen shelves? If stepping stools feel unstable, buy a long-arm grabber from a Home Health store.
64. To avoid nasty accidents, never store heavy items, glass or other breakables on your top kitchen shelves.
65. Place items or utensils you use all the time at waist height or in your first row of overhead shelves.
66. Do a “safety check” on your kitchen periodically. And look for ways to improve functionality as you improve safety.
67. Have a “kitchen maintenance” day, once in a while. Deep-scrub stains from cutlery and pots and pans. Throw out worn items. De-clutter.
68. Clean your kitchen thoroughly before you cook, and clean as you go during cooking. You’ll have minimal clean up after.
69. Be sure to have fine steel-wool on hand. You can use it to clean deep stains or burns from stainless steel pots in an instant.
70. Never, ever soak silver-plated cutlery or dishes in water with bleach. Your silver-wear will blacken instantly—and permanently.
71. An envelope cut diagonally, with the remaining point also cut off, makes a handy impromptu funnel for dry ingredients.
72. Use a griddle iron or heavy fry pan for pancakes. If you use cast iron, never wash it—wipe and season it with oil after every use.
73. Make French Toast in your crockpot. Lace layers with non-acidic fruit like currants, apple slices or raisins.

74. Place cookie cutters on your griddle. Pour in pancake batter or eggs to jazz up those brunches.
75. Mix spices for recipes ahead of time in a small shot glass. Add after you’ve added sauce ingredients for best flavor.
76. Mix up your own pumpkin pie spice: Two parts cinnamon to one part ground nutmeg, one part ground allspice, one part ground ginger.
77. Add a pinch of freshly minced ginger to your pumpkin pie mix for a zestier taste.
78. Making salad ahead of time in a jar allows you to refrigerator-store it for up to seven days.
79. Print cooking infographics or charts from Pinterest or cooking sites. Tape up inside your cupboard doors, for easy reference.
80. To make perfect white or green tea, let your kettle rest for a few moments after reaching a boil. Never use boiling water on these teas.
81. Stock your kitchen with staples so you can quickly whip up anything: Flour, bouillon cubes, spices, sugar, salt and olive oil to start with.
82. After making a recipe with bouillon or broth in a carton, pour the remaining broth into ice cube trays and freeze for later.
83. Gravy turning gray? Check out your pan—it’s probably aluminum. Use stainless steel or copper instead.
84. Replace half of the oil in your marinade with wine for a more acidic effect.
85. If you plan to go vegetarian, buy a big spice rack and stock it with fresh herbs and spices to add excitement to your cookings.
86. Substitute coconut milk for condensed milk, if you’re making a vegan-friendly cake.
87. ¼ cup applesauce, puréed tofu or one mashed banana will replace one whole egg in vegan recipes. Use tofu in savory recipes.
88. Bake for longer at a lower temperature for most vegan recipes. You’ll have much less stodgy results.
89. Add hemp hearts to muffins instead of bran: No, you won’t get high and it will make a delicious, nutritious change.
90. Need to improvise kid-friendly pizza? Use frozen dinner roll dough. Spread with tomato sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake.
91. Roll peeled banana chunks in toasted coconut, cocoa powder or chocolate sprinkles to increase kid-appeal.
92. For almost-instant applesauce: Microwave apple pieces for 3-4 minutes to soften. Add cinnamon. Purée in food processor.
93. When pre-preparing sandwiches, don’t cut the crusts off till right before serving. The sandwich edges will dry out and curl if you do.
94. Use beer or sparkling wine to make a tasty, unique mock loaf of “bread”—without yeast.
95. To make bread “crack” on top in a rustic manner, place a pan of water on the bottom rack of your oven, when baking.
96. Slightly toast sunflower seeds or nuts before sprinkling them on top of bread. They will be much more digestible.
97. Soak grains such as oatmeal for at least ten minutes with a splash of boiling water, before adding them to bread.

98. To make “tulip”-shaped cupcake liners, fashion out of squares of parchment paper in your muffin tin.
99. Place a paper lace doily over your cake and sift icing sugar all over it. Carefully remove doily—the pattern remains.
100. To make any color, shade or tint of frosting, check out the chart at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/frost-by-numbers-how-to-make-frosting-colors.html


  1. The tip about brown sugar is very interesting. Though if it’s already hardened, I usually wrap it in aluminium foil and bake for a few minutes – this makes sugar soft again.

  2. These are some really great tips. I especially love the buttermilk one because we never need a whole carton of it, so it would be much easier to make it with regular milk.

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