Photography · Useful

Essential Kitchen Tricks and Tips

I will give you a shortlist of some of the tricks I find most useful in the kitchen. I’m sure that you guys all have some great tips too, so please leave them in the comments so we can all benefit from your knowledge.

  1. Use rubbing alcohol to clean stainless steel.
  2. Peel the ginger with a spoon. I scrape it against the skin and it’ll come right off, following every contour and minimizing waste.
  3. If any of your pots are boiling over, quickly place a wooden spoon across the rim—that’ll settle the frothy bubbles and prevent more over-boiling. I do that with milk.
  4. Place dough that need to rise in a bowl over a heating pad set to low for even, consistent heat.
  5. When hand-washing won’t suffice run your potatoes through the dishwasher. Make sure there’s no soap in the machine, of course, and a simple rinsing cycle will do the trick.
  6. Heat a dish towel in the microwave to get rid of fish smell.
  7. Freeze soft cheese like fresh mozzarella for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice or shred.
  8. Easily slice big-leafed herbs like basil and sage by stacking, rolling, and then slicing across into ribbons.
  9. Always peel hard-boiled eggs when they’re freshly cooked. If you refrigerate with the shell on then try to remove it later it’s nearly impossible to peel.
  10. Use measuring cups or a cookie scoop to pour out pancakes, muffins, cupcakes, etc to ensure they all come out the same size.
  11. To avoid cross contamination buy separate cutting boards for meat-only, gluten-free only, veggies-only, etc.
  12. If a dish starts to burn on top before it’s done baking, gently lay a piece of nonstick sprayed foil on top and continue baking.
  13. Stock up on fresh bagged spinach when it goes on sale at the store, throw the bag straight into the freezer, and then add the frozen spinach to smoothies for a healthy, ice-cold addition. The frozen spinach leaves don’t stick together like frozen spinach blocks do.
  14. Freeze extra chopped herbs in ice cube trays with olive oil then add to sauces, veggies, and in the skillet when sautéing meat.
  15. To peel a kiwi the easy way, slice the top and bottom off then wedge a spoon between the peel and flesh. Give it a spin then voila! 
  16. Freeze things flat and stack them. Whether it’s soups, stews, or ground meat, the flatter and wider you can get them, the faster they’ll freeze and defrost, which not only makes you more efficient, it also improves the quality of the food.
  17. To slice avocados for salads or guacamole, split them in half, remove the pit by whacking it with the heel of your knife and twisting it out, then slice it directly in the skin using the tip of a paring knife or chef’s knife. 
  18. Always use a scale for baking.
  19. Make your vinaigrettes in squeeze bottles
  20. Taste meatloaf, meatball, and sausage mixtures before you shape them. There might be worse things than spending the time to make a full-blown meatloaf only to discover that it doesn’t have enough salt in it, but I can’t think of any off hand.
  21. Line baking sheets with foil or parchment paper when roasting to make clean up super quick.
  22. Hook a plastic bag around the faucet head in your kitchen sink then peel potatoes, slice off melon rinds, etc straight into the bag for easy cleanup.
  23. Use two chopsticks or 1/4″ dowel rods as rolling pin guides to make sure cookie dough rolls out to the same thickness.
  24. Spray measuring cups with nonstick spray before measuring sticky ingredients like honey, maple syrup, or molasses. They’ll slide right out!
  25. Always salt pasta water with a minimum of 1 teaspoon salt per 8oz pasta to flavor the pasta from the inside out.
  26. To get the most juice out of your citrus fruits, roll them firmly between the palm of your hand and the countertop. Slice then squeeze!
  27. Don’t let ice cubes water down drinks and cocktails – use frozen grapes instead.
  28. Cover shredded or diced potatoes with cold water before cooking to prevent the spuds from turning that gross grayish/brown caused by the release of a starch that makes them oxidize.
  29. Keep bananas fresh for longer by wrapping the end of the bunch with plastic wrap. 
  30. Be a total magician and morph a banana from green to yellow (or a peach from crunchy to juicy) with the help of a paper bag. When fruit is tossed into the bag, concentrated ethylene gas helps it ripen faster.
  31. Your nose alone won’t always tell you if eggs have gone bad. To find out, gently place uncooked eggs in a bowl of cold water. If an egg sinks to the bottom, it’s A-OK. If it floats, it’s seen better days.
  32. Spoon out excess fat from stocks, stews, and sauces by skimming a few ice cubes (wrapped in a paper towel or cheese cloth) along the surface of the liquid. The ice helps the fat solidify, making it easier to remove with a spoon (or even a piece of toast).
  33. Place cherries on top of an empty beer bottle, one at a time, and use a chopstick to push the pit into the bottle.
  34. Remove all cloves from the bulb then whack each clove with the side of a chef’s knife. The skin will fall right off.
  35. Time to ditch the peeler again! Peel a potato in a snap by boiling it for a few minutes, then giving it an ice bath — a method known as blanching. The skin will separate from the potato center so you can pick it right off.
  36. Peel multiple hard-boiled eggs at a time by shaking them in any lidded container. Smash, bang, boom! Shells are cracked and ready to shake right off.
  37. To stop onion-induced tears, freeze this aromatic veggie before chopping.
  38. Cut a stick of butter into about eight pieces. More surface area and air flow will allow the stick to soften more rapidly.
  39. Boil coffee grounds in a pot of water (use the same amount of coffee and water you would for a coffee machine). Remove from the heat and let the grounds settle to the bottom (4 or 5 minutes), then ladle the coffee off the top of the pot into cups.
  40. Wait, don’t toss that extra rice, pizza toppings, or grilled chicken! Instead of throwing leftovers in the trash, get savvy about how to repurpose extra bits and pieces into other meals like casseroles and frittatas.

I hope these tips and tricks might help you hack your way to kitchen confidence. Have fun cooking and baking!

41 thoughts on “Essential Kitchen Tricks and Tips

  1. Using the heating pad to proof bread dough is a good one! I could have used that before I got a new oven with a proofing function. Tasting raw meat to determine if it was seasoned right grossed me out as I thought of eating raw meat. Maybe you expect us to cook a bite before shaping my meatloaf? LOL! And as long as we’re talking about easily peeling boiled eggs, the best trick I ever heard (and use a lot) is to cook a batch in a pressure cooker on low pressure for 8 minutes. So easy to peel! Thanks for the many tips. Some i already know, but there were some new ones in there that looked good!

  2. Nice list! I have one to add: If you do refrigerate your hard boiled eggs before peeling, you can soak them in water for a few minutes, or peel them under running water. The inner membrane drying out is part of what makes them hard to peel, and the water helps act like a lubricant. 🙂

  3. If your cake is sticking in a bundt pan, tap the pan on all sides several times and it will slide out easily. I find using a handheld bar citrus press the most efficient way of getting the most juice with the least effort. Thanks for the great list.

  4. Simple syrup without boiling or blender: Put equal amounts of sugar and water in a covered container, shake vigorously for three minutes then let it (and you) rest for one minute, then shake again for 30 seconds. Done!

  5. These are SO helpful thank you! Esp #3 boiling water 🙂 A less violent way to get the avocado pit out is to slice in half, then with index and 3rd finger placed on cut surface of avocado, press your thumb under the pit (skin side) and push it out. It’s always worked for me.

  6. I worked in the Restaurant industry for 17 years, and used many of these tips on a regular basis.

    I would say, however, that if you’re going to wash root vegetables in the dishwasher, rinse off as much dirt as you can in the sink first. Dishwashers are designed to dissolve food particles, not sand and dirt, and the little bits of grit can collect in the moving parts and cause problems.

    Also, in all my years in kitchens I had at least two co-workers go in for stitches after their knife went straight through the avocado pit. I still use that method to remove the pits, but it’s good to be cautious, especially if you have a really sharp knife.

  7. Thank you for liking my last post! I hoped over here for this post and I’ve already found new tips I can use. I’m definitely trying number one, and if that works on this messy saucepan, then I’m one of your new followers!

  8. Great kitchen tips, I’ve done some of these myself. But the light gray font on white background makes it a bit difficult to read; perhaps darkening the font (and use a more easily readable one) might help. I get an eyeball headache when the whole post is in a sans serif font. From a post I wrote on fonts: “Serif fonts pull words together, making them easier to read. Sans serif fonts like Arial are more difficult to read in body text so reserve them for headings and titles.”

  9. Amazing tips – thank you for sharing! One that I have learned is as I am prepping veg for different recipes, I save the scraps and freeze them in a gallon bag – when I’m ready to make homemade stock, I use those frozen scraps as part of the base! Less waste and better taste!

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