Busy moms know that cooking can be a hassle. Who has time to slave over a stove between work, kids, and housework? These 55 cooking hacks will make your life in the kitchen easier and more enjoyable. Check out my 30 Freezer Cooking Tips and Recipes!
Cooking can be a hassle for busy moms. They need to save time in the kitchen so they can do other things. Cooking is easier with these tips. You might make fewer mistakes when cooking, too.
Cooking mistakes can be expensive, but with these cooking hacks, you’ll be able to avoid them. Time spent in the kitchen will be more enjoyable and less stressful—a win-win for everyone!
Cook While You Are Away
One of the best ways to cook while you’re away from home is to use a slow cooker. Slow cookers, also known as crockpots, are a great way to cook meals without having to watch them constantly.
All you need to do is put your ingredients in the slow cooker, set it to the desired temperature, and let it do its thing. Slow cookers are perfect for cooking soups, stews, casseroles, and more.
And because they’re so easy to use, they’re great for busy families or anyone who doesn’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.
So if you’re looking for a convenient way to cook while you’re away from home, a slow cooker is definitely the way to go!
Best slow cooker dinner recipes:
- Easy Crockpot Tilapia Recipes
- Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken
- Crock Pot Turkey Breast
- Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chicken
Utilize that Preheat Option
Preheat your oven before you start cooking to save time.
By starting the oven to preheat while you are gathering ingredients and doing food prep work, you will be able to save 5-10 minutes that would otherwise be spent waiting for the oven to heat up.
This is a great way to make your time in the kitchen more efficient!
Cut the Acidity of Tomatoes
If you’re like most families or amateur cooks, pasta and tomato sauce are staples in your kitchen and on your dinner table. Fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, and sauces have different levels of acidity and can really vary in flavor profiles.
If you find yourself making a sauce or adding fresh tomatoes to a dish and it is too acidic, there are a couple of tricks to cut it back. Try adding a pinch of white sugar, some grated cheese, or milk/cream to the recipe.
This will cut the tomatoes’ acidity and make the dish more balanced in flavor.
The Amazing Non-Stick Spray
Non-stick cooking spray can be used in a variety of ways beyond the obvious.
- You can spray measuring cups and bowls before using them to make sure the ingredients slide right out.
- You can also spray wraps and foil before freezing items. This will keep the wrap and foil from sticking when they freeze.
- You can even use the spray to help peel garlic or get sticky residue off cooking utensils.
So, the next time you’re in the kitchen, don’t forget to use that non-stick cooking spray! It just might make your life a little easier.
Make it 3 Ways
Learn how to make one dish in three different ways to mix up your routine without spending hours in the kitchen prepping new recipes each night.
You could also make things that serve multiple purposes by, choosing recipes that serve double-duty and can be eaten in a variety of ways.
Chili, for instance, can be eaten straight, over pasta or on hot dogs.
Yummy chili recipes:
Once you find a good multi-purpose recipe; double it. Freeze what you don’t eat quickly. It will save you time and money.
Save Money on Meals
If you’re trying to save money on groceries, one of the best things you can do is make a grocery list that’s based on what’s on sale at the store that week. That way, you can take advantage of discounts on ingredients you’ll use anyway.
- If chicken breasts are on sale, you can plan to make chicken Alfredo for dinner.
- If ground beef is on sale, you can plan to make tacos for dinner.
- If salmon is on sale, you can plan to make salmon cakes for dinner.
By basing your grocery list on what’s on sale, you’ll be able to save money without even trying.
Bonus Money Saving Tip:
Buy 4-6 weeks of whichever meat is on sale and add it to your freezer. After a few weeks, you will have a large variety in your freezer and won’t have to eat one kind all week!
Double or triple recipes so that you can freeze leftovers for later meals or packed lunches – making more takes the same amount of time!
There are certain meals that I always double so that half can go in the freezer! Here are a few family favorites:
Parchment Paper for the Win
We’ve all been there. You spend hours making a complicated dish, only to have it stick to the sheet pan and ruin your hard work.
Or you use foil or sprays to line your pan, only to find that they leave an icky residue that’s almost as hard to clean as the food itself.
But there’s a secret weapon in the war against sticking and caked-on messes, and it’s called parchment paper.
Parchment paper is a type of nonstick paper that’s often used in baking. It’s made by treated with a durable waxy coating, which gives it its nonstick properties. And because it’s nonstick, it means that food will slide right off of it—no scrubbing required!
Parchment paper can be used to line baking sheets, cake pans, and even casserole dishes. And cleanup is a breeze: simply remove the parchment paper and throw it away. No more scrubbing for hours on end!
So next time you’re prepping a meal, reach for the parchment paper instead of foil or spray—your taste buds (and your arms) will thank you.
Soak Dried Beans
Dried beans are a healthy and affordable option for meals, but they can take a while to cook.
To speed up the process, soak the beans overnight in water before cooking them. This will help to soften the beans and reduce the cooking time.
Additionally, soaking beans helps to remove some of the indigestible sugars that can cause gas and bloating.
Soaking also allows the beans to absorb water, which helps to improve their texture and flavor.
Baking Soda Everywhere
Baking soda has a lot of uses. You’re probably already aware of its use in the freezer and refrigerator to absorb odors, but it also is found in many recipes and can even be used to create self-rising flour in the event you don’t have yeast.
Another good trick; use baking soda and water to get the smell of onions or garlic off your hands.
Cut Down Trips to the Trash
Keeping a bowl for all of your cuttings, scraps and trash handy while you do prep work can save a lot of time walking back and forth to the trash can.
If you don’t believe it, try tracking how much time you spend going back and forth next time you are cooking. You’ll be amazed.
No More Burned Edges
If you’ve ever had a dish come out of the oven with burnt edges, you know how disappointing it can be. Not only does it ruin the look of the dish, but it can also alter the flavor.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to prevent this from happening.
Simply put a layer of aluminum foil over the dish’s top before putting it in the oven. This will help to deflect the heat and prevent the edges from getting too brown or burnt.
Just be sure to remove the foil during the last few minutes of cooking so that the dish can finish browning.
Anyone who has ever baked cookies or muffins knows that getting the perfect portion can be a time-consuming process. Measuring out each scoop of dough or batter can take forever, and often results in uneven-looking baked goods.
Fortunately, there is an easy solution: use an ice cream scoop. Ice cream scoops come in a variety of sizes, so you can choose one that is appropriate for the recipe you are using.
Simply scoop out the dough or batter and drop it onto the baking sheet. Not only will this save you time, but your cookies and muffins will also be evenly sized and perfectly shaped.
Easily Melt Chocolate
Any time a recipe calls for melted chocolate, it’s best to use a double boiler. A double boiler is a pot of simmering water with a heat-proof bowl set on top of it.
The bowl should be big enough so that it doesn’t touch the water. This method is much less likely to burn the chocolate.
If you don’t have a double boiler, you can put the chocolate in a glass dish and microwave it in 30-second increments, stirring between each one until it’s completely melted.
This method is quick and easy, but be careful not to overdo it or the chocolate will scorch.
Armed with these tips, you’ll be able to melt chocolate like a pro.
Un-Salt Your Dish
Ever find yourself in the middle of cooking, only to realize that your food is way too salty? It’s a common mistake, and one that can easily ruin a dish.
Before you scrap the entire dish, though, there’s a much simpler solution: just add a little bit of acid.
Whether it’s apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, or even white vinegar, a small amount of acid will neutralize the saltiness of your food.
As a result, you’ll be able to avoid oversalting your dish and ruining its flavor.
So next time you find yourself in a pickle, remember to un-salt your dish with a little bit of acid.
Check the Doneness
One of the most important things to remember when baking is to check the doneness of your cake or other items before taking it out of the oven.
The best way to do this is to use a cake tester or toothpick and insert it into the center of the item.
If it comes out clean, then it is probably done. If not, then you may need to bake it for a little longer. This is important because you don’t want to overcook your food and make it dry or tough.
Checking the doneness is a quick and easy way to ensure that your baked goods are perfect every time.
Easily Cut Corn off the Cob
If you’ve ever handled an ear of corn, you know that the kernels have a tendency to go flying every which way when you start cutting. This can make for a messy experience, not to mention a big cleanup job afterward.
But there’s an easy way to cut corn off the cob that will keep the kernels contained and leave your cutting board clean.
Just place the ear of corn in a Bundt pan and run a knife down the sides. The kernels will fall neatly into the pan, making it easy to transfer them to whatever dish you’re preparing.
So, next time you’re facing a pile of fresh corn, reach for the Bundt cake pan and save yourself some hassle.
Best Corn Recipes:
Delicious Broth & Stocks
There’s nothing quite like a delicious, homemade stock or broth. And the key to making the best stock or broth is to start with roasted bones and vegetables.
Roasting gives the bones and vegetables a deep, rich flavor that really enhances the taste of the final product. Plus, it’s super easy to do.
Just place the bones and vegetables on a baking sheet and roast them in a preheated oven for 30 minutes. Then, add them to a pot of water and let them simmer for hours.
The result will be a flavorful, nutrient-rich stock or broth that can be used in all kinds of recipes.
Grind Spices & Nuts
If you’ve ever tried to chop nuts or spices by hand, you know how tedious and time-consuming it can be. Fortunately, there’s a much easier way to get the job done.
Simply toss your nuts or spices into a coffee grinder, and let the machine do the work for you. In just a few seconds, you’ll have a finely ground product that’s ready to be used in your favorite recipe.
Best of all, cleanup is a breeze – just give the grinder a quick rinse and you’re done.
So next time you need to chop nuts or spices, save yourself some time and effort by using a coffee grinder.
Have you ever tried to spread hard, cold butter on a piece of toast, only to end up with a ripped slice of bread?
Or have you ever baking a cake or cookies, only to find that your butter is too hard to cream? If so, then you know how frustrating it can be to work with hard butter.
The good news is that there’s an easy way to soften butter so that it’s more pliable and easier to work with. Simply grate the butter on a box grater—it’ll be much easier to work with when it’s in smaller pieces.
Bonus: This tip works for cream cheese as well!
Take a page out of a professional chef’s playbook and do your cutting and prep-work before actually getting to the cooking steps.
By separating out the tasks and doing them in advance, you’ll find yourself much more prepared to focus on the cooking tasks and really follow recipes more closely.
Stopping to cut, chop, mix and dice while trying to cook can break momentum and create stress.
Keeping the following in my freezer cuts down prep time for many meals:
Mise en Place
This old cooking term builds on the prep work theme above. It’s a French phrase that means “everything in its place.”
It’s a great rule to live by in the kitchen.
Keeping an organized and logical cooking station where everything has its place and is set up in advance can drastically cut the time you spend looking for things, traveling back and forth to the drawers, cabinets, and trash.
It’s no secret that bacon is the best thing ever. But unfortunately, it can also be a bit of a pain to cook.
If you don’t keep a close eye on it, bacon has a tendency to stick to the pan and become unevenly cooked. And even if you do manage to cook it perfectly, flipping and monitoring the bacon can be a messy process.
Thankfully, there’s an easy way to cook bacon that guarantees perfectly crisp and evenly cooked bacon, with none of the fuss. All you need is a wire rack and a foil-lined baking sheet.
Simply place the bacon on the wire rack and bake it in the oven. The wire rack prevents the bacon from sticking to the pan, while the foil lining catches any grease that drips through.
Best of all, you don’t need to flip or monitor the bacon as it cooks—it’ll come out perfectly crisp every time.
Ditch the Colander
If you’ve ever cooked pasta, chances are you’ve used a colander to drain it. But did you know that there’s a better way? A wire mesh strainer can actually be a much more effective tool for draining cooked pasta.
The holes in the strainer are small enough to allow water to pass through while still keeping the noodles from clumping together.
So next time you’re cooking pasta, ditch the colander and give a wire mesh strainer a try. You just might be surprised at how much easier it is to use.
If you’re like me, you love to eat healthy and buy local fruits and vegetables. But sometimes, it can be hard to make sure all the dirt and pesticides are washed off. That’s where a vinegar rinse comes in handy.
Just mix one part vinegar with three parts water, and give your produce a good soak. The vinegar will help to remove any residual dirt or pesticides, leaving your fruits and vegetables healthy and safe to eat.
Plus, it’s a simple and inexpensive way to make sure your food is as clean as possible.
Make Oven-Baked Foods crispy
We all know that the key to making perfect oven-baked chicken is crispy skin. But no matter how long you cook it for, sometimes that skin just won’t cooperate.
If you’re having trouble getting your chicken skin crispy, try preheating the baking sheet in the oven before you add the chicken to it. This will help to cook the chicken evenly and prevent it from sticking.
And if you’re making fries, remember that parchment paper hack from earlier – it’ll help to keep them from sticking to the baking sheet and make them extra crispy.
So next time you’re making oven-baked chicken or fries, remember these tips and you’ll be sure to get perfectly crispy results every time.
One Tool, Multiple Uses
A vegetable steamer is a kitchen tool with multiple uses. It can be used to cook delicate items like fish, eggs, and veggies without fear of them sticking to or burning on the bottom of a pan.
It can also be used to steam rice, grains, and beans.
Additionally, it can be used as a colander to rinse fruits and vegetables.
The steamer basket can also be used as a strainer for soups and sauces.
Finally, it can be used to make homemade baby food by steaming fruits and vegetables and then pureeing them in a blender or food processor.
With so many uses, a vegetable steamer is a must-have tool for any home cook.
Prevent Your Potatoes from Turning Brown
The discoloration is one of the most common problems with potatoes. When exposed to oxygen, potatoes will start to turn brown.
One way to prevent this from happening is to soak the potatoes in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes before cooking. This will help to preserve their color and flavor.
You can also add a few ice cubes to the water. This will help keep the potatoes cold and prevent them from turning brown.
If you’re not going to be using the potatoes right away, you can also wrap them in plastic wrap. This will create a barrier between the potatoes and the oxygen, helping to keep them fresh for longer.
Use a Microplane
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to grate ginger, citrus peel, and other small ingredients, then a microplane or zester is your best bet.
These handy little tools will save you time and effort compared to chopping these ingredients by hand.
Plus, they’ll give you a much finer product that will mix more evenly into whatever dish you’re making.
Whether you’re grating ginger for a stir-fry or zesting a lemon for a cake, a microplane or zester will make the job much easier.
Any cook knows that properly cooked meat is one of the keys to a great dish. But sometimes, getting the meat right can be a challenge.
That’s why pre-cooking meat in the microwave can be such a helpful technique. By precooking chicken, bacon, or sausage in the microwave, you can cut down on cook time and make it less likely to stick or burn.
Plus, precooked meat is easier to chop or dice, so it can be a great time-saver when you’re preparing a meal.
Easy Roasted Garlic
Did you know that you can roast garlic in the oven to add delicious flavor to all sorts of dishes? It’s true!
Just wrap a head of garlic in foil and bake it at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Roasted garlic is great in pasta dishes, salad dressings, and so much more. Give it a try next time you’re looking for a little something extra in your cooking.
Yummy Garlic Recipes:
Microwave the Rice
If you’ve ever tried to cook rice on the stove, then you know it can be a bit of a process. You have to make sure the water-to-rice ratio is just right, and then you have to watch it carefully so it doesn’t boil over. B
ut what if there was an easier way? Well, there is!
You can cook rice in the microwave by combining it with twice as much water, then microwave it on high for 10 minutes.
It’s really that simple! And the best part is that your rice will come out perfectly cooked every time.
Cook your eggs in the oven
If you’re sick of standing over a frying pan, cooking eggs sunny side up or in an omelette, there’s another option: the oven.
That’s right, you can cook eggs in the oven, and all you need is a muffin tin. Just spray the tin with cooking spray, crack the eggs into the cups, and cook them to your liking.
You can even add some cheese or vegetables to your omelette before cooking.
The best part is that you can make a bunch of eggs at once, so there’s no need to stand in front of the stove making them one by one.
Mayonaise is better than butter
Make perfect grilled cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise in place of butter—it’ll create a crispy, golden brown crust without burning or stickiness.
Wierd use for a straw
Use a straw to quickly and easily core strawberries—just insert the straw from the bottom of the berry and push it through to the top.
Single Serve Oatmeal
Make individual serving-sized portions of oatmeal or other hot cereals by cooking it in a mason jar (one per serving) in the microwave—it’ll be quick, easy, and mess-free.
Waffle Iron Hacks
Waffle iron hacks are a great way to get more use out of your waffle iron. Did you know that you can use it to cook pancakes, eggs, bacon, and even grilled cheese sandwiches?
Just think of all the possibilities!
The waffle iron will give them a crispy texture and cute shape. Plus, it’s a quick and easy way to make hash browns.
Just shred some potatoes, mix in some seasonings, and cook them in the waffle iron until they’re golden brown.
Peel garlic in seconds
There’s no need to peel garlic cloves by hand—just throw them into a jar, screw on the lid, and shake vigorously until the peels come off.
Perfect Microwave Potato
Cook potatoes in the microwave by piercing them all over with a fork, then microwaving them on high for 5 minutes—they’ll be soft and cooked through.
Make sure pie crusts are perfectly flaky by using vodka in place of water—the alcohol will evaporate during cooking, leaving behind a crisp and flaky crust.
Flavorful Meat Tenderizer
Use a can of soda to tenderize meat—the carbonation will help break down the tough fibers and make the meat more tender.
No more brown avocaos
Keep cut avocados from turning brown by storing them in a container with an onion—the sulfur compounds in the onion will prevent the avocados from oxidizing.
Get More Juice out of Your Lemons
If you want to get more juice out of your lemons (or any other citrus fruit), try rolling them on the countertop before you cut into them.
This will help break down the fruit’s cells and release more juices.
Quickly Ripen a Banana
Ripen bananas quickly by putting them in a paper bag with an apple—the ethylene gas emitted by the apple will speed up the ripening process.
No More Sticky Fish
Make perfect, evenly-cooked grilled salmon by wrapping it in foil before cooking—it’ll prevent the fish from sticking to the grill and falling apart.
Easy Mashed Bananas
Use a potato masher to quickly and easily mash bananas for banana bread (remember, overripe bananas work best in banana bread) or other recipes—it’ll save you time and effort compared to using a fork or an electric mixer.
Upgrade Your Chocolate Chip Cookie
Make chewy chocolate chip cookies by using brown sugar in place of white sugar—it’ll give the cookies a richer flavor and softer texture.
Fluffy Scrambled Eggs
Make fluffy scrambled eggs by whisking in a bit of cream or milk before cooking—it’ll make them light and airy.
Cookie cutters are a fun and easy way to turn fruits and vegetables into shapes that kids will love.
Simply select a cutter in the shape of your choice, then use it to cut out as many pieces as you like. Not only is this a great way to use up any misshapen pieces, but it also allows you to add a bit of fun and flair to your child’s mealtime.
Cookie cutters come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, so you’re sure to find one that your child will enjoy.
And if you’re feeling really creative, you can even use multiple cutters to create unique designs.
So next time you’re looking for a way to liven up your child’s lunch, consider using cookie cutters to create fun shapes out of fruits and vegetables.
Soft Boiled Eggs
Make soft-boiled eggs in the microwave by puncturing the bottom of the egg with a sharp knife, then microwaving it on high for 30 seconds.
It’s not just for coffee
Use a coffee mug to evenly bake individual portions of cake or brownies—just fill a mug halfway with batter and microwave it for 1-2 minutes.
While we are on the subject, check out this article: Over 10 things to cook with a coffee machine
Make a quick and easy fruit pie by using pre-made pie crusts and a can of fruit filling—you’ll save time without sacrificing any flavor.
Perfectly Round Biscuits
Get perfectly round biscuits by using a biscuit cutter or a glass dipped in flour—it’ll give you perfectly even edges every time.
Unsweeten your dish
If your dish is too sweet, you can balance the flavor by adding a pinch of salt or pour wine vinegar, an acid like lemon juice r apple cider vinegar.
Single Serve Mac & Cheese
Make individual portions of mac and cheese by baking in a muffin tin—it’s the perfect size for a single serving. Plus, it is the easiest way to ensure even portions. Trust me, if you have multiple boys then you know how important it is there everyone get the same amount of food.
With these 55 cooking hacks, you’ll be able to make better meals with less effort. Save time and money, plus improve your kitchen skills, by using these tips and tricks in the kitchen!
The fifty-five kitchen hacks listed in this article all have one thing in common: they make cooking easier and faster. Whether you’re looking for a way to tenderize meat quickly or prevent browned avocados, these tips will help you save time and energy in the kitchen.
So the next time you’re preparing a meal, be sure to try an easy cooking hack (or two) from this list —you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference they can make.
Thursday 7th of July 2016
What wonderful tips. Thank you for sharing this at Thoughts of Home. We are so glad you are here.
Sunday 9th of June 2013
Hey there! Thanks so much for stopping by and linking up your yummy cooking idea! Stop by again next week and link up another awesome project!
Have a great week! Susie@bowdabra http://bowdabrablog.com
Tuesday 28th of May 2013
A money saving hack that I recently discovered is a new way to use those pork country ribs that are on sale all the time. If you slice them thinly, they can be used for stir fry or tacos. They are really tender and since you cut off the excess fat as you go, they are pretty lean as well.
Pam Brown Margolis
Thursday 23rd of May 2013
Thanks for sharing some good tips.
Terri K (@tkharmonic)
Wednesday 22nd of May 2013
Clean as you go, it's one of my first things I learned and one of the first things I taught my son.