There are three types of food hacks: the genuinely useful tricks that are simple to try out and solve a real problem; the less useful hacks that appear clever but solve problems that no one ever has (such as ‘leftover wine’); and the downright absurd why-on-earth-would-you-ever-even-try-to-do-that kind of hack. As evidence of the latter, when researching for this piece, we came across a story of a woman who skewers her lamb roast with Fizzers rather than garlic cloves and rosemary. (Yes, those sticky pink candies.)That particular tip went onto the “we don’t think so” list.
Today, in no particular order, we bring you 25 incredible food hacks that will definitely make your life easier and save you from attempting any recipe incorporating chocolates in your potato bake or Fritos onto your salad.
Here are 25 Incredible Food Hacks to Make Your Life Easier.
Get rid of soggy sandwiches
If you like a soggy, watery sandwich, you must be one of the 1%. For the rest of us, there’s an easy fix to prevent soggy sandwiches. Simply place ingredients like sliced tomato or cucumber between two layers of paper towels for five minutes to reduce the amount of water seeping out. This will absorb any excess moisture before you add them to your sandwiches. Spreading butter, cheese, or mayonnaise on the bread first will also help as it acts like a barrier to protect your bread from the more watery ingredients.
Use an ice cream scoop for meatballs
Forget about meaty fingers and ugly misshapen meatballs; use an ice cream scoop for portioning your minced beef mixture, and you’ll always wind up with the perfect spherical end product that is uniform in size. If you’re scared to try it out – we rounded up an easy “how-to.” Simply put part of the meatball mixture in one hand and use a scooper to make equal-sized meatballs to place on your baking sheet or inside your pan. After scooping, gently roll them in your hands to form round meatballs. You can lightly moisten your hands with water to keep the meatballs from sticking when rolling. Et voila!
Softening butter quickly
When it is time to butter your buns, leaving butter sitting on the counter for sixty minutes isn’t ideal. Especially if you’re on a tight schedule. To expedite the process, you can use a cheese grater to turn that butter into smaller pieces – or a rolling pin (but first place it in a plastic bag) to thin it out. If you prefer a more civilized approach, you can cut a stick of butter into around eight pieces. Creating more surface area and airflow will allow the stick to soften faster.
Prevent fruit salad from browning
You’ve probably heard that a bit of lemon juice can keep apple slices and other cut fruit looking more appetizing. One part honey to two parts water works similarly without the sour taste of lemon juice. If you wondered why lemon juice works, we’ve searched for the scientific answer and discovered it! Lemon juice’s citric acid, vitamin C, and honey peptide inhibit the oxidation process that causes discoloration. Soda water has been shown to do the exact same thing, so you now have more than one option to keep your fruit salad looking pretty.
Peeling your kiwis in a flash
Because kiwis are small and delicate, using a standard paring knife or vegetable grater could easily ruin your fruit and remove significantly more flesh than you had envisioned. Instead, slice off both of the tough ends of the kiwi and scoop out the middle with a spoon. The spoon’s form exactly resembles that of the kiwi, delicately releasing the sour-sweet treasure from its skin. Remember your dash of soda or honey to keep it fresh and beautiful until you’re ready to eat it.
Rescue a salty soup or stew
Have you ever been in the middle of making a delicious soup or stew only to discover that it’s overly salty? We’ve all been there: trying to artfully dust a sprinkling of salt over our boiling soup or stew but ending up accidentally pouring most of the pot’s contents. In the future, don’t worry; we found the perfect food hack to save your meal. Should this happen, simply peel and add one to two whole potatoes to your pot and let it cook. Once the potato has been boiled, remove it, and you’re done! Normal salt levels will have been restored.
Stop cheese from sticking to the grater
Are you fed up with cheese clinging to the grater? The first technique is to place your block of cheese in the freezer for 15 minutes before grating to harden it up and make it simpler to shred (part of the reason for the smushed cheese is heat created by grating friction – science!) Before grating the cheese, spray it with cooking oil or lightly cover the grater with oil or butter. This will result in a harder surface that is less likely to stick. The little curls will fall off the grater like nobody’s business, leaving you with delicious cheese.
Easily remove eggshells
Deviled eggs, anyone? It may be a protein treat, but those obstinate eggshells can be extremely difficult to remove. Here are a few pointers if you love a boiled egg but need help with removing the shells. Begin by cooking the eggs in boiling water (yes, how you prepare them does matter). Once cooked, immerse your eggs in an ice-cold bath for a few minutes to cool completely. Then, gently fracture the shells and peel them off in the water or under a cold running faucet.
Save your ice cream perfectly
Do you ever get an overpowering longing for ice cream only to find it frozen solid in your freezer? The good news is that there is a simple solution! Put your ice cream container in a plastic bag, squeeze out all the air, and seal it tightly. By keeping the air out, your ice cream will stay delightfully soft while preventing freezer burns. You can also cover the ice cream with wax paper before putting it back in the freezer. Wax paper barriers also prevent freezer burn.
Get more juice from your citrus fruits
In what might be our favorite hack of the day, we would like to let you know that you get more juice from any citrus fruit if you warm them up before squeezing them. We promise! Try it out by microwaving your favorite fruits for 20 to 30 seconds, then slicing and juicing them like you usually would. The heat from the microwave causes the cells within the fruit to rupture, releasing more of the delicious juice. Also, try rolling them back and forth with your palm before juicing to help break down the fruit’s membranes and allow more juice to flow!
Make the perfect pancakes every time
Pour your pancake ingredients into a squeezy bottle and squeeze into the pan for perfect pancakes. Using a squeezy bottle gives you excellent control over the amount of batter you pour and the size of the pancake. If you feel inventive, you can use your pancake batter to create fun designs such as swirls, hearts, and other shapes. Our top tip, if you have yet to hear it: Mix in some soda water with your pancake mix. Adding a splash of fizzy water to your batter can make or break it. The result is a light, fluffy pancake that melts in your mouth.
Clingfilm for poaching eggs
We came across this great advice if your efforts to create the perfect poached eggs always end in disaster. Place a bit of clingfilm in a bowl, lightly grease the inside, then crack in an egg. Gather the clingfilm’s sides together and close it securely on top. Cook for two to four minutes in boiling water, depending on the size of the egg as well as how soft you want it. Two minutes will leave you with a beautifully runny yolk.
The easiest 3-ingredient cookie recipe (that works)
Everybody needs an easy 3-ingredient cookie recipe in their lives. For the perfect three-ingredient peanut butter cookies, add one cup of brown sugar, one cup of your favorite peanut butter, and one egg together in a bowl and mix. Spoon clumps of your mixture onto a prepared baking tray, push them down with a fork, and bake for 15 minutes at 180°C/375°F. Remove them from the oven as soon as they turn golden brown. We should also mention that these cookies are gluten-free! That makes them an ideal and quick dessert for everyone who is gluten intolerant.
The time has come to cook rice in the microwave
If you are still making rice on a stove, the time has come to move on. Cooking rice in a glass bowl or jug in the microwave is very easy. Cook for around 15 minutes with two cups of water per cup of rice, and remember to add a pinch of salt. Allow it to steam and fluff up by covering it with a dish or lid near the end of the cooking time. You will never have to stir your rice ever again, and burnt pots will be a thing of the past.
Reheat rice with ice cubes
Let’s stick to rice for a moment before we move on. We all love rice, but rice has a particular problem. You can’t cook in exact quantities, especially if you have kids at home. Leftovers are common. Microwaves can be helpful when it comes to reheating rice, but ice cubes are the cherry on top. Before reheating the rice in the microwave, place an ice cube on top of it. The ice will not melt but steam the rice, making it delightfully fluffy and tasty yet again.
Use a cupcake tin to bake egg muffins
Not only are egg muffins a great breakfast, snack, or lunchbox treat, but they can also be made with leftover ingredients or a solitary sliver of ham. Chop up ham, red peppers, onions, or mushrooms and briefly sauté before spooning into a greased or prepared muffin tray. Pour over the ingredients and bake for 20-25 minutes at 200°C/390°F, or until your muffins are beautifully puffed up and brown. Be sure to add some cheese if you want to get your family hooked.
Make your own chocolate croissants
If you like chocolate croissants, we have good news: making your own version at home is spectacularly easy. All you need are some chocolate chips or grated chocolate and some puff pastry. Cut the pastry into squares, then diagonally slice each to make little triangles. Sprinkle chocolate in the center, then roll from the wide to the pointed edge and fold to create a crescent-like croissant shape. Brush your croissants with a bit of whisked egg and place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 180°C/375°F or until your crust is crisp and slightly golden brown and the chocolate has melted.
You don’t need an oven for mug cakes
While we’re on the subject of pastries and all things good, some of you may think we’re exaggerating when we tell you Mug Cakes will change your life, but we’re talking about a personalized dish of scrumptious cake that can be created in less than 5 minutes! There are countless mug cake variations that you can dream up in your microwave. Experiment with what you have on hand. The best part? There are no dishes to wash, and the cakes are ready in minutes. If you think it’s too good to be true, we dare you to give it a shot! If you appreciate cake and baked products as much as we do, your sweet tooth has met its match!
Get frothing, sort off
There’s a little bit of magic bestowed on each of us when we order and receive our favorite caffeine drink at our favorite coffee shop. A wonderful calm, even if it’s only for a few minutes. We can’t bring that magic home, but – we can tell you how to have a barista-style coffee moment in the comfort of your own home. Fill a jar halfway with your preferred milk, screw on the lid, and shake. When the foam forms, remove the lid and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Your froth will have doubled in size and be the ideal topping for your home-brewed coffee.
Get going with mug omelets
An omelet in a mug might sound weird, but it is quick and easy (and leaves you with fewer dishes to wash). Whisk together an egg, two egg whites, spices, and some grated cheese or ham. Place the mixture into a greased mug and microwave for one minute on high. Stir, and cook for another minute on high. While many microwave recipes produce a poor substitute for properly cooked food, a microwave omelet is surprisingly delicate and delicious. If you’re aiming to eat healthier, this method of cooking eggs will also significantly cut down on extra fat.
Make hash browns in your waffle maker
Waffle makers aren’t just for making waffles. You can make omelets, quesadillas, and, best of all, even hash browns in them. Spritz some oil or non-stick spray in your waffle maker first, and simply add your favorite mix. When you prepare hash browns in a waffle maker, you get an even cook, gorgeous crisp on both sides, not to mention a soft smooth potato interior. And you get all of this without having to turn or fuss over the potatoes that might come apart in the pan.
Try cooking bacon in the microwave
When we hear the word bacon, apart from the immediate brain muscle memory of its incredible smell, we immediately picture it sizzling in a frying pan. However, there are easier ways to prepare your favorite breakfast meat, such as your microwave oven. Before you run away in disgust, try this at least once. Place a paper towel on a dish and arrange strips of bacon on top, not touching. Cook for three minutes on high, covered with another paper towel. Give the bacon a minute or two to cool down before transferring it to another paper towel to absorb the excess fat. You can thank us later.
Microwave garlic to get rid of the skin
There are only a few things more unpleasant than peeling fresh garlic, with its hard skin and sticky, odorous residue that clings to your fingers for days. Luckily we came across a very neat hack on TikTok. Next time your recipe asks for a clove, microwave it for up to 30 seconds. That terrible little icky skin will peel right off. The only snag? Depending on the power of your microwave, 30 seconds may turn your garlic mushy. To be safe, start by cooking the garlic for 15 to 20 seconds to find your microwave’s sweet spot.
Cooking a whole bird evenly
This upcoming Thanksgiving, when cooking an entire turkey or chicken, remember to ice the breast of the bird. As dark thigh meat takes longer to cook than white breast meat, cooling the breasts will guarantee even cooking. We know what you’re thinking, icing? It is more straightforward than it sounds. When you take the turkey out of the refrigerator to bring it to room temperature, put ice packs or bags of ice on the turkey breast. This simple trick can make the breasts up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the rest of the bird, which means they can take up to an hour longer to cook than if they weren’t iced, which allows the dark meat enough time to cook without drying out the rest.
Use a hand mixer for mashed potatoes
Using an electric hand mixer is a simple alternative for individuals who would rather avoid the repetitive arm exercise that comes with mashing potatoes. A hand mixer not only saves time but also ensures a lump-free mash every time. However, please note that we recommend a hand mixer, not a hand blender! A hand blender (or immersion blender) will extract too much starch from the potatoes, producing thick, gluey mashed potatoes. As an added benefit, when using a hand mixer, you can add more liquid and oil while avoiding releasing too much starch from the potatoes. If you hadn’t known that before – you’re very welcome!