These are 10 of The Best Kitchen Tips for cooking, baking, meal prep, and clean up – that you’ll actually use!
You know all those kitchen tips you see online and think “oh, that’s neat!”…but then you never ever use them? Ya. I mean, so many of them are super clever. But do they actually save you time? And are they really helpful? Some yes! Some, definitely not.
These are kitchen tips that I actually use on a regular (if not daily) basis – and you will, too!
Use a heating pad to fast track your dough rising
This is one of my all-time favorite kitchen tips! It all began 15 or so years ago when Paul and I lived in Minnesota with brutal winters. Our house was built in 1902, with a lot of drafty areas. To help aid in the rise time of my quick and easy pizza dough, I decided to place the bowl on a heating pad and voila! It worked, and in some cases cut the rise time in half. Just use the lowest setting.
Coat measuring cups with nonstick cooking spray to release sticky ingredients
I use this kitchen tip daily. Just coat your measuring cups with the nonstick spray and the ingredients will slide right out! Also makes clean up easy. Great for syrup, honey, molasses, and anything else that’s sticky!
Stop chopped onion from burning your eyes
The most used ingredient in my house (other than salt and pepper) – onions! I love them and put them in most of my savory dishes. What I don’t love? The unbearable eye-burning sensation when I chop them. If you know you’ll be needing an onion for dinner, simply cut it in half, place in a resealable plastic bag, and transfer to the refrigerator in the morning. By the time you need to prep for dinner, chop away – no eye burning!
Keep Ice Cream Soft
I must have five different containers of ice cream in my freezer at any given time; it’s Paul’s and the kids’ favorite. But scooping can be such a pain once they’ve been opened. To make it easier, once they’ve been opened, I put the ice cream in a resealable gallon-sized plastic bag. This helps keep the cold air from making your ice cream like a brick. The key to it working, though, is you have to push out as much of the air from the bag as possible, before putting it back in the freezer. It’s worth the extra step!
Properly dispose of bacon grease
I’m not ashamed to admit how much I cook with bacon. HA. Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps, Bacon Jam, and Creamy Pasta with Bacon and Peas all immediately come to mind. Sometimes I reuse the bacon grease to fry up other things, but more times than not, I need to get rid of it. But did you know it’s not safe to pour hot bacon grease (or any fats that solidify) down your drain? It can clog your pipes! So I just line a dish or cup with aluminum foil, pour it in that, and let it cool and harden. Roll up the foil and toss in the garbage!
Easily remove the entire core of a head of lettuce
The core of a head of lettuce is such a nuisance when I need all the leaves for sandwiches and burgers. I use this kitchen tip to remove it in one fast swoop – holding both sides with your hands, slam it hard on the counter (1-3 times), stem-side down. Then twist the core and pull it right out.
Shred a ton of cooked chicken easily and fast
I make soups and casseroles often that require a lot of shredded chicken and I sort of loathe the time it takes to shred the chicken with two forks – especially if the breasts just came out of the oven and they’re hot! Instead, I place them in a large bowl and get out my handheld electric mixer. On low speed, it shreds them effortlessly. This also works on Slow Cooker Cuban Pork or Pulled Pork!
Quickly soften hard butter
You needed softened butter for that cake, but you forgot to take it out of the refrigerator ahead of time, right? Ya, me too. ALL THE TIME. A great work-around is to simply take the whole stick of cold solid butter and grate it. Shredding softens it right up!
Line a loaf pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper
Sometimes trying to press one large sheet of parchment paper into the loaf pan can be tricky; you end up fighting with it to stay in place, trying to avoid folds and creases. Instead, I cut two sheets of parchment paper – one the length of the loaf pan, the other the width, both with a slight overhang. It’s basically a sling and makes it so easy to lift the baked goods right out.
How to fill a pastry bag
Frosting cakes is not really my forte, but I am constantly making delicious Deviled Eggs, where I need to pipe the filling into the white shell. This piping bag trick comes in handy all the time and works with a traditional pastry bag or resealable plastic bag!
- Decide which piping tip you’ll be using (if using), trim off the end of a large resealable plastic bag, push the tip in so it just comes off the edge of the bag.
- Take your finger and push the plastic into the tip – this makes a stopper, so once you fill your bag, it won’t ooze all out of the bottom. Game changer!
- Set the bag inside of a tall drinking glass (and then fill it using a rubber spatula) – this helps with stability, if it’s too difficult to hold the bag and fill at the same time.
- Holding onto the top of the bag, push the filling down and pop the stopper out.
- Now you’re ready to decorate!
I’m in the kitchen most days, sometimes even all day. So I want to be efficient and cut time whenever I can without sacrificing results. These are my favorite kitchen tip shortcuts and I think they’ll become yours, too!