19 Helpful Cooking Tips That People Learned From The Internet And Now Swear By

·7 min read

One thing I've been trying to be better about doing lately as an adult™ is cooking. Although it's super tempting to just order takeout or microwave a frozen burrito after work, I know there's nothing quite as satisfying as enjoying a delicious home-cooked meal that I made myself.

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However, I also know that I've definitely still got a lot to learn when it comes to cooking. So, when Reddit user u/Krizpirit recently asked, "What is a kitchen/cooking hack you’ve learned or seen online that you use almost daily?" I was immediately like:

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The thread was really informative and had a lot of innovative ideas that I can't wait to try! Here are some of the best hacks that people shared:

1."If you’re boiling milk, swirl water in the pan and pour it out before you add the milk to prevent it from sticking to the pan." —u/DangerousThanks

boiling milk on the stove top
Grace Cary / Getty Images

2."Utilize a garbage bowl during prep. Onion skins, vegetable peels, shrimp shells, whatever, all go in the garbage bowl so they are out of your way and can be disposed of all at once." —u/Runzas_In_Wonderland

homer saying, hey wait stop i have garbage!

"I take a newspaper circular and line my sink with it. Anything I don't freeze to make broth with later gets thrown on the paper or peeled over the paper. I just roll it up and toss [it] when I'm done, and my sink stays clean. [I] learned that from my mom. Unlike the 'garbage bowl,' I eliminate the extra steps of getting garbage out of the bowl and then having to wash it. Just roll up the paper and throw it away, [and you're] done." —u/Hey_Laaady

"Instead of a bowl, I use an empty bread bag. I figure since it was going to end up in the garbage anyway, I might as well use it for scraps. [It's] especially handy if you don’t want your garbage to end up really smelly!" —u/shipping_addict

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3."Freeze your ginger. Whatever you don't use stays fresh, and it is really easy to grate with a microplane zester when it's frozen. You don't even have to thaw it." —u/mom_with_an_attitude

sliced ginger in a plastic container
Santje09 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

4."Use a vegetable peeler on carrots. Like peel it, then keep peeling to get long thin strips. [They] cook quickly in a stir fry or look great on a salad." —u/TurkTurkle

bugs bunny copping carrots

"My parents live next to this Vietnamese bakery that sells baguettes ... Once I found this out, [I] immediately got a bunch of carrot ribbons and did a quick pickle to make banh mi sandwiches. [I] had to make another batch because [my] parents just loved snacking on them." —u/monkeyman80

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5."Sprinkle sea salt on top of cookies, brownies, and many other desserts right before or right after making/baking them. The extra salt really brings out the taste and balances out the sweetness. [It] prevents them from being cloyingly sweet, which is a frequent problem I have with many desserts." —u/Darwin343

course salt being sprinkled on chocolate cookies
Monica Bertolazzi / Getty Images

6."If I'm using a can of something in a recipe, I use the empty can to hold the spoon for stirring so I don't have to clean something extra, like a spoon rest. I use my (clean) cupped palm of my hand to measure salt, sugar, etc., so I don't have to get out the measuring spoons. I can just eyeball it by now." —u/fairystepgodbrother

a character cooking
The WB

7."It's not a 'hack,' but finding out that you can make vegetable stock by just saving your vegetable scraps was a game-changer for me." —u/AnythingforChaos

vegetable scraps and a pot of water with the scraps to boil
Getty Images

8."If you want your ground beef to break into finer/smaller pieces (for picadillo, ragù, etc.), add 1/4 cup of water per pound when you are about a third of the way done cooking. You will have to keep stirring it, but it should break up much [more] easily now as it cooks." —u/MidiReader

cartoon characters looking at a pot with satisfaction
Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection

9."Season your meats in order from coarsest to finest seasonings. I noticed a few years back that when I'd cut up roasted meat (from chicken thighs to pork ribs to Cornish game hen), half the seasonings would fall off onto the plate. Seasoning from coarse to fine allows things like rosemary or thyme a chance to adhere to the meat, while garlic powder gets in between the flakes."

a cartoon character picking up meat with tongs

"So, for example, if I'm roasting a pork rib, it's thyme, then coarse ground black pepper, then cayenne, then onion/garlic powder. It makes a world of difference." —u/MercuryCrest

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10."Rinse your rice. I had no idea, and [it was] a complete game-changer." —u/BigSquibowski

someone washing rice
Sawitree Pamee / Getty Images/EyeEm

11."You can use basically any good quality jam or preserves you may have in your fridge to make a savory-sweet sauce for meat dishes. Caramelize aromatics of choice (onion, shallot, garlic) in butter, salt, pepper, add stock of choice, add jam of choice, add herbs or other seasonings [if] desired, [then] stir and simmer until [it's] thickened into a glaze-like sauce. If you want to add some tanginess, add vinegar — balsamic, apple cider, rice wine, Chinese black vinegar...depends on the flavor. If you want a richer finish, add another pat of butter at the end. If you have leftover wine, try adding some."

someone looking on as a woman is cooking

"Examples:

-Soy glaze using soy sauce, orange marmalade, roasted garlic or chicken stock, rice wine vinegar or Chinese black vinegar, garlic, ginger. Great with chicken, fish/shrimp, or fried tofu.

-Apricot glaze using apricot preserves, chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, shallots, herbs. Great with chicken.

-Cherry glaze using cherry jam, beef stock, balsamic vinegar, shallots, garlic, herbs. Great on lamb, steak, or duck.

-Cranberry glaze using cranberry preserves, chicken stock, apple cider vinegar, shallots, herbs, cinnamon, brown sugar. Great on ham and turkey." —u/Persephonal

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12."I leave the light on on my hood fan until all burners are off, food is cooled, and leftovers are in the fridge for the night. I don't turn it off until all that is done as a rule so I won't forget." —u/cronin98

a man pointing to his temple like thats a good thought
BBC

13."Press garlic cloves with the side of a knife to loosen the peel right off." —u/The_H_is_Missing

garlic

"Even better: Place the knife on top and smack the flat of the knife with your palm and crush the garlic. Allegedly, it breaks it down more and releases more flavor that way, making the peel easy to come off." —u/GullibleDetective

Chrisboy2004 / Getty Images

14."For cleaning a microwave 'murder scene,' soak a towel and nuke it for a minute or two. The steam loosens all the gross [stuff], and it’s way easier to wipe out." —u/WulfenGeist

a character opening up a dirty microwave

"I use a lemon slice in a microwave-safe bowl of water and nuke for about two minutes until the water boils. I then leave it [to] sit for a few minutes and let the steam work its magic. The lemon helps clean, and it smells really good afterward." —u/mhiaa173

NBC

15."I have a funny hack. I splurged on a $20 set of pumpkin carving tools for a Halloween event. Turns out, these are great for things like carving the eyes out of potatoes, digging the seeds out of a cantaloupe, or [making] dough cutouts. [They're] not meant to last forever, but surprisingly strong, sharp, and useful!" —u/movetoseattle

cartoon characters about to cut pumpkin
CBS

16."Freezing cheese (especially a block of creamier or softer cheese) for an hour before grating it makes it easier and less messy." —u/nefariousPost

cheese next to a grater
Maren Winter / Getty Images/EyeEm

17."If you have a garbage disposal, throw lemon peels in there with some ice cubes and salt. Give it a whirl, run the water, and you've got a clean garbage disposal." —u/Hey_Laaady

spongebob spraying his trash
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18."Buy tomato paste in a tube." —u/JimCantCook

paste coming out of the tube

"You can also freeze unused tomato paste — just portion the remainder out into tablespoons on parchment paper and stick in the freezer. Once [it's] frozen, transfer [it] to a ziplock bag." —u/huckfinnboy

Lucentius / Getty Images/iStockphoto

19.And finally: "To cut a bell pepper without getting any seeds in, you just have to cut the stem, turn it over, [and] cut each 'bulb' following the shape of the pepper. You get most of your pepper, while all the seeds stay attached at the center. If you need a video, I learned it from Gordon Ramsay on TV." —u/punkieMunchkin

Got any useful cooking hacks that aren't on this list? Tell us in the comments!