25 Times Home Chefs Shared Simple Hacks That Helped Them Upgrade Their Cooking Skills
The world of cooking is a dynamic and ever-evolving space, where chefs, both professional and amateur, continually discover ingenious hacks to elevate their culinary creations. What might be a second nature cooking technique for one person could be an undiscovered treasure for another.
Recently, the AskReddit community sparked a viral thread dedicated to unveiling the personal cooking secrets of chefs from all walks of life. Today, we delve into a curated selection of the best materials from this engaging and enlightening discussion.
More info: Reddit
Not sure how common this is, but my MIL puts a couple tablespoons of instant vanilla pudding powder in heavy cream when she makes whipped cream for desserts. It helps it keep its shape when you put leftovers in the fridge.
Friend of mine taught me to put herb and garlic cream cheese in my mashed potatoes. Tried dill pickle on my own and if you’ve never had dill pickle mashed you are in for a treat. The leftovers make fantastic croquets.
Dissolve your cinnamon in vanilla before adding eggs and milk to your batter for French toast. The cinnamon will incorporate so much better instead if just sitting on top of the mixture.
hopefully this is pretty well-known by folks in here but if you follow online recipes, they frequently get it backwards:
saute onions first, THEN garlic.
so many recipes say at the beginning to add chopped garlic, cook for a minute, then add chopped onions. that’s a quick way to get burnt garlic and raw onions. onions first until just turning translucent, then add garlic. the moisture coming off the onions as they sweat helps keep the garlic from burning as it cooks as well.
Image source: DrDoozie
Whenever I need to caramelize onions I always add water to the pan and cover with a lid to steam the onions first. Eventually the water cooks off and you’re left with very soft onions which saves you like 20 minutes for a big batch.
I cut most things with kitchen shears instead of knives. I’ve been told it’s weird, but it works for me.
Image source: PhasmaUrbomach
Fry the rice kernels until they turn Matte white before adding broth
I’ve replaced salt in 75% of my cooking with mushroom extract powder from the Asian market, it still seasons but bumps the umami
When your box of brown sugar is rock hard, instead of chipping it away with a knife, put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. it gets nice and soft and shakeable again.
Off the top of my head :
I scrunch up a piece of parchment paper under the tap water and squeeze the water out before using it to line up cake and brownie tins so that it’ll stick to the sides better. The water will evaporate during the baking process and doesn’t affect the batter.
I put thick slices of day old bread under my chicken before roasting, they absorb the chicken juice so that the underside is not soggy + the bread edges become so crispy that I just nibble on them like roasted chicken flavored soaked crouton lol
Edit : lousy grammar
Idk if this is “unknown” but I add seasoning to my flour when I make a roux most of the time. Started with garlic powder and smoked paprika when I made my roux for white cheddar mac and cheese. It really enhanced it so I do it whenever I can.
When i’m almost out of a condiment, i make a salad dressing in the condiment jar and shake vigorously to incorporate remaining condiment into salad dressing.
Preheat your sheetpan at 425F before adding your vegetables when roasting. Gives them a nicer sear, and cooks slightly faster.
Secondary tip on sheet pans, it’s worth having a “clean” and a “seasoned” sheet pan for different uses. Clean for things like cookies, seasoned for savory applications.
To get nice sunny side up eggs where the white on top of the yolk is cooked too, I use a little oil in the frying pan on a medium/high heat, crack in the egg, season, and once the white has started to cook I add about a tsp of water into the pan and place a lid on it, letting it cook for about a minute. The steam cooks the whites while keeping the yolk runny. Saves oil, saves you from having to flip the egg and is super quick.
Instant mashed potato flakes are my go-to thickenerin any kind stew/chili. You don’t have to whisk like you do cornstarch or flour.
I only recently found out about it but I have wasted so much buttermilk when all I needed was a bit.
I use my fingers to center the yolk in a fried egg.
1 – I bake a half dozen potatoes once a week or so and keep them in the fridge. I dice them up and brown a little before adding eggs, etc for a hearty but easy breakfast.
2 – I keep my lettuce, spinach, etc on paper towels in a dishpan in the fridge with a large plastic bowl cover (like a shower cap). It stays fresh for over a week this way, instead of slimy in a clamshell or bag.
3 – i use 3 eggs for each cup of flour for pancakes and then eyeball the amount of milk (cream!) til pourable. it ups the “healthy” and also helps them to cook nice and tall.
Image source: farmgirlheather
I like to roast a whole chicken in a Dutch oven with potatoes, carrots, celery and onion. Once cooked I take out the chicken, add some broth to the veggies + chicken fat, and blend that as the base for a soup.
I’ll wad up 4 pieces of aluminum foil and place a rack on top of it to roast chicken or meats or anything really. It makes the rack stand about 3 inches or so above the sheet pan which allows for a lot of air circulation and better browning. Another plus is you can put vegetables under the meat and have the drippings fall onto them.
huge scoop of greek yogurt into pancake or waffle batter — adds protein and structure
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A couple off the top of my head:
Air fry your whole eggs instead of hard boiling them. 250° F for 18 minutes, then plunge into cold running water immediately. Perfect eggs every time, and almost never fight with peeling them. I make a whole dozen at a time for lunch prep.
Worcestershire sauce added to gravy, or any beefy tomatoey dish, will add depth and probably fix what’s *missing* if you can’t figure out what a dish needs. It’s either that or a splash of wine or lemon juice.
Over easy eggs cooked at medium-medium high heat on first side, flip, then turn off the pan but leave it on the burner to finish second side while you tend to your toast. Never overcook an egg again.
Montreal steak spice is excellent on salmon filets.
Since most recipes that call for tomato paste only require a few tbsps, I open a can and spread it into a silicone ice cube tray, freeze, pop out, and store the cubes. You can guesstimate how much you need and just melt it into your recipe, and save the rest without wasting what you don’t need.
Edit to add… freeze your ginger root and grate it that way! Less stringy, watery mess. Perfectly spicy snow is much easier to handle/measure.
Image source: BlameItOnGhengisKhan
I wear swim goggles when I cut onions. That’s all I got for you.
Image source: theincognitonerd
I use google translate to find authentic recipes in their original language and then translate them to English. Definitely has given me a leg up in my Asian cooking adventures.
I dehydrate whole lemons by placing them on a sunny windowsill and turning them every few days to avoid soft spots and spoilage. It takes a few months then wipe them off with a damp cloth and store them in a dry container or zip bag. All the flavor of the juice goes into the rind and you just use a fine hand grater when you want a kick of the purest lemon flavor you have ever tasted! It’s perfect for when you want the concentrated flavor without adding any additional liquid to your recipe and unlike fresh lemon zest there’s no bitter taste!