25 Single-Ingredient Advice That Might Take Your Cooking Game To Another Level

Published 8 months ago

Cooking is often seen as a complex and time-consuming task, but it doesn’t always have to be. Sometimes, a single ingredient can make all the difference in elevating your culinary creations.

Some cooking enthusiasts, chefs, and food lovers on Reddit have shared their genius single-ingredient cooking tips that can transform a dish from ordinary to extraordinary. From herbs and spices to unexpected pantry staples, these tips offer a world of flavors waiting to be explored. Scroll below for those amazing tips and elevate your cooking game!

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Image source: ouTPhaze, Brigitte Tohm

I add a pinch of salt to hot chocolate, and people go crazy for it. But it’s only hot cocoa mix, milk, and salt. The extra sodium doesn’t make it salty at all. In fact, it somehow brings out more of the chocolate flavor.


Image source: pm-me-souplantation, Terrance Barksdale

I use Kraft Macaroni & Cheese packets to season my popcorn. It’s life-changing


Image source: cgg419, wikipedia.org

Fish sauce. Used properly, it doesn’t make anything taste like fish, and it’s a huge flavour boost in almost any kind of cuisine.

I use it in almost anything savoury I make.


Image source: envydub, Hayden Walker

Anytime a recipe calls for water, I always use chicken broth instead. It makes just about anything taste richer, more complex, and better.


Image source: sweetmercy, Pixabay

Acids. Started when I was making a sauce that just…it needed something. I added a squeeze of lemon, even though it seemed odd, and it was magic.

Another is shallots. I had thought they were the same as onions. Then I had a recipe for saltimbocca from Maggiano’s and the sauce was shallot based. Oh. My. God. They’re one of my favorite ingredients to cook with.


Image source: Mikesicle, Lisa Fotios

If you’re making cookies from bagged or boxed mix (like Tollhouse), substitute whatever butter you usually use for Kerrygold butter. Something about salted Irish butter will take your cookies to the next level.


Image source: helenfeller, Shardar Tarikul Islam

Add a little bit of soy sauce to your tuna or chicken salad. It gives it that extra salty tanginess. I worked at Jimmy John’s for a while, and that was their secret. I’ve been making mine this way for 10 years now, and I could never go back.


Image source: Alexispinpgh

When I was really starting out with home cooking in college and was making cottage pie and I added Worcestershire sauce for the first time. I have to admit that I probably overuse it at this point but I’ve found few savory dishes that can’t be improved with a few drops.


Image source: [deleted], reddit.com

Sumac. Use it for fish


Image source: davy_jones_locket, Klaus Nielsen

I add pureed or shredded carrots to my tomato sauce. It really cuts the acidity without the extra added sugar. Everyone always raves about my pasta sauce.


Image source: MyAnusBleeding, Isabella Mendes

Garlic. Lots of garlic, recipes always say to use little garlic. And i mean the real deal, not the garbage they sell in those jars.


Image source: HDitt, Barbara G

I always add a dollop of sour cream to my boxed mac ‘n’ cheese when it’s time to add the milk and cheese packet. It makes it creamier and so rich.


Image source: melc40e454224, Rachel Loughman

Try adding a touch of horseradish to your mashed potatoes…especially garlic mashed potatoes. It’s a game changer. It adds a ton of flavor without being too noticeable or overpowering.


Image source: PeachasaurusWrex, Pixabay

If your homemade sauces or soups seem too thin or watery, try adding instant mashed potatoes as a thickener. Since I learned this trick, I’ve started keeping a box around for lazy days or emergencies. They’re a lifesaver when you’ve added too much liquid to soup.


Image source: NeverSeenAMoose, https://www.pexels.com/photo/two-ice-cubes-3675620/

Place an ice cube on any leftover food you’re microwaving to add moisture while reheating. The ice won’t melt, but it adds steam to your food. It’s especially useful for rice.


Image source: Professor_Burnout, Pixabay

Replace some of the liquid in your waffle batter with seltzer or another carbonated beverage, like ginger ale. It’s the key to the fluffiest, airiest waffles ever.


Image source: [deleted], Naim Benjelloun

The secret to incredible tomato sauce is butter. Try putting a decent amount of butter into your red sauce and let it simmer. It will taste so much better, but no one will be able to guess the secret.


Image source: ChefSandman, wikipedia.org

Adding a pinch of baking soda to grits or polenta cuts the cooking time in half. It’s my favorite dinner time-saver.


Image source: noworryhatebombstill, alleksana

Anchovy. Works wonders in pasta sauces and all kinds of dressings. I used to fear funk and now I embrace it.


Image source: ncgirl105, Craig Dennis

Most people use overripe bananas for banana bread, but I have another great trick. I freeze the overripe bananas first, then I thaw them when it’s time to bake. Freezing them first somehow makes them taste even sweeter.


Image source: No_Watercress4607

Smoked paprika


Image source: ConBroMitch


And no, it’s not “bad” for you nor does it cause headaches. That was all a complete fabrication


Image source: PuzzleheadedLet382

Basil can do a lot of heavy lifting in a dish and isn’t easily replaced, flavor-wise.


Image source: LeoMarius

Cardamon. Add it to any dish that uses ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves to round out the flavor. It makes snickerdoodles taste elegant.


Image source: SeaDewey

Orange zest to oatmeal cookies!

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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cooking, cooking hacks, cooking tips, cooking tricks, food, life-changing cooking hacks, single ingredient cooking tips
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