Secret cooking techniques and tips from home chefs

“When you’re in trouble, this little trick will save dinner.”

Cooking is an art – and there’s a lot you can learn from reading recipes. Sometimes, you just need to try new techniques and ingredients and try them out for yourself. So Redditor asked u/katieasaur, “What’s your secret technique that you haven’t seen before in a cookbook or online?” Some of the responses have been great, and I can’t wait to try them out in my own kitchen.


“When you’re in trouble and need to thicken the sauce quickly, make the roux in a cup in the microwave. It usually takes no more than a minute for it to become golden and ready to use.”


“Replace some of the liquid in the waffle batter with seltzer or another soft drink like Ginger Ale and sparkling wine. The result: the most tender and airy waffles ever.”


“Soak onions in lemon juice for a few minutes before mixing them with sauce or putting them in tacos. It gets rid of that raw, funky taste. Plus, lime adds a nice acidity to your food anyway.”


“I always start by cooking the mushrooms in a dry skillet for a few minutes to get rid of some of the moisture before I add the oil or butter. They brown better this way.”


“Use frozen flour when making a pie crust. The first step in making a pie crust is cutting the butter into the flour. Most recipes recommend using very cold butter cut into small pieces. And freezing the flour you use means the butter stays cold longer.”


“When baking, freeze the butter and grate it using a microscope. It’s the easiest way to get very fine pieces of cold butter that are evenly distributed in the dough.”


“When making biscuits, crackers, or anything that requires a flaky dough, freeze your mixing bowl and pastry cutter as well. It keeps the dough cool and delivers better baking results.”


Quickly pickle red onions in about 30 minutes using the microwave. Heat the vinegar, a little water, sugar, and salt in the microwave. Then stir in the onions in there. Add some seasoning if you like to taste. This is at the beginning of your meal, and is ready to use by the time it’s The plate is on the table.”


“I learned this trick from my grandmother. She would take leftover pie dough, butter it and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar, and roll it into little cinnamon rolls. Bake it in the oven for an extra delicious dessert. It’s like two sweet treats in one.”


“I freeze whole excess lemons. You can finely layer the zest, peel any white pulp, and put a small layer of lemon flesh. Or let the flesh thaw and use the juice.”


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


“I use a garlic press for more than just garlic. It’s suitable for many slicing and grinding needs. Try it with anchovies, herbs, raw chopped peppers, cumin seeds, etc…”


“When I make banana bread, I gently mash the banana while it’s still inside the peel. I try it softly so the banana doesn’t pop open. This way, the banana comes out pre-mashed without any of the gross threads attached. It’s usually so soft that you don’t even need a fork. To mash it more. In addition, the bowl should be cleaned less.”


“I mix the mushrooms together into a paste, then use the paste to add umami flavor to whatever I cook.”


Put 1 teaspoon of sodium citrate into your macaroni and cheese. You don’t have to use velfeta or American steaks or an extra amount of butter. With a little sodium citrate, you can use any cheese you like (small or aged), soft or hard, any mix of types multiple cheeses) and you’ll still get the perfect creamy texture. Heat the sodium citrate just enough to melt the cheese, and voila. The texture is the same as a can of mac, but it tastes much better and reheats better too.”


“Add soy sauce or fish sauce to spaghetti, chili, and soups for a deeper, saltier flavor.”


“Gently mix the beaten egg whites into the pancake batter using a whisk. It makes the pancakes much better, fluffier and more decadent.”


“Freeze minced or minced garlic in olive oil in an ice cube tray. It’s easy to use. When you need garlic in a pinch, you don’t have to stop what you’re doing to peel and chop garlic. Just toss a cube in whatever you cook.”


“Clean the pans while they are still hot after cooking. It makes all the leftovers a lot easier. I’ve heard people raise concerns about ‘heat shock’ that could damage the pans, but I’ve been doing this for years and all my pans are in good shape. No It takes a lot of heat to make most of the scraps come off noticeably easier. And for greenish pans like cast iron or carbon steel, it’s a great way to avoid rubbing with an abrasive, which can definitely damage the seasoning.”


“Fry some butter in a skillet, add the breadcrumbs and cook for a minute or so, being careful not to burn them. They make the most delicious vegetable flavour, pour over roasted cauliflower, green beans, etc…”


“If the baking recipe calls for fruit juice (like lemon, lime, apple juice, etc…), I use twice the amount but reduce it by boiling it. Boiling juice really enhances the flavor.”


“Add the shredded cheese inside the hard taco shells about a minute before the bread is bubbling. Not only do they keep the taco crusts together, but they also taste really good.”


“I make huge amounts of roux and then break it into small silicone molds. I store the individually cut roux in the freezer and then use it as required in recipes for things like broth, mac cheese, béchamel sauce, etc…”


“Use vanilla jelly powder instead of half the sugar when baking cookies. It keeps them soft for days and gives them a cake-like interior.”


“When baking any chocolate recipe like brownies or chocolate cake/cupcake, replace some of the water with the same amount of fresh, cooled coffee. The taste is incredible, and the coffee actually enhances the chocolate flavour.”


“Instead of making French toast with milk, I substitute Bailey cream for Irish liqueur. The result is absolutely delicious.”


“If you’re making homemade chicken tenders or stir-fry pork chops, grind the pork rinds and use them in place of breadcrumbs.”


“Add a little mayonnaise to scrambled eggs before flipping them or making an omelette or quiche. It adds volume and makes them light and fluffy.”


“Better than broth paste, it adds a lot of complex flavor to whatever you cook like rice, sauteed vegetables, or even meatballs.”


“Taco seasoning (like the brand El Paso in the yellow box) is the secret seasoning I put in nearly every rub and pickle…even if I don’t cook Mexican food.”


“I use Pepperidge Farm chess cakes in my banana pudding instead of the standard Nilla Wafers. Visually you can’t tell the difference, but the taste is so much better.”


What’s your favorite cooking tip, trick, or hack? Share in the comments!

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