Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, everyone can use a little help in the kitchen from time to time! Having a few kitchen hacks up your sleeve can make the time you spend in the kitchen easier, and ultimately more enjoyable!
Some of the best kitchen hacks have been around since long before we even started calling tips like these “hacks!” I’ll be sharing 9 of those time-tested hacks here with you today, in hopes that they help save you time and effort on a variety of different tasks!
9 Time-Tested Kitchen Hacks That Everyone Should Know
1. Shine Aluminum Cookware
If regular use and dozens of trips through the dishwasher have made the inside of your aluminum pots and pans dull and cloudy over time, you can shine them back up with some apple peels! Simply fill the cloudy pan with water, add some apple peels, and bring it to a boil on your stovetop for a few minutes. The apple peels will shine up the aluminum and make your kitchen smell great to boot!
2. Revive Limp Veggies
If your veggies have seen better days and are starting to look sad and wilted, add 2 cups of cold water and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to bowl and toss the veggies in. Let them soak there for an hour or so and they’ll firm back up, giving you an extra day or so to use them up!
3. Eliminate Kitchen Odors
Lingering kitchen smells are a pet peeve of mine, which is one of many reasons that I like to keep a bottle of apple cider vinegar at the ready. Eliminating burnt smells and other strong kitchen odors is as easy as leaving a shallow dish of apple cider vinegar on the counter overnight!
4. Stay Organized
Baking sheets aren’t only useful for baking cookies and making sheet pan dinners—they’re also a great way to keep yourself organized in the kitchen. A sheet pan makes a great tray for your mise en place* at dinnertime because you can easily move everything you need to wherever you need it!
(*Note: Mise en place is a French term meaning “put in place.” In cooking, it refers to the fundamental practice of setting yourself up before you start cooking, which includes gathering any tools you’ll need, cutting up ingredients, etc. The more ingredients a recipe calls for, the more containers you’ll have, hence the suggestion to corral them on a baking sheet!)
5. Use Rubber Bands As Labels
Not everything in your average home kitchen needs to be clearly labeled, but there are a couple of situations where a label could certainly come in handy! For instance, if you keep your salt and your sugar in similar containers, it can be easy to mix them up in some truly disastrous ways!
An easy way to avoid such mix-ups is to keep a few rubber bands on hand. That way you can wrap a rubber band around the lid of one of the containers so you don’t get them mixed up. And as an added bonus, the rubber band can make lids easier to open too!
6. Melt Butter Without Splatters
Who among us hasn’t discovered a Jackson Pollock-esque creation splashed across the inside of their microwave after attempting to melt a bit of butter? But there’s an easy way to melt butter in your microwave without making such a mess—just set the butter wrapper over the top of the container before putting it in the microwave!
7. Get More Juice From Citrus
When juicing citrus like limes and lemons, microwaving them will help ensure you can extract the maximum amount of juice. Just pop one in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, roll it on the countertop a few times with your palm, then juice as usual.
8. Salvage Salty Soups
If you were a little heavy-handed with the salt while making sauce or soup, the dish can still be salvaged! Just add a peeled potato to your pot while it’s still cooking. The potato will absorb some of the excess salt, then you can just discard it when you’re done cooking.
9. Make Butter More Spreadable
To make butter that’s easily spreadable for bread or corn-on-the-cob, add a small amount of water to a room temperature stick of butter and whip it with an electric mixer. Not only does this trick make it light and spreadable, but your butter will also go further because it has increased in volume!
What is your favorite kitchen hack?