9 Time-Tested Kitchen Hacks That Will Always Be Useful

kitchen hacks

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

kitchen hacks

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!

kitchen hacks

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!

kitchen hacks

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!

kitchen hacks

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!)

kitchen hacks

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!

kitchen hacks

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!

kitchen hacks

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.

kitchen hacks

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.

kitchen hacks

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?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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18 Comments

  1. Just save that salty ‘tater and use it to make home fries the next morning.

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  2. The vinegar works great for smells of all types. Whenever I cook fish or anything that could leave a lingering smell, I keep a small jar with the vinegar in my cabinet and open it before I start cooking. I can use it again and again.

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  3. Love the tip about using a cookie sheet to keep everything organized, I’ll have to keep this one in memory! Thanks for the great tip!!

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  4. We have made “Better Butter” for many years. Use equal parts butter & a good healthy oil, such as a light olive oil.
    2 sticks of softened butter
    1 Cup of oil
    Whip the butter for about 30 seconds.
    Add the oil slowly to prevent splatters.
    Pour into a container & refrigerate.

    This needs to be refrigerated as it goes
    back to a liquid state if left out at room temperature. The oil surprisingly doesn’t diminish the butter flavor. We use salted butter.
    Herbs and garlic can be added for a spreadable garlic-herb butter.
    This spreads nicely right out of the refrigerator, just like whipped butter.

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  5. I look forward each morning to learn new ways of keeping my sanity while running this household. I appreciate the effort this woman gives us and I hope she knows we’re grateful.

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    • You said it well, Tamara!!! I feel the same way and try to let her know, as well! I loved AnnLanders years ago (giving my age away!!) and now I love Jillee and all of her useful, fun tips that she shares.

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  6. The butter softening idea would not work here where I live in Canada. Our butter all comes wrapped in foil.

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    • Well. a piece of parchment paper should work, or even a microwave-safe plastic lid. Think outside the box! :-D

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  7. I like the idea of the apple peels for the pans. The butter will get soft if it’s on a plate and you put a hot cup or a hot bowl over it. Its soft in no time and then you don’t have to clean anything else up. My new microwave also has a soften feature on it that works just as good also. If I know I’m going to be making a dish that stinks, I put a pan of water on the stove to heat up and then add a couple cinnamon sticks and cloves to it. The scent is so nice while I’m cooking and I also use the vent on the microwave for a little extra help. My mom did the same and the house usually smelled wonderful. Thanks for these posts, they are always fun to read.

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  8. To remove baked on stuff from corningware or other similar bakeware, make a stiff paste of baking soda and original blue Dawn. put it on a slightly damp sponge and scrub away. Stumbled on this trick and it literally took off years of blackened residue from near the handles, that nothing else had touched, including steel wool. I use those white scrubber sponges now ( both branded and off brand), but sometimes I’ll still fall back on this recipe when the sponges take too long or too much elbow grease.

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  9. 36 Years!? Wow, I’d say you got your money’s worth from that set. : )
    It’s most certainly the dishwasher in combination with the water quality which will erode the design. Most likely your design is a type of baked-on enamel (glass paint). It’s applied in a thin layer, so even a small amount of abrasion/chemicals/hard water over that many years is the culprit.

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  10. As always a good post! Some I knew, some I didn’t.

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  11. Great hacks, thanks! My favorite new tip is for cleaning cast iron skillets. Instead of washing and re-seasoning every time it’s used, just use salt and oil to clean even the worst stuck-on mess. Sprinkle aabout a half teaspoon each of salt and any cooking oil in the cooled skillet and scrub with a crumpled paper towel. The salt acts as an abrasive and the oil helps keep it seasoned for the next use.

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  12. Love the tip about boiling apple peels to brighten aluminum pots. Cream of tartar can be used too, but it can be expensive and hard to find. Wish you had a tip to get aliminum sheet pans bright again, as they’re too big to boil on the stove.

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  13. These tips really do make being in the kitchen more pleasant and less time consuming.

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