12 Energy and Time Saving Kitchen Hacks for Effortless Cooking

We love to cook, but we also like to be efficient in our time in the kitchen. I have over 30 years’ experience as a professional recipe developer and am here to share my best kitchen hacks that promise to streamline your cooking process, saving you time, effort, and even a few bucks along the way. 

Grate Your Butter for Perfect Pie Crusts 

Apple pie. Pie crust.
Image credit Jmcanally via Shutterstock.

One of my favorite hacks involves grating frozen sticks of butter directly into your flour mix for effortless blending (I like to use a hand blender). Not only does this method save time, but it also ensures a flakier crust. 

BTW if you are looking for a gluten-free pie crust that rocks, this one is the very best we have ever tried.

Works for Cookies, Too!

Mom and children making cookies.
Image credit iofoto via Shutterstock.

Forget about waiting for butter to soften at room temperature! For cookies, grate butter into your mixing bowl and the butter will soften quickly once it is in tiny shreds. Now you won’t panic when you want to make cookies and realize you only have butter in the freezer.

Freeze Your Cheese for Easy Grating

Hands grating cheese onto pizza.
Image credit Jan Faukner via Shutterstock.

Sticking with the freezer and grating, say goodbye to struggling with semi-soft cheeses like mozzarella! Freezing them beforehand makes grating a breeze. Whether you’re topping a homemade pizza or layering cheese onto a savory casserole, this hack will eliminate the frustration of dealing with soft and sticky cheese. Simply pop your cheese into the freezer for a short while before grating and watch as it effortlessly transforms into perfectly shredded strands.

Craft Your Own “Faux” Buttermilk in a Pinch

Photo credit: Dédé Wilson from FODMAP Everyday®.

No buttermilk in the fridge? No problem! Instead of making a trip to the store, whip up your own “faux” buttermilk using simple ingredients you likely already have on hand. Just mix together milk and a splash of lemon juice or vinegar, and let it sit for a few minutes to curdle slightly. Voila! You now have a perfect substitute for buttermilk, ready to elevate your pancakes, biscuits, or marinades. How about a homemade Ranch Dressing? This one is even lactose-free, starting with lactose-free whole milk.

Revive Hardened Brown Sugar with Simple Tricks

Brown sugar in container with piece of apple. Softening brown sugar.
Image credit Arina P Habich via Shutterstock.

There’s nothing more frustrating than discovering that your brown sugar has turned into a rock-solid mass. But fear not, as we have some simple solutions to bring it back to life! Try placing a few slices of soft bread, a damp paper towel, or even a slice of apple in the container with the hardened sugar. Seal the container and let it sit overnight, allowing the moisture from these items to soften the sugar back to its original texture. Alternatively, a quick zap in the microwave with a sprinkle of water can also work wonders. Put your softened brown sugar to good use in these Salted Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Effortlessly Remove Kernels from Corn Cobs

Photo credit: Dédé Wilson from FODMAP Everyday®.

Tired of kernels bouncing all over the kitchen while you’re trying to prepare fresh corn? Our hack will make this task a breeze. Simply place the corn cob on the center tube of a Bundt pan before slicing off the kernels. The pan will catch the kernels as they fall, keeping your workspace clean and saving you valuable time and effort. Now you’re ready to whip up a batch of delicious corn fritters, or Corn & Shrimp Chowder without the mess!

Streamline Herb Chopping with a Pizza Cutter

Photo credit: Dédé Wilson from FODMAP Everyday®.

Chopping fresh herbs can be a tedious task, but not anymore! Grab a pizza cutter from your drawer and watch as it effortlessly slices through herbs with precision and ease. Whether you’re adding basil to your pasta or garnishing your favorite dish with cilantro, this hack will save you time and ensure uniformly chopped herbs every time. A Pasta Primavera is a perfect vehicle for all your freshly chopped herbs.

Peel Kiwis with Ease Using a Spoon

Peeling kiwis with spoon. Kiwis on plate.
Image credit Nataly23 via Shutterstock.

Peeling kiwis can be a messy and cumbersome task, but not anymore! Say goodbye to sticky fingers and wasted fruit with this ingenious hack. Start by cutting off the ends of the kiwi, then use a spoon to gently slide between the flesh and the skin, circling around the fruit until it’s completely peeled. Now you can enjoy the sweet and tangy goodness of kiwi without the hassle of peeling. We love them in this Green Smoothie.

Easily Hull Strawberries with a Straw

Photo credit: Dédé Wilson from FODMAP Everyday®.

Removing the stems from strawberries can be a tedious and time-consuming task, but not with our clever hack. Grab a sturdy straw and insert it into the tip of the strawberry, then push it through to the other end. Watch as the stem effortlessly pops out, leaving you with perfectly hulled strawberries in seconds. Now you’re ready to enjoy these juicy fruits in your favorite recipes, whether it’s a refreshing strawberry salsa or a decadent dessert. (PS: we know strawberry salsa sounds odd, but trust us, this recipe is amazing).

Maximize Juice Extraction from Citrus Fruits

Woman in kitchen juicing oranges.
Image credit Ground Picture via Shutterstock.

Getting the most juice out of lemons, limes, and oranges is a breeze with this simple hack. Start by microwaving the fruit for a few seconds to help loosen the juices, then roll it firmly on the countertop while applying pressure with your hand. This process helps to break down the membranes inside the fruit, making it easier to extract every last drop of juice. Whether you’re whipping up a tangy salad dressing or squeezing fresh citrus juice for your morning beverage, this hack will ensure maximum flavor with minimal effort. This Citrus Mojo is perfect for poultry and fish.

Master the Art of Avocado Peeling

Avocado chicken quinoa bowl. Salad.
Image credit Elenadesign via Shutterstock.

Peeling avocados can be tricky, especially when they’re ripe and slippery. But with this hack, you’ll be peeling avocados like a pro in no time. Start by slicing the avocado into quarters lengthwise, then peel back the tip of each section of skin and remove it like a banana peel. Now you have perfectly peeled avocado slices ready to be mashed into guacamole or layered onto toast for a delicious and nutritious snack.

Store Natural Peanut Butter Upside Down for Easy Mixing

Photo credit: Dédé Wilson from FODMAP Everyday®.

Natural peanut butter can be a pain to stir, especially when the oil separates and settles on top. But with this simple storage hack, you can say goodbye to messy stirring sessions! Store your jars of natural peanut butter upside down to encourage the oil to distribute evenly throughout the jar. This not only makes mixing easier but also ensures that your peanut butter is perfectly creamy and ready to spread whenever you need it.

PS: We like all kinds of peanut butter and if you are making a sandwich, the choice is yours. When it comes to recipes, however, use the type of peanut butter called for. If it says use “no-stir” style, use it. Try these Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars, which use natural peanut butter.

Revive Stale Bread with a Quick Water Bath

Woman holding round crusty bread.
Image credit ImYanis via Shutterstock.

Don’t let stale bread ruin your meal prep plans. Instead of tossing it in the trash, try this unconventional hack to bring it back to life. Simply run your loaf of crusty bread under a streaming faucet, ensuring that the crust gets thoroughly wet. Then, pop it into a preheated oven and bake until it’s crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. This trick works like magic, revitalizing stale bread and saving you money in the process.

By incorporating these clever kitchen hacks into your culinary repertoire, you’ll not only save time and effort but also elevate your cooking game to new heights. Happy cooking!

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  • Dede Wilson

    Dédé Wilson is a journalist with over 17 cookbooks to her name and is the co-founder and managing partner of the digital media partnership Shift Works Partners LLC, currently publishing through two online media brands, FODMAP Everyday® and The Queen Zone.

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