Kitchen Confidence

20 Essential Kitchen Hacks

by • June 11, 2014 27 Comments

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Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: Put away your appliances -- today, we're hacking everything.

Some days are meant for lingering in the kitchen -- for tempering chocolate on a marble slab and listening to the warm crackle of bacon in the skillet.

Other days, we go rogue. We break our rules with abandon and make the most of what’s in our kitchens, right now. There will be no double boilers or heat diffusers to stand in our way -- and if you forgot to bring your butter to room temperature, don’t worry about it. Because tonight, we’re doing it all MacGyver-style -- that is, if MacGyver hacked sous vide machines instead of diffusing bombs with a toothpick. You already have everything you need -- so let’s get cooking. 

• Make the breakfast of champions, like a champion: bake your bacon and get perfectly peeled eggs, every time.

• Finish it off with a fresh juice -- no juicer needed

How to Bake Bacon How to Juice without a Juicer

• Next, prep your fruit. Pit your cherries, sans pitter, and turn your citrus zesting upside down.

• Forgot to stale your bread? Pop it in the oven. While you wait, soften your butter without mercy.

• If you’re working with chocolate, hack your own double boiler -- but if you need it tempered, do it in the microwave

How to stale bread How to temper chocolate in the microwave

• No time for the grocery store? Whip up some makeshift buttermilk with just two ingredients. While it curdles… 

• ...replenish your flour bins with DIY cake and self-rising flours.

How to DIY cake and self-rising flours

• Ready? Let’s cook. Turn your rice cooker into a sous vide machine and hack a steamer for your pork buns. 

• Then, keep it all warm with an improvised heat diffuser

How to Hack a Steamer 

• Do you have a sheet pan? A piece of aluminum foil? You can make a tart pan of any size

• Treat yourself to butter pecan ice cream -- minus the churning -- and s’mores, campfire be damned.

How to Make Butter Pecans 

• Once you’re done cooking, use your pantry items and food scraps to clean up the kitchen. 

• Finally, grab a spoon and crack open a beer -- you deserve it. 

How to open a bottle of beer without a bottle opener

What are your favorite kitchen hacks? Let us know in the comments!

Topics: Weeknight Cooking

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Comments (27)

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2 months ago Karen Terry

I found out one day while making a cake in the food processor, use a funnel to add your dry ingredients as the processor is running. You won't have a mess.

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2 months ago Rosa Lee Gibbons

If you use a canning funnel, the larger opening lets the flour go through faster than a regular funnel. Whether you can or not, you will find so many uses for a canning funnel.

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2 months ago softenbrownsugar

Having several links used to annoy me too, until I just started clicking on all the links with the wheel on my mouse. That opens a new tab each time, and it's so much easier to click on each tab, read the hint (and possibly comments), and then 'X' the tab out. Maybe everyone knows that already, but I just thought I'd throw it out there. :)

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2 months ago CFrance

The fact is, it takes you away from the article and into a new window with each click. You could end up with 20 windows open, if your computer would even handle that.

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2 months ago Bebewatson

Give me a break--- way too clever...ie annoying--just list the damn "hints"

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2 months ago Jessica

I agree that having the information in the article instead of having to click on all the links would be a big improvement!

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2 months ago conservexx

This would be a lot less annoying if they weren't all separate links, ugh

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2 months ago CFrance

Agree!

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2 months ago Sora

Bacon in the oven is thee number one most convenient kitchen hack!! Ever! And to make it even easier, line your pan with aluminum foil. ZERO cleanup and tons of bacony goodness.

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2 months ago CFrance

I counted 19 clicks in this article. Seriously! Why not put everything into one article so one doesn't have to click and click and click. It'll take me days to get through all this what with having other things to do as well. It looks interesting but a lot of going back and forth. Just a suggestion for next time--put it all on one page, please.

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2 months ago Dave's Coffee

Each link goes to an article...they're probably not going to put 20 articles on one page.

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2 months ago CFrance

They could if they took the time.

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about 1 year ago saltandserenity

Love how your brain works Lisa! What a fun article.
My favourite hack is half a lemon dipped into kosher salt to clean my copper pots!

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about 1 year ago Luvtocook

I have three generations' worth of cast iron, inherited as well as bought for myself. The best cleaner for cast iron is Kosher salt: it provides friction for cleaning and leaves no flavored residue, soapy or otherwise.

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about 1 year ago Lisa Siva

We're team Kosher salt, too!

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about 1 year ago Jeanmarie Todd

These look really interesting, but I HATE that they're all individual links and not all on one page. Boo, hiss.

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about 1 year ago Lisa Siva

Thanks for your feedback, Jeanmarie!

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about 1 year ago Jean-Guy Bourgeois

My favourite kitchen hack is getting garlic off your hands without soap by just rubbing them against stainless steel cutlery under cold running water. ... Not theat you always want it off your hands.

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about 1 year ago Lisa Siva

Glad to know I'm not the only one who sometimes enjoys alliums on her hands...

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about 1 year ago Nissrine @ Harmony à la Carte

Love your writing style. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

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about 1 year ago Lisa Siva

Thank you, Nissrine -- you just made my day!

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about 1 year ago Nissrine @ Harmony à la Carte

You had me at MacGayver....used to love watching it.

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about 1 year ago puttakka

I learned from my mother to clean pots and pans (especially cast iron) with coffee grinds. They scrub without scratching and also remove food smells (like eggs, meat, and fish).
I submitted this to Cook's Illustrated, but they were not impressed.

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about 1 year ago Lisa Siva

Genius! I'll have to try that the next time I'm tempted to reach for my steel wool.

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about 1 year ago Nissrine @ Harmony à la Carte

Genius indeed!

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about 1 year ago Janene

Love the sustainability of this and the best part is.... It works no fuss!

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about 1 year ago Kate Selner

Coffee grounds are miraculous. They're good for EVERYTHING!