Your Favorite 5-Minute Tasks, for the Kitchen and Beyond

March 19, 2018

What can you do with just five minutes? Actually, way more than you think! Introducing Food52 in 5: your cheat sheet for speedy, delicious recipes, fun mini projects, and more.

From tackling one black-hole of a drawer to whipping up the fastest, tastiest scrambled eggs, we’ve spent the past few weeks celebrating all the things you can get done in just five minutes. It may not seem like much time, but a few moments working on little (or big!) endeavors can add up. Often, it just means approaching your time mindfully—but we hardly need to tell you that.

All month long, you’ve also been sharing your own 5-minute tips, tricks, and recipes on our Hotline, in the comments, on Facebook, and on Instagram with #f52in5. Here are just a few of your many great suggestions:

Speedy Prep & Cooking

So many dishes cook in a minute or so (we're looking at you, eggs), but that doesn't stop our community from planing and prepping all sorts of stuff.

  • Community member Jr0717 uses 5 minutes to make pesto with leftover herbs, or toasts nuts and seeds for the week. Just throw in a small pan for a few minutes or onto parchment and into the oven with the rest of the night's fare.
  • Mark Flesher brightens up dinners by zesting lemons and freezing the zest in small Ziploc storage containers. Once frozen, it remains malleable so you can just pinch off however much you need.
  • Angie Tronset has a great suggestion for cold brew with a quick cleanup: Use your french press! "Add the grounds and water and then put the lid on with the plunger all the way up. Once its stewed long enough I plunge the lid down and pour off the coffee - no extra filter needed."
  • One of many 5-minute tasks that community member AntoniaJames shared is a simple way to jazz up the week’s meals: With 5 minutes, “I can easily whisk up not one, but two different simple dressings or sauces. (Since I have the bowl, whisk and most of the primary ingredients out, it's a real time saver to do two!) And yes, I use a bowl and whisk. It may take, oh maybe a minute or two extra, to whisk the fat into it in a stream, instead of just shaking all the ingredients together in a jar, but the dressing is less likely to separate that way.” You can read more of Antonia's 5-minute tips in this helpful list she compiled.
  • Another fun, fast trick? Cookie icing. Cookin’ Kim mixes powdered (confectioners') sugar and water (or a flavorful liquid) to whip up icing that’s thick, thin, glossy, or matte. “It's almost embarrassing how easy and quick it is to make.”
  • Ttrockwood shared an awesome, refreshing 5-minute grapefruit-cucumber smoothie. To make, freeze 1/3 of a red grapefruit, in segments with seeds removed; about 1/4c fresh cilantro; about 1/4 c pineapple chunks; and about 8 cashews in packets ahead of time. When you're ready to use, add the packet contents to a blender, then add a chopped, peeled medium cucumber with a splash of coconut milk, and a tiny pinch of salt.

Lightning-Fast Cleaning

While some people enjoy doing the dishes, others found speedier ways to make make everything sparkling.

  • To expand on our list of homemade cleaning concoctions, Yvonne Duvall suggested a great cleaner for stainless steel: mix cream of tartar and white vinegar into a paste, then rub it with a soft cloth with the grain of the metal. After it dries, rinse with a cloth dampened with vinegar.
  • BerryBaby makes a game of the 5-minute benchmark, challenging herself to see how much she can get done. "I set the timer on the oven and then start moving! Fold kitchen towels, put away clean dishes and feed the backyard birds and change the birdbath water."
  • Some of you skip the elbow grease altogether. Facebook commenter Carol Kosy said she uses her 5 minutes to watch her lovely husband clear up the mess she's made when cooking dinner. (Every cook deserves a break sometimes!)

Little (Much Needed) Boosts

Sometimes, you just need 5 minutes to yourself.

  • Similar to our 5-minute postcard-writing habit, Joy Huang also likes to send unexpected mail to loved ones. "Sometimes if I'm bored I'll scour the web for free samples and have them sent to random friends. I send the embarrassing ones to my brother." What a funny idea!
  • Amy Sarah Often uses 5 minutes to tackle tasks like cleaning the coffee pot for next morning, unloading the dishwasher, or cleaning/trimming vegetables for dinner. But in her words, "sometimes when I truly only have 5 free minutes during a busy day, I find it's better to just...not. A minute to play with the dog, text my kids to check in, or just flip thru the paper is often far more valuable to me than trying to 'accomplish' one more thing." Well said.
  • Many community members shared that their favorite 5-minute kitchen task was opening a bottle of wine and noshing on some cheese and crackers. Sounds like a fantastic idea to us!

What's your favorite 5-minute tip or trick? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.

1 Comment

Danuta G. March 21, 2018
With just five minutes, I would spend my time proof-reading an article I've written, and would suggest you do the same for your poor grammar and millennial double-speak: "...a few moments working on a little (or big!) endeavors..." (ouch!), or "...approaching your time..." (heavy sigh). Plus can we drop that overused "mindful" descriptor...please! There! 5 minutes and I feel like I've accomplished a lot!