People are sharing their best "secret" cooking tips and tricks that can't be found in cookbooks or on the internet.
"This small tip will save dinner if you're in a pinch."
Cooking is an art form, and reading recipes can only teach you so much. Sometimes all you have to do is test out new techniques and ingredients for yourself. "What is your secret technique that you've never seen in a cookbook or online?" Redditor u/katieasaur wondered. Some of the comments were intriguing, and I'm looking forward to trying them out in my own kitchen.
1. "Make roux in a mug in the microwave when you're in a hurry and need to thicken a sauce quickly. It normally takes less than a minute for it to turn golden and ready to use."
2. Inventive+ phrasing "Seltzer or another carbonated beverage, such as Ginger Ale or sparkling wine, can be used to replace some of the liquid in your waffle batter. The end result is the fluffiest, lightest waffles you've ever had."
3. If you're looking for a "Before blending onions into salsa or placing them on tacos, soak them in lime juice for a few minutes. It eliminates the raw, unpleasant flavor. In any case, the lime gives a pleasant acidity to your cuisine."
4. "Before adding oil or butter, I always start cooking mushrooms in a dry pan for a few minutes to remove some of the moisture. This way, they brown so much better."
5. "When creating pie crust, use frozen flour. Cutting butter into flour is the first step in preparing pie crust. Most recipes call for extremely cold butter that has been cut into little pieces. The butter will stay colder for longer if you freeze the flour you're using."
6. "Freeze butter before using it in baking and grate it using a microplane. It's the simplest way to acquire very fine cold butter chunks that evenly disperse throughout the dough."
7. "Freeze the mixing bowl and pastry cutter while preparing biscuits, cookies, or anything else that requires a flaky dough. It keeps the dough cooler, which improves baking results."
8. "Use your microwave to pickle red onions in around 30 minutes. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the vinegar, a little water, sugar, and salt. After that, toss in the onions. If you want to be fancy, add a few spices. They'll be ready to use by the time your dish is served if you do this at the start of your meal prep."
9. "My granny taught me this trick. She would shape leftover pie dough scraps into small cinnamon rolls, brushing them with butter and a dusting of cinnamon sugar. For a tasty added treat, bake them in the oven. It's like getting two desserts for the price of one."
10. "Excess lemons are frozen intact. Microplane the lemon flesh, peel off any white pith, then microplane the zest. Alternatively, defrost the flesh and consume the juice."
11. "When you add a pinch of baking soda to grits or polenta, the cooking time is decreased in half. It's my go-to dinner-saving technique."
12. Inventive+ phrasing "A garlic press is useful for a lot more than just garlic. It can be used for a variety of chopping and grinding tasks. Try it with anchovies, herbs, coarsely cut peppercorns, cumin seeds, and other ingredients."
13. "I gently mash the banana while it's still inside its peel when I make banana bread. So the banana doesn't break open, I attempt this gently. The banana comes out pre-mashed and free of the nasty strings using this procedure. It's normally so soft that mashing it with a fork isn't necessary. Plus, you'll have one less bowl to clean."
14. "I make a paste by blending mushrooms together, then using the paste to add umami flavor to whatever I'm cooking."
15. "In your mac 'and' cheese, add a little teaspoon of sodium citrate. You won't need Velveeta or American slices, nor will you need a lot of butter. You can use any cheese you like (young or old, soft or hard, any combination of various cheeses) and still obtain a beautiful, creamy texture with a little sodium citrate. Simply warm the sodium citrate until it melts the cheese, and voilà. The texture is similar to packaged macaroni and cheese, but it tastes considerably better and reheats much better."
16. "For a richer, savory flavor, use soy sauce or fish sauce in spaghetti, chili, and soups."
17. "With a whisk, gently incorporate whipped egg whites into pancake batter. It transforms the pancakes into something far better, fluffier, and indulgent."
18. "In an ice cube tray, freeze chopped or minced garlic in olive oil. It's quite useful. You don't have to stop what you're doing to peel and chop garlic when you're in a hurry. Simply drop a cube into whatever dish you're preparing."
19. "After cooking, clean your pans while they are still hot. It makes getting rid of all the food scraps a lot easier. People have expressed concern about 'thermal shock' harming the pans, but I've been doing this for years and all of my pans are in excellent condition. Most scraps peel off noticeably easier with just a little heat. It's also an excellent technique to avoid scrubbing with an abrasive on seasoned pans like cast iron or carbon steel, which can harm the seasoning."
20. "In a skillet, melt some butter, then add the breadcrumbs and cook for a minute or so, taking care not to burn them. It's a great vegetable topping for roasted cauliflower, green beans, and other vegetables..."
21. "When a baking recipe calls for fruit juice (lemon, lime, apple cider, etc. ), I double the amount and decrease it by boiling it down." The boiling juice adds a lot of depth to the flavor.
22. "About a minute before they're done baking, stuff hard taco shells with shredded cheese. It not only holds the taco shells together, but it also tastes fantastic."
23. "I make roux in large batches and portion it out into small silicone molds. I freeze the individual-portioned roux and use it as needed in recipes for gravy, mac 'n' cheese, and béchamel sauce, among other things."
24. "When baking cookies, half of the sugar can be replaced with Jello vanilla pudding powder. It gives them a cake-like interior and keeps them extremely soft for days."
25. "Replace some of the water in any chocolate-y recipe, such as brownies or chocolate cake/cupcakes, with the equivalent amount of freshly made, cooled coffee. The flavor is fantastic, and the coffee truly complements the chocolate."
26. "Instead of milk, use Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur to make French toast. The end result is very excellent."
27. "Instead of breadcrumbs, crush up pig rinds and use them to make homemade chicken tenders or fried pork chops."
28. "Before scrambling eggs or preparing an omelette or quiche, mix in a little mayonnaise. It gives them more volume and makes them lighter and fluffier."
29. "Better than Bouillon paste gives rice, sautéed greens, or even meatballs a nuanced flavor."
30. "My secret spice is taco seasoning (like the El Paso brand in the yellow box), which I use in almost every rub and marinade... even when I'm not preparing Mexican food."
31. "In place of Nilla Wafers, I use Pepperidge Farm Chess Cookies in my banana pudding. You can't notice the difference visually, but the taste is far superior."