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26 Cooking Hacks Everyone Should Know About

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Hannah Wong / BuzzFeed

We recently asked BuzzFeed Community to tell us about the flavor upgrades they use when cooking. Here are 26 of the best.



1. Give your cookies a kick with a dash of coffee.

@madebyneen / Via

Add a 1 tsp of fresh (not used) coffee grounds to your chocolate chip cookie dough. It brings out more flavor of the chocolate chips without making it taste like coffee.


2. And add a teeny bit of coffee to your spaghetti sauce.

@inthiscrazymugclub / Via

Adding a dash — and I mean a dash — of instant coffee to homemade spaghetti sauce gives it umami that is out of this world! My dad taught me this trick many years ago and I still do it to this day.




3. Heat leftover pizza in a pan for crispy crust.

Reheat pizza in a pan. Put it on medium heat and cook the cheese side first — the grease from the cheese is all you need to make the crust crispy.


Get more hacks for old pizza here.

4. Mix a little cornstarch into your scrambled eggs to make them super creamy.


See other food hacks we tested that actually work here.



5. Lay bacon over parchment paper before baking it to make it extra crispy.

Cook bacon in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes but — here's the trick — on PARCHMENT PAPER. Your bacon will come out perfect and evenly cooked.


Get the full recipe here.

6. And put raw bacon in a cold pan if you're cooking it on the stove.

When cooking bacon, don't lay it in a hot pan! Put the raw bacon in the pan, then turn on the stove. I love to cook, but I honestly didn't know about this until this year, so my bacon always came out overcooked. But now it's perfect!


Read about more foods that you should cook in a cold pan here.



7. Make your grilled cheese extra crispy with mayo.

Slather the outside of your grilled cheese with mayonnaise instead of butter.


8. And stack your sandwiches with mayo on the cheese side.

@dafoodie / Via

Sandwiches always taste better when you spread the mayo on the cheese side and the mustard on the meat side. Every sandwich I make using this rule tastes amazing.




9. Sweeten up your mac 'n' cheese with a can of corn.

@_fat_and_happy_ / Via, @the_persian_foodie / Via

Adding (drained) canned corn to mac 'n' cheese adds a nice sweetness as well as vitamins and nutrients.


10. Slather Greek yogurt on your salmon before cooking to prevent it from drying out.

Whenever I bake salmon, I top it with Greek yogurt first. It's delicious and will prevent the salmon from drying out.


See how to use yogurt to make crunchy breaded salmon here.



11. And heat the baking sheet before cooking salmon on it so that it gets a nice sear without overcooking.

When cooking salmon, I pop a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees while the salmon marinates. When I put the salmon on the hot sheet in the oven, I turn the heat down to 250 or so. The salmon gets beautifully seared on the outside while gently cooking on the inside.


Get a recipe for One-Pan Chili Lime salmon here, and get more easy salmon dinners here.

12. Blend avocados in your smoothies for a creamy texture.

If you are dairy intolerant like me, avocados are a great substitute for yogurt or milk in smoothies. It makes them creamy without adding much flavor.


Get the recipe for this avocado, chocolate, and peanut butter smoothie here and get more awesome smoothie recipes here.



13. And freeze overripe bananas so that you don't need to use ice in your smoothies.

Dara Michalski / Via

When I don’t use bananas fast enough and they turn brown, I cut them in half and peel them and freeze them. Good for making smoothies (so you can bypass the ice) and banana bread!


Get the best way to freeze your bananas here.

14. Add wine to dishes that need an extra kick.

When a dish needs a little something extra, I usually add wine. Fish, chicken, steak, pasta sauces, etc. Makes for amazing flavor when you let it simmer for a long period of time. Low and slow baby!


Learn how to make red wine spaghetti here.



15. Freeze cheese slices for the perfect melt on your cheeseburgers.

@chezza_eats / Via

When making burgers, I like to use frozen cheese slices. It keeps the cheese from melting down into the pan or grill and gives you great coverage.


16. Sift your flour to make fluffy baked goods like muffins. / Via

If you are baking and want light and fluffy baked goods such as donuts and muffins, sift the flour first. It makes a difference.


It also helps mix flour with your other dry ingredients more easily. Learn more about why you should sift your flour here.



17. And throw in an extra yolk for cake-y cookies.

Want soft, fluffy cookies? Add an extra egg yolk to any cookie recipe and you'll have softer cookies that taste like they just came out of the oven for days.


Learn more about how eggs affect your cookies here.

18. Add salt to your oatmeal and sugar to your tomatoes.,

When cooking with tomatoes in whatever form, add a tiny bit of sugar. It really balances out the acidity. Add a pinch of salt to your oatmeal to enhance the flavor.


Learn other tricks for making good oatmeal here and get the recipe for homemade tomato sauce here.



19. And add a bit of chile to your chocolate.


This works best when you actually have to heat the chile, so adding it to your baked goods or hot chocolate is a better bet than including it in homemade ice cream. Read more about which chilies pair well with the kind of chocolate you're cooking with here.

20. Put paprika in everything.

Greentellect_studio / Getty Images

This may sound a little weird but...PAPRIKA! I swear, most times when you taste a dish and feel like it "needs a little something", it's normally paprika. It just ups the flavor of any savory dish!


Learn more about using paprika in dishes here.



21. Use lemon juice to make a prettier, tangier apple pie.

@ofmonstersandgiulia / Via

When making apple pie, I add three tablespoons of lemon juice to the cut apples before I mix them into the filling. It keeps the apples nice and crisp, and stops them from browning. It also gives it a nice tang to go with the sugary filling. Perfect apple pie every time!


22. Add Nutella to your whipped cream for creamier, slightly nuttier flavor than you'd get from chocolate or cocoa.

@lunasavestheday / Via



23. Rinse your rice to remove the starch and improve the flavor.


Rinsing your rice is actually specific to the kind of rice you're cooking with: you want to rinse certain to remove the talc, but you don't want to rinse sticky rice or risotto, both of which are supposed to be, well, stickier. Read more here.

24. And don't rinse your cooked pasta, especially if you're eating it with sauce.

DON'T EVER RINSE PASTA. It removes the wonderful starchy coating that makes your sauces stick to the pasta. Save some pasta water when you're draining and add if the pasta and sauce mixture becomes to sticky too sticky.


While it's definitely true that the starch helps sauce stick to your pasta, you do want to rinse your pasta if you're putting it in a stir fry or making a pasta salad because the starch will make the pasta gummy in these scenarios. Learn more here and get the ~ultimate spaghetti recipe here.



25. Cook your brown butter with fresh basil.

While making brown butter throw chopped basil in. You're left with an amazing butter sauce + crispy, buttery basil!


Get the recipe for browned-butter basil sauce here.

26. Save onion and garlic skins for homemade broths.

Store bones and scraps from vegetables in the freezer — especially onion and garlic skins because they add a rich color and flavor to your broth. When you have enough, you can make bone broth. Soak bones in cold water with vinegar for an hour before cooking, it helps extract more of the minerals.


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