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"I Learned This Trick From My Mother And Never Stopped Using It": People Are Sharing Family Cooking Tricks The Whole World Should Know About

"I add a small dash of this whenever I want to impress people with my cooking. It's a secret weapon."

There are so many ways to learn how to cook, whether it's watching shows on Food Network or browsing through cookbooks. But it's likely that most of your kitchen knowledge comes from family — the way our parents and grandparents cooked for us when we were growing up are the cooking tricks and tips we'll remember forever.

So I asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell me about a beloved cooking trick or recipe hack that is common in their household. Here are the best tips, along with even more responses from redditors.

1. "If you want to give caramelized onions more depth of flavor and also caramelize them faster in the process, add dry vermouth. Anytime I want to get my onions nice and brown and achieve that amazing, rich flavor, I add a splash of dry vermouth to the pan along with some good butter. It's a game changer."

Caramelized onions in a skillet

2. "When making mashed potatoes, heat the milk or cream so that it is just slightly warm before adding, or you'll shock the mash, making it gummy. My mom taught me this old trick, and it works every time."

Mashing potatoes in a pot

3. "This may sound weird, but leftover pizza tastes best if you run water over the slice and then bake it in the toaster oven. You can refresh a stale loaf of bread by doing the very same thing. I applied the concept to pizza and never looked back."

Two slices of pepperoni pizza with a bite taken out of one, inside a pizza box

4. "To make any frying pan a nonstick skillet, put a little oil into the pan, then add a layer of parchment paper, then add the rest of the fat you're using. Fry as usual. Your delicate fish or whatever you're cooking will slide right out."

Cooking cod on parchment paper in a frying pan

5. "Putting a slice of bread into a plastic container of cookies keeps them soft and chewy. You can also add a slice of bread to a container of brown sugar to keep it from clumping."

A slice of a bread in a container of cookies

6. "Microwave a lemon for a minute before squeezing it. The juice basically falls right out."

Squeezing lemon into a bowl

7. "You can prepare caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms in advance. Freeze them and grab a little bit when you want to add them to recipes. These two ingredients can make a huge difference in terms of taste, and it's so easy when you already have them lying around."

A burger with caramelized onions and mushrooms

8. "Most people use dry red wine in Bolognese sauce, but you can take it a step further by adding a dash of balsamic vinegar. Then let it simmer for at least five hours. It’s divine!"

Spaghetti Bolognese

9. "Always use salted butter when baking (yes, even when the recipe calls for unsalted). It adds greater depth to the recipe and helps to balance out all of the sweet ingredients. I learned this trick from my mother and never stopped using it."

Preparing batter for cake

10. "I use Knorr Chicken Bouillon as a seasoning for pretty much anything. If I'm grilling chicken, I season with all the good stuff, plus chicken bouillon powder. The same goes for pork chops, roast, and beef tips. I swear it just makes everything taste so much more delicious. My holy grail of dry rubs is a blend of kosher salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and onion powder, and chicken bouillon."

Chicken boullion powder in a bowl

11. "We put a little fish sauce into any stew or sauce that needs an umami kick. It's basically anchovies in liquid form."

A bit pot of soup on the stove

12. "My grandma would save butter wrappers in the fridge and use the leftover butter on them for greasing dishes when she baked. I can’t help but stockpile wrappers. It’s really so handy."

Slicing a butter brick with a knife, with arrow pointing to the wrapping foil with text: "Never throw this out!"

13. "Almost every batter my grandmother ever made contained a special ingredient: beer. You don't need anything fancy — just a can of Coors or the like. Whether she was making batter for tempura, pancakes, or even cake, she'd add beer. The beer cooks off, so you never taste it, but it yields the lightest, fluffiest pancakes and the crunchiest tempura. I will put a small dash of beer into my homemade batter whenever I want to impress people with my cooking. It's a secret weapon."

Cooking pancakes in a skillet

14. "I keep a food-safe plastic spray bottle of filtered water in my kitchen and use it for so many things: I use it to add moisture to leftovers I'm heating up in the microwave, for melting cheese on burgers, or for cooking sunny-side up eggs. It's also handy for spraying people who try to pick at my food before it’s ready."

A spray bottle next to a skillet

15. "Keep some Velveeta slices in your fridge. Whenever you have a recipe that needs a little extra depth, throw in a slice. It gives it good texture and that little bit of umami."

Packaged Velveeta slices

16. "I parboil thick pork chops. I use enough water to cover about half the thickness of the chops. Bring the water to a boil, put the chop in, simmer for 12 minutes, then put it in the frying pan and cook over medium-high heat for three minutes per side. This method gives you a crusty exterior with a moist inside. To raise the game, make them 'dirty water' chops: Season the water with garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, MSG, and a good splash of balsamic vinegar."

A pork chop with vegetables

17. "When my wife makes beef stew, she browns the meat first and then deglazes the pan with a few ounces of Guinness Stout before cooking the veggies in the same pan. The Guinness adds a wonderful, rich flavor. And I get to finish off the remainder of the bottle!"

A pot of beef stew

18. "Add a block of Boursin to any cream-based pasta sauces (like Alfredo) or your mashed potatoes."

Creamy tortellini

19. "Lots of people use almond extract to bake, but try adding rose water and vanilla to your angel food cake. It will taste like clouds."

Freshly baked angel food cake on a glass plate

20. "I always keep a bunch of small containers in the freezer with ingredients like diced bell peppers, diced onions, and diced ham. They are great for making a quick omelet on a weekend morning, adding to a pizza, or cooking anything that calls for 'one small onion, diced.'"

Diced onion in a freezer bag

21. "My mother-in-law adds a few tablespoons of instant vanilla pudding powder to the heavy cream for whipped cream. It helps the whipped cream keep its shape when you put leftovers in the fridge."

Whipped cream in a measuring cup

22. "When making a package of quick ramen noodles, add a squeeze of garlic paste and ginger paste (that stuff that comes in a tube) to the water before adding the noodles. It melts away but adds a great taste to the noodles once they're boiled."

A bowl of ramen soup with an egg

23. "When I’m almost out of a condiment (like Dijon mustard), I make a salad dressing using the almost empty condiment jar. Shake vigorously to incorporate what remains of the condiment into the salad dressing."

Mustard jars in the fridge with text "Now it's Dijon vinaigrette"

24. "In my household, we use muffin pans to make cookies — they always come out as perfect circles!"

Chocolate chip muffin cookies

25. "The key to great egg salad is separating the yolks from the egg whites. I smash the yolks with a fork and then add my mayo, mustard, and seasonings, then mix all that together well. I chop up the whites and then gently fold them into the yolk mixture."

A homemade egg salad sandwich

Do you have a great cooking or recipe hack that others should know about? Share it in the comments below or drop it into this Google form.

Note: Some entries have been edited for length and/or clarity.