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40 Kitchen Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

These quick and clever kitchen hacks will save you time, money and effort!

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THGKH19, Damp dishcloth prevents slipping, Kitchen HackTaste of Home

Prevent bowls from slipping

Need an extra hand? Professional chefs will tell you that a damp dish towel under your mixing bowl will keep it from slipping and sliding on your counter as you mix. (This tip works well with a cutting board too!)

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THGKH19, White Bread Slices in Cookie ContainerTaste of Home

An easy kitchen hack to keep cookies soft

To keep cookies and other baked goods soft after baking, add a slice of store-bought white bread to an airtight container. Your cakes, cookies and muffins will keep their day-one softness. Friends and family will think they’re fresh!

Psst—make sure you never store these fresh foods together.

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THGKH19, Parm Cheese Lid on Mason Jar DryTaste of Home

Craft DIY Mason jar shakers

Your bulk spices and baking supplies just got an adorable upgrade. Save the lids from parmesan shakers and gather your small mason jars. Screw the lid on and you’ll have a handy way to sprinkle and measure.

These clever uses for Mason jars are a great way to “green up” your act.

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THGKH19, Using an Apple Slicer to Cut PotatoesTaste of Home

Slice steak fries

Craving those scratch-made potato wedges from your favourite restaurant? The answer is waiting in your kitchen drawer. Cut one end of the potato for stability then push an apple slicer through. Bonus: You can try it with sweet potatoes, too.

Here are the 10 essential kitchen tools every cook should have.

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Cooking - chef's hands preparing vegetable vegetarian stew (thick soup). Kitchen scenery - pot with recipe ingredients around on the grey stone worktop captured from above (top view, flat lay). ; Shutterstock ID 1034866882; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHPinkyone/Shutterstock

Freeze a soup starter

Want garden-fresh flavour year round? Freeze farmers’ market vegetables in resealable bags during peak season. A classic soup starter called a mirepoix is made by combining 2/3 onion with 1/3 carrot and celery. This aromatic blend will give you a sweet, hearty flavour to kickstart soups and broths. Vegetables will last eight to 12 months so you can enjoy the tastes of summer when gloomy, cold weather hits.

Here’s what you need to know about freezing cheese.

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THGKH19, Sheet Pans as TraysTaste of Home

Use sheet pans as trays

Sheet pans: They’re not just for dinner anymore! Use your trusty baking sheet to stay organized while you meal prep. Keeping ingredients in one place helps you stay efficient and expedites cleanup, too.

Need more help getting organized? Here’s expert advice on how to declutter your kitchen, stat.

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THGKH19, Freezing pesto Kitchen HackTaste of Home

Freeze single-serving sauces

Become an upcycling master! Egg cartons are ideal for freezing small portions of homemade sauce. (Especially when you need to use your ice trays for, well, ice—or one of these other genius uses.) Cover and freeze leftover basil and parsley pesto and transfer cubes to a resealable freezer bag. To use, thaw cubes in your fridge for two hours.

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Rose Pink Blush Wine Cocktail with Pomegranate Seeds, Apple Slice and Crushed Ice.Shutterstock / Alp Aksoy

Turn Wine into an Instant Cocktail

Have a group coming over but only one bottle of rosé in the fridge? Offer up some variety by turning wine into a fun, fizzy spritzer cocktail. Simply pour wine over ice and top with sparkling water. Red and white wine work well. Add fresh fruit as a garnish if you’re feeling fancy.

Check out more frozen drink recipes that are perfect for a hot day.

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THGKH19, Kitchen Hack Chilling Wine BottleTaste of Home

Chill wine super fast

Fact: No one likes lukewarm bubbly. Find a tall pitcher about the height of your wine bottle and get cooling. Immerse the bottle in ice water with a small handful of salt and turn every few minutes or so. Your booze will chill in 20 minutes (or less!).

Don’t miss these genius ways to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew.

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THGKH19, Kitchen Hack Keeping Ice Cream Cold on PicnicTaste of Home

Keep ice cream cool

Bubble wrap is a powerful insulator. While on the road, keep your Chunky Monkey from melting by wrapping the pint in plastic bubble wrap. It’ll stay firm for hours.

Here are 50 more things you should be repurposing instead of tossing in the trash.

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Herbed Accordion Dinner RollsTaste of Home

Make frozen rolls seem homemade

Elevate your bread basket by adding a little extra somethin’ to frozen rolls. Thaw, then brush tops with egg wash and dip into your choice of seasoning blends, seeds or cheeses. Be as gentle or generous as you’d like! Bake according to recipe or package directions.

Intimidated by homemade bread? Don’t be! Check out these easy bread recipes anyone can bake.

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peach jam with rubber band labelTaste of Home

Label jars the thrifty way

In a pinch for labels? Just reach for the rubber bands. Wrap ’em around your mason jars and you’ll never mistake salt for sugar again. As an added benefit, they help make jars easy to open.

Need a bit more help getting a stuck jar open? Try this DIY solution!

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THGKH19, Kitchen Hack Storing Natural Peanut Butter Upside DownTaste of Home

Stop stirring peanut butter

Getting tired of mixing the oil back into your natural peanut butter? There’s an easy solution: Store the jar upside-down. When you’re ready to make your favourite dessert, simply turn it right-side up. The oil will try to rise back to the top and the peanut butter will be much easier to stir. Nutty right?

Here are the 10 pantry essentials you should never be without.

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The girl is rubbing Dutch cheese on a graterShutterstock / Semeniaka Aleksandr

Stop cheese from sticking

Grated cheese really makes a difference but it can be a pain to prep. For easy cleanup, use a quick spritz of cooking spray on your cheese grater to keep the cheese from sticking. You’ll never go back to pre-shredded again.

Here are more smart ways to put cooking spray to work.

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THGKH19, Kitchen Hack Ironing Board as Cooling RackTaste of Home

Make a big-batch cooling rack

The ironing board is your new kitchen BFF. It can be used as extra counter space or even a makeshift cooling rack after you remove the cover. Mind blown. Note: Pans, paper liners, parchment or other barriers should be used between the rack and baked goods.

Pressed for time? Check out 30 easy desserts that start with cake mix.

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THGKH19, Canning Tongs Lifting RamekinsTaste of Home

Use canning tongs for hot dishes

It can be tricky to remove ramekins from a hot water bath to cool. Our solution: Use canning tongs. The edges are round and non-slip which makes it easy to lift the ramekin out without risk of splashes.

Check out these genius uses for kitchen tongs all around the house.

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THGKH19, Kitchen Hack Keeping Shrimp ColdTaste of Home

Keep apps cold

Want to serve shrimp or deviled eggs at your next get-together? This clever trick will keep your food cool and photo-worthy. Fill a large bowl with a resealable bag of crushed ice and cover with lettuce leaves. Butterhead works nicely! Place your app on top and you’ll serve food-safe bites all night.

Here’s the super-simple secret that keeps ice cubes from sticking together.

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THGKH19, Kitchen Hack Storing tailgate essentialsTaste of Home

Store picnic essentials

Grab a plastic bin and place it inside a cooler. Fill it with all your picnic needs, so you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Here’s why you should never wrap your leftovers in foil.

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THGKH19, Immersion blender for whipped creamTaste of Home

Make tiny portions of whipped cream

Ever need just a dollop of whipped cream to make your strawberry shortcake shine? Reach for your immersion blender to make a single serving quick. The blender fits neatly into a tumbler or measuring cup, minimizing the mess of larger bowl.

Check out these brilliant ways to hack your kitchen appliances.

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Mom packs a happy note of encouragement with a colorful Bento box lunch packed with healthy fruits, veggies and snacksShutterstock / sherwood

Keep food from mingling

Have picky eaters? Prevent Goldfish from touching peeled fruit by using cupcake liners to organize a lunchbox into separate sections. Jazz it up by using fun colours and patterns on special days.

You’ll wish you knew these brilliant cooking shortcuts sooner!

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THGKH19, Food Processor for Oreo Cookie CrumbsTaste of Home

Flavour up a crumb crust

Have a recipe that calls for a graham cracker or cookie crust? Amp up the flavour by seeking out a specialty flavour cookie at the store.

Here are 50 more cooking secrets pro chefs won’t tell you.

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THGKH19, Hot knife to cut cheesecakeTaste of Home

Plate like a pro

Dip the blade of your sharp knife in hot water to heat it up. Then wipe with a dry towel and cut your cake or cheesecake into nice, tidy slices. Repeat each time for pretty slices with a clean edge.

Looking for a delectable dessert? Here are 20 of our favourite cheesecake recipes.

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THGKH19, Hooks Inside Kitchen CabinetsTaste of Home

Make extra storage space

A well-organized kitchen is a joy to use. Install inexpensive hooks on the inside of your kitchen cabinets to maximize your storage space. Soon potholders, measuring spoons and extra gadgets will find a home!

Find out how to organize your kitchen like Marie Kondo.

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freshly squeezed lemon juice in small bowlShutterstock/Joshua Resnick

Get more juice

Next time you need fresh lemon juice, try this restaurant tip. Microwave a lemon for seven to 10 seconds. Then, roll the lemon back and forth under your palm on the counter. When you squeeze, you’ll get more juice from the lemon with way less effort. Try it with limes, too!

Here are more microwave hacks every cook should know.

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strawberry, straw in strawberry, hull a strawberryTaste of Home

Quickly hull a sStrawberry

Insert a drinking straw (or stainless steel reusable straw) into the tip of the berry and push it through to the other end to quickly remove the stem.

Here’s how long your fresh produce will really last.

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Taste of Home

Give butter an upgrade

What’s the best thing since sliced bread? Flavoured butter. Making it at home is as easy as adding lemon juice and herbs to a softened stick. Want to get really nifty? Mold the flavoured butter into a log shape by laying the softened butter on a square of parchment and shaping is using a ruler as a guiding tool. Twist ends to seal and freeze to use when needed.

Check out these nearly-forgotten ingredients grandma always cooked with.

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Peeled fresh raw carrots on the cutting board.Shutterstock / MicrostockStudio

Add a carrot

Carrots take away the acidity in tomato sauce by adding subtle sweetness. If you find your sauce has gotten too acidic, peel a whole carrot, simmer it with the sauce and remove before serving.

Find out why you need to be cooking your pasta in red wine.

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THGKH19, Melting Butter with WrapperTaste of Home

Try mess-free melting

Ever make a complete mess of your microwave when melting butter? We have. Those days are will melt away after you try this simple hack: Repurpose your butter wrapper as a cover for your microwavable dish—so long as the wrapper itself isn’t metallic or foil, of course. So long, splatter!

You’re not just imagining it: Canadian butter isn’t as soft as it used to be.

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Italian turkey meatloafTaste of Home

Cook tender, juicy meatloaf

We love a hearty meatloaf, but sometimes an all-beef mix can leave you with a coarse, gritty texture. Instead, try a beef-pork mix. Since pork is a fattier meat, the combo has a much softer texture.

Discover 19 simple ways to cook everything faster.

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A white plate filled with shredded chicken on a wooden table beside a plate of buns and jar of gravyTaste of Home

Shred chicken quick

Shredding chicken can be a fiddly task for even the most dexterous cooks. It might even deter you from cooking meals that require it. But did you know you can make fast work of shredding chicken with your stand mixer’s paddle attachment? Simply add your leftover chicken and give it a spin.

Here’s why you should never wash chicken before cooking it.

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Taste of Home

Wrap up no-fuss fish

Cooking fish in parchment is a healthy, mess-free technique that seals in flavour. As you bake the packet, the fish is delicately infused with whatever ingredients you add in.

Make sure you avoid these common mistakes when cooking fish.

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Ginger root sliced on wooden table; Shutterstock ID 127542449grafvision/Shutterstock

Freeze your roots

When you are finished grating fresh ginger, freeze the leftover root in a plastic container or resealable bag. No more shrivelled ginger in the produce drawer!

Check out more genius uses for resealable bags.

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Taste of Home

Make herbs last longer

Nothing’s worse than buying fresh herbs and seeing them wilt the next day. Keep herbs like parsley and cilantro bright with this simple storage tip: Trim the stems and place them in a small glass of water. Then place a plastic bag (like the one you got at the grocer) over top and secure by tying the plastic in a knot or wrapping it with butchers string. Store in the fridge or on the counter for up to two weeks!

These are the foods you’re spoiling by putting in the refrigerator.

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great-grandma's italian meatballs, meatballsTaste of Home

Get old-fashioned flavour with less fat

Meatballs are a mainstay in the kitchen, but Nonna’s recipe isn’t always the best for your health. Drain away any excess fat while baking by placing meatballs on a baking rack. The extra fat drips away, you’ll retain that browned, caramelized exterior you know and love.

You’ll want to try these comforting slow cooker recipes right away!

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10 Genius Uses for a Pizza CutterTaste of Home

Repurpose your pizza cutter

The wheel of a pizza cutter is perfect for cutting herbs in all directions. Bunch them up and wheel back and forth until you’ve reached your desired consistency.

Discover 20+ more simple home hacks to save money.

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Taste of Home

Skip the store-bought broth

Making vegetable broth is as easy as cook, strain and serve. Broth can be covered and refrigerated up to three days or frozen up to six months. Use it in soups or casseroles, rice dishes and other recipes that require broth.

This is the real difference between stock and broth.

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Mom’s Soft Sugar CookiesTaste of Home

Decorate cookies before baking

For bakery-style decorations, place cutouts on the baking sheet. Then fashion the cutter over each cookie as a frame and carefully top with sprinkles or coloured sugar. Bake as you normally would and your cookies are presentable straight from the oven.

Avoid these common mistakes when decorating cookies.

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flour on a kitchen scaleTaste of Home

Save dishwashing time

Ever find yourself using every single measuring cup and spoon in your arsenal? Give your dishwasher a break by measuring ingredients directly into your mixing bowl using a digital scale.

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Apple Slices in Apple Shaped Bowlstickasa/Shutterstock

Rescue a salty soup

Next time you oversalt a soup, toss in a few wedges of raw apple or potato. Simmer for 10 minutes and discard the wedges to get the flavour back to normal.

Here are 25 inspired chicken soup recipes that’ll warm your soul.

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THGKH19, Lazy Susan on CounterTaste of Home

Put your Lazy Susan to work

Next time you’re getting ready to bake, find a spot for all your icings, sugars and sprinkles on your lazy Susan. This hack will result in a fun and organized decorating session without having to dig through the back of the cabinet.

Can’t get enough kitchen hacks? Check out 40 clever kitchen organizing ideas.

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Originally Published on Taste of Home