When it comes to food preparation and eating, a lot of times we do things the hard way without realizing there’s an easier way available. It turns out, for most of these food hacks, you only need your hands or a few household products to save time and leave you thinking, “Why didn’t I come up with that?”
So as you’re cooking in the kitchen or eating at the table, keep these 50 clever food hacks in mind.
You want the perfect cake-to-frosting ratio every time, right? Just slice or break the cupcake horizontally and place the bottom on top of the frosting. People might give you strange looks, but trust us, it’s one of our favorite food hacks to date.
Press a straw into the base of the strawberry and push it all the way through to hull the strawberry without having to slice! Now there’s more strawberry to enjoy.
Add olive oil to pasta after draining to keep it from sticking together
Unroll oranges with two simple knife cuts
With this trick, take a sharp knife and cut off the top and bottom of the orange. Now you don’t have to keep sticking your thumb in and creating a mess. Make one slice into the orange, and simply unroll it, and then you have all of your orange wedges intact, ready for snacking.
Having the full fruit is better for you, too—fruit juice is one of the 40 Drinks You Should Never Drink After 40.
Shred meats with a stand mixer
Throw cooked meats into your KitchenAid or another stand mixer with a paddle attachment and give it a whirl. There you have it: shredded pulled pork or chicken in seconds.
Trim veggies and store them in water to keep them crisp
If your celery, asparagus, and other stalk vegetables are looking a little droopy, store them upright in a mason jar (or even a short flower vase) with 1-2 inches of water to keep them fresher, longer.
Make easy hard-shell tacos by adding ingredients to a snack-size bag of chips
Ever heard of a walking taco? Mix up your taco meat and favorite toppings, and pour them into a snack-size bag of Doritos or other tortilla-style chips. Stick a fork in the bag, and you’re good to go.
Use your Keurig for boiled water in a pinch
Use an egg slicer to cut mushrooms, strawberries, and more
If you have an egg slicer handy, it makes slicing veggies and fruits so much easier, especially if you’re prepping for a crowd. When you’re cooking for a group, you need all the food hacks you can get!
Did you know oatmeal is one of the 40 Best-Ever Fat-Burning Foods?
Store your ice cream container in a plastic bag to keep it soft
Bending metal spoons trying to scoop out ice cream? We’ve all been there. Store your ice cream container in a big zippered storage bag to keep it soft enough to scoop. This helps for portioning out your ice cream over a long time.
Use a bottle and a chopstick to easily pit cherries
Find a glass bottle with a narrow-ish opening, and place a cherry on top. Then, take one chopstick and poke it through the cherry. The pit should fall directly into the bottle.
Cut your pints of ice cream into slices to make flawless ice cream sandwiches
Cut hard-boiled eggs easily with a cooling rack
Make hash browns in a waffle iron
You can make just about anything into a waffle, including hash browns. Plus, the waffle iron makes them excellent vessels for cheese, chives, bacon, ketchup, and more.
And in case you were wondering, this is The One Breakfast Food To Eat for a Longer Life.
Add a slice of bread to your container of cookies
If you’re tired of cookies getting crunchy less than a week after baking them, pop a slice of bread in the container or bag with them. Why? The bread keeps the cookies nice and moist! It’s one of the easiest food hacks in the book.
Bake bananas to ripen them quickly
No more waiting around for your bananas to ripen. Put them on a pan and bake them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for around five minutes. They’ll be soft and sweet when you take them out.
Use a large Mason jar for salads and grain bowls
For easy meal prep and transport, add all of your favorite salad ingredients (yes, including your greens and grains) into a large Mason jar.
No juicer? Use heavy-duty tongs to squeeze juice from citrus
When you need more juice than your hands can squeeze, grab the closest pair of durable tongs. Place the fruit in the middle of the tool, and squeeze from both ends.
Swirl hard-boiled eggs in a Tupperware container to remove the shells
Peeling eggshells isn’t a fun task for anyone. For this trick, throw your eggs in a Tupperware together and swirl ’em around. The shells will crack and break off and you’ll have kept the eggs—and your sanity—fully intact.
Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse, too. They’re one of the 40 Foods Nutrition Experts Told Us You Should Be Eating Every Day.
Put whole eggs in a bowl of water to test their freshness
If they float, it’s a no-go. If they sink, they’re fresh.
Burnt cookies? Use a grater to get the burnt bits off
You don’t even have to tell anyone they were burnt in the first place (though the oven smell might give it away). If you’re looking to serve beautiful cookies, this is one of those food hacks you want to have in your back pocket.
Freeze mashed avocado for an instant smoothie upgrade
If your avocados are in their window of ripeness and you don’t have any way of using them, mash them up and put them in an ice cube tray. You can freeze them and pop them into smoothies later for a boost of heart-healthy fat and an instant smoothie thickener.
RELATED: We found the best smoothie recipes for weight loss.
Peel a ripe mango with a glass
There are myriad ways to peel, cut, and slice a mango. But this one may just be the easiest. Simply halve your mango, push the edge of a glass into the flesh, and make a scooping motion. Just make sure your mango is ripe enough.
Use your slow cooker to make French toast
Place your bread at the bottom of the slow cooker, then pour just enough egg mixture to cover the top. Continue layering the bread and egg mixture until you run out, then just turn on your slow cooker and enjoy the heavenly scent.
Open Hershey Kisses from the bottom
Rather than opening from the top and ripping the foil, squeeze the base of the Kiss (the paper usually comes with it) and watch the foil slide right off.
Wrap lettuce around hard taco shells to hold it together
By folding lettuce around the taco shell, you’ll stop the fillings from falling out once the shell cracks. This is the perfect hack for soft-shell haters.
Eat toast topping-side down so that the toppings hit your taste buds first
This totally goes against the grain (ha, ha), but trust us. First, make sure your toppings pass the upside-down test. If so, eat your toast topping-side down so that your tastebuds get the most out of the toast-eating experience.
Remove the stem of the avocado to see if it’s ripe
If you’re unsure about the ripeness of your avocado, pull off the stem at the top. If the inside is green, it’s not ripe yet. If it’s brown, it’s likely overripe. But if it’s yellowish and spotted, it’s the perfect avocado ripeness for your guacamole and avocado toast.
Reheat your pizza in a skillet instead of the microwave
Want to know where to order the best slice from? Here is The Absolute Best Pizza in Every State.
Use a grapefruit spoon to scrape the skin off ginger knobs
Use an ice cube tray to freeze leftover sauces
Didn’t use all of your pesto or bearnaise sauce? No problem. Use an ice cube tray to freeze leftover sauces, herb butters, and more for easy reheating later (and no waste).
Grill fish on a bed of lemon slices
Not only will this give your fish a nice citrusy flavor, but it will keep softer fish from sticking to the grill grates, making for a much more pleasant cleanup.
Use dental floss to cut through soft foods
For foods like cookie dough and gooey desserts, use unflavored dental floss to slice through without getting any leftover residue like you would with a knife. This is the key to perfect slices every time.
Eat your hamburgers upside down for a mess-free meal
Because the top bun is thicker and thus more absorbent, it will hold in any sauces from creating a mess. Plus, it’s just kind of fun.
But you may want to avoid eating that hamburger at night because it’s one of the 17 Foods That Sabotage Your Sleep.
When measuring sticky ingredients, spray the measuring cup first
Tired of scraping and scraping measuring cups and spoons after pouring in honey, nut butters, and syrups? This hack works wonders. You can use cooking spray to keep sticky ingredients from sticking, but running the tools under hot water before measuring also does the trick.
Freeze grapes to use as edible wine coolers
Frozen grapes are delish on their own, especially during the summer, but they can also serve as wine coolers in a pinch. The grapes won’t water down the wine, and once they thaw they’ll be a yummy, boozy treat.
Put almonds in hot water to remove the skins easily
We’re always looking for food hacks that make peeling easier! Once the almonds are soaked, the skins peel right off.
Shuck corn in seconds using a knife and a towel
Wrap a towel around the ear of corn, grab a sharp knife, and slice the bottom part of the ear off. Then, gently squeeze the top of the ear to release the corn from the husk, and watch it slide out! So much easier than the arduous peeling process that we’ve all done.
Make lettuce wraps easily by pushing in the base of the lettuce head
For this hack, tap the surface of the lettuce head on a hard surface, and then press the base in toward the middle of the head. It should break off from the leaves, and once it does, simply pull it out and you’re left with fully formed lettuce wraps.
Defrost meat on an aluminum tray
Aluminum is a heat conductor, so placing meats or anything else that needs to defrost quickly on an aluminum pan could speed up the process! This is probably one of our more brilliant food hacks.
Roll fresh leafy herbs for easy cutting
Basil and mint can be difficult to chop, but if you roll them up and slice them with a sharp knife, you’ll have tiny pieces in seconds.
Turn a baking sheet into a tart pan with a piece of aluminum foil
There’s no need to buy another pan for one dessert, we promise. Just use a regular rimmed baking sheet, measure and fold up a piece of foil as high as the baking sheet, and adjust where the foil is placed based on how big your tart will be.
Make a microwave mug omelette
Eggs in the microwave are better than you might think. Scramble two or three, pour the eggs in a mug, and add your favorite veggies, meats, and cheeses. Microwave for one minute, stir it up, and then microwave for another minute. It’s a perfect weekday breakfast!
You’ll also want to check out these 23 Egg Recipes That Aren’t Boring for more egg inspiration.
Make overnight oats in an almost-empty peanut butter jar to keep from wasting it
The end of the peanut butter jar is always a pain. By making delicious overnight oats in the jar, you don’t waste your precious PB, and you make cleanup easy.
Plus, here are 27 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Eat Peanut Butter.
Use a straw to vacuum-seal freezer bags
Who needs vacuum-sealed bags when you can easily do one of these food hacks? If you need foods stored air-tight, zip the bag closed except for a tiny hole that can fit a straw. Stick the straw partially in the bag and suck the air out, then quickly close the bag completely.
Use a spoon to easily scoop kiwi out of its skin
Similar to the mango trick, grab a knife and cut off both ends of the kiwi. Then press your spoon in between the skin and the fruit and “cut” around the entire edge. Then, push the kiwi through the skin for a perfect treat without the fuzz.
Did you know that kiwi is one of the 21 Surprising Foods That Melt Fat?
Cut your ice cream container as you eat it to prevent freezer burn
If you’re one of the few people that doesn’t eat the entire container of ice cream in one sitting, cut down the cardboard with each serving you eat to avoid freezer burn. The lid will still fit, but it will allow less air into the container.
Freeze fresh-brewed coffee in an ice cube tray for iced coffee that doesn’t get watered down
Slow iced coffee drinkers, rejoice! This hack allows you to drink your coffee as slow as you like without it getting watered down. You’ll also get an extra caffeine boost with it.
Stick a fork in the Oreo filling to dunk with ease
Milky fingers aren’t the most pleasant. With this simple trick, you keep dunking mess-free and you can feel a little more high-class eating your Oreo with silverware. You may want to eat those Oreos in moderation, though, because they’re one of the 30 Foods You Should Never Eat After 30.
For more, check out these 108 most popular sodas ranked by how toxic they are.