Smart Cooking Hacks to Save Time (and Money) in the Kitchen

Everything you need for these quick fixes is already in your cupboards!

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Honey on spoon
Rohane Hamilton /

12 Clever Cooking Hacks

A sweet solution for sticky honey

The next time a recipe calls for honey, start by giving your measuring spoon a very light coating of cooking oil. The sweet, sticky goodness will slide right off.

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Fresh baked cookies on rack
Brent Hofacker /

Keep cookies straight-from-the-oven fresh

You’ve just put cooled, fresh-baked cookies into an airtight container. According to the pros in the Taste of Home Test Kitchen, adding a slice of bread will keep them soft and chewy.

Discover more kitchen hacks that’ll change the way you cook.

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Refrigerator vegetable crisper drawer
JulieK2 /

Upgrade your crisper

Line your fridge’s vegetable-crisper drawers with paper towel: it absorbs excess moisture and keeps produce fresh for longer.

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Slicing vegetables on cutting board
V_L /

A quick fix for a slippery surface

Wrap rubber bands around the ends of your cutting board to stop it from skidding across the counter as you chop.

Find out the cooking mistakes everyone makes (and how to avoid them).

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Bubble wrap in cardboard box
agencies /

Instant insulation

Worried about keeping the refrigerated goods you just bought at the grocery store cool for the drive home? Keep a bit of bubble wrap salvaged from your latest Amazon order in your car. It’s a terrific way to insulate everything from ice cream tubs to pop cans while in transit.

Here are 50 more things you should be repurposing around the house.

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Grilling dinner
RossHelen /

The best BBQ brush

Toss out that old wire BBQ brush and go for a safer—and more savoury—alternative: slice an onion in half and spear its uncut end with a fork. With the BBQ on high, rub the cut end of the onion over the grates. It’ll season the grill while it cleans.

Find out why you should never wrap leftovers in aluminum foil.

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Woman can't open jar of pickles
Alliance Images /

Get a grip

A stuck jar lid is no match for a sheet of sandpaper. Holding the sandpaper with the grit side facing the lid gives you a grip of steel. (You can also place a wide elastic band around the rim, and…voila!)

For more budget-friendly cooking hacks, check out 30 Depression-era tips that are just as relevant today.

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Cooking hacks - holding ripe avocado
New Africa /

Avocados on demand

Tired of playing the waiting game with an avocado that’s hard as a rock? Pop it into a paper bag with a banana: the banana releases a gas called ethylene, which speeds up the ripening process.

Here’s expert advice on how to pick the best fresh fruit.

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Cooking hacks - easy shredded cheese
Robert Stedman Pte Ltd /

Easier shredded cheese

Before shredding cheese, give your cheese grater a hit of cooking spray. It’ll take some of the elbow grease out of the process and make cleanup effortless.

Discover more clever cooking spray hacks you’ll wish you’d known sooner.

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Halved bagel with cream cheese
Sergii Koval /

Do the twist

Put the kibosh on crumbs! Instead of pulling a pre-sliced bagel apart, use a twisting action—the halves will separate cleanly.

Make sure you never do this to your toaster.

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Cooking hacks - kitchen scissors
Dasha Gerasimova /

Scissor sharpener

Don’t throw out that sheet of aluminum foil after you’ve pulled it off the cookie tray. Fold it into a wad several layers thick, then cut it into strips with your kitchen scissors: it’ll actually sharpen the blades as you slice.

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Stack of kitchen sponges
LariBat /

Homemade ice pack

Why spend money on freezer packs when you can make your own reusable version at home? Run a kitchen sponge under the tap until it’s fully saturated, then seal it in a plastic sandwich bag. Place the bag in the freezer, and in the morning, just pack it into your lunch bag.

Check out 13 cleaning hacks that take the hassle out of housekeeping.

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Pizza saver hacks
Anze Furlan /

A nifty “no-touch” tool

Next time you order pizza for a party, don’t toss out the little plastic stand that prevents the pizza box lid from caving in. Instead, use it to anchor the pizza as you pull away your own slice, to help you avoid touching everyone else’s.

If you enjoyed these cooking hacks, be sure to check out our best-ever kitchen organizing ideas.

Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada

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