These are actually really smart.
I’m Hannah, and I write about food for a living, which means I am constantly coming across cooking tips and tricks. Of course, not all food “hacks” are actually worth trying, but every so often I come across an idea that makes me stop and think, “Whoa, that’s actually really smart.” These are some of the most promising cooking hacks I’ve seen lately.
Bread and fry (or air fry) Babybel cheese for a genius new take on mozzarella sticks.
Fry an egg in chili crisp to seriously upgrade your next bowl of instant ramen.
To prevent the bread on your breakfast sandwich from getting soggy due to runny egg, ketchup, or hot sauce, sprinkle shredded cheese onto each slice of bread to create a cheesy crust or barrier. Compile your sandwich so that the crusted bread touches the egg and condiments.
Make crispy pickle chips using only pickles, cheese, and a mini muffin tin. Sprinkle some cheese into each muffin tin cup, add a pickle in each, and cover with more cheese. Bake in the oven at 400°F and pop each pickle chip out with a spoon.
Use grilled, fried, or roasted potatoes in place of your go-to meat in tortillas or fajitas. They taste delicious and hearty, but they’re so much cheaper than meat.
Give a stale loaf of bread a new life by running it under water, then baking it in a warm, 300°F oven for about 10 minutes. The oven steams the stale, soggy bread and makes it as good as new.
Thinly slice your leftover meatloaf thin and pan fry it to develop a nice golden brown crust. The crispy slices make for an epic meatloaf sandwich.
Next time you make tacos, swap out your flour tortillas for Trader Joe’s Taiwanese green onion pancake (or any frozen scallion pancakes from the local market).
Cut a slice of pizza in half and press the two slices together. Stick it in a panini press or on the stove for an outrageously good pizza sandwich.
Combine a box of Hamburger Helper with whatever mixed veggies you have (fresh or frozen) for a cheap, quick, and surprisingly satisfying meal.
For a cheap and easy meal that rivals any takeout, try making Spam fried rice. The ingredients will cost you just a few bucks, and it’s just as tasty as fried rice made with a way more expensive protein.
Switch up your homemade pizza sauce: Tired of marinara? Try pesto, vodka sauce, romesco, or maybe a little bit of everything.
Use frozen taquitos as the base for enchiladas. Just place the taquitos in a baking dish and cover them with your favorite store-bought enchilada sauce, diced tomatoes, and shredded Mexican cheese. Then bake until the cheese begins turning brown.
Put a bit of mayonnaise in your cake, cookie, or brownie batter. Mayo is mostly eggs and oil after all, it’s not so hard to understand why it upgrades your baked goods.
Heat up Trader Joe’s frozen Mandarin orange chicken, but leave out the sauce. Instead, coat it in your favorite sauce, like buffalo sauce, garlic Parmesan, or lemon pepper. They basically turn into amazing boneless wings.
Jazz up boxed mac ‘n’ cheese with a spoonful of cream cheese and mustard (Dijon, whole grain mustard, or even mustard powder). The cream cheese adds, well…creaminess, and the mustard gives it a deeper savory flavor.
Swap your average bread for frozen naan and turn it into the greatest panini or grilled cheese sandwich of all time.
Turn any frozen pizza into deep dish. Thaw it for 20 minutes, drop it into an oiled cast iron skillet, add any toppings, and bake it for an extra 10 minutes
Mix together cinnamon applesauce and half and half in a bowl. This two-ingredient dessert tastes like the chilled filling of apple pie, and you can whip it up in less than a minute.
Adding an extra egg yolk to any cookie recipe will result in softer, fluffier cookies that taste freshly baked even after a few days in the fridge.
For the easiest, laziest lasagna, layer frozen ravioli with tomato sauce and mozzarella and bake it in the oven.
Add a layer of shredded cheese inside hard taco shells and allow it to melt. Not only does the cheese keep the taco shells together, but it also tastes really good.
Upgrade your bagels for breakfast…or dessert, thanks to this TikTok trick. Slice a plain bagel and top each half with cream cheese and cinnamon. Air fry the bagel (or pop it into the toaster) at 400°F for about four minutes until the bagel is golden and the cream cheese looks fluffy. Finally, garnish with a drizzle of honey.
Substitute some of the liquid in your waffle batter with seltzer or another carbonated beverage like Ginger Ale. The result: Seriously fluffy and airy waffles.
Save time on cooking dinner by adding a touch of baking soda to grits or polenta. It cuts the cooking time in half.
Turn basically any canned fruit into a one-ingredient sorbet. Grab something like peaches or pineapple in light syrup. Freeze the contents of the can overnight and in the morning remove the lid and pour any liquid and the frozen fruit into a blender.
Cook eggs in onion rings for perfectly shaped fried eggs ready to be placed right on a burger, toast, or a sandwich.
Instead of making grilled cheese on the stovetop, make it in a a waffle iron. It’s faster, less greasy, and gives you perfect pockets for dunking and sopping up tomato soup.
Instead of cooking your rice in water or even broth, try making it in coconut milk. It adds a little bit of creaminess and fat and it so much tastier.
Sprinkle some garlic powder and Italian seasoning on the outsides of your grilled cheese bread. Boom: you’ve got garlic bread grilled cheese.
Have you tried one of these cooking tricks? How did it work? Or do you have another smart food upgrade others should know about? Tell us in the comments.