99 Food Hacks You Can't Live Without

Use these tips and tricks to make your time spent in the kitchen easy and efficient.

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Save Time and Money With This Smoothie Hack (2:14)

Take the anxiety and stress out of cooking and preparing meals by using these food hacks in the kitchen. 

1. Use a Cheese Grater to Soften Butter

Most baking recipes call for softened butter as an ingredient, but waiting for butter to soften can take a while. Speed up your baking process by rubbing the butter on a cheese grater to loosen it up.

2. Soften Your Sugar With Marshmallows

Keep your brown sugar soft by tossing a few marshmallows into the sugar bowl. Additionally, if you have sugar that has already hardened, sealing it in an airtight contained with marshmallows will soften it again.

3. Use Dental Floss to Cut Soft Cheese

Soft cheese and breads can be hard to keep intact when cutting. Cut them with precision by using original, unscented, dental floss. Simply cut a piece of dental floss, wrap it around the cheese or bread, and pull until the floss goes through and cuts a slice.

4. Keep Cakes Moist With Bread

If you’re waiting a day before frosting your cake, use a piece of sliced bread to keep your cake soft and moist overnight. All you have to do is place the slice of bread on top of the cake.

5. Make an Ice Cream Sandwich by Slicing a Pint

Making homemade ice cream sandwiches can be easy if you know the right technique. Lay a pint of ice cream on its side and cut one-inch-thick slices through the carton. Place an ice cream slice in between two cookies and peel off the paper carton piece.

6. Stylize Your Lemons With a Peeler

Use a vegetable peeler to make fancy lemons for party drinks. Peel slices of the rind off a whole lemon so the lemon has stripes. Then cut lemons as usual to see the flower design created from the peeling. Throw into homemade lemonade, ice water, or cocktails for a fancy flare.

More: 11 Amazing Uses for Lemons

7. Use a Cupcake Liner to Prevent Sticky Popsicle Hands 

Protect your kids (and yourself) from sticky hands when eating a Popsicle. Punch a hole into a cupcake liner and slide it up the Popsicle stick—that way, as it melts, the Popsicle juice will fall into the liner for easy cleanup.

8. Save Your Coffee With Coffee Ice Cubes

Pour coffee into ice cube trays and freeze. Use your newly made coffee ice cubes instead of regular ones in your iced coffee—that way your coffee won’t get watered down as the ice melts.

More: The Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee

9. Use Nonstick Cooking Spray for Easier Baking

When measuring out sticky ingredients such as honey, syrup, or peanut butter, spray your spoon or measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray. This will ensure that ingredients will slide right off the spoon and into the bowl.

10. Put Garlic in the Microwave for Easier Peeling

Peeling garlic can be a tedious task that can make your hands smell. Pop your cloves into the microwave for 10 seconds for quick and easy peeling.

11. Ripen an Avocado With a Banana

Ripe bananas produce a significant amount of ethylene gas, which helps fruit ripen faster. Put an avocado into a brown paper bag with a ripe banana and let it sit overnight.

12. Freeze Oatmeal in Muffin Tins

Save time during your morning routine by pre-making breakfast. Cook oatmeal and portion it out in muffin tins and then freeze. Grab the amount of oatmeal you want and microwave it at your house or work and add desired toppings for a quick and healthy-portioned breakfast. Get the recipe.

13. Make Healthy Gravy With Your Chicken

Throw chopped vegetables of your choice into the base of the pan when cooking chicken. Once the chicken is cooked, dump the veggies and juices into a food processor and blend for a healthier gravy alternative.

14. Add Vegetables Into Your Sauce

Hide vegetables in spaghetti sauce to get your kids to eat veggies without them knowing. Chop your vegetables of choice and blend in with the sauce to disguise. Meat sauce works best to help hide the flavor and texture.

15. Add Vegetables Into Smoothies

Make your mornings healthier and help yourself eat more vegetables throughout the day by adding veggies to your smoothies. Try blending baby kale, a handful of spinach, or even half an avocado.

More: Dr. Oz's 100 Favorite Smoothies for Weight Loss

16. Boil Water With Your Coffee Machine

If you’re pressed for time and aren’t able to boil water for tea, oatmeal, and other small things, use your single-serve coffee maker. The coffee maker has a button to dispense just hot water, which is helpful when you’re in a time crunch.

17. Use Tongs to Juice a Lemon

If you have trouble squeezing all the juice out of a lemon, use a pair of tongs to help you out. Grip the lemon half with the tongs and squeeze hard to make sure all of the juice gets out.

18. Swap Out Ice Cream for Greek Yogurt

Freeze small portions of Greek yogurt with the fruit of your choice for a healthy indulgence at the end of a long day. Most people can eat at least 300 calories of ice cream in one sitting without knowing it. Control your calories by satisfying your sweet tooth in 180 calories with added protein, vitamins, and nutrients.

19. Turn Cake Batter Into Cookie Dough

Any boxed cake mix can be turned into cookie dough by adding two eggs and a half cup of vegetable oil to the mix. Add chocolate chips to vanilla or walnuts to chocolate for a great batch of cookies.

20. Measure Nuts Perfectly With a Mint Box

Mint boxes are great to use to measure out the perfect portion of nuts. Measure out your one-ounce snack and get your daily dose of healthy fats.

21. Get More Lemon Juice by Using the Microwave

Microwave your lemons (and limes!) for 30 seconds to get more juice out of them. This is a great technique when you need the maximum amount of lemon juice for homemade lemonade, roasted chicken, or a batch of hot tea.

22. Preserve Your Herbs in Ice Cube Trays

If your herbs are going to go bad before you can use them all, freeze them. Fill up ice cube trays with the herb, add a dash of olive oil into each cube, and freeze until you need them.

23. Make Food Healthier With Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a healthy probiotic and high-protein food that can help make your food healthier. Swap out butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, and other high-fat ingredients in popular recipes using this conversion chart.

24. Use a Paper Plate to Prevent Baking Messes

If your mixer usually leaves batter splatters on your shirt, kitchen counter, or wall, use a paper plate to control it. Poke two holes through the paper plate and put the mixers through—this way the splatter will hit the top of the plate before it goes anywhere else.

25. Cut Carbs With Spinach

Using spinach to make pizza crust is a great gluten-free alternative that also helps you cut down your carb and calorie intake. The crust itself is only 63 calories a serving and can be topped with whatever you want—like sauce, cheese, meat, and veggies. Get the recipe here.

More: 6 Delicious and Healthy Veggie Pizza Crusts