21 Kitchen Tips You’ll Actually Use

Time to get creative in the kitchen with these kitchen hacks and solutions for everyday issues.

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When it comes to cooking and cleaning in your kitchen, the more help, the better! Make things a little easier on yourself by trying out these handy kitchen tips that really work.

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Plastic food containers on a wooden table
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Prevent Food Storage Stains

To protect your containers from tomato-based stains, coat the inside with nonstick cooking spray before adding the leftovers to keep the plastic as good as new.

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Directly Above Shot Of Raw Pasta In Saucepan
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Clean Pasta Breaks

To prevent bits from soaring across your kitchen when you break spaghetti into the pot, first wrap your pasta in a clean dish towel. Bend the towel back and forth to break the noodles, then carefully open the towel and slide the pieces into the boiling water. Avoid these common pasta cooking mistakes.

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Woman taking off lemon peel with zester over table; Shutterstock ID 691820386; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Home
Shutterstock/Africa Studio

Citrus Substitutions

Keep lemon and orange extracts on your pantry shelf to use when you don’t have fresh citrus zest. If your recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of zest, substitute 1/2 teaspoon extract. Make sure to add the extract with the rest of the liquid ingredients in the recipe. Get all of our helpful Test Kitchen tips right here.

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Make-Ahead Marinade

After grocery shopping, repackage boneless, skinless chicken breasts in freezer bags with marinade before you freeze. Then just thaw overnight in the fridge and prepare as desired.  Check out these easy freezer meals that you can make ahead.

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Taste of Home

Recycled Rolls

Save extra crescent rolls from last night’s dinner and reuse them as sweet treats. Lightly spritz with butter-flavored spray or non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle each with sugar and cinnamon and microwave for 15 to 20 seconds. They’re perfect for busy mornings and make delicious treats for brunches.

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Hockey-Puck Burgers
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Enhance Grill Marks

Add a little honey to your marinade or sauce when grilling. The sugar in the honey caramelizes to help create gourmet-looking grill marks. You can even use this trick when cooking foods on the stove! You’ll wish you knew these kitchen hacks way sooner!

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Ice cubes with mint leaves, raspberry and blueberry in glasses, on color wooden background
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Upgrade Ice Cubes

Liven up your libations and freeze a sprig of mint, a bit of lemon or other garnishes in ice cubes. Try experimenting with other types of cubes, too. For example, plunk a cherry in an ice cube tray cup, cover with pink lemonade and freeze. Here’s how to host a virtual party that will definitely lift your spirits.

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Grater and grana padano or parmesan cheese.

Shred Your Own Cheese

You usually pay a premium for pre-grated cheese at the store. Instead, buy blocks, shred in your food processor, then freeze in heavy-duty resealable plastic bags. Then you’ll have shredded cheese at your fingertips whenever you need it. Learn how to freeze just about anything here.

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Oats, rolled oats or oat flakes in wooden bowl and wooden spoon. Top view. Healthy grains, low carb diet food
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Instant Oat Flour

If you find yourself mid-recipe without any oat flour, don’t worry! Simply process some oats in a blender. For 1 cup oat flour, process 1-1/4 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats until finely ground. Take a look at these gluten-free recipes that might call for oat flour.

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strawberry, straw in strawberry, hull a strawberry

Easy Hulled Strawberries

Use the tip of a serrated knife to easily scoop and remove the stem and hull of a strawberry. You can even insert a steel straw through the top of a strawberry to thread the hull and stem off. Get more details on how to remove a strawberry hull with a straw here.

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Cocoa powder in a sieve; Shutterstock ID 1308357037; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOH
Ruslan Mitin/Shutterstock

Cocoa Powder Dusting

When baking chocolate recipes, dust the pan with cocoa instead of flour. The cocoa enhances the chocolate flavor and eliminates the white flour dust!

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10 Genius Uses for a Pizza Cutter
Taste of Home

Pizza Cutter Slicing

Rather than try to cut dough for baked goods free-hand, use a pizza cutter and ruler to make things much easier. Read up on how to cut dessert bars cleanly and easily each time.

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Mess-Free Microwave

To clean the inside of your microwave in a jiffy, place a bowl of water inside and microwave it on high for 2 minutes. This steams up the inside and makes any splatters easy to clean up with a damp cloth.

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Roasted bacon on cutting board. Ingredient used in making Jam Bread or "Pan de Jamon" a Venezuelan Christmas food.
apomares/Getty Images

Bake Bacon

Instead of frying, bake your bacon! Lay strips on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes. Prepared this way, the pan cleans easily, and there are no splatters on your stove-top.

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A pot on a gas cooker (boiling water for cooking); Shutterstock ID 457320730; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOH

Sweet Smelling Kitchens

To get cooking odors out of the kitchen, boil some spices, orange slices and a few cinnamon sticks in water for several minutes. Soon a delicious aroma will fill your kitchen. This is also fun to do around the holidays. Check out these other tips for making every room in your house smell good..

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Oksana Mizina/Shutterstock

Perserve Parsley

To keep fresh parsley in the refrigerator for several weeks, wash the entire bunch in warm water, shake off all excess moisture, wrap in a paper towel and seal in a plastic bag. If you need longer storage time, remove the paper towel and place the sealed bag in the freezer. Then simply break off and crumble the amount of parsley you need for soups, stews and other cooked dishes. Here’s how to store every type of fresh herbs.

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metal measure cup of white flour for baking
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Clean Up Oil Easily

Don’t cry over spilled oil! Just sprinkle a thick layer of flour over the spill. Wait a moment, then just sweep the flour into a dustpan. Take a look at these handy hints for removing hard-to-remove stuff.

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Cup of coffee drying mark in white cup on old wooden background crop
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Clean Cups

To remove coffee or tea stains, wet the cup and sprinkle in some baking soda. Scrub the baking soda around with a cloth, then rinse the cup. Repeat if needed. Or if you want a second strategy, fill the vessel with warm water, drop in two effervescent denture cleaning tablets and by morning, the stains should be gone.

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Three iron pans in different sizes
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Scratch-Free Skillets

When stacking non-stick skillets on cupboard shelves, place a paper plate between each to prevent scratches.

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Looking into a bag of charcoal briquettes
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Fresher Fridge

To keep stale odors from building up in your fridge and freezer, put 1-2 plain charcoal briquettes in a small cup in the back of each appliance. The charcoal absorbs odor well, takes up very little space and doesn’t need to be changed very often.

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aluminum foil tinfoil

Easy Canning Cleanup

To prevent a messy stovetop when canning, cover it with heavy-duty aluminum foil, making holes for the burners. When you’re done canning, simply remove the foil to save yourself a lot of scrubbing! Next, read up on these other canning tips.