The other day I was thinking about how lucky we are to have so many time saving tools in our kitchen. Then, I realized that there are many easy hacks I use daily that I’ve never shared with you. These tips can help save time & save money. So, let me share my best 20 kitchen hacks in honor of 2020.
First, let’s take a quick look back. Just 50 years ago, my grandma was still using an agitator type washing machine and putting the clothes through a ringer. We’ve come a long way since then. Who knows what the future will bring, though?
As a newlywed 35 years ago, I only owned a few kitchen appliances. A toaster, coffee maker, and stand mixer (a wedding gift). Now, I have no idea how many kitchen appliances I have. Though I never buy kitchen appliances spur of the moment. I just don’t have the room to store them all.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of cooking short cuts that I use daily. Some were passed on from my grandma. As a homemaker, I picked up tips from Martha Stewart on TV. And, now I learn so much from other bloggers, Instagram, and cooking shows.
My top kitchen hacks are more than just about appliances. These hacks are guaranteed to save your time, save money, and your sanity in the kitchen. After all, they are my own tried and true tips that I use regularly in my own kitchen. So, let’s get to my list!
Top Kitchen Hacks
Cooking Hacks to Save Time
- Never underestimate the power of an ice cube tray! Too many lemons? Juice them and freeze in ice cube trays. Once they’re frozen, keep them in a Ziplock bag in the freezer. Use it for almost expired for coffee creamer, heavy cream, or half-n-half, too. Freeze it in an ice cube tray. Then you can use them in iced coffee and smoothies. Or defrost and use them in recipes and coffee.
- Keep corn starch in your pantry. When mixed with cold water, it is the easiest thickening agent for soups and sauces. It has a long shelf life and lots of non-cooking use, too. And, corn starch even makes flourless brownies!
- Use real butter when cooking or baking for the best results. You just can’t replace the flavor of real butter. If you’re cutting back on saturated fats, mix 1/2 butter with 1/2 olive oil.
- Have a variety of kitchen thermometers on hand. I recommend an instant read thermometer, an oven thermometer, and a wireless food probe thermometer. A thermometer is not only a time saver, but it is also a money saver. Knowing the proper temperature of foods helps avoid over and under cooking. We’ve all burned food because we didn’t know it was done.
- Use parchment paper or silpat liners in your baking sheets. Not only does it promote even cooking, but it makes clean up a breeze.
- Barkeeper’s Friend is an amazing cleaning agent. It’s non-scratch and can be used on a variety of surfaces. I use it to keep any stainless pots and pans looking like new.
- To keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh, throw a couple of lemon ice cubes into it. After running them through the disposal, follow with 1/2 cup of vinegar and then 1/4 cup of baking soda.
- Clean pans with burned on foods quickly and easily. Add 1 Tablespoon of dishwashing liquid (I prefer Dawn for this) to the pot and enough water to cover the burn by 1″. Let simmer 10 minutes and let cool for 10 min. This works for most burns.
- Keep your dishwasher looking and smelling its best by running a empty cleaning cycle with 1 cup vinegar and essential oil drops once a month.
- Oil your wooden cutting boards and kitchen tools monthly. I like using mineral oil or beeswax, as it is longer lasting than cooking oils. To keep your wooden kitchen tools and board looking their best, dry them promptly and never soak them.
Food Prep – Money Saving Hacks
- Order your groceries online! I use the Walmart pick-up service, but if you have small children at home, invest in home delivery. There are so many reasons to do this. You’ll save money by avoiding in-store impulse purchases. And, by looking in the fridge and pantry while making your list you’ll order only what you need. It helps with meal planning. Plus, it is really convenient and time saving.
- Planning your meals makes meal time much easier and smoother. Not to mention that is saves you money. There are so many bloggers and influencers that share meal plans (including me!).
- Invest in a food saver. It is a money saver by letting you buy in bulk and save foods. Since the machine removes the air and seals, foods last longer. It also lets you food prep quicker. Chop leftover fruits and veggies, seal them, and put them in the freezer for later use.
- Follow a cook once, use many times philosophy. One example I learned is to buy a large package of ground beef (4-5 pounds). Sauté it with garlic and onion until it’s just done. Let cool and divide into portions (the food saver is great for this). Use it in pasta sauce, as taco meat, beef stroganoff, and in soups. Do the same with roasted chicken.
- To encourage healthy eating, wash and display fruits and vegetables in containers. Store clear containers with fruits like grapes and berries in the fridge at eye level. It will be the first thing you and the family sees when opening the fridge.
Best Small Kitchen Appliances
- Invest in an Instant Pot or other brand of electronic pressure cooker. The Instant Pot is a multi-function appliance, they have sauté, sous vide, and slow cook functions. It is hands-down my favorite small kitchen appliance.
- I’ll always have a slow cooker or Crock Pot in my kitchen for a few reasons. They’re great to take to potlucks, and if you have to leave it there they are inexpensive to replace. I love throwing everything into the Crock Pot in the morning and having dinner ready at night. They are tried and true, and reliable ways to slow cook.
- A large food processor is a must for any home and family chef. Don’t bother with the fancy ones, you really only need two buttons – on and pulse. I love using the grater for grating a block of cheese. Or making fresh salsa.
- If you are a small family or live alone, an air fryer is a worthy purchase. Did you know that they cook in half the time of an oven? Plus, many of they don’t need to be pre-heated. Almost all foods that are baked or roasted in an oven can use cooked in the air fryer. And, an air fryer circulated the heated air so that they come out crisp and nicely browned.
- If you like making sauces, soups, and protein shakes, get an immersion blender. They’re small stick blenders that can go right into a pot or glass. It’s an often overlooked small appliance, but they take up little space and have endless uses.
Use these top kitchen hacks, and you’ll be working smarter, not harder in the kitchen.
They’ll help save time and money!
Learn more about meal planning here: Meal Planning Tips
I have some weekly meal plans for you: February Meal Plan
Curious about the Instant Pot? Check this out: How to Use the Instant Pot
Here are some Instant Pot hacks and tips: Instant Pot 10 Tips & Hacks