11 Time-Saving Kitchen Hacks That Will Change Your Life

You can save a total of two and a half hours by using all these tips. Which ones will you try?

Person cracking an egg into a skilletEmma Kumer - Digital Editorial InternEmma Kumer - Digital Editorial InternEmma Kumer – Digital Editorial Intern

Nobody wants to spend all day in the kitchen. We all have busy lives. And guess what? There’s no reason you have to! Whether you want to make a speedy school lunch or a quick family dinner, here are some foolproof tips to get your cooking done fast.

 

Orange slow cooker and a matching orange recipe bookEmma Kumer - Digital Editorial Intern
Emma Kumer – Digital Editorial Intern

1. Use a Slow Cooker

There’s a reason some cooks call it their best friend (really!). Not only are there a million delicious slow cooker recipes out there, but when you use one, you can toss in your ingredients and go about your day until it’s time to eat. It’s even faster when you prep your ingredients beforehand, so cut soup vegetables or defrost meats and you’ll be able to start the meal in a flash! Just be sure you’re not making any of these common slow cooker mistakes.

Saves: 30 minutes

 

Two blue bowls filled with salads beside an orange plateEmma Kumer - Digital Editorial Intern
Emma Kumer – Digital Editorial Intern

2. Make One Salad to Last All Week

Toss it together on Sunday, then split it up among five airtight containers so you can just grab and go every workday. If you’re worried about Monday’s lettuce wilting by Friday, place a couple paper towels on top of the salad before you put on the lid. The towels will absorb any water lost from the leaves and keep them from getting wet and discolored.

Like this tip? Check out these other tips for meal planning—you’ll have more time than ever before!

Saves: 20 minutes

 

Egg slicer against a blue backgroundEmma Kumer - Digital Editorial Intern
Emma Kumer – Digital Editorial Intern

3. Use an Egg Slicer to Cut Salad Ingredients

It doesn’t take that long to cut veggies with a knife and cutting board, but if you don’t want to go through the trouble of washing those utensils, a simple egg slicer works in a pinch. You can use it to cut loads of ingredients into bite-sized slices, including mushrooms, zucchini, cheese, butter, hot dogs, peeled potatoes, cooked carrots, avocados and pitted olives. If you’re making a fruit salad, reach for bananas, kiwis, strawberries and other soft fruits.

Saves: 5 minutes

Art of a blue bowl being opened to reveal a salad insideEmma Kumer - Digital Editorial Intern
Emma Kumer – Digital Editorial Intern

4. Make Too Much Food

Unless you have a seriously small kitchen (we’ve been there), it’s a smart idea to make leftovers. Then you have lunch (or dinner!) for the next couple days ready to go—especially slick if you have a lot of mouths to feed. If you make an extreme abundance, store extras in your freezer. Check this list to see surprising things you can freeze.

Tired of eating the same food all the time? Your leftovers don’t have to taste identical night after night. See our guide for turning yesterday’s dinner into today’s brand-new meal!

Saves: 30 minutes

Trying to remove a sticker from a can with a hair dryerEmma Kumer - Digital Editorial Intern
Emma Kumer – Digital Editorial Intern

5. Don’t Waste Time Removing Stickers

We’ve all heard it’s efficient and eco-friendly to reuse our glass jars in the kitchen, but it can be irritating when those darn stickers are so hard to peel off! Luckily there’s a much faster way to do it. If you haven’t started peeling yet, grab a hair dryer and blast the jar with warm air for about 30 seconds. The sticker should peel off more easily.

Saves: 2 minutes

An open ice cream container inside of a sealable plastic bagEmma Kumer - Digital Editorial Intern
Emma Kumer – Digital Editorial Intern

6. Stop Waiting for the Ice Cream to Soften

If your typical dessert night starts with pulling out the ice cream, then waiting 15 minutes for it to thaw to a scoopable temperature, toss those lost minutes aside. Keep a pint of ice cream in a zip-top freezer bag and it will stay as soft as it was on day one. Finally…creamy scoops that won’t break an arm! Do I hear ice cream floats?

Saves: 15 minutes

Person cracking an egg into a skilletEmma Kumer - Digital Editorial InternEmma Kumer - Digital Editorial Intern
Emma Kumer – Digital Editorial Intern

7. Stop Chasing Eggshell Around the Pan

When you crack an egg only to see a mischievous little chunk of the shell drop into your food, don’t spend the next two minutes chasing it around the dish. Instead, run your finger under the tap for a second and dip into the mixture to pull the shell out. Using a hot pan? Skip the finger burn and dip the edge of the intact shell instead. It will attract the small piece more easily, although you still might be stuck trying to coax it away from your eggs for a moment.

Saves: 1 minute

Hand around a glass jar with garlic insideEmma Kumer - Digital Editorial Intern
Emma Kumer – Digital Editorial Intern

8. Peel Garlic in a Flash

Peeling garlic can be an arduous process, but it doesn’t have to be. Separate a head of garlic and place in a jar with a lid, then shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. The garlic cloves practically peel themselves, and you can discard the husks and begin to work right away.

Saves: 4 minutes

Juice being poured into an ice cube trayEmma Kumer - Digital Editorial Intern
Emma Kumer – Digital Editorial Intern

9. Make Time-saving Cubes in Advance

Ice cube trays aren’t just for ice. By freezing a few easy ingredients, you can save yourself tons of time later. Put some of your favorite herbs and olive oil in tray compartments to cook potatoes, vegetables or chicken on another day. Pour extra wine into the tray so you can use it for flavoring sauces. Stash small slices of citrus with water to use as infused cubes whenever you’re feeling fancy. (If you haven’t heard, infused water is all the rage.) Pour in the last few drops from the coffeepot to make cubes that won’t water down your cold brew! It might not seem like much, but when these run out, you’ll wish you’d made more.

Saves: 15 minutes

Cabinet filled with neatly stacked bottlesEmma Kumer - Digital Editorial Intern
Emma Kumer – Digital Editorial Intern

10. Make Your Cabinets as Efficient as You Are

Tired of digging around for that little-used jar of ground cardamom or bottle of grapeseed oil? Invest in a small Lazy Susan you can spin around to locate items so you don’t have to go cabinet spelunking. It’s just one of the many genius ways to use a Lazy Susan in your kitchen. For more brilliant storage ideas, see what else our staff recommends.

Saves: 5 minutes

Person running their finger over an open recipe bookEmma Kumer - Digital Editorial Intern
Emma Kumer – Digital Editorial Intern

11. Don’t Follow Pointless Recipe Instructions

Wait, you don’t have to measure your pasta water, defrost your vegetables, or sift your flour!? Discover all the other recipe instructions you really don’t have to follow.

Saves: 15 minutes

With so many time-saving kitchen hacks under your belt, you should be ready to whip up your fastest meals ever. What are you going to do with all that extra time?

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