38 Pro Tips for Every At-Home Chef

Whether you're cooking or baking, these tips will help bring your kitchen and food to the next level.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,

14. Say Yes to Yogurt
Coating your meat in yogurt may sound odd, but one taste of the cooked result will convince you otherwise. Yogurt is an amazing tenderizer! Use plain, unstrained yogurt combined with the usual marinade suspects (garlic, lemon, herbs).

15. Prep Amazing Roasted Chicken
The number-one secret to crispy cooked chicken skin is starting with dry skin. Start by patting the chicken dry with paper towels. Then set your hair dryer to high and treat your chicken pieces to the heat for about 2 minutes, or until they appear dry. Now you’re ready to roast! This technique works for turkey and duck as well.

16. Soften or Melt Chocolate
Need to soften chocolate a bit for easier shavings, or melt just a small amount for decorating or a single-serving treat? Turn to your hair dryer—it’s easier to monitor your progress than melting in your microwave. It works to soften butter, too!

17. Help Cakes Release
Simply direct heat from the hair dryer to the sides of your pan to help a cake glide out. This tip works especially well for cheesecakes.

18. Separate Frozen Foods
Fruits, veggies, and even pieces of meat can freeze into a clump, making it difficult to portion out only what you need for tonight’s dinner or your morning fruit smoothie. A quick blast from a hair dryer can help you pull them apart.

19. Ease Ice Cream Scooping
Household can’t wait for an ice cream treat? A blast of warm air from your hair dryer can soften ice cream as well as your microwave but with less mess.

20. Speed-Dry Tall Containers 
Want to dry out the bottom of water bottles or vases quicker? Grab your hair dryer to help clear out the last of the moisture.

21. Give Your Sponge a Tidy Home
Even dryer attachments can help in the kitchen! A lot of us have no need for the add-on diffuser attachment that comes with many hair dryers. But it’s the perfect shape and size to hold a kitchen sponge in its spikes when not in use and drying.

Baking Magic

Make It Easy

22. Create More Counter Space Instantly
If your kitchen isn’t as big as you’d like it to be, you’re not alone. You may especially long for more space when you’re baking. Where do you put all those cookie sheets as you’re scooping out dough? A simple solution that doesn’t require a kitchen renovation: Pull out a few kitchen cabinet or island drawers. It’s a quick way to create more temporary space upon which to rest sheets.

23. Muffin Pan Hack
Sometimes a muffin or cupcake recipe makes more than one pan but not quite two. Or maybe you’ve run out of muffin pans. You can create individual muffin pans by placing paper liners inside the rings of mason jar lids. Set them on a baking pan or tray to make them easy to lift in and out of the oven.

24. Never Buy Cupcake Liners Again
It’s easy to make your own! Just cut parchment paper into 5-inch squares, then mold each one around the bottom of a container that fits inside your pan’s muffin cups. A juice glass or small can may work well. Sandwich the paper between the muffin cup and the container. Press the glass or jar down into the tin to flatten the liner’s bottom.


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