32 Best Cooking & Baking Tips

by Kathy Strahs on April 27, 2010 · 4 comments

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I had a strong feeling there was a wealth of cooking and baking knowledge among the Cooking On the Side community – that hunch sure was right! I recently asked readers to share on Facebook the best cooking or baking tips they’d learned in the past year. You’ll want to read through the entire list – they came back with some really helpful nuggets, many of which I’d never tried before. Many thanks to everyone who contributed!

Do you have more cooking or baking tips? Feel free to share them in the comments.

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  1. “The best tip I learned last year was to put plastic wrap in measuring cups before measuring out shortening. It made cleanup SO easy!” – Danielle P
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  3. [Chill] cookies in the fridge before baking them. They always stay nice and thick and chewy!” – Julie S.
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  5. “[I learned to add] a tsp. of lemon juice to my chocolate chip cookies to make them chewier – and to brown the butter first.” – Lisa M.
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  7. Breadcrumbs add a great texture to pasta dishes while also making them look fancier!” – Cassandre P.
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  9. [Sneak] those broccoli and veggies into the mac and cheese bake dishes. Great for my 2 year old and also healthier.” – Pragna R.
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  11. “I have chickens and getting boiled eggs out of the shell from fresh eggs is a pain. Now I crack the eggs slightly before I boil them. Shell comes right off.” – Mindy A.
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  13. If you forget to grease your baking pan place a damp cloth beneath it for a few minutes then the baked item can be removed easily.” – Pragna R.
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  15. “A great kitchen knife makes all the difference, and can bring new joy into your cooking” – Victoria K.
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  17. Spray Pam in measuring cups before pouring honey or molasses, that way, it comes out easily.” – France P.
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  19. “Everything works better when stirred with a wooden spoon! :)” – Jena L.
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  21. “My best tip was to dry the scallops COMPLETELY before searing!” – Kim L.
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  23. “[I] buy frozen lemon juice and then keep it on hand in the fridge to use when I’m out of fresh lemons.” – Lanan A.
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  25. “My best tip was how to make buttermilk using milk and vinegar (or lemon)” – Doreen F.
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  27. Freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays to use in upcoming recipes” – Paula Z.
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  29. “The one about using dry salt only to clean cast iron pans. I was always skeptical but it works great and leaves the pan perfect for the next use.” – Kelly K.
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  31. Parchment paper is wonderful! And freezing just about anything so I don’t have to continually buy new because they’ve gone bad before I could use it up.” – Jennifer R.
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  33. “I learned that you can help prevent the brownies from falling in the middle by taking a knife along the outer edge when it is cooling….who knew! And it works well with my egg bake as well.” – Karen W.
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  35. “Putting a baking stone in the oven helps it maintain even heat.” – Jennifer K.
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  37. “Using a melon baller to make the perfect cookie dough scoops!” – Susan S.
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  39. Pressing tofu between two plates and a weight to drain before cutting it for stir-fy. Gets the water out and makes for nice crispy tofu.” –  Anu C.
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  41. “I think the best tip I learned was probably that you can cut x’s in a shirt box to transport cupcakes safely. Got that from Real Simple magazine.” – Judith F.
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  43. Store your fresh herbs or asparagus standing up in a glass with just a bit of water in it. Helps it stay fresh longer!” – Sheri P.
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  45. Putting salsa in a strainer to remove the excess liquid and then putting the salsa right in with the cheese when I make my George Foreman grill quesadillas.” – Iris H.
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  47. Use 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar for each two cups of sugar as a substitute for corn syrup. The cream of tartar prevents the crystallization of the sugar.” – Libby B.
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  49. Use an apron!!! I never wore one and always ended up with splatters on my clothes. I had to learn the hard way to wear an apron while cooking.” – Nancy W.
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  51. “When baking chocolate cake, it’s done when there are still a few crumbs stuck to the toothpick, not when the toothpick “comes clean”. This prevents the chocolate from overcooking and tasting bitter.” – Susan H.
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  53. Soak gelatin in water at room temperature for a few minutes and then heat and dissolve before using in recipe, helps it mix evenly, no lumps, no strings” – Maria V.
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  55. “Salt is an integral part of sweets. Sprinkle a tiny pinch of salt on top of chocolate cake/cupcakes before baking and watch the flavors explode.” – Russell L.
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  57. Freeze leftover broth in ice cube trays for easy adding to soups next time.” – Cassee O.
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  59. “When I make soup recipes or spaghetti sauce, I always freeze extras in qt plastic containers with screw on lids. We can always have a quick home-cooked meal on busy days when I don’t feel like cooking. Add a salad and bread, and you’re good to go! Just remember to label and date them!” – Amy M.
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  61. Use a baggie instead of a pastry bag to decorate cakes etc. So easy!” – Mary C.
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  63. For very lean cuts of pork it’s best to use a wet cooking method (slow cooker, dutch oven with liquid, pressure cooker).” – Daniel S.

See the Recipe Index for all the recipes on Cooking On the Side.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessie @ simplysifted April 27, 2010 at 10:36 AM

I love baking tips! Thank you so much for sharing these. The one about putting a damp cloth under a pan to get a cake out – awesome! I’ll definitely try that soon.
.-= Jessie @ simplysifted´s last blog ..Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting (by the way it’s vegan) =-.


susan from food blogga April 27, 2010 at 1:52 PM

These are fabulous, Kathy! I have never heard of adding lemon juice to CCC, and I love baking cookies!


susan marie April 27, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Thanks for sharing my tip, and I really enjoyed reading all the others!


Amy April 27, 2010 at 8:15 PM

Awesome post, Kathy.


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