15 of the Internet's Favorite Cooking Hacks That Actually Work

It's smart to be skeptical of a hack — but we tried and tested these in Food Network Kitchen, and they're actually winners. Work them into your everyday routine to upgrade your cooking.

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Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Dice Through a Cooling Rack

Use a cooling rack to quickly dice hard-boiled eggs and avocados for a party-ready Cobb salad. Put the rack over a large bowl. Use a large flat metal spatula to push the food through. Perfect, uniform pieces will emerge!

Find Oven Hot Spots with a Piece of Parchment

Hot spots in your oven translate into singed cookies and undercooked pies, depending on where you place your pan. If you know where your hot spots are, you can then position food to avoid them, or know to rotate your pans regularly throughout cooking.

Here is how to test for hot spots: Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F with a rack set in the center position. Line a large baking sheet with white parchment paper and put in the oven for 20 minutes. The parchment paper will be darker in the areas where your oven has hot spots. (You can also try this with sliced bread! But be prepared to eat a lot of toast afterward.)

Roll Out Dough with a Vodka Bottle

Here's an upgrade on the wine-bottle rolling pin hack: Use a bottle of frozen vodka to make your pie rounds in the summer (or in an overheated holiday kitchen). It keeps the dough cold — which means the butter stays solid, yielding a flakier crust. And a colder crust is less sticky and easier to roll. Roll the dough between pieces of parchment so it doesn’t absorb any condensation on the bottle.

Spray Your Spoon

Spray your measuring spoon with nonstick spray before measuring sticky stuff like honey or syrup — it'll slide right off into your mixing bowl.

Don't Toss Butter Papers

There's good butter left on those! Save the paper that wraps your butter in a bag in the refrigerator. Next time you're baking, wipe them across your pans to grease them.

Decorate a Cake with a Stocking

Finish your cake with bakery-worthy decorations by stretching clean fishnet stockings over the ring of a springform pan or embroidery hoop. Place the stencil over the cake and use a sifter or fine mesh sieve to sprinkle on confectioners' sugar or cocoa powder. Lift off the stencil and voila!

Make a Star Piping Tip with a Zip-Top Bag

Baking pros use metal piping tips in different shapes to make icing flowers, petals and other edible embellishments. You can get a similar effect using a resealable plastic bag. The trick is to reinforce one of the corners with a couple of pieces of cellophane tape. The size and shape of the hole you snip will determine your style of piping. Try this star tip:

1: Place a 2-inch piece of tape diagonally across the corner of the bag so that the tape lays diagonally across the tip. Fold the sides of the tape tightly against the sides of the bag. Flip the bag and repeat this on the back of the same corner.

2: Make a vertical 1/4-inch cut from the tip of the corner of the bag.

3: Open the bag and use your fingers to re-flatten the corner so that the seams of the bag lie on top of each other. Make a second vertical 1/4-inch cut from the tip of the corner directly through the seams.

4: Use the star tip to pipe rosettes!

Shake Off Garlic Peels

Here's a faster way to piece an entire head of garlic (perfect for this chicken recipe!)

1: Break the head into cloves, and place them all in metal bowl (not glass!).

2: Cover with a second bowl and shake vigorously so the cloves knock around.

3: Brush off the garlic skins and reveal perfectly bare cloves!

Slice with Dental Floss

Use unflavored dental floss to cleanly slice goat cheese rounds, divide dough, cut cinnamon rolls, split cake rounds or slice a layered cheesecake so the layers don't get muddied.

Use a Cookie Cutter as a Pancake Mold

It's impossible to be grumpy when you are eating cat-shaped pancakes. Perk up breakfast for family members of every age by using metal cookie cutters (not plastic!) as pancake molds. Here's how:

1: Spray the inside of your cookie cutter with nonstick cooking spray.

2: But it in the pan and add a small pat of butter directly inside the cutter.

3: Fill with a thin (about 1/4-inch) layer of prepared pancake batter.

4: Cook until the batter starts to bubble then use tongs to carefully remove the cookie cutter from around the batter.

5: Flip and cook until the pancake is cooked all the way through.

6: Re-spray the cookie cutter with cooking spray each time you make a pancake.

10. Use Chopsticks to Portion Burgers

Divide up ground beef or turkey into individual patties without having to get your hands dirty. Flattening the meat in a resealable plastic bag and scoring out portions using a chopstick. Cook immediately, or freeze flat so you can easily break off portions as you need them.

Sub-In a Paper Towel for Parchment

No parchment around? Line a greased baking pan with a paper towel instead — it works just as well!

Squeeze Citrus with Tongs

Tongs help you get leverage on that lemon or lime, so you get ever bit of juice out!

Save Paper Towel Tubes for Storing Knives

Store knives and transport them safely by carefully slipping them into paper towel tubes.

Clean Up Fussy Messes with a Lint Roller

The sticky sides of a lint roller are perfect for picking up the spilled sprinkles that always find their way on the floor or dumped out onto the counter during a baking project.

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