Kitchen Hacks You Don't Need

Not all kitchen tricks are created equal. Here are some that are better left undone.

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Not Worth the Trouble

A good hack should add efficiency to your life and with so many "kitchen hacks" out there, it can be hard to determine which ones are ingenious strategies which are just kitchen fails. We’ve tested eight kitchen shortcuts that are better left skipped, so you don’t have to try them yourself.

Hack: Use a blowtorch to open a bottle of wine.

It's plausible: Heating up the air in the neck of bottle will cause pressure to build up, enough to pop the cork — but we wouldn’t recommend this technique. First, who do you know that is more likely to have a kitchen torch lying around than a corkscrew? Second, you'll have to wait for the piping hot bottle to cool down before you can pour yourself a glass.

Hack: Add oil to pasta water to keep noodles from sticking.

This is a false kitchen myth. Agitation (giving your pasta an occasional stir) is the only way to keep your noodles from sticking. Adding oil just makes it slippery, meaning the sauce won’t be absorbed or stick to the strands resulting in a less flavorful dish. No one wants that.

Hack: Keep your ice cream scoopable by sealing the carton in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer.

The theory: A plastic bag will protect the ice cream from the harsh cold, making it easy to scoop right out of the freezer.

The reality: In our test, the insulation had no effect on the texture or softness of the ice cream.

Our advice: Let the carton soften on the counter for 5 minutes or, warm your ice cream scoop in some hot water, dry it off and scoop. It’ll curl just like butter.

Hack: Make grilled cheese in a toaster.

"Turn your toaster on its side" sounds like the beginning of a recipe for disaster. Putting bread topped with cheese in a sideways toaster opens the door to a very real likelihood that all that dripping grease on exposed heating elements will start a fire. Stick with a toaster oven, skillet or panini press (pretty much anything but this method) and your kitchen won’t be marred by the stink of burnt cheese.

Hack: Put a glass of water in the microwave when you heat up day-old pizza to make it crisp.

We knew this would be too good to be true, but we had to try it. Sadly, we ended up with chewy crust. Stick to your oven for leftover pizza. It's more time-consuming, but it's worth it.

Hack: Poke a pin in the shell of an egg to make it easier to peel.

The pin hole is supposed to help separate the egg from its shell, but gently pushing a pin into a dozen eggs is as tedious as it sounds. Instead: Save your older eggs for hard boiling. The whites become less bound to the outer membrane as they age, making them a cinch to peel.

Hack: Peel a mango with a glass.

Yes, you can peel a mango with the side of a glass if the fruit is ripe enough, but mangoes are very slippery and difficult to hold tight so you're likely to end up with a broken glass. Plus, you'll leave a lot of mango goodness attached to the skin. Use a peeler or a paring knife for this task.

Hack: Lay a wooden spoon across the top of a pot to keep it from boiling over.

The idea is that the spoon will pop the bubbles, preventing spillover and giving the cook enough time to turn down the heat. But leave a spoon over a pot of boiling water, and believe us, it will boil over — and warp the spoon. A better idea: Use the spoon to stir the water, which releases heat from the water and prevents it from boiling over.