No matter what you call them — baking hacks or baking tips — these kitchen helpers can assist anyone in a pinch, even the pros. Whether it’s a trick that saves time, makes for less effort, or improves a recipe, keeping an arsenal of baking tips handy makes life a little easier.
Even better, these tips can save you money because many times they keep you from buying special tools or gadgets you’ll rarely use. We’ve got hacks that are common sense and light bulb moment ideas you can share with friends and family. If you’re like me, the goal is to bake on a budget. Even during non-holiday times, I always scope out where to buy cheap butter, sugar, and eggs.
1. Ripen bananas quickly by baking them for 40 minutes in a 300-degree oven.
Ready to make banana bread but your bananas aren’t up to speed? Add this to your personal baking hacks. Place unripe bananas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and stick them in a preheated oven. Check bananas after 30 minutes. If they’re black and soft to the touch, they’re ready. Make sure you cool the bananas completely before using them in recipes.
2. Substitute half a ripe mashed banana for an egg as one of the easiest baking hacks when making sweets.
Because the moisture in a banana binds ingredients just as well as an egg, they make a great egg substitute for baking. This goes for whether you’re making pancakes or quick breads. You’ll use half a banana for one egg.
Use our ultimate guide to recipe substitutions next time you bake or cook so you won’t need to hold up your dish.
3. Coat measuring cups and spoons with cooking spray to use every last drop of an ingredient.
Nonstick cooking spray provides a barrier between the measuring cup and the stickiness of the honey. So when you’re ready to pour it, it will release easily.
TIP: Before you read on, be sure to bookmark the Pam coupon page for the latest coupons and deals.
4. Dip cookie cutters in flour before cutting dough to help cookies retain their shape.
When your cookie dough is sticky, it’s time to break out the flour. Sprinkle flour on your countertop or in a bowl. Then dip your cookie cutter in the flour before pressing it into the dough. Use a pastry brush to remove any extra flour from the cut cookie dough.
Related: Check out these genius ways to organize your kitchen.
5. Keep cookies fresh by putting a slice of bread in an airtight container with them.
To keep moist cookies soft and chewy, place cookies and a slice of bread into an air-tight container. White bread is best and should be changed out every other day or so. Use this same baking hack for brown sugar. The bread will absorb the moisture and keep it from getting hard.
6. Use a vegetable peeler to make chocolate curls for garnish.
Believe it or not, chocolate curls are sold in stores. Save your money and break out a vegetable peeler. Glide the peeler against a chocolate bar and use the curls as desired.
7. Proof dough in a low-temperature, preheated oven.
Most of us don’t have proofing drawers like they do on cooking shows. Sure, you can just leave your dough in a warm, non-drafty spot. Or use your oven to help speed up the process. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, then turn it off before sticking your dough in.
Related: Here are some surprising and easy air fryer recipes you must try.
8. Submerge refrigerated eggs in warm water for three minutes to bring them to room temperature.
Fill a bowl with warm water and soak your eggs for three minutes. By the time you get your KitchenAid stand mixer and other ingredients ready, the eggs will be room temperature. No more waiting for thirty minutes.
9. Heat a knife under hot water and dry it off to slice through cakes perfectly.
Even if you’re just cutting a slice for yourself, make the cut pretty and clean. For a quicker setup when slicing for a crowd, fill a tall glass or pitcher with hot water and have a towel nearby. Between cuts, dip the knife in the water, then wipe clean with the towel. Now you don’t have to worry about leftover cake on each new slice. See, baking hacks apply to the finished product, too.
10. Soften butter quickly with a heated glass.
This is my most used and favorite baking hack. Pour boiling water into a heatproof glass to warm it up. Then dump out the water and place it over the stick of butter. The butter will soften within minutes without melting. Now you can stop microwaving your butter and pulling it off as “softened.”
11. Grate frozen butter for easy mixing when making biscuits or pie crust.
To make the best flaky pie crust, first place your butter in its original wrapper into the freezer until very firm. Take a knife and score the wrapper at the tablespoon mark you want to stop at, then remove that portion of the paper. Grate the stick of butter using the large-hole side until you reach the wrapper. Combine the butter flakes as directed in your recipe.
12. Use unflavored dental floss to cut cheesecakes and layered cakes.
No knife, no problem. Use unflavored dental floss for the perfect slice. Simply position it where you want the slice and firmly press it straight down. I suggest wiping the floss clean for each cut.
13. Grind oatmeal in a blender to create homemade oat flour.
In terms of baking hacks, this one is a surefire winner. Pour old-fashioned, steel cut, or quick cooking oats into a blender and pulse on high for about 30 seconds or until the oatmeal becomes the consistency of flour. Oat flour is a great sub for traditional white flour. Look for gluten free oats if you want to keep your blend free from gluten allergies.
14. Run granulated sugar through a blender or food processor as a quick DIY powdered sugar.
I love this quick and simple baking hack when you need frosting fast. Add one cup of granulated sugar and one tablespoon of cornstarch to a blender or food processor. Pulse for two to three minutes or until a powder forms. The result is one cup of powdered sugar.
Related: Cornstarch is on our big list of foods that don’t expire.
15. Stop ingredients from flying out of a mixing bowl by draping a towel over the mixer.
Baking is supposed to be a little messy, right? If you don’t share the same sentiment, add a tea towel over your stand mixer’s bowl to avoid ingredients from flying around. Better yet, don’t fill it too high or divide your batches.
16. Or create a splash guard with an ice cream bucket lid.
Use the lid from a gallon ice cream bucket, and cut from a hole in the center, adjusting the opening based on the size and movement of your mixer’s paddle. When mixing, you may need to hold down the lid. Just throw it in the dishwasher when done.
17. Prevent brown sugar from clumping with marshmallows.
Place brown sugar and a few marshmallows into an airtight container. Replace marshmallows when they harden. As we mentioned above, a slice of white bread will do the trick as well.
18. Convert a paper plate into a hand mixer splash guard.
This tip is similar to the ice cream bucket lid idea. Push the whisk attachments through the paper plate, then attach them to the mixer’s body. Place the plate over the bowl and mix as usual.
19. Turn one big pie into a dozen mini pies with a biscuit cutter.
Spray the inside and outside of a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter with nonstick cooking spray before cutting straight into your ready-made pumpkin pie (HINT: Costco pumpkin pies work really well with this tip). Gently slide the pie out by using a knife or spoon to tap the outside of the cutter. Top mini pies with whipped cream and enjoy!
20. Chill whisk and bowl before you whip heavy cream for fluffier whipped cream.
Place a large bowl (stainless steel or glass) and a whisk or mixer beaters in the refrigerator for 15 – 30 minutes. Refrigerate whipped cream and use within 24 hours for the best flavor and texture (can be gently re-whipped if necessary).
21. Scoop bits of broken eggshell from a bowl with another piece of eggshell.
Shells happen, and this baking hack works. The larger shell will act like a magnet to drag the small shell out. Trust me, I’ve tried using my fingers or a fork — the shell works.
22. Scrub stubborn food from pans with crumpled up foil.
If your scrub brush just isn’t doing the trick, crumple a piece of foil and use it to remove stubborn stains. Dip the foil in soap and warm water like you would with a brush. Don’t try this on nonstick pots and pans.
23. Or clean baking sheets with a baking soda and peroxide paste.
While wearing gloves, put about 1/4 cup of baking soda in a small glass bowl and add just enough hydrogen peroxide to form a paste. Using steel wool or a sponge, rub the paste into your baking pan’s stains. Allow the paste to sit for about 45 minutes before wiping and rinsing clean.