Even the best chefs rely on a few sneaky cooking hacks to save time in the kitchen. Why wouldn’t you?! From tips for prepping garlic in a flash to simple ways of levelling up meals, it’s great to have a couple of tricks up your sleeve.

We’ve put together a few of our fave tips to help you speed through your cooking and cut down on your food waste. Check ‘em out!

1. Revive Stale Bread in the Microwave

Let’s face it, the microwave is one of the real heroes of the kitchen. If your bread isn’t looking too fresh, simply wrap it in a clean, slightly damp cloth and pop it in the microwave for 30-40 seconds. The moisture from the cloth will return your bread to hydrated perfection!

2. Make the Most of Ice Cube Trays

There’s no need to throw away leftover pesto, sauces, salsas and even wine! Stick them in ice cube trays and freeze them instead. The next time you’re in a rush, pop a couple of cubes in your pasta or soups, wait for them to defrost and stir through. Waste not, want not!

3. Prep Your Garlic in Next to No Time

Garlic is great in pretty much anything, but it’s such a hassle to prepare. The microwave can help you with that: put the whole unpeeled bulb inside and microwave for 20-30 seconds. The steam will help separate the garlic from its skin so it pops out super easily.  

4. Keep Your Baked Goods Fresh

Just made a batch of gloriously chewy choc chip cookies and can’t quite manage them all at once? Store them in a container along with a slice of white bread. The moisture in the bread will keep ‘em nice and soft! Use the same trick to soften up hard sugar.

5. Get the Juices Flowing

Lemon and lime are a great way to add zing to pasta, stir-fries, meat and fish dishes and even desserts. But sometimes it can be really hard to get that juice out. A top tip? Pop them in the microwave for 15-20 seconds before cutting and it’ll be so much quicker. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

6. Flavour Up Your Butter

Got leftover garlic or herbs hanging around? Beat them into butter along with a generous pinch of salt, then roll in Cling Film to create a sausage shape, twist the ends to secure and chuck it in the freezer. Use your butter to level up risottos, steaks and breads – no need to even defrost!

7. Chop With Confidence

Nobody wants to be chopping on a board that’s slipping around – it’s annoying, not to mention dangerous. Secure your chopping board by popping a damp cloth underneath it, then get going without any unnecessary stress.

8. Dry Out Your Herbs

It’s the trusty microwave again! Dry fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme by placing 4-5 sprigs between a couple of pieces of kitchen towel and chucking ‘em in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. In fact, using a microwave is actually better than drying them out in the oven or hanging them!

9. Save Your Eggs

Ever find yourself with leftover egg whites or yolk? You needn’t let ‘em go to waste. Instead, chuck in a sandwich bag and freeze, then just defrost 6-12 hours before you need them. Use your leftover egg whites in meringues, macaroons and mousses. And the yolks? Try a carbonara or custard. 

Want more cooking hacks and tips? 

Sign up to the Sorted Club: Packs app and boss your midweek meals!