10 Smart Ways to Save Time in the Kitchen This Year

updated May 1, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

Shortcuts are great, but only if they produce equally great, if not better, results. From using your microwave to making smart grocery store purchases, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite ways to save time while not sacrificing deliciousness.

The Time-Saving Power of the Microwave

The microwave is an often-unloved kitchen appliance, looked on with suspicion and even dislike. But this ubiquitous appliance is your secret for quick, smart shortcuts to both cooking and cleaning.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

There’s nothing more discouraging than slicing open a lemon for juice only to have it yield a few paltry drops. Here’s how 20 seconds and your microwave can rescue the situation.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Scrambled eggs made in the microwave is a smart, perfectly good alternative to those made on the stovetop. While they might not be as silky and creamy, they make up for it in time-saving convenience.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Ugh. Peeling garlic, especially a whole head, is one of cooking’s least welcomed tasks. The stubborn, sticky cloves; the papery skin sticking to the stubborn, sticky cloves; the scent of garlic lingering underneath your fingernails for days afterwards. This microwave trick helps with all that.

(Image credit: KPG Payless2)

We’ve all read about how yucky the average kitchen sponge is, but how often do we do something about it? Since this little hint takes one minute and rids your sponge of 99 percent of its germs, let’s hope you’re doing this as often as possible!

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

Grocery Store Shortcuts

The grocery store is your key to faster, easier shortcuts in the kitchen.

These four (actually six!) tiny shortcuts from culinary superstar Sara Moulton will have a big impact on your time in the kitchen.

Kitchn editors are just as busy as everyone else, which means they too rely on shortcuts to make dinnertime a little less chaotic. Here are seven really great grocery store items that help save time, from curry paste to boxed chicken broth.

(Image credit: Nattapon B)

Good ol’ Trader Joe’s is always reliable for snacks and pantry staples, but it’s their freezer section that really helps you rule the shortcuts. For instance, have you tried their frozen riced cauliflower yet? Amazing!

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Prep and Ingredient Shortcuts

Teeny yet mighty shortcuts to make you feel like the smartest cook in the kitchen.

We’d all eat more fresh fruit if there was a quicker and easier way to prep it, don’t you think? Well, here are 10 fantastic fruit prep shortcuts to help you bring more fresh fruit into your daily diet.

(Image credit: Olha Afanasieva)

Pre-made curry powder can sometimes be considered too inauthentic for Indian food purists, but Sheela agrees that in a pinch it can be a quick and delicious shortcut for many Indian dishes. Just be sure to find a brand that suits you — they’re not all alike!

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

There’s certainly no shortage of methods for making buttercream, but this one leaves the fussiness at the door. The result is a versatile frosting that is thick and sturdy, meaning it holds its shape piped atop a cupcake and sandwiched between cookies.

Did you learn a quick and easy kitchen shortcut or hack this year?