The 5 Smartest Tricks We Learned from TikTok This Year

published Dec 23, 2020
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Credit: Meghan Splawn

Most people spent this year at home, which meant a whole lot more time cooking and scrolling through social media — and sometimes doing both at once. For many, TikTok was a source of helpful, soothing, and occasionally slightly absurd ideas for how to save time and effort in the kitchen.

In 2020, Kitchn writers worked through some of the coolest, silliest, and most intriguing hacks the app turned up in their feeds. While some of the ideas weren’t as ingenious as we’d hoped, others have found themselves part of our regular kitchen routines. Here, we’ve rounded up the best and brightest ideas from TikTok this year that you can (and should) take into 2021.

1. Make toaster-dillas.

Quesadillas are the perfect quarantine food because they’re just so easy to make. And lucky for us, they got even easier to make with this brilliant trick! After the tortilla gets folded around a slice of cheese into what can only be described as a “cheese wallet,” it slips right into the toaster for cooking. The toaster does a far better job than the human eye at melting the cheese at the same speed it crisps the tortilla, and the end result becomes a hands-off, no-mess snack — without dirtying a single dish.

Read more: I Tried the Popular Toaster-Dilla Hack from TikTok and It Was Awesome

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

2. Whip instant coffee.

This was the year that everyone played around with the magic of whipping instant coffee into airy, cloud-like foam. It just takes water and sugar and a few minutes of your time, and it was just the kind of culinary magic that everyone needed to lift their spirits back in March. And still (again?) need, now, in December.

Read more: I Tried the “Whipped Coffee” Trend Taking Over the Internet. Here’s How It Went.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Drain hot grease — without the mess.

Getting rid of the grease drained from cooking fatty meat is never a pleasant task — you have to wait for it to congeal, it smells, it’s messy. But this smart trick gets it out of your way as soon as possible without making a giant mess: You simply line your sink drain with an aluminum foil cup, then strain the meat into a colander over top. Then you can just close up the foil and throw it out right away, and get back to cooking dinner.

Read more: This Simple Trick for Getting Rid of Hot Grease Will Make You Say “Why Didn’t I Think of That?”

Credit: Ashley Abramson

4. Grate fresh herbs.

Tearing off tiny leaves one by one is one of the most tedious cooking tasks, but there aren’t many alternatives (without adding stems to your soup). But this TikTok trick solves the problem and it uses a tool most people already have in the kitchen: You simply pull the herbs through the cheese grater and voila! Leaves on one side, stems on the other.

Read more: I Tried This Wildly Popular Tip for Prepping Herbs and I’m Honestly Impressed

Credit: Tim Hawley/Getty Images

5. Turn carrots into bacon.

Tabitha Brown, the queen of vegan TikTok, taught us the magic way she turns her carrots into deeply flavorful, incredibly crunchy, surprisingly bacon-like sandwich fillings in 2020 — and we are forever grateful for it. Her secret takes just a few pantry staples (liquid smoke, maple syrup, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and onion powder), carrot strips, and a few minutes in the air fryer.

Read more: This Wildly Popular Recipe Turns Carrots into “Bacon” in Just 10 Minutes

Did you learn any life-changing tips on TikTok this year? Let us know in the comments!