27 Cooking Hacks That Require Swapping Just One Single Ingredient

Whether or not you’re someone who enjoys cooking, the hard facts are that we all have to do it pretty much every day for the rest of our lives.

Why not try to do it well, then? Or at least make it taste good, right?

If you’re looking for easy ways to spice up your run-of-the-mill dishes, these 27 hacks should do the trick!

27. It’s gotta be creamy!

“For mac ‘n’ cheese that stays creamy even after it’s been refrigerated, add some cream cheese when you’re making the sauce.

You can’t even taste the cream cheese, but the sauce stays moist and thick instead of being totally absorbed into the pasta.”

26. You gotta love bonus veggies.

“I add pureed or shredded carrots to my tomato sauce. It really cuts the acidity without the extra added sugar. Everyone always raves about my pasta sauce.”

25. You can never go wrong with mayo.

“Add a bit of mayonnaise to your beaten eggs before scrambling them or making an omelet or quiche. It adds volume and makes them light and fluffy.”

24. Cheese popcorn, anyone?

“I use Kraft Macaroni & Cheese packets to season my popcorn. It’s life-changing.”

23. Who else needs to hear this?

“Adding a pinch of baking soda to grits or polenta cuts the cooking time in half. It’s my favorite dinner time-saver.”

22. If you can afford it.

“If you’re making cookies from bagged or boxed mix (like Tollhouse), substitute whatever butter you usually use for Kerrygold butter.

Something about salted Irish butter will take your cookies to the next level.”

21. Never would have come up with this on my own.

“Replace some of the liquid in your waffle batter with seltzer or another carbonated beverage, like ginger ale. It’s the key to the fluffiest, airiest waffles ever.”

20. Salty and sweet is always a win.

“I add a pinch of salt to hot chocolate, and people go crazy for it. But it’s only hot cocoa mix, milk, and salt.

The extra sodium doesn’t make it salty at all. In fact, it somehow brings out more of the chocolate flavor.”

19. Because reheated rice is not the best.

“Place an ice cube on any leftover food you’re microwaving to add moisture while reheating. The ice won’t melt, but it adds steam to your food. It’s especially useful for rice.”

18. Butter is always the secret.

“The secret to incredible tomato sauce is butter. Try putting a decent amount of butter into your red sauce and let it simmer. It will taste so much better, but no one will be able to guess the secret.”

17. I definitely need this in my life.

“Making your own flavored butter is so easy, and it’s the easiest way to upgrade a meal. Just soften a pat of butter and add anything from herbs or garlic to chili pepper.

Shape the butter into a cylinder on waxed paper, roll it up, and freeze it. Whenever you want to use it, just use a warm knife to slice off a portion.

I always have about five different-flavored butters in my freezer on any given day.”

16. This sounds delicious!

“Try adding a touch of horseradish to your mashed potatoes…especially garlic mashed potatoes. It’s a game changer. It adds a ton of flavor without being too noticeable or overpowering.”

15. Anything that helps fish…

 “Add a layer of Greek yogurt or mayonnaise on top of fish fillets like salmon before baking them. It prevents the fish from drying out on the oven, keeping it moist and flaky.”

14. I’m not sure about this one.

“If you want a cheap and easy meal that will blow your mind, toss instant beef-flavored ramen with some peanut butter and sriracha. It’s creamy, savory, spicy, sweet, and totally divine.”

13. Your arteries might not thank you, but…

“Save leftover bacon grease and sauté onions with it, or just use bacon grease instead of olive oil or butter when you’re making anything that could use a little extra flavor boost.”

12. Works like a charm.

“If you’re used to making grilled cheese with butter, try swapping that butter for a light layer of mayonnaise and a sprinkle of garlic salt on the outside of your bread.

It makes for an incredible grilled cheese sandwich.”

11. It’s hard to argue with pesto.

“Instead of frying eggs in olive oil, give them a serious flavor boost by frying them in tablespoon of pesto.”

10. An easy little swap.

“Anytime a recipe calls for water, I always use chicken broth instead. It makes just about anything taste richer, more complex, and better.”

9. Take your pick.

“The trick to life-changing mashed potato gravy: the spice packet from your instant ramen. I make my gravy with butter, flour, water, and a packet of beef or chicken ramen seasoning.”

8. Sounds delicious!

“Add a little bit of soy sauce to your tuna or chicken salad. It gives it that extra salty tanginess. I worked at Jimmy John’s for a while, and that was their secret.

I’ve been making mine this way for 10 years now, and I could never go back.”

7. No one needs the whites.

“I put extra yolks in my scrambled eggs. It makes them so much more decadent. So, for example, if I’m making eggs for two people, I’ll use four whole eggs and two additional egg yolks.”

6. I definitely want cake now.

“I substitute half the sugar I put into boxed cookie, cake, and cupcake mix for a packet of Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding powder. It keeps baked goods super soft and moist for days.”

5. If you can handle it.

“Whenever I’m making something with ground taco meat, I mix in a chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. It gives the meat a smoky heat that really elevates the flavor.”

4. Don’t let them go to waste.

“Most people use overripe bananas for banana bread, but I have another great trick. I freeze the overripe bananas first, then I thaw them when it’s time to bake. Freezing them first somehow makes them taste even sweeter.”

3. One kind of magic.

“A friend of mine learned this trick in culinary school, and now I swear by it. If you’re making something savory and it just seems like it needs something but you’re not sure what, add a bit of mustard.

Yellow mustard or Dijon always does the trick. I don’t know what kind of magic it is, but it totally works.”

2. This one doesn’t sit quite right.

“Crack an egg into your mashed potatoes when they’re almost ready. Forget about cream and butter — the secret to super-creamy mashed potatoes is adding an egg into the mix. (It works for pasta carbonara, so why not for mashed potatoes?)

The heat of the mashed potatoes cooks the egg so it’s safe to eat, but it imparts a delicious richness.”

1. A spoonful of sugar.

 “Add a bit of brown sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup to pretty much any savory stews, soups, sauces, salad dressings, chilis, and marinades.

It helps cut those sour, acidy, bitter flavors and adds another level of deliciousness.”

I’m definitely going to put some of these into practice, how about you?

Let us know in the comments which you plan to try first!