For a lot of families, the winter months mean one thing: food. Whether it’s cooking food, storing food, or making sure there is enough food in the pantry, the kitchen is the hub of the home during the chilly months.
The good news is there are some handy kitchen hacks to make the winter months go a bit smoother. From thawing out knives to learning crockpot recipes, you’ll be happy to have these winter kitchen hacks up your sleeve this winter season.
Winter? You Must Mean Soup Season!
During the cold winter months, it sometimes feels as though your body will never warm up. Not even after a long hot shower. But if there is one thing that puts warmth back into the bones, it’s a big hot bowl of soup.
Our hack for you: buy and make as much soup as possible. Then portion the soup out into containers to freeze. This way, you’re always stocked up on a homey meal that takes little to no time to thaw out.
Cold Butter, Meet The Cheese Grater
When cold weather hits, it means butter will get a bit colder and hard than usual. And, let’s be honest, anything less than that Country Crock stuff is nearly impossible to spread on a good day, let alone during the winter.
If you find yourself wrestling with butter on toast, or even cutting a slab for a recipe, try this kitchen hack. Grab your cheese grater and go to town on that stick of butter! Your time in the kitchen will be cut in half.
Use An Onion Slicer On Potatoes
Winter-time recipes such as Shepherd’s pie and mashed potatoes can be time-consuming, especially when you don’t have the correct cutting tools. These recipes wouldn’t take half as long if the potatoes didn’t have to be dealt with individually, so why not make life a bit easier with this hack?
Instead of wasting precious time cutting potatoes, grab an onion slicer or chopper. The chore of cutting potatoes will be sliced in half — pun completely intended!
Use A File Organizer To Neatly Stack Baking Sheets
There’s nothing noisier than baking sheets falling out of the cabinet. It’s an unexpected and yet definitely expected loud clang that people don’t need in their lives, especially during the winter months when baking cookies is pretty much a necessity.
So, let’s all bypass the loud kitchen disturbance with this little hack. Instead of trying to shove baking sheets into a cabinet, think about stacking them in a three or four-tired file organizer (kind of like what’d you see in a bakery). Everything will be held in place, and there will be no panic-attack-inducing clatter.
Calling All Adults: Add Hot Cocoa To Happy Hour
A favorite warm winter treat for a lot of kids is hot chocolate. Who are we kidding? It’s a good treat for adults, too. But what if we told you there’s a tiny hack that would make the chocolate drink that much better, especially when five o’clock rolls around?
For a bit more warmth in your hot chocolate, try adding a little bit of red wine to the mixture. Wine pairs very well with chocolate! Adding marshmallows is also encouraged.
Bulk Buy For Holiday Parties
Instead of going to a local grocery store to buy one overly-priced bell pepper, think about getting a Costco or other superstore membership. You’ll be amazed by how much you’ll wind up saving, especially during the holiday months.
Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, you name it, and there will most likely be a large food spread laid out, not to mention yummy desserts. So, save money and buy in bulk! Your wallet will thank you.
Wrap Your Greens In Tin Foil To Keep Them Fresh Longer
The winter months don’t do some produce any favors. And there’s nothing worse than buying some lettuce only to see it’s gone brown a day or two later. Thankfully, there is a little hack that will keep your greens fresh and ready for use during the winter months.
All you’re going to want to do is grab some tin foil and wrap it around your greens. The foil will help the produce retain its moisture, making it, so they don’t brown as quickly.
Freeze Herbs And Spice Up Winter Meals
The winter months aren’t exactly friends with anything green, especially delicate herbs. And while buying herbs for a meal might seem like a waste of money since you most likely throw away a majority, there is a simple hack to save not only your wallet but the quality of the herbs.
Drop the herb of your choice into an ice cube tray, plop some olive oil on top, and freeze! When you’re ready to use the herb, take out a cube and place it on a warm skillet.
Put That Ice Cream Scoop To Good Use
Winter might not be the best time of the year to go out for ice cream. But that doesn’t mean that handy ice cream scoop should sit in a drawer all season collecting dust. There is still a use for the utensil!
An ice cream scoop is a great tool to gut winter squashes. Just cut the squash in half and then go to town on its insides using the scoop. This little hack makes it so getting all of the seeds and strings takes no time at all.
A Crockpot Should Have A Permanent Home On The Counter
One of the best kitchen hacks during the winter months comes in the form of a crockpot. If you don’t own one, just know that the contraption is a complete and utter game-changer when it comes to cooking.
After long days at work, there is no need to fret about dinner when a crockpot is involved. All you have to do is throw the ingredients into the pot, put it on high or low, and set the timer. Easy, no fuss, and a hack worthy of your time.
Meatloaf But Make It A Cupcake
A winter meal staple for a lot of families is good old fashioned meatloaf. But depending on how many people you’re cooking for, this meal can take a bit of time to cook through. So, we’re going to put a bit of a twist on this traditional meal.
You’re going to make your meatloaf recipe but instead of molding it into a loaf, stick it into a cupcake sheet! This will allow the meat to cook faster. Pro tip: make mashed potatoes for “cupcake frosting.”
Adding Sherry To Stew For A Bit Of A Bite
When you’re frozen down to your bones, it’s hard to think of anything, let alone food. But we are here to tell you not everything in the kitchen needs to be cold and hard to create. In fact, stew is a great winter meal that’ll warm you right up!
The best part about stew is that the variations are endless. Try this hack out for size: if you feel like something a bit different, swap out broth or water for a sherry or apple cider. It’ll give the stew a nice bite.
Maple Syrup Taffy Is Tasty And Fun To Make
Maple syrup can be used for more than extra sugar on breakfast foods and in dessert recipes. The sticky concoction can also be used to make a tasty sweet treat! Who knew?
All you’re going to want to do is warm up some maple syrup so it moves more fluidly, and pour it on to some snow! Then, grab some popsicle sticks and roll up the hardened syrup. It’s a great activity for kids. Just make sure the snow is clean!
Meal Prepping Is Key
During the winter months, cooking a different meal every night can begin to lose its thrill, especially when the nights become longer and cooking at five at night feels like eight. So, to keep that New Year’s resolution to eat healthier through to December 31, try meal prepping!
There are so many great recipes online that make meal prepping an easy solution for anyone who would rather spend their time curled up in front of the fireplace instead of in the kitchen.
Use A Wine Bottle As A Rolling Pin
If there is one thing a lot of people look forward to during the winter months, it’s holiday baked goods, particularly cookies. And if you know anything about baking from scratch, sometimes it requires a nifty rolling pin.
Unfortunately, there are only a few reasons why a rolling pin is necessary; so many people don’t have it in their kitchen arsenal. If you’re one of those people, try using an unopened or empty wine bottle!
Peeling And De-Seeding Squash Is A Lot Easier When Nuked
Preparing a butternut squash can be time-consuming. First, you have to cut it in half, then peel it, and then gut it of seeds. If you’ve been through this process before, you know about the time and the sore arm muscles that go along with making squash!
Well, your biceps are about to thank you for this hack. For easy butternut squash preparation, nuke the whole thing in the microwave for two minutes. This won’t cook the squash, but it will make peeling and de-seeding a whole lot easier!
Warm-Up A Cold Knife With Water For Precise Dessert Cutting
A cold and dull knife is probably one of the more difficult things to use in the kitchen, especially if you’re trying to cut something precisely, like a dessert. Instead of risking a few fingers trying to sharpen the utensil, try this kitchen hack out for size.
During the cold winter months, run your knife under some warm water. This way, the blade will slice through a dessert with ease, and it won’t look as though it’s been hacked to death.
Turn The Oven On Low To Keep Food Warm
During the holidays, making a ridiculous amount of food is usually the name of the game. But it’s always hard when the cooking is nearly complete, and the guests have yet to arrive. But when there’s a kitchen, there’s a nifty hack to keep that food warm while you wait around for people to arrive.
Once everything is done cooking, turn your oven on a low setting. Then, pop everything inside. This will keep the food nice and warm without overcooking anything, and your guests will think it’s right out of the oven!
Stock Up And Then Freeze Eggs
For some reason, it seems like eggs are in abundance during the winter months. Whether it’s for pastry-induced breakfasts, desserts, or breading, eggs are frequently used. Unfortunately, that also means they’re bought in bulk and can go bad.
So, instead of wasting eggs, think about using this hack. It might sound strange, but crack some eggs into an ice cube tray to freeze. That way, you can stock up on eggs and won’t have to worry about them spoiling!
Say Goodbye To Canned Cranberry Sauce
During the winter holidays, canned cranberry sauce is an unspoken national favorite among a lot of families. But if the molded canned cran isn’t your cup of tea, try this kitchen hack out for size.
Instead of sliding a molded cranberry concoction out of a can, take out your slow cooker or a stove-top pot. Throw a few cranberries inside, adding water and sugar, and you’ll have a tasty treat that doesn’t look like something in Ripley’s museum.
Make Your House Smell Like Winter Without A Candle
Instead of going out and buying winter-specific candles and smelly sprays, think about using a few simple ingredients to make your house smell like what we would believe a Hallmark movie set smells like.
Grab some cinnamon, cloves, and citrus. Throw everything into a stovetop pot and let your senses take flight as your home begins to smell like winter. Add in some apple cider and red wine for a nice spiced mulled wine treat!
Drink Holders To Optimize Fridge Space
If one thing is certain during the winter season, it’s that if you’re hosting dinner, the refrigerator is about to be all out of open real estate. So, it’s all about optimizing the space available, which means canned drinks need to take up half of what they typically do.
Instead of lining up cans in the fridge, think about getting a specialized drink holder. The holder will open up valuable space while making the fridge look way more organized.
Swap That Black Coffee For An Untraditional Beverage
What better way to warm up during cold winter mornings than a nice cup of hot coffee? It’s tasty, comforting, and gets you moving! That being said, there are other drinks out there that will have you warming up right away.
Instead of reaching for a black coffee with some peppermint mocha creamer, try your hand at a dirty chai latte. It’s festive, untraditional, and, hey, it might even turn out to be your new favorite drink!
Frozen Foods Are Winter Meals’ Best Friends
Frozen foods might get a bad rep outside of frozen fruit for smoothies, but they’re actually the perfect thing to stock up on during winter. Even the Food Network recommends using frozen foods in some winter meal staples.
Instead of cutting fresh veggies, grab frozen bags to use in soups and stews. Not only will your wallet thank you for not buying fresh produce that might go bad, but you’ll notice the frozen veggies are just as good!
Give Rice, Quinoa, And Millet A Fancy New Flavor
Rice, quinoa, and even millet are great bases and sides to many meals. The thing, though, is that those grains can, at times, be a bit bland. And who needs bland-tasting food during the winter months? Answer: no one.
That’s why you should try this kitchen hack out for size. To spice up your rice dishes, cook it in “fancy water,” aka water infused with some tea. Earl Grey or even chai adds a nice depth to the dish.
Lazy Susan For Your Spice Rack
Like the fridge during the holidays, spice racks tend to get very cluttered, resulting in that beloved shaker of red chili flakes getting lost behind the large contained of Morton iodized salt. Have no fear; your food won’t go tasteless much longer.
Instead of removing each spice from the cabinet, think about incorporating a lazy Susan. This way, all you have to do is spin the contraption around to find your spice.
Keep Cheap Storage Containers To Give Away Leftovers
Considering how much food is typically made during the winter months, the terms holiday and feast should literally be synonyms. Either way, if you’re like us, then you probably have a boatload of leftovers after family gatherings that go bad before you’re able to get to them.
Instead of throwing food away, hop over to the dollar store and grab stacks of cheap storage containers. This way, you can send off guests with a nice doggie bag, and your fridge won’t be overly stuffed!
Hang Measuring Cups For Easy Baking
If there’s one thing you want readily available and organized in your kitchen during the winter months, it’s your measuring cups and spoons. Cookies are a critical food group during the colder months, so having measuring utensils in random locations isn’t going to do.
Instead of scrambling around trying to find the tiny 1/4 teaspoon, think about this little DIY project. In one of your cabinets, drill in nails to individually hang your measuring cups and spoons.
Label The Tops Of Your Spices For Easy Identification
Soups, holiday feasts, and even eggnog need a nice dash of spice in their life. But if there is one annoying thing in a kitchen, it’s the organization that typically comes with the multiple spice containers.
Thankfully, there’s an easy hack to make life a bit easier this winter season. Instead of lifting each of the spice jars to read the label, just write the spice name on the lid! Yea, you’ll thank us for this one later.
Quickly Ripen Bananas In The Oven For Bread
When banana bread is on the menu, there is nothing worse than having bananas that aren’t nearly ripe enough. The good news is that with this hack, you won’t be hovering over a brown paper bag praying the banana inside will become ripe enough in a few hours.
Instead, grab some parchment paper and line a baking sheet. Place each banana on the sheet and stick it into the oven. Keep an eye on them, taking the fruit out when the peels are fully black. The bananas will be perfectly ripe!
Getting A Bit Over-Carmalized? Just Add Ice!
When you’re cooking three things at once, it’s easier to forget to turn the burner down on the sautéed vegetables. But there’s an easy and quick hack to stop your onions and peppers from over-caramelizing.
When you see the vegetables in the pan starting to get a little too crispy, throw an ice cube into the mix. Not only will it cool down the pan, but the ice won’t interfere with any flavor and will evaporate by the time dinner is served!
Freeze Extra Cookie Dough
Baking cookies is an essential winter activity, if we’re being real. And if there is one thing that goes hand-in-hand with homemade cookies, it’s a lack of self-control. So, if you’re looking to maybe practice self-control, you’ll love this hack.
After making dough, ball some up and place it on a cookie sheet to freeze. Once the dough is frozen, stick the balls in a bag for later use! Your winter waistline will thank you.
A Lazy Susan In The Fridge To Help Organize Space
If you’ve ever hosted a holiday dinner, then you know that the refrigerator tends to get a little more packed than usual. The issue here is that tiny containers, such as a jar of olives, can get lost behind larger items.
So you don’t lose any of your main ingredients in the dark depths of the fridge, try this winter kitchen hack out for size: a lazy Susan. Putting multiple lazy Susans in your fridge will help reorganize space and make more of it, so those little jars don’t get forgotten!
Boil Your Potatoes Before Roasting
A nice hearty meal during the winter months is roasted potatoes. You can eat them by themself, in a stew, or even as a side dish. The only problem is roasting them can get a bit tricky.
If you find your potatoes a bit hard inside after roasting, try this hack. Before throwing the potatoes in the oven, think about boiling them. The boiling process softens the potatoes’ center perfectly. Then, throw them in the oven for that crispy texture.
Say Goodbye To Deviled Eggs Being A Hassle
Peeling the shell off a hard-boiled egg can get tricky. The shell often likes to stick to the egg, taking away some of the edible portions. While many recipes call for boiling eggs then sticking them into an ice bath, there’s an easier way.
To get the perfect deviled eggs, try suspending the eggs over boiling water, steaming them for around 15 minutes. You’ll be amazed to see how much easier peeling is!
Roasting Veggies Is Quick And Simple
Do you find yourself wanting a lot of flavors added to your vegetables but not a lot of time to season, marinate or prepare? Well, there is an easy and time-saving hack to make your winter meals go that much quicker.
Instead of taking the time to get your veggies ready, chop them up, and let heat do the rest! Heat your oven, with a pan inside, while cutting your vegetables. Once the oven is ready, plop your vegetables down on the already hot pan and watch them caramelize right before your eyes!
Make Your Own Basting Brush
Nothing is more hectic than not having a basting brush when the recipe calls for some basting. Thankfully, there are a few DIY hacks to save you time and money! Trust us; there’s no need to run to the store when you have this hack on standby.
First, you’ll have to cut a solid sheet of parchment paper, then fold it into a tight, multi-layered triangle. Cut one end into strips while leaving the other end alone for the “handle.” Voila! Instant basting brush.
Dry-Erase Kitchen Walls For Recipe Fun
A great winter activity is baking cookies, cakes, muffins; you name it! And what better way to get all of those recipes and baking ideas written down than in list form! That’s why this next hack is great for the kitchen.
If you’re able to, grab some whiteboard paint and section off a tiny part of the kitchen to coat with it. Now, you have a fun way to remember ingredients to buy and recipes to try!
Freeze The Mediocre Wine That’s Been Sitting On The Counter
There always seems to be that one bottle of mediocre wine that lingers around the kitchen way longer than necessary. Instead of throwing it away or regifting it, think about trying this hack out.
Take the wine and pour it into an ice cube tray to freeze. This way, you have frozen wine on-hand to use in specialty pasta sauces or even chill down festive beverages such as sangria and spritzers.
Freeze Kale For Later Use
A great way to save time and money is keeping your greens for as long as possible. But when you buy a huge bunch of kale, it’s hard to finish it before the leaves begin to wilt. Well, in the winter, when the last thing a lot of people want to do is go out into the cold to grocery shop, you’ll be thankful for this hack.
Before the kale wilts, throw some into a freezer-safe ziplock bag. This way, you won’t have to go to the store, and the kale won’t go to waste.