36 People Share Their Most Cherished Cooking Secrets

“Whenever I bake something with chocolate, like brownies, I always add a little bit of coffee. It makes all the difference.”

“My husband says he doesn’t like much garlic. I ALWAYS use a hefty amount in my cooking. He loves it. I just don’t tell him. And he often says “it smells so good in here!” Yeah, I just added the garlic to the pan…”

“I add salt to hot chocolate. It somehow makes it more chocolate-y Everyone always says my hot chocolate is the best, but I just use prepackaged with milk and a dash of salt.”


“I begged my grandmother for her banana pudding recipe and now people beg me to make it. It’s the recipe from the back of the Nilla wafer box.”

“I’d never tell anybody how much fresh garlic I put in n anything.. Garlic is actually crack and I can’t get enough.

Also I don’t tell people when I use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayo in some things. I feel like it grosses people out to think there’s probiotics in the mashed potatoes or the pasta salad lol”

“That reminds me of some woman who posted a couple years ago about running a successful wedding cake business and being afraid someone would catch her buying carts full of cake mix at the grocery store”


“Always brown the butter. No one ever takes the time to brown the butter”

“When making banana bread, I use overripe bananas, which I freeze and then thaw when it’s time to bake. I read somewhere that freezing bananas make them sweeter. Try it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

“I use jello vanilla pudding powder in all my cookies. It keeps them super soft for days and gives them almost a cake interior. Shhhh…”

“I add mashed anchovies or anchovies paste to my salad dressings, pasta sauces, and gravy. No one can identify the taste and everyone loves it!”

“When making homemade mac ‘n’ cheese, I season with a secret ingredient — mustard powder.”

“I use a little almond extract in all my baked goods (especially French toast) and a little espresso powder in anything chocolate.”

“Squeeze a lemon in your pot of chicken soup. Adds a nice brightness.”

“I use smoked paprika a lot and people lose their minds over my cooking.”

“Something I usually don’t share–I make really great burgers, but my secret is I don’t do much to them. I use a good quality ground chuck with 20% fat and I keep the meat very cold and handle it as little as possible and don’t salt it except for the outside right before cooking, and I make a divot in the middle to keep the patty from swelling. Perfect, juice burgers every time, very little work.”

“I worked in a high-end restaurant that was well-known for its cheesecake. It was just cream cheese and marshmallow fluff blended together, then placed in store-bought graham cracker crusts.”

“My salsa

Its just big can of whole toamotes, big sweet onion cut into fourths, one jalapeno with seeds cut up, cilantro and lime juice everyhting into a food processor for aobut 30ish secs add dash of salt at the end.

Everyone thinks is so good which it is but i keep telling them its so easy but they dont think it is lol”

“I tell everyone, but citric acid in bread dough. Making it a bit acidic makes the yeast go nuts and even “heavy” breads rise more than you’d expect. You could use lemon juice or vinegar I suppose but citric acid (in granules) is easy to find (Indian section of supermarkets, or “gourmet” store), and will hang out happily in your cupboard forever.”

“Brown sugar is the superior sugar.”

“My snickerdoodle recipe. People love them. They are chunks of Pillsbury sugar cookie dough, rolled in cinnamon and sugar. Stupid easy. I will never tell.”

“Stop using corn starch or flour to thicken stew. Grab a pouch of instant mashed potatoes (I use Idahoan buttery herb or roasted garlic flavor). Add that, stir it in, and thank me later.”

“I add pickle juice to tuna or chicken salad. Gives it just the right amount of tartness.”

“Half sour cream, half greek yogurt for tzatziki – so much richer.”

“Instead of milk, I use full fat vanilla or plain yogurt in my bathing mixture for French toast. It turns out perfectly every time.”

“I’ve never been the type to have a secret like this, but if people knew how much cinnamon I used they might have questions. I add it to a lot of dishes to add some earthiness and depth, but not in amounts where you can actually taste cinnamon.”

“I worked at Jimmy John’s and they had us use a little soy sauce in the tuna salad. I’ve been making it that way ever since.”

“If I boil dry beans to rehydrate and cook them, I’ll throw in a marrow bone at the very beginning. The beans soak up the fat and have a luxurious, creamy texture.”

“I add a dash of cinnamon sugar into any red meat dish or red sauce. Or tomato soup for that matter.”

“Try putting a decent amount of butter in a red sauce. It will taste twice as good and no one will be able to guess the secret.”

“I buy Costco cashew clusters and use the crumbs at the bottom of the bag as part of my flour when making cookies. People always go crazy for them.”

“My wife came back from Norway in love with a MAGIC spice we searched for everywhere. It’s MSG.”

“I make my potato salad for most family gatherings and there’s a few secrets:

Onions are often argued about with potato salad, but a quarter of one that’s minced til it’s basically water (or grated I guess) is what I use and no one is ever any the wiser. That plus the chives garnish makes it delicious even to people who hate onions.

Use huge potato chunks and over cook them, so that when you mix they disintegrate a bit into the mayo and stuff, and you’re left with now-regular sized chunks. Takes some time to find the perfect amount of overcooked, but you learn quick.

Two benefits: the potatoes seem to soak up more of the sauce (so make sure you fridge it and then add more the next day) and the sauce tastes more integrated. Plus now your chunks are normal sized and feel more naturally shaped.

That plus horseradish to balance out the savory without thinning the salad and you have a winner”

“Oh my goodness. Sushi rice. Microwave. I’m embarrassed to admit it. It always made such a mess in the pot, would stick or overflow, crunchy or mushy, I could never, ever get it right – even following packet instructions to the letter. I almost gave up on making sushi.

Then on a whim, I tried it in the microwave. Sushi rice, water from the top of the rice to first knuckle of my index finger. Sensor cook – White rice – Start. My life was changed. Perfect texture, no starch all over my stove, no burnt pot.

As a bonus, I even just use regular home brand white vinegar to season it. For every cup of uncooked rice, 1/2c vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Everybody loves my sushi.”

“If I cook anything that requires bread crumbs, I use chicken-flavored StoveTop stuffing instead”

“Mayo instead of butter on the outside of grilled sandwiches.”

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