Food

We Tested Pinterest Cooking Hacks And Here’s Which Ones Worked


Hi there! We’re Marie and Melissa from BuzzFeed’s Food team.

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed
Melissa Harrison / BuzzFeed

We spend a ton of time scouring Pinterest and the internet for the latest recipes, trends, and tips. And along the way, we’ll see the same cooking hacks popping up over and over.

Pinterest

So in the name of ~Pinterest science~, we wanted to test 10 of them in our own kitchens to find out if they actually worked. Here’s what we found out!

1. HACK #1: Wrap the stem of bananas in plastic wrap to make them last longer.

THE IDEA: The plastic wrap is supposed to help contain ethylene gas, which bananas produce as they ripen — causing them to brown over time.DID IT WORK?: Not really. THE RESULTS: By day 4, both sets of bananas had ripened at the pretty much the same pace — with the wrapped ones being only slightly less dotted than the unwrapped ones. All in all: Not a significant difference. 👎 —Melissa Harrison

Melissa Harrison / BuzzFeed

THE IDEA: The plastic wrap is supposed to help contain ethylene gas, which bananas produce as they ripen — causing them to brown over time.

DID IT WORK?: Not really.

THE RESULTS: By day 4, both sets of bananas had ripened at the pretty much the same pace — with the wrapped ones being only slightly less dotted than the unwrapped ones. All in all: Not a significant difference. 👎 —Melissa Harrison

2. HACK #2: Add a ½ cup of oil + 2 eggs to turn any cake mix into cookie dough.

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

THE IDEA: Now, when I first saw this, I wondered if I were supposed to add the eggs and the oil in addition to the usual ingredients you’re supposed to add to the mix. The answer is no. You just add the eggs and the oil to your dry mix, stir until well combined and scoop balls of it on a baking tray. The instructions (from Reddit) recommended 8–10 minutes in the oven, at 350°F. In my first batch, the cookies were pretty large (about 1/4 cup dough each) so they took longer around 12–13 minutes to cook. I made smaller scoops in my later batches and they took around 10 minutes to cook.

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

DID IT WORK?: Yup!

THE RESULTS: The cake mix made about 15 cookies, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the cookies were very cakey. I like my cookies crispy on the edges and super fudgy in the middle and these were none of that — so I didn’t even eat the whole batch. (Even after adding some sea salt on top, which complemented the chocolate well.)

So yeah, this works and if you like cakey cookies, you’ll probably like them. But these did not rock my world. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ —Marie Telling

3. HACK #3: Place a wooden spoon over a pasta pot to keep it from boiling over.

Melissa Harrison / BuzzFeed

THE IDEA: If the water starts to boil up too high, the spoon will pop the bubbles and supposedly keep it from overflowing — buying you a little more time to fix and turn the heat down.

DID IT WORK?: Not really.

THE RESULTS: I tried this with both water and milk. Once the liquid boiled high enough the reach the spoon, the spoon did keep the bubbles down about a minute, but then it overflowed. The problem with this hack is the spoon barely buys you any extra time — you still have to be watching the pot carefully in order to stop the overflow. —M.H.

4. HACK #4: Prevent avocados from browning with lemon juice or cooking spray.

THE IDEA: There are so many hacks out there to make avocados last longer once sliced. I tried a few against each other:• Rubbed one with lemon juice. • Sprayed one with cooking spray.• Sprayed one with cooking spray and placed it in a Ziploc bag.• Left one as-is (no Ziploc, no wrapping, nothing).I placed all four halves in the fridge for 24 hours and waited to see what happened.

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

THE IDEA: There are so many hacks out there to make avocados last longer once sliced. I tried a few against each other:

• Rubbed one with lemon juice.

• Sprayed one with cooking spray.

• Sprayed one with cooking spray and placed it in a Ziploc bag.

• Left one as-is (no Ziploc, no wrapping, nothing).

I placed all four halves in the fridge for 24 hours and waited to see what happened.

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

DID IT WORK? Meh. Not really.

THE RESULTS: The lemon seemed to make things worse, TBH. And the cooking spray on its own also didn’t look like a huge success. The only one that worked slightly better was the cooking spray + Ziploc bag combo — but even that still browned quite a bit and the difference with the avocado half that was left alone wasn’t that striking. We’ll keep looking for that elusive perfect avocado preservation trick! —M.T.

5. HACK #5: Make the world’s easiest cake with boxed mix + soda.

Melissa Harrison / BuzzFeed

THE IDEA: If you’re low on time, ingredients, and/or ~general motivation~, you can apparently sub the usual oil and eggs in cake mix for soda. Some pro-soda-cakers say that using soda instead cuts some of the fat from the cake, and — if you choose a low-cal or diet soda — some of the calories, too. (We opted for lemon cake + Sprite, but you can find even more combo suggestions here.)

Melissa Harrison / BuzzFeed

DID IT WORK? Yes, but it was gross. 😭

THE RESULTS: Boxed mix + soda will result in a what looks like a cake, but this cake sucked.* It was gummy, overly sweet, and never seemed to set correctly. Honestly? Don’t do this — because the only thing worse than not having cake is having bad cake. If you’ve already got the boxed mix, go the extra step and get the eggs and the oil and make it right. —M.H.

*To make sure I wasn’t being too harsh, I also made my husband try this because he’s never met a dessert he didn’t like. But he took one bite and said it tasted like “lemony wallpaper paste.”

6. HACK #6: Add cornstarch to scrambled eggs to make them creamier.

THE IDEA: You'll mix 1¾ tsp cornstarch +1½ tbsp milk, and add the mix to three beaten eggs. For best results, the recipe says to heat butter in a pan. Once it's bubbling, pour the egg mixture in, turn off the heat, and stir a dozen times. And that's it. Even if your eggs don't look as cooked as usual, you need to stop stirring them, and serve your eggs straight away.

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

THE IDEA: You’ll mix 1¾ tsp cornstarch +1½ tbsp milk, and add the mix to three beaten eggs. For best results, the recipe says to heat butter in a pan. Once it’s bubbling, pour the egg mixture in, turn off the heat, and stir a dozen times. And that’s it. Even if your eggs don’t look as cooked as usual, you need to stop stirring them, and serve your eggs straight away.

DID IT WORK?: Yes. (Especially if you like your eggs on the runnier side.)THE RESULTS: The eggs cooked through and were SO creamy and smooth, and I couldn't taste the cornstarch. I loved it and have made it this way several times since I first tried it. Now, I love my eggs runny in general, but if that's not your thing, this recipe may not be for you. My boyfriend likes his eggs well-cooked and hated the cornstarch version. He also swore he could actually taste the cornstarch. So I guess it's a matter of taste. —M.T.

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

DID IT WORK?: Yes. (Especially if you like your eggs on the runnier side.)

THE RESULTS: The eggs cooked through and were SO creamy and smooth, and I couldn’t taste the cornstarch. I loved it and have made it this way several times since I first tried it. Now, I love my eggs runny in general, but if that’s not your thing, this recipe may not be for you. My boyfriend likes his eggs well-cooked and hated the cornstarch version. He also swore he could actually taste the cornstarch. So I guess it’s a matter of taste. —M.T.

7. HACK #7: Store greens with paper towels to make them last longer.

THE IDEA: The paper towels are supposed to absorb excess moisture over time, which keeps the greens drier longer in the fridge — and extends their shelf-life.DID IT WORK?: Yep! Like a charm.THE VERDICT: The spinach that was stored solo lasted about a week before it started to get noticeably wilty all over. But the spinach that was stored with folded paper towels above and below it lasted closer to a week and half — and even then, I could pick out the most wilted pieces and still be left with usable ones. —M.H.

Melissa Harrison / BuzzFeed

THE IDEA: The paper towels are supposed to absorb excess moisture over time, which keeps the greens drier longer in the fridge — and extends their shelf-life.

DID IT WORK?: Yep! Like a charm.

THE VERDICT: The spinach that was stored solo lasted about a week before it started to get noticeably wilty all over. But the spinach that was stored with folded paper towels above and below it lasted closer to a week and half — and even then, I could pick out the most wilted pieces and still be left with usable ones. —M.H.

8. HACK #8: Rub butter to the cut side of a slice of cheese to keep it from drying out.

THE IDEA: Pretty much just rubbing the edge of cheese that's exposed to air with some butter. I wrapped two pieces of cheddar in plastic wrap, leaving just the edge open. I then rubbed butter on one and left the other one alone.

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

THE IDEA: Pretty much just rubbing the edge of cheese that’s exposed to air with some butter. I wrapped two pieces of cheddar in plastic wrap, leaving just the edge open. I then rubbed butter on one and left the other one alone.

DID IT WORK?: It did, but... 🧀THE RESULTS: After a few hours in the fridge, you could definitely tell the difference between the piece that was covered with butter and the one that wasn't. That said, I don't want my cheese to be covered with butter. It just feels gross and weird. And wrapping the cheese in plastic wrap preserves it even better so I don't really see the point. —M.T.

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

DID IT WORK?: It did, but… 🧀

THE RESULTS: After a few hours in the fridge, you could definitely tell the difference between the piece that was covered with butter and the one that wasn’t. That said, I don’t want my cheese to be covered with butter. It just feels gross and weird. And wrapping the cheese in plastic wrap preserves it even better so I don’t really see the point. —M.T.

9. HACK #9: Add vodka to a piecrust to make it flakier.

THE IDEA: Moisture makes the dough easier to roll out when you're baking, but too much water can make for a tougher dough. To solve this dilemma, Cook's Illustrated decided to replace part of the water with vodka. It offers the same level of moisture as water but, since it's 60% alcohol, most of it evaporates when the pie bakes. So the dough is easy to handle and roll out during baking, and still super flaky when baked. (Here's that recipe.)

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

THE IDEA: Moisture makes the dough easier to roll out when you’re baking, but too much water can make for a tougher dough. To solve this dilemma, Cook’s Illustrated decided to replace part of the water with vodka. It offers the same level of moisture as water but, since it’s 60% alcohol, most of it evaporates when the pie bakes. So the dough is easy to handle and roll out during baking, and still super flaky when baked. (Here’s that recipe.)

To really see if this pie dough was flakier than others, I also decided to bake a test pie using this recipe. It had ingredients and proportions very close to the one from America’s Test Kitchen — but it only used water, instead of a water-vodka combo.

DID IT WORK?: Yes, but...THE RESULTS:Prep-wise: Adding vodka to the mix definitely made the dough wetter and easier to roll out. But it also made it stickier and kind of a mess to handle if I didn't put enough flour on my countertop. This is what happened with the bottom of my dough and it was kind of a mess when I lined the pie plate with it. I floured my countertop way more for the top layer and it was easier to handle. In comparison, the test dough required a little more effort to roll out but did not break nor stick to the countertop. It also looked much smoother than the other dough once it was in the pie plate.Taste-wise: The vodka pie crust was definitely flakier and crumblier. It still held together well when I sliced the pie but each bite was super flaky. The test pie was a little tougher but if I had had it on its own, I would have thought this was a great crust. I brought both pies to the office and most people preferred the vodka crust because of its flakiness. So a win on the whole, but I don't think I'll go out of my way to include vodka in my future dough. —M.T.

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

DID IT WORK?: Yes, but…

THE RESULTS:

Prep-wise: Adding vodka to the mix definitely made the dough wetter and easier to roll out. But it also made it stickier and kind of a mess to handle if I didn’t put enough flour on my countertop. This is what happened with the bottom of my dough and it was kind of a mess when I lined the pie plate with it. I floured my countertop way more for the top layer and it was easier to handle. In comparison, the test dough required a little more effort to roll out but did not break nor stick to the countertop. It also looked much smoother than the other dough once it was in the pie plate.

Taste-wise: The vodka pie crust was definitely flakier and crumblier. It still held together well when I sliced the pie but each bite was super flaky. The test pie was a little tougher but if I had had it on its own, I would have thought this was a great crust. I brought both pies to the office and most people preferred the vodka crust because of its flakiness. So a win on the whole, but I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to include vodka in my future dough. —M.T.

Jenny Chang / Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

10. HACK #10: Add mayo to cake batter to make it even better.

THE IDEA: Some swear by mayo as a secret ingredient to make cakes extra moist. For this, we added a cup of it to boxed cake batter.DID IT WORK? Yes. (Sorry!) THE RESULTS: I didn't really want this one to work because I was already a little grossed out at 1) the idea of adding a condiment to cake batter, and 2) the fact that when you do that, the batter starts to smell like chocolate-y mayo which is an aromatic combination that I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemies.But TBH: The cake with the mayo tasted better. It was way more moist than the version I'd baked according to box instructions. Also, thankfully: You couldn't taste or smell even the slightest bit of mayo in the final product. (And makes sense that the mayo would work some magic — it's mostly eggs and oil anyway.) So, did it work perfectly? Yep. Was it also kinda gross getting there? Also yep! 😬 —M.H.

Melissa Harrison / BuzzFeed

THE IDEA: Some swear by mayo as a secret ingredient to make cakes extra moist. For this, we added a cup of it to boxed cake batter.

DID IT WORK? Yes. (Sorry!)

THE RESULTS: I didn’t really want this one to work because I was already a little grossed out at 1) the idea of adding a condiment to cake batter, and 2) the fact that when you do that, the batter starts to smell like chocolate-y mayo which is an aromatic combination that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemies.

But TBH: The cake with the mayo tasted better. It was way more moist than the version I’d baked according to box instructions. Also, thankfully: You couldn’t taste or smell even the slightest bit of mayo in the final product. (And makes sense that the mayo would work some magic — it’s mostly eggs and oil anyway.) So, did it work perfectly? Yep. Was it also kinda gross getting there? Also yep! 😬 —M.H.

What’s the best (and/or worst) Pinterest hack you’ve ever tried? Let us know in the comments below.

Credit: BuzzFeed.com

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