Why can nobody beat your uncle’s signature BBQ rib? What’s so special about your grandma’s lasagna that makes it the king and the queen of all the cheesy lasagnas? When a recipe is pushed to the max and there’s not a single drop or more love to add to the meal, cooking secrets come into play.
So take your notebooks out, everyone, we’re about to take our cooking skills to a whole new level thanks to this awesome bunch of people sharing their “I’ll never tell” cooking secrets.
After all, it’s such a nice feeling to be an unbeatable grand master in one dish that conquers the hearts of strangers and puts smiles on people’s faces.
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…
Whenever I bake something with chocolate, like brownies, I always add a little bit of coffee. It makes all the difference.
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.
Bored Panda reached out to Charlotte de Grood, a spokesperson of Greenpan.co.uk, the cookware manufacturer that specializes in ceramic-coated pans for healthier cooking. Charlotte shared some useful insights about how having a secret recipe is the heart of the art of cooking.
“A secret ingredient or method can be the best possible weapon when showing off your skills in the kitchen,” Charlotte said and continued: “Of course, skills are important, and people will appreciate a dish that has been made particularly well according to technical standards.”
“But what people love is charisma and personality in cooking—steering away from following recipes ingredient by ingredient and understanding how different products and flavors blend well together,” she added.
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
When asked if people should share their cooking secrets with others, Charlotte said that it depends on the secret. “If it is a hack to help with a tricky technique such as poaching eggs, there’s little risk in sharing that. Everyone can benefit from knowing how to cook things correctly.”
Having said that, she added that “there are some secrets you may wish to only keep within the family to ensure it is passed down within the generations. There’s something special knowing it’s unique to the individual who came up with the idea and can’t necessarily be replicated.”
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!
Sophia Zimmer from the personalized cake shop “Jack and Beyond” also told Bored Panda that experimentation is such an important part of cooking. “Even with baking, which tends to be more rigid, people are constantly coming up with new ways of doing things,” she added.
Sophia also said that finding your own cooking secret is not that easy. It “means spending a lot of time in the kitchen, exploring hidden cooking and produce shops in your area and even out of your area to source the best possible ingredients to work with.”
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 a little almond extract in all my baked goods (especially French toast) and a little espresso powder in anything chocolate.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
If I cook anything that requires bread crumbs, I use chicken-flavored StoveTop stuffing instead
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.
Mayo instead of butter on the outside of grilled sandwiches.
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