Viral TikTok Food Hacks That Most of Us Have Known All Along

Cinnamon Roll TikTok Hack Plate Detail

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Fast Food Hacks TikTok
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Common Sense or Genius?

From using a spoon to easily peel ginger to adding a splash of water for perfectly cooked fried eggs, TikTok has turned old kitchen wisdom into viral sensations. But many of the food hacks that trend on the platform are actually time-tested tricks our parents and grandparents have been using for years. While TikTok has given them a fresh twist and brought them to a younger audience, the essence of these hacks remains rooted in tried-and-true culinary practices that most of us already knew. 

Here are 10 viral food hacks that have been kitchen staples for generations. But don't just let us be the judge. Do you think they're worth the hype? Let us know. 

Fried eggs and toasted breads

1. Adding a Bit of Water to Fried Eggs

This viral hack involves adding a splash of water to fried eggs, covering the pan, and letting the steam gently cook them. The trick works because the steam helps the egg white set without overcooking the yolk, resulting in perfectly cooked fried eggs that slide right out of the pan every time. In fact, you don't even need to flip them and risk ending up with a broken yolk with this method. While indeed a neat trick, some users were perplexed at the fact that more people weren't already aware of the hack. 

"Been doing that all my life," writes one user in a comment. "My mother did it before me. We always called them sunny side up." (Welp, who else got called out?)

Related: The Egg Float Test Myth, and Other Egg Lies Cracked Open

Citrus fresh fruits

2. Microwaving Citrus for More Juice

Before juicing lemons or limes, microwave them for about 10-15 seconds, says TikTok. This will help soften the fruit, making it easier to extract more juice. The heat helps break down the cell walls inside the citrus, releasing more juice and making the fruit easier to squeeze. While we'd often see our parents rolling the fruit on the counter to achieve a similar effect, the microwave method is a quicker (and more effective) alternative to minimize waste and use up every drop.

"This has seriously changed my life since you showed me a couple years ago," writes one commenter. (Hooray for technology!)

Related: This Is What Happens When You Eat Grapefruit


3. Reviving Stale Bread with Water

TikTok also taught us that running stale bread under water and then baking it in the oven for a few minutes can restore its freshness, collectively blowing the minds of many TikTokers in the process. The trick works by using water to rehydrate the bread, then harnessing the oven's heat to crisp the crust and bring it back to it's original texture and flavor. While the hack has been a staple in kitchens for generations to prevent waste and make the most of pantry staples, it still surprised many users.

"Oma taught me about this as a kid," writes one user, adding, "The ways of the old country." Another writes, "Show me the life hack that you randomly saw one day that is now an unconscious standard practice in your life." 

Related: Stale It Ain't So: Get the Most Out of Old Bread and Other Stale Food With These Smart Hacks

Peeled ginger root with spoon

4. Peeling Ginger with a Spoon

Ginger is notoriously tedious to peel, but using the edge of a small spoon to tackle it can help you minimize waste and maximize yield, TikTok users claim. The method works because the spoon can easily navigate the ginger's nooks and crannies to remove the thin skin without taking too much of the flavorful flesh underneath. While the hack has been a go-to for professional chefs and home cooks long before TikTok popularized it, it still came as a welcome surprise for many users. 

"Thanks for posting this," writes one user. "I was on the struggle bus trynna peel ginger." (Honestly, same). "Skin comes right off," adds another TikToker. 

Related: Nauseated? Here Are Trader Joe's Top 5 Ginger Items to Soothe Your Stomach

Closeup of Two Fresh Cut Halves of an Avocado Surrounded By Several Whole Avocados on a Wooden Cutting Board
Olesia Shadrina/istockphoto

5. Ripening Avocados in a Paper Bag

Thanks to TikTok, we now also know that placing avocados in a paper bag with a banana speeds up the ripening process due to the ethylene gas emitted by the banana. The enclosed space of the bag concentrates the gas, which then accelerates the ripening process so the avocados are soft and ready to eat in a day or two, or even overnight. While the trick has been a kitchen secret for ages (thanks for not telling me, Mom) it took many users by surprise. 

"I’ve done this, it actually works," writes one user, while another adds, "I just place mine on the counter with bananas... no bag, and the next day or two they are good to go!" (Well, that's even easier! We'll surely be giving this one a try).

Related: 12 Easy Storage Tips to Keep Your Produce Fresh Longer

Woman wiping lettuce with paper towels at grey table, top view
Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

6. Keeping Lettuce Fresh with Paper Towels

Tired of dealing with soggy lettuce? According to TikTok, storing lettuce (and even other leafy, green veggies) with a paper towel will absorb moisture and help it remain crisp for longer. The method works by using the paper towel to absorb the excess moisture that causes lettuce to wilt and spoil, helping it stay fresh and crunchy for longer periods. Despite being a well-known hack for older generations, it surprised many younger users with how effective and easy it is to incorporate.

"I learned this in home economics in the 80's," writes one user. "I thought it was common knowledge?" Another adds, "It works great. Thank you for the tip!" 

Related: 15 Quick and Easy Lettuce Wrap Recipes

Pot of Boiling Ravioli with Wooden Spoon, Induction Stovetop

7. Preventing Boil-Overs With a Wooden Spoon

I must admit I was utterly mind-blown when I learned this hack. But placing a wooden spoon across a pot of boiling water helps prevent it from boiling over. It. Actually. Works. The trick works because the spoon breaks the surface tension of the bubbles. (Though we prefer to believe that it's magic). The spoon also provides a cool surface where bubbles can burst, keeping the boiling water contained in the pot.

"That's so awesome thanks for the tip," writes one user, while another adds, "It actually does work." 

Related: Pasta Pitfalls: 10 Pasta Mistakes You're Probably Making

Colorful soda drinks and filled ice cubes in a coolbox on the beach sand.

8. Using Salt to Cool Beverages Quickly

Another nifty trick we've learned from TikTok is that adding salt to ice water in a cooler helps cool beverages stored in it faster. The technique leverages the science of salt lowering the freezing point of water to cause ice to melt faster and absorb more heat from the beverage. This results in a rapid cooling effect, making it the perfect hack for your next summer cookout to ensure an endless supply of icy, cold drinks.

"I love your videos!! Science is so freaking cool!!" writes one user. Another also suggests "wrapping them in paper towel and putting them in salted ice water" for even colder drinks. 

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9. Grating Cold Butter

When a recipe calls for softened butter, grating cold butter (or you can also use a sieve) can help it reach the right consistency faster, says TikTok. This method ensures a more even distribution and makes it easier to mix the butter into doughs and batters. Users also suggest placing cold butter in a warm glass to achieve similar results. The warmth from the glass helps soften the butter without melting it, making it ideal for baking or cooking.

"This is awesome," writes one user, while another adds, "It’s also great for cutting butter into flour for flakey pie crust or biscuits! 

Related: 15 Types of Butter — And the Best Ways to Use Each One

White electric blender on the wooden background.
Andranik Hakobyan/istockphoto

10. Cleaning a Blender With Soap and Water

Did you know that adding soap and water to a dirty blender and running it on high will leave it as good as new? The hack works by turning soapy water into a powerful vortex that loosens and removes residue from the blades and sides of the blender, leaving it squeaky clean and ready for the next use. Though the hack came as no surprise to many users, it's definitely a good one to keep in mind to make blender maintenance a breeze and help extend the lifespan of kitchen appliances. 

"I thought everyone already knew this," writes one user, adding, "Just always remember the lid." Another adds, "That’s crazy, how’d you think of that." Genius! 

Related: 16 Filthy Things That Even Neat Freaks Miss