4 Easy Time Saving Tricks for Busy Cooks

Time Saving Tricks for Busy Cooks

If you do a lot of cooking at home, chances are that you sometimes feel like you spend more time in the kitchen than anywhere else.  And while you might enjoy cooking and baking, I’m sure you are like I am and have lots of other things that you need and want to do as well!

These 4 simple tricks are a few of the ways that I’ve learned to save time in the kitchen.  Start doing them and you’ll be able to enjoy a little bit more time in your day too!

4 Easy Time Saving Tricks for Busy Cooks

1.  Rinse/Soak Your Dishes 
Who likes washing dishes that are all crusted with dried on food?  Definitely not me!  It’s much easier to rinse off fresh food than to try to scrub off dried on food.

When you’re making a recipe, as you finish using a bowl, spatula or measuring cup, get in the habit of giving it a quick rinse before you put it with your stack of dirty dishes.  Or simply put it in your kitchen sink, so that whenever you wash your hands or use water for something else, the excess will collect in your dirty dishes and allow them to soak, which means they’ll wash up easily.  This one simple step will save you lots of time and frustration later!

This is such a little thing, but it honestly makes my life so much easier!  And if you can get your family trained to do this, well, all the better!  :)

2.  Cook Once, Eat Twice
Before you tell me that you don’t like leftovers, hear me out on this one, because you can definitely modify this method and still make it work for you!  

One of the things that I do to save a lot of time is to make double recipes of our favorite foods.  It doesn’t take more than a few minutes longer to make a double batch of something, but it will essentially gain you more time in your life because you’ll only be getting all the ingredients out once and washing all the dishes once.  And really, who can’t use more time?!  You can either eat the same meal twice in one week or simply put the second batch in the freezer to use later and give you a boost on a really busy day!

I don’t just do this with main dishes, I also use it with things like muffins, bread, cookies, cake and baked oatmeal since they all freeze very nicely.  Oh, and meat is another thing that works well for this.  If you need to fry a pound of hamburger for a recipe, go ahead and fry up a second pound and then put it in the freezer to save yourself time when you need cooked hamburger for another recipe.

3.  Rework Recipes to Use Less Dishes
Here’s another tip that will help you save time by reducing the amount of dishes that you need to do!  As you make a recipe, think about ways that you can reuse a dish or rework the steps so that you dirty less dishes.

For instance, when I make my Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal, instead of melting the butter in one measuring cup and whisking the eggs in another, I simply get the job done with one big 2 Quart Glass Mixing Bowl.  First I melt the butter in it, then I add the milk (no need to dirty another measuring cup, just pour it in with the melted butter until you reach the 1 ½ cup line!), then the eggs.  After I stir or whisk it really well, I add the remaining ingredients!  In the end, I only dirty one dish instead of 2 or 3!

4.  Keep a Shopping List Handy
Stay on top of what you need by keeping a running list of your grocery needs.

If you use a can of beans and they are something you regularly use, then add them to your shopping list!  If you start a box of tissues, add it to your list so that you have another one to replace it when it gets empty.  It’s so much easier to remember what you need to buy if you jot it down as you go.  Plus, it will save you stress later too because you won’t always be out of ingredients when you go to make a recipe!

Which of these time saving tricks do you use? What other things do you do to save time in the kitchen?

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  1. says

    These are really great tips! I always have tons of dishes to do after I cook a meal, because I have never got in the habit of rinsing them and/or reusing a dish while I’m cooking. I should focus on that so my time in the kitchen is not so long!

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Charlee, I actually have my mom to thank for that habit especially! She hated washing dried on dishes and as a result, worked hard at training us children to always rinse or soak our dishes. As a child, I kind of found it annoying, but now I’m so grateful!

  2. says

    All great tips! I try to use as few of dishes as I can, too! One of my other tips is to grate cheese ahead of time and freeze it. I also like to dice onions and bundle them in little bags and freeze them so I can quickly add them to a meal.

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      That is so smart to grate your cheese and freeze it! I usually buy pre-shredded cheese and freeze it because I can often find it for as cheap as the blocks and shredding cheese is one of those things that I hate doing. (Weird, I know!) And I really need to do the onions thing. I keep thinking I’m going to do it and then never do, but it would save a lot of time for sure! Thanks for the great tips, Kristen!

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