So, the recipes that get posted around here are pretty bomb, right? How many of them have you actually tried to cook? If you’re a novice in the kitchen, you probably just responded to that with “but it’s so hard to actually cook!” I get that. I’ve been there. I know how hard it can be to prep and cook everything starting out.

Let’s be real, it usually doesn’t take the length of a typical recipe video to actually cook the recipe. It usually takes longer and requires skills that you may not be the most confident in. I’m here to help you with that. By learning hacks to some of the most basic cooking techniques, you’ll gain the confidence to tackle more recipes in the kitchen, and maybe even make your own!

1. Peeling Garlic // Shake It Off

Peeling garlic can be the most time-consuming and stressful process ever. If you’re trying to get whole garlic cloves, start off by crushing the entire bulb from the center (which will leave the cloves mostly intact). Then, put the garlic bulb in a mason jar, seal the lid, and shake it around for about 30 seconds or so. You’ll be able to easily pick out the garlic cloves afterward. If you’re going to chop the garlic, crush it with your bare hand on the cutting board to easily remove the skin.

2. Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs // Crack and Roll

The struggle of peeling a hard-boiled egg could not be more real. How many times have you attempted to get rid of the shell, only to lose half of the egg in the process? Turns out, it’s a lot easier to peel a hard-boiled egg than you thought. Simply give it a small crack, stick it in a jar with a little water and give it a shake! Think of all of the egg bits you could have saved knowing that simple trick beforehand.

3. Squeezing Lemon Juice // Maximize Your Microwave

If you’re finding it really hard to squeeze lemons to get their juice out, this is the hack for you. Simply stick a lemon in the microwave for 20 seconds, which will excite all of the water inside and make it super easy to get a ton of juice out of it. Rolling the lemon on a cutting board for a minute or so works as well, but doesn’t get you as much juice as microwaving it would. If you’re a HUGE fan of lemon juice but find it not worth the effort to get it from a fresh lemon, try this hack out!

4. Separating Egg Yolks // The Bottle Is Your Friend

Separating egg yolks is arguably one of the hardest cooking tasks to perform and super easy to mess up. When I started, I broke nearly all of the yolks and they leaked into the egg whites. Oops. To save yourself from that misery and pain, use a clean plastic bottle as a suction tube to remove the egg yolks. Simply squeeze the bottle before placing on top of the egg yolk, then release just enough so that the egg yolk is drawn in. Then, release the egg yolk into a separate dish. How easy is that?!

5. Dirty Cast Iron Skillet // Time to Get a Little Salty

The one thing everyone hates when it comes to cooking: those burnt food particles that get stuck to your cast iron. While cleaning with traditional dish soap is often frowned upon (although not as bad as you may think), using salt is a guaranteed way of getting all those hard-to-remove grease bits off your skillet. Just be sure to re-season the pan once you’ve cleaned it.