15 Genius TikTok Cooking Hacks Your Abuelita Would Approve Of
Even though our own abuelitas taught us really well when it comes to making pasteles, frying empanadas and alcapurrias, stirring up the best one-pot arroz con pollo and even how to make a flan de queso to wow our entire office potluck — you can never have enough cooking tips. Much different than professional tricks you find in a 300-page hardcover cookbook, the best hacks come directly from home cooking extraordinaires like tus tías, tu mamá, and yes, your abuela. But once they give you all their secret recetas and genius tips, it’s time to branch out. We took to TikTok to find the best trucos y consejos for cooking your next meal, and consider us shocked — they’re good.
While we’ve always struggled to cut up our avocados and take out that pesky seed for making epic guacamole, we’ve found a life-changing video that makes the process so much easier. Hate only using half an avocado and seeing the other half turn brown in minutes? There’s an abuela-approved hack for that, too. We’ve uncovered methods to tell when a pineapple is ripe, and even if an egg has gone bad without cracking it open. Nope, this isn’t brujería — it’s simply the magic of cooking tricks passed down from generation to generation. Even better? Showing these videos to your abuelita might get you to favorite grandchild status — you didn’t hear it from us!
1. How to Keep Your Avocado Halves Green and Fresh
The video that started it all for us: by genius chef Maestra Jacobina herself, she shows us that all those unused aguacate halves don’t have to go brown. Simply stick the half face-down in a tupperware container with a bit of water in it, seal it, and keep it in the fridge until you need it. A “súper tip” if we ever heard one!
2. Never Throw Away Your Lettuce Root
So, you bought a head of lechuga romana to chop up for your salads and panes con pollo and you’re about to throw away the hard root. ¿Para qué guardarlo? As explained in this video, just stick the root in a cup of water by a sunny window and watch it grow into a new lettuce head — those grocery store trips just got a bit shorter.
3. Limes Always Drying Out? This Tip Keeps Them Fresh
Just like leftover avocado halves can turn guacamole-making into a stressful affair, so can finding that those perfectly-green limes you have are as hard as rocks. Few things are worse than trying to squeeze just one drop from a dried-out lime or lemon into your tacos de pescado, but there’s a new solution on the block: put your fresh-bought limes in a closed container full of water in the fridge and watch how long they last.
4. You’ll Never Waste Precious Cake Again
While our abuelitas taught us how to make tres leches (maybe even cuatro leches), marquesa, chocoflan, and all kinds of pasteles y bizcochos, they might have missed a very useful hack. As shown in this video, you never have to waste the top of a puffed-out cake again when cutting it up to make layers. Just wrap your cake pans in wet towels, place them on a large baking tray, and watch how your creations stay flat, leveled, y absolutamente perfectos.
5. How to Tell If an Egg Has Gone Bad With Water
As one of the coolest scientific hacks that are basically magia pura, you can actually check if an egg has gone bad without cracking it open. Fill a glass with water and place your egg in it: if it sinks down, it’s safe to eat, but if it floats up, it’s safe to say it’s totally rotten and you can forget about your huevos fritos con arroz for today.
6. The Best Way to Peel Garlic
Ah, back to Maestra Jacobina: this time, nos muestra how she easily peels garlic for recipes like camarones al mojo de ajo, or even a mofongo. Instead of carefully chopping up the garlic bulb to release the cloves, just place the bulb in any kind of bendable tube (such as a silicone one for organizing cables). Roll the tube on a cutting board with your hands, crushing the bulb, and watch how the cloves pop out in seconds.
7. Never Thought About Sticking Toothpicks In Veggies? This Might Change Your Mind
¿A quién no le gustan las lentejas? One of the easiest, coziest, even healthiest foods, a lentil soup Latinoamérica-style is the kind of food our tías and abuela make — and we love it. If making some yourself, follow this hack and stick toothpicks in the vegetables you’re just using to flavor the broth like garlic, celery, and a whole onion. This way, they don’t disappear into the broth, and you can easily take them out once your lentejas are done. Even better? Take out the toothpicks and stick the veggies in a blender with some of the broth, then mix it into your lentejas. Exquisito!
8. Hitting a Plátano Does More Than Just Release Your Anger
So, we all get a bit angry sometimes, and better than taking it out on our friends or S.O., why not take it out on a plátano? Use your plantain as a punching bag and whack it on your cutting board a few times. Nope, this isn’t just terapia pura y dura: it will actually make it a breeze to peel.
9. Yes, You Can Make Strawberries Last More Than 2 Weeks
While we can hardly believe it as we type it out, apparently strawberries can last up to 19 days. As per this video, you simply have to soak your fresh-bought fresas in a mix of water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for a few minutes. Rinse off the berries and they will easily last two weeks in the fridge! Yeah, we’re mind-blown, too.
10. Keep Fritanga Foods From Burning With This Genius Hack
It’s no secret fritanga is basically the best thing in the world: anything fried, like yuca frita, croquetas, empanadas, chicharrones, or chimichangas, is downright-delicious and we’re here for it. The thing is, frying can be hard to do, and burning your creations happens way too often. However, dropping an eggshell in your deep fryer will keep your food from burning to a crisp, and save you tons of malos ratos.
11. Never Use a Knife on Corn Again
Making esquites and hate having to chop off all the corn kernels from the cob every time? Well, making tamales just got a bit easier. All you have to do is cut a small row of corn kernels with a knife, creating an opening in your corn. Once that’s done, use your fingers to rip off the rest of the kernels: it’s easy, effective, and un poco terapeutico, too. Yeah, perfect for those intense holiday visits from your suegros!
12. How to Check If a Piña is Ripe Without Cutting It
So, now we know we can tell if an egg has gone bad without cracking it — and we can also figure out if a pineapple is sweet enough to eat without cutting it up and wasting it. The “mejor secreto guardado de los piñeros,” all you have to do is try to rip out the center leaves from the top of the fruit. If they pop out easily, you have a candy-sweet piña in front of you, and it’s time to dust some tajín on it stat.
13. No More Digging Out Avocado Seeds With This Epic Tip
We’ve all heard some kind of scary tale of someone cutting their hand trying to get that big seed out of an avocado’s center. Aguacates are basically heaven on earth, so why do they make the process so hard with that annoying semilla? Not to fret: this incredible video shows you can simply pierce an avocado from the outside with a knife, easily pushing out the seed instead. Tan fácil, we can’t believe we’d never thought about it. Gracias, TikTok!
14. Never Thought About Putting Meat in a Blender? It’s Actually Genius
While meat in a blender sounds interesting to say the least, we plan on doing it about once a week now. We’ve struggled to desmenuzar pork and chicken all our lives, burning our hands as we try to get that perfect shredded meat for empanadas, pasteles, quesadillas, you name it. Not anymore: cut up your meat into small cubes and stick it in the blender. Pulse on medium-high, and you have perfect carne desmenuzada in seconds.
15. Only Have Tiny Ziplocs? This Hack Te Va a Cambiar La Vida
And one of the best abuela-approved hacks of all, there’s no need to buy different-sized plastic food storage bags anymore. Forget about having to go for the quart and gallon sizes: for bigger items, just combine two bags. Turn one of the bags inside out, and easily seal it with the other one. Easy as pie (or un pastelito).