Best flavor hacks to upgrade popular foods

Best flavor hacks to upgrade popular foods

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My favorite thing about cooking is that you are constantly trying new things and discovering new flavors that work together. And personally, I love experimenting with ingredients to upgrade basic foods – everything from simple scrambled eggs to sugar cookies.

So I was intrigued when redditor u/honestdiary asked, “Anyone else like to put chips on their sandwiches? What other little ‘tricks’ do you like to make something good even better? Here are some of the responses from people who love to Cook.


“I put tortilla chips or better yet, Fritos, in my burritos. It gives that extra crunch.”


“Try taking all your Thanksgiving leftovers (stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey, mac ‘n’ cheese, whatever) and mash it all together. Scoop the leftover mixture into balls, coat them in egg wash/panko, then deep fry or bake. Drizzle them in gravy if you’re feeling ambitious. This will change the Thanksgiving leftovers game for life.”


“Funyuns onion flavored rings on a hamburger. Learned this trick from my uncle and never looked back.”


“Adding pickled vegetables to just about anything (grain bowls, sandwiches, salads, etc.) is the easiest way to upgrade a meal. Which is exactly why I keep homemade pickled jalapeños and red onions in my fridge at all times.”


“Top a bowl of white sticky rice with a lightly fried egg with crispy edges (the runny yolk is very important), some soy sauce and sesame oil. It’s such a simple meal, but it packs so much flavor.”


“Add some lemon juice to your mashed potatoes. The subtle zing makes the buttery and savory flavor of the potato even better.”


“In just about anything that needs to be cooked with water (instant mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, ramen, etc.) I substitute chicken broth. It makes everything more delicious this way.”


“Add Gardetto’s snack mix to your sandwich on a toasted hoagie roll. Trust me.”


“It might sound weird, but a little butter or margarine on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich takes it to a whole level of salty and savory.”


“When I make frozen pizza, I like to crack an egg on top during the last six minutes of cooking. It makes it kind of like a breakfast pizza and always tastes really good.”


“I sprinkle Trader Joe’s Elote Seasoning Blend on top of popcorn for the best movie night snack. It’s cheesy, spicy, salty and a little sweet.”


“I use chicken or beef flavored ramen seasoning packets to make my sauce. It packs so much flavor.”

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“A spoonful of peanut butter makes instant ramen taste much better, and it also makes it much more filling.”


“When I’m craving eggs but don’t want to make a big batch, I bake eggs in marinara sauce (whatever jar of red sauce I have on hand). It’s like shakshuka, but wildly simple and only requires two ingredients. Off and on to that I’ll add some spices like paprika or red pepper flakes. Serve with bread for dunking, of course.”


“Try homemade mac and cheese, but instead of breadcrumbs baked on top, use crushed Cheez-Its. The flavor is amazing.”


“I sprinkle all the bagel seasoning on rice. Add some soy sauce too for the ultimate easy rice bowl.”


“Thin apple slices on a ham and swiss sandwich with mustard. It’s a wonderful combination.”


“Caramelized shallots in grilled cheese, specifically in a grilled cheese sandwich made with aged cheddar between two slices of sourdough bread.”


“Instead of traditional breadcrumbs, try coating everything from chicken or pork chops to fish in crushed Ritz crackers. They’re so much more buttery and make the final meal taste incredible.”


“Try adding a touch of horseradish to your mashed potatoes…especially garlic mashed potatoes. It’s a game changer. It adds a ton of flavor without being too noticeable or overpowering.”


“You can make a wonderful pie crust using crushed Girl Scout cookies and some melted butter to hold it all together. Trefoils work best, IMO, but Thin Mints are great for desserts like Grasshopper pie.”


“Add a splash of balsamic vinegar to the chilli just before serving. It really adds extra benefits to the whole meal.”


“I top my mac’n’cheese with crispy jalapeño chips. So good.”


“Hack your brownie mix by using butter instead of oil and coffee creamer instead of water. It gives such a wonderful texture and just a hint of flavor from the cream. My favorites are hazelnut or peppermint mocha.”


“Stir a spoonful of pesto and some crumbled breadcrumbs into pretty much any bowl of soup. From minestrone or chicken noodles to tomato soup, this little upgrade has never failed me.”


“I use Bailey’s Irish Cream instead of milk when I make French toast. It makes it taste so good.”

What’s your favorite way to hack an otherwise basic food into something that tastes amazing? Tell us your tricks in the comments.

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