Whether you’re an experienced chef or just barely surviving on burnt frozen pizzas, everyone can benefit from a little help in the kitchen. While there’s no way to guarantee that your spouse or kids will ever pitch in, there are some surprising cooking tips that will make your life in the kitchen a lot easier.

Pre-soak pasta for quick cooking

Up close view of hands preparing and forming raw pasta noodles
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Tonight is pasta night. You have your noodles and sauce ready; you’re just waiting on the darn pasta to finish cooking. What if there were a way to get your pasta to cook in 60 seconds flat?

Fill a plastic bag with some cold water and add your uncooked noodles. Let the pasta soak for about an hour and a half. The pasta will become soft, but since the water is cold and won’t activate the starch, the noodles still won’t stick to one another. Once you’re ready for dinner, pull the pre-soaked pasta out of the bag (it should still have some rigidity) and add to boiling water. In only one minute, the pasta will be cooked and ready for sauce.

The only downside to this plan is that it takes an hour and half to prepare, so it does require some forethought. But if you know you’re going to have a busy afternoon taking the kids around to soccer practice, start your pre-soak, run the errands, and when you come back, you’ll have a quick and easy meal ready to go.

Grate frozen butter

Block of hard butter and grater with small butter curls on table
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Step one: melt butter in a pan. This step in any recipe always ends up being “push around a frozen square of butter until it melts” or worse yet, adding a chunk of butter to an already prepared dish and then having to stir it around for five minutes until it is evenly distributed. There has to be an easier way, right?

Try grating the frozen butter directly into the pan. Grated butter melts more quickly and is easier to mix into any dish. Plus, you don’t have to have to remember to thaw your butter ahead of time. Just grab it out of the freezer and start cooking.

Remove egg yolks with a water bottle

Raw eggs and shells in a black bowl with separated yolk on display
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If you’re trying to eat healthy and are sticking to just egg whites, but you can’t figure out how to remove those pesky yolks from your morning eggs, this tip is for you. All you need is an empty water bottle.

First, squeeze the bottle to force the air out. Then, put the opening directly on the yolk and release. The vacuum inside the bottle will suck up the yolk, leaving all the egg whites behind. You can then transfer the yolks into a different container without breaking them.

Soften hard ice cream quickly

Side by side scoops of multi-color ice creams and sorbets
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Sometimes you just need a quick bowl of ice cream, but when you pull it out of the freezer, it’s hard as a rock. Even the toughest spoons are no match for its hardness. For this tip, all you need is a sharp knife and access to hot water.

Run the knife under the hot water for a few seconds so that it can easily cut through the ice cream. Then, cut a grid pattern into the ice cream about an inch deep. This increases the surface area of the ice cream allowing it to melt more quickly and soften up. Then scoop into a dish (or just grab a spoon) and you’re ready to enjoy.

Mason jar lids make perfect fried eggs

Mason jars with metal lids placed side by side on retail store shelf
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Ever wonder how McDonald's gets their fried eggs to perfectly fit on their round sandwiches? They use a mold. For most people, having a specific egg mold would be overkill. You can, however, use a substitute with the same effect.

Unscrew the lid of a mason jar and take out the top so that only the threaded ring remains. Put the ring in your pan and add an egg. The egg will cook in a perfect circle inside the lid piece. When the egg is cooked to your preference, put a spatula underneath and transfer it to a plate, bagel, muffin, or container of choice.