Easy Ways to Save Time in the Kitchen

Easy Ways to Save Time in the Kitchen
Nutrition
Written By:
Hannah
Wang
RD
LD

Cooking can feel like a daunting task that requires a lot of time and energy; however, it doesn’t have to be that way!

By utilizing a few tips and tricks while in the kitchen, you can significantly reduce the time spent cooking and instead, spend more time enjoying your meals. Keep on reading for 7 easy ways to save time in the kitchen. 

Plan ahead
  • Dedicating a few hours at the beginning of each week to plan out meals will save you an incredible amount of time later on. You won’t have to think about what recipe to make, check to see if you have the ingredients, or make extra trips to the grocery store each day. 
  • You can make this as detailed or broad as you would like - plan out meals for specific days or you can simply plan the meals and then decide what you are craving that day out of the options you have. Either way - you save time from having already done the prep work. 
  • Once you have your meals decided, make sure to have a detailed shopping list for the grocery store so you know exactly what you need to buy for the week. 

Clean as you go

It may not seem like it’s time saving in the moment, but everything adds up. For example, instead of going back and forth to the trash can every time you need to throw away a scrap of food, keep a trash bowl on the counter that you can easily discard all the trash into while cooking. At the end, simply dump the bowl into the trash can one time and you’re good to go. This also reduces the likelihood of food ending up on the kitchen floor, which equals less time sweeping later. 

Use passive cooking techniques

Passive techniques are methods of cooking that require minimal hands-on contact and attention to the dish. This includes appliances such as a slow cooker, air fryer, oven, or Instant Pot. Once the ingredients are prepped and placed into the appliance, you can simply set it and forget it! You now have some free time while the appliance does all the hard work.

Here are a few slow cooker recipes with only 15 minutes of prep time: 

Make extra for freezer meals

Double or triple the batch of your meals and save the extras in your freezer. Since you are already taking the time to prepare and cook the ingredients, making another batch will take minimal extra time and in turn, you will have an entire meal ready to go for another day. 

Your future self will thank you when you have a long, stressful day and the last thing you want to do is research, prepare and cook an entire meal. Instead, you can simply let the meal defrost in the fridge earlier in the day and then pop it in the oven for lunch/dinner when you are ready to eat.

Some freezer-friendly meals include casseroles, lasagna, pasta bakes, soup, and chili. 

One pan meals

One pan meals are exactly what they sound like: an entire meal that you can fit onto just one sheet pan. Place it into the oven and once again, set it and forget it! Not only does this save time and energy from cooking, but it also means quicker clean up times since you won’t be using multiple pots and pans.

Here are a few easy one pan meal ideas: 

Use frozen ingredients 

Frozen ingredients immediately cut out time spent washing, cutting, peeling, and preparing produce as they are oftentimes pre-chopped and ready to be cooked. In addition, they are usually cheaper than fresh ingredients and can be just as nutritious, if not more, as they are preserved at peak quality and last for much longer. 

Stay organized

Imagine the time it takes to find something in a messy array of utensils, pots and appliances. Staying organized will help you save time from running around searching for items you need, as you will know exactly where they are located. 

Think about which items you typically use at the same time and keep them close together. For example, you could keep spatulas and other cooking utensils right next to the stove and a set of knives next to the cutting boards. 

With just a little bit of preparation and planning, you can easily minimize time spent in the kitchen. Start employing these tips and you will be a master of quick cooking in no time!