15 Secret Pantry Ingredients That Make Your Recipes Better
Try these surprising ways to make your favorite recipes taste better, using everyday pantry items.
Make guacamole better with …yogurt
Yogurt and sour cream can add so much zing to guacamole! Line the bottom of a strainer with cheesecloth, a coffee filter, or paper towels and set over a medium bowl. Spoon in 1/2 cup plain yogurt, cover, and chill eight hours or overnight until the yogurt ‘cheese’ is thick and creamy. Mix up all your favorite guacamole ingredients in a large bowl. Then fold in the yogurt cheese and 1/2 cup sour cream to make an amazing dip. These secret ingredients might just change the way you eat—just like these surprising secrets food manufacturers won’t tell you.
Perk up your steak with …coffee
Mix fine coffee grounds into a spice rub for a rich, aromatic flavor. For an especially good combination, mix together ground espresso or other coffee, paprika, chili powder (or pure ancho chili powder,) cumin, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Add a touch of sugar. In addition to adding coffee grounds, there’s another trick that’ll help you get the most delicious steak.
Amp up your eggs with …cream cheese
Once you try this dish, you may never want your eggs any other way. Cream cheese gives the eggs a smooth texture that is irresistible. Melt 2 tbsp. butter and 1/4 cup cream cheese in a skillet before adding the beaten egg mixture. Cook over medium-low heat until the eggs are just firm yet moist. Keep taking your breakfast to the next level with this secret ingredient for extra fluffy scrambled eggs.
Add sour cream to pasta sauce
To give your sauce a rich flavor, stir in 1/4 cup sour cream per 2 cups sauce. Cook over low heat until sour cream blends into the sauce. Keep the sauce warm over low heat, but don’t allow it to boil or the sour cream may curdle. Spoiler alert: Sour cream is also the secret ingredient for the best brownies ever, and here’s why.
Make meatballs juicier with …applesauce
Grandmas have used this trick for decades. Combine 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef, two slightly beaten eggs, 1 cup bread crumbs, 1 cup applesauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Shape into balls and roll in flour. Brown them in a skillet and then add your favorite pasta sauce and simmer until cooked through.
Put Cheez-Its on your chicken
Use cheese crackers such as Cheez-Its in the breading. First soak the chicken in evaporated milk and fresh lemon juice for two to four hours, then dip in seasoned flour, beaten egg, and finally the crushed cheese crackers. Pan-fry or bake as usual.
Add salad dressing to soup
Stir in some bottled blue cheese salad dressing toward the end of cooking your soup and enjoy the mouthwatering results! Never think you’ll have enough time to try all these secret ingredients? These brilliant kitchen shortcuts will cut down on cooking time.
Give ribs zest with …V8
Combine 1 and 1/2 cups spicy V8 juice, 2/3 cup peach or apricot nectar or pineapple juice. 1/2 cup spicy barbecue sauce, and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Mix with 3 pounds boneless country spare ribs in a baking pan, cover with foil, and bake at 350°F until tender, about two hours.