Choosing, prepping, cooking, and eating Plated dinners is the fun part—clean up? Not so much. Thankfully, our Culinary Team understands how unappealing cleaning up can be, and efficiency is top of mind when planning recipes. Regardless, there will always be at least a few pots, pans, plates and crumbs to clean up after. That’s why we asked the Test Kitchen for their tried and true kitchen cleaning tips that will save time, energy, and stress.
Use a Trash Bowl
Always have an extra bowl out on the table while prepping ingredients to throw trash and trimmings into. Rather than pushing your onion papers/ carrot peels/ everything else to the side, just throw them in the bowl and then discard it all at once when you’re done prepping. Plated green baggies are also great trash receptacles to use while slicing and dicing!
Invest in a Grease Splatter Screen
Although most of our tips revolve around items you likely own, a splatter screen is cheap and super helpful. Now, whenever you fry fish for tacos or sear that perfect steak, your stove won’t be covered in annoying, thick grease.
Vinegar Is Your Friend
Vinegar is your best friend during kitchen clean up. If you have food stuck to the bottom of your pan and it won’t come off using the trick above, add one-part white vinegar and one-part water. Bring to a boil over high heat and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon. The vinegar-water combination will help anything lift right off and you’ll be left with a beautifully clean pan.
Do Away with Strong Smells
We’re serious: Vinegar is your best cleaning friend. Apart from using it to clean your pans, it also comes in handy when wiping down cutting boards. Cutting up a bunch of onions? Just wipe down the board with some vinegar on a paper towel and the smell—and stains—will disappear.
Using the same pan to cook multiple things over high heat can turn it quite dark by the end of your recipe. Once you’re ready to tackle your dishes, add water roughly one inch up the sides of the pan. Heat over medium to loosen any bits of food stuck to the bottom, making them easier to scrape off. This also works wonders if you were so sleepy you forgot about that butter you were heating up for late night eggs… whoops.
Clean As You Go
This one is self-explanatory, although arguably most important. Nothing is worse than finishing cooking and having a pile of dishes stacked in the sink. It’s not that intimidating if you wash them as you use them!