28 Breakfast Hacks To Start Your Day Off Right

Breakfast: It's the most important meal of the day. Here at Tasting Table, we take breakfast very seriously. While it may be a meal that some people skip with some attached excuse like "it makes me feel sick if I eat in the morning," or "I'm always so busy, I'll just eat later on," we fall in the entirely opposite camp. If we don't start our morning with a warm bowl of oatmeal or a hearty breakfast sandwich, we're setting our entire day back. Plus, with a whole lineup of breakfast staples from quiche to waffles, there's a sweet or savory option for everyone.

As an avid breakfast person myself, I'm always looking for new ways to kick up my breakfast game into high gear. Here are some of the best ways to transform your breakfast into a more filling, better tasting, and, most of all — easier — start to your day.

Parcook your breakfast potatoes before frying them

Hash is a popular accompaniment to savory breakfast fare, but the big problem is that the potatoes don't always crisp up in the pan. To avoid those sad, soggy, limp spuds, par-cook your potatoes before placing them in an oiled skillet. This will ensure you get crispier breakfast potatoes every time and will save you the arduous (and sometimes dangerous) task of pushing around the patties in a pool of hot oil for a long time.

If you're working with fresh potatoes, peel and grate them onto a plate before wringing them out with a towel. This step removes excess moisture and concentrates the starch — which is the compound that makes your spuds crispy. Then, pop the plate into your microwave for about two minutes.

Add veggies to your eggs with leftover salad

We could all stand to eat more veggies. This waste-conscious breakfast hack utilizes the leftover lettuce and veggies from your salad the night before as a way to upgrade your morning plate of eggs. 

Ideally, you'll want to use salad that is undressed; you'll need about two eggs for each ½ cup of greens. Not only can you use this tip for plain eggs, but you can also use your leftover salad to upgrade quiche, frittatas, or mini egg bites.

Use seltzer water for a boost in your pancake or waffle recipe

The problem with pancakes and waffles is that they almost always come out dense and stodgy. The miracle ingredient you should be adding to your baking batter, which is bound to help lighten it, is seltzer water.

This is because the carbonated bubbles in the water help give some rise to the batter, which makes it fluffier. You can use this hack for boxed mixes or homemade recipes. Use ¾ cup of unflavored seltzer for each cup of waffle mix, or swap out the same ratio of other liquids (like milk or water) with seltzer.

Add an egg to your oatmeal for a boost of protein

Oatmeal is no doubt the superfood of the breakfast table. It's filled with healthy plant-based fiber and beta-glucan, which helps keep you feeling full for longer. But if you want to amp up the protein content of your morning bowl, try adding an egg to it. Besides the added boost of nutrients, you'll also notice that your oatmeal tastes more custardy and less claggy; it's a win-win in our books.

Elevate your oatmeal with an egg, and add the beaten egg to the mixture after it has cooked on the stovetop with your liquid of choice for about seven minutes. You'll need to keep stirring the oatmeal as the eggs cook because it will force the proteins to bond to the oats rather than stick to the sides of the pan.

Try the viral tortilla hack for a perfectly wrapped breakfast sandwich

We would be doing breakfast eaters a disservice if we didn't mention the folded tortilla TikTok hack. This trick can be used for sweet or savory breakfast foods and requires only four separate ingredients (like eggs, avocado, bacon, and cheese) and a tortilla.

 Par-slice each of the four quadrants of the tortilla and cover each with a filling. If you're using fresh toppings, like lettuce or avocado, then we recommend tucking them into a pocket where they won't get direct heat. Once you've formed your tortilla pocket by folding up the sides, you can cook it on a panini press or a skillet until crisp. Gone are the days of breakfast burritos falling apart all over your plate.

Substitute vanilla beans for extract in your French toast

French toast is the quintessential Sunday morning breakfast. But if you notice your slices are coming up lackluster, it's time to invest in a more potent form of vanilla: vanilla beans. This game-changing ingredient swap will improve the vanilla flavor of your French toast and pair well with whatever toppings you decide to put on top of or sandwich between your slices.

You can use the scrapings from half a vanilla bean pod to substitute for one teaspoon of less potent extract. Besides the flavor, you'll also notice satisfying specks of vanilla beans floating around your plate.

Put your stale cereal in the oven to revive it

Did you close the cereal box? If you neglected to properly seal your Cap'n Crunch or Fruity Pebbles, fear not — there is a way to revive your cereal back to its pre-stale condition.

The easy way to rescue stale cereal is to place it on a lined baking sheet and bake it at 300 F for five to 10 minutes. This hack works because it reverses the crystallization of the cereal's starch molecules, bringing back the crunchy mouthfeel. 

Layer your veggies into the quiche first

When you're making a quiche, it can feel like your veggies migrate away from you in the pie shell. This means that each bite will give you disproportionate amounts of vegetables and crunch.

The trick for getting veggies in every bite of quiche is to layer your veggies into the crust before you pour the eggs on top. Simply add your favorite cheese and greens to the bottom of the pan and them out with a spatula. You should also be sure to pre-cook your veggie fillings to ensure they are soft at first bite.

Bake a ton of pancakes on a sheet pan instead of a griddle

The worst part of making pancakes is standing in front of the stovetop, cooking small batches of them at a time. This sheet pan pancake hack will save you a ton of time in the kitchen and allow you to make breakfast for a crowd easily.

Start by placing your pancake batter in a single layer on a greased sheet pan, like you were pouring cake batter. This mega-pancake can be easily put into the oven and sliced into individual pieces. The sheet pan will be baked in about fifteen minutes and can be studded with fruit, chocolate chips, or peanut butter.

Slice your English muffins with a fork instead of a knife

There's nothing more disappointing than mangling an English muffin to death. Although most people reach for the butter knife to slice through this delicate breakfast carb, it's not the best utensil to prevent damage to the inside of the muffin.

You should always use a fork for a perfectly split English muffin. The package for Thomas English muffins even recommends users use a fork to gently pry open the side of a muffin or give it a light pull and twist with their fingers, like opening a jar, to reveal a clean-cut, plush interior.

Add Irish whiskey to amp up your French toast

Everything is better with booze — including breakfast. The Irish whiskey trick to really wake up your French toast will add a punch of boozy flavor and make your slices taste delightful, especially if you add a drizzle of maple syrup on top.

You'll want to add a few splashes of the whiskey to your French toast batter before dipping your slices. While the alcohol will cook off on the skillet, the mild, oaky notes will really complement your French toast toppings and make this breakfast memorable.

Whip your egg whites separately for fluffier pancakes

When most people make pancake batter, they just plop the eggs right into the batter and mix away. This game-changing method for perfectly fluffy pancakes requires only one step but will make a world of difference in your flapjacks.

The key is to whip the whites separately from the yolks, which can be plopped directly into the dry ingredients. The whipped whites add air and structure to the batter and can be gently folded in to retain that spongy lift. Plus, the carbon dioxide from the leavening agents (baking soda or baking powder) will be trapped in the egg proteins, thus giving these pancakes an even more cloud-like texture.

Use coffee creamer to add flavor to your oatmeal

The best way to flavor your morning bowl of oatmeal isn't to swirl in freeze-dried berries or liberally add brown sugar. A splash of coffee creamer is the secret to better homemade oatmeal. This common household item has a creamy texture and mild sweetness, and it can come in flavors like pumpkin spice, mocha, or hazelnut. You can also get coffee creamer in non-dairy or sugar-free varieties.

To use the creamer, add a splash to your oats when they're cooking or pour in a little to your overnight oats when you're making them the night before. Depending on your palate, you may have to decrease the amount of milk or water to account for the richness of the creamer.

Make quiche for a crowd in a sheetpan

Quiche, please. This veggie-forward, versatile egg dish is easy to make for a small gathering, but it's a little tough to scale for a crowd — until this hack, of course. You can easily upgrade your morning eggs with sheet pan quiche.

Instead of making a massive pie crust, buy a few boxes of puff pastry from the freezer section. Then, par-bake the pan to ensure the crust is set and browned before adding in your eggs and toppings. This whole quiche takes only about 25 minutes to bake, and you can just slice and serve it when you're ready.

Use feta for crunchy eggs

The viral feta fried eggs have had their moment in the spotlight, but we're not forgetting about them anytime soon. To make this variation, a block of feta is crumbled in a circle around a pan to act as a barrier for the egg.

Once the egg is cracked into the center, the pan is sealed to allow the egg to cook and develop a beautiful lacy bottom and soft, runny yolk. The feta also adds a briny, salty flavor to the eggs that can be accented with a crank of black pepper or hot red pepper flakes. You can eat this fried egg solo, in a breakfast sandwich, or wrap it in a warmed tortilla.

Add cereal to your French toast for a delicious crunch

Adding cereal to your French toast is the breakfast mashup you didn't know you needed. This hack is kind of like adding cornflakes to your chicken before frying because it ensures that the exterior is perfectly crunchy while the inside is soft and delicious.

To make this hack at home, add your crumbled breakfast cereal to a bowl and dip your bread into it post-custard. You can use many different types of cereal for this hack, but we prefer a crunchy variety like Bran Flakes or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. You should also try to bake the French toast rather than fry it in a skillet to prevent the cereal from coming off of the bread.

Swap your toast with hash browns

We'll be the first to admit that we do like a good hearty slice of toast for breakfast in the morning with other savory accompaniments. But there is a far better alternative to your savory breakfast toast out there.

You can upgrade your daily toast with a crispy potato base instead. Hash browns have a sturdy shape and composition that are excellent bases for mashed avocado, scrambled eggs, cheese, and ketchup. You can also cook frozen shredded potatoes in a pan with some oil or butter for a crispy, DIY base for your favorite savory spreads.

Poke your popovers to keep them crispy

Popovers probably aren't your go-to Monday morning breakfast, but they are a good carb for special occasions. For those unfamiliar, the popover is a cross between a pastry and bread. It's soft and flaky, crispy on the outside, and decadently buttery. Many bakers struggle with helping these baked goods retain their puff and texture post-oven, but we have a tip for that.

The extra step to ensure your popovers stay crisp is to pierce a hole in the bottom of the crust once you've pulled them out of the molds. This step pulls out the steam, which prevents the moisture from condensing and making your popovers soggy.

Use cold butter for perfect scones

The scone is often our go-to treat from a bakery. This buttery, crumbly pastry can take on any add-in, like berries or chocolate chips, or a topping like jam and clotted cream. But the scones you get from the bakery are never like those you make at home. The likely culprit for leaky scones is the temperature of your butter. Your scones will taste better if you use cold butter for them instead of room-temperature butter.

Cold butter will puff up once it hits the oven, giving the scone a puff and a delicate texture. Not only should you grate the cold butter into your scones, but you should also chill the dough before baking to keep the fat as cold as possible.

Make your scrambled eggs better with mayo

Scrambled eggs are a quintessential breakfast food and a popular choice for many. So why would you waste your time making a lackluster batch? The ingredient that will change your scrambled eggs forever is a bit unconventional but will keep your eggs smooth and creamy. A dollop of mayonnaise contains eggs, oil, and acid — all of which are helpful for your scramble.

The oil will boost the richness while the acid will add a mild tang to your eggs. You'll need to add 1 tablespoon of the condiment for every two eggs.

Pop your hash in the waffle iron to keep things crispy

Nobody (we mean nobody) likes soggy hash browns. But the secret to super crispy hash browns is one kitchen appliance closer than you'd think. You can use a waffle iron to cook your spuds perfectly every time.

Just add a thin layer of pre-shredded potatoes to your greased waffle iron and firmly shut it to seal in the steam. For the best potato waffles, always add a thin layer of potatoes to the griddle and spread it evenly to the edges to ensure everything cooks evenly.

Use frozen waffles for your next breakfast sandwich

The ideal vehicle for your breakfast sandwich isn't a thick bagel, toasted English muffin, or limp slice of bread. It's frozen waffles. This humble ingredient makes game-changing breakfast sandwiches.

It's light enough not to interfere with your sandwich toppings but also robust enough to hold the weight of a bacon, egg, and cheese filling. You can also select other waffle flavors to complement your sandwich, like maple waffles for bacon or sausage or whole wheat waffles for a more robust meal option.

Pre-cook your omelette fillings for a better cheese melt

There's nothing worse than biting into a warm omelet only to hit rubbery chunks of cheese. The key to perfectly melted cheese in your omelet is pre-cooking your fillings before folding them into the pre-cheese omelet.

The cooked fillings, like peppers, ham, bacon, and onion, will steam up and melt your cheese perfectly. Plus, you won't have to worry about biting into a raw vegetable when it comes time to eat breakfast. Alternatively, you can mix the cheese into your toppings as they're cooking to ensure it melts perfectly, without having to worry about overcooking your eggs.

Use water to bring back your stale bagels

Bagels are arguably our favorite breakfast food, but it's always a shame to see them go stale within a day of purchasing them. Hot water is the secret to bringing your stale, dry bagel back to life. This ingredient reintroduces moisture into the bagel, which reverses the starch crystallization process. Take your whole bagel (not pre-sliced) and run it under hot water for about 30 seconds before drying and toasting it.

This method works best for plain bagels or those without toppings since the water would rinse off all the seedy goodness. You can also keep your bagels fresh by wrapping them and popping them in the freezer. When you're ready to eat one, microwave it for about a minute and slice them.

Serve your eggs in bacon cups for a one-bite breakfast

We're always looking for one-bite breakfasts for busy mornings on the go. You can serve eggs in bacon cups for an easy handheld breakfast that's bound to help you meet your protein goals for the day. First, cook the bacon in a muffin tin for about ten minutes before pouring your egg mixture and putting it back in the oven.

You can customize this recipe with your favorite fillings like cheese, herbs, and chopped veggies. You can also refrigerate these cups to enjoy throughout the week.

Use buttermilk for juicy breakfast sausages

Have you ever tried to make your own breakfast sausage? If you have, you'll notice one fundamental problem: It always seems to come out dry.

Buttermilk is the secret ingredient for juicy breakfast sausage because its acidic composition will tenderize the tough pork while the moisture content will keep your patties fresh and tasty. If you don't have buttermilk readily available for your DIY sausage, you can also mix together an acid like lemon juice or vinegar with milk to create a buttermilk substitute.

Wrap your breakfast burrito in paper towels to prevent it drying out

Frozen breakfast burritos are another breakfast food that always manages to come out either too dry or too soggy. If you're facing the former, try microwaving your frozen breakfast burrito in a damp paper towel.

Besides using this trick, you should also cook the burrito in small increments, like 15 seconds at a time. This helps ensure that the moisture doesn't zap out too quickly.

Seasoned salt for flavorful frozen tater tots

Frozen tater tots are a spud staple on the breakfast table. But the issue with these tots is that they tend to always come underseasoned. The ingredient that will take frozen tater tots to the next level is seasoned salt.

Rather than plain salt, which only has a "salty" flavor, seasoned salt is a one-stop shop for garlicky, oniony, and even spicy notes. You can get this spice from your local grocery store or make your own blend at home to sprinkle on your tots before serving.

Static Media owns and operates Tasting Table, Mashed, and The Daily Meal.