This Viral Potato Peeling Hack Could Save You So Much Time—If You Do It Right

Are you making peeling potatoes harder than it needs to be? A viral TikTok hack has home cooks everywhere questioning their technique.

If you spend enough time on social media, you're bound to run across life hacks that would've never crossed your mind. In 2020, we learned that you could strip fresh herbs from their stems by pulling the through a box grater. In 2022, TikTok taught us how to make gourmet cupcakes from cake mix. In April, we found out how to make ice cream out of cottage cheese. The TikTok hack that currently has people dumbfounded involves one of the most basic and useful kitchen tools—the potato peeler.  

Earlier this month, creator Jennifer Abernathy (a.k.a, @jenniabs3) posted a simple 18-second TikTok that blew the minds of viewers as she peeled a large sweet potato in a matter of seconds. “Did you know the reason why potato peelers swivel back and forth is so that you can not only go down but forward when you’re peeling, so that you can peel the entire thing super-fast?" she said in her video.

Cutting board with peeled potatoes and potato peeler

SimpleImages / Getty Images

Her video quickly racked up thousands of comments ranging from delight to disbelief. “TikTok needs to get a teacher of the year award or something, because no…no, I did not know that," one reads.

The peeling hack has also garnered some skepticism and concern. A few commenters pointed out that it was dangerous to peel toward yourself or move so quickly with a blade on a slick surface. Abernathy posted a follow-up video addressing this concern and clarified that her method involves keeping the peeler in constant contact with the surface of the potato. “You’re never really lifting the blade off the potato, so you’re not actually putting the blade in a position to cut you," she explained.

Other naysayers have argued that the reason for the swivel is so both left and right-handed people can use the tool with ease. This is largely true. The original swiveling peeler, the Jonas Peeler (a shape and design most of us are familiar with), was designed by Linden Sweden in 1953. It was, in fact, intended for both lefties and righties, but that's not stopping careful users from trying out Abernathy’s technique.

If you're ready to break out your peeler and give the hack a try, keep in mind that the technique takes practice and should be attempted with caution. Hold the potato securely and move slowly, making sure your hands and fingers are not in line with the blade. Abernathy also suggests using a fork (instead of your hand) to hold the potato in place. Here are a few more hacks to try with this surprisingly versatile kitchen tool.

Prep Zucchini Noodles

To make perfect plant-based noodles for lasagna, trim the ends of your zucchini and run the peeler lengthwise while applying even pressure. This technique also works with carrots, turnips, radishes, yellow squash, and butternut squash.

Make a Ribbon Salad

Chopped salads are great, but ribbon salads contain an elegant element that's hard to top. Use your peeler to make thin ribbons of asparagus, cucumbers, or carrot, and toss them with your favorite homemade dressing.

Descale a Fish

A peeler can make quick work of descaling a fish (especially if you are a beginner), and it’s less likely than a knife to remove too much of the delicate skin. Rinse your fish to loosen the scales and keep it wet until you are ready to descale. Then, holding your fish firmly on a cutting board, run your peeler in the opposite direction of the scale growth (tail to head). Once you have finished, rinse the fish again to remove any remaining scales.

Slice an Onion

If you like the flavor of onion in salads or on sandwiches but would rather avoid biting into a big raw chunk, try shaving off paper-thin slices with your vegetable peeler instead of using a knife.

Garnish Cocktails and Zest Citrus

A bit of citrus peel can turn a simple cocktail into a black-tie affair. It’s not just a pretty touch—the oils from the peel can actually enhance the flavor of your drink. To make a garnish, hold your orange, lemon, or lime against a cutting board and apply even pressure to the fruit with your peeler. Then twist the fruit as you hold the peeler in place. You can trim the edges of your peel with a sharp knife if you want a more uniform look. Need zest for a recipe? If you don’t have a zester, you can use your peeler to remove strips of the peel and then mince the pieces to the preferred size.

Remove the Insides of a Jalapeño

You can remove the spiciest parts of a jalapeño (the seeds and ribs) by slicing off the top and working the pointed tip of your peeler around the inside of the pepper (just be sure to wash your hands after, and be careful around your eyes). Dump the innards or save them to plant in the garden.

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