How I Still Cook a Ton at Home Despite Hating Washing Dishes and Having No Dishwasher

POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim
POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim

I've never had a dishwasher in my adult life, and I'm a food writer. It's a pretty hilarious scenario, given the amount of recipe developing and testing that goes on for my job. I've always lived in big cities — LA, NYC, San Francisco — in old-timey apartments that have always lacked technology from this century (all right, I'm exaggerating some). They have never come equipped with dishwashers, so I've become chummy with a sponge and a set of gloves. Now, I'm not going to play with you. I loathe washing dishes, even more so than having to walk down five flights of stairs to throw out the recycling. And yet, dishes are an inescapable part of cooking. So how can you cook wonderful homemade meals AND avoid having to do a ton of dishes? Here are my little tricks that make a big difference.

Clean as you go.

This sounds like such an obvious tip, but it makes a hell of a difference. Did you just use that taster spoon? Give it a quick wash. Finish with that cutting board? Don't let it hang in the sink! Keeping your sink dish-free is the key to your sanity. I try to have all my dishes done except for the bowl I'm eating out of and the pot/pan I cooked the meal in, because nothing is worse than being confronted by a sink full of dishes after you've just finished breakfast or dinner.

POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim

Prioritize one-pot/pan dishes.

One-pot and one-pan recipes are your saving grace as a home cook with no dishwasher. The best part is you can always give your one pot/pan a good overnight soak if need be, thus procrastinating your dishwashing duties in the most glorious way. That being said . . .

Never let the dishes hang out in the sink.

When it comes to all other dishes other than cooking vessels with caked-on foods, never leave them in the sink for long periods of time. The longer the dishes remain dirty is directly proportional to how difficult it will be to scrub them clean later. Your brain tricks you into thinking you are avoiding a time-consuming duty, but the truth is, if you wash the dish immediately after using it, it will take only seconds to clean versus sweat-inducing minutes.