12 Coca-Cola Hacks You Should Try

New drinks and flavors come and go, but if there's one beverage that's stood the test of time, it's Coca-Cola. The drink is nothing short of a global phenomenon; whatever your culinary culture, Coca-Cola cuts across generations and countries, satisfying millions across the world with its unmistakable fizz and sweet taste. Created by an Atlanta pharmacist in the 1880s, per Britannica, the brand's red and white logo design is iconic. 

The Coca-Cola Company leads the way in the carbonated soft-drink market, considering that it delivers some 1.7 billion servings of drinks, including Coca-Cola, consumed in 200 countries every single day (via Insider). In the U.S., this equates to a staggering 399 servings per person per annum. Close to two-thirds of this figure is made up of the classic cola beverage (via Market US). There's no doubt about it, the U.S. is a nation of Coca-Cola lovers.

Coca-Cola isn't just a drink to enjoy from a can or pour over ice — try adding it to your kitchen ingredient repertoire. Did you know you can marinate meat, use it as a glaze, and even make brine with it? How about creating an instant slushie? Have you ever tried Coke with cream? What about coffee? Find out why you might want to add Coke to cake batter among other fun tricks with our list of top Coca-Cola hacks to try.

Use it as a marinade

You don't just have to enjoy a glass of Coca-Cola with a meaty meal, you can actually add it to your dish. Using soda as a marinade is a great way to tenderize meat before cooking it. Livestrong explains that the acidity in the soda penetrates the meat, breaking it down so the texture is more pleasant. Using Coca-Cola also gives the meat a rich caramel taste once cooked. It's a popular misconception that soda disintegrates meat, and you can safely leave it in a marinade to develop flavor.

Try it for yourself following a recipe featured on TikTok. Add oil, salt, chili flakes, black pepper, garlic paste, and some brown sugar to beef steaks in a shallow dish. Rub the ingredients into the meat along with a knob of butter. Turn the steaks over and do the same on the other side. Then, cover the meat with Coca-Cola and leave it to marinate for 12 hours in the refrigerator. To finish up, sizzle the steaks to melt-in-the-mouth perfection. Consider serving the hot dish with a classic bearnaise sauce on the side and enjoy it with a glass of ice-cold Coca-Cola.

Secure your straw in a can

Today, it's common to use either paper straws or reusable ones in a bid to be more sustainable. Sticking a straw in an ice-cold can of Coca-Cola has long been one of the best ways to enjoy it. While you can buy big and small bottles of soda or takeout drinks with ice, there's nothing quite like drinking it from the can. Next time you pop open a can, try out a trick featured on TikTok to keep your straw in place so that it doesn't fall out.

Pull the little tab on the top of your Coca-Cola can so that it gives way without creating an opening. Twist the tap all the way around so it's facing the opposite direction. Then, pull it up as you usually would so that it opens up the can backward and creates a small hole rather than a gaping one. You can leave the tab bent backward rather than removing too, so you don't need to find a wastebasket. 

Another TikTok tip is to open the can as per usual and push the tab back into position. Then twist it around so it sits over the opening and simply stick the straw through the hole in the ring so it stays upright.

Bake a cake with soda

Using Coca-Cola in your baking is not just about the taste but about how it reacts with other ingredients. For example, adding soda to cake batter isn't such a quirky concept. Coca-Cola cake has long been established, with recipes dating back to the 1950s according to Quaint Cooking

The key to making this chocolate cake is to use regular as opposed to diet Coca-Cola. If you're wondering if this is a bit of a gimmick, it isn't. As Betty Crocker explains, there's a scientific reason why soda is such a great cake ingredient. Soda contains carbon dioxide, which has the same leavening effect as common ingredients such as baking powder and baking soda and makes a cake sponge rise.

TikToker @lorafied shares her own recipe, made by mixing a can of Coca-Cola with a packet of chocolate fudge cake mix. Bake it in a shallow dish while you melt chocolate chips, butter, and mini marshmallows for the frosting. Pour it onto the cooked sponge cake as soon as it's out of the oven and savor the gooey texture.

Shake it to make a slushie

Aside from the possibility of brain freeze, there's nothing more thirst quenching than a slushie. Sucking up frozen, sugary ice mush or slurping it from a spoon is the stuff of nostalgic childhood days. While you may enjoy 7-Eleven Slurpees, nothing is stopping you from making your own Coca-Cola slushie at home. All you need to try out the recipe posted by @eitan on TikTok is some Coca-Cola, salt, and ice. You'll also need two Ziploc bags of different sizes such that one fits into the other.

Fill a bowl with ice cubes and sprinkle some salt on top. Then, pour the Coke into the smaller bag and seal it. Pour the ice cubes into the larger bag and add more salt. Put the bag of soda into the ice cube bag and seal it. Give the bag a big shake, tipping it upside down. When you open it your coke will be transformed into a Coca-Cola slushie. 

Wonder How To offers another slushie trick. Shake a plastic bottle of Coca-Cola and put it in the freezer for a few hours. You don't want it to totally freeze, just to significantly cool down and turn into an icy drink. Once it's super cold, undo the cap a little and tighten it up again. Flip the bottle upside down and back. The icy contents of the soda will create a reaction and turn the whole bottle into an instant slushie. See for yourself.

Cook chicken with Coca-Cola

You may have already tried a beer can chicken recipe, but have you ever tried to bake chicken using a can of Coca-Cola? You're not using the soda as a marinade or a glaze, but as the liquid to cook your meat. This is a good tip to have up your sleeve if you've run out of stock cubes or simply because you want to try something new. 

Follow this TikTok recipe and see for yourself. Marinade pieces of chicken in soy sauce before frying them in a little oil to sear and brown. Put the chicken in a fresh pan and pour in a can of Coke. Add minced garlic and onion, ketchup, and oyster sauce. Stir and simmer until the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked.

Alternatively, try making caramelized Coke chicken wings thanks to a video posted on YouTube by Two Forks. Marinate the wings in soy sauce, then cook them in a pan with a can of Coca-Cola and chili flakes. As the soda heats up and bubbles away, use a spoon to get rid of the foam on the surface. Once the sauce has reduced and become sticky, the meat should be cooked. Sprinkle on some sesame seeds and serve up a plate of caramelized wings.

Combine Coca-Cola with coffee

There are countless Coca-Cola flavors, including cherry, orange, vanilla, and lime. If you're looking for an extra buzz, Coca-Cola coffee was introduced in the U.S. at the start of 2021, after debuting in Europe and hitting the shelves in Japan in 2018 with great success. If you want a wake-up call beverage that's also refreshing then this combination could be your new go-to. 

While there's twice as much caffeine in this variety than in a regular Coca-Cola, there's actually less of it than you'll find in a standard cup of joe. You even get to choose between dark blend, vanilla, and caramel, with zero-sugar varieties too (via Mass Live). If you want to try the pairing at home first, follow @coffeewithmaggie on TikTok.

Add a couple of ice cubes to a tall glass and pour in a small amount of vanilla syrup. Fill most of the glass with a bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola. In the U.S., Coca-Cola is made from high fructose corn syrup whereas in Mexico it is made with natural cane sugar. Add a shot of espresso and stir. If you need an extra lift, this drink will give you a sugar hit as well as a shot of caffeine.

Make a dirty soda

Dirty sodas have been capturing social media lately. The roots of this drink are in Utah, where Mormon communities have long enjoyed this non-alcoholic beverage. However, it really went mainstream in 2020, thanks to pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo. People notes that an Instagram photo of the star sipping on a Swig dirty soda quickly garnered attention. Soon, just about everyone on TikTok was offering their own unique take. 

In case you're not up to speed with this trend, a dirty soda is a mix of Coca-Cola, heavy cream, and coffee syrup on ice. Enhance it easily by using flavored coffee creamer. TikToker @bootlegfoodreview mixes Coca-Cola with Twinkies flavored coffee creamer, for example. Meanwhile, @mistermezsskitchen adds a squeeze of fresh lime juice and gives the drink a good shake. 

Another variation seen on TikTok is to mix Coca-Cola with coconut milk. Add a little French vanilla coffee creamer and some lime juice. What's better than creamy soda bubbles with a citrus hit and some extra flavoring?

Mix a cocktail in a can

The idea of using Coke to make a cocktail isn't new. For example, the soda is commonly mixed with Bacardi rum to make the world-famous Cuba Libre. Coke is also an essential ingredient in a Long Island Iced Tea, along with vodka, gin, white rum, triple sec, and tequila. Another great Coke-based combo is a Spanish drink called calimocho made with red wine.

Try making it yourself with a cool serving hack suggested by Well Done Food. This is a great idea for parties, and while it may not suit a sophisticated soiree, it's perfect for a laidback cookout. Pop open your cans of Coca-Cola and pour out a splash of soda (or drink it). Then, simply top up the cans with red wine. Yes, that's right you're adding red wine to Coke. Squeeze in some lime juice and leave a fresh wedge on the top of the can as garnish. That's it. Your cocktail in a Coca-Cola can is ready to serve.

Use it to make a brine

If you've tried marinating meat in Coke and cooking or baking with it, then you might like the idea of using Coca-Cola to make a brine. It tenderizes meat and adds flavor to recipes, making it an ideal ingredient if you're prepping for a cookout. You'll need salt for the brine, as well as ice, minced garlic, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. If you don't want to use a regular Coke, Diet Coke or Coke Zero work just fine.

Add your ingredients to a tub that will fit in your refrigerator and stir to combine them. The salt will make the soda fizz up so be aware of this when mixing. The essential element for this brine is to keep it cold, hence the ice. Time is also important so be sure to brine your meat for at least four hours. Depending on what you're throwing on the grill, you may want to leave certain cuts to tenderize for a day or two. 

Freeze into ice cubes

We love a good ice cube hack – who doesn't? Before you think ice cubes are meant for putting in Coca-Cola, not the other way around, think again. It may sound a little strange, but there's good reason to freeze soda cubes. 

There's nothing worse than a watered-down Coke, and yet if ice cubes melt in your soda then the water will change the taste and reduce the fizz. According to a comment on a Reddit thread, using iced Coke cubes in your Coca-Cola will prevent this issue. You could also make coffee cubes to add to your Coke or Coke cubes to add to red wine if you want to experiment with fun drinks.

Martha Stewart demonstrates how to make a Coca-Cola float using frozen soda cubes on her YouTube channel. Add frozen Coke cubes to a glass and top it with Coca-Cola before adding a dollop of whipped cream on top. Meanwhile, you could try a boozy frozen soda drink recommended by the Tipsy Bartender. Simply blend frozen Coke cubes with a good measure of Jack Daniel's and you'll end up with a Coke and Jack slushie.

Make a glaze with flat Coca-Cola

If you're a fan of barbecue sauce slathered on meat on the grill, then you're going to love a hack highlighted by People. Instead of reaching for a jar of smoky sauce, make your own with a Coca-Cola glaze. Before you start pouring a can of soda over your grilling efforts, you'll need to start by cooking it on the stove.

Reduce the Coke in a saucepan; you'll notice that as it evaporates you're left with a thick and sticky consistency — this is your sweet glaze. Get your meaty morsels grilling and only add the caramelized glaze close to the end of the cooking time, with just five minutes or so remaining. That way, you'll get the flavor without burning the glaze. What's even better is you can make this flavoring with Coca-Cola that's lost its sparkle and gone flat. 

The New York Times Magazine shares celebrity chef Nigella Lawson's renowned ham cooked in Coca-Cola. Meanwhile, food writer and chef Donal Skehan outlines his Christmas ham recipe on YouTube. The meat is cooked in Coke and flavored with star anise, cloves, and black peppercorns, along with sliced onion. Once the meat is ready, let it cool then remove the skin, score it, and stud it with cloves. Heat honey, brown sugar, and mustard powder with freshly squeezed orange juice and brush the glaze on the cola ham, finishing it off in the oven to make a sweet crust.

Cool down with a Coca-Cola granita

It's not just savory dishes and slushies that benefit from Coca-Cola — desserts do too. If you love an icy, sweet, crunchy after-dinner treat, you might want to try making a Coca-Cola granita. Martha Stewart is a fan of this culinary hack and shows viewers how to make this twist on an iced classic on her YouTube channel. The best part? It's super simple.

Pour a liter of Coca-Cola into a glass dish that's suitable for the freezer. Make sure to place it flat so the liquid doesn't spill over. As the Coke freezes it'll start to turn into ice. Take a fork and rake it across the soda so that it breaks apart rather than freezing in a solid block. Start on the surface and make sure to make your way through the whole dish. Then, pop it back into the freezer so that it starts to set, dragging your fork through it again before serving. 

You should end up with a delicious dish of frozen Coca-Cola crystals. Scoop a few spoonfuls of the granita into a glass. If you want to add a topping, try some whipped cream. Enjoy the sweet flavor of the Coke as the ice melts in your mouth.