Tips and tricks for beginners to become a better cook

This is seriously useful.

Cooking can be intimidating, but if you practice and learn new techniques, it can also be a lot of fun. So the folks from the culinary/cooking department share tips for beginners that will help improve your cooking and help you feel more comfortable in the kitchen. Here are some tips to get you started!


To prepare the chicken breasts evenly, slice and place them first.

Getty Images

“Part of the challenge when cooking chicken breasts is that the pointed piece of meat will always cook unevenly. If you are working with very large breasts, use a very sharp knife to slice that chicken breast in half horizontally. Once the parts are ready, make sure they are all the thickness equalize by pounding them lightly to about ¼”-”thickness.” —u/96dpi


Making flatbread from scratch is not complicated and requires only three ingredients: flour, salt, and water.

Getty Images

“Actually, even salt isn’t completely necessary. Just make a mound of flour on your cleaned countertop, make a little flour in the middle, and slowly mix it with water until it forms a dough. Bake flat and flip onto a hot surface (like a hot skillet or baking sheet) And you’ll get a basic flatbread that can be covered with whatever ingredients you have on hand.” —u / southerngentleman90


Always keep some essentials, canned, non-perishable items, and frozen foods on hand.

Hannah Lowenthel/BuzzFeed

Load the fridge and pantry with long-lasting ingredients, such as eggs, tortillas, pasta, rice, flour, sugar, canned tomatoes, tuna fish, cheese, broth, cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, frozen vegetables, and meat (such as ground beef or bacon) that can be divided and frozen in single serving servings. —u/blub987


When it comes to adding spices to your cooking, order is important.

Getty Images

Whether you’re sautéing onions, carrots, and celery for soup or sauteing ground beef for bolognese, add herbs and spices. Before Add any liquids. This gives the seasoning a chance to “flourish” directly into the fat, enhancing the flavor of your dish. – u/saltsearsavor


A properly seasoned cast iron skillet is a game-changing tool in the kitchen that you can use to cook anything, even eggs.


“If you season the cast iron correctly, the food will never stick to it. After cooking, I just clean the pan with a dish brush under warm water, and it takes two minutes.” —u / javacharger


Season to taste, not as the recipe says.

Getty Images

“I always feel that a recipe developer should taste better than mine, so I try to follow recipes as closely as possible, but I always find that I cook better when I trust myself and season with herbs and spices to taste.” —U/Losing_Face


If you are using a slow cooker or a quick pot, choose the cheaper cuts of meat.

Cavan Images / Getty Images / Cavan Images Rack

“Cheap cuts of meat (pork shoulder, chuck steak, etc…) tend to fare better in the slow cooker than more expensive cuts due to the longer cooking times. Also, if you are cooking with ground beef, dehydrate them before adding them to the slow cooker, otherwise the texture will taste sour.” —u / MattieShoes


Cook vegetables in starchy pasta water for the perfect one-pot meal.

Getty Images

“I always make one-pot pasta by adding the veggies for the last few minutes while the pasta is simmering. That way, the delicious, starchy veggies absorb.” – u/crinkley


Brush baked goods with granulated sugar instead of flour.

Getty Images

“When I bake, I always grease the pans, but instead of using flour to coat the pan, I use granulated sugar. It makes the edges of anything I bake sweet and crunchy, and saves me the need to use extra icing or frosting.” —u / topazlis


Always remove the glaze from the pan.

Sydney Martin / BuzzFeed

“Steaks pretty much make their own sauces. Those things that stick to the bottom of the pan after you cook the Rib-eye? Remove it with some broth and use it as a sauce.” —u / MahjongNucleus


Food continues to cook even after it is removed from the heat source.

Medianews Group / MediaNews Group via Getty Images

“Foods like steak, pork, chicken, and even scrambled eggs continue to cook when the grill or stove is off. Take them off the stove well before they reach the desired consistency.” —u/413×820


Learn to match flavors.

Getty Images

“If you’re cooking something with bacon, use bacon fat to fry the vegetables. Cook a steak with butter. Use white wine if the food you’re cooking is light-colored (like shrimp or chicken) and use red wine if the food is darker in color (stew bolognese or beef). Use beef broth in a bowl of beef and vegetable/mushroom broth in a vegetarian meal. There are, or of course, some exceptions, but following this general rule will make you a better cook.” —u/Ben Zuna 129


More ingredients doesn’t always mean more delicious.

Getty Images

“Keep it simple. A plate of three or four ingredients that go well together is better than a plate of 12 that go against each other.” —u / daneoid


If the dish tastes nice, do not assume that it needs more salt.

Getty Images

“When salt doesn’t help whatever you’re cooking, what’s missing is probably acid. Lemon juice or vinegar can transform the dish in an amazing way. Instead of continuing to add salt, add a little citrus.” —u / FoodandWhining


Instead of kneading the bread, let it rise at room temperature.

u/arden30/ via

“For example, if you’re making focaccia, let it rise at room temperature for 8-12 hours. You can skip the kneading step entirely.” —u / Arden 30


If you are going to cook pasta, boil it until tender and allow it to simmer in the sauce.

Getty Images

Drain the pasta a minute or two before the directions on the package so that the pasta is still undercooked. Heat the sauce in a large skillet and return the cooked pasta to a simmer until cooked to your liking. – u/noworryhatebombstill


Focus on a few high-quality ingredients.

Getty Images

“To make homemade pasta sauce, you don’t need many ingredients. But quality tomatoes are very important. Pair them with fresh basil for a restaurant-quality meal. I even cook my own pasta sauce with a whole basil branch.” —u / night_and_fog


Save the remaining salt solution from the pickle and use it.

Getty Images

“I use olive oil, capers, or pickles to add flavor to a lot of dishes like casseroles, stews, vinegar and more. It adds so much delicious depth. You can even use the brine to season the chicken.” —u / skakkuru


Use oven-roasted cherry tomatoes to elevate tons of dishes.

Getty Images

“Put cherry tomatoes in the oven with a little olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. They caramelize into the perfect mixture of salty, sweet, and citrusy foods. Add them to anything from pasta or chicken to fish or bruschetta.” —u / Lys_456


Cooking is like science, and the best dishes follow a simple equation.

Getty Images

“Remember salt + sweet + sour + spice. It’s a combination that pretty much translates into just about anything you can cook up. If something comes up in your flavor profile, you’re probably missing or missing one of these four basic flavors.” —u / Deleted


Taste as you go and make adjustments accordingly.

Getty Images

“If it’s too hot, add a little more cream. If it’s too sour, stir in some brown sugar. If it’s too sweet, try some lemon or lime juice. If it’s too salty…a little at a time.” —u / TheWrongFusebox


If you follow a recipe online, read the comments first.

Getty Images

“Starting with recipes online is a great way to start cooking, but not every recipe posted is completely accurate or even good. People often comment with their results and adjustments, so their comments can help. Read it before you start cooking.” —u/punkrocklurker


Smell and taste are interconnected, so let your nose guide you.

Getty Images

“When seasoning your food, smell the herbs at the same time before adding them to whatever you’re cooking. If they smell good together, they probably taste good together too.” —u / quoth_teh_raven


Three words: Miz on Place.

Getty Images

It’s a fancy French term that means ‘put in place’, and basically means to prep everything you need for the dish before you start cooking it. Have everything pre-cut, pre-measured, and ready to pot or stir. It fixes all the timing issues, keeps you from scrambling, And it gives you an alert if you’re missing components or tools.” —u/meadhawg


Keep the broth on hand and cook it often.

Getty Images

“Cook rice or other grains like quinoa or farro in a broth (chicken, vegetable, or beef) instead of water to add instant flavor.” —u / Deleted


When it comes to herbs, fresh is best.

Getty Images

“Fresh herbs make a big difference, and you can freeze fresh herbs to keep as good as fresh. I never knew how much I loved thyme until I started buying it fresh rather than dried.” —u / jkayer


Never overcrowd the pan.

Getty Images

“Never crowd the pan. Too much meat (or anything) in one pan releases a lot of water. You end up boiling your food instead of frying it/giving it a nice broth.” —u / DonCharco

Do you have a cooking tip that helped you become more comfortable and have better skills in the kitchen? Tell us in the comments below.

Leave a Comment