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!

1.

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

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“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

2.

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

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“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

3.

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

4.

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

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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

5.

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

Tasty

“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

6.

Season to taste, not as the recipe says.

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“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

7.

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

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“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

8.

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

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“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

9.

Brush baked goods with granulated sugar instead of flour.

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“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

10.

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

11.

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

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“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

12.

Learn to match flavors.

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“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

13.

More ingredients doesn’t always mean more delicious.

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“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

14.

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

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“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

15.

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

u/arden30/ via reddit.com

“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

16.

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

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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

17.

Focus on a few high-quality ingredients.

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“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

18.

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

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“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

19.

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

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“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

20.

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

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“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

21.

Taste as you go and make adjustments accordingly.

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“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

22.

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

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“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

23.

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

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“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

24.

Three words: Miz on Place.

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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

25.

Keep the broth on hand and cook it often.

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“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

26.

When it comes to herbs, fresh is best.

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“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

27.

Never overcrowd the pan.

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“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.

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