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13 Cooking Tips That’ll Change Every Home Cook’s Life

You can’t make a great meal without a great recipe, but without the right technique, even the most tried and true recipes might fail. While cooking tips aren’t always easy to find online, this list will help you master everything from roasting vegetables to making the perfect dumpling.

You can’t make a great meal without a great recipe, but without the right technique, even the most tried and true recipes might fail. While cooking tips aren’t always easy to find online, this list will help you master everything from roasting vegetables to making the perfect dumpling.

Take notes as you go.

Write down the steps you follow as you cook. This will help to ensure that you don’t forget key steps or ingredients, and it will also help to improve your cooking skills.
Write down the ingredients that you use, along with the measurements (if applicable). Record the amounts so that if you like them, everyone else can have more! If there’s something that didn’t work out well for anyone in your family, write it down so that maybe next time will be better!
Write down any tips that come to mind as you go along. These could be things like: “Don’t worry about getting every ingredient perfectly measured,” or “Add more garlic than usual.” Think of all of these little things as experiments – there’s no right or wrong way when it comes to cooking!

Read the recipe all the way through before you start.

Reading the recipe all the way through before you start is a crucial first step. It’s important to have everything ready and ingredients prepped before you begin, so that you don’t waste time searching for ingredients or tools at the last minute. This way, you can also ensure that there are no mistakes in the recipe.
It isn’t just about having all your ingredients measured out; it’s also about getting ready mentally. Make sure you have enough space in your kitchen to cook, and make sure that there aren’t any distractions around (such as pets or kids).

Put a damp paper towel under your cutting board.

This is an easy one, but it works. If you have a cutting board that slides around on the counter, put a damp paper towel under it. This will stop the board from sliding and also prevent scratches. It also keeps your cutting board from getting stained and slipping out of your hands if you’re using something like onions or garlic.

Set your timer for a few minutes less than the called-for time.

Cooking is an art, not a science. As a result, cooking times are for guidance only and may vary. The temperature of your pan and stove will affect how quickly food cooks. The size of the ingredient also affects cooking time: A larger piece of meat or chicken might take longer than a smaller slice to reach the right internal temperature.
The same goes for vegetables; some come in bigger chunks than others, so you’ll want to leave them in the pan longer if you want that extra crispness on the outer layer that makes all the difference between good stir-fry and great stir-fry!

Season and taste as you go.

Season and taste as you go.
When you first start cooking, this may feel like a daunting task. Just take a bite of your food! You don’t need to worry about messing up or screwing up; just make sure that whatever it is tastes good to you. Trust yourself and your taste buds, because they know best.
Just remember: seasoning is an important part of cooking! Seasoning can be affected by many things (the humidity in the air, how long something has been cooking for, etc.). Food might smell differently than it tastes once it’s done—that’s normal! Taste regularly and adjust the seasoning according to what works best for your recipe.

Add a little salt to everything. Yes, everything.

You may be surprised to learn that salt is not just a seasoning. It’s actually a natural preservative, a flavor enhancer, and even a tenderizer. In fact, salt is so versatile that it can also be used as an antiseptic or disinfectant by killing off harmful bacteria on your cutting board or in food storage containers.
Salt isn’t just for meats either; it’s great for veggies too! Did you know that salting vegetables can help break down the cell walls of any leafy greens? This will make them easier for your body to digest, which leads to less bloating after eating them (and who doesn’t want less bloating?).

If you bake, buy a scale.

If you bake, buy a scale.
Baking is all about precision—the right amount of flour will make or break your cookies; it’s the same for cakes and muffins. A scale is a must-have tool for any baker, even if it means spending more money than you want on one. They’re extremely affordable and most people will get their money’s worth from them within the first month!
And if baking isn’t your thing? Well, we still recommend getting a kitchen scale because they’re so versatile: not only can they be used for baking but also cooking meats and vegetables (and even measuring out ingredients for cocktails!).

Clean as you go.

* Clean as you go.
Don’t wait until the end of cooking to clean up. You’ll be surprised how much you save yourself in time by doing this little bit of extra work while everything is still hot and fresh. If something spills on the counter, wipe it off right away; don’t let it dry and then have to scrub later. And if something splatters on the stove, wipe it down immediately with a wet rag or paper towel—don’t let it dry there either!
* The same goes for cleaning utensils and surfaces after each meal: do everything in your power to avoid having food sit around in an uncleaned state for too long. You’re saving yourself so much time by cleaning as soon as possible!

Never use damp oven mitts.

Damp oven mitts are one of the worst things ever. If you’re going to be cooking for any length of time, get a pair of non-damp ones. They’ll conduct heat more effectively and protect your hands from burns more effectively, too. The dampness also won’t keep them from protecting your skin when things start getting hot in the kitchen—and trust me on this one, it happens all the time!

Mince garlic by hand.


1. Cut off the root end of the garlic clove, then cut off the tip.

2. Place the flat side of your chef’s knife on top of a clove and use it to smash them into a pulp until you can barely recognize what used to be a whole garlic clove—you’ll notice that some of its skin has fallen off during this step.
3. Using one hand (if you’re using more than one clove), hold down your newly smashed garlic with your thumb and index finger on either side of it (make sure not to squeeze too hard). Then use your other hand to mince it into smaller pieces by chopping away from yourself until no large chunks remain; repeat this step as needed with other cloves if needed.

Pull cookies out before they’re done.

Pull cookies out before they’re done.
Most of us have been taught to take our baked goods out of the oven when they’re at a point where they look done, but we often forget that there’s still time for them to cook for a few more minutes after we pull them out—and sometimes even more time if the cookie is cooling. I know some people who will actually put cookies back in the oven if they feel like they’re not done enough!
Of course, this isn’t true for every recipe—for example, don’t try this with cakes or other desserts that require baking powder or soda as leavening agents—but it’s always worth trying with cookies!

Put a paper towel on your cutting board.

If you want to keep your cutting board clean and in good shape, use a paper towel.
A simple trick is to put a paper towel over the surface of your cutting board. This will keep it from sliding around, getting scratched, stained or warped — and no one wants that!

Print out your recipes.

When it comes to recipes, a paper copy is always the best. Whether you print them out or write them yourself, it’s crucial to keep all of your go-to recipes in one place so that they’re easy to find and reference. The best way to do this is by keeping everything in one place—whether it’s on paper or digitally doesn’t matter as long as they’re organized!

Some people like to use binders and folders, while others prefer notebooks or files on their computer. Whatever method works best for you is fine! You can even combine methods: if you want something more portable, put the file on your laptop and print out copies when needed; if you need something more durable (like a recipe book), just keep everything electronically stored in case anything happens with your computer!

These are just a few of the many cooking tips out there. You can find more on our blog, What’s For Dinner? (wfdonline.com), or in any number of cookbooks and websites. Cooking is about finding what works for you and your family, but these tips will help make it smoother. Happy cooking!

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