We have some of the best cooking tips for beginners that are designed to give you the confidence you need to tackle even the most complex recipes.If you’re new to cooking, your first step should be to focus more on the basics, such as learning how to cook pasta and rice, how to cook a steak or throw together simple meals, or how to follow a recipe. We’ve compiled some of the best tips provided by the pros that can help to give you an edge in the kitchen, so you can prepare a meal that will blow your friends and family away and have them coming back for seconds.
Key Takeaway: We’ve included some great tips that will help any beginner avoid some of the common mistakes most new cooks make. Basically, these tips will not only help to save you time and money, they can also teach you some of the tricks most experienced chefs use to cook for large groups of people. Want to learn how to perfectly cook dishes for family and friends, in just a fraction of the time? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Continue reading to learn more about the tips pro chefs use for meal prepping, following recipes, and more.
Following a Recipe
It sounds simple enough, right? But how many times did you find yourself halfway through following a recipe only to realize you missed a step or forgot to buy a certain ingredient? We’re all guilty of doing it. Which is why we recommend reading through a new recipe twice before you begin.
This can help to eliminate common prep and cooking mistakes. Were you supposed to marinate the chicken overnight? Did you purchase fresh ginger? Are there important directions at the bottom of the recipe? Read through the entire recipe, check and make sure you have the supplies you need and write down any supplies you’ll need to pick up at the store before you get started. Pay attention to prep time and cooking time. In the end, just by following this simple step you can avoid an epic dinner fail.
Which leads us to our next tip: prepping
Prepping Ahead of Time
Prepping a meal a day ahead of time can seem like a lot of work, and many of us are usually too busy to set aside the time to do this early. But being organized and planning ahead is all a part of recipe success, and in the end, it will also help to make you a better cook. Not only will you have all of the ingredients organized and ready, but this also forces you to make certain you have each and every ingredient and tool needed for a specific recipe. As you probably already know, nothing can be more frustrating than realizing your missing an important key ingredient right as you’re in the middle of preparing a dish.
By prepping certain ingredients, such as chopping onions or shredding cheese, you’ll be able to cook a meal in half the time it usually takes when you do the prep part right before you cook. Most cooks also recommend prepping certain fruits and veggies and other food stuffs at the beginning of the week. As an example, if you normally add diced garlic or onions to your meals, prep this on Monday, storing the onions and garlic in a plastic container. Shred cheese, prep for salads, etc.
You’ll be surprised at how much time you can save at mealtime by following this simple tip.
Using the Right Equipment
Does the recipe call for a large saucepan like the model in the Concord copper cookware set, but all you have is a small sauté pan? Are the baking dishes you’re using too small for the recipe?
Having the right equipment will have a major impact on how good or bad a dish will turn out, especially if you end up overloading a baking dish or pan.
When food cooks it releases moisture. When a pan is overloaded with food, the food will begin steaming itself instead of browning. This process will severely change the food’s texture and not for the better. As an example, cooking twice baked potatoes in a small baking dishes will prevent the potatoes from browning, resulting in a mushy mess. So, in order to avoid completely ruining that dish you put all that hard work into preparing, again, read the recipe and use the recommended pot, pan, or baking dish size.
We recommend using copper cookware because it heats and cooks food evenly and efficiently. Some people wonder is copper cookware safe to use? Rest assured this type of cookware is totally safe, as long as you choose tin or stainless-steel lined cookware.
If you’re lacking in the pots and pans department, take a look at our extensive guide on cookware, where you’ll find the perfect set that can really take your cooking game up a notch, just click here.
Buy a Top-Quality Chef’s Knife
In the kitchen, the right chef’s knife is everything. It’s one tool you can’t live without and if you’re trying to get by using a cheap blunt knife to handle all the dirty work in your kitchen, it’s going to slow you down.
A low-quality chef’s knife will have you struggling with most cutting techniques, especially if the blade is dull and difficult to sharpen. A good chef’s knife should feel good in your hand and have a nice sharp edge. We recommend the Shun DM0707 Classic chef’s knife, it’s a great knife and one that can hold an edge for up to six months.
Always Use Fresh Ingredients
Most professional chefs are complete snobs when it comes to the freshness of their ingredients. And there’s a great reason behind this. Fresh food simply tastes better. Instead of old, dried spices, always buy fresh.
Instead of hitting up the grocery store, head to your local farmer’s market and buy pesticide-free, fresh fruits and veggies that are priced more affordable.
Fresh eggs, bread, fruits, and veggies can also pack more flavor and can make a world of difference in terms of how your dishes both look and taste.
Of course, when you buy fresh you should expect to pay more and you may need to purchase food more often.
Stay in the Kitchen While Your Food is Cooking
Did that recipe say the rice should simmer for twenty minutes? Are you thinking you have twenty minutes to vacuum or tackle your laundry? Don’t do it. In fact, don’t leave the kitchen. Multitasking around the house is tempting when you’re cooking, but it’s also the number one reason you end up overcooking your food. Pay close attention to your dish on the stove or in the oven. Check on it every few minutes and remove it from heat promptly in order to avoid burning it overcooking it.
Close monitoring is also needed because cook time can vary depending on cookware type and even your stove top or oven. Do you have an older oven that struggles to maintain the right temperature? Do you have an electric stove that has a medium setting that runs on the high side?
A recipe isn’t going to know what type of cookware you’re using. Copper cookware will cook food at a much faster rate than cast iron.
For these reasons we highly recommend sticking around in the kitchen in order to keep a closer eye on your food.
During this time you can get some of the weekly meal prep out of the way or focus on making side dishes.
Never Put Your Meat in a Cold Pan
When meat is placed in a cold pan, it releases moisture as it heats up. The result? Dry meat. Because of this, you must preheat the pan and have it nice and hot before you throw in that steak. When you heat up the pan first, you end up giving the steak a nice sear that works to lock in moisture, so you end up with a moist, tender piece of meat.
Meat Should be Rested
Once your meat is cooked to perfection and removed from heat, the juices will quickly move to the edges of the meat. When you allow the meat to rest for ten minutes before it’s served the juices will flow back towards the center, retaining its moisture, so each cut is packed with flavor. This rule applies to roasts, whole chickens and turkeys as well. However, with meat of that size, you’ll want to wait about thirty minutes before carving.