Subtle cooking tips that make a big difference

Cooking is a learning game. And if you cook often, you’re probably constantly discovering new tricks, tweaks, and methods that make a big difference in the quality of your food. So Redditor u/CaptainWisconsin asked, “What extremely simple but often overlooked kitchen tip or trick makes all the difference?” —And that’s what people said.


“For me, it’s about putting things on the spot. I get stressed out very easily when I’m cooking, and prepping and laying out my ingredients ahead of time helps a lot.”


“Be sure to heat the pan before you put the food in. A lot of flavor comes from the physical reactions between the food and a hot pan or grill. For most things, if it doesn’t sizzle or sizzle when it goes in in the pan. , then you’re fooling yourself with large concentrations of flavor.”


“When making meatballs, season the entire batch of raw meat. Then cook a small ‘tester’ meatball. Taste it and adjust the seasoning in the larger batch if necessary.”


“When baking, freeze the butter and grate it with a microplano. It’s the easiest way to get very thin pieces of cold butter that are evenly distributed throughout your dough.”


“Often when people are looking for extra seasoning, what they really need is a little acid. Instead of adding more salt to a dish, try brightening things up with a squeeze of lemon/lime or some of vinegar”.


“I used to think bacon was supposed to go straight into a hot pan, but mine always came out boiled and limp. I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t crispy. But then I learned that I just put these strips of bacon in a room. the pan to temperature and gradually increasing the heat ensures that it comes out crispy every time. Many people may think that you can only fry bacon in a couple of minutes, but in reality, good, crispy bacon takes at least 15-20 minutes.”


“Add some of the pasta water back into your pasta sauce. You only need a quarter to a half cup. The starch in the water will help the sauce emulsify and stick to the noodles.”


“Fry the chicken breasts to an even thickness before cooking them. It makes them cook more evenly.”


“Dry the surface of your food to absorb excess moisture if you want it to brown well. Many people take this step for granted and wonder why their food doesn’t come out golden!”


“There’s no such thing as cooking wine. Don’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink on its own. You don’t have to spend a ton, but cooking with quality wine (even a $12 bottle) adds a lot more flavor to a dish.” .


“Remove food from the heat source once it’s done cooking. Things like meat and eggs continue to cook even after you remove them from the oven or grill/stove. Remove the foods of fire. before it has finished cooking, and we let it rest. It will achieve the desired consistency instead of tasting overcooked.”


“The more you process or mince the garlic, the stronger the flavor in your dish.”


“Oven temperatures and controls are always very inaccurate. Get an oven thermometer and find out how hot it really is – you’ll be surprised how ‘off’ it is.”


“A lot of people just cook ground beef until it’s no longer pink and starts to turn gray, but try to cook it longer (to the point where you fear it might even be overcooked). I find that the Very well browned ground meat is much, much tastier for your tacos, sauces, etc.”


“Don’t overcrowd the pan. If you overcrowd the pan, you’ll be steaming the food instead of browning it. When you give your food the space it needs to get that golden crust, the Maillard reaction occurs, which causes the food tastes better.”


“You can almost always swap out the chicken stock for water to add extra flavor to whatever you’re cooking.”


“Cooking pasta for the last few minutes with the sauce. I traveled to Italy last year and it made me understand how al dente is really supposed to taste, and also why you want to cook pasta with the sauce at the end. totally change my pasta game for the better.”


“Cover baked goods with granulated sugar instead of flour. Whenever I bake, I always grease pans, but instead of using flour to coat the pan, I use granulated sugar. It makes the edges of what I’m baking sweet and crunchy. and saves me the need to use extra ice cream or frosting.”


“Resist the urge to turn your food while it’s cooking. The best thing you can do for your meats is to leave them alone. After you put them in the pan, on the grill, or whatever, don’t touch. Do not poke, probe, press, squeeze, lift, twist, or anything else until it’s time to turn it. If you move it, the juices will seep out and interrupt the cooking process, leaving your meat dry and tasteless”.


“Keep notes on the recipes I make. I write down the amounts of ingredients I used, how many servings it made and helpful tips about the cooking process. I also rate the recipes so I know which ones to make again. You can improve them . changing a few variables at a time, and when you do it again in a month or a year, you’ll know exactly how to do it.”


“Always brine your meats, especially chicken. Your food will taste much juicier and more flavorful after brining, even if you’re not using the highest quality meat.”


“Always deglaze the pan to take advantage of any flavor left behind. This is pure flavor.”


“Always toast your hamburger buns. Spread some Duke’s Mayonnaise on them first, then sprinkle some garlic powder seasoning on them, then toast them in a pan until golden brown.”


“Add the tomato paste to the sautéed onions and garlic, let it cook and stick it to the pan, then deglaze it. It adds tremendous flavor to your dish and will taste like it’s been baked slow all day. It’s especially delicious for tomato sauces, etc…”


“Treat temperature like an ingredient. Follow recipe directions. A pan that’s too hot or too cold will result in bad food or, at the very least, a dish that’s not cooked properly.”


“Use kosher salt (or Maldon flakes) over other types of salt like iodized. This allows you to adjust the amount of salt better because the flakes are bulkier, so it’s harder to overdo it.”


beat the butter, also whisk cold butter into your sauces to finish them off with a beautiful glossy finish. It’s the reason almost every sauce you have in a restaurant tastes better.”


“Always start by cooking mushrooms in a dry pan for a few minutes to remove some of the moisture before adding oil or butter. They will brown much better that way.”


“Taste everything as you cook, not just the finished recipe. Taste all the spices, salt and pepper separately before adding them to your dish. Don’t let one bad ingredient ruin your meal.”


“Roasted vegetables for longer than you think necessary. I used to hate roasted vegetables because they were tough and undercooked or white. Then I realized that you just need to cook them even longer to get them past the pasta stage. It’s removed moisture and start to brown.”


“Toast ingredients before cooking with them. Think: spices, oats for oatmeal, flour for roux, arborio rice for risotto, and nuts for anything. It does wonders for flavor.”

What’s an underrated tip that has made a big difference in your kitchen? Tell us in the comments!

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