“Once I started doing this, I noticed a tremendous change in the quality of my cooking.”
Maybe you’re just learning to cook, or you’re a seasoned home cook. Whatever the case, there are always little habits you can adopt to improve your cooking skills. So Redditor asked u/Rollotamassii, “What’s one small thing you started that has had a big positive impact on your kitchen?” Here’s what people said.
“Add finishing salt to desserts like cookies and brownies. It might seem counterintuitive, but a little salt makes sweet baked goods even more delicious.”
“The salting of my meat and not just chicken. Salting lamb and beef makes these proteins much more tender and flavorful. You can even salt-dry salt beef and leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight.”
“When I cook chicken, I switch from breast to thigh. The thighs are not only cheaper, but also much tastier.”
“Finish a fried egg by steaming it to get a perfectly soft yolk. Just put a lid on the pan for a few seconds and voilà.”
“Grate cheese yourself from large blocks instead of buying the pre-grated version. The difference in taste is undeniable.”
“I changed the way I cook with spices. First, I buy whole spices and grind them myself instead of buying pre-ground. Then I roast them before grinding them and/or fry them in oil to release the flavors. “
“I take notes on the recipes I make. I make note of the amounts of ingredients I used, how many servings it made, and helpful notes on the cooking process. I also rate recipes so I know which ones to make again. You can improve it by changing just a few variables at a time, and if you do it again in a month or a year, you’ll know exactly how to do it.”
“Clean while cooking. I also finally found a good rhythm for cleaning while cooking and it was amazing. It makes the cooking process so much more enjoyable when the chore of cleaning doesn’t stop until the end.”
“Remove my food from the heat source as soon as it’s finished cooking. Things like meat and eggs will continue to cook even after you take them out of the oven or off the grill/stove. Take your food off the heat In front It is ready cooked and let rest. It reaches the desired consistency and doesn’t taste overcooked.”
“I started sharpening my knives more often. It makes the prep — dice, chop, chop — so much faster and easier.”
“I started reading more than one version of a recipe to get my bearings and understand what (if anything) should be absolutely accurate.
“The burner is not automatically set to high heat. It took me too long to realize that when it comes to evenly cooked, flavorful food, less heat is more.”
“I use at least a touch of an acidic ingredient in almost everything I cook, whether it’s lemon or lime juice or a dash of vinegar.”
“Mastering cooking techniques rather than specific recipes. When you learn a process (like braising in red wine or poaching in olive oil) instead of a routine recipe, you know how to cook dozens of dishes. It’s really the only way to develop skills in the kitchen.”
“Investing in an accurate digital cooking thermometer and using it for absolutely everything I make, including cakes. It takes the guesswork out and ensures the food is cooked through.”
“Washing all fresh produce and storing it properly once I get home from the grocery store. It makes all my fruits and veggies last longer and it also makes cooking easier. The products are ready to use whenever I need them.”
“I read every single recipe in its entirety before I start cooking, even if it’s a dish I’ve made before. It’s so helpful to plan all the steps in your head in advance.
“Learn about mirepoix (a combination of finely diced onions, carrots and celery) and Soffritto (chopped and sautéed carrots, celery and onions). These two flavors add a whole layer of depth to soups, stews and sauces.”
“I use a bowl to dispose of leftover food and compost while I chop veggies and prepare to cook. I can’t stand having clutter on my cutting board, so adopting this simple habit has made cooking so much more enjoyable.”
“Use proper cooking techniques to prepare different cuts of meat. Remember where the meat of the animal came from. If it’s a muscle they use a lot (legs, butt, etc.) it probably needs to be cooked slow and slow, if it’s a muscle they use a little (back, tenderloin, etc.) it needs it probably high heat and a faster cooking time. There are exceptions to this rule, but most of the time it doesn’t work.
“Understanding the importance of balancing the four essential elements of cooking — fat, salt, heat and acidity — and learning to taste to see what’s missing and adjusting accordingly.”
“Use soy sauce for more than just Asian recipes. Try a shot in scrambled eggs or in caramelized onions. It’s a hearty, salty flavor that goes well with many dishes.”
“I forget my fear of over-seasoning. It’s okay to be generous with the herbs and spices. If you’re cooking with chicken or pork, season aggressively because both meats make wonderful sponges for seasoning. Find a regional spice menu or one Guide and start combining flavors.”
“Brown meat before putting it in the slow cooker. You may want to just throw everything in and press cook, but most meats (ground beef, chicken, etc.) should be browned before adding them to the slow cooker. This will make the finished dish taste much better.”
“I start with the mise en place, which means getting everything ready before I start cooking. I make sure all the ingredients are cut and the spices/ingredients are measured first so I can focus solely on the cooking.”
“Resist the urge to turn food over while cooking. The best thing you can do for your meat is leave it alone. After you put it in the pan, on the grill, or whatever, don’t touch it pressing, squeezing, lifting, rotating, or anything else until it’s time to flip it. If you move it, the juice will leak out and disrupt the cooking process, leaving your meat dry and flavorless.”
“Tasting as you go. At different stages of cooking, while being confident, I taste my food as I cook it. This allows me to know if I’m having too much or too little of a particular ingredient or flavor. It also helps to develop my palette and learn what different spices do to a dish.”
“Learning to keep it simple in the kitchen. Using a lot of different ingredients doesn’t mean your food tastes better. These days I prioritize dishes that I can make in 30 to 40 minutes with six to eight ingredients.”
“Deglaze the pan after cooking. Using stock — that dark brown stuff that sticks to your pan when you cook it — can massively improve the quality of your proteins. Use alcohol or an acidic element to dissolve the stock and use the delicious brown juice. As a good rule of thumb, I deglaze with dry white wine when cooking chicken, red wine for beef, and lemon juice for pretty much everything.”
“Away from cooking everything in olive oil. Think of olive oil as a condiment. It’s great to drizzle on your food as a garnish, but terrible to fry with. Instead, use vegetable oil or another ‘neutral’ oil that has a higher smoke point and adds no flavor to your food.”
“Freeze tofu before cooking. It causes the water in the tofu to freeze and expand, making it easier for you to drain the excess water when defrosting. This makes it a lot easier to get that nice, crispy, restaurant-quality tofu.”
“Leave more space in the pan when frying or frying. Whatever you’re cooking, don’t overcrowd the pan. Instead, cook in batches. Your veggies and/or proteins aren’t getting brown and crispy because they’re drowning in their own juice from being packed too tightly together in a pan.”
“Focus on quality ingredients. Not everything you cook needs to be fancy, but learn how to source quality ingredients. There’s nothing quite like a simple recipe made from great ingredients with the right technique.”
Do you have an idea that I haven’t mentioned? What’s one small change that could make a big difference in the quality of your kitchen?