Cooking Tips for Beginners You'll Wish You'd Known Sooner

Food is one of the main aspects of any culture and it has also made its way into pop culture. There are people for whom the only reason to get on Facebook is to watch “tasty” videos. But they actually do not try out the demonstrated recipe or take advice from the cooks that they watch. Students and young adults generally forget about the importance and the benefits of cooking for themselves. When people get into the habit of eating out or always having someone cooking for themselves, they forget how to eat healthily and how to eat junk food only in moderation.

Many students still spend a lot of money on fast food. There are two major reasons why students don’t cook. They lack time and a kitchen, so they never learn how to survive with just a few potatoes and a pack of uncooked chicken. Therefore, when they get out of school, find a job and finally get the time and a kitchen, they don’t know what to do with it. And It’s the time they all start to learn.

cooking tips for beginners
cooking tips for beginners

Importance of Cooking

Learning how to cook is one of the most important skills for a person to have:

  • By cooking for yourself you learn to enjoy healthy foods.
  • Eating at restaurants, fast food joints and school cafeterias is more expensive than cooking, thus cooking allows you to save a lot of money.
  • Cooking is a way to relieve stress after a hard day.
  • Learning to cook helps you understand the cultures, customs and flavors of the world.
  • Preparing healthy foods will put much-needed nutrition into your diet, increasing your energy and quality of health.
  • Cooking is a fun way to express your creativity.


Whether you’re a hesitant beginner or have been cooking for a while, everyone who sets foot in a kitchen needs a refresher on the basics sometimes. Here are some cooking tips that will certainly make your job easier and more pleasant.

Avoid getting bits of the shell in your food, crack the eggs on a flat surface.

Cracking an egg on the side of a bowl or on the edge of something looks cooler, but it pushes little bits of shell into the egg. The best method is to smack it on a flat surface.


Use a microplane to make prepping garlic and ginger so much easier.

In almost every recipe, it’ll tell you to chop garlic. It’s really very difficult as a beginner to evenly chop it, but a microplane is a quick and easy solution. You can also use a microplane if you have to grate hard cheeses, chocolate, and whole spices (like cinnamon or nutmeg). 

Use an oil with a high smoke point (like peanut or vegetable oil) instead of butter or olive oil.

Never put olive oil or butter in a super hot pan as it burns very quickly (or worse, catches on fire). They both have low smoke points. Instead, you can use vegetable or peanut oil anytime you’re cooking with high heat to prevent it from burning and giving your food an off-flavor.

cooking oil

Completely and thoroughly read your recipe before you start cooking.

Read your recipe completely and thoroughly to save your time. Prepare and do all the stuff beforehand as it is written in the recipe. Everything should be washed, chopped, diced, minced, and set out on your countertop prior to cooking.

Acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar) brightens flavors and brings bland food to life.

Citrus juice is a secret weapon that makes almost everything better: chicken, salmon, broccoli, black beans, corn — the list goes on. Most meats and veggies can get a lot brighter with a quick squeeze of lemon or lime.


Season every step of the cooking process to prevent over-salting at the end.

Season your food liberally, but taste in every step. 

If you add too much salt, throw a quartered potato in to tone down the flavor and absorb some of the excesses.

If you go overboard with the salt when making soup, throw a quartered potato in and let it simmer for 10 minutes. The potato will absorb some amount of salt and make the soup taste less salty.

salt the food
storing veggies

Prevent cut vegetables from turning brown by storing them in cold water.

If you’re cutting potatoes but you are not going to use them immediately, store them in water so they don’t brown. It also works for other fruits and veggies like apples or avocados ― anything that turns brown after it’s been cut.

Figure-eight stirring technique will prevent the bottom of your pan from scorching.

Stirring in a figure-eight pattern prevents the bottoms of your pots and pans from scorching. This is especially helpful for thick liquids that are prone to burning, such as gravy or tomato sauce.

stirring techniques
cutting board

To prevent your cutting board from slipping around, place a wet paper towel underneath.

If you want to keep your cutting board in place as you chop things, put a dish towel under it. It’s also helpful when you are rolling out dough on a cutting board. Not only will it make the chopping process easier, but it will also make sure there will be no accidents that may cause your knife to slip.

Don’t overcrowd your pan or baking dish.

Foods release moisture while cooking. When pans get crowded, food starts to steam itself rather than brown and it changes the texture of the food. Give your food ample room in the pan, if you want to make it brown or bake things that need to be crisp (like french fries in the oven or breaded chicken). You can cook in batches if your pan is too small.

cooking food
pan for cooking

Turn your pan handles to the side for safety.

Make it a habit to turn your handles to the side and stay safe, cooks! When things get a little hectic, and you’re racing across the kitchen to grab some ingredients, you can run into the handles and knock the pan onto the floor. 

You can do better with a good chef’s knife.

A good knife will make your life in the kitchen sooo much easier. The knife must be sharp and feel good in your hand. 

good knife
cooking on the stove

Don’t leave the kitchen if you’ve got your meal simmering on the stove.

This may seem like a no-brainer but everybody has done it. You know you’ve got a couple of minutes and you put a new load of laundry in. Surely you can do that. But it’s really risky. Nothing bad can happen, but other times you can come back to a burnt meal. If you’ve made the meal many times you know at what points in the cooking process you can bend this rule. But if you’re trying it’s a new recipe or you’re a beginner cook, stay put!

Don’t put the food in a cold pan while cooking.

When you put meat into a cold pan, it will release moisture as it heats up. Unless you like gnawing on dry meat, first heat up your pan so the moisture stays in the meat and doesn’t escape too early. By preheating the pan, you’re giving your meat a nice searing and the meat will hold in all those yummy juices.

cooking on a cold pan
mest the meat

Rest the meat after cooking!

When the meat is cooked, moisture starts moving outward towards the edges of the meat. If you cut into it right away, all the juices will spill out. By letting it rest, the juices will move back towards the center of the meat. So the juices will go in your belly, and not on your plate.

Clean as you go.

Take little breaks to clean the surfaces and tools that you’ve already used otherwise a mess will pile up as you go. Even though it might not feel like it at the moment, it’ll save your time and prevent stress later.

clean kitchen

Store spices in the right place.

Keep your spices in a cool, dark place to prolong their life. Never keep them on top of the stove, as heat and humidity alter their flavor.

Shut the stove off before eggs are done.

The trick to great eggs is to never overcook them! Whether you scramble, fry, or poach, always turn off the stove a few minutes before the eggs are done—even when they are a bit runny. The remainder of the heat is enough to cook them to fluffy perfection.

boiling water

Add salt to boiling pasta water.

When you make pasta, add some salt to boiling water to make it flavored from the inside out. The rule is about adding 1-2 tablespoons for a large pot of water. After adding the salt, stir it until it dissolves, and once boiling, add pasta. It sounds simple (and really it is!), but it elevates the taste of your dish.

Always keep some essentials on hand.

It’s easier to express your creativity with what you have if you are stocked with the right tools. Keeping meat (chicken breast, hamburger meat, salmon, etc.) and frozen vegetables in your freezer is a bonus for last-minute meals.


Paper towels will preserve your vegetables.

It sometimes doesn’t feel good to throw away the food that you haven’t touched. Wrap the vegetables loosely in a dry paper towel to prolong their life. Try to get as much air out of containers and bags as possible before sealing so as not to harm veggies. Do not wash them until you are ready to eat the produce. Always leave ample room in your refrigerator and produce drawer. Overstocking causes less air to flow through the refrigerator. It can result in uneven temps with food expiring faster.

Use more than one type of vinegar for dressing a salad.

There are some vinegar that are more acidic and others are on the sweeter side. Mix in several types of vinegar to compliment all of the ingredients in your salad.

baked chicken

To make oven-baked chicken taste fried, add a bit of mayo to the usual egg–and–bread crumbs coating.

The mayo will crisp up the individual bread crumbs and give your chicken that rich mouthfeel you’d typically get from fried foods.

Rinse your rice before cooking to prevent it from becoming gloopy.

People never cook rice without at least one rinse. Give it a wash or two for filtering out any debris and surface starches.

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