20 Cooking Advice That Might Take Your Cooking Game To Another Level, As Shared By Chefs In This Online Thread

Published 8 months ago

Cooking can be a whirlwind of excitement, but sometimes we could all use a little extra help to make things smoother and more efficient. Luckily, the online culinary community is a goldmine of fantastic kitchen hacks shared by talented chefs.

This Reddit thread offers some easy yet genius kitchen hacks that will make your culinary adventures even more fun and impressive. So grab your apron and let’s get started!

More info: Reddit

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#1

Image source: GeraldSparks, Yaroslav Shuraev

Learn cooking techniques instead of recipes.

#2

Image source: theWet_Bandits, Maarten van den Heuvel

There is a concept called Mise en Place. Essentially it means get everything ready before you start. Instead of scrambling to measure out four different seasonings or get olive oil out of your pantry while something is burning on the stove, get everything out and measured beforehand.

Also, get a kitchen scale and start following baking recipes that are written by weight. A recipe with weights usually mean its from a serious baker and not some mommy/daddy blogger. Weights are better because my cup of flour will be different than yours but 100 g is always 100 g

Edit: by “my cup being different from your cup” I am not referring to the physical cup. I am referring to the resulting quantity of the ingredient. Is it packed tightly or loosely? Is it heaping slightly or is it under filled. Scoop a cup of sugar and tap it a few times. It’ll settle a little bit and you’ll be able to fit more in the cup.

#3

Image source: Iamnotthefirst, Tara Winstead

Lots of good tips in the comments, as usual with this question.

I’ll add this: place a damp towel between your cutting board and counter top to prevent the board from slipping. If you’d prefer not to use anything with water, get some of that non-slip shelf liner stuff and cut it to size.

#4

Image source: VVillyD, cottonbro studio

Wash dishes as you go. Your dish needs to sautee for 5 minutes? That’s time to wash a few dishes, throw away trash, or put away ingredients. Nobody wants to clean the kitchen after eating a filling meal, so just do it as you cook.

#5

Image source: CoconutWill, Ivy Dawned

Learned this from Gordon Ramsay. Always keep a towel hanging out of your pocket. Getting dirty is inevitable, so having quick access is really useful.

#6

Image source: jokemon, RDNE Stock project

when making ribs make sure that the skin on the back has been REMOVED.

Toast your burger buns

heat up syrup in the microwave

let your meat settle for a little bit before eating it, the juices come back together.

#7

Image source: My600lbLife, Ketut Subiyant

If you’ve burned yourself, immediately submerge the burn in lukewarm to warm water for a couple minutes (or until the pain becomes a dull throb).

It sounds insane (and feels terrible for those couple of minutes), but once you’ve done this the burn won’t react painfully to temperature anymore. Saved my a*s the night I had boiling stew poured all over my arm and hand.

#8

Image source: palad, Marco Verch Professional Photographer

A falling knife has no handle. Don’t try to catch it – just get out of the way.

#9

Image source: lordoftime, Felicity Tai

Crack your eggs on a flat surface instead of a rim of a pan or bowl. 99% of the time, you just get two clean halves instead of tiny chipped eggshells. Also, just use the eggshell to fish any shell bits out if you mess up.

#10

Image source: anon, Fernanda Lima

I lived with a top tier chef for about a year. The single most important thing I learned from him was to keep asking yourself *why*. Why have you got the heat that level? Why are you putting in that particular spice at this stage? Why are you adding these things together? What is actually going to happen? There were a lot of times when he’d walk into the kitchen and I’d be doing something simple and he’d just say “why are you cutting the vegetables like that?” or “why are you adding the feta to the salad now, what is that going to do to the vegetables?”

It sounds simple, but all I was doing beforehand was going by an “I reckon these things would taste good” kind of angle without critically thinking about the logic of each action. With the vegetable example, I hadn’t really thought about the difference in how quickly garlic would cook if I was adding it as a mince paste vs if I was adding it in chunks – too often I’d burn the garlic without even knowing it. I hadn’t thought about how feta is really salty and salt draws out moisture almost instantly and can cause lettuce to wilt and go soggy. That kind of thing really really matters.

So basically the tip I learned was to keep questioning everything you’re doing and break it down logically, like you would if you were building a shelf.

#11

Image source: Gabranthael, Engin Akyurt

1. Any meat you are cooking, whether it is a steak or a chicken breast or some delicate shrimp, can almost ALWAYS benefit from being taken out of the fridge a few hours in advance and allowed to come to room temperature before cooking. No, it will NOT spoil in a few hours.

2. Do not add oil to your pasta water to keep it from sticking together. Just stir it. Adding oil causes the sauce you add later to slide off instead of sticking.

3. Ever wonder why the chicken you make in your stir-fry/sesame chicken/curry dish isn’t as soft and tender as it is in the restaurant? They use a technique called “velveting” – which is basically poaching the chicken in water and oil after marinading it in ~~milk~~ egg whites, wine and cornstarch. It’s easy to do! Google can tell you how.

4. For delicate seafood (shrimp, lobster, scallops), I can almost guarantee you are overcooking it. Remove them from the heat when they still have a hint of translucency to them – NOT after they’ve turned white. They will finish cooking from the latent heat and will be tender, not rubbery.

5. On the subject of rubbery seafood – soak squid overnight in buttermilk before making calamari and your appetizer will melt in your mouth every time.

6. Trying to suspend fruit, nuts or something else in a cake or dough? Be sure to coat them in flour before adding them to the batter to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

7. Add a pinch of cinnamon. Seriously. I don’t care what you’re making. Chili? Seafood chowder? Meatloaf? Fettuccine Alfredo? Add a pinch of cinnamon. You’re welcome.

EDIT: Fixed velveting technique to include egg whites, not milk. Also, if you aren’t comfortable leaving meat or seafood out for a few hours, then don’t. I maintain, however, that you will be just fine. But hey, all I have going for me is a B.S. in biology with a concentration in disease pathology and an M.S. in Applied Nutrition. Grain of salt, I guess.

#12

Image source: gjones9038, julie aagaard

Here’s one of my favorite tips I learned.

Learn to cook one meal great, so that you can do it without looking at a recipe and can pull it off flawlessly every time.

That’s your go to meal.

Mine is pan seared salmon home made rice pilaf and a baby spinach salad with just olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice and feta cheese mixed in.

If you’re a single guy and can cook a girl dinner, you’re light years ahead of most guys since many can’t even boil water now a days.

#13

Image source: Yshnev, vagueonthehow

When I’m doing prep I like to have a ‘trash bowl’ in easy reach on the counter. For peel, skin, bones etc.

Saves constantly shuttling to the bin

#14

Image source: gkern86, Jill Wellington

Take your time to cut your vegetables into similar shape/sizes – it will help them cook at a similar speed. But also understand that a small dice potato and a small dice onion will not cook at the same speed. A good rule of thumb is the harder or denser the vegetable, the longer it will take to cook

Cook bacon in your oven….seriously.

Salt your food. 9 times out of 10 your food sucks because you didn’t season it correctly. People can be a little shocked at how much salt is required for good food. Goto a restaurant with an open kitchen and watch the cooks season their food.

Acid is also super critical for balanced food. If you have seasoned well and it still tastes flat, add some lemon juice or vinegar

Salt and acid are just as important in pastry – and often overlooked, which is why desserts are usually pretty MEH (or at least not as impactful as savory food).

Any recipe that does not have salt written in it assumes you know to add salt.

Finishing salt and/or acid is just as important.

If the meat you are searing is stuck to your pan – either you put it on when the pan was too cold or its not done searing. It will lift off easily when then happens.

A good way to know your pan is hot enough – add oil, crank the heat, once the oil looks like its rippling a bit and you see the first wisp of smoke – add your protein (presentation side down). Once you start seeing the correct color just creeping up the side of the meat – its probably seared. To be clear – this isnt any color change, but rather once you see that nice golden brown color.

Many times cooks will sear their proteins (presentation side down) and as soon as they see that color creeping up / are confident the sear is good – they take the pan off the heat and throw the whole thing (no rubber handles!) into the oven (350 or higher) to finish cooking through.

Fat holds flavor well. In baking – add your aromatics to your butter (your extracts, zests, flavoring) and it will come through more clearly.

Your bread sucks because you’re under proofing it. Ignore the timeline in your recipe and don’t bake it until it is actually ready!

Read through your recipe and mentally cook the dish. It will help you recognize the process and let you break free from following the recipe so closely. Eg – the recipe says sear your fish 2 min on high – you do that and realize….maybe my filet is thicker, maybe my pan is colder (or hotter) – but its not done searing….ignore the recipe and listen to what you know. Even in baking, recipes are guidelines to proper techniques.

your sharp knife is not sharp. buy a honing steel (cheap on amazon) and use it EVERY time you use your knife. Buy a sharpening stone (cheap on amazon) and practice sharpening your knife (youtube is your friend). Practice sharpening with your crappy knife – then buy a good starter knife (Victorinox, MAC Superior) and treat it well. So much fatigue comes from using dull knives.

List of most used tools/my roll:
*chefs knife
*serrated bread knife
*paring knife
*microplane
*honing steel
*Y peeler
*fish spatula
*high heat rubber spatula
*4″ offset spatula
*sturdy tongs
*large cooking spoon/basting spoon
*good thermometer

#15

Image source: 0jeezrick, Miguel Á. Padriñán

My uncle, who is a chef, once told me that if you keep having to add salt, try adding some citric acid instead. Honestly, it changed my life.

#16

Image source: cjoyful, Nicolas Postiglioni

Bacon fat should never be wasted.

#17

Image source: Ooer, Dapur Melodi

Taste and season your food as you cook.

#18

Image source: varro-reatinus, Kasumi Loffler

Dry your meat.

#19

Image source: Lympwing2, jonathan

A blunt knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife.

#20

Image source: Lympwing2, cottonbro studio

Put music on.

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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