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 incredibly simple but often overlooked cooking tip/hack makes the difference?” – and here’s what people said.


“For me, it’s wrong. I get stressed out easily, so prepping and laying out my ingredients in advance really helps.”


“Be sure to preheat the pan before putting food in it. A lot of flavor comes from physical reactions between the food and a hot pan or grill. For most things, if it doesn’t hiss and hiss when it goes into the pan, then you’re fool yourself by the great concentrations of flavor.”


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


“When you bake, freeze the butter and grate it with a microplane. It’s the easiest way to get very fine pieces of cold butter that are evenly distributed in your dough.”


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


“I used to think that bacon was supposed to go straight into a hot pan, but mine always came out tasting cooked and limp. I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t crispy. But then I learned that I just put those strips of bacon in a chamber. The temperature pan and the gradual increase in heat ensures that it comes out crispy every time. Many people may think that you can just fry bacon in a few minutes, but in fact good, crispy bacon takes at least 15-20 minutes.”


“Adding some of the pasta water back into your pasta sauce. Just a quarter or half cup is all you need. The starch from the water will help the sauce emulsify and stick to the noodles.”


“Blade the chicken breasts to a uniform thickness before cooking them. This makes them cook more evenly.”


“Dry the surface of your food well to absorb any 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 brown!”


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


“Removing food from the heat source after it has finished cooking. Things like meat and eggs continue to cook even after you remove them from the oven or grill/stove. Remove the food from the heat forward cooking is over and let it rest. It will reach the desired consistency instead of tasting overcooked.”


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


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


“Many people just cook ground beef until it’s no longer pink and starts to turn gray, but try to let it cook longer (to the point where you’re afraid it might be overcooked). , much more delicious for your tacos, dips, etc.”


“Don’t overcrowd the pan. If you overcrowd the pan, you’ll steam the food instead of browning it. When you give the food the space it needs to achieve that golden brown crust, you achieve the Maillard reaction, which it makes food taste better.”


“You can almost always replace the chicken broth with water to add extra flavor to whatever you’re cooking.”


“Cooking the pasta for the last two minutes in the sauce. I traveled to Italy last year and it made me realize what al dente should really taste like, and also why you want to cook the pasta in the sauce at the end. It completely changed my pasta game for good.”


“I dust my baked goods with granulated sugar instead of flour. Whenever I bake, I always grease the pan, but instead of using flour to grease the pan, I use granulated sugar. It makes the edges of everything I bake sweet and crispy, and it saves me from having to use extra cream or cream.”


“Resist the urge to turn your food while cooking. The best thing you can do for your meat is to leave it alone. Once you put it in the pan, on the grill, or whatever, don’t touch it. Don’t pierce it , probe. , press, squeeze, lift, roll, or whatever until it’s time to flip it. Moving it will cause juices to leak out and disrupt the cooking process, leaving your meat dry and taste.”


“I keep notes about the recipes I make. I note the amount of ingredients I used, how many servings it made, and helpful instructions for the cooking process. I also rate recipes so I know which ones to make again. You can improve them. by changing several variables at once, and when you do it again in a month or a year, you’ll know exactly how to do it.”


“Always brine your meat, especially chicken. Your food will taste much juicier and tastier after you’ve brined it, even if you’re not using the highest quality meat.”


“Always clean the pan to take advantage of any leftovers. This is pure flavor.”


“Always toast your hamburger buns. Spread a little Duke’s mayo on them first, then sprinkle some garlic powder on them, then fry them in a pan until they’re golden.”


“Add tomato paste to sautéed onions and garlic, let it simmer and stick to the pan, then drain. It will add incredible flavor to your dish and taste like it’s been slow cooking all day. It’s especially delicious for tomato sauces etc. …”


“Treat temperature as if it were an ingredient. Follow recipe directions. A pan that’s too hot or too cold will result in bad food or, at the very least, an undercooked dish.”


“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 larger, so it’s harder to overdo it.”


Spread the butter, aka throw cold butter into your sauces to finish them off for a nice glossy finish. It’s the reason almost all the sauces you have in a restaurant taste better.”


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


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


“Roast vegetables for longer than you think is necessary. I used to hate roasting vegetables because they would either be tough and undercooked or mushy. Then I realized you just have to cook them longer so they get past the brown stage. the moisture is removed and they start to turn brown.”


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

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

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