10 Ways to Improve Your Cooking

Looking to step up your game in the kitchen? There are plenty of easy ways to improve,  just by making some small changes at home. 

Here are the top 10 ways to improve your cooking:

You don’t need fancy ingredients or a Michelin star to impress your friends and family with some seriously delicious food. Today, I’ve rounded up my picks for the best ways to improve your cooking skills. After reading the pointers in this article, you’ll be on your way to culinary heaven. 

1. Finish your dishes with acid. 

 

Did you know that a touch of acid has the power to enhance the flavor profile of a dish drastically? There’s a reason why so many recipes require you to add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice! Next time you’re preparing a dish that calls for acid, do yourself a favor and taste the food just before adding it then after. 

 

This will allow you to see firsthand how much this simple act can improve the final dish. Once you understand how acid can enhance a dish, you can begin to experiment by adding it to all sorts of meat and veggie dishes as a garnish. 

 

2. Don’t crowd the pan.

 

This sentiment rings true whether you’re cooking food on a stove, in an oven, or an air fryer. Overcrowding the pan is one of the most common cooking mistakes, and many people don’t realize the enormous difference it makes in both flavor and texture. 

 

When you crowd a pan, you reduce the overall temperature and cause your food to steam rather than brown. Whether you’re sauteing mushrooms or cooking fish for delicious fish tacos, always make sure your food has room to cook without touching. 

 

This will go a long way in the flavor development of your ingredients and is one of the best ways to improve your cooking.

3. Opt for quality ingredients.

 

Quality makes a huge difference in the outcome of a dish. Instead of buying tons of mediocre ingredients, opt for a few quality ingredients. Less is often more, and you’ll find that the flavors will shine through on their own with quality ingredients. 

 

One of the best examples of this is opting for produce currently in season. When fruits and veggies are enjoyed at their peak ripeness, they are as fresh and flavorful as they will ever be. Trust me; shopping in-season is one of the best ways to improve your cooking! 

4. Let your meat rest before cutting in.

 

If you’re cutting into your meat the moment you remove it from the heat, you’re making a big mistake. As a general rule of thumb, you should always let your meat rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it. If you spent 10 minutes searing a steak, allow it to rest on a cutting board for another 10 minutes before slicing it. 

 

Letting your meat rest allows the juices to redistribute throughout the protein, ensuring that you get the juiciest results. On the flip side, cutting into it immediately would result in letting all those precious juices escape. If you aren’t already letting your meat rest, doing so will prove to be one of the most valuable ways to improve your cooking yet. 

5. Invest in a food thermometer.

 

You can find quality food thermometers for cheap on Amazon or at nearly any grocery store in your area. Whether baking a cake or preparing a roast chicken, a food thermometer will ensure that you don’t undercook or burn your food. 

 

While you may think that you can tell by sight or touch, and this may very well be the case, even professional chefs utilize food thermometers for its certainty. If you’re cooking for a group, the last thing you want is to serve 10 plates of raw chicken!

6. Give the flavors time to develop.

 

Many recipes promise quick results with eye-catching labels like “cooks in under 15 minutes!” While there is absolutely nothing wrong with a quick dish when you’re on the go, slow-cooking meals can develop flavors with a level of mouth-watering complexity that no quick dish could match. 

 

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stand in the kitchen for 2 hours. If you have a slow cooker, use it! Dishes like braised meats, sauces, and soups benefit from having more time to cook. So, start slow cooking more often and watch the radical difference in flavors you can achieve with these dishes. 

7. Learn how to balance flavors.

 

Have you ever tasted a dish and realized it was way too salty but weren’t quite sure what to do about it? Learning how to balance flavors is the perfect way to fix this and one of the easiest ways to improve your cooking. 

 

You will learn that you can fix a bland dish with a bit of salt, an overly savory dish with a touch of sugar, and a spicy dish with something tangy like yogurt or lemon juice. When you learn how to balance the different flavors in your food, mistakes are easy to fix! 

8. Keep the staples on hand.

 

Staple ingredients like olive oil, flour, eggs, garlic, salt, and pepper should always be kept in the house. Additionally, if there are any other ingredients that you find yourself needing time and time again, start making sure that you always have them in the house.

 

This will make your life a lot easier by helping you to avoid a last-minute run to the store to finish a dish. Many staple pantry ingredients also have incredibly long shelf lives, so you won’t have to buy them often. 

9. Sharpen your knives often.

 

Don’t own a knife sharpener? Buy one! It would be best to sharpen your knives after every few uses to ensure your safety and quality of your dishes. 

It only takes a few moments and will become the difference between smashing your tomatoes and pulverizing your beef or getting precise cuts. 

10. Dry your meats before cooking them. 

 

If you’ve been wondering why you aren’t getting that gorgeous sear you see in the restaurants and on TV, it’s either because you aren’t cooking with enough heat or you aren’t drying out your meats beforehand. 

 

Before you season your steak, make sure to pat it dry with a paper towel thoroughly. Moisture on the surface of your meat will not only make it harder for the spices to stick, but it will cause the meat to steam rather than brown.

 

If you follow these easy ways to improve your cooking, I guarantee you’re going to see some fantastic results. Remember that cooking should be enjoyable, and in every mistake, you have an opportunity for growth. I hope these tips were helpful for you and if you think I left out any valuable pointers, let me know in the comments!

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