28 Tips To Upgrade Your Home Cooking Skills

“Ever since then, I keep a box of it around. It’s a total lifesaver in the kitchen.”

Cooking is a skill that you can keep improving with new tips and tricks. In fact, even the most experienced chefs are constantly discovering new things. So redditor u/smartchic65 asked, “What cooking tip did you never think of that seemed so obvious and really helpful after someone taught it to you?” Here are some of the responses that might just improve your home cooking.


“Freeze the ends, scraps, and peels of soup stock vegetables (carrots, celery, onions) and meat bones — so when you want to make soup, you have all the ingredients to make a delicious homemade broth. I hate waste, so this works out in many ways for me. Plus, the smell of homemade broth is amazing.”


“Make compote or jam from sad berries on the verge of going bad. I leave it in the freezer and then use it on pancakes, yogurt, and more.”


“Mince fresh parsley, basil, or any leafy green herbs and spread it out in a gallon freezer bag. When the herbs are completely frozen, squeeze out the air from the freezer bag, roll it up, and tuck it somewhere handy in your freezer. The herbs stay fresh and green and you can grab a handful whenever a recipe calls for them.”


“Tomato paste doesn’t last for long in the fridge, and you hardly ever use the whole can. Empty the can into a freezer bag, flatten it out, and freeze it. When you need tomato paste, just break a chunk off and use it.”


“If you’re microwaving leftover food like cold bread, rice, or pizza, sprinkle some water on the plate before you nuke your food. It softens up the crust, moistens the rice, and makes leftovers glorious.”


“For soft and fluffy cookies that still taste fresh after a few days in the fridge, add an extra egg yolk to any cookie recipe you’re following, even store-bought dough.”


“Roast vegetables for longer than you might think necessary. I used to hate roasted veggies because they’d either be hard and undercooked or mushy. Then I realized you just need to cook them for even longer so that they transcend the mushy stage, the moisture is removed, and they begin to brown.”


“If you are baking or cooking and need to weigh ingredients, try reverse taring. Put the entire container of your ingredient on the scale, then set it to zero and measure what you’ve taken out. This is useful because you can weight ingredients without dirtying another dish. It’s particularly handy for sticky or messy ingredients like honey or peanut butter.”


“When making chocolate cake or brownies, use cooled coffee instead of water. The coffee enhances the chocolate flavor of the cake, and the result is so good.”


“Use a grater or microplane to grate a bit of butter over leftovers when reheating them in the microwave. Grated butter gives whatever you’re reheating the perfect amount of moisture and flavor without drowning it in liquid.”


“If your homemade soup is too thin, try adding instant mashed potatoes as a thickener. Since I learned this trick, I’ve started keeping a box around for lazy days or emergencies. They’re a lifesaver when you’ve added too much liquid to soup.”


“Season with extra virgin olive oil, but don’t cook with it. Olive oil has a low smoke point, so cooking with it often leads to burnt food and a smoky kitchen. It is intended for dressing and garnishing. Other oils like vegetable, canola, sunflower, and avocado have a much higher smoke point and are better suited for cooking.”


“If you’re making a dish that relies heavily on spices for seasoning, toast the spices before adding them to the recipe to bloom them. You only need to cook them in a pan until fragrant (which takes about 30 seconds to a minute). This quick step vastly improves their taste and amplifies the flavor so you can use less.”


“Save leftover bacon grease and sauté onions with it, or just use bacon grease instead of olive oil or butter when you’re making anything that could use a little extra flavor boost.”


“If you want over-easy eggs but the whites are taking a while to set, place a lid on the pan and wait about 30 seconds. The steam will cook the whites quickly, and the yolks will still be nice and runny.”


“Freeze your ginger and grate it from frozen without peeling. The inedible peels end up on the outside of the grater, and the shaved ginger lasts for ages in the freezer. You’ll always have fresh ginger on hand.”


“Scrape the cutting board to gather chopped or minced ingredients with the blunt side of the knife to protect your cutlery.”


“A tablespoon of white vinegar in your poaching liquid will give you perfectly set poached eggs. No plastic bags or poaching cups required.”


“You can make really good chewy cookies by mixing a box of cake mix with half a tub of Cool Whip. Just bake at 350° and start watching them around 8 minutes or so.”


“Add a layer of Greek yogurt on top of fish fillets like salmon before baking. It prevents the salmon from drying out on the oven, keeping it moist and flaky.”


“Use a hand mixer to shred cooked chicken for recipes like tacos, soup, pasta, and more. It takes a few seconds and is an absolute game changer.”


“When you’re slicing an onion, leave the hairy side in tact rather than cutting off both ends. This will hold all the layers together and make it easier to chop or dice.”


“If you’re searing meat in a pan, don’t panic if your chicken, steak, pork, etc. seems ‘stuck,’ and don’t try to pry it from the skillet. The meat will naturally stop sticking to the pan once some of the fats render out.”


“For the best fried rice, use pre-cooked rice that’s been sitting in the fridge overnight. Leftover rice doesn’t stick together in the skillet or wok when you fry it, and the final result tastes more like takeout.”


“Add a tablespoon or two of butter when you’re just about done cooking homemade tomato sauce. It adds a delicious, rich flavor and enhances your pasta.”


“Pat your meats dry before cooking them. This removes any excess moisture. If there is water in the pan, the Maillard process ⁠— the process by which food browns from searing ⁠— will never occur.”


“Cinnamon and nutmeg aren’t just for baking. They make great additions for marinades and savory dishes. Try adding cinnamon to chili or nutmeg to creamy sauces like béchamel.”


“Buy spices whole and grind what you need. Whole spices are more affordable, last so much longer, and the flavor of freshly ground spices can’t be beat.”

What’s a piece of advice that has seriously elevated your cooking skills? Tell us in the comments!