Jimmy Dean on Unsplash

The solution to healthier eating habits and saving money is cooking at home.

The past year has certainly pushed our limits by mastering our nascent culinary skills in the kitchen, as many of us tried to avoid ordering take-out on a nightly basis.

But while following recipes are pretty self-explanatory, not everything turns out the way we expected, and adding more salt was not the answer.

To help out us amateur cooks, Redditor tmariexo enlisted the help of strangers on the internet by asking them:

"What is your best cooking tip?"

So, first thing's first.

A Proper Prep

"Read through the entire recipe before you begin to make the item."

– Indycam

"I also like to pick one recipe I'm going to mainly follow, and then look at a bunch of other recipes for the same dish to see what they all have in common, and see if any have ingredient suggestions/helpful tips that the one I'm using doesn't have."

– edie_the_egg_lady

For Efficiency

"Cut/Prep everything first. Keeps the work area clean and you're able to add thing exactly when they're supposed to be added. Instead of burning something because you still have to cut or prep an ingredient."

– cmfreeman

Start With The Pepper

"Get a pepper grinder, freshly ground black pepper is a completely different taste to the powdered stuff."

"Have a hunt around You Tube, there's some good guidance out there."

"Food Wishes is probably a good start as is Americas Test Kitchen."

– Moneia

Master The Basics

"Learn cooking techniques."

"For instance, if you know how to roast vegetables and steam vegetables and stir-fry vegetables, then you can usually find something to do with whatever veggie is this week's special deal."

– doublestitch

'Tis The Season

"Adding salt at the beginning of cooking helps to draw oils and juices out of ingredients so their flavors permeate through the dish. Do not fully cook a meal then salt at the end."

– M0ck_duck

Take notes for these helpful pointers.

If You Use A Cast Iron

"If you're using cast iron, the spot on your stove where it says medium...that's as high as that spot goes now."

"Also,a big strength of cast iron is it can hold that heat for you, but you should really give it time to heat up...like 5 whole minutes is a good start."

– midelus

Difference Between Methods

"Cooking is an art. Get in there, make mistakes, don't be scared."

"Baking is a science. Be afraid, do not improvise, triple check."

– DarthDregan

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No Shortcuts

"Do not try to cook everything on high. Learn to moderate your temperatures."

– Eirikur_da_Czech

All Ears

"Heat your pan hot before you add oil. Listen to your food cook. The sizzle changes when it's ready to be flipped."

– PenisPapercuts

Stretch Your Meals

"When making burgers/meatballs make an extra portion and freeze it (raw). Stews also freeze really well, it's worth making a bigger batch. Cook once, eat twice."


Lard, Help Us

"If you have to measure similar (or divisible by the same measuring cup/spoon) amounts of oil and anything that doesn't come out of the measuring cup easily (like lard), measure the oil first, then the use the same cup for the lard, and the lard will just slide right out"

– dpsouthwell

It Burns Fast

"Minced garlic in a hot oiled pan cooks damn near immediately. Like less than a minute. If you're adding it to anything cooked in a skillet (stir fry, etc.) throw it in at the very end right before you turn off the heat [edit: or before you add water or wet ingredients such that the heat is effectively reduced to boiling]."

– SonOfMcGee

These help make a smooth and safe cooking environment.

Mind The Handle

"Don't leave the pan handle hanging over the edge of the stove. Even more important if you have kids."

– K-Kraft

Being A Multi-Tasker

"Clean up as you cook. You get stuff out of your way and don't have a bunch of sh*t to do afterwards."

– Sandpaper_Pants

Let It Go

"A falling knife has no handle."

– sisforsharp

"I literally throw my hands up and jump back whenever my knife slips. Old habit from working at a sashimi bar."

– owlbehome

A Suit Not Recommended

"Do *not* fry food when you're naked."

– driving_andflying

Go By The Signal

"When the fire alarm activates, that means it's done."

– K-Kraft

While I'm by no means a master in the kitchen, I found through trial and error how to adjust the flavoring of some of my favorite things to prepare.

In an effort to cut down on my sugar intake but still satisfy my sweet tooth, I learned how to bake what ended up being some of my favorite treats, like gooey coffee cake without too much of the gooey, during the pandemic.

But when the recipe called for an excessive amount of sugar, I reduced the amount by a third and replaced refined cane sugar with brown sugar.

The result was a chef's kiss from my and my friends in the neighborhood who got to sample them while we were all in lockdown.

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