Chefs Divulge The Best Kitchen Tips All Home Cooks Should Know

As someone who cooks for a large group pretty much daily, allow me to give you my biggest and best kitchen tip:
Clean. As. You. Cook.

You're probably not a professional kitchen running ten burners at once, you can likely find space to clean the counter or load a dish while your protein cooks. That way you can just eat and not have to worry about cleaning up after feeding your small army.

I just saved you from so much stress, wasted time, and frustration; I'm kind of a hero.

You're welcome, y'all.

Reddit user Sunieta25 asked:

"Cooks of Reddit, what is the best kitchen advice anyone should know?"

You might be a little caught off guard by what you find here, especially if you're expecting some secret recipe or little-known cooking technique.

You will absolutely not be surprised if you've worked in professional kitchens and your first thought was "Never trust the mandolin."

Because ...

Never Trust The Mandolin

"Use the edge guard when you use the mandolin."

- drjeffy

"I felt that pain all over again reading this comment. That thing scares me now."

- JesusDoesVegas

"Please please please. Spilled a fair amount of blood even with cut-resistant gloves."

- Esperillo

"When the recipe calls for three pounds of veg I buy four and just stop slicing well before I get close."

"No need to go all the way and risk it.. just buy the extra potato."

- grhymesforyou

"As an ER doctor, I second this advice."

- Csquared913


A Burn Buffer

"Contrary to popular belief, it often doesn’t work out great if you add your chopped/minced garlic to hot oil/butter first."

"It burns so quickly and tastes yuck. I like to brown something else first, like onions, and then add the garlic. The onions are like a burn buffer!"

- thefastasleepside

"Even better is to understand why a 'burn buffer' works. It basically comes down the evaporation of water."

"Water boils at 100C and when it leaves the pan it takes heat away with it. You can put a pan full of water on the hottest stove around, and it's not going to get hotter than 100C until the water has virtually all evaporated."

"Put a thin layer of oil in the same pan and it will quickly reach much higher temperatures and the oil will smoke and burn."

"Most food contains water, and as that water escapes, it's reducing the amount of heat building up in the pan and in it's contents."

"But the water inside most foods can't get out as easily as plain water because some of it gets trapped inside the structure of the food, and can't escape until that structure breaks down enough via heating (and stirring, mashing)."

"So long as your onions are still releasing steam, they're reducing the amount of heat stored in the pan and it's contents and your garlic is less likely to burn. As soon as all the water is evaporated though, it'll burn quite quickly."

- Tiny_Mirror22

"Omg, I needed this 🥺 a newbie cook here."

- National_Style_6568

Baking Science

"You follow instructions when baking. You follow your heart when cooking."

- Frodo_noooo

"Baking is a perfect example of 'don't tear down walls unless you know why they were built.' "

"If you know the chemistry at play, and what each ingredient is doing, you can get creative. But in baking, every ingredient does something and seemingly benign add-ons or substitutions can change that something."

- ArthurBonesly


"There is no such thing as 'authentic.' Cuisine is an ever changing thing. The food of any single place now was very different a hundred or more years ago because of constant changing of culture and trade within that culture."

"The word you should be using instead is, 'traditional' - and even that is not 100% perfect because what is traditional in one part of a country can be very different in another part of that same country. It can even go so far as being different going from household to household."

"But 'traditional' is the best term we have."

"With that said, 'traditional' is way overrated. If it was the be-all end-all, then our cuisines would be stagnant."

"Indian food would not have tomatoes and potatoes in it since those ingredients came from South and North America and not from the Asian continent."

"Mexican food would not have any beef or cheese in it since cows came from Europe. And you get the idea."

"So, have fun with mixing up cuisines. Instead of using sauerkraut for your German dish, you want to use Korean kimchi because you think the flavors will go well with each other? Go right ahead."

"Sure, there will be purest who will look down their nose at you but I am sure those purest have no problem having vanilla in their Italian gelato or using peanuts in their Thai noodle sauces. (Those ingredients are neither European or Asian.)"

- inksmudgedhands


Knife Knowledge

"A blunt knife is more dangerous than a sharp one. Always keep your knives sharp."

- ticklemytinypickles

"And a dropped knife has no handle! Get out of the way and let it fall."

- RazorRamonReigns

"A slightly dull knife is dangerous because it makes slicing more difficult, but still possible. It just requires more pressure, which increases the likelihood that the knife will slip and cut something you weren’t meaning to cut."

- Shark-Farts

"Every single time I've cut myself in the kitchen there have been one of two explanations: I was drunk or my knife was dull."

"The former was a case of a lesson learned in one, but the latter cost my chunks of fingertips on four or five occasions before I made it a point to make sure my knife was sharp before I started cutting rather than finding out when I slip and hope a fingernail somehow deflects the blade."

- clecticDreck


"Clean while you're cooking. While."

- DarkPasta


"People who consider themselves good cooks but leave behind a mountain of mess that someone else has to clean up are very rarely remembered for their cooking, but rather the mess they leave."

- c3l77

"This is something I wish I did sooner, definitely made things easier and cleared up more work space."

- ForgottenForce

"This will save you so much time. Even better when you have eager help from a guest (the kitchen is the gathering place, always). Just plug through."

- BrownEggs93

"I remember the first time I cleaned a pan after making spaghetti sauce in it, and realizing how easy and fast it was compared to dropping it off in the sink and coming back hours later to a caked on mess."

"And then it dawned on me that hot pans are easy as far to clean if you do it right away, and then you don't HAVE a post-meal mess to worry about after you eat. O.O "

- mdkubit

Dry Meat

"If you want crispness on the outsides of your meats, you should pat them dry before seasoning and putting them in oven or over heat."

"And you should let most meats sit for 10ish minutes after taking them off heat."

- apeanutbutterpopcorn

"Also, if you are breading meat, patting it dry is useful, too."

"Pat the meat dry with a paper towel, dredge it in flour/salt/pepper/seasoning mixture, then through beaten egg, then through bread crumbs."

"This will keep your breading from peeling off the meat when you pan fry it."

- UncomfortablyNumb43

Adding Acid

"Sometimes when you think something needs more salt, what it really needs is acid - lemon juice, vinegar, etc."

- Acceptable_Medicine2

"I was going to post this, because it’s the best cooking tip I’ve ever received. I’ll also add that you should choose that acid based on what you are cooking."

"Italian? Try some red wine vinegar."

"Mexican? Try some lime juice, etc."

- outoftuneGstring2112


Quit Complicating It

"Always be suspicious of recipes that have a lot of ingredients, relatively speaking."

"When you find a recipe you want to try, compare it to a few similar ones from a generic Google search, and try and find what the 'core' of the recipe is."

"It's pretty common for food bloggers to add a little something extra to what they're making, but this can often be unnecessary at best, and detrimental at worst."

"I'll give you an example - here's a recipe for teriyaki sauce from the New York Times:"
"1 cup soy sauce"
"1 cup granulated sugar"
"1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar"
"6 cloves garlic, crushed in a press"
"2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger"
"¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper"
"1 3-inch cinnamon stick"
"1 tablespoon pineapple juice"
"2 tablespoons cornstarch"

"And here's one from a Japanese source, Just One Cookbook:"
"½ cup sake"
"½ cup mirin"
"½ cup soy sauce"
"¼ cup sugar"

"Now, both are going to taste fine, but the additions of cinnamon, molasses, and pineapple juice in the NYT recipe ended up getting lost after cooking."

"Flavors like ginger, garlic and pepper, while nice additions, are better incorporated through a side dish, like a fried rice."

"A great way to start cooking more simply is to practice with Italian pasta dishes. Simple, regional pastas like aglio e olio, cacio e pepe, trenette al pesto, and carbonara are all made with less than 10 ingredients."

"They force you to focus on your cooking techniques to get them right, and really show off the power of highlighting one or two flavors in a dish rather than making a hodgepodge of good flavors that are competing with each other."

- AnomalousGonzo

Happy Accidents

"Accidents in steps and ingredients can sometimes lead to great discoveries. The longer you keep trying things the better you will get."

- dmtaylor34

"Worcestershire sauce- accident. Guinness- accident."

- igenus44

"Puff pastry- accident."

- lurkyturkyducken

Is there anything you'd add to this list that you don't see?

Or something here you want to boo-hiss about because you disagree so much?

Tell us in the comments.

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