Watching cooking shows is a guilty pleasure of ours. There’s nothing like looking at delicious food and enjoying the rush of a world-class kitchen to inspire you to cook something fancier than mac and cheese. But things don’t have to be as dramatic and fiery as a TV show with an overly-angry chef (“It’s RAW!") to help us up our cooking game. For instance, we’re big fans of down-to-earth friendly advice that we find online.

Redditor u/boogerflinger served up a delicious thread over on r/AskReddit when they asked the site’s resident chefs to share their most useful tips and tricks. It’s the kind of kitchen wisdom that pretty much everyone should know. From putting in the effort to prep all of your ingredients beforehand and not crowding the frying pan with food to awesome hacks on cooking a good steak and more!

You’re almost guaranteed to start feeling hungry while reading this list. So make sure you’ve got a snack or two to tide you over till you can rush to the kitchen and try all of these cooking tips out yourselves, Pandas. Upvote the advice you thought was the most helpful, and share your own cooking hacks in the comments. There’s really only one left to say: bon appétit.

Talented and well-known pie artist Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin, the author of 'Pies Are Awesome' was kind enough to share with Bored Panda some of her wisdom about creating contrasting taste profiles and how to cut back on overwhelming sweetness in recipes. She revealed to us that one of her personal pet peeves is when desserts end up being overly sweet. One-note flavors aren't all that impressive. And no matter how much we love sweet foods (and trust us, we do! Guess who's munching on a chocolate chip cookie right now?), it's pretty darn boring if that's the only thing going on.

"If your recipe calls for a just bonkers amount of sugar, you want to offset that with something bold like a big citrus hit, daring amount of spice, or other strong component like really dark chocolate or something new and exotic to your guests’ palates," she said how bakers can turn the overwhelming sweetness into something far more interesting. "On the flip side, when you are working with more delicate, subtle flavors like magnolia petals or certain roasted nuts, you really want to go easy on the sweetness so the 'star flavors' get their moment in the sun!" Scroll down for the full interview if you want to learn what taste contrasts work and which ones will probably end up befuddling your guests' palates.

#1

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks Wash your god damn hands

toker98xx , Mélissa Jeanty Report

E Menendez
Community Member
2 months ago

Lol, I am still impressed/horrified with the number of people that still need to be told this.

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According to baking expert, TV pie judge, and author Jessica, making a mistake in the kitchen isn't the end of the world. For instance, if you add way too much sugar to your recipe, you could solve the problem by cutting down the portion size for your guests. Or you could pair the dessert with something far less sweet, maybe even something with a savory taste profile.

"For example, if your pie filling is too sweet, you can still use it in hand pies with an unsweetened crust because the ratio of crust to filling is much higher in something akin to a pop tart and your guests won't be getting a giant mouth full of diabetes like they would with a traditional deep dish pie. Or even skip the pie crust altogether and serve your mega sweet filling drizzled over some brie on a cracker! Won't your friends think you’re posh…," Jessica explained how a good imagination and some flexibility can turn any challenge or disaster into an opportunity.

The pie artist herself opened up to Bored Panda and told us that she's a big fan of pairing sweet flavors with sharp, sour notes. For instance, you could pair tart cherries with chocolates, sautée Granny Smith apples in brown sugar syrup, etc.

#2

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks A falling knife has no handle.

Forever true. Don't learn this one the hard way.

chicostick , Tristan Frank Report

Earl Grey
Community Member
2 months ago

This. And… it may be down further in this thread, but… the most dangerous thing in a kitchen is a dull knife. Keep them sharp so that they don’t have a mind of their own and wander sideways when you want to slice something.

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#3

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks EDIT: YES I KNOW ABOUT RICE COOKERS AND I OWN ONE, BUT THIS IS STILL A TIP.

Stop lifting the lid off of a pot of rice.

Look at me. LOOK. AT. ME.

STOP TAKING THE LID OFF THE GODDAMN RICE. YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT MUSHY OR CRUNCHY RICE AND IT'S EITHER BECAUSE YOU DON'T MEASURE OR YOU WON'T LEAVE THE LID ALONE.

The steam cooks the rice, by taking the lid off you RUIN EVERYTHING **FOREVER**

anon , Uwe Conrad Report

Helenium
Community Member
2 months ago

Lol ok, breathe

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"This keeps your tastebuds on their toes!" Jessica said. "In general, anything that will create a bit of contrast will help your flavors shine in your dish—a tiny bit of exposure to the opposite flavor always makes the sensation of your key flavor stronger."

The pie artist suggested that you try and blend your sweet tastes with something salty like salted nuts. You could also replace the saltiness with something sour like citrus fruits or even something bitter (e.g. dark chocolate). That way, you'll enhance both flavors. However, try not to go overboard! Experimentation is great, but not when you turn your guests into unwitting guinea pigs.

"Be careful to contrast rather than confuse the palate. You want opposite flavors, not competing flavors. Lemon with sweet cream = good. Lemon with mint or espresso = ummm… probably not."

#4

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks When you're cooking burgers with any method, make a small dent on the top of the patty (right in the center) with your thumb. When they cook, they'll stay completely flat instead of shrinking and getting very tall in the middle

u/peachpop123 , Ernesto Andrade Report

Lisa Valen
Community Member
2 months ago

I forgot about this. It really does work.

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#5

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks No matter what you're pan frying, don't crowd the pan. Get a bigger pan or cook them in batches, but the reason your potatoes and veggies aren't getting brown and crisp is because they're drowning in their own juice!

BuffaloBounce , Sophie Report

Kira Okah
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Not just frying either - when boiling things like pasta and noodles, it is common to see people using too small a pan, stuff gets crowded and sticks together. So many solutions get presented to fix things that can be solved by using a larger pan instead of overcrowding a tiny one.

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#6

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks Clean up your station (or kitchen) as you go! You'll become so much more efficient in the kitchen, you'll always have space to work, and you'll have very little cleaning to do when you're finished

u/hevorious , Nathan Dumlao Report

GlassHalfWay
Community Member
2 months ago

Yep, right into the dishwasher. If I didn't have one, the kitchen would be a hot mess.

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In our personal experience, practice is better than theory when it comes to honing your skills with the knife, spoon, and pan. It’s one thing to understand how flavor profiles work and the dozen+ different uses of butter on a theoretical level, it’s something else entirely to get the results you want when you’re sweating from all the effort.

In short, we feel that the very best chefs, bakers, and food experts are the ones who learn from their mistakes and strive to get better every single day. As opposed to folks who order in pizza, watch pro chefs messing up on TV, and mumble ‘how could you make such an obvious mistake, I could have done better than that’ in between mouthfuls. We salute everyone who burns their eggs and overcooks their rice, and sees every mistake as a valuable lesson.

The fact is that many of us have lots of misconceptions about food. We tend to ‘inherit’ them from the people who raised them. If your parents or grandparents used to cook food a specific way with very particular ingredients, odds are that you’ll follow in their footsteps without thinking too much about whether or not it’s the ‘right’ or ‘best’ way to do things.

#7

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks FLIP THE KNIFE OVER and use the back of it to shove stuff into a pot, not the sharp side

Akoola , Max Delsid Report

K4l1m3r0
Community Member
2 months ago

I am very curious why.. it might be obvious but not seeing it.. any help?

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#8

Dull knives are more dangerous than sharp knives.

stellardreamscape Report

Pumpkin Spice
Community Member
2 months ago

But better for a slow and torturous death.

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#9

Buy local! Food grown locally will almost always taste better than something grown and shipped half way across the globe. Plus it supports the farmers in your area. Check out when the farmers markets are and get to know the farmers and they will take care of you.
Also get to know your butcher, he will guide you through the world of meat better than any book or website if he's any good.
Pork ftw.

chefjustin Report

Ozzie Ogawa
Community Member
2 months ago

Buy local and seasonal, you'll get fresher and cheaper food.

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Talented pie artist and food expert Jessica recently explained to Bored Panda the link between culinary knowledge and traditions.

“Culinary knowledge is usually passed down generationally. If that’s how your mum/dad/gran did it, that’s how you do it. There’s a lot of, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality around the dinner tables of the world,” she said that people can’t tell what the ‘correct’ version of a dish tastes like if, well, they haven’t tried it out. You can’t say that something’s ‘wrong’ if you don’t have anything to compare it to.

“And even then, due to warm fuzzy nostalgic feelings the foods of our youth often invoke, some people may prefer the ‘incorrect’ version. Overcooked pasta just like mother used to make!” Jessica said that there are a lot of feelings of nostalgia hidden in each bite of a meal cooked in a very particular way.

“Of course, there is a line between ‘sub-optimal’ and ‘inedible’ when it comes to food. But if no one is puking up a lung or dying of obvious malnutrition, most busy parents don’t see much of an impetus to change,” the food expert told Bored Panda.

#10

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks Use weight--not volume--to measure ingredients for baking.

KillerKad , Marco Verch Professional P Report

Schnee Wittchen
Community Member
2 months ago

Except for liquid ingredients of course...

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#11

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks Peel your carrots.


Not everything needs to be on high heat.


A good chef knife will be the only tool you really need for home cutting.


Save your bacon fat.


Soups are the best way to use leftovers.

Eversooner , Didriks Report

Lisa Valen
Community Member
2 months ago

*Not everything needs to be on high heat. Amen!

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#12

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks Season everything. Making chicken alfredo? Season the chicken, season the pasta, and season the sauce. Never assume that one flavor element will permeate the whole dish. The difference between a $1 plate of pasta and a $12 plate of pasta is putting the right amount of salt in the water

deleted , Stefan Katrandjisk Report

Aisling Raye
Community Member
2 months ago

Also, unless it's completely unavoidable for time or what not, make your own pasta. It takes a little learning curve time but it tastes a million times better than the dried store bought.

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One thing’s for sure, our understanding of what’s healthy and what isn’t tends to follow fads. For instance, Jessica noted that when she was a kid, butter was “the enemy.” Meanwhile, at that same time, muffins were “the epitome of healthy diet food.” Imagine eating a 1k calorie bran muffin, “slathered in margarine,” with a cup of black coffee while thinking it’s incredibly healthy.

“There are certainly some historical food misconceptions that have done a lot of harm. The vilification of fat by the sugar lobby in the 1960s is a big one that springs to mind, as well as the whole ‘eating a giant bowl of glorified marshmallows is a-ok for breakfast’ phase,” the cooking expert said.

“Outside of broad societal attitudes towards certain foods and diets, there are a number of common everyday cooking mistakes that people make in the preparation of their food—our handling of rice and pasta are high on the list here—but outside of food safety violations, I tend to be pretty sanguine about these things,” she said that as long as there’s nothing dangerous to one’s health, we shouldn’t be too stressed about it. Unless we want to make something taste far better, of course!

“No one ever died from over-cooked pasta, or vegetables boiled within an inch of their life. Sure, they’re missing out on a heightened culinary experience, but do you really want to be ‘that guy?’ I know I’m not going to tell my grandma how to perfect her pasta boiling technique (and if you knew my grandma, you wouldn’t either!),” Jessica quipped.

#13

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks A chef taught me that sprinkling pepper onto strawberries makes them taste like strawberry-flavoured candy. I tried it and definitely recommend it.

anon , Rosina-Sch Report

ThatG
Community Member
2 months ago

Pour a little bit of Balsamic Vinegar in a plate and crack black pepper into it… then dab your Strawberry in it.

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#14

When you're cooking... COOK. Don't read, text, talk on the phone, watch a movie or anything else. Those couple of extra minutes when you're not paying attention was when you burned the bottom of the sauce and now it tastes like an ashtray.

When you hear people who make some great food talk about Love being the special ingredient. They mean it. They love cooking. They love making food that people enjoy. They love seeing happy faces. They love to eat good food.

You can't have all of that while you're watching a rerun of CSI and letting your cookies burn into something that explodes into dust when you try to bite into them.

dad0ughb0y Report

Isabela Cincu
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Best advice so far...everytime I don't feel like cooking the food is rubbish

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#15

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks Garlic makes everything better.

smsmith538 , Frédéric Dupont Report

Kristal
Community Member
2 months ago

Ice cream?

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#16

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks Salads are hard to make absolutely delicious without lots of dressing, but when you chop up juicy vegetables for a salad — like tomatoes, peppers, or cucumber — salt them before you add them to the salad. It'll remove some of the excess moisture so things don't get soggy, and it'll brighten up the whole salad without making it salty

mzito , Leigh Skomal Report

Neea P
Community Member
2 months ago

I think people eat too much salt already. I usually just use vinegar and black pepper instead of dressing (or salt), and my salad taste pretty delicious to me!

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#17

Tip #1
You can make popcorn in the microwave with just kernels, a bowl, olive oil, salt, and plastic wrap. It is way healthier than bags, cheaper, and the oil makes it super crunchy.

Place kernels in bowl. Drizzle half a teaspoon of oil on the kernels and add a pinch of fine salt. Mix. Cover top of bowl with plastic wrap. Poke a couple of small holes with your fingers. Cook on high 1.5 minutes.

Tip #2
If making a grilled cheese, butter your bread with softened butter, not melted butter. The fats solids emulsified in the butter when sufficiently toasted with the bread makes for much better flavor. Also, make sure all ingredients in your grilled cheese is room temp before cooking. Cheese will be less likely to separate and the sandwich itself will cook more evenly.

Tip #3
If boiling vegetables or pasta, make sure to salt the water. It makes the pasta taste better and the vegetables brighter in color. Cook both these slightly underdone because carryover cooking occurs even after taking it off the heat.

(edit) tip: Never, ever wash your pasta under cold tap water after straining it. It will taste horrible and lose its texture, even if using it for pasta salad. If you need your pasta to cool, spread on a baking sheet. You can use a drizzle of oil so it won't stick together after cooling.

(Edit #2) Yes, I know you can use the stove instead of the microwave. For me, the microwave is faster and a quicker clean up because I can put the bowl in the dishwasher after. I hand wash all my pans carefully so would rather not use them for this, especially since I like to eat plain popcorn almost every day. Also, easier to control against burning and you don't have to stand next to it when using the microwave. I don't worry about plastic wrap because it's not actually touching the food when it's hot and none of my research has shown that plastic wrap nowadays releases plasticizers in damaging amounts to do anything. I'm a chef, yeah, but at home I'm really lazy.

(Edit #3) TIL: The people of reddit take popcorn and grilled cheese very seriously.

becca_fox Report

Raven DeathShade
Community Member
2 months ago

Ah, the last edit XD.

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#18

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks Don't overthink your recipes. Instead of trying to make everything as fancy as possible (and use as many impressive ingredients as you can), just learn how to shop for quality ingredients. Food doesn't have to be fancy or complicated to taste good. A simple recipe made with quality ingredients and proper technique is almost always better than being fancy

DirtFantastic , Tara Clark Report

Beth S
Community Member
2 months ago

I wish I could afford quality ingredients 😑

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#19

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks If your cutting board keeps slipping around the counter, put a wet towel or paper towel under it to keep it in its place. It'll make your chopping process much safer than it would be otherwise!

u/munificent , Debby Hudson Report

空の夢
Community Member
2 months ago

must try!

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#20

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks Always, ALWAYS taste your food while cooking. I always have like 5 spoons beside me while cooking. This allows you to accurately adjust seasoning, flavours, and cooking time.

It is tough at first to know what to adjust, but you get better at it with time and it will really improve the quality of food you make (especially over-salting).

arshonagon , Joshua Rappeneker Report

E Menendez
Community Member
2 months ago

A dash of vinegar is always a good bet when you can't quite figure out what the dish needs. That kernel of knowledge changed my life.

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#21

The Roux - Probably one of the most useful things in cooking, it's used as base for sauces. heat up a few tbs of butter in a saucepan and stir in an equal amount of flour. Once it is thick and frothy you can add a liquid of your choice for the base of your sauce (milk or chicken stock are my favorites) add as much as necessary to reach your desired consistency. Add spices or melt cheese to make a great cheese sauce. Be creative!

aSpryLad Report

Beth S
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Doesn’t have to be butter, could also be rendered fat.

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#22

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks If you're using raw, chopped onions in a dish, soak them in cold water first to draw out some of that bite. It's a really small thing, but it can make a world of difference

chaos37 , Dave Dugdale Report

Jo Johannsen
Community Member
2 months ago

I like the onion bite.

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#23

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks Steaks *continue* to cook even off the grill.

iam4real , Bon Vivant Report

Zoe's Mom
Community Member
2 months ago

So does chicken.

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#24

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks Cooking with softened butter and melted butter yield entirely differently results. For example, grilled cheese. If you butter your bread with softened butter instead of just melting the butter in the pan, you'll get a much more flavorful (and crispy) result. The fat solids emulsified in the softened butter make the bread crispier when it gets toasted over high heat

u/becca_fox , Brett Jordan Report

Lisa Valen
Community Member
2 months ago

Also, always use REAL butter. Not margarine or other butter substitutes.

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#25

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks Learning proper knife safety and knife skills aren't all about chopping things as quickly or impressively as possible — when you know how to use a knife properly, you'll also save a lot of effort and make yourself far less prone to injuries

chloesilverado , Kyle Mesdag Report

Chris Wright
Community Member
2 months ago

It just a shame that the above photo does not show proper knife skills :( Claw grip people!

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#26

Use dried spices as early as possible when cooking as they need time to rehydrate. Use fresh spices at the end immediately before serving. Don't salt your food until you're about to serve.

Edit: I honestly don't understand what's so contentious about this comment. It's the advice I've been given by professional chefs both in person and boilerplate text in practically every recipe I've followed over the years. Maybe because I said "spices" instead of "herbs"? It doesn't matter when you add turmeric, but it damned sure matters when you add dried rosemary.

ReallyHender Report

Ellen Ranks
Community Member
2 months ago

This also depends on the herb or spice, for example rosemary should be added early, parsley later.

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#27

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks When making pork chops cut the ribbon of fat so that it is in pieces instead of one long piece.

It prevents the chop from curling in the pan and cooking unevenly.

Capitan_Amazing , Kyle Mackie Report

Daniel Ikelman
Community Member
2 months ago

So why show a beef ribeye in the pic?

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#28

Perfect cake - weigh however many eggs you need. (2 or 3 generally) everything else should be the same weight (marg, flour, sugar etc)

_River_Song_ Report

royal_antelope
Community Member
2 months ago

marg? like margarine?

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#29

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks SALT. My god salt your food. If there is one mistake that home cooks make, and then wonder why it doesn't taste as good as a restaurant, it is usually too little salt. Salt opens up the receptors on your tongue and enhances the flavor of pretty much everything.

Easiest example is salting the water you would use to boil any starch (pasta, potatoes, etc). You should put **a lot** of salt in the water. Think about how much you would consider a lot, then double it, and add that much. This is the best time to season any starch, when it is boiling. Then adjust the flavor (add more) if needed once it is cooked.

IM_Swooptech , Becca Tapert Report

Bobby
Community Member
2 months ago

Don't salt your rice water as much as your pasta water. I learned that one the hard way

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#30

30 Of The Best Pearls Of Wisdom, As Shared By These Friendly Internet Cooks Peanut butter can really round out the flavour in sauces and stew-like dishes.

tzivje , Tetiana Bykovets Report

Ranax
Community Member
2 months ago

What is that muck? I hope they don't sell that as peanut butter.

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Note: this post originally had 51 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.