10 kitchen tips to have you cooking like a pro

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Discover 10 kitchen tips that will have you cooking like a pro. They are the little secrets that make a big difference, turning a good dish into a great one and making cooking extraordinarily fun, as it should be. From mastering the basics to finding shortcuts, these tips will transform your time in the kitchen from chaotic to confident.

A woman in an apron cooks using two pots on a stove in a kitchen.
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Roll up your sleeves and get ready to conquer the stove with easy kitchen tips that are simple and effective. Say goodbye to kitchen frustrations and hello to effortless cooking mastery. 

Clean as you go

Instead of letting messes and dishes accumulate, take short breaks to tidy up surfaces and tools as you cook. This simple habit saves you time and prevents stress from a cluttered workspace.

Before tackling a cooking project, I always empty the dishwasher before I begin so that I can load the dishes as I go. This way, I’m not left with a sink full of dirty dishes when I’m done cooking. All I have to do is put the soap in and press start.

— Cindy Rainey, Veggie Fun Kitchen 

Put a damp kitchen towel under your cutting board

Place a damp kitchen towel underneath your cutting board while you chop to prevent it from sliding around. This will make it more stable, especially with sharp knives, and make chopping safer and easier.

Keep your pantry stocked

Having essential pantry items like flour, rice, pasta, broth, salt, sugar, eggs, olive oil, beans and vinegar on hand ensures you’re always prepared to whip up delicious meals without last-minute trips to the store. Keeping these staples stocked simplifies meal planning and saves you time and effort in the kitchen.

A shelf full of glass jars filled with food.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Add salt to everything

Don’t shy away from salt; it enhances the flavors of your dishes and brings out their full potential. Cooking with kosher salt and seasoning with sea salt adds depth and richness to your meals, elevating even the simplest dishes to gourmet status.

Keep your knives sharpened

Sharp knives make cutting safer and more efficient. Precise cuts lead to better-cooked food and less risk of accidents. Invest in a knife sharpener or get them professionally sharpened.

Assorted kitchen knives laid out on a counter.
Photo credit: Depositphotos

Don’t throw away hard brown sugar

Revive hard brown sugar by placing a piece of dry bread in the bag overnight. Or microwave it by placing brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl, wetting a paper towel until slightly damp, covering the bowl with the towel, and microwaving in 10 to 20-second intervals. This simple trick softens the sugar, making it usable again for baking.

It’s also easy to make your own brown sugar in small batches, so it’s always fresh. Just mix granulated sugar and molasses together to make homemade brown sugar.

Keep your vegetable peelings and scraps

Save vegetable scraps to make flavorful homemade stock by storing them in freezer bags until you have enough. These scraps, along with a chicken carcass, can be transformed into delicious homemade chicken stock, adding depth of flavor to soups, stews and sauces.

Pasta water is liquid gold

Instead of pouring pasta water down the drain, use it to enhance your sauces; if you went to cooking classes in Rome, they’d tell you that. The starch-rich water from cooking pasta can be mixed with butter, Parmesan, cream or tomatoes to create a silky sauce that clings to your pasta, elevating your dish to restaurant quality.

Cooked spaghetti noodles draining in a metal colander over a sink, with steam rising.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Microwave citrus

Get more juice from citrus fruits by microwaving them for 20 seconds before juicing.  Heating the fruit releases more juice, giving you the most out of your lemons and limes. Then, roll the lemon back and forth under your palm on the countertop to further loosen the juices. When you squeeze, you’ll be amazed at how much more juice you can extract with minimal effort. This trick works equally well for limes, ensuring you never waste a drop of that precious citrus goodness.

Use your recipe as a guideline

Recipes serve as a starting point, so feel free to get creative and substitute ingredients to suit your taste preferences or dietary needs. Don’t hesitate to experiment with flavors and ingredients to make the recipe truly your own. After all, cooking is about expressing yourself and enjoying the process.

One of my favorite kitchen tips, whether I’m baking or cooking, is to lay out a sheet of wax paper on the countertop where I’m working. Once I’m done, I just scrunch up the wax paper and throw it away. No scrubbing of countertops necessary.

— Jennifer Osborn, The Kitchen Serf

So there you have it—10 game-changing kitchen tips that will have you cooking like a pro in no time. As you spend more time in the kitchen experimenting and trying out new recipes, you’ll undoubtedly come across even more handy tips and tricks to make your cooking experience easier and more enjoyable. So keep on cooking and learning; soon enough, you’ll be a kitchen whiz whipping up delicious meals with ease.

Jere Cassidy is the writer and recipe developer behind the blog  One Hot Oven. A passion for all things food-related led her to culinary school to expand her baking skills and now to share easy recipes for all home cooks and bakers of all skill levels. When not in the kitchen, Jere’ likes to travel far and wide to find delicious food.

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