How to Start Cooking: Cooking Tips for Beginners

Knowing how to cook homemade meals is one of the best skills you can learn. When you’re first starting, however, even flipping eggs can be challenging. 

To help you master the basics and get comfortable in the kitchen, having a few tricks up your sleeve is the best way to build your cooking repertoire. 

If you want to learn how to start cooking, find essential cooking tips for beginners below.

Learn the Lingo

Let’s face it — cooking terms sound like a foreign language when you first start reading recipe instructions. Take time to learn basic cooking terms, so that you’re not constantly googling terms when you’re reading a recipe.

Once you know the difference between roasting and baking, slicing and dicing, you’ll never feel doubt about what a recipe is asking you to do. 

Since similar cooking terms have been used in recipes for a long time, you’ll always have a starting point when tackling new dishes. 

A good habit to practice is to read through a few recipes during your day. Just like when you’re learning a new language, the best way to acclimate is to immerse yourself in the words, phrases, and sounds. 

Try watching a few videos online of recipes being prepared. Or turn on the TV to your favorite cooking show and see what terms you pick up on. 

[Related: Basic Cooking Terms Explained]

Invest in the Right Cookware and Utensils

The best meals come from the best ingredients and the best tools. Make sure you pick up essential kitchen utensils so you can properly prepare every dish. 

Have you ever tried to open a can without a can opener? Or cut an onion without a cutting board? We’ve all been in a similar situation at least once. 

The proper kitchen utensils make cooking and preparing ingredients so much easier. Familiarizing yourself with how to use kitchen utensils will take you far in your culinary journey. 

Here’s a shortlist of essentials to pick up: 

  • Knives
  • Whisks
  • Baking pans 
  • Spatulas  
  • Toaster oven 
  • Blender

[Related: The Best Material for Kitchen Utensils]

Stock Up on the Staples

Keeping salt and pepper around is a no-brainer. But try to take it a bit further by stocking up on oregano, black pepper, and garlic powder. A wide variety of spices is available to complement your dishes. Once you develop a sense of how to season your recipes, you’ll never rely on just salt and pepper again. 

Consider these essential spices to keep in your kitchen: 

  • Cumin 
  • Turmeric 
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cinnamon 

[Related: Essential Spices: What to Put in Your Spice Cabinet]

Keep it Simple

To begin with, try focusing on simple foods that don’t require a lot of ingredients, steps, or time to prepare. After all, cooking your favorite, more complex dish begins with a good foundation in the basics. 

For example, preparing pasta, rice, beans, or stir fry can teach you basic techniques that are useful for a wide variety of dishes. Boiling pasta until it’s just the right texture can take a little precision and practice. The same goes for rice. Stir fry, on the other hand, will teach you how to keep your food from burning in a hot skillet. 

However, if you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge, try putting together a lasagna. While a lasagna might seem complicated at first glance, in reality, they’re quite easy to make! Since you can make them vegetarian and include a diverse range of ingredients, they’re a perfect dish to experiment with while expressing some creativity. 

No matter what you decide to start with, the most important thing to practice is safety. 

Prioritize Safety

It might seem obvious, but cooking can be a little dangerous. 

From hot pans and ovens to handling raw ingredients, you should always keep your health and safety in mind while cooking. 

First things first: always wash your hands before you start cooking. You know the drill — warm water and soap for at least thirty seconds. 

When you’re done using the stovetop or oven, remember to turn off the gas or electricity. An open flame or hot surface can lead to less than ideal circumstances. 

Furthermore, make sure you’re cleaning your utensils and cookware often, especially after cooking meat. Speaking of meat, always handle raw beef, chicken, and fish with care. 

Wash your hands before and after handling raw meat. Clean any surface that had raw meat on it and be sure that you aren’t using a knife or utensil you used to prepare the raw meat to eat with or cut your food once it’s cooked. 

If you’re cooking chicken breast and you’re trying to flatten the breasts, a good trick is to wrap the meat in plastic wrap to minimize how many surfaces the raw chicken comes into contact with. 

Furthermore, when you’re pulling chicken or beef out of the oven or off the stovetop, get into the habit of checking the inside temperature to guarantee the food has been cooked thoroughly. 

Remember These Cooking Tips for Beginners

For a quick recap, here’s a convenient list of the most important tips for you: 

  • Read the whole recipe before you start. Once you have an idea of the steps involved, the recipe will feel more approachable. Sometimes, you can even find videos online of a dish being prepared if you like to see the steps for yourself. 
  • Prep ingredients before you start. This can sometimes take a little time, but preparing your ingredients before you start cooking makes the process much smoother than trying to prepare and cook simultaneously. 
  • Expect the process to take at least twice as long as the recipe indicates. This is especially important if you’ve never prepared the recipe before. Allowing yourself more time helps to not feel rushed or stressed out so you can focus on cooking. 
  • Take notes on anything that you want to remember for next time. If something went well or didn’t go well, then write it down. 
  • Clean up as you go. Save yourself even more time by trying to do your dishes while the food is cooking. You’ll thank yourself later. Believe us. 
  • Try to stay patient! Learning anything takes time. But that often means it’s something worth learning. So be patient with yourself, and if a dish doesn’t turn out how you envisioned, treat it as a valuable lesson and keep cooking. 

Start Cooking With Home Good Chef

While it’s always good to read more about cooking, the best way to learn is by — well, cooking! So if you’re ready to try out some simple, easy, but incredibly delicious recipes, visit our website. You can also follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook for recipe ideas and cooking tips. 

We believe that cooking is something everyone can learn, even if it seems like you can’t take the heat at first. Welcome little mistakes as learning opportunities, and keep trying! We know you’ll have delicious recipes under your belt in no time. 

 

Featured image via Unsplash