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As a beginner home cook searching for how to learn cooking techniques, the amount of information (and misinformation) out there may seem overwhelming.
But, don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place.
Learning cooking techniques is easy and fun when you have the right guide, and you can master several basic cooking techniques in no time at all!
Here we’ll cover how to learn cooking techniques that every beginner cook should know, and ones that will help you work more efficiently and safely in the kitchen.
So grab those knives (carefully, of course) and get ready to feel like a badass in the kitchen. Ok, maybe that’s a stretch but you get the idea.
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[Related: “10 Fun Things To Learn How To Cook Like A Pro“]
How to learn cooking techniques:
1. Kitchen Tools
Before you start learning cooking techniques, you’ll need the right tools in your kitchen. This may seem obvious but, trust me, many beginner cooks get this step wrong.
With the proper kitchen tools and utensils, your time spent cooking will be more efficient and, frankly, more enjoyable.
Every chef has their favorite tools, but what you’ll find as you learn to cook is that there are several universal tools that all chefs agree on.
You can find my list of essential kitchen tools here, in case you’re curious.
Check out these excellent guides from a few of my favorite YouTube channels to get you started:
I highly recommend Basics With Babish for all beginner cooks. This series breaks down cooking basics in a fun, easy to understand way.
If you’re looking for how to learn cooking techniques, Babish is a fantastic resource.
[Related: “7 Of The Best YouTube Videos To Learn How To Cook“]
Joshua Weissman and I share several favorite kitchen tools because we’re both really smart.
Or, it could be because these are just awesome cooking utensils that make your time in the kitchen easier. I’ll let you decide.
Serious Eats provides a myriad of awesome cooking shows on their YouTube channel, but this deep dive into necessary kitchen tools is particularly helpful for those just starting out.
The great thing about all of the tools mentioned in all 3 of these videos is that almost all of them may be purchased on AMAZON! How easy is that?
2. Knife Skills
Now that you know which knives you should have in your kitchen (and really you only need these 3 for just about every recipe out there), it’s time to sharpen your skills.
Basic knife skills are probably the most important cooking technique to learn when you’re just starting out.
Knowing how to properly use your knives will not only stop you from chopping a finger off, but you will also cut your prep time in half, making cooking feel like less of a chore overall.
But when you’re searching for how to learn cooking techniques, it can be difficult to sort through the sea of cooking videos to find specific tutorials.
Not to worry. Here are the best video tutorials on knife skills to have you chopping and dicing with precision in no time:
Andrew Zimmerman cuts to the chase in this thorough guide to basic knife skills.
AZ’s a big advocate for practice making perfect and suggests keeping a large plastic freezer bag handy for your practice cuts and future soup recipes.
After practicing your vegetable chopping daily for a couple of weeks, you’ll never look at a carrot, celery stalk, or potato the same way again.
And, let’s be real, that’s probably a good thing.
[Related: “The Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Learn How To Cook“]
Tasty’s simple knife tutorial is perfect for those just starting their cooking journey.
Plus, here she uses a knife with a bright yellow handle, which I find pleasing to watch.
One thing that is important to remember: you do not need professional level knife skills to be an excellent home cook.
Be patient as you learn these skills, and keep practicing.
You will get more comfortable as time goes on and using your knives will become second nature to you.
[Related: “5 Unexpected Lessons Learned From Cooking“]
3. Other Cooking Techniques
Now that you’ve mastered basic knife skills and have a pile of chopped, diced, and minced vegetables ready to go, let’s dive into some of the other key cooking techniques every home cook should know.
When searching for how to learn cooking techniques, you’ll find there are many opinions about which techniques are most “important.”
But as a beginner home cook who’s just trying to master the basics, all those culinary school tricks and advanced techniques can feel like a bit much.
The reality is that you won’t use those fancy cooking techniques for most recipes, so let’s stick to practical, everyday techniques that you will use regularly to create amazing dishes at home.
With just one dish, Mike G. with Pro Home Cooks reviews 10 basic cooking techniques that are super helpful to know when starting out.
My favorite tip of the 10 is number 2, “mis en place.” Yes, this sounds like a scary French cooking term, but stay with me.
Mis en place simply means “setting up” and refers to the prep process in cooking. Aka, my favorite step.
The first thing I do when starting any recipe is to prep all the ingredients I will need before I start cooking anything, making the actual cooking process more efficient and less stressful.
Ok, I lied. The first thing I do before starting any recipe is wash my hands. But you get my point.
[Related: “How To Learn To Cook Like A Chef: The Secret Guide“]
I’m not sure how this came to be, but somehow whether or not you know how to cook an egg seems to determine whether or not you know how to cook.
So, as such, I think every home cook should know how to properly cook eggs in several ways (even if you’re like me and will only eat them scrambled or hard-boiled).
This video by Tasty is my favorite of all the “how to cook eggs” videos out there because they cover several techniques in an easy to follow, approachable way.
There is a bit of an art to cooking eggs, so once you master these techniques you’ll definitely impress your family and friends.
Much like cooking an egg, making a stellar salad dressing is a key piece of cooking know-how.
And in this Food52 video Samin Nosrat breaks the method down in simple terms.
Once you memorize the basic components that every dressing needs, you’ll be making them without a recipe in no time.
While making salad dressings may seem rather simplistic on the cooking technique scale, learning how to properly balance a dressing with salt, fat, and acid can help you to properly balance other dishes.
These are fundamental flavor techniques that you’ll use in all your recipes.
And, Samin’s cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat makes a great gift (for yourself).
Ok, this may seem silly to include but you’d be surprised by the number of home cooks who get this wrong.
Knowing how to salt your food properly will make all the difference.
Here Kenji Lopez-Alt breaks down the differences between common types of salt and helps us to better understand when to use each.
He, like me, only keeps Kosher salt and fancy finishing salt in his kitchen. I haven’t used table salt in over 10 years and haven’t found a need for it once.
I recommend keeping your kosher salt in a handy bowl or saltbox on your kitchen counter, so that you may easily grab a pinch or a handful as you’re cooking.
[Related: “The Honest Answer To How Long Does It Take To Learn To Cook“]
4. Kitchen Care
Now that you’ve got your resources for kitchen tools, knife skills, and basic cooking techniques, the last step in your search for how to learn cooking techniques is to get help managing your kitchen.
A well stocked and well cared for kitchen is key to being a good cook.
Here we’ll take a look at pantry staples, spices, kitchen organization, and care for your tools to ensure your kitchen is ready to cook up a fantastic meal at a moment’s notice.
Frankly, I’ll pretty much do anything Ina Garten tells me to.
Here she lets us into her kitchen and reveals some of her best advice, favorite tools, and storage tips. You may notice a pattern here with some of the previous videos.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be living in her pantry.
Ethan Chlebowski gives us a fantastic guide to buying and storing spices correctly.
Don’t feel bad if you’ve been storing them wrong for your entire life. Most of us have.
But, that’s what we get for buying saffron for that one recipe 4 years ago.
[Related: “Learn How To Use Spices In Cooking Like The Best Chefs“]
Joshua Weissman shows us that a little thoughtful kitchen organization can go a very long way.
Simplify your cooking routine and stop making excuses already.
I love these tips from Basics by Babish. When you take the time to properly care for your kitchen utensils, they’ll last you for years to come.
Now that you know how to learn cooking techniques, get in the kitchen and practice with these easy recipes!
Mastered how to learn cooking techniques already? Awesome! Find out how you can learn to cook even better in 2021!