Food & Drink

6 Cooking Tips Everyone Should Know

Making your own meals can be easier for newbies if they stick to these cooking tips, tricks, and advice that will make it so much simpler for them

A person sprinkles salt into a mortar and pestle with onions, spices, and herbs, to grind and mix.

If you’re a newbie at cooking, it may be quite overwhelming, especially having to keep track of different ingredients, steps, and methods that come with preparing a full meal. Many of us struggle with it even after years of practice, but here are some cooking tips and tricks that will make it a lot easier:

Use fresh ingredients whenever you can

While store-bought items, frozen foods, and packaged goods are not the devil that bougie fitness culture and diet culture tell you they are, when you do have the option, choose fresh. This is because fresh ingredients will taste better and retain the original texture, flavor, and aromas that processes like flash-freezing may take away.

Always read the complete recipe before starting

We’ve all been the person that reads part of a recipe and skips to the cooking part before realizing they’re royally screwed up, or they’re missing a key ingredient, or they mixed something up. It helps to read the whole thing through so you’re not only familiar with how ingredients will be used but also the sequence you’re supposed to follow. Most recipes have been perfected and simplified for easier adherence, so why not take advantage of that?

Prep all your elements before you start

Another important note is to always prep before you start. Chop, slice, dice, mince whatever needs to, gather everything you need within reach, measure out spices and seasonings if need be, and be ready to just go, go, go! It can be overwhelming to keep track of what’s where or be chopping in the middle of your cooking process, and you run the risk of burning things too.  

A young woman stands in her kitchen, cooking at the stove.

Stick to less time than the recipe mentions

A cardinal rule to remember: you can fix undercooked food, but not overcooked food. Don’t tamper with temperatures to make food cook faster--it won’t work or go over the set time limit. In fact, it’s recommended that you stick to a lower time frame since your appliances or oven may respond differently than the recipe writer's.

Always stop to add seasonings and do taste tests

It doesn’t matter if the recipe promises all measurements are precise. You should adapt seasoning as you go and to your own palate. Do taste tests in the middle of the cooking process, and adjust spices, salt, herbs, and aromatics along the way to make sure it’s just right. By not doing that, you run the risk of over or underdoing the seasoning and ending up with bland or inedible food.

A bonus tip to remember: you can wing it with cooking, but never baking. Baking is a science and following a recipe down to the T is the best advice you can take.

Make clean-up a part of your cooking process

Lastly, make clean-up a part of your cooking process. Clean as you go, and while your food is simmering, baking, or on the stove. This makes it a lot less overwhelming, and you focus on one thing at a time, so by the time your food cooks, the dishes and utensils you prepped with are clear, and all you’re left with are pots, pans and serving dishes.

Now that you know these cooking tips and tricks try out these incredible Cuban recipes, and deliciously healthy snack ideas.

Find tons of tips, recommendations, and ideas for meals, drinks, and desserts to try  on our website as we share authentic recipes and information. You can also check our newsletter for our recommendations and advice on where to find the best cuisines and specific foods all through Miami. We’ve got everything food and drink-related right here!

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