How To Master The Essential Cooking Skills

No matter how much experience you have in the kitchen, mastering a few basic cooking skills is essential for your success. Everybody has to start somewhere. If you’re just getting started in the kitchen, congratulations! A big congratulations for taking the initiative and attempting something different.

Depending on your experience, you may already be proficient in some of these skills, while others may be completely foreign to you. Please don’t be intimidated, and remember that things aren’t always going to be pretty! The best part is that you can keep trying over and over again, each time learning something new about cooking. Spend some time honing your skills and building your confidence in your abilities.

Throughout this series, I will elaborate on each cooking skill in turn, with a post dedicated solely to that skill. The first part of the week will be an in-depth look at the technique, and the second part of the week will be a recipe to put your abilities to the test!

How To Read A Recipe

Read the entire recipe from beginning to end. At the very least once, if not twice or three times, just to be safe. You will save time and avoid future headaches as a result of this. Completely read the recipe from beginning to end, making note of the ingredients used and any special equipment that is required. Pay close attention to the order of the steps that are listed in all food recipes in order to determine where to start. Is it necessary to pre-heat the oven? Is it necessary to bring butter to room temperature? Everything should be clearly laid out for you in the instructions, so pay attention to them. Remember to keep an eye out for the specific words that are used throughout the recipe, and always look things up when you’re unsure. When you say “sliced,” you’re referring to something entirely different.

How To Learn The Basic Knife Skills

Learning basic knife skills will not only help you become a better cook, but it will also help you stay safe while you are cooking. When I see people cutting things, it makes me cringe because they are so close to cutting themselves in the process. Good knives and knife skills make a significant difference in the kitchen, so investing in a book on the subject is a good investment. You can even begin teaching children knife skills to keep them safer in the kitchen and to encourage them to become more involved in the process.

How To Make A Few Basic Sauces

Knowing how to make a few basic sauces can completely transform your cooking experience. Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, you can experiment with a wide range of dishes. The five mother sauces are the sauces you should be familiar with and are often referred to as such. This is due to the fact that they are the starting point for almost all other sauces, as well as the head of their own family of sauces.

The five sauces are as follows: bechamel, veloute sauce, hollandaise sauce, Espagnole sauce, and classic tomato sauce (in that order). In my opinion, you should be able to make a basic bechamel sauce and a tomato sauce at the very least.

How To Cook An Egg

Eggs can be a quick and easy breakfast option as well as a good source of protein. Knowing at the very least how to soft boil, hard boil, scramble, fry, and cook an egg over easy can be extremely beneficial for any home cook. Being able to properly crack an egg and separate an egg is also useful information. These are just basic skills that can be learned with a little practice but are otherwise very straightforward.

How To Bake A Potato

You can microwave potatoes, but the texture and flavor are not the same as they would be baked. They are simple to make in the oven, and it is something that everyone should be able to do at some point. To begin, thoroughly wash your potatoes. I recommend that you use a coir brush to ensure that all of the dirt is removed. After drying them, rub them with olive oil and salt.

This next step is extremely important: poking holes in your potatoes with a fork is essential. Then bake for approximately 45 minutes at 425 degrees. Simply poke the potato with a fork to check that it is soft on the inside. If the potatoes are going to be served with other foods, I like to allow for a little extra cooking time because they always seem to take longer to cook than you expect they will.

How To Roast A Chicken

Although I cook most of my whole chickens in the Instant Pot these days, knowing how to roast a chicken is still a useful skill to have. A roast chicken can be used for a variety of meals and is an excellent choice if you want to start meal prepping. Even though you can get creative when it comes to preparing a roast chicken, the most important thing is to master the fundamentals of roast chicken preparation. These same techniques can be applied to the roasting of other types of birds as well.

How To Make Gravy

A lot of dishes benefit from the addition of gravy. If you overcook a chicken or turkey, turkey gravy will cover it up nicely; it’s delicious served over warm biscuits or with roasted potatoes. Gravy is also very simple to make and tastes infinitely better when made from scratch rather than from a package. My mother-in-law shared her turkey gravy recipe, which is a straightforward gravy recipe. If you aren’t cooking a chicken or turkey at the time, you can simply use stock instead of drippings to save time.

If you enjoy biscuits and gravy or prefer white gravy over mashed potatoes, learning how to make a basic white gravy is a useful skill to have. You can top the biscuits with a bit of cooked sausage and you’ve got yourself the perfect southern breakfast.

How To Cook Rice

Although I usually make rice in my Instant Pot using the rice setting, it’s a good idea to be familiar with how to make it on the stove as well. A friend once told me that she and her father were going to make rice and that they had mistaken the water measurements on the package for pasta and had filled the pot to the brim.

They quickly realized that they had made a mistake. In contrast to pasta, you want the rice to absorb all of the water you use, and there should be none left over once the rice is finished cooking. Rice that isn’t properly cooked is never enjoyable, and it can be a little tricky at first until you get the hang of it. However, once you have mastered the art of perfectly cooking rice, you will have a simple and affordable grain that can be used in a variety of dishes.

How To Roast Vegetables

Generally, I steam my vegetables, and I know a lot of people just microwave them, but some vegetables taste better when they are roasted, so knowing how to roast vegetables is a useful skill to have. Things like broccoli, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, squash, carrots, and other vegetables are examples of this. All of them are delicious when roasted, and the process is very simple. You only need to cut them into pieces that are roughly the same size, drizzle them with olive oil, and season them with salt and pepper, and you’ve got yourself some delicious vegetables.

How To Season To Taste

The most common mistake I see home cooks make is that their food is not properly seasoned. You may be born with the ability to taste a dish and know what to add, as well as the ability to season with ease, but for the majority of people, practice is required. To begin, you will most likely want to stick to recipes and season your food according to the recipe. Make sure to taste the food frequently as you add new ingredients to see how the flavor changes.

Eating a variety of foods at restaurants can also assist you in developing this skill. The most important thing to remember is to start tasting as you cook. And don’t be afraid to experiment with new seasonings or to test a small amount on your finger to see if it will go well with your dish. Once you have mastered this skill, recreating dishes will become much easier, and the food will taste much better as a result.


This may appear to be a daunting task, but just focus on one thing at a time and keep learning. Cooking will become second nature once you have mastered these techniques and abilities. Knowing how to properly prepare food makes it much easier to avoid eating out and to consume fewer highly processed foods on a regular basis. It makes it much easier to eat more healthfully in general.