“It’s Amazing”: 40 People Are Sharing Kitchen Tips And Tricks They Learned Throughout The Years

Great food is one of the simple pleasures of life. It nourishes our bodies and souls and brings people together. It’s also pretty practical as far as hobbies go – hardly anyone likes to be the idiot sandwich in the kitchen. That’s why learning a trick or two can help you improve immensely.

And where better to take inspiration and advice from than other culinary enthusiasts? That’s why we’re bringing you the things people shared in this thread: the small changes they made that took their kitchen game to 11. And if you’re a Panda that has some culinary prowess beyond bamboo, share your tips in the comment section!

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#1

I’ve been missing the acid part to kick my meals into high gear. A good slug of vinegar mixed in with the roasting veg or potatoes, a squeeze of lemon or lime over a stir fry or fajita mix, deglaze a pan with white wine or balsamic vinegar – it adds that little punch or zing into most dishes that was missing before.

Image credits: SuperMario1313

#2

Adding garlic later on in the cooking process. You can taste it so much more.

Image credits: pajamakitten

#3

Add fish sauce to anything that needs a savory kick. I used to use Worcestershire sauce, but I’ve switched to fish sauce, which adds good umami without Worcestershire’s extra flavor notes (such as clove) that can taste off in certain dishes. The fish sauce is nice and light, while Worcestershire is considerably more pungent. It works in so many dishes like tomato-based pasta sauces, chicken soup, seafood stuffing, sauteed mushrooms, stir-fried rice, meatballs, baked beans, pulled pork, and chili, just to name a few.

Image credits: Day_Bow_Bow

Imagine this: it’s the end of a long workday, and you finally get home and feel so hungry you could eat a horse. What do you do? Do you pick up a phone and order takeout? Or do you opt for a pre-packaged, frozen meal you got at the supermarket? Or do you go the longest but, perhaps, most satisfying route – get out your pots and pans and make something yourself

We all literally need food to survive. But getting good at cooking takes time and practice, and who has that when they’re too tired after work? Sure, some people might have more of a natural knack for it, but for others, it can be a real struggle. So, why should you be interested in cooking your own meals?

#4

Recently I tried making a tomato sauce with actual San Marzano tomatoes instead of just generic costco diced tomatos and it kind of blew my mind how much better it was it. It tasted like ripe, rich, summery tomatoes.

Image credits: steamydan

#5

When I make mac and cheese, I boil the pasta in a mix of water and milk, with just enough to cover the noodles. It then reduces and I use it as the base for the sauce.
Also, when adding the shredded cheddar, I remove the pot from the heat, add the cheese, and cover. It them melts slowly without the oils breaking apart.

Simple, but incredible creamy, and miles better than what I used to make, without adding any extra time.

Image credits: thegimboid

#6

I make homemade stock with veggie scraps, but when I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll even toss my veggie scraps in a bit of oil, lay them out on a sheet pan, and toast them a bit in the oven before making the stock. It adds huge flavor.

Image credits: rdkitchens

First off, it can significantly improve your health. When you cook for yourself, you’re picking and choosing all the ingredients. Researchers proved that home-cooked meals can lead to a healthier diet. In the conclusion of their article, they claimed that there needs to be more encouragement for the general population to cook at home.

Dining out or ordering takeout usually means that you’re consuming loads of sodium. Restaurants use much more salt than cooks at home to enhance the flavor of their dishes. In fact, most of us chronic take-out eaters are consuming six times more salt than we think. Those who opt for home-cooked meals eat more vegetables and fruit and end up having a healthier diet overall.

#7

Saving a bit of pasta water to add to pasta sauces

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Tossing raw shrimp with a bit of baking soda and salt before cooking

A dab of anchovy paste can be magical.

Image credits: snerdie

#8

Making pasta dough in a food processor.
No more 10-15 minutes of kneading by hand. Food processor achieves same, if not better result, in less than 1 minute.

Image credits: JBA88

#9

I’ve started using smoked cheeses in my pasta. I’m vegetarian, but my husband isn’t. He flat out asked me if I added bacon when all I used was smoked Gouda.

Image credits: FeatherMom

But cooking at home can have benefits on more than just your physical health. Both making and eating dinner bring people together. The American Psychological Association claims that activities such as learning a new recipe together or attending cooking classes can help couples connect. “Cooking and mealtime create a unique social setting that cultivates meaningful relationships through conversation, connection, and laughter,” co-founder of The Plantrician Project, Scott Stoll, M.D., said.

#10

Less butter while the food item is cooking on higher heat, then when it comes off the heat and has a moment to cool but is still ostensibly hot, add a pat of butter to finish the dish.

Like I *knew* conceptually that butter cooked at different temps *tastes* different but tasting is believing ya’ll.

Finishing butter.

Image credits: TheMondayMonocot

#11

When my wonderful husband was diagnosed with high blood pressure, we had to severely reduce our family salt intake. So I started growing my own herbs to flavor our dishes instead of salt. What a huge difference that has made! I love wandering out to the herb garden to collect rosemary, basil, sage, thyme, oregano, dill, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, and sorrel.

Image credits: GreenHeronVA

#12

I’ve always been a big DIYer, but two of my more recent additions are ferments. I do my own hot sauce now, and my vacuum sealed kim chi is leagues above anything I’ve ever bought, even from asian markets.

Also, rendering my own fats. I use to toss so much fat when I trimmed. Now, when I pick up pork shoulders at costco, I also net about 1.5c of lard as well. My chicken fat jar is slower to fill, but it’s liquid gold. And the beef tallow jar gets used a bit more rarely, but it gets a big boost when I buy a brisket to break down. I really like beef tallow tortillas.

And homemade tortillas is of course life changing and only adds a little time to fajita/taco night.

Image credits: Purple_Puffer

Another plus is that making something to eat at home is way friendlier to your wallet than ordering takeout or eating out would be. A cheaper alternative to a home-cooked meal would only be fast food, but the two aren’t really comparable in terms of nutrition. In 2018, at least, it was five times more expensive to order takeout and three times more expensive to use a meal kit service.

#13

Finishing oil is so vital. A light drizzle imparts a huge flavor to whatever I’m serving. I now have store-bought oils and I also make my own.

Image credits: FeatherMom

#14

A couple of years back, I prepared a meatloaf. Then, hubby said, “Let’s go _____.” So, I covered the loaf with plastic wrap and stuck it into the fridge. We ate at wherever we went that day, so I din’t worry about the meatloaf. The next day, I took the loaf out of the fridge around 3:00 in the afternoon. (Pyrex loaf pan) At 4:30 or so, I put it into the oven for an hour.

**Putting the meatloaf in the fridge overnight was totally game-changing!!**

It allowed *all* the ingredients to get well acquainted and taste even better than originally.

https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/my-take-on-mom-s-meat-loaf/

• I use 2 pounds ground beef
• I use minit rice in place of crumb
• I replace the mushrooms with coloured pepper
• I use a whole chopped onion
• I add a Tblsp. Beef stock flavouring (OXO or the like)
• I mix the BBQ sauce *into* the meatloaf mixture rather than brushing it on the outside.

Image credits: AbbyM1968

#15

– Salting stuff in advance or at the earlier stages of cooking

– Getting a *really sharp* japanese knife that slices everything instead of making some dumb cuts.

Image credits: Melegoth

#16

Everything needs lemon!

How much lemon you ask

MORE.

Image credits: Erenito

#17

Preheating the baking tray for roasted veggies. I still forget to do it a lot of times, but especially when you are roasting a lot it can really help. There are times where I do buddha bowl type stuff and preheating the tray is the difference between beautiful roasted veggies or half-steamed sadness.

Basic but I never thought to do it before seeing a random ATK a couple years back.

Image credits: snoopwire

#18

One of my go to basic lazy meals is pesto pasta with chicken or broccoli but lately I’ve been stepping it up a bit with just a bit more effort for much better tasting pasta.

Instead of just scooping some pesto out of the jar onto my plain pasta I’ve instead been mixing the pesto with an egg and a bunch of parm that I grate with my microplane. I also cook a bit of minced garlic in bacon fat then combine it all in a pot along with a splash of pasta water to make a delicious sauce. Basically just a pesto carbonara without the bacon.

#19

Keeping meat and vegetable scraps to make stock instead of using store-bought stock or broth.

Related, any savory recipe that calls for water, also use said homemade stock instead.

Image credits: ShakingTowers

#20

I’ve started making garlic confit. It’s incredible. Now I have a jar of it handy to use in all kinds of dishes. My favorite is toasted sourdough, goat cheese, garlic confit, and a little salt on top. So incredibly good and easy.

Image credits: Stephij27

#21

Ooh this post reminds me to make some shallot oil/ginger oil/garlic oil. It is a tedious process but you get a two-for-one deal; crispy ginger/garlic/shallot pieces to top stir fries/sandwiches/noodle dishes and a small glug of fragrant oil.

I have jars of quick pickled veggies in my fridge too; red cabbage, daikon, carrots, and red onions are mainstays for bowls, sandwiches, and salads.

I also make a lot of long-life sauces, pickles, spread; if you are a vegetarian, you must try ajvar. I also make something called nyonya achar which is vegetables and pineapple pickled in a spicy, nutty sauce which is a great side dish for rich dishes.

Another thing I always do now is premarinade my proteins the moment I get home from the grocery store; marinated hard boiled eggs, marinated tofu/paneer, marinated tempeh, and chicken always live in my fridge or freezer, ready to cook. Even a simple salt/garlic/lemon marinade helps any protein taste better and makes healthy eating less sad.

Image credits: FlamboyantNaturall

#22

1. Cooking vegetables in the microwave. I learned about this on the cooking issues podcast with Dave Arnold. Using a glass bowl with a glass lid you can steam vegetables in their own moisture which greatly heightens the flavor compared to regular steaming because no extra water is added. The vegetables also dehydrate very slightly concentrating the flavor as well. Mind blowing improvement.

2. Fish sauce. OMFG this was a huge leap forward in my culinary ability.

3. Using MSG on the regular. I used to be a huge fish sauce fan because of the umami hit it provided. I still love fish sauce but MSG is so much more flexible and adding that umami richness to things is incredible.

3. Sous vide, or low temperature cooking. This revolutionized my ability to nail grilled proteins. Not only does it help with meal prep and portioning on a regular basis but it is a complete game changer when it comes to large-scale cooking. My greatest success in this regard was when I catered my brother’s wedding. With two Weber grills filled almost to the brim with charcoal I was able to get 20 lb of steaks and 30 lb of chicken from the cooler to the buffet table perfectly cooked in 45 minutes. Still get compliments on that meal years later.

Image credits: step3–profit

#23

Using sour cream in lieu of heavy cream. It gives mushroom sauce/gravy a nice tartness and thickens nicely as it simmers.

Image credits: AFotogenicLeopard

#24

Shallots. Shallots make a difference.

Smoked salt. I don’t know why it works but man smoked salt adds a little something extra!

#25

A tadka for Indian food. I used to skip it for simplicity, but it’s really necessary for that Indian restaurant richness.

Image credits: unicorntrees

#26

Lea and Perrins Worcestershire.

Use it anywhere savory flavors are needed.

Image credits: StolenCamaro

#27

We try to avoid having rice too frequently for diet reasons, so I jumped on the riced cauliflower train. I just started ricing other veggies, including my current fave, riced broccoli. Great for quiche, added to omelets, sauteed with a little butter for a “rice” alternative, etc. It has a more vegetal presence than the flavor vacuum that is cauli rice.

Image credits: freckledfrida

#28

Not exactly food, but ice cubes come out whole instead of in pieces if you make them using hot water because it has fewer air bubbles in it than cold. It doesn’t take longer to freeze them either, and they are much clearer than ones made with cold water.

#29

I’m British, so, you know…Lately I’ve been putting white miso in simple British foods like cottage pie (savoury mince topped with mashed potato) or beef stew, basically using a teaspoon or two instead of salt. It adds extra umami. I even put some in bolognese sauce – please don’t kill me, Italian people. It’s lovely.

#30

Nutmeg in cream sauces. It helps to lift the flavours so much.

#31

Boiling a pot of water and white vinegar while cooking.

I can cook the most aromatic foods I want without worrying about all the fabrics in the house smelling lol. The boiling mixture has been a life changer!

Image credits: krustykrab2193

#32

Figured out how to use my convection oven. It’s a giant air fryer ?‍♂️.

Image credits: TWooTod

#33

Adding MSG.

Image credits: wjbc

#34

My secret ingredient is salt-preserved lemons! It really adds a depth of flavor to any dish that can benefit from a salty zesty pop.

Image credits: managingbarely2022

#35

Honestly i start most of my meals now with butter, minced garlic and onion and it’s a total game changer. Most of my chicken/beef dishes are much better now.

#36

I was making an Alfredo type of white wine and mushroom sauce and I didn’t have any white wine so I used a pink wine instead. It was fantastic. I realized that must be the secret ingredient in the chicken and penne that I love from The Old Spaghetti Factory, it tastes just like their sauce. So now I make it quite often with pink instead of white wine. It’s a flavour you would notice but you can’t put your finger on what it is. I tried for years to recreate their sauce using different mushrooms and different ratios of butter and cream, adding shallots and garlic. Never nailed it until I used pink wine.

#37

Marmite is amazing for adding umami and depth to soups and sauces.

#38

I started making more garlic confit. It’s amazing.

Image credits: TheLadyEve

#39

– not buying shredded cheese anymore

– cutting everything small so that you can get all elements of a dish in a spoonful.

#40

I like making extra pound cake batter or cinnamon rolls and use them for future use in bread pudding or sweet stuffing since it requires stale bread it work’s perfectly.
Source: boredpanda.com

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