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Cooking Basics

105 Helpful Cooking Tips

How to Measure Grated Citrus Zest
When measuring grated citrus zest, should you pack it into a measuring spoon or keep it loose?
Using Metal Cooking Utensils in Enameled Cast-Iron Cookware
Will using metal cooking utensils ruin enameled cast-iron cookware.
Cooking with Mint Stems
We often use cilantro stems as we would fresh cilantro leaves. Can you do the same with mint?
How to Roll Out Pie Dough
Use these tips to easily and evenly roll out pie dough.
How to Mix Cake Recipes
Many cake recipes specifically state not to overmix the batter. But box mixes instruct you to beat them at medium speed for a full 2 minutes. Why the differenc…
Braising is the best way to turn a tough cut of meat tender. So how do you do it?
Why It's Important to Salt Pasta Water
We cooked pasta in salted and unsalted water to determine if it matters when you add the seasoning.
Using Chile Powders Interchangeably
Can ancho chile powder, chipotle chile powder, and regular chili powder be substituted for each other in recipes?
Whether you crave the spicy burn of hot chile peppers or want to avoid it, it pays to know the ins and outs of chiles’ incendiary qualities.
How to Use a Water Pan When Grilling
Our grill-roasting recipes often call for a disposable pan filled with a specific amount of water to be placed inside the grill. Does it really matter how much …
Primary Burners
How do you know which burner is the primary burner on your grill?
Chill Your Chips
Does storing opened bags of potato chips in the refrigerator keep them fresher, longer?
Can You Cook Acidic Ingredients in Cast Iron?
Is it safe to cook acidic ingredients like as tomato sauce in a cast-iron pan?
What’s the Best Way to Keep Your Dip Warm?
Warm dips are party favorites, but most cool down and congeal after just 15 minutes on the table. Could we find a hands-off method for keeping a dip warm?
Malleable Measuring
Measuring semisoft ingredients such as mayonnaise and peanut butter can be a challenge. Should you use a dry measuring cup or a liquid measure?
Regular vs Organic. Dark Brown Sugar in Recipes
What's the difference between dark brown sugar, and organic dark brown sugar in recipes?
Dried Herbs
Dried herbs can be more complex and flavorful than fresh. We use them in many dishes—and not just in a pinch.
Sticking Point
How does nonstick aluminum foil differ from regular foil?
Useful Scraps
The best way to eliminate food waste in your kitchen is to take a second look at what you might be discarding. Reconsider some of these gems and their untapped …
Reusing Parchment Paper
Can sheets of parchment paper be reused for multiple batches of cookies?
Sizing Up Shallots
We often call for shallots in our recipes. What size shallots should you be using?
Cooking Long Grain White Rice in a Slow Cooker
It can be difficult to get long grain white rice to come out properly in a slow-cooker, here's our best method for getting good results.
All About Alliums
What is the difference between green onions, spring onions, and scallions? Can they be used interchangeably?
Sherry Substitute
Are there any nonalcoholic substitutes for sherry?
Cooking Onions
What does it mean to cook an onion to soft or golden? How do you know when it’s there?
Melding Flavors When Cooking
Why do certain recipes call for letting flavors meld in a soup or dressing? What does this do?
Are White and Yellow Cornmeal Interchangeable in Recipes?
Can white and yellow cornmeal be used interchangeably in recipes? Do they taste the same?
Fermented Foods
Fermented Foods
You might be surprised to learn that familiar items like bread, coffee, beer, and chocolate wouldn’t exist without fermentation. This ancient, natural process—w…
Tips for Any Buttermilk Pancake Recipe
These tips will help with any buttermilk pancake recipe the best it can be.
Should You Pack Your Herbs?
When measuring fresh basil for pesto, should the leaves be packed?
Sizing Garlic Cloves
When recipes call for one garlic clove, what size should you be using?
Reheating French Fries
Is it possible to bring leftover French fries home and reheat them?
The Best Way to Toast Almonds
What is the best way to toast whole almonds, and how does one know when they’re fully toasted?
Achieving the right consistency in a sauce, custard, pie, or jam takes a little knowledge . . . and some help from these common thickeners.
Marcona Almonds vs. Regular Almonds
How are marcona almonds different from regular almonds?
Prepping Vegetables: "Chopped" vs. "Chopped Fine"
What’s the difference between “chopped” and “chopped fine” in recipe instructions?