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Cooking Basics

89 Helpful Cooking Tips

Published: December 2018
How Hot is "Room Temperature"?
People's kitchens are different temperatures, so what is meant when a recipe calls for something to be “room temperature”?
Published: October 2018
How to Measure Grated Citrus Zest
When measuring grated citrus zest, should you pack it into a measuring spoon or keep it loose?
Published: June 2018
Using Metal Cooking Utensils in Enameled Cast-Iron Cookware
Will using metal cooking utensils ruin enameled cast-iron cookware.
Published: April 2018
Cooking with Mint Stems
We often use cilantro stems as we would fresh cilantro leaves. Can you do the same with mint?
Published: October 2017
Braising is the best way to turn a tough cut of meat tender. So how do you do it?
Published: October 2017
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.
Published: October 2017
Using Chile Powders Interchangeably
Can ancho chile powder, chipotle chile powder, and regular chili powder be substituted for each other in recipes?
Published: August 2017
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.
Published: June 2017
Primary Burners
How do you know which burner is the primary burner on your grill?
Published: June 2017
Chill Your Chips
Does storing opened bags of potato chips in the refrigerator keep them fresher, longer?
Published: February 2017
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?
Published: February 2017
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?
Published: December 2016
Regular vs Organic. Dark Brown Sugar in Recipes
What's the difference between dark brown sugar, and organic dark brown sugar in recipes?
Published: September 2016
Dried Herbs
Dried herbs can be more complex and flavorful than fresh. We use them in many dishes—and not just in a pinch.
Published: October 2016
Sticking Point
How does nonstick aluminum foil differ from regular foil?
Published: August 2016
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 …
Published: April 2016
Reusing Parchment Paper
Can sheets of parchment paper be reused for multiple batches of cookies?
Published: February 2016
Sizing Up Shallots
We often call for shallots in our recipes. What size shallots should you be using?
Published: February 2016
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.
Published: December 2015
All About Alliums
What is the difference between green onions, spring onions, and scallions? Can they be used interchangeably?
Published: December 2015
Sherry Substitute
Are there any nonalcoholic substitutes for sherry?
Published: August 2015
Cooking Onions
What does it mean to cook an onion to soft or golden? How do you know when it’s there?
Published: August 2015
Melding Flavors When Cooking
Why do certain recipes call for letting flavors meld in a soup or dressing? What does this do?
Fermented Foods
Published: August 2015
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…
Published: June 2015
Should You Pack Your Herbs?
When measuring fresh basil for pesto, should the leaves be packed?
Published: June 2015
Sizing Garlic Cloves
When recipes call for one garlic clove, what size should you be using?
Published: June 2015
Reheating French Fries
Is it possible to bring leftover French fries home and reheat them?
Published: April 2015
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?
Published: February 2015
Achieving the right consistency in a sauce, custard, pie, or jam takes a little knowledge . . . and some help from these common thickeners.
Published: February 2015
Marcona Almonds vs. Regular Almonds
How are marcona almonds different from regular almonds?
Published: December 2014
Is Pasteurized Honey Safe for Infants?
Why does my honey bottle have a warning that it’s unsafe for infants? Is pasteurized honey ok?
Published: June 2014
Does Freezing Ginger Make it Easier to Grate?
Is it true that freezing ginger makes it easier to grate?
Published: June 2014
Substituting Gourmet Salt in Cooking and Baking
Can you substitute fancy salt for kosher or table salt in cooking and baking?
Published: June 2014
Turning Down the Heat on Jalapeños
Some jalapeños are hotter than others. When you get a superspicy one, is there a way to temper the heat?
Published: June 2014
The Best Time to Add Vanilla Extract to Pastry Cream
You may have heard that you shouldn’t add vanilla extract to pastry cream and pudding until after cooking. Is that really true?
Published: April 2014
Canned Beef Consommé vs. Beef Broth
What’s the difference between canned beef consommé and beef broth? Can they be used ­interchangeably?