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Cooking Basics

97 Helpful Cooking Tips

Heat
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 …
Chill Your Chips
Does storing opened bags of potato chips in the refrigerator keep them fresher, longer?
Primary Burners
How do you know which burner is the primary burner on your grill?
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?
Thickeners
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?
Is Pasteurized Honey Safe for Infants?
Why does my honey bottle have a warning that it’s unsafe for infants? Is pasteurized honey ok?
Does Freezing Ginger Make it Easier to Grate?
Is it true that freezing ginger makes it easier to grate?
Substituting Gourmet Salt in Cooking and Baking
Can you substitute fancy salt for kosher or table salt in cooking and baking?
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?
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?
Do You Need to Skim the Foam That Forms When Cooking Dried Beans?
Do You Need to Skim the Foam That Forms When Cooking Dried Beans?
Why does foam form on top of the cooking water when cooking dried beans? Is there a way to ­prevent it? Should it be skimmed off?
Canned Beef Consommé vs. Beef Broth
What’s the difference between canned beef consommé and beef broth? Can they be used ­interchangeably?
Whipping Cream and Meringues with Immersion Blenders
Immersion blenders are great for pureeing soups, but can they be used to whip cream and meringues?