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57 Helpful Cooking Tips

What is Kosher Salt?
What exactly is kosher salt, and why is it called for in some of your recipes?
Heating Things Up
Does hot salsa lose some of its spiciness when refrigerated?
Louisiana Flavors
The roots of Louisiana cuisine reach deep into the soil of a dazzling array of cultures. There’s Cajun cooking, a rustic, hearty, game-heavy cuisine that has …
Mustard Seeds
Can brown and yellow mustard seeds be used interchangeably in recipes?
Ground Bay Leaves
Why do recipes usually call for whole bay leaves and not ground?
Can Sweet Hungarian and Spanish Paprikas be Used Interchangeably?
What is the difference between sweet Hungarian paprika and Spanish paprika? Can they be used interchangeably?
Vinegars
Vinegars
More than just the yin to oil’s yang in salad dressing, vinegar can help shape a perfect poached egg and save many a dish from terminal blandness.
Umami Powerhouses
Umami, a quality of meaty savoriness that brings depth to many dishes, is widely considered the fifth taste. These 12 umami-enhancing ingredients boost the flav…
Salts and Peppers
Not all salts and peppers are created equal. Here are 12 we like to cook with.
Explaining Types of Mustard: Dijon, Yellow, Spicy Brown, Whole-Grain
Grocery stores are stocking more and more varieties of mustard these days. How many should grace your kitchen?
Sprinkling Minced Garlic with Salt
Chefs on TV often sprinkle salt on garlic when they chop it. Why?
Herb and Spice Blends
Most cuisines around the world, including our own, have characteristic spice mixes. Here’s a look at 12 spice blends, old and new, home-grown and foreign.
Asian Condiments
The condiment shelves of Asian grocery stores can be mystifying. Don't let that keep you away. These sauces and pastes inject tremendous flavor into food with v…
Seeds
You may think seeds belong in the garden, but one look around a well-stocked kitchen proves otherwise.
Seasoning Cooking Water with Garlic
Will putting garlic in the cooking water give me more garlic flavor?
Different Kinds of Honey
Supermarkets carry all kinds of honey (clover, buckwheat, tupelo, etc.). Some are quite expensive. What’s the difference? 
Baking Spices
To make the most of your baking spices, follow our tips: Preground spices are convenient, but their flavors fade fast. 
Removing Garlic Odor
We don’t have a cure for removing garlic odor from your hands, but these three options can help.
Substutions for Mace
If you don't have any mace on hand, will nutmeg work instead?
Chopping and Using Fresh Basil
When it comes to chopping basil, it pays to wait until the last minute.
Different Types of Salt
Can you tell the difference between table salt, sea salt, and kosher salt in recipes? When should you use each?
Tearing vs. Chopping Herbs
Why do some recipes recommend tearing fresh herbs instead of chopping them?
Freezing Garlic Cloves
If you don't use whole, peeled garlic cloves fast enough, can they be frozen?
Madras Curry Powder
What is Madras curry—and can you use it in place of regular curry powder?
“Blooming” Spices
What does it mean to “bloom” spices and what is the benefit?
Varieties of Dried Sage
Markets sell several types of dried sage. Are they interchangeable?
Dried Mexican Oregano
Do you really need to keep two types of oregano on hand?
Dill Seed or Weed?
When the flavor of fresh dill failed to assert itself, we headed to the spice aisle for extra dill flavor.
Easier Rosemary Chopping
Here’s a tip for keeping freshly chopped rosemary on the cutting board—and not all over your kitchen.
Garlic Microwave Magic
A quick zap in the microwave guarantees quick garlic peeling.
Peeling Garlic Made Easy
Need to peel a lot of garlic? Here’s a test kitchen shortcut.
Garlic Substitutes
What's the difference between garlic powder, granulated garlic, dehydrated minced garlic, and garlic salt? Are any of these ever an acceptable substitute for fr…
Paprika Primer
Paprika comes labeled as sweet, smoked, and hot. What's the difference, and can they be used interchangeably?
Caper Primer
What are capers, exactly?
Fresh Herbs
Many supermarkets stock a half-dozen or more fresh herbs, and there are dozens more options for gardeners. Here are our tasters’ notes on 12 popular fresh herbs…
Bay (Leaves) Watch
How do bay leaves affect the flavor of a dish? Can you use too many? What's the best way to store them?