Within every field, professionals learn great tricks to master their craft. Chefs throughout the world have many tricks and tips they perform in the kitchen to make their meals so delicious. You might not want to be a professional chef, but you do want to know their secrets to better your own meals. Here are 35 cooking tips that have come straight from the professionals themselves. Get ready to learn how to become a master chef in your own kitchen.
1. Crispy Fish Skin
The trick to get that yummy layer of crispy fish skin perfect is twofold: heat and patience. You will want to get your pan extremely hot on its own, add some oil to to get the pan a bit smoky, and then add your fish to the pan. Once your fish starts to brown, turn down your heat and patiently wait for the fish to complete cooking.
2. Iceberg Lettuce Core
Chef Ben Mims is here to let you know that you can rid the core of your iceberg lettuce within three seconds. His quick trick is to slam the head of iceberg lettuce onto his cutting board, with the core facing down. Once you flip the lettuce over, the core will simply pull out and you will be able to chop the lettuce much easier.
3. Sugary Sweet
A great tip for a more healthy conscious meal, that still needs to be sweet, is to use sugar alternatives. Agave nectar is perfect for yogurt or chili and honey is great for sauces on chicken or on granola. Maple syrup is another great alternative to use on sweet potatoes or squash. The taste of any of these substitutes will be sweet but add an extra level of flavor that processed sugar would not have added.
4. Storing Herbs
This tip will help keep your herbs green and crisp and it is super easy. The moment you get home from purchasing your herbs, grab a damp paper towel and wrap your herbs in it. This will help keep your herbs fresh for a longer period of time and not get all wilted.
5. Homemade Stock
Homemade stock is much better than store bought, this is true for a lot. You might think you might not have enough time for this but you do with the help of your freezer. If you have an extra thirty minutes once a week, you can make one big batch of homemade stock and then freeze the stock in smaller containers to use as needed. Here is a great chicken stock recipe to use.
6. Brine The Chicken
One simple step will make your chicken recipes more flavorful and juicy. All you have to do is brine your chicken before cooking it. Are you a kitchen newbie and don’t know what brining a chicken means? It’s easy, all you have to do is soak your chicken in cold, salted water. Many believe a great balance is 3 ounces of sea salt for every gallon of water. There are many recipes that will add other herbs and spices to the brine, it’s chef’s choice.
7. Messy Vegetable Peels
Peeling vegetables can create a giant mess, but when you are a chef you have to clean fast. A great trick is to put a layer of plastic wrap over your cutting board before peeling. As you peel you vegetables make sure the skins land onto the plastic wrap. The moment you are finished, all you have to do is pick up the plastic wrap and throw it away for a clean cutting board station.
8. Cracking Eggs
If you drop your eggs into a pot of water, one of them is bound to hit the bottom and crack. Cracked eggs are never fun before you even get to hard-boil them. A great tip is to put all the eggs you plan on boiling onto a thin towel and grab the ends of the towel. You will be able to slowly lower all the eggs into the pot of water and the issue of cracking the eggs will disappear.
9. Perfect Sear
It is not only professionals chefs that can create the perfect, golden sear for steaks. It is possible to create a great sear for your own steaks. The first step is the most important, pat dry your uncooked meat with a paper towel. After you pat it dry, then you can add your herbs and spices. This will give your meat a dark and crisp sear that others will be envious of.
10. Measuring Sticky Ingredients
Measuring sticky ingredients, such as honey, takes forever to pour out of the measuring utensil and makes the measuring utensil a mess. To combat the stickiness all you have to do is spray the measuring cup or tool with nonstick spray before measuring. This will have the sticky ingredient flow out way better and makes it much easier to clean too.
11. Brine the Fries
Poultry is not the only food item that deserves a good brine, so does your fries. If you soak your fries in salt water, the salt will will be seasoned on the inside as well. There is a second bonus to brining your fries, the extra starch will wash off and the fries will be more crispy too.
12. Cutting Safely
Cutting boards do not like to stay in one place as you are cutting. They move around with the direction of pressure and this does not make a safe cutting environment. To make sure that your cutting board will stay secure is by placing a damp paper towel onto the counter space and placing your cutting board on top of the damp paper towel. This will help hold the cutting board in position.
13. Instant Guacamole
Guacamole is so delicious restaurants make it extra, but that does not stop us from ordering it. Yet, cutting avocados at home to make guacamole can be a danger to our fingers. A quick way to chop the avocado is with the help of a metal cooling rack. First, cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Place both sides of the avocado face down into the metal cooling rack and push it through the rack. This will dice the avocado for you!
14. Cheaper is Better
There are many utensils in the kitchen that need to be an expensive purchase, but your peeler is not one of them. It is always nice to get advice on where to best to save your money. One experienced chef, Jesse, explains,
“Those cheap, Y-shaped peelers you see chefs using … are the only peelers worth buying. Why? Because they’re sturdy, cheap, and gentle enough to peel delicate veggies like baby carrots without ruining them.”
15. No Stick Pasta
Most of us amateur cooks will boil our noodles with salt but we are missing one more ingredient to our boiling water: olive oil. A splash of olive oil in the boiling water will prevent the noodles from sticking. It really is that simple.
16. Add The Clam Sauce
If you are cooking a seafood dish of any kind, one great tip is to add a bit of clam sauce. The clam sauce will add great flavor but will not overpower the original flavor. If you are nervous your guests, or maybe even yourself, will not like the added flavor, many do not even realize the clam sauce was added but loves the seafood dish.
17. Toasted Nuts
If you are wanting to eat toasted nuts but peeling the skins off is time consuming, all you need is a tea towel. Roll the toasted nuts with the tea towel and the skins will start to peel off on their own. This will make it much easier to munch on your snack.
18. Spoiled Meat
Life gets busy and food goes bad. It is always a bummer to have to throw away spoiled food, especially expensive meat, because you could not cook it in time. Instead of freezing meat, a great way to keep it fresh longer is by wrapping the meat in paper towels. Once it is wrapped in paper towels, place it in a zip lock bag and save it in the refrigerator. This will help the meat stay fresh longer because it will soak blood into the paper towels, which is a major factor is spoiling meat.
19. Cutting Meat
If you are a perfectionist, like so many, cutting meat can turn into an art form. A great way to easily cut raw meat is by a quick freeze. Place your proteins into your freezer about fifteen minutes before you plan on cutting. This will make the cutting much smoother and create more precise slices.
20. Grill Master
When grilling meat or fish it is important to always remember about the resting period. You will want to take the fish or meat off of the grill a few seconds before it is perfectly done because it will still cook about five to ten degrees while it is resting. You don’t want to have the meat overcook while it rests.
21. Bring The Flavor
It does not matter if you are cooking pasta, pizza, fish or poultry, adding a small bit of olive oil on the finished dish will bring extra and yummy flavor. It is important to purchase a high quality olive oil for this step. It is just a dash but it will really make your dish stand out.
22. Crispy Bacon
If you are a fan of crispy bacon, this is the tip for you. Lightly flour uncooked bacon before cooking on the stovetop and your bacon will come out more crispy. It will not only make your bacon crispier but it will lessen the normal grease splatter too.
23. Fluffy Scrambled Eggs
Cafes and restaurants are able to make their scrambled eggs super fluffy and it almost seems impossible to replicate at home. What is the secret trick? It is not a secret ingredient but a secret utensil, a blender. Blend your eggs for about fifteen seconds and this will add air into your eggs and create the fluffy texture.
24. Fish Spatula
If fish is a regular item in your cooking schedule, then you must invest in a fish spatula. It is super-thin and flexible, which allows the user to flip easier and does not tear the fish. It is also great for delicate veggies too.
25. Thanksgiving Dinner
What is better about Thanksgiving dinner: the turkey or the sides? I am fully on team turkey. A great tip to keep the moisture of the turkey is to wrap the turkey in parchment paper while it cooks. When it near the end of your cooking time, tear the parchment paper to allow the skin to crisp and heat.
26. Fish and Mayo?
It might sound strange but adding a thin layer of mayo to uncooked fish will keep it sticking from the grill. It will also add a browning to the fish as it grills. Remember to always keep a small amount of mayo nearby on grilled fish nights.
27. Crying Onions
No one is a fan of crying over cutting onions, but what to do? Well, the chefs have finally revealed their secret. Soak the peeled onion in ice water before cutting the onions. This will prevent those dreaded tears that seem to always come when cutting onions.
28. Food Scraps
Food scraps from veggies and herbs are a great secret ingredient for broths and stocks. Instead of throwing away the scraps put them in a zip lock bag and keep them in the refrigerator. Just plan to make homemade stock or broth soon and it will be perfect.
29. One-Tray Meals
One tray meals are becoming more and more popular the busier we all get. Being able to put everything onto one tray in the oven and have dinner be complete is fantastic. A great tip is too use a shallow roasting pan instead of a sheet pan because it will help all the food evenly brown and your meal will have a deeper browning too.
30. Saucy Pasta Tip
If you want your pasta to be extra saucy, add the sauce at the end of cooking your pasta. This will make the noodles absorb more of the sauce into the noodle as well. The sauce flavor will be amplified as well, delicious.
31. All The Seasons
If you want to make your dishes more flavorful do not only season in the beginning of the end, keep seasoning throughout the entire cooking process. Make sure to taste test throughout to your taste preference though. This will help you not over-salt your dish at the very end.
Nuts and seeds are a great snack but might not be super flavorful if bought unsalted. A great way to bring out their flavor is by toasting any seed or nut for a few minutes on the stovetop. This will bring out their natural flavors and you do not need to add any salt.
33. Tricky Tofu
If you want your tofu to have a meatier texture, this easy tip will help. Dry your tofu before baking it. Once it has been baked, dry it once more. This will give it the meaty texture that you would prefer. The major tip to drying tofu is adding pressure to the tofu to really drain the water out, many chefs will place plates or pans over wrapped tofu to press the water out.
34. Hot Oil
Heating oil on a pan is critical before adding in your food, but how do you know if it is hot enough? All you have to do is drop a pinch of flour into oil on the pan. If the flour sizzles then you are good to go and it is hot. If it does not sizzle, you need to wait just a bit longer.
35. Dry Beans
Some people stay away from beans because of the … digestive noises it might cause. If you are craving beans but do not want the effects, there is a solution for you. Rinse the dry beans with water and this will help rid the sugar from the beans. The sugar is a big contributing factor to the digestive effects of beans.