Cooking Basics

61 Helpful Cooking Tips

Can You Use Whole-Wheat Flour in a Roux?
It can depend.
Published: June 2021
Slicing on the Bias: What It Is and How to Do It
Slicing on the Bias: What It Is and How to Do It
Some of recipes call for slicing foods such as carrots and scallions on the bias. What does that mean?
Published: May 2020
Using Metal Cooking Utensils in Enameled Cast-Iron Cookware
Will using metal cooking utensils ruin enameled cast-iron cookware.
Published: June 2018
How to Roll Out Pie Dough
Use these tips to easily and evenly roll out pie dough.
Published: April 2018
Braising is the best way to turn a tough cut of meat tender. So how do you do it?
Published: October 2017
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: February 2016
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: December 2015
Are White and Yellow Cornmeal Interchangeable in Recipes?
Can white and yellow cornmeal be used interchangeably in recipes? Do they taste the same?
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
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…
Published: August 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: June 2015
Should You Pack Your Herbs?
When measuring fresh basil for pesto, should the leaves be packed?
Published: June 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: April 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
Prepping Vegetables: "Chopped" vs. "Chopped Fine"
What’s the difference between “chopped” and “chopped fine” in recipe instructions?
Published: February 2015
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: December 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
Canned Beef Consommé vs. Beef Broth
What’s the difference between canned beef consommé and beef broth? Can they be used ­interchangeably?
Published: April 2014
Oven-Dried vs. Stale Bread for Stuffing
What's the difference between using oven-dried bread and stale bread for stuffing? Why does stuffing made with stale bread turn out slimy?
Published: October 2013
Always Finish Pan Sauces with Butter Off Heat
When a recipe calls for finishing a sauce with butter, why must it be added off the heat?
Published: October 2013
Substituting Vermouth for White Wine in Cooking
If you don't drink much white wine, but need it for cooking once in a while, it may go bad before you finish the bottle. Is there a substitute that keeps better…
Published: June 2013
Preventing and Eliminating Grill Flare-Ups
Grilling chicken pieces without flare-ups as fat drips down into the grill can be a real challenge. Here are a few tips to help combat this problem.
Published: June 2013
Labels: Decoding Low Fat vs. Reduced Fat vs. Fat Free
Foods are often labeled “low fat,” “reduced fat,” “fat free,” etc. What do these terms mean?
Published: June 2013
Why Does Aluminum Foil Develop Holes When Used to Cover Lasagna?
We explain the science behind aluminum foil and acidic foods.
Published: April 2013
Brine to Chicken Ratios
When brining chicken breasts, should you change the brine recipe if you add extra chicken to the brine bucket?
Published: April 2013
Will the Addition of a Potato to a Pot of Frying Doughnuts Make the Doughnuts Less Greasy?
Does adding a potato to a pot of frying doughnuts result in doughnuts that are less greasy?
Published: April 2013
Can Potato Starch be Substituted for Cornstarch to Thicken Sauces?
Not all starches are created equally.
Published: April 2013
Dry vs. Liquid Measuring Cups for Thick Wet Ingredients
For sticky and/or semisolid ingredients like mayonnaise, peanut butter, sour cream, and honey, we prefer a third option: the adjustable measuring cup.
Published: December 2012
Rescuing Frozen Gravy
Gravy will often weep when defrosted after freezing. Can it be rescued?
Published: October 2012
Using Tamari as a Soy Sauce Substitute
Can soy sauce and tamari be used interchangeably?
Published: August 2012
The Best Way to Wash Greens
Are there any benefits to washing greens in salt-water, vinegar-water or a mild bleach solution in order to kill bacteria?
Published: August 2012
The Role of Salt in Breadmaking
What will happen to your loaf if you forget the salt?
Published: August 2012