100 Techniques

100 Techniques Every Home Cook Can Master

Set yourself up for a lifetime of cooking success.

Published Nov. 1, 2023.

To cook well, you've got to know all the right moves.

Like a musician who runs scales or a basketball player practicing free throws, good cooking is built on a foundation of understanding good techniques.

America's Test Kitchen has 30 years of experimenting, understanding, and honing proper cooking techniques. Here, we've collected what we consider 100 of the essentials.

Master these, and you'll save time in the kitchen and your food will taste more delicious.

How to Use Learn These 100 Techniques

You don't need to go in order. Pick and choose the ones that interest you the most. (We did, however, break it out into three sections: beginner, intermediate, and advanced techniques.)

Each of these 100 techniques are laid out the same way:

  • An explainer of why learning this technique will improve your cooking.
  • Step-by-step photos illustrating key steps of this technique.
  • Hand-selected recipes—rigorously tested and developed in our Boston headquarters—that show this technique in action.

Ready to become a better cook? Choose a technique and get cooking.

Techniques 1–40: Beginner

1. Season Smarter with Salt

2. Bloom Spices for Depth and Complexity

3. Finish with a Sprinkle or Drizzle to Elevate Flavor

4. Make Great Vinaigrettes

5. Marinate in a Way That Actually Works

6. Pickle Vegetables in an Afternoon

7. Salt Vegetables for Not-Soggy Slaws and Salads

8. Just Add Water for Perfectly Sautéed Vegetables

9. Steam-Roast Vegetables to Caramelized Tenderness

10. Make Flavorful Pasta Sauce from the Cooking Water

11. Make Great Tomato Sauce without Hours of Simmering

12. Make Roux for Rich Sauces

13. Prepare Tender, Not Gummy, Rice Noodles

14. Bake Rice for Never Mushy or Scorched Results

15. Make Great Pan Sauces for Simple Chicken Cutlets

16. Sear Any Steak to Perfection on the Stovetop

17. Handle Meat Gently for the Tenderest Burgers

18. Sauté Flaky Fish That Doesn't Fall Apart

19. Sear Scallops for Tender, Golden Results

20. Make Superior Stir-Fries without a Wok

21. Cook Flavorful Tofu That Doesn't Disintegrate

22. Get Great Flavor from Foil-Packet Dinners

23. Oven-Fry for Crisp, Golden Crumb Coatings

24. Shallow-Fry on the Stovetop for Deep-Fried Flavor

25. Achieve All-Over Crispy Skin with Whole Roast Chicken

26. Roast Salmon Gently for the Silkiest Texture

27. Use the Broiler to Char without Burning

28. Master the Two-Level Grill Fire

29. Turn Off the Heat for Perfect Poaching

30. Butcher Whole Chicken for Custom Parts

31. Brine Poultry and Meat for Tender, Juicy Results

32. Braise More Gently by Using the Oven

33. Slow-Roast Tough Cuts of Meat to Fork-Tenderness

34. Knead, Shape, and Bake a Simple Loaf of Artisan Bread

35. Go Lumpy for Fluffy Pancakes and Muffins

36. Melt Butter for Chewier Cookies and Bars

37. Reverse-Cream for Velvety Cakes

38. Temper Eggs for Supremely Creamy Custards

39. Bake Juicy, Never Watery, Fruit Cobblers and Crisps

40. Waterproof Pie Dough for the Flakiest All-Butter Crust

Techniques 41–74: Intermediate

41. Toast and Grind Whole Spices for Bolder Flavor

42. Layer Glazes for Deeply Layered Flavor

43. Conquer Finicky French Sauces with the Blender

44. Use Aquafaba for Body and Structure

45. Brine Dried Beans for Tender, Never Tough, Skins

46. Give Vegetables a Close Shave to Tenderize Them

47. Save Scraps for Superior Vegetable Soups

48. Caramelize Onions Quickly

49. Quick-Braise Vegetables for Vibrant Color

50. Cook Pasta in Its Sauce for Infused Flavor

51. Boil Hearty Grains Like Pasta for Perfect Tenderness

52. Make Fried Rice without Starting a Day Ahead

53. Turn Simple Rice into a Showstopper

54. Start with the Oven for Perfect Pan Roasting

55. Butterfly a Chicken to Roast It Over the Rest of the Meal

56. Arrange the Ingredients for Great Sheet-Pan Suppers

57. Cook en Cocotte for Succulent Meat and Fish

58. Braise Tender Chicken with Crisp, Not Rubbery, Skin

59. Braise Burnished Meat without Searing

60. Grill Vegetables to Perfect Smoky Tenderness

61. Turn Your Grill into a Nonstick Cooking Surface

62. Grind Your Own Meat for Superior Burgers

63. Freeze Lobster and Take Its Temp to Cook It Right

64. Poach Fish in Olive Oil for Ultra-Silky Texture

65. Start with Cold Oil for Restaurant-Quality Frying

66. Make Smoked Barbecue in Your Oven

67. Use Cast Iron for Burnished Baked Crusts

68. Make Tortillas without a Tortilla Press

69. Make Pizza in a Skillet

70. Bake Bread without Kneading Dough

71. Make Ice Cream without an Ice Cream Maker

72. Make Almost No-Bowl Cakes with a Food Processor

73. Laminate Pastry the Easy Way

Techniques 74–100: Advanced

74. Make Your Own Bitters for the Ultimate Cocktails

75. Ferment Pickles the Traditional Way

76. Make Fresh Cheese from Scratch

77. Make Fresh Pasta without a Machine

78. Make Filled Pasta Like an Italian Nonna

79. Shape Asian Dumplings That Won't Fall Apart

80. Cook Whole Fish for Rich Flavor and Moist Texture

81. Dry-Age in the Refrigerator for the Ultimate Beef

82. Smoke Ribs Indoors Using Tea Leaves

83. Grill-Roast for Juicy Meat with a Browned Crust

84. Look to the Grill for the Ultimate Paella

85. Smoke Texas-Style Barbecue in a Kettle Grill

86. Make Chinatown-Style Roasted Barbecue

87. Confit Food for Silky Richness

88. Cure Your Own Meat and Fish

89. Tame the Flame of Flambé

90. Fry Ethereally Light-Crusted Food

91. Turn Your Oven into a Commercial Pizza Oven

92. Nurture a Sourdough Starter for Old-World Bread

93. Make Real Caramel 

94. Temper Chocolate for Shiny Candies and Cookies

95. Whip Cloudlike Meringue for Impressive Desserts

96. Churn Premium Ice Cream and FroYo

97. Bake and Assemble a Showstopping Layer Cake

98. Whip Up Light-as-Air Soufflés

99. Master Pate a Choux for Perfect Puffs

100. Bake a New York Deli–Worthy Cheesecake

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