Whether you’re a hesitant beginner or a consummate professional, everyone who sets foot in a kitchen needs a refresher on the basics sometimes. Here, in no particular order, Delish editors walk you through the cooking tips that changed their lives—and the ones they know will change yours, too.
Take notes as you go.
Did you ever love the recipe but hate the onion-to-garlic ratio? You won’t remember that when you pull the recipe back out a year from now—but the Post-It you left on the page reminding you so will help.
Read the recipe all the way through before you start.
If nothing else, it’ll prevent you from keeping a very hot oven on for too long.
Save the oil.
There is no limit to how many things you can do with your leftover bacon grease. Fry your eggs in it. Fry your potatoes in it. Make a damn bacon candle! The possibilities are endless.
Put a damp paper towel under your cutting board.
This prevents it from swiveling around while you’re trying to do something with a very sharp knife.
Set your timer for a few minutes less than the called-for time.
Not only do all ovens heat differently, but you’ll also never really know how yours handles a new protein or veggie at first. That’s all to say you can always fix an undercooked situation—there’s nothing to be done once you go over.
Season and taste as you go.
Never just season at the end. It’ll be too far gone.