19 Cooking Tips That Home Cooks Ignore In Their Kitchens

19 Cooking Tips That Home Cooks Ignore In Their Kitchens

The internet is full of cooking tips and hacks, but not all of them become tried-and-true habits for every cook. I learned that for myself when I asked the Community to share the well-known pieces of cooking advice that they ignore in their own kitchens, and TBH, it made me reconsider some of the tips I consider to be “fact.”

These are some of the most surprising responses.


“I always use salted butter in recipes, even when it calls for unsalted. I don’t get the point of using unsalted and then adding salt separately. Plus, if I want butter in the house for bread, I don’t want to have to buy two different kinds.”


“I’ve never, in 45 years of life, run water over my chicken to clean it. That’s an easy way to spread germs all over your sink and kitchen. I’ve patted it dry so that slimy ick is gone, sure…but run it under running water? Nope. Cook your chicken to 165°F and anything on it will give up the ghost.”


“I never, ever measure vanilla. I’m well aware that baking is chemistry and proportions matter, but nothing’s ever been hurt by having approximately triple the amount of vanilla in a recipe.”


“Pouring the rendered fat away from ground beef. That’s where all the flavor is! Unless you’re using really cheap, really fatty beef, there’s no need to dump it down the drain.”


“Slowly adding stock to risotto and standing and stirring it for ages. Some people claim they find it therapeutic, but I find it tedious. I just dump all the stock in and let it do its thing, and I’ve never made a bad risotto! I’m convinced the whole thing is a myth.”


“I press down on my burgers on the grill to get those nice grill marks and keep them flat. It does NOT make them dry, I swear!”


“Bringing eggs to room temperature before baking with them. I understand the reasoning, but seriously, when has this ever made a difference in taste or texture?”


“Sifting flour isn’t always necessary, and the lumps usually come out when you combine it with your wet ingredients anyway. I just use a whisk to blend it together, and I’ve never encountered any ‘lumpy’ flour in my baked goods.”


“I don’t mind ‘crowding the pan’ when cooking mushrooms. Yes, it’s true the mushrooms will steam instead of brown, but that’s only at first! If I walk away for a bit, the water will eventually evaporate and the mushrooms will, in fact, brown. It’s my lazy-mom method of cooking because who the hell has time to do ‘batches?’ My pan is as crowded as my schedule.”


“I was a certified executive chef for 15 years and I never once salted my pasta water. There is a ton of sodium that naturally occurs in most food that you serve with pasta and if you season your food and sauce correctly, there’s no need to salt the water.”


“I always rinse my cooked pasta. Chefs will claim that if you rinse your pasta, the sauce won’t stick to it well. That may be true in a restaurant environment where sauces aren’t cooked long enough to thicken properly, but not in a home kitchen. My grandparents were from Italy and they rinsed their pasta. If you make your sauce properly, it’ll stick.”


“I live in Colorado and I have never once followed the ‘high altitude’ cooking instructions crap. Things may take a bit longer to boil and yeasted baked goods definitely take a bit longer to rise, but for everything else, from baked goods to rice, I’ve never followed the high-altitude directions. Most of it says ‘one more egg,’ ‘more water,’ ‘more oil.’ Meh, I’ve noticed nothing different in terms of taste and texture.”


“I cook pretty much all the time and I never let the oven entirely preheat — unless I’m making baked goods like cookies or cakes. I don’t have the patience for it and for most things you’re cooking, it’s really not that important.”


“I almost always disregard cooking times in recipes. Timing is more like a guideline than an actual rule! Your stove and oven are not calibrated the same way as the recipe’s author. Use your senses to tell when something is done. You can see if the chicken is golden brown, you can hear if the oil you put your veggies in is hot enough, and you can smell if the garlic is fragrant. Trusting yourself in the kitchen is a chef’s best tool!”


“I cook every day, and I ignore expiration dates 99.9% of the time. In most cases (especially foods like dairy or meat), you can tell by sight, smell, or texture if an ingredient is still good. Ingredients are usually fine past their expiration dates, so why waste them unless they’ve actually turned?”


“People still have this old, racist idea in their head (from old anti-Asian propaganda) that MSG is bad. It is not any less healthy than any salt and it tastes amazing! If you don’t use it, grab a shaker of Accent the next time you are shopping for spices and give it a try.”


“When I’m cooking pasta, I only fill the pot with enough water so that my noodles will barely be fully covered. Catch me never filling up all six cups of water when making a package of Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese.”


“I ignore the common advice that fresh herbs are always better. This isn’t always true. A lot of times they can be either overpowering or don’t come through at all!”


“I generally don’t mix wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls when recipes call for it. I mix up the wet ingredients, then pour in the flour and other dry ingredients, then mix it all together. I’ve never noticed a difference between when I do it that way or the ‘right’ way if I’m being perfectly honest.”

What’s a piece of cooking advice that you always ignore in your own kitchen? Sound off in the comments. 👇