Getting started in cooking can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re new to the process. There are a lot of things that can go wrong when it comes to making new recipes, and practicing can help prepare you for success. To help make things easier, we’ve rounded up some of the most helpful kitchen tips for beginner cooks.

  1. Read Your Recipes Thoroughly Before Starting

This tip is considered to be the most common cooking tip of all time. After all, it’s pretty obvious you should read the recipe, right? However, when you find a good one, it’s tempting to start cooking immediately without a full understanding of what you’re doing at each step.

Before you start cooking, it’s important to read the recipe. Not only should you read it before, but it’s also important to check it out when making the dish. Ensure you have all of the ingredients ready and know what’s coming next so you don’t get caught trying to chop up veggies while your sauce is burning on the stove.

  1. Be Prepared and Organized

Sometimes, people get antsy while waiting for the process to move along. Instead of just chopping the tomatoes, they think, “I’ll just chop them while the meat cooks” This is not usually the right thing to do, as it can potentially lead to safety issues if your attention is divided. Being prepared can help improve the quality of your recipes and make them even better.

Before you start cooking, make sure that all of the ingredients are thoroughly prepared. This can help prevent them from burning during the process. Before you start cooking, make sure that everything is washed and ready to go. This will save you time and stress later.

  1. Always Pre-Heat Pans and Ovens

This tip is especially important when it comes to cooking various types of food, such as meat patties and slices. Heating the pan can prevent the juices from coming out of the meat and leave it tender, while a cold pan lets too much moisture escape. You can also check if the pan is ready by dropping a few drops of water on it and seeing if it evaporates. This small step can make a big difference in how your recipe turns out.

  1. Use the Right Size Cookware

When it comes to cooking pasta, make sure that you have enough water to cover the food properly, even as it expands. You might need a bigger pot than you think. Also, make sure that you have the correct pan size when you’re frying vegetables and meat. You won’t be able to get nicely browned meat if it’s crowded in the pan, and it can be tricky to get them to cook evenly. Make sure you have plenty of space.

  1. Keep Handles to the Side

When it comes to cooking on the stove, make sure that you turn panhandles to the side so that they don’t get knocked off onto the floor. This can happen when you’re rushing to grab an ingredient and accidentally run into the pan. Ensuring handles are always turned to the side, not hanging off the edge of the stovetop, is a small step that makes your kitchen much safer.

  1. Taste Often

If you’re preparing a dish that you’ve never prepared before, it’s important to keep tasting it every step of the way to ensure that it’s not over seasoned. If you find that the food has been over seasoned, try adding a little bit of vinegar or lemon juice to balance out the flavors.

  1. Use Sharp Knives

One tool that most cooks can’t live without is their chef’s knife. It’s a versatile tool that makes your life in the kitchen much easier. A good knife should be sharp and should feel good in your hand. If you have small hands, a smaller 6 or 7-inch knife may be more comfortable. On the other hand, a larger 8 or 9-inch knife may be more comfortable if your hands are larger. It might seem counterintuitive, but a sharp knife actually reduces the risk of accidents, as you’ll use less pressure which makes it less likely that the blade will slip.