Kitchen Tips To Help You Actually Like Cooking

I love asking people what's on their bucket list. It's always inspiring to hear a friend say they want to learn a new skill such as baking, painting, or cooking

Honing a craft is so underrated compared to travel bucket list experiences, and yet learning these lifelong skills can be so much more rewarding in our everyday lives. 

Whether you aspire to simply survive making dinner every night or cook as a hobby here some helpful tips for you. 

My favorite part of this post is the section near the end about creating and using a culinary bucket list. 


I suggest you write down just a few of these ideas that resonate with you so you will be more likely to remember and apply these tips.

• Spread a damp kitchen towel under your cutting board to keep it from slipping.

• Be more efficient in the kitchen and set up a work station so you can easily work left to right (if you are right-handed). When making mashed potatoes, for example: set washed potatoes on the far left, to the right of that set a bowl into which you can peel them. Next will be your cutting board where you will chop, and on the far right will be your pot of water on the stove.

• "Batch it" or finish one task before moving on. Peel all the potatoes at once, then chop them all at once, open all the cans at once, measure all your spices at the same time, etc.

• Place a bowl on the counter behind your cutting board for garbage and scraps. Or set a small garbage can on a chair right next to you.

• Always heat oil before adding whatever it is that you want to sauté to the pan. Many raw vegetables will soak up the oil if it's not already hot.

• Avoid cooking wines and only use wine that is good for drinking.

•  When possible, taste as you go and make your own tiny adjustments to a recipe until you like it.

• When adding more spices or salt, pour some into your hand before adding it to the dish so you don't accidentally dump too much right into the food.

• One teaspoon of table salt is not an accurate substitute for one teaspoon of Kosher salt as table salt grains are much smaller than grains of Kosher salt. 

• It may surprise you how much a tiny bit of sugar can improve a savory sauce.

• Add salt to boiling water when cooking pasta and vegetables.

• Potatoes should be added to cold water and then brought to a boil, but pasta needs to be cooked in water that is already boiling.

You don't have to tear lettuce into tiny pieces by hand. It's a myth that chopping a head of lettuce will make it bruise more than tearing it.

• If you often overcook your meat, especially chicken, use a marinade or brine. A typical brine is a mixture of 4 tbs Kosher salt to one quart of water. This will make the chicken tender even if you cook it a little longer than you intended.

• If you hate chopping, practice it more often. The more you do it, the faster and better you will get at it. Profiency in any skill requires rote repetition. You will hate it until you don't. It also helps if you keep your knife sharp. 


Salt is such a simple ingredient but too much or too little can have a big impact on any dish.

Like learning a musical instrument the only way to get good at using salt is to practice.

To get you started, here are a few thoughts from my friend, Tyler, who taught herself how to cook:

"As you cook more, you’ll have a better understanding of how much salt to use.

I can tell you that you need to use salt as you go along, but there’s no substitute for getting in the kitchen and trying it out.

You need to learn for yourself that you don’t want to add salt to something you’re reducing before it’s been reduced or it will be too salty.

And I can tell you to season your proteins before cooking, but until you see the salt on the protein, cook it, and taste it to find out if it was enough salt or not enough, you won’t know how to do that until you start doing it.”

In the next section, you'll find a short video that explains a little more about when and how to use salt as you cook. 


This is not a comprehensive list, but below are some basic skills you may want to learn and practice along with more obscure but useful skills. 


Teaching yourself how to cook gives you the benefit of learning at your own pace and within your own budget. Knowing where to start is the struggle.

If you were to take course in cooking, there would be an itinerary. So, why not make your own?

Having a list of some specific foods you want to make through the years can inspire you and keep you inspired, because it's what you genuinely want to learn and not what you are told to learn.

The key is to start simple and graduallly develop skills that you are excited about. You're simply not going to make a six course dinner right out of the gate.

Below is an example of a cooking bucket list, but don't copy and paste. Collect ideas that inspire you, not because you think you should have the skill to be an accomplished cook.

You can find ideas in cookbooks and online, but be sure to write down the things you want to make for an easy reference.

Overtime you may want to revise your list and remove anything that no longer peaks your interest.

And keep in mind that your enthusiasm for cooking may ebb and flow but that doesn't mean you're not learning.

This list I've created starts with some simple skills and gets more complicated as it goes on.

Culinary Bucket List Example:

• Basic cream sauce
• Poach an egg
• Make a stir fry to practice chopping
• Cook a perfectly juicy chicken breast
• Mac and cheese (not from a box)
• Make torillas
• Create a sliced fruit tray to practice knife skills
• Butter chicken curry
• A fancy salad. Example: shaved parmesan, feathered Brussels sprouts, pomegranate arils, etc.
• Pizza
• Sushi bowls
• Autumn sheet pan bake with sausage and veggie (practice peeling and chopping a whole butternut squash)
• Greek bowls with tzatziki sauce
• Chili
• Crepes
• Grilled steak
• Make a reduced sauce
• Minestrone
• A cream based soup
• Ratatouille
• Eggs benedict with hollandaise
• Marinated chicken and stir fry (practice julienne and slicing)
• Pot pie
• Homemade Pasta  
• Prime rib
• Risotto
• Cook a whole turkey
• Sushi rolls
• Fresh made ravioli

As you gain confidence in the kitchen you will be able to find and practice recipes based on one ingredient that you want to try such as...

• White wine
• Lobster
• Saffron
• Capers
• Truffle oil
• Gochujang
• Black Nigella seeds
• Red wine
• Oyster mushrooms
• Garam masala
• Gruyere
• Pinenuts
• Figs
• Cardamom
• Halloumi
• Kalamata olives
• Shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7 spice blend)
• Whiskey
• Lemongrass
• Gorgonzola
• Watermelon radish

Have fun creating your own list!

What is one tip you learned from this article? What is this post missing? Please let us know in the comments! 

Hi! My name is Kait. Follow this link to learn more about me and my blog.


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