For those of you who didn’t have a mother or grandmother who took time to share their secrets about what all went on in the kitchen, the idea of cooking from scratch may be a bit overwhelming to you now that you’re an adult. You may even think that it’s something that you’re not capable of picking up on, but you’d be wrong. Cooking from scratch isn’t as difficult as it seems, as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort to learn. Here are 10 cooking from scratch tips for everyone to know. In case you missed this post, Cooking From Scratch 101
10 Cooking from Scratch Tips
1. Stock Up on the Right Ingredients
Nothing is more irritating than when you’re halfway through a recipe, only to realize you don’t have one or more of the key ingredients that it’s called for tucked away in your pantry. By already having a majority of the most common baking and cooking ingredients that you will need when cooking from scratch, it will save you an extra trip and more money spent at the grocery store. The following two sections list key ingredients that you will need for your cooking and baking purposes:
2. Baking From Scratch Key Ingredients
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
- Powdered sugar
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Cream of Tartar
- Shredded coconut
- Cocoa powder
- Cooking oil
3. Cooking From Scratch Key Ingredients
- A variety of meat
- Fresh or canned tomatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Canned beans
- Frozen vegetables
- Canned vegetables
- Salt and pepper
- Italian seasoning
- Barbecue sauce
- Soy Sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Olive oil
4. Have the Right Tools
Having the right ingredients is a great place to start when learning how to cook from scratch, but you’re also going to need the right tools to make meal preparations possible and do so more easily. You will be needing a whisk when mixing certain baking ingredients, and a springform pan if you’re planning on making a cheesecake.
You also don’t want to settle for a cheap set of pots and pans, because they don’t hold up as well as a stainless steel set would. Yes, you’ll pay more upfront for them, but in the long run, you will be glad that you did. These are all important cooking from scratch tips, but this one is vital! As I took the picture above I could see I needed to oil my cutting board and one of my Danish Whisks. LOL! I decided to order some stainless steel Danish Whisks because they have a hook so I can hang them up by a hook. 12-inch Stainless Steel Danish Whisk and an 8-inch Stainless Steel Danish Whisk.
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Dutch Oven
- Cast Iron Pans
- 8-Quart Soup Pot
- 4-Quart Saucepan
- 6-Quart Saucepan
- Danish Whisks
- Egg Beaters
- Cutting Boards
- Potato Peeler
- Can Opener
5. Spend Time Learning From Others
Unfortunately, your fairy godmother isn’t going to be able to “bippity boppity boo” you into an expert chef overnight. Learning how to cook from scratch takes time by watching others, along with tutorials, whether it’s on the internet or the TV. There are also some great cookbooks to help out that are written by chefs who know their stuff. Check your local library before going out and buying books sight unseen.
The more time that you invest in this, the better a cook you will be. Once you’re set on a recipe, be sure that you go over it several times, and that you fully understand the directions.
6. Be Open-Minded
You’ve probably glanced at a recipe in the past and thought to yourself how good it looked, but then realized that it called for an ingredient that you didn’t really care for. I’d be willing to bet that no more than 5 seconds later and you’d be glancing at the next recipe.
It’s common to avoid certain recipes that have one or two ingredients in them that you’re not especially fond of, but I’d encourage you to keep an open mind. You may be surprised at how well those ingredients help to bring a dish together with the texture and flavor you truly enjoy.
But if you try to substitute, or leave out that one ingredient altogether, the entire recipe could end up being a total flop? Maybe it’s the texture of mushrooms that scare you? You could always try dicing them up into smaller pieces as a solution so that they’re less noticeable.
7. Avoid Freestyling
While you may know a friend or family member that is amazing at freestyle cooking, it would be in your best interest if you didn’t take this route until you have gained more experience. That’s why we have recipes.
By choosing to “wing it,” having a disregard for the directions, has all the makings of a dinnertime disaster. It takes knowledge and experience to understand what ingredients that you can substitute for another, so stick to the recipe in the meantime.
8. Pay Close Attention to Recipe Amounts
You may be thinking that you’re following a recipe down to a “T”, but if you don’t fully understand the amount that is being called for, you may end up with a big mess on your hands. Here’s an example of what I mean. Say a recipe is calling for 6 cups of strawberries, diced. Some of you may misunderstand this as referring to 6 cups of diced strawberries.
Though they appear similar, they are in fact two completely different measurements. The intended amount on the recipe is obtained by measuring out 6 cups of whole strawberries and then dicing them, and not dicing your strawberries as you go until you reach 6 cups. The latter will leave you with far too many strawberries.
9. Try Not to Reach for Ingredients as You Go
Until you’ve mastered the skill of cooking from scratch, don’t grab ingredients as you need them. They should already be set within arm’s reach and measured out ahead of time.
It’s also wise to go ahead and chop your vegetables so that you’re not having to do this step when you’re in a crunch. This takes out a lot of the stress and helps you to relax as you’re learning something new.
10. Use a Timer Every Time
With so many distractions that are going on all around us, it can be easy to forget when you are supposed to take something out of the oven. Instead of waiting until your smoke detector goes off, it’s best to set a timer each time you’re cooking.
Also, keep in mind that some recipes suggest you set the partially complete mixture aside for a few minutes. Setting the timer not only assists in reminding you to move on to the next step, but also makes sure the timing of that next step is in line with the recipe directions.
Even the best cooks and bakers have to use a timer, and even if your oven doesn’t have one, there should be a timer available on your phone.
Keep in mind that a cooking time that you see on any given recipe is more of a guideline than an actual rule set in stone. That’s because every oven cooks differently, so always set a timer at least a minute or two before the recommended time to make sure that you don’t burn whatever you’re making. You can always put the item back in the oven for additional cooking if you decide it’s needed.
Cooking from scratch involves following several key steps, but when you bring them all together, you will end up with a delicious meal that may raise a few eyebrows of displayed pleasure. What cooking from scratch tips would you add to this list? P. S. Don’t forget to copy recipes of your mom, aunt, grandma, and grandpa because once they’re gone they may be hard to find. May God Bless this world, Linda.