Cooking Basics

Before chefs become chefs, they learn cooking basics: how to use a knife, how to cut up a vegetable, how to mind a kitchen, and how to use appliances. It's only then that their efforts seem, well, effortless. You, too, can master your kitchen—but first you have to master the basics. That's where our how-to guide to cooking basics comes in. We've got charts that you can download and keep, guiding you through the right cooking times and temperatures for meat, poultry, and vegetables. We'll show you the differences between saute pans and quart pans (and everything in between), as well as explain the different features in ovens to help you make decisions that fit your needs. The best chefs and home cooks store tools and ingredients where they need them, which is why we've got advice on organizing your utensils and your pantry. We'll also take the confusion out of conversions by showing you how to convert from U.S. measurements to metric. And you won't want to miss our guides to invaluable skills such as zesting and peeling citrus, making broth, and pitting an avocado.

Recipe Quick Find

Chopping and Cutting Basics
How to Chop Herbs

Use fresh herbs to enhance your recipes. We help you chop them for dinner tonight!

Chopping an Onion

No tears here! Make quick work of an onion with our knife-skill basics.

Meat-Cutting Techniques

Follow our step-by-step guide to cutting, cubing and shredding meat properly.

Our Best How-Tos: Fruits
How to Choose and Prep Berries

Eat berries at their peak with our tips for maximum freshness.

How to Section Citrus Fruit

Enjoy fresh-for-the-season citrus in two quick steps.

How to Pit Peaches, Cherries, and More

Sink your teeth into your favorite fruits without worrying about the pit.

Our Best How-Tos: Vegetables
How to Make a Crisp Green Salad

Skip the premade salads and opt instead for a delicious fresh-from-the-garden meal.

How to Blanch Vegetables

Plunge your veggies into boiling water for a short amount of time for a crisp finish.

How to Wash Vegetables

Leave chemicals and other contaminants behind by properly washing your vegetables.

Our Best How-Tos: Meat
How to Test Meat for Doneness

Follow our food-safety guidelines to ensure your meat is done and cooked to your liking.

Quick Cooking School: Meat

Watch our quick videos on your favorite meats to enjoy chicken, steak, fish, or pork.

How to Cook Filet Mignon

Wonderfully tender, filet mignon makes for a special dinner. You'll be surprised how easy it is to cook!

Everything in Cooking Basics
Adjusting Cooking Times
Cutting Tips
Herbs & More
  • How to Cook with Dried Herbs

    Our savvy tips will show you how and when to use dried herbs in your favorite recipes.

  • How to Cook with Fresh Herbs

    Add flavor to your foods with fresh herbs. We’ll make it easy with our tips for choosing, preparing, and storing.

  • Citrus Zest or Peel

    If you love the refreshing flavor that oranges, lemons, and limes bring to your recipes, add citrus peel.

  • Flavoring with Dried Mushrooms

    Dried mushrooms add earthiness to your favorite dishes. Here’s a simple way to rehydrate them before you cook.

  • How to Cook Brown Rice

    Make the switch from white to brown rice with our tips on how to purchase, store, and cook this healthier option.

  • Spice Blends

    Spice up your savory recipes with our favorite seasoning blends. Here are some of the most common ones.

  • Substituting Herbs

    There’s no hard and fast rule that says you can’t swap one fresh herb for another. Here are a few to try.

Vinaigrettes & Vinegars
  • Fruity Vinaigrettes

    We’ll show you a simple way to add zip to your vinaigrette dressing with fruit juices like lemon, orange, and more.

  • Vinegars to Explore

    We’ve pulled together our favorite types of vinegar to make your salads, sauces, and marinades even tastier.

Measuring Ingredients
Broths & Thickeners
  • How to Make Broth

    We’ll show you how to make a rich and flavorful chicken broth from scratch in just six easy steps.

  • How to Make Chicken Stock

    Chicken stock is the base for a variety of soups, stews, and sauces. You can make your own with our easy steps.

  • How to Make Roux

    Don’t let making a roux baffle you. All you need is flour, fat, and a few simple steps for success.

  • How to Make Chicken Gravy

    If you’re unsure about making chicken gravy, we’ve removed the guesswork with our easy step-by-step directions.

  • Thickening with Cornstarch or Flour

    Lumpy sauces and gravies are a thing of the past with our cornstarch and flour thickening tips.

Pots & Pans
  • Cooking Appliances

    All ovens are not created equal. Here’s what you need to know, plus our best tips for using your microwave oven.

  • Cooking Essentials

    We’ll help you streamline your cookware, cooking utensils, and pantry items for a well-organized kitchen.

  • Shopping for Pots and Pans

    Stock your kitchen with the right assortment of pots and pans that will be the most helpful for cooking.

  • Small Kitchen Appliances

    We’ve compiled a list of our favorite small kitchen appliances that will make cooking your favorite recipes a snap.

  • When to Use Glass or Metal Pans

    Learn the difference between glass and metal baking pans for successful results every time you cook.

  • Wok Basics

    Here’s everything you need to know about using a wok, including selection, maintenance, and seasoning tips.

  • How to Section Citrus Fruit

    Peel and section citrus fruit easily for snacks, salads, drinks, and more, when you follow these steps.

  • How to Seed a Pepper

    Here’s what you need to know about peppers including, buying, storing, seeding, plus chile pepper precautions.

  • How to Soften Butter

    If your recipe calls for softening butter, we have a variety of methods that will make it a breeze.

  • How to Stir-Fry

    Stir-frying is a delicious option for vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. Here’s how to get the tastiest results.

  • How to Pit Cherries, Peaches, Olives, and More

    Removing the pits from cherries, peaches, mangos, dates, olives, and more, is no problem with our handy tips.

  • How to Roast Vegetables

    Oven roasted veggies make a delicious and easy side dish. Here’s how to get the best results from your favorites.

  • How to Saute Chicken

    Whether you prefer breasts, strips, or thighs, we’ll show you how to sauté chicken for a simple weeknight meal.

  • How to Saute Onions

    Add extra flavor to your burgers, potatoes, and more, with our easy steps to sauté and caramelize onions.

  • How to Saute Mushrooms

    Mushrooms make a multitude of dishes even more delicious when you sauté them to a golden brown.

  • How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables

    For the best results, follow our tips for washing fruits and veggies so they are safe, yet delicious to eat.

  • How to Oven-Bake Chicken Legs and Chicken Quarters

    Turn chicken legs and quarters into a kid-pleasing family dinner with our yummy oven-baking secrets.

  • How to Peel Garlic

    Don’t let peeling fresh garlic intimidate you. We’ll take you step-by-step plus show you how to use a garlic press.

  • How to Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs

    The Better Homes and Gardens food experts share their secrets for perfectly peeled hard-boiled eggs.

  • How to Peel a Mango

    It can often be difficult to remove the large seed in the center of a juicy, delicious mango. We’ll show you how.

  • How to Make Salad Dressing

    Mix up a tasty homemade salad dressing with ease. Here’s how along with options for additional flavor.

  • How to Make Sausage

    Perk up your breakfast with mouthwatering homemade sausage patties that you can adapt to your own tastes.

  • How to Make Tiramisu

    Create a scrumptious tiramisu. We’ll show you how to make this popular Italian dessert from start to finish.

  • How to Melt Butter

    Learn two ways to melt butter perfectly every time. Plus we’ll show you how to make clarified and browned butter.

  • How to Juice a Pomegranate

    Pomegranates offer a plethora of health benefits. Juicing this exotic fruit might be easier than you think.

  • How to Make Bread in a Bread Machine

    Let your bread machine do all the work the next time you make a delicious loaf of homemade bread. Here’s how.

  • How to Make Broth

    Don’t open a can when it’s simple to make your own chicken broth. Follow our instructions for two easy methods.

  • How to Make Chicken Cacciatore

    Warm up your taste buds for chicken cacciatore. We’ll show you how to make this tempting Italian dish step-by-step.

  • How to Caramelize Onions

    Add big flavor to your favorite dips, sauces, and meats, when you serve them with delicious caramelized onions.

  • How to Chop Fennel

    Fennel brings a licorice-like flavor to recipes. Here’s how to select, store, and chop this unique herb.

  • How to Chop Green Onions

    Here’s the inside scoop on cooking with green onions like how to select and chop them for your favorite dishes.

  • How to Chop Herbs

    Our handy guide shows you how to select, store, and chop fresh herbs to punch up the flavor of everyday recipes.

  • How to Chop Leeks

    Leeks are milder than onions and are often overlooked by cooks. Here’s how to prep this veggie for recipes.

  • How to Bake a Potato

    Follow these simple steps for baking potatoes and you’ll always have an easy side or main dish at your fingertips.

  • How to Bake Fish

    We’ll show you how to bake fish for a delicious, fuss-free weeknight meal that can be ready in no time at all.

  • How to Bake Salmon

    Bake salmon for a quick and easy family meal. We’ll show you two methods that will offer delicious results.

  • How to Boil Crab Legs

    Treat your guests to a tasty crab leg dinner. Our simple how-to covers buying, boiling, and harvesting the meat.

  • How to Boil Potatoes

    Learn how to boil potatoes and you can easily mash or chop them into a crowd-pleasing side dish.

  • How to Braise Meat

    Braising meat is an easy technique that turns tough cuts into a tender and flavorful entree. We’ll show you how.

  • How to Saute

    Make a no-fuss dinner when you sauté your favorite meats and vegetables using our four simple steps.

  • How to Roast Chestnuts

    Celebrate the holidays by roasting chestnuts. Perfect for snacking, they make a tasty addition to recipes, too.

  • How to Brine a Turkey

    Why not brine your turkey this year? It’s a great way to ensure a tender and tasty bird for the holidays.

  • How to Brown Ground Beef

    Follow our simple how-to for browning ground beef and you’ll be one step closer to preparing your favorite recipes.

  • How to Butterfly Lobster Tails

    There’s no trick to learning how to butterfly lobster tails. The tender and tasty meat makes it worth the effort.

  • How to Cook Artichokes

    We’ve removed the guesswork from prepping artichokes and provide a variety of cooking options and sauces.

  • How to Cook Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts

    There are several ways to cook skinless, boneless chicken breasts for a satisfying meal. Try a few of our favorites...

  • How to Roast Pork Ribs

    Select your favorite cooking method and turn pork ribs into a mouthwatering family meal or tasty get-together.

  • How to Cook Brisket

    When there’s plenty of time until dinner, try beef brisket. Here’s how to make this tough cut a tender main dish.

  • How to Bake Pumpkin Seeds

    Toasted pumpkin seeds are a fun and tasty treat to make when you’re finished carving your jack-o’-lantern.

  • How to Cook Rice

    We’ll show you three different ways to cook rice and provide tips for a light, fluffy batch every time.

  • How to Cook Tri-Tip Steak

    Here’s three popular ways to cook tri-tip steak for a delicious and inexpensive dinner whenever you need it.

  • How to Cut Corn Off the Cob

    Nothing compares to fresh corn on the cob. Follow our simple cutting tips for the perfect summer side dish.

  • How to Cook Tuna

    Don’t overlook fresh tuna steaks for dinner. You can prepare it three ways for delicious results.

  • How to Fry Fish

    Whether you like whitefish, cod, red snapper, or orange roughy, make the most of fillets with our frying tips.

  • How to Fry Pork Chops

    For dinner on the double, fry pork chops. Our stovetop and oven-frying methods are both easy and delicious.

  • How to Make Fried Potatoes

    Fried potatoes pair nicely with a wide variety of meats. We’ll show you how-to pan- and oven-fry this tasty side.

  • How to Grill Salmon

    When you fire up the grill, choose salmon fillets and steaks for a quick and easy main dish that’s delicious, too.

  • How to Make Chicken Marsala

    The next time your family craves pasta, serve chicken marsala. We’ll show you how to make it fuss-free.

  • How to Make Italian Meatballs

    You don’t need to follow a specific meatball recipe. You can make this Italian staple to fit your own tastes.

  • How to Make French Toast

    A breakfast favorite, French toast also makes a great lunch or dinner. Here’s how to prepare it with a few options.

  • How to Make Polenta

    A versatile dish, polenta serves up nicely as an entrée, side, or dessert. Here’s how to make it several ways.

  • How to Blanch Vegetables

    Blanching means to plunge a fruit or vegetable into boiling water for a short amount of time before transferring it...

  • How to Braise Cabbage

    There's more to cabbage than coleslaw. This versatile veggie makes a quick-cooking side dish that's inexpensive, he...

  • How to Braise Short Ribs

    Braising, which is actually slow simmering, brings irresistibly tender and boldly flavored results to this meaty cu...

  • How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee

    If you've developed a friendly relationship with your favorite barista, why not save yourself the expense of a dail...

  • How to Broil

    Discover how this classic oven method can be used to quick-cook meats, poultry, seafood, and, even more surprising,...

  • How to Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients

    If you are planning to make muffins, pancakes, waffles, or quick breads, pay close attention. The order and manner...

  • How to Cook a Pot Roast

    A tender, meaty beef pot roast has a top spot on the list of America's favorite comfort foods. The good news is tha...

  • How to Deglaze a Pan

    After sauteing or roasting meat, make a simple gravy or pan sauce by incorporating the browned bits that stick to t...

  • How to Dredge Food

    Give your food a crispy coating with a technique called dredging. Also referred to as breading, it means to dip foo...

  • How to Glaze a Ham

    When it's your turn to host, there's nothing as easy and impressive as a delicious baked ham. Even better, give it...

  • How to Make a Mojito

    A popular drink, the mojito is a combination of citrus and mint flavors that complement the smooth, potent kick of...

  • How to Make Baked Beans

    Baked beans are the quintessential American side dish, often popping up at picnics, barbecues, and potlucks. Bean r...

  • How to Make Chowder

    Chunky chowder provides a satisfying base to showcase fish, seafood, chicken, and vegetables. Here are master recip...

  • How to Make a Breakfast Casserole

    A breakfast casserole is one of the easiest and most satisfying dishes to serve to friends and family. Here's how t...

  • How to Make Coffee Cake

    Coffee cake is a broad term for a moist, tender-crumbed sweet that pairs with a cup of coffee in a most satisfying...

  • How to Make Chicken Salad

    One of the most versatile recipes around is chicken salad, and it's no wonder: It makes a delicious lunch sandwich,...

  • How to Make Crab Cakes

    Learn what chefs already know: Crab cakes are a user-friendly way to savor just about any kind of crabmeat. Serve t...

  • How to Make Eggs Benedict

    Eggs Benedict, a showy restaurant favorite, is also a luscious brunch entree to make at home. We'll show you how to...

  • How to Make Chicken-Noodle Soup

    One of the most comforting foods around, Chicken-Noodle Soup hits the spot for an easygoing one-pot supper -- or wh...

  • How to Make Key Lime Pie

    Bring this Florida favorite recipe home! Sweet-tart Key lime pie is quite easy to make and can be completed 24 hour...

  • How to Make Pancakes

    Pancakes are more than a meal -- they're an interactive experience that turns breakfast into fun. Fortunately, the...

  • How to Make Pulled Pork

    When you need to feed a crowd, pulled pork makes plenty. Or plan to make a big batch and freeze the leftovers. Eith...

  • How to Make Punch

    Tart or sweet, cold or hot, punch is the ideal solution for relaxed entertaining. No need to take drink orders -- j...

  • How to Make Quiche

    Quiche is always a welcome guest at a spring brunch or an elegant holiday gathering. Learn the basics of making the...

  • How to Make Red Velvet Cake

    When you want an especially dramatic cake, go for this three-layer red velvet beauty. The tender cake layers are de...

  • How to Roast Vegetables

    Roasting vegetables in a very hot oven gives them a caramelized exterior and flavor while keeping the inside moist...

  • How to Sear

    Find out how the simple technique of searing can give meats, poultry, fish, and seafood that golden restaurant look...

  • How to Shred Meat

    Shredded beef and pork make a luscious base for many memorable recipes, including tacos, enchiladas, and pulled mea...

  • How to Shred Vegetables

    Shredded raw vegetables add brightness, flavor, and crunch to recipes, as well as needed nutrients. Here's how to s...

  • How to Stock and Store Dry Goods, Canned Goods, and Condiments

    A kitchen that's well stocked with dry goods, canned goods, and condiments can often make the difference between co...

  • How to Stock and Store Herbs and Spices

    Add aroma, color, and flavor to your food by using herbs and spices. Herbs come in fresh and dried forms and can be...

  • How to Stock and Store Fresh, Refrigerated, and Frozen Items

    Keep these refrigerator and freezer staples in constant supply to prevent last-minute trips to the grocery store. T...

  • How to Make Shortbread Cookies

    These yummy cookies require only three ingredients to make. Enjoy the classic version or one of the variations for...

  • How to Clean Mushrooms

    Mushrooms brighten so many dishes with their earthy freshness. Before cooking mushrooms or adding them to favorite...

  • How to Color Icing

    A little food coloring can transform icing into an artist's medium for decking out cupcakes, cookies, cakes, and mo...

  • How to Cook Edamame

    Add a global vibe to your cooking using these popular and healthful Asian beans.

  • How to Cook Filet Mignon

    Thanks to its divine tenderness, filet mignon is one of the most sought-after cuts of meat. Because it can be grill...

  • How to Cook Greens

    Leafy greens brim with nutrients and great flavor. Here's how to cook them up.

  • How to Cook Kale

    Kale is a powerhouse of nutrients that can be prepared in a variety of inspired ways, from simply boiling to making...

  • How to Cook Lentils

    The little but mighty lentil is a nutrient powerhouse that stars in soups, salads, side dishes, and more. Learn how...

  • How to Cook Oatmeal

    A hot bowl of oatmeal can come in many forms, from quick-cooking oats to steel-cut oats cooked in a slow cooker. Ch...

  • How to Cook Okra

    Okra lovers, look no further! We'll show you how to braise or fry this favorite Southern veggie to perfection.

  • How to Cook Quinoa

    Looking for ways to integrate more whole grain goodness into your diet? Quinoa is one of the fastest-cooking choice...

  • How to Cook Scallops

    With a little know-how, you can cook restaurant-quality scallops at home. We'll show you four different ways to fix...

  • How to Cook Yams

    Why wait for the holidays to bring yams to your table? You can serve this tasty, nutritious, and super-versatile ve...

  • How to Make Croutons

    Homemade croutons take just a few minutes and are a tasty way to use day-old bread. Make them in the oven or a skil...

  • How to Make Homemade Marshmallows

    Great for gift-giving, homemade marshmallows are a fun do-it-yourself project. Our step-by-step directions take the...

  • How to Make Homemade Noodles

    Homemade noodles are much easier to make than you think -- and you don't even need a pasta machine (though you can...

  • How to Make Onion Rings

    No need to head to a restaurant to order fried onion rings! You can make them at home -- all you need is a little k...

  • How to Make Waffles

    These light and crisp waffles mix together quickly and offer plenty of opportunity for tasty stir-ins and toppers.


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