We’ve all been there. You spend hours prepping, chopping, and simmering, following a recipe to the letter, only to end up with a dish that’s…well, let’s just say not what you envisioned. If you’re constantly wondering why your food never turns out quite like the pictures in the cookbook, you’re not alone. The truth is, even the most seasoned cooks make mistakes from time to time. But don’t worry, most of these slip-ups are easy to fix!
In this blog post, we’ll reveal 12 common cooking mistakes that could be sabotaging your culinary creations. We’ll also share some helpful tips to avoid them in the future. So, grab your whisk and oven mitts, because it’s time to take your cooking from blah to bam!
- 1. Overloading the pan
- 2. Cooking meat using a non-stick pan
- 3. Not salting water for pasta
- 4. Frying with olive oil
- 5. Measuring the amount of dry ingredients using a glass
- 6. Not preheating the pan enough before cooking
- 7. Overfrying garlic
- 8. Throwing frozen meat on the pan
- 9. Eating meat right after it has been cooked
- 10. Storing every product in the refrigerator
- 11. Constantly flipping your food
- 12. Overboiling eggs
1. Overloading the pan
Remember: if you want your meat to have that incredible crispy crust, you will have to give it space to brown. Otherwise, when overcrowded, the meat will actually boil.
2. Cooking meat using a non-stick pan
Another reason for failure when cooking meat with a crispy crust is using non-stick frying pans. This piece of cookware usually heats less than ordinary pans, so you’d be better off using them for omelets and pancakes. As for meat, try using a grill pan or a cast iron pan.
3. Not salting water for pasta
The basic rule when cooking perfect pasta is salting the cooking water. A lack of salt will lead to tasteless pasta, and no sauce will save the dish. If you’re not sure about the proportions, here is one tip for you: use one tablespoon of salt per 300 grams of pasta.
4. Frying with olive oil
At high temperatures olive oil loses all of its nutritional value and starts to burn, and that can ruin the taste of your food completely. Therefore, it’s a better idea to use olive oil for salads and refined sunflower oil for frying.
5. Measuring the amount of dry ingredients using a glass
Many of us measure the quantity of the ingredients for dough using a glass or a cup without paying much attention to the fact that it holds different volumes of dry and liquid products. Remember: baking requires exact compliance with the given measurements. Therefore, if you don’t remember all the tables of weights and measures by heart, try using a special measuring cup and kitchen scales.
6. Not preheating the pan enough before cooking
The top chefs say, ‘If you think that your pan is already hot enough, wait for another two minutes and proceed to cook after that.’ You will definitely need a well-preheated frying pan to cook vegetables and to get that crispy crust on meat.
7. Overfrying garlic
Most recipes suggest that garlic should be added at the end of the cooking process or even removed from the dish after 2-3 minutes of cooking. Garlic contains far less water than any other vegetable, and it burns very quickly. When overcooked, garlic can add an unpleasant taste to your dish.
8. Throwing frozen meat on the pan
Before cooking meat, make sure you let it stand at room temperature for a couple of hours. The room temperature-rested meat will be heated more evenly, while frozen meat, on the contrary, may look like it is well done, but it will still be raw inside. The same rule applies to baking meat in the oven.
9. Eating meat right after it has been cooked
Even if you can’t wait to try your dish, it’s better to keep your hands away from cooked meat for a couple of minutes. Try not to dig in as soon as the meat is ready. Be patient, and you’ll be impressed by the taste of your dish.
10. Storing every product in the refrigerator
It’s not a good idea to store all the food you have in the fridge. Tomatoes, onions, garlic, potatoes, zucchini, eggplants, and various tropical fruits such as kiwi and mango taste better when kept warm. When stored in the fridge, these products lose their freshness and go bad more quickly.
11. Constantly flipping your food
It’s not necessary to flip your meat too often while cooking. You may end up with dried meat or unattractive fish with no coating. Just leave your future masterpiece in the pan, and don’t disturb it too often — that’s one golden rule of any chef.
12. Overboiling eggs
Have you ever found this gray substance instead of yolks and whites tasting like rubber? Actually, it has nothing to do with the quality of the eggs. Most likely, you have simply overboiled the eggs. To get the right color and texture, remove the eggs from the stove right after the water starts boiling, and leave them under the lid in hot water for about 10 minutes. This way the egg whites and yolks will get proper condition and color.