25+ Professional Tips From Chefs That Can Take Your Cooking Skills to the Next Level

Many of us like to cook. We look for unusual recipes and try to recreate them. However, when we go to a restaurant and compare our homemade dishes with those made by professionals, we realize that our dishes surely are missing something.

At Bright Side, we love to cook at home, and we want each of you to treat your family and friends to something delicious. So we searched social media where professional chefs shared their secrets, thanks to which homemade dishes can be compared to those in a restaurant.

Salt

  • Often, people add salt to a dish because they think it tastes flat, but what it really needs is an acid, like lemon juice or vinegar. © Vexvertigo / Reddit
  • Salt is important for sweets. A batch of cookies without that little hint of salt doesn’t taste quite right. © unknown / Reddit
  • Salt, pepper, and acid will brighten up almost any dish. If the dish is wonderful but something is missing, add salt, pepper, and lemon juice, then reassess. © LymphomaThr0waway / Reddit
  • If a sweet dish needs some extra taste, try a pinch of salt. © JonaJonaL / Reddit
  • Always salt your pasta water! © euben_hadd / Reddit
  • Add more butter and salt to make your dish taste like restaurant food. © porkedpie1 / Reddit

Onions and garlic

  • Never add garlic and onions at the same time. Onions take about 8 minutes to sauté and garlic takes about 30 seconds. If you add them together, you will have burnt, bitter garlic. © TaloonTheMerchant / Reddit
  • Shallots are used very often in restaurant kitchens but rarely at home. Use it as a substitute for onions for a more mild taste. © Abigail716 / Reddit
  • The amount of garlic flavor is dependent on when you add the garlic. Add it early for light flavor, add it late for bold flavor. © Orbnotacus / Reddit
  • Red onions are really purple, and they are only suitable for cold or room temperature food preparations. © ATreeGrowinBklyn / Reddit

Potatoes

  • Adding vinegar to potatoes that are boiling stops them from breaking apart. © parthpalta / Reddit
  • If you’re boiling potatoes to be mashed afterward, peel 2 to 3 cloves of garlic and put them into the pot. They’ll become soft, you’ll be able to mash them together with the potatoes. The taste will be terrific. © Snatch_Pastry / Reddit
  • Never put potatoes in the blender, it will turn into glue because potatoes contain a lot of starch. Mashing cooked potatoes gently by hand or with a ricer leaves most of the starch molecules intact. © goodbye401k / Reddit

Herbs and spices

  • Herbs and spices can be annoying to eat, such as twiggy pieces of rosemary or peppercorns. Put them in a cheesecloth and put them in the liquid to get their flavor but not the texture. © canada_is_best_ / Reddit
  • Bay leaves are like salt, you don’t want them to be the dominant flavor in anything, but they make a night and day difference in stews, pasta sauces, you name it. © notasparrow / Reddit
  • It is the fat that carries the flavor. If you’re going to sauté something, put herbs and spices with the butter or oil that is in the skillet. Don’t put them in the flour you’re using to bread the food. © FatuousOocephalus / Reddit
  • Get yourself a huge bag of sumac. It’s lemony and salty, sweet and smoky and earthy and beautifully red. Sprinkle it on toast, curry, chicken, steak, tacos, deviled eggs, ice cream...just about everything. You can also brew it like tea and it has an intense wildberry flavor. © Picker-Rick / Reddit
  • The smell is very similar to taste, and if you’re not sure about combining various spices, open the bottles and smell them all together. © SuddenSenseOfSonder / Reddit
  • When making homemade mac and cheese, I season it with the secret ingredient — dry mustard! © nanahugsforyou / Reddit

Frying

  • Stop cooking with extra virgin olive oil; it’s not some better version of olive oil. Extra virgin oil has an extremely low smoke point, so cooking with it often leads to burnt food and a smoky kitchen. It is intended for dressing and garnishing. Regular olive oil has a much higher smoke point and is meant for cooking. They are not the same. © ajcranst / Reddit
  • A lot of times, inexperienced cooks won’t let their pan get hot enough. Obviously, you need to know how your particular pans work on your particular stovetop, but so many dishes are ruined from the start because people just light a stove, wait 5 seconds, and toss their ingredients in. You will never get a good sear when your ingredients are basically boiling in their own moisture. © chunkymonk3y / Reddit
  • Sesame seed oil adds a light nuttiness and saltiness to a dish when roasting. © Ez-lectronic / Reddit
  • Don’t crowd the pan! Use a bigger pan or cook in batches. © SnooGadgets1999 / Reddit
  • Save bacon fat. Filter cooled but still liquid bacon fat through a paper towel into a coffee mug or similar heat-resistant container. It stays fresh uncovered in the fridge for months. Use it anywhere you’d use butter, lard, or oil to infuse a bacon flavor. This will obviously make the best gravy, but the pro tip is to use bacon fat instead of butter or olive oil to sauté veggies, especially leafy stuff like kale, spinach, or greens. But remember that bacon fat is salty. © GrannyRUcroquet / Reddit
  • If something that you’re frying sticks, it’s not ready to flip yet. © soupforfam / Reddit
  • How to brown mushrooms: cast iron, high heat, mushrooms in, and no movement at all for 6 minutes. © ghtuy / Reddit

Meat and poultry

  • When you take a steak, pork, or lamb off the heat or out of the oven, always give it time to rest, usually half the amount of time you cooked them, and I tend to loosely cover them in tin foil. © Empty-Refrigerator / Reddit
  • Take your time. Brine your chicken. Let the rice dry before you make fried rice. Slow cook your meats. Overall, the actual time you invest is about the same but it requires some foresight. Don’t expect to just grab a chicken breast out of the freezer and be able to make a delicious meal in 20 minutes. A lot of the best dishes take some time to let the flavors do their work. © RelativeOk578 / Reddit
  • Think of where on the animal the meat came from. If it’s a muscle from the legs, butt, etc., it probably needs low and slow cooking, if it’s another muscle (back, tenderloin, etc.), it probably needs high heat and a faster cook time. There are exceptions to that rule, but that works more often than not. © pizzalovingking / Reddit
  • Wrapping things in bacon is the best way to ruin any food. You’ll get a stringy wet meat blanket that tastes bad. Bacon has a prominent flavor. It’s going to be the star of whatever you put it on, so let it be crisp and delicious. © SqueeStarcraft / Reddit

Eggs

  • My boyfriend is always amazed at how my scrambled eggs taste so good. He’s convinced I have magical scrambling powers because even when he tries to replicate them, he can’t. I finally realized he doesn’t know I use butter, and I feel like I can’t reveal it now. I love being a master egg scrambler. © what_the_a / Reddit
  • For the best-fried eggs, add salt to the hot oil and the top of the egg. Also, start them in a hot pan for a minute then turn it down to med-low heat until they’re 90% there, then finish them on high again. What you get is an evenly seasoned, runny egg that has a thin crisp base and edges. © coolez-nunez / Reddit

Sauces

  • For nice, thick sauces, use the water you cooked your pasta with. © IZiOstra / Reddit
  • Make your own fresh salad dressings. It takes no time, you likely have what you already need in your pantry, and it tastes 10 times as good as the one in the bottle. You’ll be surprised at how much better ranch dressing tastes if you get the dry seasoning packet and mix it with some fresh milk and mayo and let it sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. © JasonK87919 / Reddit
  • Soy sauce goes on more than just Asian dishes. Try a dash of it in scrambled eggs or toward the end of your caramelized onions. It’s a savory salt flavor that compliments many dishes. © -B-H- / Reddit
  • Never add dry corn starch to hot liquid. © dface83 / Reddit

Bakery

Knives and other cookware

  • Pour boiling water on a chopping board after cutting raw chicken. It will cook any remnants and make it easier to clean. © ajos27 / Reddit
  • Even on the Food Network, I see chefs cut the tops off of bell peppers and then pull out the seeds. Bell peppers are shaped like a cube, just slice from the top down on all 4 sides and you will end up with easily sliceable pieces. The only time you chop the top off is if you need rings. © Fake***Ricky / Reddit
  • Use a good thermometer. Everyone thinks they can free-hand it but a thermometer gives precise results every time you cook, which is especially valuable when you don’t always cook the same dish. © troglodyte / Reddit

Are you a fan of cooking? What’s the dish you’re best at, and what’s your culinary secret? Tell us in the comments below.

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