25 Cooking Techniques Everyone Should Know

Perfect hard-cooked eggs

 The Spruce 

If you want to become a culinary force to be reckoned with, you need to master certain basic skills. First, we'll go over a few basic cooking methods, like sautéeing, roasting, and braising, followed by a rundown of some of the most fundamental procedures and basic preparations in the culinary arts. Here are 25 of the most important cooking techniques everyone should know.

  • 01 of 25
    Sauteeing vegetables
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    Sautéeing is a form of dry-heat cooking that uses a very hot pan and a small amount of fat to cook the foods like vegetables, meats, and seafoods very quickly. Like other dry-heat cooking methods, sautéeing browns the food's surface as it cooks and develops complex flavors and aromas.

  • 02 of 25
    Roasting and baking
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    In general, roasting refers to cooking something in the oven at a very high temperature, say 400 F or hotter, whereas baking might employ a lower temperature, like 325 to 375 F. But these are not absolute definitions. Regardless of what you call them, roasting and baking are skills you need to know.

  • 03 of 25
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    Braising is a moist-heat technique for cooking meats and vegetables. The long, slow temperatures help tenderize tough cuts of meat as well as root vegetables, greens, and beans and legumes, and is the starting point for making soups and stews. 

  • 04 of 25
    What is simmering?
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    The fact is, you'll almost never actually boil something in the culinary arts. Usually, your goal is to simmer it instead. Simmering is a gentle technique that's useful for cooking everything from vegetables, soup, and stews to even large cuts of meat.

    Continue to 5 of 25 below.
  • 05 of 25
    How to use a chef's knife
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    No matter what you do in the kitchen, whether it's slicing, dicing, mincing, or chopping, it all starts with a chef's knife in your hand. Learn how to use it

  • 06 of 25
    How to chop an onion
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    Once you've got your basic knife skills down, here's your first test: chopping an onion. Any number of savory dishes and sauces feature chopped onions, so you might as well learn to chop them the safe and easy way

  • 07 of 25
    Deglaze a pan
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    Deglazing a pan involves adding liquid, such as stock or wine, to a pan to loosen and dissolve food particles that are stuck to the bottom after cooking or searing. The flavorful mixture produced by deglazing can be used to make a simple pan sauce. 

  • 08 of 25
    Perfect hard-cooked eggs
    The Spruce 

    Here's another cooking technique that's super basic. Not only will this guide help you make perfect hard-boiled eggs that don't smell like sulphur or taste like rubber, it also reveals the secret to peeling them with ease. 

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  • 09 of 25
    How to poach an egg
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    Once you've mastered the right way to poach an egg, you'll not only start serving everything from oatmeal to sandwiches with a poached egg on top, you'll also wonder how you ever survived them any other way.

  • 10 of 25
    How to make an omelet
    The Spruce 

    If it's starting to look like cooking eggs is one of the most important kitchen skills a person can learn, that's because it is. This time we tackle omelets. If you can make this 5-minute omelet, you'll be set for breakfast, brunch, and dinner as well.

  • 11 of 25
    How to bake a potato
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    Baked potatoes are one of life's great pleasures, and they're also wholesome and filling. Trouble is, they're neglected, in most cases because the idea of making them often seems too time-consuming. But learn this technique and you'll shave 20 minutes off the usual method. 

  • 12 of 25
    How to roast a chicken
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    With its crispy skin and tender, juicy meat, a roasted chicken is a culinary staple and something that any cook worth their salt needs to know how to do. It only takes 90 minutes, and for most of that time you're not doing much of anything.

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  • 13 of 25
    How to make gravy
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    A smooth, velvety gravy is crucial to everything from roasted chicken to mashed potatoes to turkey, and even meatloaf. When the holidays roll around, you'll be happy you learned this one. And so will your guests.

  • 14 of 25
    How to make stock
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    Making stock from scratch isn't just something culinary instructors force their students to do. Making your own stock is a great way to use the carcass of a roasted chicken or turkey. Not only that, but homemade stock makes your soups, stews, and sauces taste like they were made by a pro.

  • 15 of 25
    How to cook rice
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    Believe it or not, you don't need an electric appliance to cook perfect rice. All you need to know is this basic technique. The technique works equally well for white rice or brown. All you have to do is extend the cooking time for brown rice. 

  • 16 of 25
    Scrambled Eggs
    The Spruce

    That's right, another egg technique. And why not? If you can make perfectly fluffy scrambled eggs, without overcooking or scorching them, you'll earn a lifetime of breakfast bragging rights. They key to this technique is making sure you beat plenty of air into the eggs, which ensures they turn out light and fluffy every time.

    Continue to 17 of 25 below.
  • 17 of 25
    How to carve a turkey
    Leah Maroney 

    Speaking of bragging rights, this one is a biggie. Anyone who can confidently and efficiently carve a Thanksgiving turkey, without panicking, suffering a nervous breakdown, or making a huge mess of things, will be entitled to claim their place alongside the culinary Olympians. 

  • 18 of 25
    How to cook a perfect steak
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    If there's one thing people agree on, at least carnivorous people, it's the desire to be able to cook a perfect steak. And no wonder, considering that steaks cooked by professionals can set your budget back in a considerable way.

    But good news! The perfect steak is definitely achievable, and it's a lot easier than you might think. If you're striving for steak perfection, we've got you covered.

  • 19 of 25
    How to make salad dressing
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    The art and science of culinary emulsions is the key to making a classic oil and vinegar dressing. Learn the right ratios of oil-to-vinegar, when to add the seasoning ingredients, and and how to keep the oil and vinegar from separating. 

  • 20 of 25
    How to keep your food safe
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    If you're going to go to the effort of making beautiful food, you may as well learn how to do it safely. But when it comes to food safety, there's more at stake then your pride. Learn how to prevent food spoilage and food poisoning

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  • 21 of 25
    How to make pancakes
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    Not only is making homemade pancakes one of the most basic of culinary skills, once you've mastered the art of making batters, you'll also have a head start when it comes to making related items, like crepes, waffles, muffins, and cakes. 

  • 22 of 25
    How to cut in butter
    Danilo Alfaro 

    The technique for cutting butter into flour is at the heart of any preparation featuring flaky dough, from biscuits to pie crust. Bigger blobs of butter make the end product flakier. 

  • 23 of 25
    How to make mayonnaise
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    Learning how to make your own mayonnaise doesn't merely free you from the jar, it also happens to be one of the most satisfying bits of culinary conjuring in the world. This is another skill that separates the novices from the masters. Fortunately, it's mainly a matter of elbow grease. 

  • 24 of 25
    How to make a sauce
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    Sauces at their core are made up of a liquid, plus a thickening agent, along with flavorings and seasonings. Once you understand how the classical sauces are made, you'll be able to start building your own sauces from scratch to enhance your homemade meals.

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  • 25 of 25
    How to bake a cake
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    Last but not least, the simple, yellow cake. If you can quickly whip up a cake from scratch, you'll never be flustered when surprise guests drop by. And when you show up as a dinner guest with a fresh, homemade cake, your popularity will soar.