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 sautéing, 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

    Sautéing

    Sauteeing vegetables

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

  • 02 of 25

    Roasting or Baking

    Roasting and baking

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    In general, roasting refers to cooking something in the oven at a very high temperature, around 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 both dry-heat cooking methods that use the oven and are used to cook meat, roast vegetables, bake cakes, and more.

  • 03 of 25

    Braising

    Stew

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

  • 04 of 25

    Simmering

    Soup Simmering on the Stove
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    Not to be confused with boiling, simmering is a moist cooking method. Simmering is a gentle technique, where the liquid is kept just below boiling, that's useful for cooking dishes like vegetables, soup, and stews.

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  • 05 of 25

    Using a Chef's Knife

    How to use a chef's knife
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    Whether it's slicing, dicing, mincing, or chopping, it all starts with a chef's knife in your hand. Learning how to properly use a chef's knife can not only keep you safe in the kitchen but make prep a cinch.

  • 06 of 25

    Chopping an Onion

    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 a safe and easy way. 

  • 07 of 25

    Deglazing a Pan

    Deglaze a pan
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    Deglazing a pan is a technique used after sautéing, searing, or browning food in a pan. Liquid is added, such as stock or wine, to loosen and dissolve the food particles that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. The flavorful mixture produced by deglazing can be used to make a simple pan sauce. 

  • 08 of 25

    Boiling an Egg

    Perfect hard-cooked eggs
    The Spruce 

    Boiling an egg is a cooking skill that is useful on a day-to-day basis. Not only will this guide help you make perfect hard-boiled eggs that don't smell like sulfur or taste like rubber, but it also reveals the secret to peeling them with ease. 

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  • 09 of 25

    Poaching an Egg

    How to poach an egg

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    Once you've mastered the right way to poach an egg, you'll up your breakfast and brunch game big time. Easier than you think, poached eggs are delightful atop toast, pasta, and more.

  • 10 of 25

    Scrambling Eggs

    Scrambled Eggs
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    If you can make perfectly fluffy scrambled eggs without overcooking or scorching them, you'll earn a lifetime of breakfast bragging rights. The 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.

  • 11 of 25

    Making an Omelet

    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 new cook can learn, that's because it is. This time we tackle how to make an omelet. If you can make this 5-minute dish, you'll be set for breakfast, brunch, and dinner.

  • 12 of 25

    Baking a Potato

    How to bake a potato

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    Wholesome and filling baked potatoes are one of life's great pleasures. This technique for baking potatoes shaves 20 minutes off the usual method, making them an easy weeknight side dish.

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  • 13 of 25

    Roasting a Chicken

    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 of mostly hands-off time to roast a chicken, and any leftovers can be used for soup, tacos, and more.

  • 14 of 25

    Making Gravy

    How to make gravy
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    Smooth, velvety gravy is a crucial side dish to everything from roasted turkey to mashed potatoes to meatloaf. When the holidays roll around, you'll be happy you learned this one (and so will your guests).

  • 15 of 25

    Making Your Own Stock

    How to make stock

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    Homemade stock 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 and makes your soups, stews, and sauces taste like they were made by a pro.

  • 16 of 25

    Cooking Rice

    How to cook rice
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    You don't need a special appliance to cook perfect rice. The technique works equally well for white or brown rice (just extend the cooking time). 

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  • 17 of 25

    Carving a Thanksgiving Turkey

    How to carve a turkey

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    Anyone who can confidently and efficiently carve a Thanksgiving turkey without suffering a nervous breakdown or making a huge mess of things will be entitled to claim their place alongside the culinary Olympians. Wow your friends and family with these simple techniques.

  • 18 of 25

    Cooking a Steak

    How to cook a perfect steak

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    Cooking the perfect steak is on many home cook's bucket list. There's no need to spend a small fortune on professionally cooked prime beef at a restaurant. The perfect steak is achievable, and it's a lot easier than you might think.

  • 19 of 25

    Whip Up a Vinaigrette

    Tips for making vinaigrette

    The Spruce

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

  • 20 of 25

    Keeping Your Food Safe

    How to keep your food safe
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    If you're going to go to the effort of making beautiful food, you should learn how to keep your food safe so that none of your carefully made dishes cause illness. Prevent food spoilage and food poisoning with these tips and tricks.

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  • 21 of 25

    Making Homemade Pancakes

    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 at making related items, like crepes, waffles, muffins, and cakes. 

  • 22 of 25

    Cutting Butter Into Flour

    How to cut in butter

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

  • 23 of 25

    Making Mayonnaise

    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, and all it really requires is some elbow grease.

  • 24 of 25

    Building Sauces From Scratch

    How to make a sauce
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    Sauces are, at their core, made up of a liquid, a thickening agent, and 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

    Baking a Cake From Scratch

    How to bake a cake
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    Last but not least, a simple, yellow cake. If you can quickly bake a cake from scratch, you'll never be flustered when a birthday, potluck, or festive gathering comes up.