How to Cook Anything

Cooking methods in the culinary arts include dry heat methods like sautéing and roasting and moist heat methods such as steaming and braising. Here's an overview of dry heat and moist heat cooking methods, including examples and recipes for each one.

  • 01 of 10

    Basic Cooking Methods

    Sautéing vegetables

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    Cooking methods in the culinary arts are divided into two categories:

    1. Dry heat cooking, such as roasting, broiling or sautéing.
    2. Moist heat cooking, like braising, steaming or poaching.

    Because every cooking method uses either dry heat or moist heat (or sometimes both), classifying them this way ensures that every known method falls into one category or the other.

  • 02 of 10

    Dry-Heat Cooking Methods

    Sauteed brussel sprouts

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    Dry-heat cooking requires temperatures of 300 F or hotter, and it is the only way to achieve the browning of meats, vegetables, and baked goods that in turn develops complex flavors and aromas.

  • 03 of 10

    Sautéing & Pan-Frying

    Pan fried steak

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

  • 04 of 10

    Grilling & Broiling

    Meat and vegetables on grill

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    Grilling and broiling are dry-heat cooking methods that rely on the heat being conducted through the air from an open flame. Because air is a poor conductor of heat, broiling, and grilling require the food to be quite close to the heat source, which in this case is likely to be an open flame.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Roasting &Baking

    Roast chicken / Getty Images

    Roasting and baking are forms of dry-heat cooking that use hot, dry air to cook food. Because it uses indirect heat, baking and roasting cook food fairly evenly since all of the food's surfaces are exposed to the heat to the same extent.

  • 06 of 10

    Deep-Fat Frying

    Fried chicken in skillet

    Luca Trovato / Getty Images

    Since deep-frying involves submerging food in hot, liquid fat, it might take some time to get used to the idea that it's actually a form of dry-heat cooking. Although deep-fried foods have a reputation for being oily or greasy, greasy food is merely a sign of poor cooking technique and not an indictment of deep-frying itself.

  • 07 of 10

    Moist-Heat Cooking Methods

    Boiling water

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    Moist-heat cooking refers to various methods for cooking food with, or in, any type of liquid—whether it's steam, water, stock, wine or something else. Relative to dry-heat cooking methods, moist-heat cooking uses lower temperatures, anywhere from 140 F on the low end to a maximum of 212 F—which is as hot as water can get.

  • 08 of 10

    Poaching, Simmering & Boiling

    Simmering sauce

    MICHAEL LOFENFELD Photography / Getty Images

    Poaching, simmering and boiling are three different moist-heat cooking methods where food is cooked either in hot water or in some other cooking liquid such as broth, stock or wine. Each one—poaching, simmering and boiling—can be identified by certain telltale characteristics.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Braising & Stewing

    Braised lamb
    Pulp Photography / Getty Images

    Braising is a form of moist-heat cooking in which the item to be cooked is partially covered with liquid and then simmered slowly at a low temperature. Though it can be done on the stovetop, braising is best done in the oven, because the heat fully surrounds the pot and causes the food to cook more evenly than if it were only heated from below.

  • 10 of 10

    Cooking With Steam

    Steaming artichoke

    Bernd Lippert / Getty Images

    Steaming is a moist-heat cooking technique that employs hot steam to conduct the heat to the food item. Steaming can be done on a stovetop, with a pot containing a small amount of liquid that is brought to a simmer. The item to be cooked is then placed in a basket suspended above the liquid and the pot covered.