Tips & Techniques

The Essential Techniques That Every Home Cook Should Know

August 20, 2014

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: We're going back to basics with the essential cooking techniques -- think of this as Cooking 101.

Egg on Food52

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The problem with cooking basics is that people often forget to teach them to you. You may have watched your mother cook rice countless nights during your childhood, but things can get a little daunting when you try to take the reins. And how can you advance to delicious recipes like Cinnamon Sugar Breakfast Puffs and Kale and Quinoa Pilaf if you don’t have the basics down pat?

We've pulled together the essential techniques that every cook should know, from cooking steak and roasting vegetables to brewing coffee and baking the perfect chocolate chip cookies. So take a deep breath, take your time, and try to conquer them all. Whether you've been cooking your whole life and need to brush up on the basics, or you're getting to know your way around your first kitchen, check out these helpful how-tos for your everyday cooking.

Brown Rice on Food52

Cooking Pasta on Food52

Marinara Sauce on Food52

Searing Steaks on Food52

Roast Chicken on Food52

Roast Vegetables on Food52

  • You'll need a side for that roast chicken. Luckily, you can roast almost any vegetable for an easy side dish; once you have your technique down pat, your weeknight dinners will be all the better.

How to Cook Eggs  on Food52

No Knead Bread

Dried Beans

Coffee on Food52

Amazon Chocolate Cake on Food52

Which kitchen techniques do you think are most essential? What did we miss? Tell us in the comments!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Foodie26
  • kun
  • Kimberlie
  • TC
  • Jacob K Thomas
    Jacob K Thomas
I put chocolate chips in 95% of the things I make and am a strong proponent for lunch dessert.


Foodie26 July 27, 2019
Thank you, Hollis, for this great post! The Essential Techniques that you cited are awesome. I am into everyday cooking and for sure I can try some of the techniques that you mentioned here. To learn how to cook is not easy but with your techniques cooking can be pretty easy. More related info here:
kun June 3, 2018
i hope i can help but i could recommed you a book for these
Kimberlie February 4, 2016
This did not help that much:( maybe add more.
TC August 25, 2014
I would figure safety to be first priority in any kitchen: what about fundamental knife-handling tips? A link to a how-long-will-it-last chart to see how food should be stored?
Jacob K. August 24, 2014
Great list, I would add fixing fish to the list.