Huffpost Taste

25 Cooking Mistakes That Even Good Cooks Make (PHOTOS)

Posted: Updated:

As a novice cook, every step you make in the kitchen is a mistake waiting to happen. From the way you scramble eggs to how you store your produce to the way you treat your cast iron skillets, it's easy to get tripped up when cooking. And that's not just for the first-time cook; even good cooks make mistakes every day while in the kitchen. Whether it's because they're cutting corners, or are just being lazy, here are 25 common cooking mistakes that even the best cooks can make.

We're willing to bet that you yourself are committing some of these mistakes too. Be sure to correct the ones you're making and you'll see a huge improvement in the food you make -- and your cooking experience overall.

  • 1
    You Destroy Your Onions
    Flickr: mommyknows { Kim Becker }
    If you're old enough to use a knife, you're old enough to learn how to properly chop an onion. Take one minute and 16 seconds and let Gordon Ramsey show you how.
  • 2
    You Think Garlic Powder Is A Fine Substitute For REAL Garlic
    Flickr: CarbonNYC
    It's not. And don't make that mistake again. We know peeling and chopping garlic can be work, but DEAL WITH IT. This one piece of advice will transform the way you cook.
  • 3
    You Use A Dull Knife
    Flickr: DaveCrosby
    You're just asking to cut off your finger if you work with a dull knife. And you don't want that to happen. You have a couple of options: you can go out and buy better knives, you can learn to sharpen your knives, or you can have someone sharpen them for you.
  • 4
    You Skimp On The Butter
    Flickr: jessicafm
    There's a reason food tastes so good at restaurants, and that's because chefs tend to have a heavy hand when it comes to butter. You should too. Try it, you'll be amazed at how much better your cooking tastes.
  • 5
    You Boil Pasta In A Small Pot
    Flickr: Christian Cable
    Do you like gummy pasta? We're guessing you probably don't. So then you need to stop crowning your pasta into a tiny pot. Give it some space to cook.
  • 6
    You Don't Wash As You Go
    Flickr: aaron13251
    Look, we're not trying to parent you here, but washing your dishes as you dirty them is going to greatly improve your cooking experience. There's nothing worse than sitting down to an awesome home-cooked meal with the knowledge that a huge sink of dishes is waiting for you.
  • 7
    You Store Your Tomatoes In The Fridge
    Flickr: weegeebored
    Not everything does well in the fridge. And tomatoes, potatoes and onions are three produce items that taste better when left out.
  • 8
    You Use Skim Milk
    Flickr: loop_oh
    If you've ever compared the taste of skim milk to regular milk, then you know that skim milk tastes like dirty water. And that regular milk is where all the flavor is. So don't cook with skim milk, unless you like the taste of dirty water.
  • 9
    You Think You're Too Good For A Slow Cooker
    Flickr: trenttsd
    You're not. And you're missing out on some amazing meals (plus, a lot of convenience).
  • 10
    You've Neglected Your Spice Cabinet
    Flickr: stu_spivack
    Spices are where all the flavor's at. Neglect those and you may as well just give up.
  • 11
    You Don't Take The Time To Wash Your Greens
    Flickr: ted_major
    No one likes eating grit, so just wash your spinach, okay?
  • 12
    You're Too Lazy To Buy A New Oven Thermometer
    Flickr: RJL20
    You should know that no oven can be trusted. Whatever temperature you think you have it set to is usually not how hot it actually is. An oven thermometer will help you straighten that right up. And your baking will thank you for it.
  • 13
    You Don't Use Parchment Paper On Your Baking Sheets
    Taking an extra few minutes to run to the store is worth preventing the pain of EVERYTHING STICKING TO YOUR COOKIE SHEETS, no matter how "nonstick" the surface is.
  • 14
    You Use Crappy Olive Oil And Expect It To Taste Good
    Flickr: Manuel Ribadulla Rodríguez
    Don't expect oil to magically start tasting good just because you're cooking with it. That oil flavor is going to be the base flavor of your every dish. Remember that next time you want to save $1.50 on a bottle of olive oil.
  • 15
    You Use Store-Bought Stock Instead Of Making Your Own
    Flickr: The Craftsy Blog
    It's so simple. You have no excuse.
  • 16
    You Forget That Meat Shrinks When It Cooks
    Flickr: jdn
    That piece of brisket you buy for your dinner party will get much smaller. You have been warned.
  • 17
    You Expect Every Dried Bean To Act The Same
    Flickr: cookbookman17
    Sometimes they take an hour, sometimes they take four. Be prepared to be flexible.
  • 18
    You Make Mashed Potatoes With An Immersion Blender
    Flickr: BrownGuacamole
    And it turns to glue. Maybe you haven't done this, but we've made this tragic error. Don't repeat our mistake!
  • 19
    You Put Your Good Knives In The Dish Washer
    Flickr: Amanda Niekamp
    Why would you treat your $100-or-more knife the same way you would your $1.99 cutlery? You're just going to end up with a dull blade and maybe even a damaged handle. Make the time to hand wash your knives, it will seriously take you no longer than 45 seconds.
  • 20
    You Use Lean Beef
    Flickr: ilovebutter
    Lean beef = lean flavor = bland. Fat is where the flavor is. We just thought you should know that.
  • 21
    You Don't Use Perfectly Clean Bowls To Whip Egg Whites
    Flickr: currystrumpet
    If you just mixed up your cake batter in the mixing bowl and gave it a quick rinse, DO NOT FOR ONE SECOND think you can whip up egg whites in it afterward. The grease will weigh them down, they'll never fluff up, and you'll end up having to go to the store for more eggs.
  • 22
    You Forget Food Is In The Oven
    Flickr: rmkoske
    Whoops! You might want to invest in a timer. Just sayin'.
  • 23
    You Use Store-Bought Lemon Juice
    Flickr: paulswansen
    Seriously?! Is it really that hard to squeeze a lemon?
  • 24
    You Burn Your Garlic
    Flickr: stu_spivack
    Garlic is sensitive, be kind to it. It'll give you loads of flavor if cooked delicately, but once you burn it don't expect much more than bitterness.
  • 25
    You Don't Have Fun While Cooking
    Flickr: Skånska Matupplevelser
    Cooking is not meant to be stressful. And it's not meant to be hard. If that's the way you feel about it, it's going to come across in your food. Have fun with what you're making. Improvise as you see fit. Drink the wine you're cooking with. And maybe even turn on some music.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Related on HuffPost:

Chicken Cooking Methods
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

7 Cooking Mistakes I've Made That Nearly Cost Me My Life

Filed by Julie R. Thomson