People preparing dinner fixings in a single wall oven

10 cooking tips to up your kitchen game

Prepping meals for your family is likely part of your daily routine, but getting dinner on the table isn’t always a stress-free task. Use this guide to learn simple tips and tricks that can help streamline meal prep and amp up the flavor in your dishes. 

Tips to cook like a pro

Adopting simple cooking practices professional chefs use every day can help you get better results and find more joy in the process. See 10 tips below to learn how to save time and enhance flavors.

Whole raw chicken on black cutting board with ingredients

1. Practice mise en place for every recipe

Mise en place means getting all of your tools, ingredients and utensils organized in your cooking space before you start preparing a recipe. This practice saves you time, helps you cook with more precision and can make cleanup easier.

Person reviewing recipe on phone while preparing a springform pan

2. Read all instructions before starting

Discover which utensils, small appliances, ingredients and techniques you’ll use before you start cooking. Reading the recipe start-to-finish will help you better organize your workspace, get an idea of how to juggle various tasks and help you avoid any mid-recipe surprises that could derail the cooking process.

Person wiping up food splatter beneath grates on a gas stovetop

3. Clean as you go

It may seem counterintuitive, but cleaning as you go can help you stay organized in the kitchen, streamline your workspace and give you more time to relax once the cooking is done. Rinse and neatly place utensils and work bowls in the sink as you finish using them, and try keeping a small bowl near your workspace to collect scraps and wrappers to cut down on trips to the trash can.

Halved peaches in a blender

4. Put liquids in the blender first

Whether you’re blending a superfruit smoothie or prepping a blended broccoli soup, always add liquid ingredients first. This helps your blender pull ingredients in the blades easier, puts less stress on the motor and results in a more consistent mixture.

Birds-eye view of grilled chicken on white serving dish

5. Let meat rest after cooking

You may be eager to dig into an herb-crusted chicken breast or juicy steak filet right away, but it’s best to let meat rest for 5–10 minutes after cooking before slicing it. The juices in meat are pushed to the outside of the cut while cooking, so allowing rest time before serving gives juices time to disperse throughout the center for more flavor and moisture in every bite. Additionally, deglazing and making a sauce or gravy can further enhance flavor.

Roasted vegetables inside of an oven

6. Pre-warm pans for roasting

Roasting vegetables can be time-consuming, but you can cut down on roasting time and get seared, crispy edges by putting a sheet pan in the oven as it preheats. Once the pan is hot, take it out of the oven, toss on the seasoned veggies and pop them back in the oven for faster roasting.

Person frying french fries in a skillet on an electric stovetop

7. Use the right oil

Different types of oil have varying flavor profiles and smoke points. Use oils like canola or peanut oil for high-temperature frying, butter and lard for stir-frying and sautéing and fragrant oils like sesame or olive oil for finishers like salad dressing.

Person removing oven-roasted meat from the oven

8. Season as you go

Stop dishes from tasting overly salted or seasoned by seasoning as you go. You can season chicken, steak or beef before you start cooking and add small pinches of salt as you saute and simmer base ingredients like onions or garlic. Basting will also help disperse your drippings and seasoning onto the meat surface.

Vegetable stir fry in a skillet on a gas stove top burner

9. Swap ingredients with similar flavor profiles

Missing an ingredient or two doesn’t mean you can’t make a recipe. Consider the flavor profile of your missing ingredient, then look for an ingredient you have on hand that can have a similar impact on the recipe. Ask yourself if the ingredient you’re looking to replace is spicy, savory, salty, sweet, tart, acidic or bitter as you navigate how to substitute it.

Person removing lasagna from the oven

10. Rotate food in the oven

Some conventional ovens include hotspots that cook foods slightly faster than the rest of the oven cavity. Rotating dishes halfway through their cooking time can help food cook more evenly and prevent burning on one side. Using a convection setting can reduce or eliminate the need to rotate dishes thanks to the fan that helps distribute hot air throughout the cavity. Use this guide to learn more tips on using your oven.

What are kitchen hacks for cooking?

From quicker ingredient prep to more convenient cleanup, cooking hacks can help you save time in the kitchen. Keep the tips below in mind for tomorrow's dinner prep.  

  • Cook pasta al dente for an authentic Italian taste. Simply cook until the texture is firm without being hard or chalky.
  • Use a pizza cutter to slice herbs so you can move quickly and change directions as you slice.
  • Keep appetizers cold as you serve them. Simply fill small Ziploc bags with ice, layer them on the base of a serving dish, cover them with butterhead lettuce leaves and place appetizers on top for hours of chilled apps with a classy aesthetic. 

  • Lightly spritz your cheese grater with cooking oil before grating cheese to make cleanup nearly effortless.

  • Get through recipes that call for room temperature eggs quicker by putting eggs in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes before adding them to your recipe.

  • Stop mixing bowls from sliding around by placing them on top of a damp dishtowel. This way you can stir and add mixins without wrestling the bowl into place.
  • When making a cheese sauce, make a roux to prevent the cheese from separating.
Birds-eye view of person holding platter with cooked salmon next to prepared bread and asparagus Birds-eye view of person holding platter with cooked salmon next to prepared bread and asparagus

What are some tips for meal prep and planning?

Planning meals and prepping ingredients in advance can help streamline your family's schedule and make mealtimes easier. Follow the tips below to make the most of meal planning.

  • Make your meal schedule a family discussion. Talk with your family members about likes and dislikes before you spend hours preparing meals. Try putting the dinner plan on a calendar to know when you’ll use each recipe.

  • Shop for ingredients with your meal plan in mind. Purchase produce that will be ripe the day you plan to prepare food, even if it's not fully ripe when you buy it. 

  • Always label and date food with a use-by date before storing it in the freezer. This can help you use recipes or ingredients while they’re still at peak freshness. Use this guide to learn more about how long different types of food last in the freezer. 

  • Always use containers that match the portion size of the food you’re storing. Excess air exposure can lead to freezer burn that alters the texture and flavors of food. If you choose to store food in a bag, eliminate as much air as possible before you seal and put it away.  

  • Leverage your small appliances to slice, chop, shred, dice and puree ingredients. For instance, stand mixers equipped with a pastry beater accessory can quickly shred chicken for meals like chicken enchiladas or pulled chicken tacos. 

  • Use a separate cutting board designated for meats when preparing raw meat, and be sure to properly sanitize the countertop with diluted bleach as soon as you’re done.

Person sliding out lower oven rack with lasagna on top Person sliding out lower oven rack with lasagna on top

What are tips for cooking for large groups?

Cooking for holiday gatherings, backyard barbeques or dinner parties can feel overwhelming, but the tips below can keep you organized and help food prep run smoothly. 

  • Consider your guest list. Think through any possible dietary restrictions of your guests and be sure the menu can please adults and kids alike for gatherings with wide age ranges. 

  • If you plan to double recipes, be sure to read through the recipe then calculate and write down the doubled ingredient measurements before you start cooking. Generally, all ingredients will double, but it’s best to only increase herbs and spices by half in cooking, then add more to taste. 

  • Prepare as many ingredients and dishes ahead of time as possible. You can typically make desserts like pies a day or two prior, then reheat them before serving. Dice, slice or chop ingredients ahead of time for sides like 7-layer salads so you can save time on the day of the big event. 

  • Consider sticking to familiar or simple dishes. The day of a big event may not be the best time to try out new exotic recipes or unfamiliar dishes that require unique attention to detail. 

  • Serve food buffet style to eliminate the stress of plate-to-table service. This way, each guest can also choose the dishes and portion sizes they prefer.

Explore Whirlpool® ranges

Whirlpool® gas and electric ranges offer the convenient features you need to get dinner on the table quickly. Select ranges feature smart technology1 that automatically updates with new cycles like Air Fry Mode to enhance performance. Plus, features like Frozen Bake Technology on select models let you speed up dinner prep and skip preheating with frozen favorites like pizza.

Learn more tips and how to’s with Whirlpool brand

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