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33 Genius Baking Tips Every Beginner Needs To Know

Baking isn't only a makeup technique, it's also a way to make delicious treats.

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We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what baking tips they wish they knew about sooner. Here are the suggestions they whipped up:

1. Use silicone baking mats to prevent those stuck-on messes.

amazon.com

"I spent years spraying pans or prying bits of parchment paper off my cookies. I've never baked anything that didn't pop right off a silicone baking mat. I don't use a sheet pan without one. Good for savory stuff, too!" —Jason Gillis, Facebook

Get this one on Amazon starting at $14. / Available in a variety of sizes.

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2. Make sure your cookie dough is nice and cold before you start baking.

Children's Television Workshop

"Cold cookie dough = actual cookies. I made the mistake of not chilling my dough for a couple of hours and got a thin sheet of burned 'cookie' on the bottom of my cookie sheet." —TeKiesha Brady, Facebook

3. Get a plunger-style measuring cup to get the perfect quantity of those harder-to-measure ingredients.

amazon.com

"When measuring sticky things like honey, molasses/treacle, or peanut butter, a plunger-style measuring cup is most useful. If you don’t have one, spray your measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring out the sticky ingredient and it will come out much better." —promisew

Get this one on Amazon starting at $12.

4. Don't over-mix your dough when baking cookies!

Universal Pictures

"I pretty much always keep my mixer on low unless I need to cream or whip something, and even then I keep a super close eye on it. I like to stop mixing when there’s just a little bit of flour still visible — if you’re adding things like candy or chocolate chips it will mix in when you stir in the final ingredients, and if not, it will mix in as you scoop out the dough. Over mixing your dough makes the difference between blah and BAM!" —Sugarpony89

5. Measuring cups vary. Get a digital scale for the precise quantities your recipe requires.

amazon.com

"You’ll find out that measuring cups are a waste of time because even though you measure one cup of flour 50 times, it’ll never be the same weight, but 250 grams will always be 250 grams." —Bobthelamb

Get it on Amazon starting at $12. / Available in red, green, black, silver, white, and blue.

6. Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature before you start.

Disney

"Pastry chef here. Room temperature matters! You want room-temp ingredients for consistency in your recipes. Most call for beating butter and sugar together. This is easiest and creates nice fluffy baked goods when butter is room temp. Adding cold eggs to your butter-sugar mixture means all your hard work down the drain. It will make ingredients 'seize' into chunks which never fully mix with your dry ingredients. The result is sugary butter blowouts as I like to call them instead of light, even crumbed baked goods." —leannao

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8. Make sure your eggs and sugar are actually beaten until they're pale and thick, if the recipe requires it.

Mark Burnett Productions

"When recipes call for the eggs and sugar to be beaten until pale and thick, SERIOUSLY FOLLOW THIS. I literally had this revelation yesterday while baking brownies. I used to just combine the sugar and eggs, but if you whisk the two until pale and thick, it makes a world of difference! Your brownies will be fluffy yet fudgy at the same time!" —Abbey M

10. "Melted butter is NOT the same as softened butter!"

Paramount Pictures

Hard butter is far too difficult to mix with your ingredients, which is why many recipes ask for softened butter. Meaning, it's still a solid but its soft enough to break apart and mix in. If you need to soften your butter, you can throw it in the microwave on defrost for about 15 seconds and you should be good to go! —Bella R

11. Use powdered sugar — instead of flour — to roll out your dough.

amazon.com

"The sugar melts into the dough while baking and doesn't leave a white dusting on your treats!" —Melissa Tholen, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $14.

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12. Follow every step of the recipe. Every. Single. Step.

Alvin Zhou / BuzzFeed

"Follow the directions! If it calls for a cup of flour, measure out a cup of flour. If it says you need baking soda, don't substitute baking powder and call it close enough. Cooking may be an art, but baking is a science. If you don't follow the directions you won't get good results." —Maria Elizabeth, Facebook

Get the full recipe for this delicious Lighter Raspberry Cheesecake from Tasty.

14. Set up all your ingredients before you start mixing and baking for a smoother process.

Fox

"MISE EN PLACE!!! I did culinary for three years in high school and I live by this. You get everything you need for what you are making out. It helps you in the end, trust me." —lkjones654

15. Use parchment paper to prep your batches while others bake.

amazon.com

"For cookies use three sheets of parchment paper and one baking sheet. Put cookie dough on all three sheets. Rotate. one baking, one cooling, one waiting its turn. Wipe each parchment sheet with a paper towel/napkin between batches." —MaryAnn02

Get a box of parchment baking sheets on Amazon for $4.

16. Separate your egg yolks in the palm of your hand.

BBC Two

"I got one of the most helpful tips from Nigella: Separate eggs by pouring them onto your palm and letting the egg white run through your fingers. It’s fool-proof, easy, and there’s no chance of breaking the yolk with sharp egg-shell edges!" —liinal2

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17. Silicone spatulas are easier to use and clean.

amazon.com

"The ones without a groove (not the two piece ones). They are so much easier to clean and use!" —Emilytapio

Get this one on Amazon for $7.

18. Baking takes time, so set plenty aside before you even get started.

Disney

"Baking simply CANNOT be rushed. Many recipes can require multiple days to complete, with doughs and batters and fillings requiring chilling, resting, rising, fermenting, staling, etc." —promisew

19. Get some high-quality, non-stick bakeware to get you started.

amazon.com

"Always buy at least decent quality bakeware, (non-stick and silicone are amazing). They're so much easier to clean and everything bakes more evenly." —katherinedenney324

Get this set of six on Amazon for $19.

20. "A pinch means at least 3 fingers."

Lionsgate

When a recipe calls for a pinch — normally of dry ingredients like salt, spices, or sugar — what it's really telling you is that it needs about 1/8 teaspoon. To get this, take your thumb, index finger, and (depending on the size of your hand) your middle finger to get just about that much. —TriaJace

21. A standing mixer will save you time and a workout.

amazon.com

"You don’t have to go all out and get a fancy KitchenAid. But seriously, mixing by hand or with a hand-held electric beater? You won't get it as even, you won't mix long enough (because your arm will get tired), and this way, you're free to start on something else while your goodies are mixing." —Karin P

Get this one on Amazon for $40.

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22. Make sure to use high-quality ingredients, like vanilla, to get the best results. (Maybe even get a second if you like to taste-test along the way.)

Deedle-Dee Productions

"Good vanilla is one of those things you should ALWAYS splurge on." —lizzieann88

23. Get yourself a sifter because at some point a recipe is going to ask you to sift something.

amazon.com

"If the ingredients list says X cups flour, sifted, measure the flour first then sift the total measured amount. If ingredients list says X cups sifted flour, sift flour into a vessel then measure out of this sifted flour. The unused sifted flour can be returned to the canister." —promisew

Get it on Amazon for $7.

24. Flour your pans with the same dry mixture you're baking with.

TriStar Pictures

"When making a cake that requires you to grease and flour the pan, don’t use plain flour. If you’re making it from scratch, mix up all your dry ingredients first and 'flour' the pan with that mix. Dump any excess back in your bowl and continue as normal. When it’s done, the outside looks better because it is the same color and you never end up with that bite that tastes like plain flour." —lostUNIcorn

25. Baker's. Joy. Learn it, love it, live it.

walmart.com

"Baker's Joy no-stick cooking spray is fucking magic! I don't even use paper for cupcakes and muffins anymore." —Christopher Cano, Facebook

Get it at Walmart for $3.

26. Stop with the Pinterest Fails! Master the art of the crumb layering your cakes and get a perfectly frosted cake every time.

Columbia Pictures

"For those that don’t know what a crumb layer, (or crumb coat), is, it’s a thin layer of frosting you put on a cake and let 'dry' before you frost the cake properly. It looks terrible when you’re done, but that’s not the final layer of frosting you’ll be doing." —RCIAG

Get a full tutorial on how to crumb coat a cake here.

27. Grate your cold butter to make baking with it smooth like buttah.

amazon.com

"It will be easier to work with and less clumpy, but still cold. Perfect for pie dough!" —celiacote

Get this butter grater on Amazon for $15.

29. Step up your zesting game and invest in a microplane zester.

amazon.com

"A microplane zester is great for any zesting. They do tend to be harder to clean. I found that a toothbrush is the easiest way to clean one." —Katie Darden, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $15. / Available in yellow, pink, green, blue, orange, black, red, and purple.

30. Don't just start! Read your recipe thoroughly before you put on your baker's hat.

Walt Disney Pictures

"Read a new recipe to completion before starting. It has made all the difference! When I first started baking I fudged up so many times because I didn’t read the whole recipe first." —hayls424

31. Forget chocolate chips. Go balls to the wall and use a chocolate bar.

amazon.com

"Use actual chocolate bars like Cadbury or Hershey's (cut into small chunks) instead of chocolate chips in cookies for a cheaper and tastier result!" —s404bd8472

Get 24 full size bars on Amazon for $24.

32. Get yourself a cooling rack to make sure your treats are the perfect temperature.

amazon.com

"Make sure your cake is COMPLETELY cold — not even a hint of warmth — before you ice it." —hjj2

Get this multi-level cooling rack on Amazon for $15.

33. And, don't get demotivated! You'll make mistakes, but just channel your inner Martha Stewart and keep on trying.

NBC Studios

"Be patient and learn from your mistakes. Baking is a skill. It takes time and many, many bakes to gain it. Don’t start out trying to make a wedding cake or anything complicated if you’ve never baked before. A good place to start, IMHO, for the absolute beginner is chocolate chip cookies. My go-to recipe is the Betty Crocker Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe." —promisew

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Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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