27 Cooking Tips That'll Help You Create A Perfect Dinner
Never eat overly dry steak ever again.
We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
1. Puncture meat to reduce the cooking time and reduce moisture loss — no one likes an overly dry steak or pork chop!! This 48-needle meat tenderizer can get you on your way to fully cooked, juicy meat because it creates little "heat channels" to reduce cooking time by up to 40%.
2. Be sure to properly crease your dough when preparing pot stickers, empanadas, and turnovers (otherwise, the filling will come spewing out while they cook). Use a dumpling maker so you can stop accidentally tearing the dough every time you try to seal it. Plus, this'll ensure that you add *just enough* filling — no more and no more less.
3. Get creative with the ways you serve your veggies (especially if you have a household full of picky eaters). This veggie spiralizer makes perfect "vegetable pasta" spirals with just the quick turn of a handle.
4. Pay attention to your timing when cooking meals in the oven — just a few minutes can be the difference between a perfectly cooked skillet dinner and a slightly burnt one. Use this simple little kitchen timer to set your exact cooking time — it'll sound its alarm to alert you when your food is done.
5. Use a light sprinkle of salt to draw out excess moisture from veggies to prevent your meal from ending up too soggy. Quick high school science class lesson: salt sucks water toward it. So if you're preparing eggplant slices for a ~heavenly~ eggplant parmesan dish, you'll want to sprinkle on some salt, let the slices sit for 20 minutes, then sap up the excess water with a paper towel.
6. Set your egg salad up for success with perfectly hard-boiled eggs right from the get-go. This rapid egg cooker lets you choose between making soft-, medium-, and hard-boiled eggs so you'll end up with your desired doneness instead of one that's accidentally too runny.
7. Properly measure your ingredients by weight in order to get the most precise measurements possible for your recipes. Adding even a little more or a little less than what's needed can throw off your end result, especially when baking. Use a digital food scale to make measuring ingredients hassle-free.
8. Get the most accurate oven temperature reading so you can avoid undercooked or overcooked meals even when you followed the recipe to a T. An oven thermometer can help you figure out whether or not your oven is actually deceiving you.
9. Learn more about the ~many, many~ ways you can add dynamic flavor to your pot because there's way more to the world of seasoning besides just salt, pepper, cayenne, and chili powder. This beautiful (and informative) print can help you identify and describe herbs and spices so you'll always know exactly what you can add to your pot to level up that flavor.
10. Cook with a nonstick pan to ensure that your food doesn't wind up stuck to the pan when you go to slide it right off for a beautiful plating. A PFOA-free ceramic Always Pan will help prevent your food from sticking.
11. Prep your pan with melted butter instead of oil. The butter will give your herbs, minced garlic, and other ingredients a richer taste.
12. Avoid eyeballing your measurements for more complex recipes, since a little too much (or too little) of something could throw off the flavor or texture of your finished meal. These magnetic measuring spoon set will do the trick, and they'll stack up and stay organized so you aren't rifling through your drawer for the 3/4 teaspoon measure.
13. Use fresh fromages when creating cheesy pastas and meals so you get the richest flavor out of your dish. A set of cheese bags can help keep cheese fresher for longer compared to just storing them in the container you bought them in.
14. Up the flavor of beef, pork, chicken, and pretty much any meal with one well-curated seasoning blend — this also takes away the work of having to pick and choose your own individual herbs and spices yourself. This One & Done Seasoning has reviewers adding it to a variety of meals, including fish.
15. Reuse your drained pasta water to create delicious sauces. The pasta water is full of salt, starch from the pasta, and any other fixings you might've added in there while boiling on the stove. This clip-on strainer can help you collect as much of that ~golden~ pasta water as possible. Just strain the pasta over a bowl.
16. Thoroughly heat through your sandwiches, burritos, and quesadillas so you always end up with a warm, super melty filling that'll have you returning to the kitchen for seconds. This panini press perfectly creates pretty much anything and will give your meals that wonderfully grilled look. The top plate locks so you can also toast your pizza, open-faced sammies, and even bruschetta.
17. Ensure that your homemade pizza crust doesn't end up soggy or burnt by properly venting it while it bakes. This perforated crisping pan creates the ventilation your pizza needs because of the holes in the bottom. You'll end up with dough that's nice and crunchy whether it's homemade or frozen.
18. Create the smoothest sauces and soups by blending your ingredients instead of just boiling them and breaking them up on the stove with your spoon. This seriously powerful blender is not just for smoothies, and can help you get rid of the soup chunks you can't stand.
19. Give your dishes a nice caramelized look by broiling it for a few minutes before serving. However, I know from experience that perfect broiling can be a little slow, and you can end up accidentally burning your dish instead. This culinary blow torch can create beautiful chars in literal seconds.
20. Season and taste your food as you go so you don't end up with a finished plate that's too salty or not salty enough. Remember, you can always add more to your pot, but you can't take any back once it's added!
21. Avoid over- or undercooking meats and fish by making sure they've reached the specified internal temperature. You can't just stick your finger inside the steak to test the temperature, so this digital food thermometer will help you save your finger and avoid getting sick from eating undercooked meat.
22. Add herbs to sauces, soups, and foods that you're searing to add some flavor. A pair of herb scissors can help you finely chop your chives in just seconds.
23. Remember to thoroughly defrost frozen meat before you try to cook it — it'll save you so much pain and agony when you don't have to double your cooking time. But, if you forget to defrost your beef in advance, this Thaw Claw is designed to help that ice melt seven times faster. All you have to do is suction it to your sink, fill the sink with water, and then put the frozen food under the claw. It will be defrosted in no time.
24. Control the spiciness of your dish by removing the seeds from jalapeño (the seeds and core are where the REAL heat lies). This jalapeño corer will make it super easy to get your jalapeños clean and seed-free.
25. Don't cut corners when preparing complex your dishes, even if you're short on time. Leaving out an ingredient or purposely skipping steps to save time could give you a result you may not be fully happy with. An Instant Pot can help you create delicious dishes in less time. With just the press of a few buttons, you can automatically adjust the temperature for your meals and have them cook perfectly.
26. Create your own salad dressings and sauces to spice up an otherwise dry sandwich or bland salad. Red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil are common ingredients in dressings, and you can find 'em in any grocery store.
27. Finally, play around with the flavor and texture of your meal by cooking with fruit (grilled pear with goat cheese, anyone?). A handy fruit slicer set can expedite the process of cutting and pitting to make being adventurous with your food feel a bit easier.
Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.