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153 Genius Cooking Tips Straight From Restaurant Chefs

The ultimate guide to cooking like a pro.

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1. For real-world tips that might not be glamorous but are super practical: 17 Clever Cooking Tips I Learned While Working In Restaurants

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Tip Highlights:

A cake tester is the ultimate (and cheapest) tool for making perfectly cooked steak and seafood.

Sure, instant-read thermometers are great for making sure your steak is cooked, but so is a simple cake tester (like this one for $4.33 on Amazon). They're great for checking the doneness of veggies, seafood, and (most commonly) scallops. Place your cake tester in the center of a scallop; if the metal is warm, your scallop is done. This method is a bit less accurate when cooking steak, but it comes in handy when cooking rare steaks. (Gotta make sure the center is warm!)

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Stop fussing around with giant sheet trays and use a sizzle platter to cook just about anything.

Any proper kitchen will have stacks of these magic aluminum pans ($10.40 on Amazon). The heavy platters are perfect for roasting veggies, broiling meat, and toasting nuts. Check out all the ways to use them here.

Check out all 17 of the tips here.

2. For cooking advice from the people who do it every damn day: 17 Pro Cooking Moves You Learn Working In Restaurants

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Tip Highlights:

Secure your cutting board with a damp kitchen towel.

"Put a dish towel under your cutting board to keep it in place as you chop things. It is also helpful if you are rolling out dough on a cutting board."



3. For cooking tips from some of todays most talented chefs: These Restaurant-Tested Kitchen Tips Will Change The Way You Cook

Tip Highlights:

Use mayonnaise to keep fish from sticking to the grill.

It sounds crazy, but chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence restaurant swears by it. A thin coating of regular mayonnaise will prevent the fish from sticking to the grill and add a beautiful brown color when cooked.

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The smaller the baked good, the higher the oven temperature.

In an interview with the Food Network, Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery shares his simple rule of thumb and adds, "For example, I bake mini chocolate chip-toffee cookies at 500° F for only four minutes. Perfect end result.

Check out all 14 tips here.

4. For tips from your favorite TV chefs: 17 Borderline Genius Cooking Tips From Your Favorite TV Chefs

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Tip Highlights:

For extra crispness, fry your fried chicken twice.

Take it from chef Marcus Samuelsson and let your chicken rest for 10 minutes after frying it, then fry it for a second time for three minutes to make it extra crispy.

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Avoid overcrowding your pot when blanching vegetables — doing so might make them lose their color.

According to chef José Andres, overcrowding veggies in a pot will make them take longer to cook and might actually dull their color.

Check out all 17 of the tips here.


5. For tricks that chefs actually use in their own kitchen: 17 Genius Cooking Tricks That Professional Chefs Want You To Know

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Tip Highlights:

Make perfectly shaped burger patties by pressing a dimple into the middle and throwing them against your cutting board.

Take it from chef Matt Jennings and never end up with domed, bulbous burger patties again.

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Save herb stems and infuse them into stocks and soups.

Chefs never let anything go to waste, and this simple technique will add a subtle flavor to stocks, soups, and broths without costing you a single penny.

See all 17 of the tips here.

6. For tips that'll amp up your weekend baking projects: 19 Life-Changing Baking Tips From Professional Bakers

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Tip Highlights:

Crimp pie dough with household objects (like keys, tongs, or forks) to get a fancy design without having to be a pie wizard.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds (the legit MASTERS of pie making) taught us this one, so we know it's good.

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Sift your dry ingredients to make sure your baked goods have no lumps.

Elizabeth Falkner (an award-winning pastry chef) sifts her flour when making biscuits to make sure any lumps that might have formed are taken out.

See all 19 tips here.


7. And for some more advanced baking tips: 16 Genius Baking Tips Straight From A Professional Pastry Chef

Tip Highlights:

For super moist cakes, get yourself a multi-nozzled squirt bottle (aka a soaker bottle).

"For large sheet cakes and rounds," says Kyle Bartone (pastry sous chef at Eataly in New York City), "we give them a quick showering of simple syrup or booze to keep them moist." Most bakeshops use special squirt bottles ($14.99 on Amazon) that have multiple nozzles or showerlike lids to evenly soak their cakes. This makes sure the cakes stay super moist and don't dry out after you cut them.

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Use silica packets to keep delicate baked goods from getting soggy.

"For super finicky garnishes and baked goods," says Bartone, "use silica packets to make sure they stay nice and dry." Thin crackers, cookies, or sugar garnishes can get chewy after being exposed to air, but silica packets keep them nice and dry. (Just make sure your food isn't touching the packets. If you keep them in an airtight container, place them on the bottom and elevate your food with bunched-up parchment paper — and don't eat 'em!)

See all 16 tips here.

8. For tips straight from the man himself: 12 Borderline Genius Cooking Hacks From Gordon Ramsay

Tip Highlights:

Use a knife to gently "shave" herbs right off of their stems.

Instead of wasting time picking leaves off of cilantro and parsley stems, use the blade of your knife to gently shave them right off.