19 Small Cooking Habits That Can Actually Have A Big Payoff Over Time

    Tiny changes, big payoff.

    I don't know about you, but New Year's resolutions stress me out and I always end up giving up on them. So this year, I'm only picking low-key, super doable goals.

    If you're like me and you're looking for really easy, small kitchen habits that actually can have a big payoff, here are a few ideas on things to adopt. These can take your kitchen game to the next level without much effort in 2021.

    1. Stop throwing away food scraps.

    A pot of veggie stock made with kitchen scraps

    2. Save this cheat sheet to quickly upgrade chicken — or any other protein.

    Infographics showing combinations of ingredients to make marinades.

    3. Clean as you go.

    4. Salt your food throughout the cooking process, not just at the end.

    Cropped shot of a person's hand adding salt to a pan of tomatoes in the kitchen

    5. Make your own pickled vegetables.

    6. Transfer bagged foods into glass jars for better aesthetics, organization, and a potentially longer shelf life.

    mason jar filled with sesame seeds

    7. Meal-prep ingredients for the week over the weekend.


    8. Invest in a good knife.

    Picture of hand using a knife to cut meat

    9. And keep that knife sharp.

    10. For more flavorful baked chicken breasts, brine them for 15 minutes before tossing them in the oven.

    Brining chicken breasts

    11. To prevent rice from getting gloopy, rinse it before cooking.

    12. Don't just plan your meals — plan your leftovers, too.

    Five days worth of meals

    13. Add acid to your dishes for more flavor.

    Close-up of female hand squeezing lemon juice on salad in a bowl

    14. Invest in a food scale.

    Weighing flour and adding it from a paper bag to a bowl to prepare the cookie dough.

    15. Learn how to store your herbs so they don't go bad as quickly.

    Cilantro stored upright in a jar of water and covered with a ziplock bag

    16. Toast nuts and seeds before using them to maximize their flavor.

    Toasting walnuts

    17. Always deglaze your pan.

    18. For the easiest meal prep, save this cheat sheet for roasting veggies.

    19. Read the whole recipe before you start cooking.

    Cartoon showing a woman who regrets not reading the recipe all the way through

    What's one kitchen habit you wish you'd adopted earlier than you did? Share in the comments!