We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share their top kitchen solutions — like tips, tricks, and ways to avoid common mistakes. Here is some of their best advice.
If you're just starting out in the kitchen and finding cooking to be a challenge, you're not alone. Fortunately, there are a ton of unwritten rules around preparing food — which most people pick up through trial and error — that can make the process feel more fun and comfortable. We've rounded up 17 of the best cooking tips to help get you on your way to becoming a master home chef.
1. Slice chicken before cooking it.
2. Preheat your pan before adding food to it.
3. But drop the heat to medium once the pan is heated up.
4. Don't be afraid of salt.
5. Sharpen. Those. Knives.
6. Allow your steak to come up to room temperature before cooking it.
7. For potato dishes that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, dunk them in ice-cold water before cooking them.
8. Don't cut into your chicken to check if it's done — use a thermometer.
9. Don't add olive oil to your pasta water.
10. Don't rinse pasta after you've drained it.
11. Season vegetables at the beginning of the cooking process.
12. For maximum fluffiness, wash your rice.
13. Cook your meatloaf on a baking sheet — not in a loaf pan.
14. Work your ground beef as little as possible.
15. If you're trying an intricate cake design, use fondant — not frosting.
16. Roast sweet potatoes whole — don't microwave them.
17. Keep guacamole green by covering it in a layer of lukewarm water.
Submissions have been lightly edited and condensed.