If we’re being honest with ourselves, most of us could stand to improve our cooking skills. It’s something we all do every day, but few of us ever really master it.

Luckily, there are a few easy tricks that professional chefs say will hugely improve your cooking game. From prepping to serving, these inside tips are sure to make your meals even better than before!

1. Only use your non-stick pan for eggs, pancakes, and maybe French toast. Chefs note that the non-stick surface changes the way the heat is distributed, and unless you’re making food that really tends to stick, your meals will come out better using a regular old frying pan.

cooking-1Flickr / afflictedmonkey

2. If you want smoky flavor without a grill, use a Dutch oven, wood chips, and two heat-proof metal bowls. 

cooking-2Flickr / dvortygirl

Line the bottom of the Dutch oven with foil, place one bowl upside down in the center, surround it with wood chips, and turn the stove to medium. When smoke begins to appear, place the second bowl containing whatever you intend to smoke on top of the first, and put the lid on. Let it sit for five minutes, and voila, a stovetop smoker. Read more about it here.

3. To make your omelette fatter, once you’ve flipped it, tilt the skillet handle slightly upward and gently hit the handle, making the omelette flip up on itself. You can watch legendary French chef Jacques Pepin demonstrate the technique here.

cooking-3Flickr / Stijn Nieuwendijk

4. Before you whisk eggs you should pierce the yolks with a fork so that everything blends together more easily.

cooking-4Flickr / ttrimm

5. Crack eggs on an even, flat surface instead of the side of a bowl to make breaking open the shell more manageable.

cooking-5Flickr / Stacy Spensley

6. Knead biscuit dough by hand rather than using an electric mixer or a food processor. This makes the moisture slightly unevenly distributed, which actually makes the biscuits flakier. 

cooking-6Flickr / johnnystiletto

7. Butter is a suspension of milk solids in fat, and when you cook with butter, the milk solids are what’s in danger of burning. Instead, to get the same flavor but avoid burning anything, use clarified butter, which is essentially butter without most of the milk solids.

cooking-7Flickr / johnnystiletto

8. Truss or tie your poultry with butcher’s twine before cooking for juicier, more flavorful meat. Trussing prevents hot air from circulating inside the cavity, which dries out the meat.

cooking-8Flickr / jypsygen

9. Before you make fried rice, prep your pan by frying an egg first. This will give the pan a light coating that will prevent your rice and other ingredients from sticking.

cooking-9Flickr / live4soccer

10. You don’t need a rice cooker to get perfect rice. It’s all about getting the timing right. Pay close attention throughout the cooking process, and after the rice is done, let it sit for ten minutes with the lid on to make sure the moisture is evenly distributed.

cooking-10Flickr / Eltpics

11. Rinse rice, especially jasmine rice, before cooking it. All rice has excess starch on it that, if rinsed away, will improve the texture of the finished product. Plus, it can never hurt to give food items a rinse if you don’t know how they’ve been handled.

cooking-11Flickr / Calgary Reviews

12. Use a “roll cut” technique to give the things you chop a varied texture. This makes the edges of a piece thinner than the middle. You can watch a demonstration of how to roll cut here.

cooking-13Flickr / Lesley Show

13. Sprinkle seasonings, especially salt, from high above the pan to make sure they fall evenly. Also, make sure to season food throughout the cooking process for the best flavor.

cooking-12Flickr / Robert Couse-Baker

14. You can use a baker’s bench scraper outside of baking. It’s especially useful for transferring ingredients from a cutting board to a pot and for clearing surfaces before prepping each ingredient! 

cooking-14Flickr / Mike McCune

15. Woody herbs like parsley and rosemary can be bundled and tied with butcher’s twine before adding them to soup or stew. The flavor will distribute evenly and you’ll save yourself the hassle of picking out stems later on.

cooking-15Flickr / livinginmonrovia

16. Save the stems of herbs like parsley and cilantro to add to soups and stews. As long as you’re simmering the dish for a long time, the stems will flavor it just as well as the leaves, and your herbs will stretch a little further.

cooking-16Flickr / evang

17. To make the perfect burgers, before cooking, gently toss the patties against a cutting board to get rid of air bubbles. Also, you can make an indentation at the center of the patty so the burgers don’t puff up too much while they cook.

cooking-17Flickr / ksuyin

I need to try some of these at home! I’m confident that one of these days I’ll finally make perfect rice…

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