People Share The Cooking ‘Rules’ You Don’t Really Need To Follow (20 Tips)

I’ve always said that you add garlic with your heart, not with your eyes.

And a lot of other people out there agree that there is certain cooking advice that you can just toss right out the window.

We perused u/Swimmin_Duck‘s thread on the r/Cooking subreddit and grabbed the best answers to the question about “cooking advice they ignore”. I love this list because I nodded along all the way down!

1. Salting Eggs

Salting your eggs before cooking them has become the proven best choice for people wanting tender scrambled eggs (or omelettes!) that aren’t the slightest bit watery. Gordon Ramsay’s method to salt them during the cooking process is just old, inaccurate folklore passed down from chef to chef — salting them while they cook just makes them tough and watery.”—StankyPeteTheThird

2. Mold on hard cheese (HARD CHEESE ONLY: not applicable to SOFT)

“When I find a touch of mold on any hard cheese, I’ll generally just chop off the chunk of mold with a knife and carry on.”—u/squeevey

3. Stream the oil

Salad dressing recipes loooove to tell you to ‘stream in the oil’ while whisking. Nah, just throw it all in a jar and give it a good shake.”—u/prawn69

4. Cooking onions

I ignore directions to ‘cook onions for three minutes until translucent’ in a recipe at all costs. Like, OK, I’ll come back to you in 10 minutes when they’re just starting to soften.”—u/Adelineslife

5. Pasta water

Most pasta recipes will tell you to bring a massive pot of water to a boil. If I’m eventually going to toss the pasta with a sauce of some sort, I almost always use faaaaar less water than called for — just enough to cover the uncooked pasta by two or so inches.””This serves two purposes: First, the water will come to a boil much faster. Second, you’ll be left with some super starchy pasta water that’s perfect for helping each and every noodle cling onto all that luscious sauce.”—Ross Yoder

6. Tweak measurements

I tweak most measurements — especially where garlic or salt are concerned.”—u/Anitsirhc171

7. Stock concentrates vs. carton stock

My cooking changed for the better when I started using Better Than Bouillon stock concentrates. It tastes SO much better than carton stock and stock cubes in terms of its flavor, the jars hardly take up any space in the fridge, and it lasts for pretty much forever.”—u/BandAidBrandBandages

8. Salted butter (do not change your baking recipes – seriously)

I always use salted butter. I find that it just makes everything taste so much better, especially when used in sweet baked goods (in place of unsalted butter).”—u/Frequent_Artichoke

9. Smoke point

Many chefs will tell you that adding oil to butter (when sautéing or searing something) will ‘raise its smoke point’ so it won’t burn. That’s…literally not how chemistry works.”—u/Turbulent_Sweet_5528

10. More love for stock cubes

Instead of making my own homemade stock, I find that stock cubes work just fine. They really taste great in most applications!” —u/ConsiderablyMediocre

11. Rice cooking

Depending on the kind of rice you’re cooking, it’s not always crucial that you rinse it. Some rice can get really sticky — unwashed sushi rice would totally suck, but if you don’t rinse your basmati or jasmine rice it’s not going to be the end of the world.”—u/dtwhitecp

12. Syrup

I never make simple syrup on the stovetop. Just microwave some water and swish the sugar around until it’s fully dissolved. Bonus points if your microwave vessel is also your storage container — I hate extra dirty dishes!”


13. White vs black pepper

I bought ground white pepper for a recipe I was making once upon a time (because white sauces ‘can’t have black pepper’) and I still haven’t made a dent in it. I’d much rather just grind black pepper fresh when I want to use it — so what if there are visible pepper flecks?!”—u/mlledufarge

14. Use boxed wine to cook

My mom used to be an operations manager at a culinary college. They specifically told the students not to use expensive wine. They recommended boxed wine because the wine stays sealed from the air and stays good for longer.””By the time you’re done cooking with it, anything that would make an expensive wine taste ‘better’ will be destroyed anyway, so your expensive wine will be ruined.”—u/PlanetMarklar

15. Don’t rinse chicken

Rinsing chicken before cooking it is totally unnecessary. Cooking chicken to a USDA-advised 165ºF will totally kill off any salmonella-causing bacteria, so when you rinse poultry under water, all you’re doing is running the risk of unintentionally splashing raw chicken juice all over your sink and countertop.”—Ross Yoder

16. Measuring spices

Properly measuring dried spices has never been my strongest suit. For any of the spices in the dishes I cook: A teaspoon is just a bit in my palm, a tablespoon is more than that, and anything less than a teaspoon is just a pinch.””People always rave about ‘how well-seasoned’ my food is, and that’s because the use of dried spices is totally subjective.”—u/Straydapp

17. Mise en place is so stupid

I tend to disregard mise en place suggestions — I’m just going to get the water boiling (or pan heating) and then prep as I go. Separate little dishes for all of the components?! Do these people cook on weekdays? Do people do their own dishes?!”—u/Remy1985

18. Salt!!

I know every Baby Boomer mom and cardiologist is frowning at this comment…but I refuse to EVER omit salt.”—u/kimberdots

19. Use your spices

Most recipes written for American audiences which originate from other countries are extremely stingy with herbs and spices. My Italian wife calls it ‘Italian Food for American People.’ It takes a lot of experience to know exactly how to use herbs and spices properly, but anyone can start by just increasing the suggested amounts incrementally and seeing how it tastes.”—u/stesha83

20. Use the pre shredded cheese.

Here’s a secret: Despite what most people who write recipes would want you to think, using pre-shredded cheese isn’t always going to ruin whatever you’re making.”—u/allmilhouse