Cooking is as much about breaking the "rules" as it is about following them. That's why you taste the dish you're preparing even if you're following a recipe.
Even some restaurant chefs might be deemed as anarchists for abandoning convention but still have their tables booked.
So to find out what practices people have thrown out their kitchen window, Redditor ThatSpyGuy made a post on the platform, asking other users, "What commonly repeated cooking tip is just completely wrong?"
I think it's important to highlight that intention is what matters the most around cooking pots. The ability to recognize precisely what you want on your plate and how your actions impact the end results. We can't really categorize all of the replies ThatSpyGuy has received in terms of "bad" and good". What we can do, however, is appreciate the thinking and experimenting.
#1Myth: high heat is like fast-forward for cooking.
Still working to get my dad to understand this one.
Image credits: EatLard
#2Rinsing off chicken. I know you don't want to get salmonella, but rinsing off chicken just spreads it. Cooking it solves the problem automatically.
Image credits: CreepyAssociation173
#3Break the spaghetti to cook it faster. All you’re doing is breaking someone’s Italian nana’s heart.
Image credits: Caramel_Cappucino
#4This one is cooking related.
Myth: never use soap on cast iron.
Reality: you absolutely can use soap and scrub a well seasoned cast iron. Just don't soak it.
Image credits: AbbreviationsMuch511
#5Not a cooking tip but a drinking one: Don’t put too many ice cubes in your drink because it will melt and you will end up with too much water. Wrong, the more ice cubes you put the longer the ice will stay and not melt. If you put only one or two, they will melt VERY quickly.
(Ofc exceptions has to be made for “on the rocks” spirits)
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#6Using extra virgin olive oil to cook. EVOO has a lower smoke point than regular olive oil, so regular olive oil is better for cooking.
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#7"Don't cook with a wine you wouldn't drink." I swear this is a rule made up by lushes planning on drinking the wine and using cooking as an excuse to buy it. What I want in a wine to drink is very different than I want in a wine to cook with.
Image credits: DanTheTerrible
#8Myth: Using flour makes chicken the crispiest.
Truth: Using Potato Starch makes it WAYYY more crispy.
Image credits: OpeningPossible9614
#9Your burgers and steak need more than salt and pepper. Worcestershire sauce, aromatics garlic, onions, etc.
Image credits: Castlenomics
#10Starting to saute onion and garlic at the same time. Onion takes a lot longer to cook and adding the garlic too early can burn it which can ruin the entire flavour of the dish. So many recipes tell you to do this and I just don't get it!
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#11Adding oil to your pasta water to prevent it from clumping. Oil floats in water. Just stir it.
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#12Putting salt on your food AFTER It's cooked. Meh. Cooking in the salt is better.
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#13Putting in the garlic first. That's a good way to burn it.
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#14Leave the burger for a long time, then flip it once.
Lots of people give this advice, including web sites and even chefs.
But then the labs who actually test this stuff find that the burgers are better, and cook faster, if you flip more often.
Image credits: kangareagle
#15"Add seasoning to taste" is a great tip to someone who's already a competent and experienced cook (i.e. a person who doesn't need that tip to begin with).
It is a TERRIBLE tip for an inexperienced and/or infrequent cook. Give a suggested amount of seasoning in your recipe or description.
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#16Not washing/cleaning after you cook because of X amount of reasons. Clean as you cook is the way.
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#17Great homemade salsa has to have cilantro. Half of us don’t like cilantro. You can substitute:
Celery Leaves (this is pretty good)
Leave it out all together
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#18The prep/cooking time in that recipe you're using is a bald-faced lie.
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#19Not really a tip, but a recipe complaint.
Don’t measure flour(or other compressible powders) in volume! Use weight, a cup of sifted flour can be half of a cup of compressed flour.
Image credits: ThinkIGotHacked
#20Caramelized onions - 5 minutes. wtf... I see this everywhere. it's takes 20 - 45 minutes to do that
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#21If you're not dry brining your meats before you cook them, you're missing out. ESPECIALLY applies to chicken.
Image credits: Sweepslap
#22People say you need your cast iron pan RIPPING HOT before placing your steak for a perfect steak, in my experience, there is such thing as TOO HOT, medium high works best, or else the oil burns and the inside doesn’t cook enough (yes I use high heat oils)
Image credits: WaterASAP
#23People think you can just use eggs and butter at fridge temp for baking but it’s so much better if you do room temp
#24Add rice to the boiling water... No, no, no, no .. it's a bad way to cook rice.
For the past 30 years I have been cooking rice like this: Put the desired amount of rice in the pot. Rinse them thoroughly with cold water to remove as much "rice dust" as possible.
Then add cold water toothed rice, so they are covered by approximately 2,5cm/ 1 inch of cold water.
Add salt and put on a lid.
Put the pot on the stove at medium heat. Let it come to a boil while stirring every now and then.
When all the water has been sacked up by the rice, turn of the heat and let the pot sit for 10 minutes with the lid on.
It only takes 20 minutes to cook rice this way instead of 25-30 minutes, and they come out perfectly cooked every single time!!
Oh yeah... bad tip nr. 2 I've learned to no longer follow... "make the sauce/ gravy" as the very last part of the meal.
No, no, no, no .... for the past 4 years I've learned to ALWAYS start cooking the whole meal with the onions and other veggies or herbs for the sauce/ gravy. It takes a long time to get that deep flavor to bind everything together, and a good sauce can lift a meal from "plain everyday quick meal" to "restaurant quality home cooking".
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#25Putting milk/cream in scrambled eggs. Completely unnecessary if cooked with proper technique.
Image credits: jbm_the_dream
#26“Microwaving food will destroy nutrient molecules”
Microwaves are far too long-waved to cause any molecular changes. All they do is make molecules vibrate faster. They don’t directly break up molecules.
To actually split chemical bonds you need much shorter wavelengths. UV light at least. It is true that Microwaves can INDIRECTLY cause chemical reactions because they will increase the temperature of the food. But that is no different to any other heat source.
Likely, microwaves preserve nutrients BETTER than boiling/steaming because the heat is delivered faster and the food spends less time in a high temperature state.
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#27This one has been disappearing lately but ...
Don't overcook mushrooms and don't rinse them.
It's nearly impossible to overcook mushrooms. Chitin is hard to break down so just keep cooking them. Rinsing may add water, but it's just more liquid to cook off and may in fact help steam them which helps them release more water. Besides, you should wash all produce before use, especially mushrooms. Doubly so if they are wild.
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#28That potatoes can "suck" salt out of an over salted dish. They don't. They can't. All they do is add volume, and potatoes are naturally not very salty.
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#29Leaving meat out for 15-30 min to “come to room temperature.” The internal temp of the meat stays low for a lot longer than that. This doesn’t speed up cooking or cause more even cooking. You can speed it up and make it more even by flipping more frequently, though. That means searing comes at the end.
Regardless of all that, resting the meat after cooking is a best practice.
Image credits: CaliTexJ
#30That you're supposed to fluff your rice with a fork just before it's done cooking. This is unnecessary and also kinda dumb because then you're moving around uncooked parts with cooked parts, resulting in unevenly cooked rice.
Also whoever is draining water from their rice and thinks this is normal needs to be imprisoned. I swear I saw a viral video a couple years ago of a tv cook doing this.
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#31Putting lemon slices on fish. No idea why people do that. The sushi shop I used to order at always put a slice of lemon on top of my salmon chirashi bowl, which resulted in the salmon under it to get really discolored, ugly and kinda tough to chew, and tasted more like lemon than salmon in the end.
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#32That you have to wash ALL rice.
Plenty of rice you do, wash it until the water runs clear.
Many brands of commercial rice are fine to not rinse, they'll tell you not to on the packaging itself.
I made the mistake of letting an islander friend know this and they think I eat from a toilet.
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#33Cookies: "bake until golden brown"
The cookie sheet will stay hot after it leaves the oven and keep baking the cookies for a minute or so. If you want soft cookies, it's better to take them out when only the edges look golden brown and let them keep cooking outside of the oven.
Image credits: Celestaria
#34"Cook until it's ready"
IF I AM NOT PROFESSIONAL HOW CAN I UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS READY? WTF? PLEASE GIVE ME INFORMATION HOW LONG SHOUD I COOK IT
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#35That you can't ever have too much garlic. I’ve heard this so many times. My wife made a babaganush one time with so much garlic it burned our mouths. Too much garlic can be a thing.
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#36That pork chops have to be cooked to shoe leather. Store bought is sage. I have changed opinions by grilling mine to medium and they are very juicy.
Actually, probably that most meats are overdone.
#37Undercooked poultry is safe to eat. No, it isn't. Just like game meat or any meat.. But those two are worst risks and yes, you can start an epidemy by serving badly cooked poultry and game to your family. I find the hypocrisy of people who hate anti-vaxxers on one side and brag about eating medium turkey on the other side astonishing.
learn to chew harder , make a proper sauce or eat beef!
Image credits: applesandoranges990
#38Use aluminum foil shiny side in.
Reynold's says the shiny side is a result of the manufacturing process and not intended to speed up cooking. The impact of having the shiny side in is so minimal and negligible you will not notice a difference.
Image credits: Anon-fickleflake
#39When making pie crust, rubbing the butter into the flour or using a fork/knife/pasty blender to achieve "pea-sized" crumbles.
Pretty much every recipe will describe it this way, but the expanding water from the butter drives that beautiful flakiness. Use a cheese grater with moderately large holes. Use very cold butter, and handle the butter lightly so that it doesn't melt into your hands. Grate it and toss it into the flour about 1/3 of the butter at a time, tossing it to coat it with flour. Then make your dough. It will be light and flaky and heading in the direction of puff pastry.
Seriously, I use the same dough recipe I always used and the results are just staggeringly better because of this technique.
ETA Yep, this works for biscuits too.
Image credits: Terpsichorean_Wombat
#40The amount of people I've seen thawing frozen food under HOT water is astounding.
#41Don’t add milk to your mac n cheese! I know the box says to, but use heavy cream instead. It makes the mac so fluffy and the cheese so creamy!
#42“When cooking a hamburger patty, press down on it with your spatula to make it cook more evenly/faster.” All this does beside flatten your patty is make all the juices escape, leading to a more dried out burger with less flavour.
Image credits: ShinCasval
#43Every baking recipe I've seen has you add spices with the dry ingredients. It's so much more flavorful if you add them with the butter and even more so if toast or gently fry them first. You can even use the microwave for this, cook just until fragrant.
Also, all my chocolate stuff got better when I realized that cocoa is a spice. Oil-soluble flavenoids.
Image credits: amb3ergris
#44"Don't salt your eggs before cooking them, it makes them tough". Whether I'm just making a quick diner-level omelette in a hot pan, or doing a low & slow stir for really tender eggs - salt scheduling has made zero difference.
Jacques Pepin (hey, I love that guy, his Facebook vids are the cure for this evil age) I think got that promulgated, but plenty of folks have tested it and found it doesn't make a difference.
#45That your supposed to rinse pasta after you cook it.
#46I love making omelets. I've watched a lot of videos on people making omelets. Some say you beat the eggs with a fork. You must use a fork! Others say do not use a fork, use a whisk!
It's funny to watch different experts directly contradict one another. I've used both, and don't see any difference. But the way I like best, is to put them in a jar and shake them up.
I've made thousands of omelets, and don't think I will ever make one that is perfect.
Some cooks you should use a low heat. Others say you start with a high heat and let the eggs cool the pan down as it cooks. Some say the omelette is perfect when there is a little brown on the surface. Others say eggs should never be cooked to the point of browning.
So many contradictions, so many different ways.
#47Measuring garlic. Just put as much in as your heart desires. Don't let words on a page tell you how too have a good time.
#48My parents still insist on making biscuss using Bisquik. It produces the driest biscuits I've ever had. Biscuits are supposed to be butteray and flaky. Not dried hockey pucks.
#49Adding salt to water lowers the boiling point of the water. Wrong. It raises it.
#50Using a frying pan… As a drying pan
#51That mayo is superior to butter for grilled cheese. It's not. Yeah, it also gets a nice crust and is easy to spread, but butter tastes way better.
#52I have spent years, years I tell you trying to perfect home-made pizza. Most recipes I've seen so far say "bake at 350 degrees F" which is utter nonsense. Pizza ovens bake the pizza at around 800 to 900 F. So I finally found out I could get a decent result at home by putting the oven on the highest temp - 500F, and put the pizza on the oven's lowest rack (my broiler is located in the bottom.) Then when the bottom crust is done I put the pizza in the broiler rack below and cook it about 3 mins to get the top done.
#53That searing meat seals in the juices. I mean, seared meat is delicious but the more you sear the drier it's gonna be.
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#54That you need to separately "cook" tomato paste to get rid of "bad" flavors. You don't. Just buy decent tomato paste and add it when it makes sense in the recipe (after the onions and garlics are fried) . S**t tomato paste will always taste bad, and burning it doesn't help.
#55Myth: adding milk to scrambled eggs makes them fluffier. It ACTUALLY makes them less fluffy.
#56More heat cooks things faster.
Used to believe it but found out the hard way when shallow frying chicken schnitzels. The outside was burnt and the inside was raw. Now I cook them at the lowest heat and always perfectly cook them.