14 Most Common Cooking Mistakes

Christine Zalnieraite

2021 May 17

5 min read

All of us would like to cook as good as professional chefs do. But only practise makes perfect. You can start your road to better skills by simply learning about the top cooking mistakes that most of us sometimes do.

1. Overcrowding Your Pan

It’s easy to make this mistake, especially if you’re cooking a large meal. One-pan meals might be efficient, but cooking too much food in a small vessel can prevent those foods from cooking the way you want them to.

When the whole surface of the pan is covered, the heat gets trapped, which leads to steam. As a result, steam prevents browning and browning is essential for keeping your food juicy and flavorful.

2. Not Using Enough Water When Boiling Pasta

Still haven’t found an efficient way to cook pasta? Contrary to popular belief, adding olive oil doesn’t help. Instead, make sure that you use enough water when you’re boiling pasta. This way, it won’t stick together!

Use plenty of water – probably more than you think you need. In fact, for every pound of pasta you cook, you should use about five quarts of water.

3. Using Extra Virgin Olive Oil to Cook Everything

You might think that extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest option, but using it over super-high heat can do more damage than good. Compared to some oils, extra virgin olive oil has a relatively low smoke point (the temperature at which it starts to burn).

The same rule applies to flaxseed and coconut oil. These oils contain nutritional compounds that can be destroyed when heated above their smoke points, so it’s best to use them to add flavor or for drizzling over prepared food. Use sunflower oil for sautéing, frying, and roasting instead.

4. Measuring Dry Ingredients in a Liquid Measuring Cup

When it comes to baking, measuring the ingredients correctly is key. Never use your liquid measuring cup for dry ingredients. Instead, use a simple spoon-and-level method where you simply scrape off the overflow, leaving behind a level surface and an accurate measurement. Easy!

5. Placing Cold Meat in a Hot Pan, Grill, or Oven

Take your meat out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking. Letting cold meat come up to room temperature before tossing it on heat will make it cook more evenly so you won’t have to worry about burning the outside while the inside isn’t quite there yet. The same rule applies to chicken.

6. Adding Garlic Too Early

Most recipes instruct you to add garlic last. That’s a great rule, especially if you’re cooking minced garlic over a high heat. If garlic is the first thing you add to the pan, unfortunately it will also be the first thing to burn. So do yourself a favor and never make this mistake.

7. Using Too Much Seasoning and Dressings

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We all love to add that extra dash of seasoning or dressing to our salads and sandwiches. However, dressings carry a huge amount of sodium, which can lead to water retention. So if you’re trying to eat healthy, think twice before loading your meal with soy sauce or mayonnaise.

8. Frying Your Food

Luckily, there’s still an easy solution that allows you to enjoy fried food without the risk of gaining weight: an air fryer! All you need is a teaspoon of oil and you can fry any food in the healthiest way possible.

9. Using Bad Cookware

Cookware is usually the last thing we think about when preparing food. But did you know that the famous non- stick cookware can actually damage your health? It usually contains Teflon, which contains a chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid that could cause serious health problems. It’s best to go back to basics and choose cookware that is made of cast iron, glass, ceramic, or stainless steel.

10. Adding Uncooked Salt Over Your Food

Some of us have a habit of sprinkling salt over our food in order to alter the taste of a bland dish. Consuming uncooked salt has been linked to heart disease and kidney problems, so if you are one of those people, it’s time to break this unhealthy habit.

11. Overcooking Vegetables

When you’re cooking vegetables, make sure that they’re still firm and lightly crisp. Boiling them until they turn soggy will drain all the important nutrients out of them, so it’s best to stir-fry lightly or blanch them in hot water if you’re making soup.

12. Peeling Your Vegetables

Did you know that some vegetables aren’t meant to be peeled? Sometimes, what you peel off has more nutrients than the veggie itself! For example, the skin of potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, cucumbers, and apples contains a lot of vitamins and minerals. Moreover, peels contain a lot of fiber, which works wonders for your digestive system. You wouldn’t want to throw that in the trash!

13. Not Washing Vegetables Thoroughly

Before your favorite fruits and veggies reach your table, they are sprayed with dangerous pesticides. Even if you can’t see that layer, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious.

Make it a rule to wash your veggies and fruits thoroughly in a tub of warm water and add a pinch of soda to remove almost all traces of pesticides.

14. Using Butter to Add Flavor

We hate to break this to you, but if you want to keep your waistline slim and your heart healthy, you’ll have to say no to butter.

It might make your dishes taste 10 times better, but it can also impede the productivity of your circulatory system and add a few unwanted pounds in the long run.

Try doing some of theses recipes while keeping in mind these cooking mistakes and tips how to avoid them! We bet you’ll enjoy the food!

Written by

Christine Zalnieraite

Christine is a registered and licensed dietitian (RD, LD) with more than eight years of professional experience. Christine is an expert in dietetics that includes human nutrition and the regulation of the proper individual diet. She alters patient's nutrition based on their medical condition and individual needs. Education: Master’s degree in Human Nutrition and Food Safety and two Bachelors of Science - Bachelor in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, and Human Nutrition and Food Safety. Also, she continues to deepen her knowledge in Ph.D. studies of Medical Science and Dietetics.

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