People Are Sharing Cooking Tips From Loved Ones They Still Use (20 Tips)


There’s nothing like making a big bowl of spaghetti gravy from a recipe handed down by your grandmother.

I have an old cookbook from my dad’s mom and I love that connection to my family and my past. It’s always such a treat to see her notes in the margins.

Recently the Reddit and BuzzFeed Communities shared the best bits of cooking advice they’ve ever received and we wanted to share them with you. Here are the best tricks and tips:

1. Oversalt

“Oversalted your pasta sauce? Brown sugar saves it and makes it so much richer.”


2. Let it rest

“My grandmama was an old school southern cake baker and she NEVER let anyone cut into a cake the day it was made. Layered cakes need at least one day to rest for the flavors and frosting to properly get to know each other. Even cupcakes taste better the day after they’re assembled.”


3. Don’t measure over

“Here’s a simple rule my mom taught me that her mom taught her: Don’t measure over the mixing bowl (or pot). It’s just so easy, especially when distracted, rushing, or with kids/pets running around, to accidentally over-pour or have something knocked out of your hand and into the mix. While it might not be critical with all ingredients, it can mean having to toss whatever you’re making and starting again from scratch.”


4. Fry spices

“Fry spices in oil before adding them to a dish in order to enhance their original flavors and make them bolder and more intense. It also gives them a brighter and fresher aroma. The more technical term for this is ‘tempering’ your spices, and my mother taught me to do it because it’s fairly integral to South Asian cooking, and that’s where we are from.”


5. Plan it out

“Always have your ingredients out in front of you. Mise en place is great, but I don’t have enough little bowls, nor do I want to clean all of that. However, if I don’t have the container of the ingredient out on the counter, I WILL forget something. I set all my containers (especially spices) out on the counter before I start.”


6. Carrots

“Carrots in homemade spaghetti sauce! Shred them and cook them down. No one can tell they are in the sauce, and it makes the sauce sweeter. My family is from Italy and that’s what my grandfather always did, then my mom, and now me.”


7. Pinch of sugar

“Add a pinch of sugar for savory dishes, like soups or dressings. This complements the flavor of the dish.”


8. Pull the cookies

“My aunt was the go-to cook of the family. She told me to always pull my cookies out two-to-five minutes earlier than their full baking time. Let cookies finish baking on the pan from the residual heat, and they will be the softest, chewiest cookies ever.”


9. Don’t worry about the pics

“My grandmother is one of the best cooks and bakers I know, and one of her ‘rules’ was: If you want something pretty, order it. Stop striving to make it look like the picture. I have taken this to heart, especially with cakes and baked goods. Yes, you can try to make things pretty when you’re hosting and hoping to make an impression, but when it comes down to it, all people will care about is the taste of the product in the end. I was honestly amazed at how much I would ruin something trying to make it perfect, and then this advice would come into my head. It’s homemade; it can be ugly and sloppy. Who cares? As long as it tastes good. So yes, my cakes may look like a 3rd grader decorated them, but hey, no one says a peep while they’re digging in!”

“And no, I’m not saying that decorating is a waste of time or that it’s pointless. If it’s something you enjoy and have the skills to do well, carry on. This is more or less for the people who feel the need to keep adding to the cake until they’ve accidentally messed it up beyond return. Keep making your ugly delicious cakes or your beautifully decorated ones. No pressure as long as people eat it up!”


10. Ketchup and sugar

“I got this one wonderful suggestion from my late husband, who worked in food service for years and years. A squirt of ketchup and a spoonful of sugar will take the ‘canned’ taste from canned soups and vegetables.”


11. Tidy!

“My mom always said, ‘A good cook is a clean cook!’ I always make sure to have all my ingredients out before I start, put them away as I use them, clean up the dishes as I go, and load up the dishwasher. Make things so much easier!”


12. Stop onion tears

“Rub a cut lemon across your cutting surface before chopping onions and it will help prevent the tears from flowing.”



“Not really a cooking tip, but a cookware tip. Don’t. Put. Your. Nonstick. Pans. In. The. Dishwasher. Unless the manufacturer says otherwise, dishwashers over time will break down the nonstick coating, which makes them flake and chip. I always wondered why my pots and pans never lasted long before flaking on me until my mom told me they’re not meant to be put in the dishwasher ever.”


14. Frying bacon

“Put a splash of water in the pan before frying bacon. The water renders the fat out of the bacon and it come out sooo crispy!”


15. Tweak later

“Always make the recipe EXACTLY as it is written the first time, THEN do the tweaking. If you change something about a recipe to begin with, you’ll never truly understand what it could’ve become.”


16. Quality

“I have so many tips, but the most important one is the simplest: quality ingredients. You know that expensive restaurant you love the food from? They are most likely using very fresh and higher quality produce, meats, and dairy. That heirloom caprese salad will not taste near as good with watery tomatoes, processed cheese, and dried herbs. The fresher, the better.”


17. Read it first

“Read the recipe all the way through before you start. It’s all fun and games until you realize the thing you wanted to serve immediately needs to rest for an hour or chill overnight.”


18. Vinegar

“Add a little vinegar to marinating chicken. It’s an absolute game changer!”


19. Baking vs cooking

“My grandma always taught me that baking is a science. Your measurements should be precise for the most part. But, cooking is much more about measuring with your heart or eyeballing it (though there are some exceptions).”


20. Crack against the bowl

“My parents are both chefs and my dad owned a deli growing up. I used to help prep food here and there and the biggest life-long takeaway I learned is that if you crack two eggs together, only one will break. Every. Damn. Time. It’s SO much easier than cracking against the bowl.”