There are a ton of cooking tips out there. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint where we’ve heard something and we just go on believing bad advice, to our detriment.
Luckily, a number of Bon Appétit’s professional chefs weighed in on 11 common cooking tips and tricks, and we were surprised by the results. Some were obvious, others we’ve often wondered about, and some we’ve never heard before.
So, without further ado, here are some cooking tips to follow and others to ignore. Happy cooking!
1. Fruits Ripen Faster In A Paper Bag If Placed With Apples Or Bananas
All of the chefs agreed with this tip. Your fruit will definitely ripen faster when placed next to other fruits, especially in a paper bag because of the gas they produce. “Fruits, they actually… release ethylene gas,” stated one chef. This in turn helps to speed up the ripening process. Given there are other misconceptions about fruit, like if apples can be stored on the counter, this is a helpful tip to know!
2. Marinating For Thirty Minutes Achieves The Same Goal As Marinating For 24 Hours
All of the chefs disagreed with this sentiment. They pointed out factors such as the type of meat and composition of the marinate that need to be factored in. For example, using something with a high acidity, such as lemon juice, could cause undesired results after 24 hours. This is especially true if working with fish. That said, for leaner cuts of meat, such as pork tenderloin, a longer marination time can help with the overall flavor and tenderness of the final dish.
3. Adding Oil To Pasta Water Prevents Pasta From Sticking
There was some initial uncertainty from a few chefs who had never tried the process, but those who had quickly concluded it was unnecessary. As two chefs discussed, pasta doesn’t start to stick together until it’s been sitting outside the water for a couple of minutes. In most cases, you’re adding the cooked pasta straight into a sauce. Otherwise, like in the case of pasta salad, tossing post-straining with oil will easily do the job.
4. Adding Citrus To Guacamole Will Keep It From Oxidizing
All of the chefs agreed to this advice, but one cheekily asked, “But what type of citrus are we talking about?” Most chefs already added lime to their guacamole, so it adds flavor and helps the guacamole from turning brown. That is, of course, if you have guacamole stick around long enough to oxidize.
5. You Should Wash Your Mushrooms Before Cooking
We even got a “big disagree” from one of the chefs on this one. “Overall I don’t wash my mushrooms, I brush them off,” stated one chef. The chefs mainly warned about the mushrooms becoming waterlogged if they were soaked or washed too aggressively.
6. Silpat Baking Mats Are Better For Even Baking Vs. Parchment Vs. Foil
Five out of six chefs agreed ultimately that the Silpat baking mat distributed the heat better than foil or parchment paper. Two chefs, in particular, didn’t think it was necessary, so they decided to put it to the test.
They baked chocolate chip cookies on four pans–one lined with parchment, one lined with foil, one with a Silpat, and one with no lining. They concluded that the Silpat version was the best as the heat was better dispersed. This caused a crunchy exterior with a warm, chewy interior with no dark spots on the bottom.
7. Beans Need To Be Soaked Overnight Before Cooking
Again, there was only one chef who went against the crowd being very pro-bean soaking. However, the rest of them didn’t think it was necessary. One chef pointed out that many believe the process of soaking helps to make the beans more tender, but she often finds that is not the case. Another chef stated just using an Instant Pot will deliver tender, tasty beans in no time. A plus for those of us who forget to prep in advance!
8. The Best Way To Get Crispy Bacon Is To Start With A Cold Pan
The two chefs that actually experimented with the hot pan vs. cold pan debate were the two that disagreed with the statement above. The hot pan resulted in crispier bacon, however, the pieces were almost charred. The cold pan had a less crispy result, but was still “a good piece of bacon.” Most chefs stated that they personally made bacon in the oven using a pan with a wire rack.
9. The Reverse-Sear Method Is The Best Way To Cook A Perfect Medium-Rare Steak
All of the chefs disagreed with this method being “the best” way to cook a perfect medium-rare steak. Two chefs stated they would use this method on a larger roast or lean wild game, but probably not a steak. One said, “I’m really classic you know, straight up, over the flame, pan.”
10. You Should Rinse Your Meat Before Cooking
Of all the tips, this one had the best reactions from the chefs. Many rolled their eyes, laughed, and scoffed at the tip. However, one chef admitted to rinsing her meat occasionally. “If it’s like coming out of a package from a grocery, it has this slimy layer, and I don’t want to eat that. So I rinse it off, dry it as much as possible.” She continued, “But if I’m going to a local butcher it’s coming in butcher paper, then I won’t rinse it.” All the chefs agreed it was important where the meat was sourced.
11. Hard-Boiled Eggs Should Be Started In Cold Water
Starting your eggs in cold water was a method favored by Julia Child. But it seems like this tip is a relic of another time. All of the chefs contended it was fine to add eggs to boiling water, with many commenting that it simply saves time. The only chef to stand by the “start with cold water” trick mentioned it was helpful when making, say, a seven minutes egg as it was easier to time.
To see the chefs hash it out youself, check out the full video below: