I thought it would be helpful to compile the resources that are helping me as I learn to cook. These are the most useful ones I found so far. Enjoy and feel free to share!
FOR THOSE WITH ZERO SKILLS
These are the top 4 things that I’d recommend for someone who wants to start cooking.
- Start by learning to cook an easy, inexpensive, and satisfying food. Spend $5 and learn to make eggs a few different ways. You’ll get comfortable with fundamental techniques like mixing, using pots & pans on the stove (boiling / frying), and seasoning. Plus, afterwards you’ll have the skills to make a meal whenever you’re hungry. 😋
- Next, get comfortable working with a 2nd protein. I’d recommend something versatile like chicken or fish. I was always of cooking proteins because I was afraid to mess them up. But I found that it only takes 3 tries to learn to do it the right way. If you invest the time to practice that, the rest will be easy.
- Get an Instant Thermometer 🌡. I was mainly scared to cook meat because I didn’t know how to tell when it was done. Buying a $10 food thermometer solved that problem. There’s a temperature guide for each type of protein – just follow this and you’ll know exactly when your food is ready.
- Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to use as side dishes. They’re easy to make and will allow you to focus most of your attention on getting good with proteins. Once you’re comfortable working with proteins, you can start expanding into different sides, sauces, and flavors. BONUS: Frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh ones1.
TOOLS & EQUIPMENT
For a kitchen that gets the job done, you don’t need to spend as much as you think.
- The Set of 24 Tools I’m Using to Learn How to Cook
- Creating a Functional Kitchen: Essential Cookware and Tools
- The Minimalist Kitchen: What You Need (and Don’t Need) to Set Up Your First Workable Home Kitchen
- Your First Kitchen: 5 Guides to Help You Set Up Your Kitchen With the Best Basics
PANTRY / GROCERIES / INGREDIENTS
If you have commonly-used ingredients in stock, it will make cooking so much easier. You’ll only have to shop for a few things (fresh produce, meats, etc.), and you can get started faster. But which ingredients should you stock up on and which ones should you purchase fresh?
- Pantry Essentials: Food Items You Should Always Have in the Kitchen via The Everygirl
- How to Stock a Minimalist Pantry via Stonesoup
- Pantry Stocking Guide for Eating Healthy via Whole30
Mastering a small repertoire of cooking techniques is what new cooks aspire to do. I’ve spent hours researching easy to follow guides for basic techniques and here are the most useful ones I’ve found:
- How to Cook Rice on the Stove – The Kitchn
- Pasta Cooking Tips – Reluctant Gourmet
- All About Sauteeing – Reluctant Gourmet (how much heat to use, sauteeing vs pan-frying, etc.)
- How to Steam Food – Reluctant Gourmet
- The 4 Knife Cuts Every Cook Should Know by Serious Eats
- Extensive library of cooking techniques – (grilling, braising, wok skills, baking, sous vide, knife skills, eggs)
- Cooking Technique Videos by NY Times
- Cooking Essentials How-To Videos by Epicurious
When you have the tools, ingredients, and knowledge of how to cook, the last thing to get comfortable with is meal planning. Lack of organization prevents many people from cooking on a regular basis. This section will show you how to grocery shop smarter and plan meals efficiently.
- The Healthy Shopper’s Guide to the Grocery Store
- Your Guide to the Grocery Store
- How to Plan Your Weekly Meals, Stress Free
- 15 Tips for Better Weekly Meal Planning
- A Beginner’s Guide to Meal Planning
You’d think that we would all instinctively know what foods to eat to be healthy. But with processed and fast food around us 24/7, this unfortunately isn’t the case. These resources show you what to eat and what to avoid to improve your long term health.
- 12 Baby Steps to Optimal Nutrition
- How to Eat Healthy, Lose Weight and Feel Awesome Every Day
- A Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Eating
REFERENCE / CHEAT SHEETS
These are handy to have on hand when you need a quick reference.
- Cooking Infographics
- 27 Diagrams That Make Cooking So Much Easier
- Top 10 Food Infographics to Hang in Your Kitchen or Save to Your Phone
- 14 Infographics to Help Organize Your Kitchen
- Food Safety 101: Safe Temperatures for Poultry and Meat – The Kitchn
ONE LAST QUESTION TO ASK YOURSELF
As you start your journey, it’s good to keep in mind why you want to learn.
- Are you cooking to eat healthier?
- To save money?
- Lose weight?
Based on your goals, learn a few basic skills and choose a few recipes to get started.
Also, remember to reflect on your success as you eat the benefits of your labor. Learning a new skill can be intimidating and stressful at times, but positive reinforcement like this will remind you that it’s all worth it!