Cooking Tips and Cooking Questions Answered

The Most Common Cooking Mistakes

Learn how to avoid these common mistakes for success every time.
Common Cooking Mistakes
Photo: Oxmoor House

Our Most Common Cooking Mistakes

Every cook, being human, errs, bungles, botches, and screws up in the kitchen once in a while. If you have not “caramelized” fruit in salt rather than sugar, you have not suffered the most embarrassing mistake made by one of our editors. We did not have to look much farther than our staff―and their encounters with readers, friends, and relatives―to compile a list of 25 common, avoidable culinary boo-boos.

The creative cook can often cook her way out of a kitchen error, but the smart cook aims to prevent such creativity from being necessary. Here are 25 ways to be smarter every time.

Taste Test While Cooking

1. You don’t taste as you go.

Result: The flavors or textures of an otherwise excellent dish are out of balance or unappealing.

For most cooks, tasting is automatic, but when it’s not, the price can be high. Recipes don’t always call for the “right” amount of seasoning, cooking times are estimates, and results vary depending on your ingredients, your stove, altitude…and a million other factors. Your palate is the control factor.

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