Eating food is necessary to survive. But if you’re struggling to prepare delicious meals for your family every day, you’re not alone. Cooking can be difficult, but luckily, it doesn’t have to be.

In a recent Reddit thread, trained chefs have answered our prayers: They’re sharing their top tips to help us all master the art of cooking. Here are the top tips they think us newbies should know:

  1. Pay Attention to Cooking Temperatures

    “You don’t need everything blazing hot. In fact, with high heat you’ll usually end up burning/drying out your meal. Medium heat is your friend. It gives you more time to get it right. A simple example is a good grilled cheese sandwich. If you make it in a skillet on medium heat, it might take a while. BUT you’ll have enough time to make sure the toast is perfectly crispy without getting burned.”

  2. Taste As You Cook

    “At various stages of cooking, while safe (not raw meat) taste your food as you cook it. This let’s you know if you have too much of something or too little. It also helps you develop your palate for what different seasonings do.”

  3. Double Your Spices

    “The spice measurements in most online recipes are way too small. I usually double them.”

  4. Don’t Overcrowd Meat

    “Brown meats in small batches, do not over crowd the pan. It will cause meat to sweat and will not brown properly.”

  5. Choose Quality Over Quantity When it Comes to Utensils

    “You don’t need a gazillion utensils. In your daily cooking, a basic kitchen knife already does a lot of the heavy lifting. Learn to use that properly.”

  6. Don’t Be Scared of Acid

    “A bit of citrus juice or vinegar can really make a dish pop and bring out the other flavors.”

  7. *When* You Add Garlic Matters

    “The amount of garlic flavor is dependent on WHEN you add the garlic. Add it early for light flavor, add it late for bold flavor.”

  8. Don’t Rush a “Rest” Step

    “When a recipe calls for you to let something ‘sit’ or ‘rest’, do not rush this step. Good things happen to the food in that time.”

  9. Forgo Big Pieces of Herbs

    “Herbs and spices can be annoying to eat, such as twiggy pieces of rosemary or peppercorns. Put them in a cheese cloth, or emptied out tea bag, draped in the liquid, to give their flavors but not the textures.”

  10. Elevate Your Flavors With These Unknowns Additives

    “If your dish feels like it’s missing something and you’ve already added salt, spices, and some kind of fat, try adding an acid like fruit juice, tomato, cooking wine, or vinegar. That’s often the missing flavor that can turn a bland food into a winner.”

  11. Make Peeling Garlic Easier

    “If you’re getting annoyed because it’s taking you too long to peel garlic, place an unpeeled garlic clove under the flat side of your kitchen knife and press on it with your hand. The garlic peel will separate easily and your garlic will be crushed.”

  12. Mark Up Cookbooks

    “When I use a recipe, I rank it out of ten in my recipe book. Jot a little note as to why or why not, what to change next time if anything. Sometimes who ate it, and occasion. Makes it easier when I go back to that book, then I know if I’ve already tried it and the opinion.”

  13. Take Time to Observe

    “How do ingredients act when you combine them? What happens when your put them in a pan or pot and apply heat?”

Do you have any cooking tips you’d like to add here?