Over the past year, even those of us who were ardent proponents of eating out has been forced to turn on the stove and have a go at home cooking. For many, the switch from dining out every day to cooking all meals at home has been a blessing. Surveys have consistently shown that the vast majority of Americans plan to continue cooking at home more often going forward, with many enjoying a newfound confidence in the kitchen.

If you feel like you aren't quite there yet and want to know how to get better at cooking, there is no need to worry. All you need is a few very simple cooking tips that will change how you approach the kitchen. Read this essential guide to cooking for beginners to learn exactly how to level up your culinary prowess.

1. Salt is Your Friend

One of the most important cooking tips to keep in mind is that salt is the most important ingredient for pretty much any dish. It is not just seasoning in itself. It also works to activate flavours in the food you are cooking and plays a crucial role in texture and tenderness. That is why any Italian will tell you that your pasta water should be as salty as the sea, or why you see professional grill masters rubbing copious amounts of salt on a prime steak. It just works.

2. Know When It's Done

This one is a skill that few people have right off the bat, but it is essential if you want to get good at cooking or knowing how to grill. Do not always trust the timer or the recipe, as those numbers will depend on the kitchen, foodstuffs, and equipment used by the person who wrote the recipe. Use your own judgment and look for the telltale signs that your dish is complete.

3. Get the Right Equipment for the Job

There is no getting around this one. If you genuinely want the best results every time you cook, it means investing in the right equipment and not cutting corners. At a basic level, it means investing in high-quality kitchen knives and a woodblock cutting board. For specific types of cooking, always go for the industry standard. For example, if you want grilling tips, you should ideally opt for a Blackstone Griddle, as this is widely recognized as the best machine for the job.

4. Have a Fully Stocked Spice Rack

99% of dishes that don't turn out as planned happen because of an insufficient spice rack. You should always be proactive in filling your spice rack to make sure you have everything you could possibly need in a pinch. Remember, you only need to buy a particular spice once and then you have it in your home for potentially dozens of meals.

5. Don't Crowd the Pan

Keeping it short and sweet for the finale: do not crowd your pan/baking tray/skillet. This is especially true when sautéing. If your pan is too crowded, your food won't cook evenly and it won't sear. Be patient and make sure there is always plenty of breathing room in the pan.

Your Culinary Questions, Answered

Knowing how to get better at cooking is not something that happens overnight. It takes practice and plenty of know-how. For this, we have got you covered. Make sure to check out our daily food tips to become a real master in the kitchen.