10 Terrible Kitchen Habits You’re Totally Guilty Of Doing | 22 Words

You probably think you have this whole cooking thing figured out. You can scramble eggs. You can mash potatoes. Heck, maybe you can even flip an omelet using only one hand.

But I bet there are still some rookie mistakes you're making in the kitchen. How many of these bad habits are you guilty of?

1. You're not using enough salt.

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Real chefs season at every step of the cooking process. In most cases, that means you're adding salt before, during and after you cook your dish. Now, I'm not saying to add a full teaspoon of salt every five minutes, but you definitely shouldn't only be adding salt once your dish is already on the plate.
You need enough salt to bring out the natural flavors of your dish. What you don't want is for your food to just taste, well, salty. That's why it's important to taste and season as you go.

2. You're not adding acid to your dish.

If you've ever felt like your dish is missing something (and you definitely already added enough salt), it's probably acid. Acid can come in the form of juice from any citrus fruit or a dollop of vinegar.
Similarly to the way salt brings out the natural flavors of food, acid adds a lot of depth and brightness to your dish. For best results, make sure everything you cook has both salt and acid. (And again, taste as you go so you can adjust the amounts as necessary!)

3. You're not letting your pan heat up before dumping food into it.

This might sound crazy, but food gets cooked when heat is added to it. (I know. Mind-blowing stuff, here.) If you're cooking a steak, you should be preheating your cast iron skillet for a full 30 minutes before you even think about putting the meat in. In the same vein, if yu're using oil to cook your food, make sure it's also up to temperature before you put any food in the pan. Actually, now that we're talking about oil, there's something else you're probably doing incorrectly...

4. You're using the wrong kind of oil.

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A lot of amateur cooks use extra virgin olive oil for pretty much everything, but that is actually not the best option. See, olive oil has a pretty low smoking point.
This means that the oil itself may start to smoke or even burn at a lower temperature than what you need to cook your food at. Obviously, that can be dangerous, but it can also make your food taste really bad.
If you're going to be cooking at high heat, you want to use an oil with a higher smoking point like canola, peanut, or sunflower oil. Extra virgin olive oil is great for cooking at low temperatures but is best suited for salad dressings and drizzling over dips like hummus.

5. You're not prepping your food before you start cooking.

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You know when you watch a cooking show and the chef has all their ingredients pre-chopped and sitting in those fancy little bowls? As it turns out, that's because it's way easier to do all your prep before you start cooking.
This means chopping all your fruits and vegetables, preparing any fresh seasonings you'll be using, and pre-measuring out things like broth, rice, or pasta. If you don't prepare your ingredients, cooking becomes a lot of stopping and starting while you get everything together, and the quality of your food will definitely suffer as a result.

6. You're burning your garlic.

Nothing ruins a dish quite like burnt garlic. It's super bitter and has an unpleasant texture as well.
A lot of recipes actually call for you to add garlic to the pan first thing — do not do this! Think about it: If garlic is the first thing in the pan, it's going to be cooking the longest. That's a great way for it to get burnt. Instead, add your garlic later — and make sure the pan isn't too hot when you do.

7. You're not patting your proteins dry.

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When you cook a protein (whether it's beef, chicken, tofu, or something else), what you typically want is a nice caramelized crust.
But if the protein is wet, that moisture could form a kind of barrier between the meat and the oil and prevent you from getting a good sear. Plus, adding water to hot oil could result in dangerous oil splashes.

8. You constantly stir the pan.

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Remember what we just said about wanting a nice sear on whatever you're cooking? Well, that's not gonna happen if you're constantly stirring your pan. Let the food rest in there and give it time to develop some color (a.k.a flavor).

9. You're using the wrong measuring tools.

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Liquid measuring cups are only to be used for liquids. Solid measuring cups are only to be used for solids.
This is especially important for baking, which is obviously an exact science, but it should be kept in mind for any cooking you do. The measurements between liquid and solid cups is not the same.

10. You're not letting your meat rest.

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Look, I get it. You just cooked a beautiful juicy steak. It has a brilliant sear, the perfect grill marks, and maybe even some (non-burnt) garlic butter on top.
Sorry, but you can't eat it. Not yet, anyway.
For best results, you really want to let your meat rest before you cut into it. You should wait between 10 and 20 minutes to cut into a roast and a minimum of 5 minutes before cutting into a steak. If you do, less juice will run out of the meat — which means it will stay in the meat, keeping it moist and delicious. You're welcome.