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10 Dinner Tips Every Cook Needs To Know

Cooking dinner can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few essential tips and tricks, anyone can make a delicious and satisfying meal. Whether you’re a novice cook or a seasoned pro, these dinner tips will help you create a fantastic meal every time.

Overhead shot of a steak dinner on a wooden table.

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1.  Plan Ahead

The first and most crucial tip for cooking dinner is to plan ahead. Before you even start cooking, take a few minutes to think about what you want to make, what ingredients you need, and how long it will take to prepare. Create a shopping list and make sure you have all the necessary ingredients on hand.

2.  Use Fresh Ingredients

Fresh ingredients are essential for creating a delicious meal. When you’re shopping for ingredients, choose produce that’s in season and look for meat that’s fresh and high quality. Fresh ingredients will not only taste better, but they will also be more nutritious.

overhead shot of shawarma chicken with veggies, harissa, and pita bread on the side.

3.  Keep it Simple

When it comes to cooking dinner, it’s best to keep it simple like with crockpot meatloaf. Don’t try to make elaborate dishes with complicated recipes. Stick to recipes that are easy to prepare and use simple ingredients. You don’t have to be a master chef to make a delicious meal.

4.  Prep Ahead of Time

Prepping ahead of time is another essential tip for cooking dinner. Chop vegetables, marinate meat, and measure out ingredients before you start cooking. This will save you time and make the cooking process much smoother.

5.  Use the Right Tools

Having the right tools in your kitchen can make a big difference in the cooking process. Invest in quality cookware, knives, and utensils. Having the right tools will make cooking easier and more enjoyable.

Overhead shot of Instant Pot biryani on plates.

6.  Taste as You Go

Tasting as you go is an important step in cooking dinner. As you cook, taste the food to make sure it’s seasoned properly. Add salt and pepper as needed, and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

7.  Don’t Overcook the Meat

Overcooking meat is a common mistake that many cooks make. When cooking meat, like flank steak or a whole chicken, use a meat thermometer to ensure it’s cooked to the proper temperature. This will prevent overcooking and ensure that the meat is juicy and tender.

8.  Add Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices can add a lot of flavor to a dish. Experiment with different herbs and spices to find the ones you like best. Fresh herbs like basil, parsley, and cilantro can be added at the end of cooking to add a burst of freshness. Or use condiments like miso paste or chili paste in your cooking.

Overhead shot of potatoes au gratin in a casserole dish.

9.  Serve with a Side Dish

Serving your main dish with a side dish can make a big difference in the overall meal. Choose a side dish that complements the main dish and adds some variety to the meal. Some great side dishes include Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts, Air Fryer Broccolini, Potatoes au Gratin, Butter Garlic Naan, or Green Bean Salad.

10.                Enjoy the Process

Finally, it’s important to enjoy the cooking process. Cooking dinner can be a fun and rewarding experience. Take your time, savor the aromas, and enjoy the company of those you’re cooking for.

sesame chicken on a plate with pea shoots and chopsticks

The Wrap Up

Cooking dinner can be a simple and enjoyable experience with the right tips and tricks. Planning ahead is essential for creating a delicious and satisfying meal. With a little practice and patience, anyone can become a great cook and create fantastic dinners for themselves and their loved ones.

By on April 4th, 2023


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 50 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners5 Ingredient Cooking for TwoSushi at HomeThe Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. → More about Robin

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