33 completely outdated cooking rules

“I know it’s not that to the right gone, but it’s good enough for me.”

People talk a lot about cooking rules and best practices. But sometimes the best results come from getting a little creative in the kitchen. So Redditor asked u/Suspicious-Account-9, “What’s one cooking rule you keep ignoring? Here’s what people said.


“Most people throw away a whole block of cheese if there’s a bit of mold on it. But if I find a hint of mold on a hard cheese, I generally just chop off the piece of mold with a knife and continue enjoying the rest.”


“When you cook ground beef, so many recipes tell you to drain the fat. But I never do. Fat is taste. I use the rendered fat to cook the rest of my ingredients like veggies. The end results taste so much better when cooked in beef fat.”


“I always use more herbs and spices than a recipe calls for. I think most recipes written for the American audience that come from the kitchens of other countries are extremely stingy with herbs and spices. My Italian wife calls it ‘Italian food for Americans’. These dishes taste bland. It takes a lot of experience to know exactly how to use herbs and spices properly, but anyone can start by gradually increasing the suggested amounts and see how it tastes.”


“Steak has to be ‘undercooked’ according to all the hype, but I break that ‘rule’ quite often, sometimes well done, but never extremely rarely.”


“While most recipes call for olive oil, I rarely use it. I don’t really get the point. It costs a lot more than other oils like canola and vegetable oils and has such a low smoke point. It’s far too easy to burn your food by cooking with it. I mostly use a neutral oil like vegetable oil for cooking, and then I have a nice bottle of olive oil on hand to drizzle over as a garnish or to make marinades.


“When cooking with a Crock Pot or Instant Pot, most recipes tell you to sear or brown the meat before adding the rest of the ingredients. But honestly, I’ve tried searing the meat first many times and it’s not noticeable enough difference in flavor to be worth the time. If I’m using my slow cooker, I’m probably having a busy day and can’t be bothered.


“I’ve heard people say not to put tomatoes or other acids in cast iron, but my cast iron dutch oven is fine after years of cooking Bolognese and other tomato-based dishes in it. The same goes for cooking with wine in cast iron.”


“Salad dressing recipes like to tell you to slowly mix in the oil as you stir. No, I just put all the oil in a jar with the rest of the ingredients and shake well. It always tastes good enough for me.”


“I’ve heard that you should only use white wine in fish and chicken dishes, as opposed to red wine. But this rule cries out to be broken. Just look at coq au vin.”


“I always rinse mushrooms. The whole ‘wipe gently with kitchen paper’ stuff is total nonsense. Take 2 or 3 mushrooms, hold them under lukewarm running water and roll them around between your hands. Then place them on a grid to drain excess water. You’re basically scrubbing yourself.”


“I know that risotto is traditionally made with white wine, and it actually looks better. But I often make risotto (like mushroom risotto) with red wine.


“I eat raw cookie dough and cake batter without hesitation. While I understand salmonella is a risk, it’s a pretty small one. I’m willing to live dangerously when it comes to raw cookie dough.”


“Most pasta recipes call for bringing a large pot of water to a boil. When I do end up dousing the noodles with some kind of sauce, I almost always use far less water than I need to—actually, I use just enough to cover the uncooked noodles about two inches. This serves two purposes: First, the water comes to a boil much faster. Second, it leaves some super starchy pasta water that’s perfect for helping each individual pasta stick onto all that delicious sauce.”


“If a salad recipe says to tear up large lettuce leaves, I just slice them. In the end, my salad always stays just as fresh, crunchy and delicious.”


“Recipes will tell you to add the liquid slowly when making a roux from scratch, but when making a sauce with a roux I add the liquid all at once while the roux is hot and the liquid is real cold is not afraid of a lumpy sauce.”


“People always say never wash cast iron skillets with soap and they make sure it’s a big deal. Apparently that’s just an old rule from the days when soap contained lye and other spicy things, and I believe in it. These days, a bit of soap won’t hurt your cast iron. I wash mine with soap all the time and they’re fine.”


“If a recipe says to cook a piece of chicken whole, I almost always slice it before cooking. Not only will it cook faster, but everything will cook at the same time. No more overcooked or dry bits. I always smash the breast with butterflies, pound it to the same thickness and cut into fillets. Otherwise, the small end of the breast will be overcooked and dry by the time the larger side is cooked. This is an easy extra step, makes a huge difference in flavor and looks so much better when plated.”


“I always, always use salted butter, even if a recipe calls for unsalted. I find that everything tastes so much better with it, especially when used in sweet baked goods.”


“I never use white pepper, even if a recipe calls for it. I once bought ground white pepper for a recipe I made (because white sauces shouldn’t have black pepper) and I still haven’t made a dent in it. I much prefer freshly ground black pepper if I plan to use it. I don’t care if pepper flakes are visible.”


“I almost always add citrus fruits like lemon or vinegar to dishes, even if it’s not necessary. Always. Add acid to ‘help’ a dish, what’s missing is acid. Lemon juice, vinegar, or citric acid (if you have them) transform a dish in surprising ways. And honestly, it never hurts a dish, in my opinion.”


“People talk a lot about making broth from scratch, but it’s time-consuming. Rather than making my own homemade broth, I find bouillon cubes (like Better Than Boullion) work quite well. They taste really great in most dishes…pretty much imperceptibly from homemade stock IMO.”


“I usually use dried herbs, even if a recipe specifically calls for fresh ones. I even grow fresh herbs on my windowsill, but I still often prefer dried ones, depending on what I’m cooking. Unless you’re constantly cooking fresh herbs – they cost a lot of money and can go bad quickly (even if you use hacks to keep them fresh or chop and freeze them)”


“I almost never measure dried spices properly. In fact, measuring ingredients in general has never been my forte. For each of the spices I use when cooking a dish, a teaspoon is just a little bit in the palm of my hand, a tablespoon more than that, and anything less than a teaspoon is just a pinch. People always rave about “how flavorful” my food is, and that’s because using dried spices is entirely subjective.”


“I don’t pay much attention to the type of onion I cook with. When a recipe calls for an onion, I pretty much disregard the color of the onion it ‘requires’. I use whatever onion I have available and I honestly don’t think it changes a dish all that much.”


“Unless the flour you’re baking with is dead old or full of noticeable lumps, I really don’t think there’s a need to sift it every time you use it. Just make sure you beat it thoroughly into your batter or batter, and there’s virtually no difference in the texture of your baked goods.


“No matter how much garlic or vanilla a recipe calls for, I always use at least double or triple it. It’s always a good idea.”


“I’m ignoring that old ‘rule’ about not mixing seafood and cheese. I can give you many instances where the two go beautifully together: “parmesan crusted fish, cheesy garlic shrimp, lobster macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and clams with garlic and pecorino, etc.”


“I fill up the pan almost every time I make bacon and it always comes out perfectly fine and deliciously crispy.”


“I don’t just add eggs one at a time while baking and beat them slowly. All the eggs and the vanilla get thrown in the bowl and whipped at the same time and you know what, it always turns out good.”


“I hear a lot of cooking snobs hate garlic in a jar. But minced garlic (the stuff in jars) is actually convenient and delicious when used properly. I still use fresh garlic often, but for the sake of the other stuff, I’ve gotten off my high horse and have it on hand for lazy opportunities.”


“I never rinse canned beans. I’m sorry, not sorry.”


“Recipes tell you to cook risotto by adding the broth little by little and stirring little by little. But I’m here to say that you can make a perfect homemade risotto by adding all of the broth at once. And it just takes a few stirs, not all that constant attention.”


“I’ve been defrosting meat on the counter for 30 years and I’m perfectly fine. I don’t believe any of that “keep it in the fridge overnight” nonsense.”

Are there cooking rules you want to break in your home kitchen? Tell us in the comments below!

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