Kitchen Confidential: 12 Culinary Secrets To Elevate Your Cooking Skills

Cooking vegetables, step seven, seasoning


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Happy young interracial couple standing by the stove while cooking together in the kitchen at home. Young caucasian man looking and smelling steamy food while it cooks on the stove

Started From the Bottom

Cooking can often feel like an uphill battle — especially when you're striving to achieve the mouthwatering results you see on cooking shows, but always end up with dishes that look and taste mediocre. But just because you aren't a professional chef doesn't mean you can't whip up delicious meals. When it comes to cooking, having a few tricks up your sleeve can make all the difference. 

From adding butter to scrambled eggs to incorporating acid to help dishes pop, here are 12 best-kept cooking secrets Redditors say will help bring your food to new levels.

Scrambled eggs, omelets, delicious morning breakfast

Add Butter to Scrambled Eggs

One Redditor shared how their boyfriend thinks they have "magical scrambling powers" because their scrambled eggs "always taste so good." The trick? Adding butter, they say. Most users agreed with the hack, with one writing, "Literally mixing a bit of butter into your scrambled eggs makes them taste a million times better." We have to agree as well — you can never go wrong with buttery, silky eggs. 

Butter curl and butter knife on a wooden cutting board

... And to Everything Else, Too

But the use of butter doesn't stop at scrambled eggs, Redditors say. Butter can be used in just about anything to make food taste creamier and more delicious. "Everyone always asks why my mashed potatoes are so good. There's no secret, it's just a hideous amount of butter and heavy cream," writes one user. "Buttah makes it bettah," another user succinctly puts it. 

Ground Yellow Mustard Spilled from a Teaspoon
Michelle Lee Photography/istockphoto

Use Dry Mustard

"When making homemade mac and cheese, I season with the secret ingredient: dry mustard," writes one user. Dry mustard, or mustard powder, can amplify flavors and provide a tangy kick to soups, pasta, dips, and even salad dressings. "Dry mustard is a great ingredient," says another Redditor, adding, "A chef friend had me add it to a homemade onion dip and I was hooked."

Apple cider vinegar and apples.
Vadym Sirobaba/istockphoto

Add Citrus or Vinegar To Enhance Flavors

"A decent aged balsamic vinegar adds depth to almost anything," writes one user, adding, "I use a 25 year in literally almost everything, chili, spaghetti, whatever. It’s a fantastic addition, and you only need a tiny bit." Others agreed with the tip, with one saying that citrus or vinegar helps to brighten flavors and cut through fat to bring out more flavor.

Related: 11 Easy and Delicious Salad Dressings You Can Make at Home

Baked chicken wings in Air Fryer on white table background.

Make Use of the Air Fryer

Air fryers provide a healthier alternative to traditional fried foods thanks to their ability to achieve that same crispy, crunchy exterior with significantly less oil. And they work particularly great with chicken recipes. Chicken can be a tricky protein if not cooked and seasoned properly, often turning out bland or dry. 

"Chicken wings cooked in an air fryer are the only way I'd cook them now," writes one Redditor. "Perfectly crispy outside, juicy inside."

Related: 40 Cheap Air Fryer Recipes to Cut Calories Not Flavor

canned anchovy fillets

Use Anchovies or Worcestershire Sauce To Infuse Flavors

If you're a fan of anchovies, you can use them as a base to infuse deeper flavors in sauces, soups, and stews. "I add smashed up anchovies or anchovy paste to my dressings, pasta sauces, gravy... no one can pin the taste and everyone loves it," writes one user. Another user suggests adding Worcestershire sauce to enhance flavors. "Like liquid anchovies, [Worcestershire] adds a deeper savory flavor to anything."

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Preparing a Monte Cristo Sandwich

Don't Overstuff Sandwiches

Another user shares how loosely arranging meats on sandwiches can help them look and (perhaps) taste better. "Air is the secret ingredient in deli-style sandwiches," writes the user, adding, "The same amount of meat, arranged loosely, rather than stacked tightly, not only seems more generous, but actually tastes (or at least smells) better because more flavonoids reach your nose." Seems pretty legit to us — plus you get to save money on cold cuts

Related: 16 of the Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches in America

Ground nutmeg in a wooden spoon

Incorporate Nutmeg Into Dairy Recipes

One user suggests incorporating nutmeg into recipes that call for dairy. "Add a pinch of nutmeg to anything with dairy in it, you can't taste the nutmeg, but it makes the dairy richer and taste better," they write. Known for its warm and aromatic flavor, nutmeg is commonly used in desserts, but it can enhance savory dishes as well. "Nutmeg is my secret ingredient in New England clam chowder," adds another Redditor.

Related: The Wildest Desserts to Try Across America

monosodium glutamate (MSG) or seasoning ,gourmet powder on wooden table
Herbs and Spices

When in Doubt, Add Paprika and Turmeric

"Needs more flavor? Smoked paprika and turmeric combo should do the trick for MANY things," writes one user. Paprika and turmeric infuse dishes with an aromatic, earthy flavor and vibrant color, while turmeric also has anti-inflammatory benefits to help make your meals healthier. 

Looking for more seasoning blends to spruce up your spice rack? We've got you covered with these 11 seasoning blends you can make at home. 

RelatedSpice Up Easy, Frugal Meals With These Redditor-Approved Seasoning Blends

Homemade Warm Hot Chocolate

Add a Pinch of Salt to Hot Cocoa

Adding a pinch of salt to your hot cocoa can help enhance the chocolate notes and give it more depth. "Adding salt to hot chocolate doesn't make it salty at all, but it makes it somehow more chocolatey," writes one user, adding, "Everyone always says my hot chocolate is the best, but I just use prepackaged [cocoa] with milk and a dash of salt."

Related18 Cheap Recipes That Celebrate Chocolate

Chicken broth, bouillon, clear soup.

Substitute Water for Chicken Broth

Another smart way to enhance your dishes and make them taste richer is by swapping out water for chicken, vegetable, or beef broth. "When water is called for in a recipe, I use chicken broth instead. It has never not been way better," writes one user. Using bone broth in dishes like soups and stews not only adds more flavor, but also infuses them with nutrients and helps with hydration. 

Related: 30 Easy Soup Recipes That Last for Days