30 Kitchen Skills to Master Before You Turn 30
Can you cut up a chicken or frost a cake? Learning to cook is an ongoing process, but these are the techniques we think you should know and use now.
Whether you're living on your own for the first time or want to curb a habit of ordering takeout every day, there are some basic cooking and baking skills that everyone should learn by the time they turn 30. While these skills are beneficial on their own, they'll be even more helpful when you learn how to pair them together. Knowing how to make homemade vegetable stock, dice vegetables, and cut up a whole chicken are all useful skills, but put them together and you're well on your way to making homemade soup. You can whip up a fresh batch of buttercream, then follow our instructions for properly filling and frosting that layer cake you baked.
You may have even heard that a sharp knife is a cook's best tool, which is why we believe that an essential skill every home cook should know is how to sharpen knives of any size. Pro chefs will say that they should be sharpened after each use, but aim for once a week at a minimum. Another skill that will keep your cookware in good shape is learning how to clean a cast-iron skillet. This versatile pan can be used for both sweet and savory recipes and is a must-have for home cooks of every level.
We will also teach you how to make homemade pie crust, properly cook both fresh and dried pasta, and season any dish with salt. From here, you can cook anything for anyone, anytime. Ahead, we're sharing 30 of the most essential skills for home cooks to learn by the time of their 30th birthday.
How to Measure Wet and Dry Ingredients
Know this: Not all measuring tools are created equal and not all ingredients—whether it be a liquid, something dry, or a sticky in-between substance such as honey or molasses—can be measured using the same tools. It's important that you own both short measuring cups for dry ingredients and glass measuring cups for liquids.
How to Season with Salt
How to Cut Vegetables
What does it mean when a recipe calls for the onion or a carrot to be diced, and how do you get all the pieces the same size? Once you master this technique, use diced vegetables as the base for mirepoix (carrots, celery, and onions) and add them to soups, stew fillings, or pasta.
How to Fill and Frost a Cake
With the right tools and techniques, you can cut, layer, and decorate a cake that looks perfectly Instagram-worthy. Hint: We suggest investing a rotating cake stand, a long serrated knife, an offset spatula, and an ice-cream scoop to get filling and frosting right every time.
How to Make Pie Crust
How to Make Stock
How to Cook Pasta
How to Gauge When Meat is Cooked
Learn the right temperature for rare to well-done meat using a meat thermometer and the touch of your finger.
How to Make a Vinaigrette
How to Make a Roux
For soups and sauces, this is the essential thickener. It's a starchy base made from equal parts of butter and flour.
How to Butcher a Whole Chicken
Save some cash by cutting up a whole chicken for a braise or stew. It's an easy technique to learn; do it a couple of times and you'll master dividing a chicken into eight (or ten) tidy pieces.
How to Mix the Perfect Cocktail
How to Chop an Onion
How to Brew Coffee
How to Roast Vegetables
How to Make Scrambled Eggs
How to Pit an Avocado
How to Sharpen Knives
How to Roll Out Cookie Dough
Cookie dough that's too thick won't bake properly, but a dough that's too thin may result in the cookies falling apart or burning. Learn how to roll out a fresh batch of cut-out cookie dough and prevent the dough from sticking to a cutting board.
How to Melt Chocolate
How to Make Whipped Cream
Skip store-bought and make your own whipped cream with just two ingredients: heavy cream and sugar. Add flavored extracts such as vanilla, almond, rose, or lemon to enhance the flavor of homemade whipped cream.
How to Cook Crispy Bacon
How to Make Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
How to Choose Pots and Pans
Every beginner cook should own one to two saucepans, a nonstick pan, skillet, and stockpot. From stainless steel to copper, find the right material and set of cookware for your cooking needs.