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Salt everything. Yes—everything.

Homemade Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Whether you’re a hesitant beginner or a consummate professional, everyone who sets foot in a kitchen needs a refresher on the basics sometimes. Here, in no particular order, Delish editors walk you through the cooking tips that changed their lives—and the ones they know will change yours, too.

Take notes as you go.

Recipe Binder/Notebook
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Did you love Ina’s perfect roast chicken recipe but hate the onion-to-garlic ratio? You won’t remember that when you pull the recipe back out a year from now—but the Post-It you left on the page reminding you so will help.

Read the recipe all the way through before you start.

Woman cooking in kitchen
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If nothing else, it’ll prevent you from keeping a very hot oven on for too long.

Save bacon fat.

bacon sizzlin' at camp
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There is no limit to how many things you can do with your leftover bacon grease. Fry your eggs in it. Fry your potatoes in it. Make a damn bacon candle! The possibilities are endless.

Put a damp paper towel under your cutting board.

Preparing Julienned Vegetables for Korean Pancakes Close Up
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This prevents it from swiveling around while you’re trying to do something with a very sharp knife.

Set your timer for a few minutes less than the called-for time.

Close up of tray of homemade bread rolls
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Not only do all ovens heat differently, but you’ll also never really know how yours handles a new protein or veggie at first. That’s all to say you can always fix an undercooked situation—there’s nothing to be done once you go over.

Season and taste as you go.

Smells yummy
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Never just season at the end. It’ll be too far gone.

Trust yourself!

Stuffed pasta gone wrong
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If something doesn’t look quite right, it probably isn’t. You know more about the food you’re cooking than you think.

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Add a little salt to everything. Yes, everything.

Woman adding salt to cooking pot on stove
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One editor explains you should even salt dessert: “It helps to bring out, accentuate, and deepen all sorts of flavors and will help your sweet treats taste more complex.”

If you bake, buy a scale.

A baker pouring liquid from a copper jug into a bowl with flour and ingredients for dough.
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Baking is a science, after all. Would you mess with what’s called for in a science experiment?

Clean as you go.

Closeup of wooden table surface in kitchen with messy dirty cooking preparation bakery dusted with starch, flour background
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Rather than allowing a mess to pile up as you go, take little breaks to clean the surfaces and tools you’ve already used. Even though it might not feel like it in the moment, it’ll save you time and stress later.

Never use damp oven mitts.

Mid section of young women holding stuffed baguette on baking tin
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Mince garlic by hand.

Mincing garlic. Making Potato and Leek Filo Pie. Series.
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Garlic presses are a waste of money—they compromise the texture of your beloved allium, take time to clean, and actually slow things down.

Pull cookies out before they’re done.

Taking sheet of cookies out of the oven
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Again—it’s always better to undercook than overcook. And cookies will continue to cook on the tray after you take them out of the oven.

Put a paper towel on your cutting board.

Fresh Strawberries
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If you have more than one thing you need to chop, this saves you an immense amount of time cleaning.

Print out your recipes.

Healthy eating is just a tap away
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Because no one wants raw egg all over her iPhone.

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