Cooking restaurant-quality or family-favorite meals is not a skill that comes naturally to anyone. What an adored home cook and acclaimed restaurateur both have in common is that their success is the result of plenty of practice and experimenting. Save yourself time and put these five tips for better quality cooking to the test when you’re next in your kitchen: 

1. Upgrade To Induction 

If your kitchen is dated or your cooktops are not in the best condition, then you may want to consider changing things up to improve what you’re working with. Changing from gas or electric to induction cooktops can have a huge impact on your cooking. These stoves are more environmentally-friendly than alternatives as they directly heat your food rather than the pans, so you can conserve energy and time to focus on other parts of your cooking. Just be sure that you also stock up on appropriate induction cookware sets. Pots and pans that are not induction-compatible can damage your cooking and become damaged themselves from being used incorrectly.

2. Use The Right Knife 

A good, quality knife collection is a kitchen essential that is often overlooked. Unless you’re camping or setting up a holiday home you rarely visit, you simply cannot expect to use the same knife for all dishes. This will make any chef cringe but more importantly can make home cooking more tedious than necessary. The three types of knives you need for home cooking should be a chef’s knife or something strong and shorter for everyday use, something slender for delicate jobs like filleting fish and a serrated knife for bread. 

3. Know All Your Ingredients 

It sounds obvious but this rule for better quality and healthier meals can be surprisingly easy to miss, especially if you purchase anything pre-prepared like sauces, dressings and condiments. Can you name every ingredient in that pre-packaged pasta paste with the Italian name? Chances are that this is how your fresh meals end up compromised with additives, sugars and flavor enhancers with names you probably cannot identify. Simplify and go for a tomato passata base made from tomatoes – or go from scratch and make your own purée. This way, you’re in control of the flavors on your plate and your tastebuds will thank you.

4. Taste Testing As You Go 

Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to blind seasoning, or over-reliance on other people’s recipes. Everybody has different tastes and desires when it comes to their ideal meals. An easy way for you to improve any home-cooked meal is to take the time to taste test your food while you’re cooking. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with your ingredients and get an understanding of how different flavors interact and change your meal. Plus, it allows you time to troubleshoot any issues fast and bring your flavors back in balance before it’s too late.

5. Always Let Meat and Baked Goods Rest Before Serving

No matter how tempting the finished meal appears or smells, you must restrain yourself and let your beautiful Sunday roast or freshly-baked bread loaf settle before cutting or plating it up. Make this mistake and you will instantly undo all the benefits of the above points and ruin the final meal in look and taste. 

None of these tips requires much time, nor professional chef training. Keep them in mind and you’ll notice better results in your cooking by next mealtime.