There are lots of tips and tricks out there when it comes to cooking, but did you know that most of them aren’t even true? These common cooking myths could be ruining your food without you even realizing it.
It seems like the better someone is at cooking, the more stubborn they tend to be about their ideas surrounding food. Sure, some of them are probably correct, but there are also many common myths about cooking that aren’t true in the slightest.
Take your kitchen skills to the next level by forgetting you ever heard these popular cooking myths.
Milk makes scrambled eggs softer.
Scrambled eggs truly aren’t that hard to make, and they only require a few simple ingredients. But if you’ve been adding milk or cream to yours, it’s a habit that needs to stop today. Doing so can make your eggs thinner before cooking, which can then make it easier for them to get overcooked, since you’ll have to keep them over heat longer to let the mixture set.
If anything, just add some butter to your eggs or mix in a little sour cream when they’re almost done cooking.
Smoothies should use fresh fruit.
Sure, it’s ideal for us all to be eating fresh fruits and vegetables, but when you're making smoothies, frozen really is better, especially when it comes to taste. If you use fresh fruit in smoothies, you typically have to add ice not only to make them cold but also to give them a thicker texture.
Unfortunately, though, this often ends up diluting the taste of the smoothie, making you wish you would’ve just eaten the fruit plain. Using frozen fruit, on the other hand, essentially combines the fruit and ice in one ingredient, and it won’t water down your drink over time.
Flip steaks only once.
It has long been said that you should put a steak on the grill and leave it alone until you’re ready to flip, because this method will help the meat develop a good sear. As it turns out, you can still achieve this even if you flip your steak more than once, and it’ll help it cook more evenly, too.
Don’t go too overboard, but give your steak a flip or rotation every now and then to prevent one side from getting too hot or not cooking at the same rate as the rest of it.
Oil makes boiling pasta less sticky.
It makes sense to add oil to boiling water while you’re making pasta—the pasta tends to stick together right when you put it in the water, so the oil can help prevent that.
But what it also does is coat your cooked pasta, which, yes, prevents it from sticking together but it also prevents your sauce from sticking to it. Not exactly what you want. The simple solution is to just stir the pasta until it’s cooked enough that it won’t stick together.
Peppers’ heat lies in the seeds.
Many recipes using hot peppers often suggest that you can make the dish less spicy by just removing the seeds before adding the pepper to the recipe. However, the seeds actually contain very small amounts of capsaicin, the substance that gives peppers their heat.
The highest concentrations are found within the white membranes of the peppers, which is where the seeds are. The seeds themselves aren’t hot, but they’re often coated in capsaicin because they sit within the membrane.
You can mash whole potatoes.
Mashed potatoes seem like they’d be a pretty simple dish to make, but they’re actually incredibly easy to mess up. Aside from cooking the potatoes for too long, some people think that just boiling whole potatoes will end up working out, but they’re sadly mistaken.
When you make mashed potatoes, it’s important to cut the potatoes into pieces that are all around the same size so they cook evenly. Toss in whole potatoes and the outside will be cooked while the inside remains raw.
Steel-cut oats reign supreme.
For some time now, many people seem to think that steel-cut oats are superior to rolled oats for whatever reason. We’re not quite sure where the rumor started, but the only difference between them is just how they’re processed.
The name rolled oats is pretty literal, as they’re just oats that are rolled flat, whereas steel-cut oats are chopped oat kernels. It’s ultimately up to your taste buds which you like better, but rolled oats kind of win in every category—they take less time to cook, they're creamier and softer, and they’re usually cheaper.
You can soften butter in the microwave.
When making things like cakes and cookies, most people won’t remember to take out butter for the recipe ahead of time so it can soften. The quick and obvious solution is the microwave, but softening butter in the microwave could actually be messing up your recipes.
When butter gets to a certain temperature, it doesn’t cream as well as it should. And the microwave can melt some parts of the butter and not others. In a pinch, grating the butter can help it soften quickly without melting any of it.
You can skip searing meat for stew.
Most stew recipes call for you to brown the meat before adding any other ingredients, but there are some who may wonder what that actually does.
If you’ve ever been told to skip this step, forget that advice—it actually adds a ton of flavor to the dish that you can’t try to fake by adding other ingredients.
Sandwich bread makes good French toast.
Ultimately, you can make French toast however you’d like, and if all you have is white sandwich bread, it might end up satisfying your craving. This is pretty much the worst bread to use for French toast, however, because it’s too “fresh” and soft.
The point of French toast is to use up old stale bread that you have around because it soaks up the egg mixture, making it soft again. Using bread that’s already soft will just result in a mushy mess, even if it has a good flavor.
You can make guac ahead of time.
Guacamole doesn’t take a ton of time to make, but it can be tempting to make anything ahead of time when you’re trying to get ready for an event. Guacamole should never be one of those things, though, because all the lime juice in the world won’t stop the avocado from slowly oxidizing.
If you absolutely have to make guacamole in advance, store it with a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of your guac so no air can touch it at all.
Marinades tenderize meat.
Most people use marinades to infuse flavor into their meat before cooking, but some also believe it can make the meat more tender. This really isn’t true, though, as most marinades will not sink into a piece of deep enough to have that much of an effect on how tender it is.
Your best chance at getting the tenderest piece of meat is to cut it correctly before you serve it or to slow cook it so all of the connective tissues break down.
Well-done meat is safer.
It is often recommended that meats are cooked to certain temperatures to protect us against food-borne illnesses, and restaurants sometimes warn that cooking meat below medium could leave bacteria intact.
However, harmful bacteria typically won’t be found deep inside a cut of meat—it’s found on the outside. This is because most meat picks up this harmful bacteria as a result of cross-contamination during processing, packaging, or cooking. Definitely cook your meat to the proper temperature, but take a little more care when it comes to preparing it while raw.
Cooked pasta should be rinsed.
Those who rinse their pasta after cooking typically do so because they either don’t want it to get any softer or because they’re using it for a cold pasta dish. Regardless of the reason, it’s not a good idea no matter how you’re using it.
It may not actually cool down the pasta as quickly as you’d think it would, and it also removes much of the starch on the outside of the pasta. Whether you’re using it hot or cold, this means that your sauce isn’t going to stick to the pasta and the dish might not taste as good.
Cooking produce removes nutrition.
It has been said that eating raw fruits and vegetables is the best way to consume produce because cooking it removes all of the nutrients.
However, eating them raw or cooked doesn’t really change doesn’t really change the nutrient profile of the food at all. In fact, cooking produce may end up making the nutrients a little easier to absorb within the body.