Cooking Methods

Methods | Baking Bread

The French were the first to realize that proper cooking methods are the absolute foundation of all good food. The best ingredients in the world can be ruined if you don't know how to prepare them in the right way. Here are some of the most common cooking methods in any culinarian's arsenal.

Image Creative Commons by Lars Plougmann

Basic Cooking Methods

Baking: Method and Recipes

Methods | Baking | Pastries

Baking is a way of cooking sweet or savory items in the dry heat of an oven. Although baking itself is a relatively easy process, it is good to have some knowledge of the role each ingredient plays in creating the final dish. Read more »

Barbecuing: Method and Recipes

Methods | Barbecuing

Nothing beats the deep, rich flavor of good barbecue. In the United States, barbecue refers to the slow, indirect cooking of meats over a wood, charcoal or gas flame. The meat is often seasoned with rubs, sauces or mops. Read more »

Braising: Method and Recipes

Methods | Braising | Lamb Shank

Braising is a way of cooking meat, fish, seafood or vegetables by first searing the item in hot fat, and then simmering it, covered, in liquid to finish. Braising differs from stewing in that the item to be cooked is usually in large pieces, as opposed to smaller pieces for stews. Also, the amount of liquid used in braising is less than for stewing, normally barely covering half of the item to be braised. Read more »

Deep Frying: Method and Recipes

Methods | Deep Frying Image

Who doesn't love fried food? Deep frying may not be the most calorie-poor way to prepare food, but it certainly produces some of the world's tastiest. The high heat of the oil seals in a food's moisture and crisps up the outside, giving that irresistable pairing of crunchy and juicy. Read more »

Grilling: Method and Recipes

Methods | Grilling Image

Grilling is the quick cooking of meat, fish or vegetables over intense heat. The source of the heat can be burning wood, simmering coals, a gas flame, or an electric heating element. A related method is broiling, but with broiling the heat source comes from the top instead of the bottom. Read more »

Poaching: Method and Recipes

Methods | Poaching | Eggs Benedict

Poaching is a great way of cooking foods that cuts fat, enhances flavor and keeps delicate foods from turning tough. This simple cooking method involves slow simmering eggs, meat, poultry, fish, seafood or fruit in a flavorful liquid just long enough to cook it through. Read more »

Preserving: Method and Recipes

Methods | Preserving Image

In harder days before the refrigerator, the only way to get food to last through lean times was through various methods of preservation. Drying, curing, brining, pickling, fermenting and smoking are just some of the ways our ancestors stretched the harvest and the bounty of the hunt. These methods have all survived modernization simply because they make so much food so tasty. Read more »

Roasting: Method and Recipes

Methods | Roasting Image

Roasting is the slow cooking of meat, poultry, fish or vegetables, uncovered, with dry, indirect heat. Spit roasting was the original form. In the modern kitchen, the dry heat of an oven is preferred. Roasting is a method best used with large cuts of meat, whole poultry, whole fish, or with sturdy vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and onions. Read more »

Sautéing: Method and Recipes

Methods | Sauteing | Saute Pan

Sautéing is one of the easiest and quickest methods of cooking. It generally consists of searing portion-sized cuts of meat or fish in hot oil on both sides to brown. The meat or fish is then removed, and the remaining bits and juices in the pan (the fond) are incorporated into either a pre-made sauce or the sauce is made directly in the pan. While it's not totally necessary to make a sauce out of the fond, most respectable chefs consider it a sinful waste of flavor not to. Read more »

Steaming: Method and Recipes

Methods | Steaming

As the term implies, steaming involves suspending food over simmering or boiling water and cooking it with the resulting steam. Steaming as a method is valued for the fact that it preserves vitamins and minerals in the food that might otherwise be washed away with boiling. It is also a way to cut back on fat, since none is needed, unlike sauteing or grilling. Read more »

Stewing: Method and Recipes

Methods | Stewing Image

When chunks of meat, seafood or vegetables are slow-simmered in a flavorful liquid brew, the result is a warming, comforting dish called a stew. Slow, moist cooking is the best way to tenderize tough cuts of meat (which happen to also be the most flavorful). Stews are also a great way to use up leftovers. And speaking of leftovers, most stews are more flavorful the next day. Read more »

Stir Frying: Method and Recipes

Methods | Stir Frying Image

Stir frying is a way of quick cooking foods with a small amount of oil over high heat. This ingenious cooking method from the East preserves the flavor, freshness and nutrients of a dish's ingredients. Since cooking goes so quickly, the main thing to remember when stir frying is to have all your ingredients prepared and close at hand before you begin cooking. Read more »