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Useful Tips for New Cooks

Are you interested in improving your cooking skills? Check out these simple tips and tricks to get started.

By: Kaylin Johnson, Editor, RecipeLion
Useful Tips for New Cooks

Sometimes when you're starting something new it feels like everyone knows something you don't. For any beginner cook, trying to find information can be overwhelming. How do you remember conversions? What can be used as a substitute in a certain recipe? There are so many questions to ask and answers to find. If you’ve ever found yourself questioning how to move forward while you cook, this article is for you.

Obviously, there is no one simple way to learn how to be a better cook, but this list gathers together all the most important information you need to know to excel at the basics. Make sure to check out some of the cooking hacks linked at the bottom of this article and look through our website for more. Follow these tips and you’ll be cooking delicious meals in no time.

Cooking Conversions

Cooking Conversions

When cooking or baking, there are going to be times you’ll need to convert a measurement from a recipe. If the thought of math in the kitchen leaves you a bit stressed, try not to worry. Check out this list of the basic conversions you’ll need to know. If it’s a little more than what you can do in your head, a phone calculator should get the job done quick. Be sure to remember the difference between volume and weight. Volume is typically used for liquid ingredients while weight is used for dry ingredients.

  1. 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons
  2. 4 tablespoons = ¼ cup
  3. 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces
  4. 2 cups = 1 pint
  5. 2 pints = 1 quart
  6. 4 quarts = 1 gallon
  1. 1 ounce = 28 grams
  2. 1 pound = 16 ounces
  3. 1 kilogram = 1,000 grams = 2.2 pounds

Food Substitutions

It’s possible that you may come across a recipe containing an ingredient you do not have. Or maybe you have chosen not to cook with a particular ingredient. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up on that recipe. There are many ingredients which can be substituted for more readily available ingredients. This is also a way to make a recipe healthier or to fit your lifestyle.

  • Almond Milk – Dairy Milk
  • Plain Greek Yogurt – Sour Cream
  • Olive Oil – Butter
  • Unsweetened Applesauce – Oil
  • Lemon Juice – Vinegar
  • Nutmeg – Cinnamon
  • Cottage Cheese – Ricotta Cheese
  • Yogurt – Mayo
  • Pineapple Juice – Orange Juice
  • Pureed Cottage Cheese – Cream Cheese

Pantry Staples

Pantry Staples

You’re not always going to have the ingredients for a recipe on hand but keeping these kitchen staples around will surely help. Many recipes require the same basic ingredients so it’s good to always keep your kitchen well-stocked.


  1. Garlic Salt
  2. Onion Powder
  3. Basil
  4. Oregano
  5. Thyme
  6. Crushed Red Pepper
  7. Chili Powder
  8. Paprika
  9. Cinnamon
  10. Cocoa Powder
Dry Ingredients
  1. Flour
  2. Granulated Sugar
  3. Brown Sugar
  4. Rolled Oats
  5. Baking Powder
  6. Baking Soda
  7. Pasta
  8. Rice
  9. Chocolate Chips
Wet Ingredients
  1. Honey
  2. Vanilla
  3. Olive Oil
  4. Vegetable Oil
  5. Soy Sauce
  6. Vinegar
  7. Chicken Broth
Refrigerated Ingredients
  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Butter
  4. Shredded Cheese
  5. Mustard
  6. Mayo
  7. Yogurt

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