The best cooking advice I've ever received

Nov 13, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. ET

Check out our compilation of the best cooking tips from our readers!

Adult woman and mother making tamales

Growing up, my mom taught me two valuable pieces of information regarding cooking: First, always clean as you go; and second, anyone can cook as long as you can follow a recipe. The second tidbit was what stuck the most. I'm never afraid to try out a new recipe because I'm confident in my ability to follow directions.

Check out what our readers shared about the best cooking advice they've ever received!

The best advice I've ever gotten is that cooking is all about preferences. What one person likes, another may not. Make food fun and enjoy cooking. It's only food! – Chef J Jackson

Taste something before you serve it — whether it be something you're cooking for a dinner party or brownies you're making for your kids. – Rachel

Learn how to hold and use a chef's knife. Cooking and food prep is so much easier if you have a few good knives and know how to use them. – Mark

Get to know each ingredient separately (how it tastes, smells, reacts to heat, etc.) before trying to combine. – Joel

Read the recipe all the way through at least twice before you start cooking or baking. – Shannah

Don't be afraid to experiment and change a recipe. If you think you can make it taste better by changing the ingredients or measurements, you are probably right. Just remember to write it down for next time! – Nancy

Just do it! Dump the junk (processed packaged foods) — no excuses! – Kathy

If it's not baking, then the recipe is a list of suggestions to help you make it your own. – Mike

Measure your ingredients by weight, and you will always get the same results. Measuring by cups, spoons, etc., can lead to variations. – Kathryn

The best advice I received was from my sister, who says, "So what if it doesn't turn out right. Then try it again — or make something else. This isn't a test." That was my aha moment: This isn't a test. I can't fail. It's just fun! – Denise

Do it in heels! Why just cook when you can sizzle! – June

The best advice I received was from my grandmother. She taught me the importance of maintaining happy thoughts with cooking and baking. It's a tried and true tip I've made certain to uphold anytime I'm in the kitchen. – Anna

Don't crowd the pan if you want something to brown. To get the perfectly seared look on a short rib, I tend to brown in batches. It takes a bit longer, but the end result is well worth it. – Aly

Secrets to getting a great sear >>

When you follow a recipe, have all the ingredients out before you get started. Also, cook twice as much as you need and freeze half for a meal when you are short on time. – Amy

Tell us

What's the best cooking advice you've ever received? Share in the comments below!

More cooking tips

In a pickle: What to do with too many hands in the kitchen
How to stock your baking cabinet
The science behind a muffin and a cupcake