There are a lot of tips to make cooking easier but some of the tips you know may not be true. There are a lot of methods around the internet, but which is true? Even if you follow the recipe, there is certain information that makes you wonder.
To save your time, we have gathered 55 cooking myths that you think is right, but are actually not. No more wasting time and ingredients on false myths!
1. Salt Is Salt
No; no it isn’t. Table salt is SO MUCH LESS healthy than sea salt! When it comes to your ingredients, you want to stay as natural as possible. Salt created by the ocean will work for your body much better than salt created in a lab.
2. Salting Pasta Cuts Down On Cook Time
It’s true that salt helps bring water to a boil more quickly. However, unless you are using A BUNCH of salt, you aren’t likely to see much of a difference in your pasta cooking time. Be careful – you never want your meal to be too salty!
3. Don’t Wash Cast Iron Pans
You’ve probably heard that washing your pan will damage it, but there is a safe way to do so – and you should DEFINITELY wash your pans. Coat the surface of the pan in cooking oil before soaping it down. This way the dish soap won’t damage the seasoning.
4. Always Rinse Your Pasta
We are pretty much all used to rinsing off our pasta once it is cooked. This actually isn’t necessary. It simply stops the cooking process, which is great if your pasta is close to being overcooked. But it can also rinse off the starches that the sauce will adhere to.
5. Rinse Your Rice
While we are on the subject, the same advice goes for rice. Rinsing it before cooking can clean it off, but it can also remove some of the nutrients. It all comes down to how sticky you want your rice to be.
6. Don’t Flip A Pancake Until The Batter Is Bubbly
Honestly, we all like our pancakes a little different. If thin and fluffy is your preferred pancake setting, then by all means wait until your batter is filled with bubbles before flipping. Some of us like thicker pancakes, and they will be ready to turn over much sooner.
7. Cooking Oils Were Created Equal
There are actually better cooking oils for certain recipes. Some oils, like olive oil, cook at a much higher temperature than others, like coconut oil. If you are keeping your temperature low, your cooking oils are fairly interchangeable. But if your recipe requires a high temperature, consider using an oil that breaks down less at those conditions.
8. It’s Best To Add Your Spices Throughout The Cooking Process
This is actually something you want to take care of in the beginning. Chemical reactions occur when you heat food. So if you are looking for that complex flavor, you will want to blend your seasonings before starting your cooking.
9. You Don’t Need A Recipe To Bake Successfully
I have seen people create meals out of thin air – but those people are few and far between. Take it from me: stick to the recipe. Your chef has put plenty of effort into seeking out the best way to perfect that baked good, and you will spare yourself a headache if you simply stick to the plan.
10. Raw Tomatoes Are Way Healthier Than Cooked Ones
Cooking tomatoes does break down some of the nutrients, but this can be minimized by keeping them at a low temperature. Some nutrients can even increase with temperature, such as lycopene.
11. Avoid Wooden Cutting Boards At All Costs
This myth is derived from some truth. Wooden cutting boards have more grooves where food and bacteria can stick. However a study conducted by UC Davis found that the bacteria dies pretty quickly once the surface is wiped away. ALWAYS wash your cutting board.
12. Guac Stays Good
If you’ve ever tried to store guacamole, you know just how quickly that surface gets brown. Placing water on top before storing does not stop this process. If your guac is still relatively fresh, you can scrape off the top layer. But you might want to prepare only as much as you are going to consume in one sitting.
13. You Can Always Cook Off Alcohol
Part of the reason it is socially acceptable to use alcohol as an ingredient is because it cooks off under high temperatures. Well, it can cook off – but that doesn’t mean it always does! It actually depends on how high the temperature is.
14. Stirring Rice While Cooking Makes It Fluffy
If you want your rice to come out as tasty as possible, leave it alone and let it do its thing. Stirring the rice too much can mess up the consistency. Stir your rice AFTER it’s cooked for a little extra fluff.
15. You Need To Mix Every Last Clump Out Of Your Batter
Clumps are little pockets where flour sticks together. While you don’t want a bunch of clumps in your batter, you also don’t want to over-mix it and ruin the texture. Find a happy medium.
16. Dull Knives Are Just Safer
Sure, a dull knife is less likely to harm you than a sharp knife used with the same force. But the reality is that the duller the knife you use, the more pressure you will apply to cut your food. If you use a sharper knife, you can press down lighter and be done faster.
17. Lobsters Scream While Boiling
Yes, that screeching sound you hear when you place a lobster in boiling water is horrifying. But it isn’t the lobster screaming; they actually can’t scream. This is the sound of air coming out of their shells.
18. Pits Prevent Avocados From Browning
We all want our delicious avocados to last longer, but this is just wishful thinking. The pit will stop the fruit immediately touching it from being exposed to air – but so will just about anything. The best thing to do is to enjoy your avocado when it is fresh.
19. Cook Your Food In Aluminum
Aluminum foil isn’t as great as you might hope. It is actually a subject of great controversy right now. Some studies have linked aluminum foil use with Alzheimer’s disease, and others have weakened this link. When in doubt, why not stay on the safe side?
20. Cooking Carrots Ruins Them
Cooked carrots are certainly less crispy, but it isn’t all bad. Cooked carrots also have more beta-carotene than raw ones, which helps to fight inflammation in the body. Of course if you want to get some raw carrots in your system you can always dip them in hummus or juice them with oranges.
21. Baking Soda Stays Good Forever
You’ve probably had that baking soda in your cabinet for AGES! It actually won’t stay good forever. This is an ingredient you should replace every 6-12 months.
22. Steel-Cut Oats Are So Much Better Than Rolled Oats
If you are going by taste, then you might be onto something. But if you are looking into nutritional value, steel-cut oats are not that much better than their rolled counterparts. The real difference is in how they are prepared. If you are looking for a healthy breakfast, skip out on the sugar.
23. Oil Will Stop Your Pasta From Clumping
Oil can certainly help, but it isn’t the superhero of pasta preparation. It is more likely to sit on the surface of the water in the pot, which won’t do much to stop your pasta from clumping. Stirring is the key here.
24. Pasta Requires The Biggest Pot
You don’t need to use the biggest pot you own every time you are cooking pasta. If you are worried about over-crowding your noodles, focus on the noodle-to-water recipe. This will help you much more than assuming a bigger pot means better pasta.
25. Chicken Is Cooked When The Pinkness Is Gone
You are right, of course; cooked chicken is not pink. However, this isn’t the best method of measuring your chicken’s readiness. With salmonella posing such a big threat to your health, you should definitely rely on a meat thermometer to tell you when your meal is complete.
26. You Should Cook In A Cool Pan
Actually, the opposite is true. It’s better to heat your pan a little before placing any ingredients in it. This will help your food to cook more evenly.
27. All Cookware Can Be Used The Same
Whoever came up with this idea obviously never stopped to think about why we have so many different kinds of cookware. If your recipe calls for something specific, like glass or a non-stick pan, you are better off following that instruction. Chefs’ recipes have been tried and tested, so the author knows exactly what the best cooking conditions for that dish are.
28. Your Whip Cream Will Flatten The Moment You Stop Whipping It
If you’ve ever gotten whip cream on a to-go drink, you know that this isn’t true. Changes in pressure can certainly flatten your whip cream, but it won’t flatten simply because you are not actively whipping it. If your cream is cooler, it will stay whipped longer.
29. Don’t Flip Your Steak More Than Once
Turning your steak around a few times will help it to cook much more evenly than stubbornly leaving it on one side until you are ready for that all-or-nothing flip. If you are a pro, cook your steak any way you want! But the average person could use a few extra flips to ensure the steak isn’t burning or drying out.
30. Keep Bread Fresh In The Fridge
Bread will age, whether it is on the counter or in the fridge. Starches crystallize more quickly in cool environments, so you might actually be making your bread stale faster! Leave it in a room temperature environment and let it take its course.
31. Nutrients Disappear In The Microwave
The truth is that nutrients break down every time you heat your food, whether it is in the microwave, on the stove, or in the oven. The key is to use a lower temperature and to heat your food as little as possible – while still warming it up enough to be enjoyable. You wouldn’t want to over-heat your food anyway; it would come out dry and possibly burnt!
32. It’s Better To Eat Well-Done Meat
Well-done meat is no healthier than any other meat that is prepared to the correct temperature. For most meats, the internal temperature should reach 145 degrees. For ground beef, that temperature should be 165 degrees.
33. Seared Meat Means More Moisture
Searing meat doesn’t lock in the juices; it actually indicates that moisture has been lost. Not to mention that searing meat only affects the outermost layer. If you want to avoid dry meat, consider avoiding searing it.
34. Mashed Potatoes Are Better When Boiled Whole
You might think that keeping the skin in tact will help lock in the heat, but actually cutting up your potatoes before boiling them will let more heat into more places. This will result in lighter, fluffier potatoes. Yum!
35. Marinading Your Meat Will Change The Texture Of It
Marinades are great for adding a little flavor, but they won’t change the texture of your meat. They won’t necessarily make it more tender, despite popular belief. They simply shake it up a bit.
36. Soften Your Butter In The Microwave
This is not the best way to go about it. You are much better off leaving your butter or margarine out to thaw for a while. This is especially true if you are making a pastry, since microwaving butter compromises the structural integrity.
37. Add Vinegar To The Water When Hard-Boiling Eggs
Contrary to popular belief, this won’t make your eggs easier to peel. The real secret is in the temperature. Make sure the water is already boiling before placing your eggs in the pot.
38. Fresh Pasta Is A Must
Eating something fresh is just better for the mind. While you should totally follow your pasta passions, you should also know that many shelved pastas are made with the same ingredients as fresh pasta.
39. Always Remove The Skin Before Preparing Chicken
The skin locks in the flavor, resulting in a better-tasting dish. And seriously, the skin tastes pretty good. You can remove the skin if you want to, but you definitely don’t need to.
40. Add Milk To Your Scrambled Eggs
Nope, this won’t make them fluffier. It will actually do some damage to your dish, since milk evaporates at the temperatures that cook eggs. If you want fluffy scrambled eggs, keep scrambling them the whole time they are cooking.
41. That Red Liquid In Your Meet Is Blood
This isn’t true, and seeing the liquid doesn’t instantly mean that your meat is undercooked. It’s actually myoglobin, which is a protein that comes out of muscle tissue when it’s heated. That being said, you should always consume your meat at a safe temperature.
42. Use Cold Eggs To Cook
Your eggs will actually blend much better with baking ingredients if they are kept at room temperature before baking. Cold eggs just don’t mix well, and this could knock your recipe’s quality down a few notches.
43. Potatoes Are A Cure-All For Over-Salted Meals
Whoops, you added too much salt to your recipe! Instead of just sticking a potato in it, increase the amount of all the other ingredients. This will help to balance out the salt much better than relying on just one food.
44. Pepper Seeds Carry All The Heat
It actually isn’t your pepper seeds that are hot, it’s the membrane that is around them. This membrane contains capsaicin, the chemical that makes your pepper spicy. Peppers are hotter when they are cooked in drier soil, so if you want to make your own salsa you know what to do.
45. Old Eggs Work Better For Boiling
The truth is that new eggs boil just as well as old ones. This actually comes from a conservation trick. Families who only had old eggs would boil them rather than prepare them a different way. It’s better than, say, scrambling them.
46. Stale Bread Just Needs Moisture
Sometimes dampening stale bread can help to save it, but the moisture loss is not the reason why the bread is stale. It is actually because the starches are starting to crystalize. When it comes to bread, you want to eat it as fast as possible.
47. All Breads Are Created Equal
While we are on the subject, bread isn’t just bread. Whole wheat bread is actually safer for your body to consume. This is because it incorporates the entire wheat crop – the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. When consumed together, the sugars in the wheat are broken down much more quickly. However white bread uses only the endosperm, meaning that your body gets a rush of sugar instead of a nutritious plant. This excess sugar (or the lack of other nutrients which help to break it down quickly) increases the risk of diabetes.
48. You Don’t Need To Rinse Your Mushrooms
Mushrooms come right out of the ground, so it is a good idea to rinse them. This will get off the dirt and any pesticides that have stuck around for the journey into your kitchen. Rinsing mushrooms only takes a moment, so you might as well.
49. Artificial Sweeteners Are Fine
No, they are nowhere near as good as natural sugars. Artificial sweeteners are shaped in similar ways to natural sugars, meaning that they can bind to the same receptors in the body. However, just like using the wrong key in a lock, they can change the structure of those receptors over time, preventing you from being able to enjoy natural sweeteners in the way they were meant to be enjoyed.
50. Artificial Sweeteners Work Great For Baking
Artificial sweeteners are also not as good for baking. Aspartame is not stable under high temperatures. This means that your dessert will be less structurally sound and less sweet. Who wants that?!
51. Protein Only Comes From Meat
Whatever your dietary preference is, more power to you! But just so we are clear, you can consume protein from a variety of sources. Some combinations of foods, such as beans and rice, make a complete protein. While meat can be a complete protein – meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids – the muscles of an animal who was fed an improper diet are likely not a complete protein. Moral of the story: don’t get it all from one source!
52. Flour Must Always Be Sifted
Some recipes specifically call for sifted flour, but not every recipe does! If you are worried that your flour is a little clumpy, give it a stir with a whisk. It will be basically the same.
53. Throw Pasta At Your Wall To See If It’s Done
I actually had a roommate who would throw pasta at the ceiling. I was so confused the first time I looked up! Pasta does become sticky as it cooks, but if it sticks to your wall it might be cooked a little too much. There are better ways.
54. Use Ice In Smoothies
Ice is just water, meaning that you are diluting your smoothie when you add ice. If you want a nice, cold smoothie, add frozen fruit. If you don’t want to invest in frozen fruit, stick your fresh fruit in the freezer for an hour or so before making your smoothie. For a quick morning routine cut your fruit the night before and place it in the freezer until you are ready to blend it.
55. Baked Apples Are A Super Healthy Snack
Yes, baked apples are much better than brownies. But they are a far cry from raw apples. Foods lose some of their nutrients when they are heated, and apples in particular become basically sugar when baked.
There are so many misleading cooking myths out there. Hopefully this will help! When you have the right information, cooking isn’t all that complicated.