How to Become a Better Cook in 30 Days

From spaghetti to steak

You want to be one of those home cooks that effortlessly host five-course dinner parties. And can whip up a casserole without a recipe. And never, ever burn pancakes. We’re here to make your dream a reality in one month. Ready, set, go.

11 Things Every Adult Should Know How to Make (and Not Buy)


Day 1: Get Your Knives Sharpened

If you can’t effortlessly slice through an avocado, how the heck are you going to make avocado toast for breakfast? Most kitchen and hardware stores will do it for you—sometimes even for free.

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Day 2:...and Learn To Chop An Onion (for Real)

Cut off the top of the onion and save it for your compost bin. Peel off the outer layers, then chop the entire thing vertically. Next, chop those slices horizontally. Bam, you’re done.


Day 3: Master The Art Of Cooking Rice

Always remember the 1:2 ratio. One part rice, two parts water. And don’t forget to add a bit of the secret ingredient before you serve it.


Day 4: ...and Poaching Eggs

Always crack your egg into a glass ramekin before you pour it into the water to keep the yolk from breaking. And if you’re hosting a crowd, skip the pot altogether and cook 'em in a muffin tin.


Day 5: Save Your Grease

Whenever you cook bacon, save the grease for later. It’ll come in handy the next time you make pancakes, or pretty much anything else you want to taste really, really good. 

Feasting at Home

Day 6: Make Pickles

Pickled veggies look impressive, but they’re a total cinch to make. Heat vinegar, water, kosher salt and sugar on the stove, then pour the mixture into a mason jar with sliced veggies and herbs. When it cools, pop it in the fridge and they’ll keep for three weeks.

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Day 7: Keep Your Scraps

Veggie tops, bones and hard cheese rinds make a delicious soup stock. Keep them in your freezer until you’re ready to make some chicken noodle.

Day 8: Try A New Spice

Might we suggest turmeric, which is super tasty and extremely good for you?

Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Day 9: Ditch Your Aluminum Skillet For Cast Iron

It can withstand any temperature, it’s incredibly durable and is a great vessel for nacho dip.


Day 10: And While You're At It, Buy Bigger Pots And Pans

One thing that separates home cooks from the pros is giant pots. Use a small one and you’re at risk of overcrowding, causing your food to cook unevenly.


Day 11: Hoard Chicken Breasts In Bulk In Your Freezer

You never know when you might need to whip up an amazing dinner in under an hour.

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Day 12: Try A Totally New Vegetable

Meet turnips. You can turn them into fries, mash them, roast them or add them to soup. And if you want to get really adventurous, expand your veggie horizons by joining a CSA.

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Day 13: Store Cheese In Oil

Pour oil and herbs over mozzarella, feta and goat cheese to add more flavor and make the cheese a little tastier (if that’s even possible).


Day 14: Taste As You Go

If the Top Chef judges have said it once, they’ve said it a million times: Continue to season and taste your food as you cook. But don’t add too much—you can always add more salt, but it’s tricky to take it away.


Day 15: Cook A New Dish With Your Favorite Food

Obsessed with cauliflower? Try cauliflower tacos. Or steak. Or just roast it whole.


Day 16: Make Your Own Burgers And Freeze Them

Whether they’re beef, turkey, salmon or veggie, make a batch and keep them on hand for weeknight dinners and surprise guests.

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Day 17: Cook Soup From Scratch

It takes a little longer, but trust us, it’s worth it. You’ll never want to make the canned stuff again.


Day 18: Buy Soy Sauce, Lemons And Parmesan Cheese

Mark our words, these three ingredients will save almost any bland dish. Always have them on hand in your fridge for cooking emergencies.

Happy Healthy Mama

Day 19: Make Your Own Jam

It’s a total breakfast game changer, but it takes only five minutes (yep) to make from scratch.


Day 20: Roast Those Veggies

Remember the rule about not crowding the pot? Same goes with sheet pans. Make sure there’s lots of room for your broccoli to get crispy.

Laura Wing Kamoosi

Day 21: Cook Something In Red Wine

Might we suggest red wine pasta? It’s as delicious as it sounds.


Day 22: Try A New Cut Of Meat

Like pork chops. Or lamb shanks. Or sirloin roast. Or liver. (OK, maybe not liver.)

Kevin and Amanda

Day 23: Make Your Own Bread And Freeze It

You can have fresh flatbread for dinner every night for the next two weeks.


Day 24: Think Beyond Salmon

Try your hand at scallops, cod, mussels or tuna. Anything but salmon, really. (Chefs think it’s boring.)


Day 25: Add Salt To Your Salads

It sounds simple, but it’s the secret ingredient that makes all of the flavors come together. It’s basically the difference between a mish-mosh and a meal.

The Full Helping

Day 26: Give Grains Besides Quinoa A Go

So you’ve really gotten into cooking quinoa instead of rice. Awesome—but now it’s time to broaden your horizons and try amaranth. It’s just as healthy and tasty, we promise. 

Peaceful Blend

Day 27: Add Wine To Your Butter

Because nothing says “I’m a freaking amazing cook” like fancy compound butter.


Day 28: Go To Specialty Shops Instead Of The Grocery Store

Yep, the big-box store is convenient, but if you buy at specialty cheese and meat shops, you’ll support local businesses and get a fresher and larger selection. Win-win.


Day 29: Buy A Microplane

…And use it to casually grate fresh Parm on your guests’ plates after you serve them.


Day 30: Keep Dessert Simple

After spending hours in the kitchen, remember that a bowl of fresh fruit and whipped cream can be just as tasty as a soufflé. Now sit back and relax, chef.