20 Common Cooking Mistakes That Ruin Your Food Or Health

1. Peeling Your Vegetables

Peels of some vegetables have more nutrients than the vegetable itself. The skins of carrots, pumpkins, potatoes, and cucumbers contain a lot of vitamins and minerals that are good for our health. Next time, try to wash them clean instead of peeling them.

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2. Overcooking Onions

If you want real, sweet, crisp-tender onions to top your pizza, cook them on high heat for less than one minute. Cooking them any longer is likely to ruin your dish.

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3. Cooking Meat Straight From The Fridge

If you often pop beef, chicken or fish straight from the fridge into the oven, you're more likely to find your meat overdone on the outside and rare on the inside. To make sure it’s cooked much more evenly, leave the meat at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before cooking.

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4. Overflipping The Meat On The Grill

It's so tempting to flip the meat on the grill. But your breaded steak or chicken won't develop a nice golden crust if you constantly flip it. So instead just let your food rest for a few minutes, and wait until you can easily slide a spatula underneath.

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5. Putting Cooked Meat Back On The Plate That Held Raw Meat

Why is it a mistake? Because germs from raw meat can spread to cooked meat and can even cause food poisoning. You should always use separate plates for raw meat and cooked meat. This rule also applies to all meat and seafood.

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6. Thawing Food On The Counter

You often thaw food on the counter, right? Stop doing this right now, as harmful foodborne pathogens can multiply rapidly at room temperature, making your food unsafe to eat. Instead, always let the food defrost in the fridge, microwave, or in cold water.

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7. Adding Salt At The Wrong Moment

How many times do you usually salt your food when cooking? Well, once is enough! You just need to add salt at the very end of the cooking process.

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8. Letting Foods Cool In The Oven

Never leave your pie or cake in the oven to cool down, or you will risk drying it. Let baked goods cool down somewhere else, like on the countertop.

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9. Putting Hot Food In The Fridge

Do you often place dishes that are still hot in the fridge? If your answer is "yes," don't do that again because the salmonella bacteria in the fridge can easily spoil the food, and the chances of other perishable foods like eggs and vegetables getting contaminated increase. Next time, wait for hot food to cool to room temperature first.

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10. Speeding Up The Cooking Process

This is one of the most common cooking mistakes. The recipe tells us to simmer the meat for two hours, but we want to cook it faster by increasing the temperature. Well, it does save time, but the meat will be dry and tough.

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11. Skipping The Meat Thermometer

How can you tell if your roast chicken, leg of lamb, or beef tenderloin is ready? Appearances can be deceptive. If you poke it with a fork to check the inside, you risk releasing some of the flavor and the valuable heat. But if you don't check it, the meat may turn out overcooked or undercooked. This is when a meat thermometer comes in handy.

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12. You Don't Let Meat Sit After Cooking.

This is a no-no in the culinary world. Try to fight the urge to cut the meat into tasty pieces straight after you take it off the grill. Instead, wait 5 minutes or so for the juices to distribute evenly. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you. 

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13. Choosing The Wrong Kind Of Potatoes

If you want to make soft, smooth mashed potatoes, choose a variety that’s high in starch, such as Russets or Yukon Gold. White and red potatoes won't make the creamiest mash.

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14. Purposely Burning Your Food

Some people like to roast their food for extra crunch, but such food can be bad for their health. The blackness on the food is actually carbon, which is a known carcinogen.

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15. Adding Salt To Boiling Potatoes

It's no use adding salt to potatoes in boiling water, as they will absorb both the salt and the water while cooking. Simply season your potatoes after they are cooked.

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16. Not Preheating The Pan

Are you giving your pans enough time to heat up before putting your steaks in? If not, the steaks will just soak up the oil or butter in the pan, making them oily and preventing a good crust or caramelization from forming.

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17. Overseasoning

It's easy for us to get aggressive with the salt and other seasonings. When this happens, you can use water or an acid like vinegar or lemon juice to dilute it.

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18. Using The Wrong Cooking Oil

Different cooking oils have different smoke points, which means you need to know which oil to use at different temperatures. Flaxseed oil, olive oil, and butter are ideal for low-temperature cooking methods like baking, simmering, and low-heat pan frying; coconut oil, canola oil, and extra virgin olive oil are best for medium-heat cooking methods like frying; ghee, avocado oil, and peanut oil are best for high-heat cooking methods like broiling, grilling, deep frying, and stir frying.

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19. Overcooking Your Vegetables

Do you know that some green vegetables like broccoli, green beans, and asparagus cook very fast? You shouldn't leave them in boiling water for more than ten minutes, as it will leach the nutrients out of them and make them taste mushy. However, if you do make the mistake of overcooking them all is not lost. Try plunging them in very cold water for a few minutes and you’ll save some of the flavor.

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20. You Don't Rinse Grains.

Most dry grains, such as faro, rice, quinoa, and more, create a starchy powder during the process of packaging and shipping. Once the starchy power meets liquid, it can result in a sticky, goopy meal. To avoid this issue, wash the grains with cold water before cooking.

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