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5 Important Tips for Using Recipes

Updated on January 2, 2018
Recipe success is easy when you know these tips!
Recipe success is easy when you know these tips! | Source

Tips for Cooking with Recipes


• Have you ever failed to succeed with a recipe and had no clue why?

• Does the thought of trying to follow a new recipe make you a little jittery?

• Would you like some very simple, no-fail tips to help you use recipes when cooking new dishes?

• How would you like to know about some easy ways to increase your skills with recipes and thereby make life easier in your kitchen?

Do you use recipes or do you cook from scratch?

See results

Developing Skills for Cooking with Recipes is the Key to Success


If it had not been for a short Home Economics course in junior high I would have been in bigger trouble in the kitchen than I was when I married. As it was, it was bad. I knew so little, but I did want to cook.

There was no internet to Google recipes or videos from, and my Wendy Ward summer charm school did not cover cooking. Our local library had good air-conditioning but they were focusing on outer space. What can I say? It was barely 1970s Florida.

I’m not sure I had ever seen a recipe book apart from that Home Ec textbook. Hand-written “receipts” floated around family kitchens, I’m sure, but if I read them I did not know what they meant. I didn't even get a recipe book as a wedding gift.

Knowledge really is power, though, and I began to learn a little bit, then more. Now I can do a decent job in the kitchen. How to follow a recipe was the first important lesson I needed to understand.


5 easy tips that will help you use recipes successfully!
5 easy tips that will help you use recipes successfully! | Source

5 Important Tips for Cooking Recipes Skillfully


1. How many times I started a recipe before I read it all the way through back in the day would be difficult to count. Though I'm not sure when I finally learned it, this first tip is easily learned by experience, and I did, finally, but it would have been nice to know it ahead of time--like the month before eleven extended family members came for Thanksgiving the first time I ever cooked a turkey or its trimmings. To save time I'll answer the question now. Yes, it was awful.

Well ahead of time, read a recipe completely through before you decide to use it, then decide whether it will be on your menu.


2. The number of servings that a recipe would make did not matter much to me at first. It was what it was. Then kids, then their friends, then their friend’s families made it start to matter. Questions like, “Do I have enough basmati for 49 people?” or "Will this make enough avocado coated potato wedges for 42 college students?" came up frequently.

• Think through how many servings you need and check the recipe's yield, then do that again after considering who you will be inviting.

Success With Recipes Requires Practical Skills
Success With Recipes Requires Practical Skills | Source


3. You might think that this tip would automatically go with the first one, but it needs a spot all for itself. Just because Chef Canapay Entray can prepare a 60 pound ostrich stuffed with fresh-from-his-kitchen-garden herbs and an assortment of sauteed vegetables, including mushrooms he foraged the forest for that morning, all to go in the oven in time for dinner, does not mean that I can. We live in the south and dinner is lunch!

• Give serious consideration to the shopping and prep-to-cook time for each and every step of the recipe, not just the overall preparation and cooking time.


4. Making double sure that I have all of the ingredients for a recipe is a skill I learned early on. Someone who shall remain unnamed has a tendency to eat up all the chocolate chips without telling me. It is nice that he does not mind running to the store when we are out, but that takes time, while that is one way for me to learn patience, it is not a way to get a recipe done quickly.

• Set out all of your ingredients well before it is time to start the recipe. (Hide goodies like chocolate chips under a note that says, “DO NOT TOUCH". You might even make up several of this type of note on a sticky-note pad so your are ready for that need ahead of time.)


5. Getting ingredients ready for prep time beforehand also deserves its own note. If you don’t know how long it takes an egg to safely become room temperature, you will need to find out in time to get that part of the job done. If you need to cut several foods into itty-bitty pieces, sure, you will want to do as much of that ahead of time as possible, but remember, from nuts to carrots and rosemary to barley, foods can play time-consuming tricks on you when you begin the calisthenics of processing them.

• Advance prep before beginning to cook a recipe is your Secret Weapon, um, that's Pal -- Secret Pal. This particular secret pal will serve you well with every recipe.


How to use a recipe is the first and most important step in successful cooking.

Finishing a Recipe


As with most things in life, doing your best at the time with what you have to work with has to be good enough. If you follow these tips and your recipe still fails, well, you will know you have done your part.

Perhaps a failed recipe was written wrong, or aliens abducted one of the ingredients after it went into the oven. Who knows how these things happen?

Just say c'est la vie and order Italian take out. Ciào for now, ya’ll!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
No Excuses For Not Cooking Well When Recipes Work OutCreative Cooking Can Take On A Whole New Meaning In My KitchenCrafty Kitchen Recipes Are More To My LikingLearning To Cook When Young Is A Good Thing
No Excuses For Not Cooking Well When Recipes Work Out
No Excuses For Not Cooking Well When Recipes Work Out | Source
Creative Cooking Can Take On A Whole New Meaning In My Kitchen
Creative Cooking Can Take On A Whole New Meaning In My Kitchen | Source
Crafty Kitchen Recipes Are More To My Liking
Crafty Kitchen Recipes Are More To My Liking | Source
Learning To Cook When Young Is A Good Thing
Learning To Cook When Young Is A Good Thing | Source

More Food and Recipe Hubs

You might like to check out more hubs with practical tips and interesting ingredients that you may have not yet learned about.

• This fun post on Cooking with HubPages proved to be fun stuff that was rewarded with some great comments.

• So you think you can't make apple dumplings? Think again--you're wrong, and I can prove it!

• Important food for dieters can be found here, here, and here.

Chocolate Brownies for gluten free diets? Yes ma'am, and they are good!

• Toast your health with ground flax seed and start benefiting from this wonder food now.

Pumpkin like you've never had it before--good enough for year round eating and special enough to serve during holidays.

Replace eggs with this amazing substitute--it really is a hard worker with many benefits.

• Choose quality ingredients when making your food choices!

Food nutrition, safety & cooking are important issues we should make sure we are informed about.

• Learn more about properly storing your baking ingredients.

A Pecan Recipe, Ya'll

Cooking Accurately

Student's Culinary Garden

Add Your Helpful Tips On Using Recipes:

Submit a Comment

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    3 years ago from the short journey

    peachpurple:

    Yes, wanting to adjust the amounts of some ingredients is an excellent reason to read recipes ahead of time. Thanks for checking out these tips.

  • peachpurple profile image

    peachy 

    3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    i always read the ingredients first before i select which recipe to use. Some cakes /cookies require 250g of butter and sugar which are way to fatty and sweet for me

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    3 years ago from the short journey

    pstraubie48:

    Thanks kindly for letting me know that you found this guide to using recipes useful!

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 

    3 years ago from sunny Florida

    This is so smart. I have been cooking for ages so many dishes I do not use recipes for. But when trying new ones, I will be glad to use your tips.

    Angels are on the way to you this afternoon. ps

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    jtrader :

    Thanks much stopping in, for your feedback, and for your additional tip, as well.

  • jtrader profile image

    jtrader 

    4 years ago

    Quite useful ;-) Voted up

    My own tip: the temperature of your ingredients really matters. If a recipe calls for "cold butter", "melted butter" will not have the same effect.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    annart:

    Thanks very much for all your feedback here. If I can get creative with some aspect of cooking then I can get motivated, however, learning these tips was really useful… :) So appreciate your visit!

  • annart profile image

    Ann Carr 

    4 years ago from SW England

    I love this hub; it's entertaining as well as being informative. I used to be useless at cooking and I didn't follow recipes well; stupidity really!! I've learnt from experience and your advice above is ESSENTIAL. You've presented this in such a user-friendly way and I love the links. I'm going to read your 'cooking with hubpages' hub later on.

    Brilliant! Up, ++ and shared. Ann

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    Victoria Lynn:

    Thanks bunches--hope all your recipes turn out scrumptious! :)

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    DzyMsLizzy:

    Thanks kindly for all of your feedback that adds much to this discussion--

    viva no-fuss cooking! :)

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 

    4 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Very good tips, all. I learned most of these early on; my biggest failure has always been that bugaboo about reading the entire recipe before starting.

    More than once, I've had to run to the store for a vital missing ingredient midway through the preparation. This leads to the embarrassment of begging a person with a full cart if you can please go ahead, as you are in the middle of a recipe.

    I hated "home ec" in junior high, and refused to take it in high school. Luckily, my mother, while no fancy chef, was an adequate cook, and I learned at her side. Later, when she returned to work after my dad retired, he, himself turned into a pretty decent cook.

    Main dishes I will invent, alter, substitute and improvise all over the place. Baked goods, no--I stick to the recipe with those--they seem to be more sensitive to variations in ingredients.

    I'm all about plain, simple, easy, no fuss cooking. I've written a few hubs of my own with simple recipes and kitchen tricks.

    Voted up, interesting and useful.

  • Victoria Lynn profile image

    Victoria Lynn 

    4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

    I like this! All great tips!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    vespawoolf:

    Having a method even for pre-prep/cooking is part of successfully using recipes and I hope this hub, including the comments, helps others think through what's helpful ahead of time. :) So appreciate your response here!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    CraftytotheCore:

    Thanks much, both for your feedback on these recipe tips and for sharing your experience. :) I understand the painful part and probably should've taken some classes…

  • CraftytotheCore profile image

    CraftytotheCore 

    4 years ago

    These are such great tips! I remember when I was first starting to learn how to read recipes. I could barely understand them. It was almost painful. LOL Then I took a couple of cooking classes. They were offered for free locally and it was a lot of fun. I learned a lot. Now I can read any recipe and enjoy making up my own too.

  • vespawoolf profile image

    vespawoolf 

    4 years ago from Peru, South America

    I couldn't agree more! It's so important to read a recipe ahead of time to avoid serious errors. I don't always set out all the ingredients I need, but you are so right...it makes all the difference. (I like the suggestion to add a "do not touch" note on the chocolate chips!) Voted up and shared.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    cheeluarv:

    So appreciate that you stopped in with your feedback on these recipe tips!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    moonlake:

    The nerve of those free loaders! Even bad meals can have benefits! :)

    How lovely it is to have a friend like that. Proof that it's more about the friendship than the food. :)

    Thanks for adding your comments here!

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 

    4 years ago from America

    Great tips, most of what I know in cooking I taught myself and I remember what I was taught in Home Economics and from the Better Home and Garden Cookbook my husband’s aunt gave us for a wedding gift.

    I once made Snicker Doodles and they came out hard as rocks never figured out what I did but my friend stopped over and we had fun dunking them in coffee, eating them and discussing what was wrong with them.

    We once had friends that always showed up at dinner I had made spaghetti and meat balls. The meat balls fell apart and tasted terrible. They had the nerve to complain about my food and never came back for dinner. I was glad the meat balls were so awful. We needed to get rid of those free loaders.

    Voted up on your hub your so right about everything.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    StoneCircle:

    It very mysterious, isn't it? :)

    Thanks kindly for all your feedback on these tips re using recipes.

  • cheeluarv profile image

    cheeluarv 

    4 years ago from INDIA

    Great tips for people like me who love to try a new dish and improve in all types of cuisines in the world.Thanks for sharing your experience.Voted up.

  • StoneCircle profile image

    Susan McLeish 

    4 years ago from Rindge, NH

    I too have had chocolate chips and toffee chips disappear from my baking shelf. I have learned to hid a bag in the cabinet above the refrigerator. No one seems to go there but me!

    Great tips! pinned

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    DDE:

    Thanks kindly for letting me know that these tips could be useful to you!

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    5 Important Tips for Using Recipes my problem with recipes is I often fail to follow a recipe a so I cook with my creative ideas, awesome hub and so well advised.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    missolive:

    Thanks for letting me hear from you on this hub and for sharing some of your experience in the classroom of the kitchen. It is good to be able to laugh at one's own misadventures, yes? :) And it is good to hear that readers find this post has helpful information.

    How wonderful that your grandmother was such an inspiration to you and that you have her books and recipes. They are precious gifts to have and pass to your daughter or granddaughter one day. I'm guessing you'll be writing some of your experiences with your grandmother in a journal for their benefit.

  • missolive profile image

    Marisa Hammond Olivares 

    5 years ago from Texas

    This was such an enjoyable read and is filled with great tips. I had to giggle through most of it as I remembered my own kitchen bloopers. The two things that really stood out for me were the mention of time and servings (yield). I learned the hard way to allow enough preparation time for recipes and to be sure the yield was enough for my intended guests. It can be pretty stressful when trying to please and find you've misjudged serving time or quantity.

    Aside from learning through my own experience, I was blessed to have an exceptional example of a cook through my grandmother. What an inspiration. She was AMAZING. I inherited all of her cook books and hand written recipes. Also, home economics and my Betty Crocker cookbook were other life savers in terms of gaining experience. Glad I stopped by to read, will be sure to share this.

    voted up

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    stessily:

    Thanks much for your affirming comment based on experience. Sharing what you learned may be really helpful to someone.

    Appreciate your visit very much--as always! :)

  • profile image

    stessily 

    5 years ago

    RTalloni, Your five tips are sacrosanct for cooking success. It all starts with reading through the recipe and then proceeds to the next four. The only time in which a recipe did not turn out for me was due to a fault in the recipe itself; I learned from that disappointment to develop a vision of the recipe as I read it and thereby sense the questionable recipes.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    dreamseeker2:

    You are so blessed to have been able to learn to cook from your grandmother and mother! With the skills that you learned as you grew up it's no surprise that you are able to cook and have it "turn out" so well.

    That makes the fact that you found this hub useful even more meaningful. Thanks for letting me know!

  • profile image

    dreamseeker2 

    5 years ago

    I am one who learned from her gramma and mother...I throw in a pinch of this and a bit of that, kind of girl. Oddly it somehow turns out. : ) Found your hub interesting and useful though. Voted it up and accordingly.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    beingwell:

    Trial and error in the kitchen is something I am very familiar with--see my hub on cooking with HubPages. :)

    Thanks very much for your visit and response to this hub!

  • beingwell profile image

    beingwell 

    5 years ago from Bangkok

    Voted up. I'm loving my time in the kitchen. I learned to cook thru trial and error. If something's a fail the first time, I just try the recipe again and adjust what I did wrong from my last attempt. :D

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    Indian Chef:

    Thanks for stopping by and adding your input here. Knowing alternatives is indeed vital for success when all ingredients are not available.

  • Indian Chef profile image

    Indian Chef 

    5 years ago from New Delhi India

    Many a times people just open a page and start to make recipe without reading it fully. This is one thing I learned when I started to cook that I should know not only the recipe but also the ingredients and if an ingredient is not available then what are its alternatives.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    Sally's Trove:

    Thanks so much for letting me know that you came by and felt this hub with tips for using recipes would be useful to others!

  • Sally's Trove profile image

    Sherri 

    5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    This is such great commonsense advice not only for the new cook, but also for a cook with practice. Sometimes we get into such a hurry to do something, we ignore the obvious, like, OMG, it's going to take 20 minutes to dice the veggies but only 5 minutes to boil the stock the diced veggies are going to go into. No recipe should be expected to prepare us for that planning. Some recipes do, but then they can become pretty tiresome by giving too much information. Up, useful, and I wish "vital" were an option. :) Shared and pinned.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    6 years ago from the short journey

    kingphilipIV:

    Thank you for letting me know this was helpful to you. I'm going to your hubs now to see if you've shared some of your recipes on HP.

  • kingphilipIV profile image

    Ramphil Basco 

    6 years ago from Iloilo, Philippines

    I always love to cook and based my cooking in some book recipes. Thank you for sharing this to us. This is truly great. Now I know.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    6 years ago from the short journey

    Millionaire Tips:

    Your comment "I had to learn all of them the hard way" made me laugh because my family had to learn the hard way that I didn't know them!

    Oh yes! Your tip on being careful about typos is important! Thanks very much for adding that to this hub!

    Appreciate your visit and input very much.

  • Millionaire Tips profile image

    Shasta Matova 

    6 years ago from USA

    These are great tips, and I had to learn all of them the hard way. So much so, that sometimes I still try to skip one or two and learn the hard way yet again. Read the directions, have the ingredients ready and in the state the recipe calls for. It also helps now in the age of the internet, to use the tried and tested recipes, since the untried ones could have typos in important areas.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    6 years ago from the short journey

    2patricias:

    Thanks very much for stopping by and adding your input to these tips on using recipes!

  • 2patricias profile image

    2patricias 

    6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

    This is amazingly useful advice. I am an experienced cook, and sometimes I still fail to read through a recipe before I start. Skimming through is not good enough.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    6 years ago from the short journey

    phdast7:

    Thanks for the affirmation on this cooking with recipes hub! If only we had known in the beginning… :)

  • phdast7 profile image

    Theresa Ast 

    6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    This was great RT. Especially when I was first learning to cook, seems like I was always in a rush and I seldom took the time to be methodical as you suggest: reading a recipe all the way through, making sure all the ingredients were available thinking about the time required for each step.

    I mad e a lot of mistakes before I learned to consistently consider those things. Very helpful. :) ~~ Theresa

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    6 years ago from the short journey

    2patricias:

    Ain't it the truth, child? ;)

    Thanks kindly for stopping in to check out these important kitchen skills and for leaving your comment!

  • 2patricias profile image

    2patricias 

    6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

    Good advice. The trouble is - I know all this but I still forget sometimes.

    My most frequent mistake is realising I haven't got enough of a key ingredient after I have started. Thank goodness I live very close to a 24 hour supermarket.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    6 years ago from the short journey

    rebeccamealey:

    Thanks much for stopping by this hub on using recipes!

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 

    6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    What great advice for the new cook....and the old ones too!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    6 years ago from the short journey

    teaches12345:

    So appreciate hearing from you re this hub. That's great that your husband is able to learn and cook. Imagine what it would have been like to have those cooking shows and all the other that's available when we were first married. There really are no excuses today!

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    6 years ago

    Good post and such an enjoyable read. Love your wit on the process. My hubby is currently doing all the cooking in the home. At first, it was pretty hard to eat some of those experimental recipes. Now, he's learned how to plan, as you write, and shop accordingly. Plus, watching the cooking channel helps lots!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    6 years ago from the short journey

    kashmir56:

    Thanks kindly for your input on this cooking by recipes hub!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    6 years ago from the short journey

    anglnwu:

    That impulse cooking can stir up some surprises, can't it? Thanks for visiting and leaving me a note!

  • kashmir56 profile image

    Thomas Silvia 

    6 years ago from Massachusetts

    These are all great tips thanks for sharing them !

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 

    6 years ago

    Good tips. I'm sometimes an impulse cook and will find that I don't have the ingredients at hand. At such times, I improvise but as you pointed out, it's always good to plan and get the proper ingredients. Thanks for sharing. Awesome

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    6 years ago from the short journey

    Victoria Lynn:

    So appreciate your feedback--thanks much for checking out this how to hub!

  • Victoria Lynn profile image

    Victoria Lynn 

    6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

    All good tips. I love cooking, and all these make sense! Thanks!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    6 years ago from the short journey

    picklesandrufus:

    Thanks much for your positive input!

  • picklesandrufus profile image

    picklesandrufus 

    6 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

    Great tips.I am a cook and will say you are spot on with this hub. Vote up and useful

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    6 years ago from the short journey

    NMLady:

    No surprises is the goal! Thanks kindly for coming by and adding to my cooking with recipes hub. :)

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    6 years ago from the short journey

    kelleyward:

    Thanks much for letting me know that you found this helpful. I appreciate your comment very much!

  • NMLady profile image

    NMLady 

    6 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

    Excellent! I always 'stage' my recipes before I begin then there are no surprises. (Well, I THOUGHT I had allspice.....)

  • profile image

    kelleyward 

    6 years ago

    The tips you listed here are very helpful. I especially think that reading a recipe through several times so that you have a clear image in your head before beginning is half the process. Voted up and useful! Take care, Kelley

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