Our Favorite Top 8 Recipe Mistakes
By: Suzanne Wolke
Have you ever experienced that moment where your excitement over a newly discovered mouthwatering recipe had you running to the kitchen in a frenzy to recreate that must-have dish? We definitely have! Well before you get started, take breath, and read through these 8 common recipe mistakes. We want your new concoction to come out just like that photo in the magazine you just tore out, not the mushy mess we’ve experienced before.
Don’t forget to add your own experiences, tips, and recipe suggestions in the comment below!
- I’ll Just Read the Recipe As I Go: We know it’s tempting to just dive in and get started but this will often lead to you realizing you’re missing necessary ingredients or missed one of the prep steps. Just like reading the instructions on a test, read (and re-read) the ENTIRE recipe before you start pulling random spices and bowls out of your cupboard. Make sure you have the time to devote to the dish and all the right ingredients before you get started.
- You Overcrowded the Pan: While you may want to fit everything into your pan at once to save time, it can actually slow down the cook time and affect the taste. If you cover the entire surface of a pan it’ll trap heat and create steam. This will prevent browning, which locks in that delicious flavor and juices. To remedy this either grab a second pan or cook in batches!
- Measuring Mistakes: While you can get away with eyeballing herbs and spices in some dishes, when measuring ingredients such as flour, oil, water, etc. make sure you pay attention to detail. Dry ingredients are measured well in nesting cups so that you can mound them slightly, and then level them off with a knife. When measuring your liquids, it helps to be able to see (crazy, we know!). We recommend clear glass or plastic measuring cups that track the amounts on the side. Make sure to get at eye level to make sure you’ve hit your mark.
- Eggs-actly Wrong: Small, medium, large, x-large, and jumbo. Size does matter! You may not realize it but when your recipe calls for 4 or more eggs, using small eggs instead of large eggs can leave you missing some serious yolk! Tip: Most recipes for baked items such as custards and cakes are based off of using large eggs. There’s a great chart by Incredible Egg to help you calculate the substitutes for different sizes. You can find it here.
- Forgot to Preheat the Pan: Result soggy food that may also be stuck to the pan. Preheating will help seal in the juices and brown your grub. Next time heat your pan on high for several minutes before you start cooking. You can test the heat by throwing a few drops of water on the cooking surface. They should skitter and evaporate pretty quickly.
- Substitution Fail: Most recipes are written to accommodate certain ingredients. Changing these without rhyme or reason can seriously affect the outcome. If you do want to add in some ‘low fat’, ‘low sugar’ or other substitutions, make sure you do some research to ensure you have the right quantities you’ll have to switch out. We also recommend using a combination of low fat and non fat ingredients if you are looking to cut some of the fat. The comment section below online recipes is also a great place to find out which substitutions have worked and which ones haven’t.
- Baking Powder & Soda Confusion: While they may sound similar, Baking Soda and Baking Powder are two very different things. Make sure you pay attention to the measurements for each one as they are both pretty important to the baking process.
- You don’t taste as you go: Recipes don’t always call for exactly the ‘right’ amount of seasoning, cooking times can vary based on numerous factors (ie. elevation, your oven, humidity, etc.), and your ingredients may vary a bit. But most importantly, everyone’s palate is different! Make sure you taste what you’re cooking throughout the process to make sure you’re on the right track. And trust us, you don’t want to find out that when you’re done that you may have used the salt instead of the sugar…
What are some tips you’ve learned throughout your kitchen endeavors?