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12 Common Cooking Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Have you ever been in that situation where you’ve invited guests for a meal and while you’re cooking, things go awry? Your dish has turned out too salty, too sweet, or it’s overcooked. We’ve all faced these kitchen challenges, sometimes not knowing the best fix.

Well, this article is here to help, offering tips to correct some of the most frequent cooking errors. Take a look below for solutions!

1. Your Food Isn’t Browning

Is your food looking a little too pale? It could be that your pan is overcrowded or the heat isn’t high enough. To ensure proper browning, avoid overpacking the pan, prevent overlap of food, and don’t shy away from turning up the heat when necessary.

2. The Food Has Become Too Salty

Over-salting is a common hiccup, here’s what you can do to fix it:

  • If meat is uncooked, soak in water before cooking (for at least 2 hours).
  • Add in lemon, vinegar or anything acidic to dilute the saltiness.
  • Add in some water, if it is a soup.
  • You can add in milk, cream or some sour cream to dilute the taste.
  • Drop in pieces of potato to absorb the saltiness.

3. The Eggs Have Become Rubbery

If your eggs have come out more like a bouncy ball than breakfast, quickly move them to a bowl of cold water. This will halt the cooking process and should soften the texture, saving your eggs from a rubbery fate.

4. The Food Has Become Very Sweet

A dish that’s too sweet can be balanced out by adding some acidity like lemon or lime juice, or even a bit of olive or avocado oil. Sometimes, just a pinch of salt can also do the trick in cutting through the sweetness.

5. Your Deep Fried Food Has Become Oily

Nobody likes their fried food drenched in oil. If this happens, it’s likely because the oil wasn’t hot enough or you’ve added too many pieces at once. Aim for a hot oil temperature (around 325 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit) and fry in small batches to keep it crispy, not greasy.

6. The Food Is Quite Sour or Too Tart

If you’ve gone overboard with the vinegar or citrus, you can sweeten things up with a bit of sugar, honey, or even cream. Caramelized onions or a handful of cut carrot pieces can also mitigate the sourness, absorbing some of the harsh flavors.

7. Your Dish Has Become Over-Spicy

For those times when you’ve been a little too enthusiastic with the chili, dairy can be your savior.

Adding fresh cream, heavy cream, mayonnaise, or yogurt can mellow out the heat. A hint of sweetness with honey or sugar, or a spoonful of nut butter, can also help balance the spiciness.

8. You’ve Overcooked Your Pasta

Don’t despair if your pasta’s gone past al dente to al don’t-te. You can revive it by frying it in a pan with a bit of oil until some parts get a light golden color, adding a new dimension of texture and flavor.

9. You’ve Burnt the Bottom of Your Dish

Burnt the bottom? Act fast and get the unburnt portion into a new pot to preserve the rest of the dish. As for the burnt pan, baking soda (2-3 tablespoons) paste and a good scrub with crumpled aluminum foil can work wonders, leaving it ready for your next cooking adventure.

10. You Haven’t Seared Your Food Enough

To get that perfect sear, reduce how often you flip the food and make sure the heat is high enough. Adding food to just-warm oil won’t sear it; wait for that sizzle to ensure a good crust.

11. Lumpy Curry or Sauce

Got lumps in your curry or sauce? Smooth things out by blending it until you get a consistent, lump-free texture. It’s a quick fix that can make a world of difference in the final presentation and mouthfeel.

12. Overcooked Vegetables

Overcooked veggies don’t have to go to waste. Transform them into a smooth soup or puree by adding some broth or cream and blending until smooth. This way, you turn a potential flop into a creamy, comforting success.

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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