Adding Garlic Too Early
Why it’s bad: Garlic browns in less than a minute. If you add it to the pan with, say, chicken breasts—which need about 15 minutes to cook through—the garlic will scorch and turn bitter long before the meat is finished.
Do this instead: Whenever possible, use sliced garlic or smashed whole cloves, which are less susceptible to burning than minced or pressed garlic. And add garlic close to the end of the cooking process. (The exceptions are long braises, stews, and sauces; the liquid will keep the garlic from scorching.) If a sauté recipe asks for garlic to be added at the beginning, have the remaining ingredients prepped and ready to go so you can add them quickly, before the garlic starts to burn while on its own.