Best Cooking Advice From the Pros—From Fluffy Scrambled Eggs to Homemade Pizza

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Jennifer Causey

Ever wish you knew the tips and tricks professional chefs use when cooking food for themselves? Now you can. We reached out to a gaggle of culinary pros and got their advice on how to elevate some of the most popular dishes to make at home, including mashed potatoes and chocolate chip cookies. Our favorite part about this pro-approved guidance is that it’s really easy to replicate at home—no fancy gadgets, gizmos, or culinary degrees required.

Ready to cook like a Le Cordon Bleu grad? Check out the cooking advice below!

Scrambled Eggs

If you often find that your scrambled eggs are rubbery and over-cooked, you’re likely scrambling them too soon and cooking them at too high of a heat. For better, fluffier eggs, listen to professional chef, cookbook author, and television personality Curtis Stone. “Just when those curds start to set, you just gently move them, and you end up with these big, fluffy, cloud-like curds," he explains. And instead of stirring vigorously, remember to be gentle with your eggs. Push them softly to the center of the pan with a rubber spatula, tilt the pan back so the uncooked eggs run back, and repeat until they're creamy and almost cooked through. You can also try adding a tablespoon of water to the bowl when you're whisking them before cooking for the fluffiest eggs ever.

"Then, once they're close to being cooked through, take the eggs off the heat. It's important to do this before they're fully finished cooking, because they will continue to cook even once they're on the plate," Stone adds. Keep the pan on a low heat throughout the entirety of the cooking process.

Chicken Noodle Soup

There’s nothing more satisfying than a bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cold day, and if you’re feeling under the weather, many swear by the dish’s healing powers. To take your soup from good to great, Leetal Arazi, a trained chef and co-founder of New York Shuk, suggests adding some acid to the mix in the form of preserved lemon paste. The extra ingredient adds “zesty flavor,” according to the pro, as well as a punch of umami. Alternatively, just squeeze some lemon juice into your soup, which will brighten everything up and round out the flavors.

Mashed Potatoes

Whether you’re preparing a big holiday meal or looking for a side that goes with just about anything, mashed potatoes are likely on the menu. To ensure a delicious bowl of spuds that will be gone in minutes, don’t skimp on the butter. Peeled or unpeeled, toppings or no toppings, mashed potatoes are at their best with a generous amount of butter. “When you think there’s enough butter, add more,” cookbook author Julia Turshen declares.

Baked Potatoes

A baked potato sounds like an easy dish to make, but if you want to guarantee that your spud has that sensational crispy skin, follow the advice of Joshua Resnick, chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, who suggests giving your potatoes a thorough salt scrub. The scrub, which is really easy to do, helps to tenderize the potatoes and remove any dirt. "Add a good amount of salt and enough water to make a loose paste, and then just use your hands to rub the salt all over the potatoes," he advises.

From there, Resnick dries the potatoes with a towel, pierces them with a fork, and brushes them with oil and fine sea salt before popping them in the oven. Piercing the potatoes with a fork helps to release steam and ensures they cook evenly. Resnick also says to "avoid using olive oil when brushing your potatoes because it can cause them to burn and develop a bitter taste." Instead, use a cooking oil with a higher smoke point, such as avocado oil or vegetable oil.

Homemade Pizza

Getting ready for homemade pizza night with the family? Make things a tad easier on yourself by preparing a pro-approved, no-cook tomato sauce with a 28-ounce can of crushed or pureed tomatoes. “If the tomatoes are a no-salt-added variety, stir in a teaspoon of salt. Then taste the tomatoes, and if they seem too acidic, add a teaspoon of sugar,” Mark Bello, co-owner of Pizza School NYC, says. Add one tablespoon of dried oregano and one teaspoon of garlic powder. Spread a thin layer of the sauce on the crust, and refrigerate or freeze the rest for future pies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The next time you’re in the mood to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies, make sure you give yourself plenty of time. Why? According to French pastry chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres, the secret to stellar chocolate chip cookies is to let your dough age and chill in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. “The flavor becomes stronger and smoother,” Torres notes. Because fat absorbs flavor, giving all your ingredients time to bond before baking makes for a more intensely rich, buttery, balanced cookie. “The sugar melts and becomes less grainy; the butter will taste more decadent. It’s just better,” he adds.

Roast Chicken

You can never go wrong with a classic roast chicken, and you’ll definitely avoid a dry bird by following the advice of ButcherBox Head Chef, Yankel Polak. “Skin-on, bone-in cuts perform well when oven roasted because the skin and bone help protect the meat from drying out, leaving you with a nice, juicy, roasted chicken,” he shares. “One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to turkeys and chicken, is not letting it rest before serving! Let the chicken rest for 15-30 minutes after it comes out of the oven. If you try to carve right away, you’re at risk for a dry chicken. Letting it rest allows all the juices to redistribute for a delicious, flavorful meal.”

If you want an extra moist bird, reach for the butter. “The key to keeping a roasted chicken moist on the inside and crispy on the outside is to actually rub some butter underneath the chicken skin,” says Nina Compton, chef and owner of Compere Lapin and Bywater American Bistro in New Orleans. “I also suggest putting your spices and herbs under the skin too because it gives direct contact with the meat and will boost the flavor.”

Oven-Cooked Salmon

Intimidated by cooking fish? Don’t be. As Polak explains, preparing a fillet of salmon is less complicated than you might think. “Cooking hot and fast is the best method for salmon. Sear salmon in a cast-iron pan, and then throw it into a 450-degree oven for a few minutes. If I’m just using the oven, I’ll use the broiler mode to get a nice crust,” he shares. “Salmon cooks like a steak, and you can choose a variety of temperatures to cook it to. I prefer medium, which keeps the center moist.”

Grilled Hamburgers

The next time you’re craving a hamburger, try flattening the patty, which is the method employed at fast-casual chain Smashburger. “This cooking technique uses a burger press or spatula to flatten the patty on the grill, allowing the juices to seep through every square inch of the burger, adding an irresistible crisp to its surface. The signature technique guarantees a burst of flavor in every bite, and will revolutionize the way you grill your burgers,” says Chef Ty Goerke, Smashburger’s head chef.

Goerke also recommends only flipping burger patties once, so as not to dry them out, and making patties that are ⅓ of an inch thick, so they cook evenly. “Nothing leaner than 80 percent should be used to keep the flavors just right,” he adds.


If you enjoy oatmeal for breakfast, forgo the pre-made packets with flavoring in favor of chef Jeff Osaka’s homemade version. “I like cooking my oatmeal with water, and adding a pinch of salt, not sugar,” the culinary pro behind Colorado's Sushi-Rama, and Osaka Ramen explains. “Then, I finish with butter before I add my milk. I'll also sprinkle some granola on top for additional texture and sweetness, which is why I don't add sugar to my oatmeal!”

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