7 Ways to Totally Fail at Cooking

When you first start to cook for yourself, or start to get serious about your cooking, there is a lot of information available. Too much information sometimes. Scroll through facebook and all you see are recipe videos (yes, I’ve made some videos too), some showing some very complicated recipes. For every tough recipe, there are also some very simple recipes that are great starting places.

I’ve always enjoyed cooking, and been cooking for myself and my family for over a decade now. Sometimes I go for those difficult recipes, other nights I take it easy. It depends on what kind of mood I’m in, and how much time I have. Either way, whenever you are making something new, there are a few things you can do to guarantee you’ll fail at cooking (and I’ve done them all at one time or another). So avoid these, and you should be good!

  1. Don’t have all the ingredients
    Look through the entire list of ingredients and make sure you have everything. Too often I think we have something, and start cooking, only to realize we finished that carton of heavy cream the other day, or the last oats were used in breakfast this morning. Try to avoid this, but if it happens, a good search online for “______ substitute” will often find you something that you can use that will imitate the same flavor and texture.
  2. Don’t have all the equipment
    If you want to make a bundt cake, make sure you have a bundt pan. This should sound obvious, but sometimes you don’t realize something you will need because a lot of recipes don’t list the equipment required with the ingredient list, meaning you have to read it in the instructions. Which brings me to my next point….
  3. Don’t read the recipe through first
    When you are making a recipe for the first time, it’s always helpful to read through the entire recipe real quick before getting started. Sometimes you may come across a piece of equipment you don’t have or needs to be washed. Other times, when I don’t read through first, I don’t realize that something needs to be stirred constantly while also stirring in other ingredients. When this happens, it helps to know ahead of time so you can get the rest of the ingredients ready and at hand.
  4. Don’t measure properly
    Did you know there’s a difference between a dry measuring cup and a liquid measuring cup? I still use the wrong ones often. I’ve also been cooking so long I can guess an amount pretty well. That’s find for cooking, but I’ve learned (yes, the hard way) that when you are baking, you have to have the exact ingredients and measurements. Being just slightly off will be the difference between a cake that rises or doesn’t, or a brownie that sets in the middle properly.
  5. Don’t pay attention
    Wait, you means I need a kitchen free from distractions? Never going to happen with two toddlers in the house! Trust me, I hear you. But do your best to pay attention. A pot of boiling water takes just seconds to spill over sometimes, leaving a huge mess to clean up later.
  6. Don’t set a timer
    When a recipe says to simmer for 8 minutes, usually any longer or shorter will change the consistency and/or flavor of the meal. Set a timer so you know you do it properly. Cooking meat too long results in dry meat, or too short means undercooked meat. There’s usually a timer on your oven, on the microwave, and on your cell phone. If all else fails, spend a couple bucks on a small kitchen timer. It’s easy to get distracted, so the timer lets you know when you need to move on to the next step.
  7. Don’t practice safety
    Most important, be safe in the kitchen. Use the proper knife for the job and if you drop it, don’t ever try to catch it. If you have a gas stovetop, make sure you don’t have anything too close to the burners (same for electric stove, but there isn’t an open flame). Wear oven mitts when moving pots/pans and when putting things in or out of the oven. Be careful, pay attention, and always have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Don’t ever put water on a grease fire!
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So if you don’t want to completely fail at cooking, follow these guidelines. Of course, I can’t talk about the outcome of the recipe itself, because everyone enjoys different tastes. But with this list, you should at least be able to get through the recipe, then it’s up to you and your family to decide if it’s something you’ll make again!

Now get started cooking for your family! Trust me, it’s amazing what a good home-cooked meal can do to help your family bond. Put away the technology. Sit down together at the table. Have a conversation. Even let the kids help in the kitchen if they are old enough. My four year old loves to help me cook and bake, and he’s more likely to eat something if he helped make it!

Stephanie Lynch

I’m a stay-at-home mom, I am a children/family photographer, I am a Legacy Maker with Legacy Republic, I am a mom, I am a wife. I wear many different hats and do many different things, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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37 Comments

  1. Reply

    Sara

    August 7, 2017

    Great tips! I’ve been guilty of #3 before! Oops!

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 7, 2017

      It’s so easy to forget! I’ve done it a few times as well.

  2. Reply

    Brenda

    August 7, 2017

    Such good tips! I have been cooking for my family for years and I have some friends that are just so intimidated to learn more. These are great tips!

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 7, 2017

      Thanks! I’ve always loved to cook, and felt like this is a good place to start 🙂

  3. Reply

    Dyana

    August 7, 2017

    I’m a horrid cook! If it weren’t for Pinterest I’m sure I’d starve. Sadly, a lot of these described me whenever I’m trying to follow a recipe!

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 8, 2017

      I love pinterest for recipes! It takes time to learn, you will get there as long as you keep at it and keep challenging yourself 🙂

  4. Reply

    Brittany Poulson

    August 8, 2017

    Love all of these. I fail at #1 all. the. time. You’d think I’d learn to double check what I ACTUALLY have on hand instead of thinking that container of Greek yogurt is full or I have a dozen eggs. Then I’m stuck trying to make substitutions or run to my neighbors for the missing ingredient. Note to self again: check the fridge before starting a recipe.

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 8, 2017

      I’ve done this a few times. There are certain foods that are staples in my pantry, and sometimes they get low and I don’t think about it because I’m so use to always having it! Luckily my in-laws live on the next street so I can raid their pantry/fridge most of the time!

  5. Reply

    Analie from Get A Happy Date

    August 8, 2017

    I’m not good in cooking so it is normal for me to fail. After marriage, I tried to get serious about cooking and always make sure to have everything complete before I start cooking. Sometimes, I would watch a video several times to get it right.

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 8, 2017

      You’ve gotta start somewhere! Videos are a great place to start so you can see just what they are doing.

  6. Reply

    Taryn

    August 9, 2017

    Great tips! When I was first learning to cook I was terrible at measuring out all of the ingredients because I was too impatient. Once I slowed down and focused I actually succeeded 🙂
    Taryn
    http://www.peplumsandpushups.com

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 9, 2017

      I’ve gotten to where I don’t always have to measure out things like spices and seasonings, but I’ve also learned the hard way that it’s very important to measure everything when baking!

  7. Reply

    Tasia

    August 9, 2017

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Reply

    Lynn White

    August 9, 2017

    I used to be famous for this and always had to make a quick run to the store.

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 10, 2017

      I’ve sent my husband a time or two if we couldn’t figure out a substitute!

  9. Reply

    thatssodarling

    August 9, 2017

    These are great cooking tips! I will have to keep this in mind for my next home cooked meal!

    XO-Lisa

    http://www.thatssodarling.com

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 10, 2017

      Thanks, glad I could help!

  10. Reply

    ▵ ↟ Francesca_Sevenroses ↟ ▵

    August 10, 2017

    I really should start following your advice because if I’m following a recipe half of the times I realize only half-way through that I’m missing one or more key ingredients… that’s when I improvise and sometimes – only sometimes – something great happens… some other times it is a failure 😀

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 10, 2017

      I’ve had great things happen when I substitute, but most of the time, not so much. We always joke around that those are the times we have Papa John’s on speed dial!

  11. Reply

    Jacqueline

    August 10, 2017

    Haha. This is very true. You have to follow a recipe to the letter. Sometimes you can substitute if you know your ingredients, but it’s always best to follow directions.

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 10, 2017

      Definitely, especially when baking! I’ve found I can estimate here and there with some recipes, but I always make it exact the first time so I know what to work with next time!

  12. Reply

    Christina | From Under a Palm Tree

    August 10, 2017

    I love this list so much, I instantly related. I’m not the chef in my house. I have zero patients and have definitely failed at cooking. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 10, 2017

      It took me a little while to learn how to be more efficient around the kitchen for sure!

  13. Reply

    Maggie

    August 10, 2017

    This is great. I normally cook because my husband does not cook well. I’ll have to share this with him.

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 10, 2017

      I am the one who cooks too, my husband doesn’t like to cook as much as he likes to eat the food!

  14. Reply

    Paige

    August 10, 2017

    Great tips! If you’re looking for a good laugh, there’s a YouTube channel called “You suck at cooking” and it’s kind of a parody on cooking shows but so bad!!

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 10, 2017

      Oh awesome, I will have to check that out, thank you for the suggestion!!

  15. Reply

    tina

    August 13, 2017

    I’m guilty of #1 lol! I’ve devastated my kids once trying to make cookies…Long story short, I had to pack everyone up to go get sugar! I check first now lol

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 13, 2017

      Been there! Many time. And I still miss things sometimes.

  16. Reply

    Erica

    August 13, 2017

    What??? There’s a difference between a dry and liquid measuring cup? I never knew that! Will have to figure out which one I have right away! I’ve definitely been caught without ingredients before. Luckily, I live in a city so there are tons of stores within walking distance. But it always sucks when you realize you’re missing something.

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 13, 2017

      Yeah, I didn’t learn that one for a while either. Dry are the ones that usually stack, liquid are your regular cups with multiple lines on them!

  17. Reply

    connectedcolleague

    August 13, 2017

    OMG I have been baking for soo long and I never knew there was a difference between dry measuring cup and a wet one! Thanks for bringing that to my attention!

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 13, 2017

      I didn’t know for a long time either! Glad I could help!!

  18. Reply

    TheFirstExplorer

    August 13, 2017

    Thanks for the tips! I often have to search for substitutes for missing ingredients! Which reminds me I need to put cream of tarter and baking powder on my list!

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 14, 2017

      I’ve done that more times than I care to admit!! 🙂

  19. Reply

    Luci

    August 14, 2017

    I’ve been cooking practically all of my life and I still have times that my recipes doesn’t come out right and takes me several times for a recipe to work but I don’t stop I keep on trying until I get it.

    • Reply

      Stephanie Lynch

      August 14, 2017

      I’m the same way! We tweak so many of the recipes that we make.

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