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30 Recipes That Actually Taught People To Cook, And I Want To Make Them All

"After I made this dish, something clicked. Cooking techniques started to make sense."

When it comes to cooking, the best way to get better is really just to practice and make lots of different dishes. So redditor u/DerWeltenficker asked "What recipe taught you the most about cooking?" Here are some of the responses.

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1. "Steak"

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Cooking steak basically taught me heat management. It also taught me about different pans and their proper uses. For example, when you cook steak in a nonstick skillet, it ends up light brown and flavorless because the pan can't retain the heat." —u/Pristine_Beyond_4330

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2. "Gumbo"

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"This one recipe teaches you lots of different techniques and really demonstrates how simple ingredients and ways of preparing them can dramatically alter a dish." —u/HeWhoTipsCow

3. "Pasta Bolognese"

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"It's time-consuming and requires a bit of technique, but it's not too hard. Making Bolognese from scratch gave me the confidence to try harder recipes."  —u/Eurwen4

"Making a proper sauce Bolognese takes hours, but the taste is definitely worth it." —u/Freak_Engineer

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4. "Ragu"

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"Making ragu and other sauces taught me how to use different ingredients in conjunction to reach your desired texture. I've picked up many new techniques while making sauces from scratch and am still learning." —u/DerWeltenficker

5. "Scrambled Eggs"

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"Scrambled eggs teach me humility every time I make them. No matter how many compliments I get on my cooking, my scrambled eggs will always stick to the pan to remind me I still have a lot to learn." —u/Worst_Support

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6. "Macarons"

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"They are incredibly temperamental. It’s more like a chemistry lab experiment than a baking recipe." —u/Crepes4Brunch

7. "Pizza Dough From Scratch"

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"I learned a lot about how to work with yeast dough, and how oil plays an important role in baking. I also learned not to be so fearful: yeast dough seemed so complicated before I started making pizza regularly." —u/sprill_release

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8. "Braised Short Ribs"

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"I learned a ton about browning meat, not overcrowding a pan, how to make meat tender, and how to reduce and use the leftover pan sauce for serving." —u/jrobertson50

9. "Simple Roasted Vegetables"

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"My parents always made frozen vegetables in the microwave. But once I started roasting them with a bit of oil, salt, and pepper, it was a revelation to see how good vegetables could taste. It really changed my eating and cooking habits." —u/halfadash6

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10. "Hard-Boiled Eggs"

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"When I learned that egg whites and yolks are made of different proteins that set at different temperatures, something clicked. Techniques started to make sense. I started to see cooking as more of a process and less of a series of recipe steps." —u/mynameisangusprune

11. "Stir-Fry"

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"I used to cook everything to death until I started making stir-fry and realized you don't have to cook everything for and hour for it to be done." —u/merlamer

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12. "Brioche"

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"I finally learned how much you need to knead dough to form gluten, how to develop gluten, the differences between standard dough and enriched dough, how to ferment, gauging proofing time, and how much you can make with just one base recipe (donuts, cinnamon rolls, buns, etc...)." —u/Nhak84

13. "Chicken Soup"

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"Once you have the basics down for a simple chicken soup, the possibilities are endless. I've made so many creations working from chicken soup as a base (stews, sauces, etc..). Plus it's a great way to use up leftover ingredients." —u/Break_Salt

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14. "Basic Tomato Sauce"

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"I started with Babish's recipe and tried others. Eventually Marcella Hazan taught me that there are a thousand variations of tomato sauce, and now I can just wing  it with whatever ingredients I have based on how I want the flavor profile to taste." —u/noahpocalypse

"Simple tomato sauce. It's easy for anyone to make, impossible to 'master,' and it allows for endless variations." —u/Ignorhymus

15. "French Onion Soup"

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"This recipe taught me how technique can really alter simple ingredients. It was amazing to see what depth of flavor you can achieve when you make French onion soup from scratch, all with humble ingredients and without adding sugar as a shortcut." —u/jamieleehurtus

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16. "Soups And Stews"

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"These recipes teach the most about how flavors are layered to create a final taste." —u/CervezaSmurf

17. "Risotto"

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"Risotto isn’t about following the recipe. Rather, it’s about constantly adapting to the texture and flavor. Any recipe that forces you to do that is a good teacher." —u/luce4118

"Risotto is forgiving and it’s great to experiment with. If you’re familiar with a basic risotto recipe, you can begin to play around. For example, I replace white wine with gin and add lemon zest when I add the butter and cheese." —u/Tuscany007

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18. "Chili"

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"I think chili is a wonderful dish to start with as a beginner. It teaches you a lot of cooking fundamentals, like dicing vegetables, browning meat, and letting liquid reduce. You can also learn how to toast and grind spices or use a cut of meat like short ribs instead of ground beef." —u/DarthDonut

19. "Cacio e Pepe"

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"It's a simple dish made with just three ingredients. It taught me how to cook with pasta water, pay attention to heat levels, the importance of proper ingredients (like freshly ground pepper), and the idea that sometimes the result can be much more than the sum of its parts. What a joy it was to finally make a delicious Cacio e Pepe on my eighth attempt." —u/DemmouTV

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20. "Roux"

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"Learning to make a roux led me to realize I can casually make gravy from scratch without really thinking about it. I rarely use gravy powder anymore." —u/SadieSadieSnakeyLady

"Making mac 'n' cheese from scratch with a roux helped me realize I wasn’t just mindlessly following recipe steps. Rather, I was actually 'cooking' and that these techniques could be applied elsewhere, even in the absence of a recipe." —u/Partingoways

21. "Curry"

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"Curry is what taught me that improvisational cooking is both fun and enlightening. Before that, I could easily cook anything if I had the recipe, but curry taught me how to cook by smelling, tasting, and determining what flavors go well together." —u/CaptainLollygag

"Making curry showed me how to balance different spices to achieve the right flavor/heat without overwhelming the dish." —u/qthegoodtimes

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22. "Cassoulet"

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"While essentially a one-pot meal, it requires that you keep a keen eye on timing.  Managing the thickness of the cassoulet before putting it in the oven is a tricky thing to get right." —u/UnoriginalUse

23. "Proper Mac 'n' Cheese From Scratch"

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"It taught me the importance of making a good roux, how different types of cheese affect the final taste, and how adding properly cooked ingredients (shiitake, chorizo, etc.) can seriously enhance the overall flavor." —u/TheNeighKid

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24. "Pasta Aglio e Olio"

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"Because of how simple it is, you have a very small margin of error. The first time I made it, it was an oily and undersalted mess. It's taken lots of practice to get it right, but the effort is totally worth it." —u/bmabi

25. "Frying Eggs In A Cast-Iron Pan"

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"Fried eggs in a cast iron requires temperature control and trusting your pan. Otherwise you’ll break the yolk or it’ll stick like glue. It taught me to not be afraid to use a little extra oil." —u/blacka13

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26. "Sous Vide Cooking"

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"I don't use it that often, but cooking sous vide really pushed me into understanding how meat and temperature interact. Reverse searing made a lot of sense after learning how sous vide worked." —u/DrunkenWizard

27. "Beef Bourguignon"

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u/HasdrubalLecter

"I started with a basic recipe, then branched out and added things I liked from other recipes. I learned the proper timing for adding different ingredients and how to think about flavors working together. Lots of different aspects of cooking came together for me while working through beef stew." —u/disputing_stomach

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28. "Bechamel Sauce"

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"On my first try I accidentally made dough from butter and flour and proceeded to drown it in milk. It was a disaster." —u/DerWeltenficker

29. "Coq Au Vin"

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"Each step of cooking adds a new layer of complexity and flavor." —u/PeanutButter-Enema

30. "Not an actual recipe, but preparing Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner."

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"I learned how to brine and roast a bird, how to properly cut vegetables for stuffing and side dishes, how to bake pies and rolls, prepare gravy, make perfect mashed potatoes, and how to shop for the best ingredients. Every year my cooking has improved and I've learned new dishes and techniques." —u/Mary_Misanthrope

Is there a recipe or dish that got you interested in cooking or taught you an important cooking lesson? Tell us in the comments below.

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