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17 Very Learnable Seasoning Tricks That Will Make Your Next Dinner Guests Ask "When Did You Get So Good At Cooking?"

Some might seem really subtle — but they genuinely make all the difference.

When people ask me how they can become better cooks, I tell them one thing, and one thing only: learn how to season your food properly, and the world — or kitchen, at least — is your oyster.

1. Taste the dish you're preparing throughout the cooking process, and season as you go.

Sprinkling salt on top of sautéed vegetables.

2. Learn the difference between salt varieties and know when to use them.

Table salt, coarse sea salt, and kosher salt laid out on three wooden spoons, to describe the differences between the three.

3. When using fresh herbs, make sure you're adding them at the right time. Spoiler alert: this will differ from herb to herb.

4. Parsley is a perfectly fine garnish for many dishes, but it's not meant to be sprinkled on anything and everything you make for presentation's sake.

Bowl of creamy pasta with parsley liberally sprinkled on top.

5. When making pasta, salt that pasta water generously — and then salt it some more.

Pot of water with pasta, boiling rapidly.

6. If you over-season your dish, add more ingredients to it.

Adding carrots to a pot of stew on the stovetop.

7. Season from high above for more even coverage.

8. Black pepper shouldn't be added to everything.

Person grinding fresh black pepper into a casserole dish.

9. Speaking of black pepper — when it is appropriate to add, know when to use finely ground versus cracked varieties.

10. Consider using whole spices (instead of the pre-ground variety) to easily dial up the flavor notes of whatever you're cooking.

A variety of whole spices laid out on a table

11. Remember that cold foods require more seasoning than hot foods.

Sprinkling salt on top of a bowl of salad greens.

12. Don't forget to season certain foods with sugar, too.

Measuring cup and spoon full of granulated sugar on top of a marble countertop.

13. Pre-season meat with salt ahead of time, so it has time to flavor and improve the overall texture.

Grinding pepper on top of a piece of raw steak

14. Don't be afraid of using flavor enhancers like nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, or MSG.

15. Don't forget to season your food with acid, too.

16. Be careful not to burn any spices you pre-season with when searing proteins.

Darkly seared steak in a cast iron skillet with pieces of freshly cracked black pepper on it

17. Citrus zest can make just about anything taste even better.

Zesting a lemon on a microplane over a bowl of food

If you know any other cooking or seasoning tips that totally changed your cooking game, we want to hear about 'em in the comments! 👇