To err is human, even while cooking is a delight. And although takeout and delivery are pretty common in the U.S., and fast food chains are gaining popularity every day, many people still prefer to cook at home.

Today, some 82% Americans cook at home. This number is higher than it was about 10 years ago, and there are many reasons for it. For one, health complications such as diabetes are on the rise. People have become more conscious of their diet and their health as a result.

Cooking at home is the new fad—but how many of us are doing it right?

Cooking Mistakes You Need to Avoid

While none of us are Gordon Ramsays or Julia Childs, it’s still possible to get your cooking skills almost perfect—but only if you’re careful. And while everyone makes cooking mistakes at some point—there are ways to mitigate them.

And we’re here to help you do just that.

Stuffing the Pan

The only thing you should be stuffing is the turkey—definitely not the pan. Whether you’re using a skillet or a sheet pan, it should never be too full of food.

Leaving space in the pan ensures that the heat is evenly distributed throughout the food. Your food will be equally cooked on all sides this way.

Undersalting and Oversalting

Undersalting and Oversalting

Getting the salt levels wrong is a more common mistake than you’d think. If you’re a MasterChef or Kitchen Nightmares fan, you probably know that Gordon Ramsay himself is the butt of many salt jokes—because people feel he uses too much of it. But does he?

With salt, it’s kind of hard to tell. It depends on the type of salt you’re using, the amount of food you need to season, and so on. If you’re a layperson, always be careful with salt, and if in doubt, go with less. You can always add more salt afterwards.

Hot Pans and Cold Meats

Cold meat and a hot pan are a terrible combination. The rule of the thumb is to let cold or frozen meat thaw considerably before you throw it in a hot pan. Doing so helps you cook it more evenly. If you put in cold meat directly in hot pans, you risk overcooking the meat on the outside—and leaving it raw on the inside.

Cold Fridges and Hot Refrigerators

Once again, Archimedes’ principle is at work. If you’ve prepared stock or sauce that you’d like to refrigerate and store, let it cool down for a while. Don’t stash it directly in your fridge, and especially not in the freezer.

When you put hot food directly out of the frying pan into the fridge, the internal temperature of the refrigerator might rise. This is potentially harmful to the electrical appliance. Hot food in cold fridges is also susceptible to bacteria growth, in which case you risk wasting perfectly good food.

Interested in More Trips and Tricks?

From cooking tips to full-fledged recipes, you can find it all on Rena Greenberg’s website: Easy Willpower. Find out how you can keep an avocado fresh for longer, how to prepare a hearty turkey dish, and more. Rena Greenberg is a weight loss expert who regularly updates her website with healthy recipes for her followers.