Learning to master the basics of cooking can seem like a daunting task to someone who has never cooked before. If you do not know anything about cooking and are one of the people who burn water when trying to get it to boil, here are some tips to teach you the basics of cooking.

Consider recipes to be guidelines rather than rules. Feel free to branch out and switch up the spices or add an extra ingredient. Before long you will be compiling your own personal collection of altered recipes that are better than the original thing. Not only will you will also be able to impress your friends with unique dishes, but you will become a better cook as you experiment with changing recipes.

When cooking, the smaller the item the higher the cooking temperature can be. For instance, if you are cooking mini muffins they can be baked at 400, where as if the muffins are regular size the temperature should be no higher than 325. Cooking at the right temperature will optimize your cooking time and keep items from becoming dried out.

Use a collapsible steamer basket to make the best steamed vegetables. These devices are available widely and cheaply. They can slip into almost any pot you already have and can be used for almost any vegetable you would like to enjoy. Be sure to watch your cook time to avoid getting mushy vegetables.

When shaving vegetables for dishes such as a vinaigrette or a salad, use a coarse microplane, also known as a grater or zester, to grate them into smaller pieces. The flavors of the vegetables are truly unlocked when grated with the microplane.

Using the tips stated above, you should have a firm grasp on the basics of cooking and be able to cook for yourself. You can even try cooking for your family and friends as a learning experience. The great thing about cooking is that if it does not work the first time, you can try again.