7 Essential Steps to Learn Cooking in One Year
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Get familiar with cooking terminology
  2. Gather kitchen essentials
  3. Start with basic recipes
  4. Practice knife skills
  5. Learn to make a roux
  6. Perfect the art of baking
  7. Experiment with flavors and cuisines

If you're on the hunt for ways on how to learn cooking in a year, you've landed on the right page. This blog will guide you through seven simple steps that will take you from culinary newbie to a home chef in just 365 days. So, pull out your apron and let's get started on your one-year journey to becoming a cooking pro!

Get familiar with cooking terminology

The first step in your culinary journey is understanding the language of the kitchen. Cooking, like any other skill, has its own lingo and you'll need to get comfy with it. Here are some common terms you're likely to encounter:

  • Sauté: This is a French term that means to cook food quickly in a small amount of oil or fat over high heat. Think of it like frying, but faster and with less oil.
  • Dice: This isn't about playing board games. When you dice something in the kitchen, you're cutting it into small, square pieces. This term often pops up when prepping veggies.
  • Simmer: Simmering is a cooking method that involves keeping the liquid just below the boiling point. You know you're simmering right, when you see tiny bubbles breaking the surface.
  • Al dente: This Italian phrase literally translates to "to the tooth". It's used to describe pasta that is cooked to be firm when bitten.

These are just a few of the many cooking terms you'll come across. To learn more, consider picking up a cooking dictionary or a beginner-friendly cookbook with a glossary. This way, the next time a recipe asks you to "julienne" your veggies or "deglaze" your pan, you'll know exactly what to do! Remember, learning to cook is like learning a new language, so don't fret if you're not familiar with all the terms at first. With time and practice, you'll get the hang of it.

And that's the first step on how to learn cooking in a year. Once you've got the terminology down, you're ready to move on to gathering your kitchen essentials. Stay tuned!

Gather kitchen essentials

Before you can start cooking up a storm, you'll need to equip your kitchen with the right tools. Having the necessary kitchen essentials at hand will not only make your cooking process smoother, but it will also make it more enjoyable. Here's a list of items you should consider:

  • Cookware: A good set of pots and pans is a must. This includes a non-stick frying pan, a large pot for soups and stews, and a medium-sized saucepan for sauces and gravies.
  • Kitchen Knives: You'll need at least one good chef's knife. This versatile tool can handle most of your chopping, slicing, and dicing needs. A paring knife for finer tasks is also handy.
  • Cutting Board: Preferably, you should have two—one for raw meats and one for fruits and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Utensils: Think spatulas, tongs, and wooden spoons. These are the workhorses of the kitchen that you'll use every day.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are key to making recipes work. Invest in a set of measuring cups and spoons for both dry and liquid ingredients.

These are just the basics. Over time, you might find other items that suit your style of cooking. A garlic press, a citrus juicer, or a pastry brush, perhaps? Remember, the kitchen is your playground. So, equip it in a way that brings out your culinary creativity and makes cooking fun and easy for you.

And there you have it! The second step on how to learn cooking in a year is to gather your kitchen essentials. Now that your kitchen is ready, it's time to roll up your sleeves and start with basic recipes. So, are you ready to cook?

Start with basic recipes

The first time you attempt to cook, it's a good idea to start with something simple. Let's not try to run before we can walk, right? Starting with basic recipes allows you to get comfortable in the kitchen without feeling overwhelmed. So, what are some easy dishes to start with?

  • Pasta: Pasta is a great beginner's dish. It's easy to make and very versatile. You can start with a basic spaghetti with marinara sauce and then explore other variations.
  • Scrambled Eggs: Scrambled eggs might seem simple, but they're a great way to practice temperature control on the stove. Plus, who doesn't love a good scrambled egg?
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich: This isn't just a childhood favorite. Making a perfect grilled cheese sandwich teaches you about timing and heat regulation.
  • Chicken Stir-Fry: A basic chicken stir-fry with vegetables introduces you to the concept of sauteing and the art of combining flavors.

Remember, the goal here isn't to create a three-course meal on your first day. It's about gaining confidence in the kitchen. Every great chef started with the basics, so don't rush. Master these simple dishes, and before you know it, you'll be ready to take on more challenging recipes. So, who knows? By the end of the year, you might just surprise yourself with how much you've learned about cooking. After all, learning how to cook in a year starts with mastering the basics, right?

Practice Knife Skills

Now that you've mastered a few basic recipes, it's time to sharpen another vital kitchen skill. No, I'm not talking about your witty banter. I'm talking about your knife skills. Being comfortable with a knife can make your cooking experience much more efficient and enjoyable. But where should you start?

  • Choosing the Right Knife: Start by choosing the right knife for the job. A chef's knife, paring knife, and bread knife are good to start with.
  • Understanding Knife Safety: Always keep your knives sharp—a dull knife is a dangerous knife. And remember, when chopping, keep your fingers tucked away from the blade.
  • Mastering Basic Cuts: From dicing onions to mincing garlic, there are various cutting techniques to learn. These might seem daunting at first, but with practice, you'll get the hang of it.
  • Practicing Consistency: Try to cut your ingredients in consistent sizes. Not only does it make your dish look more appealing, but it also ensures even cooking.

Knife skills may not seem like the most exciting part of learning how to cook, but trust me, they're essential. And who knows? With a year of practice, you might just become the next slicing, dicing, chopping wizard of the kitchen. Just remember, like any skill, it takes practice—so don't get discouraged if you don't master it right away. After all, the journey to learn cooking in a year is all about progress, not perfection.

Learn to Make a Roux

Now that you've nailed your knife skills, it's time to learn a new technique. Today, we're going to learn how to make a roux. Sound fancy? Maybe a bit. Is it difficult? Not at all. In fact, with a bit of practice, you'll be making a roux like a pro in no time.

But first, let's answer the question: what is a roux exactly? A roux is a mixture of fat and flour, cooked together to create the base for many sauces and gravies. It can transform a simple dish into a symphony of flavors. And here's how you make it:

  1. Melt some butter: Start by melting about a tablespoon of butter in a pan. You can also use other fats, like oil or even bacon fat, but butter is a great place to start.
  2. Add the flour: Once the butter has melted, add an equal amount of flour. Stir the two together until they form a smooth paste. This is your roux!
  3. Cook it: Now, depending on what you're making, you'll want to cook your roux for a different amount of time. A light roux—cooked for a few minutes—will have a milder flavor, while a dark roux—cooked for longer—will have a deeper, nuttier flavor.

And voilà! You've made a roux. It's a small thing, but it can make a big difference in your cooking. So, get out there and start practicing. Remember, learning how to cook in a year is about taking small steps towards big improvements—and learning to make a roux is definitely one of those steps.

Perfect the Art of Baking

Learning how to bake isn't just about making sweet treats—it's also about understanding how different ingredients interact with each other. Baking can seem intimidating, especially when a recipe calls for precise measurements and temperatures. But don't worry, we're going to break it down into manageable steps.

  1. Understand the basics: Baking is a science. Each ingredient has a specific role. Flour provides structure, while baking powder and baking soda help your treats rise. Sugar sweetens, and eggs add moisture and richness. Start to notice how these ingredients work together in your recipes.
  2. Follow the recipe: Until you're super comfortable with baking, it's best to follow the recipes exactly. Baking is less forgiving than cooking: a little too much or too little of an ingredient can drastically change the outcome.
  3. Practice makes perfect: The more you bake, the better you'll get. Start with simple recipes, like cookies or brownies, and gradually challenge yourself with more complex ones.

Don't worry if your first few attempts don't turn out picture perfect—baking is a skill that improves over time. The key is to keep trying, keep learning, and keep having fun. Remember, the journey of learning how to cook in a year isn't a sprint—it's a marathon. And before you know it, you'll be baking like a pro!

Experiment with Flavors and Cuisines

When you're learning how to cook, it's easy to stick with the familiar. But once you've mastered the basics, why not spice things up? Trying out different flavors and cuisines is a great way to expand your cooking skills and palate. So, where do you start? Let's check out a few tips:

  1. Flavor Profiles: Every cuisine has its own unique set of flavors. Italian cooking, for instance, relies heavily on ingredients like garlic, basil, and tomatoes. Thai food, on the other hand, is a balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors. Understanding these profiles can help guide you when you're experimenting in the kitchen.
  2. Spices and Herbs: These are the secret weapons of any good cook. They can transform a bland dish into a flavor-packed masterpiece. Start building your spice rack with basics like salt, pepper, oregano, and chili powder. Then, as you explore different cuisines, you'll add more exotic spices to your collection.
  3. Try New Recipes: The internet is a gold mine of recipes from around the world. If you're interested in a particular cuisine, find a few easy recipes to start with. As you get more comfortable, you can venture into more complex dishes.

Remember, cooking is supposed to be fun. So don't be afraid to take risks and make mistakes—that's part of the learning process. Who knows, you might just stumble upon your new favorite dish. And that's what makes the journey of learning how to cook in a year so exciting!

If you're passionate about learning to cook and want to explore other creative skills, why not try the '1 Hour Photography Challenge' workshop by Andrea Orejarena? This workshop will help you improve your photography skills, which can come in handy when you want to document your culinary creations. So, go ahead and expand your creative horizons with Daisie's workshops!