Learn Cook Eat

Cooking Methods

If you are new to cooking the thought of trying different cooking techniques can seem overwhelming. With a bit of knowledge & some practice you will be able to master simple to more advanced recipes. Below are a few common cooking methods used everyday & must have kitchen essentials.


Microwaving heats the food by causing the water content of the food to move around quickly. This causes the food to heat up very quickly.

Microwaving can be used to:

  • cook
  • reheat
  • defrost

If you only have access to a microwave there are plenty of things you can cook up. Try some of these mug recipes for pizza, lasagne & molten lava cake, scrambled eggs, baked potato or mac & cheese!


Boiling involves cooking food in hot water that has been brought to a boil (which means that the water has reached or nearly reached its boiling point). Water is boiled in a pan or pot, usually on a stovetop. Food is then placed in the water left to cook through.

Tip: After removing vegetables or pasta from boiling water, soak them in cold water to stop the cooking process so they don’t become overcooked and bland.

Watch this video on boiling a potato  


When you steam food, you put it in a steamer or colander and set it over (but not in!) a pot or pan of boiling water, to allow the steam from the water to cook the ingredient. Steaming does not require the need for oil or fat - just boiling water that does not touch the food. You can prepare foods like vegetables, chicken and seafood.

Australia's best recipes explains the different types of steamers including:

  • Collapsible metal steamers: a retro favourite, these steamers are great for cooking larger vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. However, they are not recommended for chicken or fish.
  • Metal insert steamers: a popular steamer, these are usually sold as part of a saucepan set. Here, the steamer fits snugly inside the saucepan and its flat bottom makes it ideal for cooking vegetables, poultry and seafood.
  • Bamboo steamer: economical and available in a range of sizes, these stackable steamers are ideal for cooking several items at once. The bamboo also absorbs the steam and adds additional moisture to what’s being cooked. Food is not placed directly on the bamboo surface, but on greaseproof paper, a small plate or rack inside.


This involves bringing a cooking liquid (like water, broth or wine) to a simmer, and let your main ingredient cook in it until it’s done. Poaching cooks the food without drying it out, so you get moist, perfect results every time. Poached meat and seafood also makes a yummy, protein-rich ingredient to add to other dishes.

Master poaching an egg with Jamie Oliver by following the video below:


Stir-frying  involves cooking small or thin pieces of foods quickly at a higher temperature. You can use this technique for veggies or for quick-cooking tender cuts of meat like chicken breast. You can use a small amount of oil, vegetable stock or water.

Stir-frying  is often used to cook:

  • fish
  • tofu
  • vegetables
  • lean meats or poultry

Watch this stir frying tips video by Jamie Oliver:

Pan Fry

Pan frying is a dry heat method of cooking that uses oil or fat. It makes food brown & crispy whilst remaining tender on the inside. Try this delicious fritter recipe!

Deep fry

To deep fry  you cook the food in oil deep enough for the food to float in while you cook it. This methods uses a lot of oil!

For advice on what oil is best to use & how to master the pan frying technique check out this blog post


Roasting is a technique that requires using a dry heat for cooking ingredients from the outside through to the centre. Roasting usually happens in the oven.

Common things to roast include:

  • Meat - chicken, beef etc
  • Fish
  • Vegetables

Try this  roasted vegetable recipe by Jamie Oliver. It's a great way to use up anything that's hanging around in your fridge!


Grilling uses radiant heat to cook foods quickly. The food can be grilled over heat like on a barbecue or under heat such as an oven grill.

Best foods for grilling include:

  • Burgers
  • Meats
  • Vegetables (zucchini, mushrooms, carrots etc)
  • Fish
  • Tofu


Baking is a dry heat cooking method in which an item is cooked in hot, dry air in an enclosed space like an oven. Baking is usually used to make:

  • Bread
  • Cakes
  • Pastries
  • Cookies
  • Savoury dishes like pasta bake

Kitchen Essentials

In your kitchen you’ll be equipped with a bowl(s), plate(s) cutlery and perhaps  a microwave. So what other essential items should you have? No Time No money has put together a great resource called First Home Leavers Guide that you can downland with heaps of useful information like this list of kitchen essentials:  

Useful Resources

Cooking Methods

Explains each cooking method on detail including why, how & what tools to use.

Jamie Oliver How to videos

A collection of how to cooking videos and recipes.

Learn Cook Eat