While learning to cook with a famous chef would probably be the best way to go, you can still learn tonnes about cooking by teaching yourself. New technologies are helping us spread knowledge and the internet is changing the way we learn, even in the kitchen.
Even basic cooking is an art and you’ll need to familiarise with the important culinary techniques and know more about each ingredient you use if you want to start following an easy recipe.
Learn how to cook online:
If you’re one of the many people trying to teach yourself how to cook, there are plenty of resources to help you. In addition to the cookbooks and recipe books for beginners filling the shelves of bookshops, cookery videos are popping up on the internet across many cooking-related websites. They can be a useful tool for anyone wanting to improve their cooking.
In fact, having a visual aid alongside the recipe can make learning both simple and complicated cooking techniques much easier. To help you learn a bit more, here are a few cooking videos for you to try before letting your friends try your homemade cooking.
Don’t forget that cooking can be a lot of fun! Whether you're baking, following a recipe for a vegetable stir fry, or just trying to be healthier when you eat, you need to enjoy yourself.
If you're sick of jacket potatoes, instant soups or noodles, or just want to work on your culinary skills, these are the online videos you should be watching.
Are you ready to fire up the oven and learn how to cook for yourself, your friends, and your family?
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Epicurious also made our list of cooking websites you need to check out. The YouTube channel has simple recipes as well as videos on cooking techniques. We recommend starting by having a look through their various playlists.
Their “technique” playlist is a good place to start if you’re just starting out, want something to watch on your commute to work, or if you find yourself somewhere you can’t actually cook anything.
Like a lot of YouTube videos, the videos on Epicurious tend to last less than ten minutes. However, there are also plenty of videos that last less than one minute and show you a sped up version of the recipe. While the latter are good for making you want to learn how to cook, they don't really provide enough information on the cooking techniques you'll need, especially if you're an absolute beginner.
This is a great channel for those wanting to get to grips with the kitchen as well as learn more about cooking in general. I personally enjoy watching their “50 people” videos where people have to do basic kitchen tasks like dice an onion, core an apple, slice a pepper, cut a carrot, sharpen knives, and mince garlic.
- Plenty of recipes to inspire you
- Explanations of essential cooking techniques
- You can get more details on their website
- Not all of the videos are suitable for absolute beginners
- While their older content has longer form videos, it seems that the site is moving towards more “viral” cooking videos under a minute in length.
This is a YouTube channel from here in the UK with plenty of entertaining videos. The videos on this channel are around 10 minutes rather than the 30-second clips of headless chefs you always see on Facebook.
Whether you want to learn some interesting recipes or some basic skills (like frying or poaching an egg), this channel is worth checking out.
In addition to their recipes, they also have more entertaining content like challenges and videos.
Do you enjoy travelling?
Then you should check out their videos on what to eat in certain places. Absolute beginner? Check out their “Now Cook It” series.
Since this is a British channel, you might enjoy their video on the perfect roast beef with roasted potatoes (seasoned with herbs such as parsley, sage, and rosemary) and carrots.
- As dedicated YouTubers, the channel is regularly updated with hearty recipes.
- The recipes are easy to follow.
- The videos are entertaining.
- Not all of the recipes are suitable for beginners.
- While some of the recipes are amazing, you probably won’t have all the ingredients you need in your pantry.
Just Eat Life
This popular YouTube channel has a good variety of videos for budding chefs. Most of the videos are around 3 minutes in length, which may be a bit on the short side for some people.
This is a great channel if you’re interested in cooking from all over the world. There are recipes like ceviche, spring rolls, pesto pasta, Thai grilled pork, and dishes with a good mix between different meats and vegetables.
- The simplicity of each recipe
- The videos are organised into playlists
- The videos could be longer, especially for beginners.
Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20 years, you’ve probably heard of Jamie Oliver.
Some people love him, some people hate him. If you’re one of the latter, then this channel isn’t for you. If you can tolerate him in 5-minute segments, then you could learn a lot from watching his videos.
There are also videos by other chefs. If you’re an absolute beginner, you should start with his “Quick and Easy” series. If you want to learn more about different ingredients, then check out the “Let's Talk About...” series.
Once you start getting to grips with the basics, you can move onto more complicated recipes. There are videos on a Mexican breakfast with avocado, egg, and black beans, and smoky pancetta cod.
Whether you prefer savoury or sweet dishes, you might enjoy the videos explaining how to make them on this channel.
- As you can imagine, Jamie Oliver is comfortable in front of the camera and his instructions are clear.
- These are some of the highest quality cooking videos on YouTube.
- There are dedicated YouTube channels with more videos than this channel. However, the channel is still regularly updated.
Cooking with Dog
This is easily one of the maddest YouTube channels you’ll come across. The name says it all. This is actually a channel where you learn to cook from a dog. We don’t mean a cartoon dog, we mean a real dog! Of course, the dog (Francis) gets help from a Japanese chef who is simply referred to as “Chef”.
If you love the idea of home cooked Japanese food, this is a great channel with plenty of interesting recipes to follow. If a sweet potato Mont Blanc, yogurt Chicken curry, Chaliapin steak, or braised pork sound good, what are you waiting for?
- There’s a good collection of videos to watch with a good variety of gourmet recipes for you to follow (even if they are explained by a dog).
- The videos are absolutely hilarious (I think, at least).
- The videos might be a bit too silly for some people’s tastes.
- Since all the recipes are Japanese, if you don't want to learn how to cook Japanese food, this isn't the channel for you.
Start with Beginners’ Recipes on Facebook
There are now plenty of videos on Facebook of easy-to-make recipes. These videos are usually shot in exactly the same way, an overhead shot of the kitchen counter with just the chef’s hands appearing as they add the ingredients.
There’s normally just music playing over the top and these videos rarely last over a minute or two as the whole process has been sped up so you wan watch food being cooked in a matter of seconds.
These videos are usually designed to entice those who want to cook but feel they can’t as they include common ingredients that most people will have in their fridge like rice, pasta, cheese, and eggs.
It’s very clear who the videos are for as they often include things for the younger generation to cook using things from their childhood like Kinder eggs and popular chocolates.
These videos often go viral as they’re delicious-looking things like chocolate-covered strawberries or cannelloni cakes.
Some of the most famous Facebook pages include: Tasty (BuzzFeed’s food network), Cooking Panda, Spoon University, and Bon Appétit Magazine.
- Made-to-look-easy recipes for everyone
- Original tastes and flavours
- Good visuals to whet your appetite
- Since the videos are sped up, you’ll need to regularly hit the pause button if you actually want to follow the recipe.
- The techniques are very rarely explained in depth.
- The final result very rarely will look like in the video since the instructions are often very vague.
Once you’ve learnt a few of the easier recipes from these channels, you can start moving onto the more complicated recipes you see on cooking TV shows. A lot of the recipes on TV shows are often inspired by famous chefs’ recipes but simplified so that you can follow along at home.
|Epicurious||Lots of recipes, explanations of techniques, more details available on website.||Some videos not suitable for beginners, short "viral" videos.|
|SortedFood||Regularly updated, easy-to-follow recipes, entertaining.||Some videos not suitable for beginners, special ingredients.|
|Just Eat Life||Simple recipes, organised playlists.||Videos could be longer.|
|Jamie Oliver's FoodTube||Jamie Oliver, high quality videos.||Jamie Oliver, not as many videos as other channels.|
|Cooking with Dog||A lot of content, funny.||Quite silly, mainly Japanese food.|
Since this list includes cuisine in general, the recipes often include meat. However, there are also plenty of specialised YouTube channels with delicious vegetarian and vegan recipes with fresh fruits and veggies, but that's an article for another day.
Finally, while videos are useful, if you don't have a tablet or laptop you can keep on your kitchen bench, then you might want to invest in a good cookbook. A good cookbook can be a useful reference for general concepts like seasoning with different herbs, roasting, grilling, and chopping, techniques and tricks that a lot of these videos tend to assume you already know how to do.
Or just search for "cooking classes near me" and find a cooking school or private tutor to help you take cooking to the next level!