Learning to cook is an essential life skill. These free online cooking classes will teach beginner cooks the basic techniques to make healthy, delicious, and budget-friendly meals.
Online recipe sites are not your friend when you’re new to cooking. They assume a certain basic skill level that doesn’t help those new to knives and flames. Instead, you need to start with online cooking classes and free cooking courses that teach you how to approach cooking and the basic techniques you need in the kitchen.
Chefs and online cooking channels often focus on flavor and technique over the basic thing you need regularly: healthy eating. Cooking healthy meals for yourself might seem like a challenge in a busy life, but this free course from Stanford University teaches you how to do it.
The four-week course takes a more holistic approach to cooking than just teaching the basic skills. The first week’s module focuses on laying the foundations of healthy cooking, teaching you the basic ingredients you should always have at hand, how to shop and store vegetables, and how to adopt a principle-based approach to cooking rather than a recipe based. This last point is critical and instantly turns you into a better cook once you master it.
The next three modules are with home cook Maya Adam and professional chefs Israel Garcia and Jacopo Peni. All three come with their food philosophies that fit into the larger goals of healthier, sustainable, and mindful eating.
2. Homemade (Web): Live Online Cooking Classes for Free
Chef and cookbook author Joel Gamoran and his team want everyone to learn how to cook, no matter their skill level. And they know that the best way to learn to cook any dish is to cook along with someone who knows how to do it. That led to the birth of Homemade, which offers free live cooking classes that you can cook along to.
Check the free class calendar for upcoming dishes you’d like to learn. Register for the event with your email address. Do this early; the free classes often get booked up. Once you’re signed up, you’ll get an ingredient list and the recipe. Use this to prepare for the live cooking class, which is usually about an hour long. Homemade recommends prepping and pre-measuring ingredients where possible.
You can keep your video camera on when the class starts and join in like a virtual classroom. The chefs encourage interacting, which is a great help for cooking beginners to ask questions. If you like the experience, consider the Homemade paid membership with access to all previous classes and recipes, as well as live classes in smaller groups.
Delia Smith has turned kitchen novices into confident cooks through cookbooks and workshops for years. Her step-by-step method for those who want to learn to cook is now available online for free at the Delia Online Cookery School.
The course is divided into five terms, starting with cakes, moving to eggs, then pastry and flour-based items, advancing to bread, and ending with rice and pasta. We recommend you go through these in order, as mastery over one will help you get better at the next. It’s excellent for beginners, as can be vouched through online testimonials as well as the results from The Delia Project, where a Guardian reporter took a year to go through her cookbook.
Another option is to use Delia’s How To Cook page. While it’s not a guided cooking course, it is an excellent resource for any basic technique you want to look up. From simple techniques like separating an egg to the perfect way to cook pasta, Delia’s videos teach you all the basic cooking techniques in a practical manner.
Cooking is not just about skill in the kitchen; it’s about understanding nutrition requirements. It’s not something many online cooking classes focus on, so BBC Good Food’s guide tries to teach you what others don’t. It’s an uncomplicated, self-paced course over five weeks, lasting about three hours per week.
You’ll learn the important concepts of nutrition, macronutrients and micronutrients, and how to balance a meal. The course sticks to simple health benefits like the basics of 5 A Day to increase vegetable consumption, reduce waste, and reuse leftovers.
Along with all this, you’ll also learn basic cooking skills and create five healthy recipes over the five weeks. Again, the idea is to create recipes that fit your needs in a long-term sustainable way, with tricks like a combination of colors, flavors, and seasoning to ensure you never get bored.
5. Home Cook Basics (Web): Essentials of Learning How to Cook
Is Home Cook Basics (HCB) the best place on YouTube to learn how to cook? No, it isn’t. But it’s one of the easiest channels for newbies to understand the basics of cooking. While not presented as a course, the series of videos is a gradual build-up to making you feel more comfortable in the kitchen.
I especially recommend starting with the above video on how to learn to cook. It’s an excellent short guide on why beginners in the kitchen should avoid learning by recreating recipes. Instead, it focuses on other essentials like practice, techniques, skills, seasoning, and food safety. Importantly, HCB also recommends starting with your favorite foods so that you are cooking something you enjoy even when you make a few mistakes at the start.
The other videos on HCB are all about the simplest of skills that an experienced cook takes for granted but can be tricky for a beginner. For example, many of the videos focus on simple knife skills like cutting different types of vegetables and fruits. While it’s basic, it’s one of the most essentials to becoming a good home cook. You’ll also find similar cooking channels on YouTube that give valuable tips for beginners, like Basics With Babish.
Look for Local Cooking Classes to Level Up
These free online cooking classes are an excellent way to learn the basics of cooking. The key is to practice, practice, and practice again to master the basic skills and techniques. But once you’re looking to learn more, don’t rush to recipe sites and channels.
One of the best ways to level up your basic cooking skills is to seek out a local cooking class. That’s where you’ll get an experienced chef to look at what you’re doing, help you tweak and refine your techniques, and go from a home cook to a budding chef.
Want to improve your cooking skills? Download these apps to your iPhone to find new recipes and much more.
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