How to Start Cooking from Scratch with 7 Simple Tips

Here are seven tips to help you learn how to start cooking from scratch! Getting started in the kitchen doesn’t have to be a scary concept because it’s really not that hard! If you’d like to learn how to cook at home, keep reading!

How to Start Cooking from Scratch

1. Make a plan

It’s really important to have a plan if you want to cook from scratch because convenience foods and drive-throughs are just so darn easy. There are so many ways to meal plan – you can plan for a week, two weeks, or a month at a time. I go back and forth in my planning, but I have many monthly and weekly meal plans on the blog you can look through for ideas.

If you have a plan, you’ll get meat out of the freezer when you need to and have a goal. That makes it much more likely to actually cook!

2. Start easy

If you haven’t cooked from scratch a lot, I really recommend that you start easy. There’s no need to create gourmet meals at first (or ever, for that matter). There aren’t any rules that say you need to make every single meal from scratch right off the bat either. Make a goal and achieve it.

Maybe you want to make 4 weekly dinners from scratch one week. Or maybe you want to start with breakfasts and make them from scratch. You’re the boss! Figure out what you want, write down a goal, tell your family, and do it! I know you can!

3. Use tried and true recipes that your family will like

Write down a master list of meals that your family likes and hang it on your fridge. Look for meals that can be made quickly and with few ingredients. Be prepared for an adjustment period. Real food tastes different than the convenience counterpart.

If your family is used to and likes pre-packaged food, it might take some time to retrain the taste buds to prefer the real stuff. I’m confident, though, that if you use tried and true recipes, you will be really happy once you make the switch.

4. Prep ahead & cook extra

I’m most successful at serving a from-scratch meal if I have prepped the meal earlier in the day. If you can find 10 minutes in the morning or at lunch to make sure you have meat out to thaw and veggies chopped and ready to go, you will be more successful too. Having a good plan and ingredients at the ready on busy evenings makes all the difference in the world.

If you work outside the home and mornings are too hectic for you to worry about dinner meal prep, perhaps you can set aside an hour on a weekend to cook meat to use and chop of veggies to store in the fridge.

5. Here’s a good recipe line up to get you started!

If you’re still not sure where to start, here are two paths you can take: one with chicken and one with beef.

  • I recommend starting with a whole chicken that you can shred and use for many meals. You might enjoy my recipe for homemade rotisserie chicken in an instant pot!
  • After making the chicken, save the carcass and make a homemade stock.
  • Use the stock for making a delicious soup, like my creamy chicken stew.
  • You can also start with homemade spaghetti sauce! This recipe makes enough to put in the extra freezer for different nights. The leftovers are perfect for repurposing into lasagna or baked spaghetti.
  • My spinach mozzarella meatloaf recipe is the base for the meatballs in the spaghetti sauce. On a day when you have time to put together the meatloaf, make a triple recipe so you can freezer meatloaf and meatballs too!

6. Invest in good kitchen tools and cookbooks

From-scratch cooking is so much easier with the right tools – a good knife, a slow cooker, and tried and true recipes from quality sources are your best friends!

Kitchen tools don’t have to cost a fortune either. Some of my favorite helpers cost under $15. I watch friends who are better cooks than me to make my list. It might be boring, but I ask for practical kitchen items for Christmas almost every single year. And I’m THRILLED when I get them, because seriously, they make my life so much easier.

7. Wash up as you go

Our final tip could be the most valuable. Learn how to wash up as you go!

Washing up is the most unattractive side to cooking, and it’s easy to be put off by the thought of having to scrub out pans or scour skillets clean. With a little prep and discipline, washing up can be easy.

Pour out a large pot or sink full of hot water when you start cooking. As soon as you finish with a utensil, rinse it off and put it away.

Try not to leave everything until the end; that’s when the washing up becomes unmanageable. You likely won’t bother, and when you next want to cook, you’ll have no clean equipment. That’s when you order the takeaway pizza.

Now you know how to start cooking!

There we go. Now you know how to start cooking in your own kitchen!

Cooking isn’t a race, so take your time and progress at your own pace. Once you’ve mastered the essentials and have the confidence to cook and for other people, then there are plenty of adventurous recipes and complicated cooking techniques you can start to experiment with.