Is It Done Yet? 17 Great Cooking Tips!

9 Mar

Are you a seasoned cook or a newbie in the kitchen?  Either way, I thought this great article from Parents.Com would serve as a good reminder for the pros and super helpful for the rookies!

Is This Food Done Yet?


Woman looking in oven
The Age-Old Question: Is It Done Yet?

Whether you’re a seasoned chef executing an intricate holiday meal or a first-time cook trying your hand at eating in, knowing when a dish is done cooking is as important as using the proper ingredients. Use these no-fail doneness cues — from precise internal temperatures to indications visible to the naked eye — as signs that your dish is ready for the table. They’ll help you achieve perfectly prepared food every time you cook.

Cooking pancakes

Cook the first side until bubbles appear on the surface and pop. Flip and cook second side until pancake is springy to the touch.

Try our recipe for Perfect Pancakes

poached egg
Poached Eggs

Let eggs gently simmer in water until the whites are set and the yolk feels like a water balloon.

Try our recipe for poached eggs

Cupcakes and Muffins

Cupcakes and muffins are finished baking when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the surface is springy to the touch when gently pressed with your forefinger.

Try our recipes for Banana-Macadamia Nut Muffins

Baked potato

Potatoes are cooked to perfection when a fork easily pierces the flesh but meets some resistance toward the center. Gently rub the skin; it should release easily from the flesh.

Try our recipe for Baked Potatoes Florentine

Cooked rice

Cook your rice until the surface is studded with steam holes and the individual grains look fluffy. There should be no water pooling in the bottom of the pot.

Cooked beets

Roast beets until they’re easily cut with a butter knife and the skin slides off the flesh by hand.

Try our recipe for Beet Summer Salad

Roasted squash
Roasted Squash (whole or halved)

Roast squash until flesh is tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork and the skin is beginning to wrinkle.

Woman cooking risotto

Risotto is perfectly cooked when the rice is al dente (toothsome) in the center, but soft and creamy on the surface. You want it to be slightly soupy but not runny. Drop a spoonful of risotto on a flat plate; if the liquids spread out much beyond the rice, keep cooking.

Try our recipe for Edamame and Mushroom Risotto

Checking doneness on lamb

For a medium-rare lamb roast, steak, or chop, cook until a meat thermometer reads 145°F. Cook to 160°F for medium and 170°F for well done.

Checking doneness on hamburger

For a patty cooked to medium, remove from heat when a meat thermometer registers 160°F. The burger should feel springy to the touch and still be juicy and pink in the center.

Try our recipe for Better Burgers

Cooked steak

Test the doneness of your steak by gently pressing in the center. It should feel fleshy to the touch for medium-rare and should reach an internal temperature of 135°F. When cut, a medium-rare steak is brown around the edges and predominantly pink in the middle, with a hint of red in the center.

For medium, let the steak cook until it is slightly firmer to the touch and reaches 150°F as an internal temperature. Cook all the way to 160°F for well done. A well-done steak will feel firm to the touch. (Let your steak rest for approximately half the time it took you to cook it. The internal temperature will rise about 10 degrees while resting.)

Try our recipe for Southwest Steak & Peppers

grilling salmon

Cook your fish until beads of moisture begin to form on the surface of the flesh and the internal temperature reaches 130°F. You’ll know your salmon is becoming overcooked when white, gelatinous bits of protein are pushed to the surface.

Try our recipe for Crunchy Salmon

Cooking shrimp in pan

Cook your shrimp until its gray translucent coloring turns pink and opaque and the flesh is firm to the touch.

Try our recipe for Shrimp Quesadillas with Mango

Checking doneness on pork

Cook pork until firm to the touch and the temperature on a meat thermometer reaches 160°F. Contrary to popular belief, pork that is slightly pink in the center isn’t necessarily undercooked.

Try our recipe for Pork with Pear Salsa

raw turkey

The bird is thoroughly cooked when a meat thermometer stuck in the innermost part of the thigh and/or the thickest part of the breast reaches 165 °F. When the turkey is pierced with the tip of a knife, the juices should run clear.

Cheesecake in oven
Pumpkin Pie, Cheesecake, or Other Custard-Based Pies

Remove from oven when the center is still slightly wobbly but the edges are firm to the touch.

Try our recipe for Pumpkin Surprise Pie

Cookies on pan

Remove cookies from the oven when they’re golden around the edges but still slightly soft in the center. The cookies will finish cooking as they rest on the cookie sheet before being moved to a wire rack to cool.

Copyright & copy 2010 Meredith Corporation.

Try our recipe for Oatmeal Cookies


http://www.parents.comBringing together the power of respected magazine brands including American Baby and Parents, the Parents Network is your go-to destination for parenting information. From first kicks to first steps and on to the first day of school, we are here to help you celebrate the joys and navigate the challenges of parenthood.

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