Even if you’ve pretty much figured out your way around the kitchen, there is always something to learn in the world of cooking. With so many different techniques, flavors, and cooking styles, it’s impossible to learn too much about the food that you eat. Blogs and cookbooks can provide plenty of insight into how to prepare any dish, but sometimes, you’ve got to see things for yourself in order to figure it all out.
Which is why we’re thankful that YouTube exists, and that it is full of educational cooking videos on everything from basic knife skills to advanced molecular gastronomy. But sometimes, you just don’t have the time to spend 10 minutes watching a video, which is where these 10 food GIFs come in. They last only a few seconds, but each animated photo can teach you a new and innovative technique to try in the kitchen tonight.
Onion chopping, streamlined
Dicing an onion is one of the most boring tasks in the kitchen, and nobody loves the tears that inevitably follow your first cut. To shorten the process, try this technique.
Cutting carrots, fancified
Food & Wine
Everyone loves the look of bias-cut carrots, but it can be difficult for those of us with less-than-top-notch knife skills to create an even product. The roll cut, which is pretty self-explanatory, is both pretty on the plate and provides plenty of surface area for your carrots to caramelize in the skillet or roasting pan.
Separating eggs, simplified
Food & Wine
Separating eggs is tricky, and usually involves a little mixing of the yolks and whites when all is said and done. This water bottle technique, though, is damn near idiot proof. We promise that every time you suck up a perfect, unbroken egg yolk into a leftover Smart Water bottle, your newfound culinary prowess will amaze you.
Being good with the chopsticks doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re eating sushi as it is meant to be enjoyed. In this GIF from Munchies, a sushi chef demonstrates the proper technique of grabbing the sushi and rolling it on its side so that the fish (not the rice!) makes contact with your tongue first for optimal tasting of its flavor. If you don’t know, now you know.
Winner weeknight dinner
When you’re trying to figure out what the hell to make for dinner that doesn’t involve too much effort or (god forbid) going to the grocery store, tacos are always a good option. After watching this GIF, you don’t even need a recipe — just grab a cut of steak, some tortillas, and avocado and you’ve got dinner.
The Vagabond Baker
Baking is an intimidating venture, especially when you consider the years of training that the world’s top pastry chefs undergo to hone their craft. If you’re a beginner baker, this kneading technique is much better explained visually than in a cookbook or online. You’ll figure out your own push-pull rhythm, but this GIF is a good place to start.
Add class with a chiffonade
First We Feast
Every plate tastes better with a sprinkling of fresh herbs over the top, but haphazard cutting of parsley or basil doesn’t exactly add to the aesthetic value of your dish. A chiffonade, or long, thin strips of herbs, is easy to cut and helps you incorporate fresh, herbaceous flavor into every nook and cranny of your pasta or paella.
Pit cherries, effortlessly
This time of year, fresh cherries are practically nature’s candy. If you don’t own a cherry pitter, you’re probably spending too much time trying to pry the pits from the flesh of the fruit with a knife. Instead, try this paper clip technique, which is actually pretty fun, if a little tedious.
Figure out how to frost
Cupcakes are much easier to bake and decorate than a layer cake, and look more sophisticated than a plain-Jane sheet cake. Add an extra layer of sophistication with perfectly-piped icing on top of your best baked goods. Fortunately, as this GIF demonstrates, this basic frosting technique is not as difficult as the finished product appears.
Snack on an orange in three seconds flat
Peeling an orange with your fingers isn’t exactly fun, and usually results in a little mutilation of the juicy fruit inside. Skip this step altogether with just three simple cuts from a knife, and you’ll end up with a sort of grown-up version of (real!) Fruit by the Foot.
Amy McCarthy is Paste’s Assistant Food Editor. She’s learned a lot from GIFs. Find her on Twitter @aemccarthy.