Making cooking fun for beginners is something I’m really passionate about. As a culinary dietitian, it’s important to suggest easy-to-understand tips and simple ways to boost the flavor, texture and experience. Cooking a meal can be really daunting and sometimes all it takes is one suggestion to change the course of your cooking adventure.
How can I make cooking fun?
It starts with your attitude. If cooking involves stinkin’ thinkin’ like, “I can’t cook so why bother?” Then we first have to adjust our thoughts to make cooking more enjoyable. Try to be open to cooking with thoughts like, “I’m excited to try a new recipe today and to see how it turns out.”
What if cooking isn’t fun and it’s more of a chore?
Then this post with twenty different ideas is for you! These ideas come from a collection of tips I’ve gathered from the years of teaching over a thousand cooking classes. Whether you want to cook a balanced and tasty meal for yourself or your family and friends, these fun new ideas will impress everyone.
I hope you find these fresh ideas for what and how to cook but also where to eat useful for taking your cooking experiences to the next level.
20 Fresh Ideas to Make Cooking Fun Again
- Dive into a new cuisine from around the world: Whether you spin a globe to pick a spot or do a bit of web surfing, exploring new foods from around the world is a fantastic way to bring more fun back into the kitchen. You may open your palette up to a whole new way of cooking and that’s pretty exciting!
- Fluffier spiced scrambled eggs: Add a little bit of milk, cream or a dollop of cottage cheese to your eggs before you whisk them. Then whisk the eggs and add in a pinch of salt and spices now. Try adding different spices each time you make them such as dill, thyme, paprika, or mustard powder. Remember, for a fluffy egg it’s also important to cook them on low heat, slowly.
- Make your own freezer soup kits: When you’re shopping at the farmers market, buy seasonal produce to put together and prep for future soups. I call these freezer soup starter kits. Look up a soup recipe, prep the ingredients including the spices and herbs, put them into a gallon freezer bag and freeze for later in the season. I use Stasher bags when possible because they’re durable and reusable.
- Eat in a different location: I’m all about eating as a family at the table but changing it up can be extra fun and exciting (especially for kids). Try a picnic set up in the living room or beach blankets out in the yard. Build a fort and enjoy eating together in a new place.
- Quickly cook corn on the cob: There’s something decadent to me about corn on the cob but it can take a long time to bake if you’re going that route. If you want it faster, you can wrap it in a wet paper towel (no need to shuck it first) and microwave it for about 5 minutes, let it cool enough for you to shuck it and you’ve got ready-to-eat corn on the cob.
- Connect with your space: Stand in your kitchen and ask yourself what you need to feel more excited about cooking. You may not be able to afford an entire kitchen remodel but perhaps adding a plant to breathe in some life on your counters or some wood elements to add warmth is a place to start.
- Pick a brand new recipe: This is my kind of fun! Grab a cookbook off the shelf or start digging into Pinterest for inspiration on an exciting new dish to try. Even if it flops, building new skills and trying new things in the kitchen is worth it!
- Pour sticky liquids from a cup: For liquids like honey or syrup, standing and pouring them slowly from the measuring spoon or cup can be like waiting for a pot of water to boil. Instead, spray the spoon or measuring cup with cooking spray and the sticky liquids will pour out much faster and be easier to clean as well. Try adding a teaspoon of hot honey to your next slice of pizza and thank me later!
- Add umami flavor to your red sauces: Making your own spaghetti or pizza sauce? Add some umami flavor with a splash of worcestershire (“wuh-ster-sher”), liquid amino or soy sauce. This is a fun and easy way to add depth to a traditional red sauce.
- Set the mood: Light candles and turn on some music. Cooking with an ambiance is way better than feeling rushed and bored. Even if you’re short on time, play some fun up beat music to keep the pace.
- Freeze the block of tofu: Tofu can be frozen in its water/package whole or removed from its package and frozen whole, sliced, or cubed. It’ll stay good for up to three months in the freezer. When you thaw and cook with it, it’ll be better at absorbing flavors and will have a firmer texture. Try experimenting with tofu in the next stir fry you make.
- Freeze your pizza dough: Pizza dough is something that will always be in my freezer. I make my own almost every week because it is so dang easy. Try making your own and tell me the experience isn’t more fun!
- Experiment with new spice profiles: Look up recipes based off of spices in your cabinet that you never touch. This is a fast way to spice up a dish (pun intended) and get out of a culinary rut.
- Ask for support: There are lots of ways to get friends and/or family involved in your meals. Try cooking and swapping a meal with a friend or invite your mom over to double batch a recipe to split. Or gather each of your friend’s favorite dish to cook and you’ll easily have a new list of meals to choose from.
- Create a flavor box in the freezer: One of the best ways to keep your cooking fun and fresh is to add flavor through sauce, juices, zests, etc. However, it can be hard to keep all types of flavors on hand without them going bad. You can freeze little bits of leftover tomato paste, fresh lemon (any citrus) juice or zest, coconut milk, or pesto for example. When you need a pop of flavor, grab them from your flavor box in the freezer and watch your recipe come to life.
- Put on a fun apron or cooking button up top: I think apparel can make or break an activity and that includes cooking. Find a cute apron that fits your style or get an oversized button up that can handle common cooking spills.
- Thicken soup with a blender: All you do is take out about ⅓-½ of your batch and run an immersion blender through it. You can also use a regular blender with caution if the soup is hot. Once blended or partially blended add it back in. That’s it! It can be fun to add pureed vegetables to soups as well such as squash or pumpkin.
- Pick a theme to cook around: Get inspiration from a movie such as Harry Potter and make my imitation butterbeer foam recipe. Or get inspired by a dish featured in your favorite book or television show.
- Get into meal planning: This tip may seem seasoned but if you plan out your week’s worth of meals it can make cooking less stressful and more enjoyable. If there’s a low-key night in the week, leave that spot blank and try cooking on the fly with what you have on hand.
- Try a new cooking class: There are TONS of in person and virtual cooking classes out there and I’d love for you to take one with me! Check out my Patreon classroom, the Healthy Kitchen Community where I teach a monthly virtual cooking class, share meal plan and kitchen inspiration routinely, and help translate nutrition science into recipes that taste amazing. Read more about it here and see if it’s the right fit for you.
What do you think? I would love to have you comment below which one you’ll try out first. Or if you have another way to make cooking fun, share that with me below!