7 Basic Methods of Cooking Vegetables (2023)

Need a little help eating more vegetables? This post highlights the most common methods of cooking vegetables, all of which are healthy ways to prepare veggies that actually taste good! Say goodbye to soggy, bland veggies and hello to your new favorite food group.

7 Basic Methods of Cooking Vegetables (1)

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Preparing more vegetables and cooking at home is a simple strategy that can greatly improve your health. And there’s research to back it!

A recent study in Public Health Nutrition found that those who cooked dinner at home 6 to 7 times a week consumed healthier foods and less overall calories than those who did not prepare their own meals as often.

What’s more, other researchhas reported that preparing food at home is associated with less fast food consumption and money spent on food.

Even if there wasn’t science to back this concept, it just makes sense that being in control of how you prepare meals and the ingredients you use can lead to better health. Not to mention, cooking at home can be a way to relax, be creative, or spend time with loved ones.

One of the first steps towards cooking more at home is learning different ways to cook fresh vegetables. These skills will enable you to make veggies the star of your meals, which in turn will provide you with tons of beneficial nutrients and lead to improved health.

To get you started, here are 7 basic methods of cooking vegetables!

1. Chopping

Chopping is about as basic as you can get, and it’s something that seasoned home cooks might take for granted. But not everyone learns how to slice, dice, and julienne veggies as a kid. That’s why chopping is the first and foremost skill to master if you want to become a better cook and eat more vegetables.

By definition, to chop is to cut something into small pieces. When a recipe calls for “1 onion, chopped,” it means that you need to cut the onion into pieces, usually in rough but mostly even squares.

If you see the word “dice,” it means the recipe is calling for more precise cuts that are usually smaller and more even than chopped pieces. “Mince” is to cut even smaller pieces. Unless you are making a dish that relies on precisely cut vegetables, you probably don’t need to worry about mastering a perfect dice or mince as a home cook.

However, mincing does come into play with garlic, herbs, and other aromatics that need to be cut into tiny pieces so their flavor can be spread evenly throughout a dish.

(Video) How To Master 5 Basic Cooking Skills | Gordon Ramsay

How to do it: The best way to improve your chopping skills is to practice! Make sure you have a sharp knife (I LOVE my Shen Cutlery knife) and a cutting board that doesn’t slip on the counter (I use bamboo cutting boards). If you really want to practice, try making a recipe that requires a lot of chopping, like the Vegan Stew with Winter Vegetables or Farmers Market One Pan Ratatouille.

2. Steaming

Steaming is an age-old technique for preparing veggies. Sometimes it gets overlooked, but it really gets the job done! Plus, research shows that steaming some vegetables may preserve their nutrients more than other methods of cooking.

To steam a vegetable means to expose it to hot water to soften the food and make it more tender.

How to do it: If you have a steamer basket (available on Amazon, Target, etc), place chopped veggies in it and put it on top of a pot with a few inches of boiling water. Cover the pot, and cook until the veggies are softened to your liking. If you don’t have a basket, you can also use a mesh sieve. Check out my post on steamed veggies for more information.

3. Boiling

Boiling vegetables is one of the easiest ways to prepare them. How do you think mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving get made, after all?!

While boiling can cause some nutrients to leech out of vegetables into the water, that’s not the case for every type of veggie. Sometimes, boiling is the most effective way to cook potatoes and other firm root vegetables even if some nutrients are lost. And if you’re eating a variety of both cooked and raw veggies, you don’t need to worry about preserving the optimal nutrition of every single meal.

How to do it: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop your vegetables in it and cook until they are tender!

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7 Basic Methods of Cooking Vegetables (5)

(Video) 12 Ways You're Cooking Your Vegetables Wrong Which Reduce Their Health Benefits

4. Sautéing

To sauté a vegetable means to cook it in some type of fat over heat. The most common fats used in sautéing are extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, butter, and even coconut oil. You can also add minced garlic, herbs and spices, and/or salt and pepper to a sauté.

How to do it: Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped veggies and sauté until tender. Sprinkle with seasonings as you go. The Turnip Stir Fry with White Beans, Chili Sesame Sautéed Broccolini, Parmesan Peas and Shallots, and Cast Iron Blistered Shishito Peppers are all great recipes to practice your sautéing!

5. Marinating

Once you start to get more comfortable in the kitchen, you can create marinades for vegetables! Brushing or soaking vegetables in a mixture of olive oil, spices, herbs and other flavorings before cooking them can increase their flavor and tenderness once they are cooked. Marinated vegetables can be sautéed, roasted, or grilled.

How to do it: Mix ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil with 2 cloves of minced garlic and a couple teaspoons of your favorite seasonings. Add this mixture to a plastic bag or container and let your veggies soak in it. You can also brush marinades on vegetables right before cooking. For a tasty marinated vegetable recipe, check out these Easy Italian Zucchini Kabobs. My Vegetable Seasoning Guide can also help you come up with marinade ideas.

6. Roasting

If you’re new to roasting veggies, you have no idea what you’re missing! Roasting completely transforms the flavors and textures of raw vegetables. Many people find that the veggies they absolutely hate to eat raw are some of their favorite ones to eat roasted.

How to do it: Preheat the oven to a temperature between 350 to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Chop veggies of choice, drizzle with olive oil, seasonings, and salt and pepper. Pop in the oven and bake for 20 to 40 minutes, or until tender. The cooking time will depend on how large you cut the veggies and what kind you are using.

(Video) Beginners Guide to Cooking Vegetables

My Complete Guide to Vegetable Roasting Times has all of the info you need for roasting veggies. And for an easy roasted veggie recipe, check out these Savory Roasted Root Vegetables.

7. Quick Pickling

Last but not least, quick pickling is a simple and fun technique to prepare vegetables. Even though pickling can sound intimidating, making pickled veggies (fridge pickles, not the shelf stable kind) is incredibly easy. With some vinegar, sugar, and spices, you can pickle just about any kind of vegetable.

How to do it: Slice or dice your desired veggies into small pieces and add them to a glass jar with approximately a cup of vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar, and a teaspoon of salt. Seal the jar, put it in the fridge, and you’ll have pickled veggies in no time! Be sure to refer to some tested recipes for recommended types of vinegars, instructions, and proportions of ingredients.

To start, check out the Quick Pickled Radishes, Quick Pickled Red Onions or Pickled Red Cabbage.

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What is the best way to cook vegetables?

Out of all the methods of cooking vegetables, roasting is my favorite! But I’d love to hear what you prefer. Have you tried all of the techniques on this list? Is there anything else you want to know, or is anything missing? Let me know in the comments below, and sign up for the weekly newsletter here.

7 Basic Methods of Cooking Vegetables (7)

Happy cooking!


(Video) 7 Ways to Make Vegetables Tastier • Tasty Recipes


What are the 7 standard qualities of cooked vegetables? ›

Professional Cooking
  • Color. Bright, natural colors. ...
  • Appearance on plate. Cut neatly and uniformly. ...
  • Texture. Cooked to the right degree of doneness. ...
  • Flavor. Full, natural flavor and sweetness, sometimes called garden-fresh flavor. ...
  • Seasonings. Lightly and appropriately seasoned. ...
  • Sauces. ...
  • Vegetable combinations.

What is the best method of cooking vegetables? ›

Steam, don't boil

As a general rule, it's best to keep cooking time, temperature and the amount of liquid to a minimum. That's why steaming is one of the best ways to cook most vegetables.

What are the 7 types of vegetables? ›

Types of vegetables
  • leafy green – lettuce, spinach and silverbeet.
  • cruciferous – cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
  • marrow – pumpkin, cucumber and zucchini.
  • root – potato, sweet potato and yam.
  • edible plant stem – celery and asparagus.
  • allium – onion, garlic and shallot.

Which 7 cooking techniques are the healthiest and why? ›

Well, here's a handy little guide to help you find the absolute healthiest method for cooking all your family favorites.
  1. Roasting. What it is: Roasting uses high heat — 400 degrees F or higher — either in an oven or over an open flame. ...
  2. Pressure-cooking. ...
  3. Poaching. ...
  4. Braising. ...
  5. Grilling. ...
  6. Steaming. ...
  7. Stir-frying.
7 Jan 2016

What are 6 healthy cooking methods? ›

Healthy cooking methods
  • Choose healthier cooking methods.
  • Baking.
  • Broiling.
  • Grilling.
  • Poaching.
  • Roasting.
  • Microwaving.
  • Pressure cooking.

What are the six rules when cooking vegetables? ›

You should now be able to explain the reasons for each of these rules:
  • Don't overcook.
  • Cook as close to service time as possible, and in small quantities. ...
  • If the vegetable must be cooked ahead, undercook slightly and chill rapidly. ...
  • Never use baking soda with green vegetables.
  • Cut vegetables uniformly for even cooking.

Why is it important to know the methods of cooking vegetables? ›

Following proper methods of cooking vegetables can help keep their integrity, preserving their nutrients and serving them in the best way possible. Preparing vegetables is about enhancing their color, texture, and flavor.

How do you cook fresh vegetables? ›

How to roast vegetables
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. ...
  2. Prepare vegetables: wash, dry, and cut into similar-sized chunks for even cooking.
  3. Place vegetables in a bowl. ...
  4. Spread vegetables in a single layer on the prepared pan. ...
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

What are three healthy ways to cook vegetables? ›

Healthy Ways to Cook Vegetables
  1. Steaming. Steaming veggies can preserve nutrients, color, shape, and texture, without having to add any unnecessary fats through ingredients like oils or butter. ...
  2. Stir-fry. Stir-frying is a good option because while the heat is high, it's quick. ...
  3. Microwaving. ...
  4. Subscribe to Weekly Health Tips.

What are the 11 types of vegetables? ›

There are different kinds of vegetables, let's discuss them one by one:
  • Mushroom. We eat mushrooms which are a great source of energy and also provide health benefits. ...
  • Broccoli. ...
  • Red Pepper. ...
  • Carrot. ...
  • Pumpkin. ...
  • Eggplant. ...
  • Turnip. ...
  • Onion.

What are the 10 most common vegetables? ›

Top 10 most popular fresh vegetables revealed
  • Carrots.
  • Potato.
  • Tomato.
  • Onions.
  • Broccoli.
  • Mushroom.
  • Lettuce.
  • Capsicum.

What are the 5 basic cooking skills? ›

  • KNIFE SKILLS. Whether you are chopping a carrot or fresh herbs, a basic understanding of culinary knife skills should be the first thing you master in the kitchen. ...
  • SAUTEEING. ...
  • ROASTING. ...
  • BLANCHING. ...
5 Jun 2017

What is the most important cooking method? ›

Here are the most basic cooking techniques to help you survive your first culinary year as a university student.
  • #1 Baking. This involves applying a dry convection heat to your food in an enclosed environment. ...
  • #2 Frying. ...
  • #3 Roasting. ...
  • #4 Grilling. ...
  • #5 Steaming. ...
  • #6 Poaching. ...
  • #7 Simmering. ...
  • #8 Broiling.

What is the best cooking method? ›

Moist-heat cooking methods, such as boiling and steaming, are the healthiest ways to prepare meats and produce because they're done at lower temperatures.

What are healthy methods of cooking? ›

Choose to steam, bake, grill, braise, boil or microwave your foods, rather than deep fry them. Use non-stick cookware. Microwave or steam your vegetables instead of boiling them to retain the nutrients.

What are the 10 methods of cooking vegetables? ›

Here are our favourite methods of cooking vegetables, along with some simple yet tasty recipes that make the most of these techniques.
  • Boiling. Boiling is fast and easy to control. ...
  • Steaming. Steaming vegetables is the best way of retaining flavour, colour and vital nutrients. ...
  • Blanching. ...
  • Roasting. ...
  • Stir-frying. ...
  • Griddling.

What are 4 basic cooking? ›

Enter: Patricia Wells, cooking teacher and author of My Master Recipes, who is poised to whip you into a kitchen connoisseur. And luckily, that starts with just four basic techniques: steaming, blanching, poaching and braising — all of which she often uses herself.

What is basic cooking method? ›

Here, we break down the basic cooking methods and share what foods are best suited for each method.
  1. Baking. Baking | Baking is a dry-heat cooking method most commonly done in the oven. ...
  2. Roasting. ...
  3. Broiling. ...
  4. Searing. ...
  5. Sautéing. ...
  6. Pan-Frying. ...
  7. Deep-Frying. ...
  8. Poaching.
20 Aug 2021

What are the 3 basic methods of cooking? ›

Cooking methods can be grouped into three categories:
  • Dry-heat methods, with or without fat. Dry-heat cooking methods like stir-frying, pan-frying, deep-frying, and sautéing rely on fats and oil to act as the cooking medium. ...
  • Moist-heat methods. ...
  • Methods using a combination of dry and moist heat.
4 Oct 2016

What are the 5 ways to save nutrients when cooking? ›

Waterless cooking, pressure cooking, steaming, stir-frying and microwaving are least destructive of nutrients. Frozen vegetables can be steamed. If food is cooked in water, add it to a small amount of boiling water, cover the pot and cook it rapidly. If possible, save the cooking water for making soup, sauces or gravy.

What are the 5 most helpful cooking tips you learned about? ›

These cooking tips might come in handy:
  • Start with a positive attitude and set your goal. ...
  • Take time to understand cooking terms and learn basic techniques. ...
  • Select the freshest ingredients possible. ...
  • Invest in cooking tools and kitchen equipments. ...
  • Try to know the characteristics of every ingredient that you will use.

What are the steps in cooking vegetables? ›

Add an inch or so of water to a pot and let it come to boil. Place vegetables in a steamer basket and place the basket over the pot. Cover with a lid and cook until vegetables are tender when poked with a fork.

What are the 4 main types of vegetables? ›

Learn The 4 Types Of Vegetables: Root, Cruciferous, Greens & Nightshades.

What is the first step in preparing vegetables? ›

Wash fruit and vegetables before cooking or eating them

Make sure to wash all fresh berries, and other fruit and vegetables if eating them uncooked. It is very important to wash vegetables if there is any soil present, as soil may contain harmful bacteria. To wash vegetables, rub or brush them under a cold running tap.

What are the basic steps of cooking? ›

The aim is to make the 5 steps of cooking – preserving, preparing, cooking, dishing up and washing up – straightforward and consequential.

What are the 7 ways to prepare fruits and vegetables that preserve the most nutrients? ›

7 Ways to Retain Nutrients When Cooking to Make the Most of Your Fruits and Veggies
  • Master the stir fry. ...
  • Limit boiling. ...
  • Roast 'em. ...
  • Embrace healthy fats. ...
  • Be cautious with the C. ...
  • Fill the freezer. ...
  • Avoid the grilling overkill. ...
  • Choose cooked more than not.
12 Mar 2020

How do you clean and prepare vegetables? ›

Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There's no need to use soap or a produce wash. Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers. Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.

What are 20 types of vegetables? ›

Types of Vegetables
Broccoli RabeBrussels SproutsButternut Squash
ChivesCollard GreensCrookneck Squash
Dandelion GreensEggplantEndive
9 more rows
26 Apr 2022

What are the top 5 most popular vegetables? ›

  • potatoes - 62%
  • tomatoes - 61%
  • onions - 57%
  • carrots - 51%
  • bell peppers - 46%
  • broccoli - 44%
  • cucumbers - 45%
  • salad mix - 44%

What are the 5 main vegetable categories? ›

Vegetables are organized into 5 subgroups based on their nutrients: dark green; red and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy; and other vegetables.


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