What Is The Best Method Of Cooking Food?

What Is The Best Method Of Cooking Food?

We analyze the different existing cooking methods to try to discover which is the best. All the advantages and disadvantages of the most common cooking methods, below.

Choosing the best or most appropriate cooking method is a relevant issue when we cook food. In this article we have set out to help you choose the cooking method that best suits your needs at all times.

The importance of the type of cooking of food

What do we mean when we say “the best method”? Cooking is a delicate matter, since it tells us about flavor, texture, nutritional values… Each way of handling food changes all this radically. Therefore, the choice of method is crucial. In this text we are going to try to analyze the pros and cons of the most common cooking methods, as well as some that are not so common, with the aim that you can get an idea of ​​which one you like the most or which one best suits your needs. you.

As we said, the cooking technique not only affects the flavor and texture of food, but also its nutritional value .

Cooking techniques and how they affect food

Let’s now dissect the different techniques that we can find in the kitchen. Which one best suits the situation?


Steam cooking consists of cooking food using the steam of hot water or another liquid. It is a very gentle technique that preserves the almost natural color, the flavor quite well and, probably most importantly, the nutrients of the food. This is because cooking is usually progressive and moist, which is less aggressive for the molecular components. It is especially effective for vegetables, maintaining its nutritional content very well. Additionally, it does not require oils, which helps keep caloric intake low.

In general, steaming is considered the “healthiest” in that the modification is minimal compared to other techniques. This, of course, has the consequence that, at an organoleptic level, some of the changes that are most attractive to us in other ways of cooking do not occur. Additionally, in some cases, nutrients do not go through the necessary process to become more available. What can we prepare? For example, a delicious steamed broccoli with nut vinaigrette or a very healthy steamed salmon .


Boiling involves cooking foods submerged in hot water, which is ideal for legumes and tubers. As for the cooking profile, it is quite similar to what we do with steam, with one important difference: some nutrients can be lost in the water. This happens with the water-soluble ones, although some fat-soluble ones could also be lost if we add fats and they are washed away with the broth. Even so, it is usually one of the least aggressive and healthiest cooking methods. What can we boil? I particularly (I admit it) like the classic boiled green beans with potatoes or we can go for something different with this Venezuelan sancocho .

Grill and grill

Cooking on a grill or grill consists of cooking food in direct contact with a heated or hot surface and allows the food to develop a rich and smoky flavor, which is what gives it its differential value compared to other methods. The acquisition of flavors and odors from phenols, cresols and guaiacs, among others, typical of the combustion of plant material, provides unique tones in the flavor and smell. It is an ideal technique for meats and vegetables, but it has several drawbacks: firstly, exposure to high temperatures involves the loss of certain nutrients. On the other hand, if it is not done well, some points can be raw, with the microbacterial danger that this poses in certain foods. In addition, harmful compounds may also appear associated with the combustion of certain substances.

Grilling and grilling, although delicious, are not usually counted among the healthiest methods, although they have a plus because they usually require less fat than other techniques. Among the greatest exponents of grill and grill cuisine we will find recipes such as beef steak or beef churrasco .


Cooking in the oven involves putting food in a closed appliance that applies heat evenly and is a fairly healthy way of cooking, since, doing so in a closed environment, it allows the juices to be better preserved, requiring less fat. Furthermore, since it does not generate combustion, we avoid the appearance of those components we were talking about on the grill. Yes, we will have a possible loss of nutrients due to the heat, but, without a doubt, it is a healthier cooking method than grilling or frying. Try a healthy snack with these crispy baked chickpeas . Fish is also usually very tasty, such as baked trout with potatoes .


Braising is a slow, low-temperature cooking method in which foods are cooked in liquids that allow flavors to blend harmoniously and foods, especially tougher meats, to tenderize, resulting in rich, tender dishes. By cooking ingredients in a liquid, such as broth or wine, the nutrients are preserved within the stew. Or so the theory goes. In any case, it appears that braising can make the dish more nutritious than methods that rely on high temperatures. Plus, stew requires less added fat, which can make it a healthier option. We can discover its benefits in a delicious beef stew . And, although it has not been in traditional Japanese cuisine for long, sukiyaki is a stew that has quickly become one of the star dishes of Japanese cuisine.


Frying involves cooking food by submerging it in hot oil (or other fat). This speeds up cooking and, because the fat displaces the water, produces a crispy texture and a golden color that gives it a more attractive appearance. However, this method can significantly increase the fat content of foods. In addition, heated fats, which imply the appearance of potentially harmful substances such as acrylamide.

By far, this is probably the unhealthiest cooking technique of all. Despite this, and with a little common sense, we can obtain good recipes such as fried cuttlefish or a spectacular Asturian cachopo .


Unlike frying, sofrito consists of slowly cooking finely chopped ingredients such as onion, garlic and tomato in oil, until they are caramelized. This method enriches the flavor of the dishes and, although it also uses a lot of fat, it does so to a lesser extent than in frying and it is easier to avoid burning when cooking. Good examples of sofritos are the sofrito payés or the classic perfect homemade sofrito .


Sautéing uses little oil and high temperatures to cook food efficiently and quickly, constantly stirring it in a pan, minimizing contact time . This technique is excellent for preserving the natural flavors and nutrients of the ingredients since they do not spend as much time in the heat. Or that’s how it should be, at least. Try this sautéed pork with vegetables or you can also make some sautéed mushrooms with ham and garlic .

Under a vacuum

This technique uses precisely controlled temperatures to cook foods in vacuum-sealed bags that are placed in water, maximizing their juiciness and flavor without losing nutrients. Sous-vide allows foods to cook in their own juices, maximizing their juiciness and flavor without the loss of nutrients. It is especially useful for meats and fish, where precise temperature control can make a big difference in the final texture.


Braising combines slow cooking in liquid with dry heat, and is ideal for meats and vegetables that benefit from longer cooking to improve their texture and flavor. It is used in tougher cuts of meat and certain types of vegetables. Plus, it allows the flavors to develop deeply and the texture to gradually soften, making this an excellent method for rich, zingy dishes. It is the technique with which recipes such as beef round are usually cooked .


Roasting is a method of cooking food in an oven using dry heat , usually. This allows foods to cook evenly and develop a crispy, golden crust, which is appealing, enhancing flavors and adding texture. To prepare food for roasting, it is recommended that it be fresh and, in the case of meat and poultry, it is usually pre-seasoned to enhance the flavor. Vegetables can be cut into uniform pieces to ensure even cooking.

Generally, a moderate amount of oil is used to prevent food from drying out, and this is important, because a lack of moisture can turn it into a rubbery and unpleasant material . During roasting, the container may be uncovered to allow liquid evaporation and crust formation. Although a lot of heat and little humidity are used, the preservation of nutrients is relatively high, since baking in the oven does not require water that can dissolve them. It is also true that these same high temperatures can destroy some heat-sensitive vitamins, such as vitamin C, so it is not the method that best preserves nutritional properties. A baked leg of lamb with potatoes or the classic baked stuffed turkey are good examples of this technique.


Cooking in a microwave consists of taking advantage of the waves generated by this appliance, and it is fast and convenient. And we are not just talking about heating, but, although not so common, you can cook directly with this appliance. Since its action is at the molecular level, it is faster than other methods. However, precisely because of this it can be complicated, or give results that are not expected.

This is because water molecules are what produce the heating, so only certain foods, or prepared meals, are susceptible to being cooked using microwaves. On the other hand, because the appliance is designed to only transmit waves in a directed manner (that’s why it spins), only certain parts typically heat up, and not all of them equally. We can make a poached egg in the microwave and you can also cook some easy eggplants in the microwave .


Pressure cooking uses pressurized steam to cook food quickly, which works especially well with legumes and tough meats. This method retains nutrients very well, since little water is required and the cooking time is much shorter than other methods, which reduces the loss of vitamins and minerals . To prepare food, it is a good idea to cut it into uniform pieces (this is always important to prevent some from cooking before others). A minimal amount of water is added to the container and closed tightly to generate pressure. The advantages of pressure cooking include speed and efficiency in preservation, although nutritional quality will also depend on how much fat we decide to add. You can try some lentils with spinach or a homemade stew broth , good examples of traditional cuisine.


Grilling, unlike frying, is a method that uses a hot surface allowing them to brown without the need for a lot of oil. This technique is better than frying at preserving the flavors and nutrients of food, and offers a pleasant texture while better preserving natural juices. We can enjoy grilled rooster with lemon or grilled mushrooms with garlic and parsley .

slow fire

Simmering is a long-term, low-temperature cooking method , ideal for stews, soups, and casseroles. This method allows flavors to blend and foods to soften slowly. A container with a lid is often required to maintain humidity and concentrate the flavors, although not always, and the technique varies greatly between each dish and each house, preparing a Cordoba-style oxtail is not the same as preparing a pulled pork . Cooking over low heat is more respectful of nutrient loss than other methods that use high temperatures.


The en papillote cooking method involves wrapping food in a sealed package , usually made of aluminum foil or cooking paper before applying heat. This technique allows foods to cook slowly in their own juices, intensifying flavors and preserving some or all of the nutrients and moisture in the ingredients. It is especially useful in cooking fish and vegetables, where the aromas of herbs and spices can be optimally fused with the main ingredient as an example of fish, here we have a baked hake en papillote with vegetables or also a salmon en papillote in the oven. oven with vegetables .


Blanching is a culinary technique that involves briefly immersing food in boiling water followed by thermal shock in ice water to stop the cooking process. This method is ideal for preserving the color, crunch, and natural flavor of vegetables like broccoli, green beans, or carrots. Normally, it is only used with vegetable ingredients and, together with steam, it is the technique that best preserves the nutrients and properties of the food.

Direct fire

Direct heat involves cooking food directly over an open flame or grill, such as barbecues. This method is by far the worst of all when it comes to cooking , although it provides a smoky flavor and crunchy texture to meats and vegetables that can be appealing. They can be marinated or seasoned before cooking, and little else. No oil is required, which can be a plus, but it’s important to turn food regularly to prevent burning, which is relatively easy. In fact, this is the main problem they present, since potentially harmful substances are generated in the process, such as heterocyclic amines. In addition, it is much easier for nutrients to be lost due to exposure to heat and fire.

Air fryer

The air fryer cooks foods by circulating hot air around them, creating a crispy texture somewhat similar to frying, but using much less oil , which is what displaces water in the frying process. It is actually like a small oven, in its fan heating action, so the cooking results are very similar to this other technique. This method can be used to prepare French fries or chicken nuggets , reducing the excess fat of traditional frying, although it must be noted that the result is not exactly the same. It is also important to note that foods typically require a light coating of oil to improve texture. The advantages of the air fryer are usually a significant reduction in the fat and calorie content of the food. However, it may not be suitable for all types of foods and may produce less… “satisfactory” results than other methods if we do not know how to use it properly.

How to choose the right cooking technique

Choosing the appropriate culinary technique depends on several factors, such as the recipe itself, the food we cook, the time we have, the results we want to achieve in terms of flavor or texture, or nutritional considerations.

Among the cooking techniques we have talked about, we could call the healthiest those that optimize the conservation of nutrients, first, and that minimize the addition of unnecessary fats, second. Therefore, steaming is, without a doubt, one of the healthiest techniques, since it does not require oil and preserves most of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and it is a technique that we can apply to vegetables like in this X and fish as in this X. Boiling and blanching are perfect for vegetables as in this

Sous-vide is also remarkably healthy: by cooking food at controlled temperatures in vacuum-sealed bags, this technique minimizes nutrient loss and maintains the original texture and flavor without adding more oils or fats than the food itself. . It’s ideal in fish and meat recipes. Papillote is another effective technique widely used with vegetables and fish because it reduces the need for extra fats and helps preserve a large part of the nutrients by better conserving moisture.

Surprisingly, stir-frying , although it requires a little oil and is done in a pan, since it is a quick process, it requires little fat and helps preserve nutrients in cooking. Grilling , similar to sautéing, requires very little oil, although it is more likely to generate potentially harmful components due to more intense contact with the surface .

If we are guided by the flavor and texture, perhaps you will opt for the grill and grill , they already provide a smoky flavor and a crunchy texture ideal for meat and vegetable recipes or for frying, although cooking in the oven, making stews or braised allows you to achieve very interesting flavor and texture results and in a healthier way. Without a doubt, stir-frying and microwave cooking are the methods to choose when time is short.

To choose the right cooking technique, evaluate these factors based on your priorities and the type of dish you want to prepare. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice depends on balancing health, taste and convenience.

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