The Secret to Getting Comfortable in the Kitchen, According to Ree Drummond

The Pioneer Woman shares her best advice for new cooks.

It’s every foodie’s dream to interview Ree Drummond! Not too long ago, we had the opportunity to sit down with the Pioneer Woman herself recently to chat about all things home cooking (including the best ways to use canned pumpkin).

The most important question we asked her, though, was, “How can beginner cooks get started in the kitchen?” It can be intimidating to cook dinner from scratch for the first time. Here are Ree’s top tips for the novice home chef.

Don’t Overthink It

Ree compares cooking to any other hobby, like writing or photography—everyone starts out as a beginner and the only way to get better is by just doing it. “You have to do it and do it and do it,” she says. “And you’ll mess up a lot and it won’t turn out exactly right. But then one day you’ll just make like the best meal ever.” Practice makes perfect, after all.

Start Simple

Ree also recommends starting simple and then letting yourself get creative as you go. “Cooking should be about fun!” she gushes. She suggests choosing a basic recipe and then tweaking it to match your own preferences, whether that means adding more (or less) spice or even mixing in a new ingredient if you’re feeling bold. Here’s what Ree keeps in her pantry.

Practice Mise en Place

Her last—and most practical—tip? Mise en place. This cooking school secret is a French phrase that means “everything in place.” You lay out all of your ingredients before you start cooking! Not only will this help you make sure you actually have everything you need, but it will also make the whole process a lot less stressful.

“If you don’t have to stop in the middle of searing something to go find the Worcestershire or the soy sauce, it really just helps to have it there and take away some of the chaos,” she explains. Ree Drummond is a wealth of meal prep tips—here are the rest.

Now that you know how to get started Pioneer Woman-style, all you need is a good recipe. Here are some of Ree’s favorite dishes that any home cook can whip up.

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Amanda Tarlton
As both a freelance lifestyle writer and editor for a national teen magazine, Amanda spends most of her time creating #content. In those (rare) moments when she's not at her desk typing furiously, she's likely teaching a hot yoga class, reading the latest chick-lit or baking a batch of her famous scones.