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30 Recipes You Should Know How To Cook By The Time You're 30

Dec 18, 2013 | Updated Dec 24, 2013

There are some basic, fundamental recipes that every cook should have in his or her tool belt. As cooks, we learn some of these in college, on a tight budget with limited time. As we get a little older, we start to find our favorite tweaks, substitutions and improvements. Ideally, by the time we hit 30, we have an arsenal of great recipes that we feel comfortable making anytime. This way, if you invite someone over for dinner, you don't have to panic and thumb through every cookbook you own (unless you want to).

In our minds, these are the 30 essential recipes every cook should know by the time they turn 30. If you can master these, you'll have most of the tools you need to learn any other recipe with relative ease. This list is tailored toward an omnivore, but there are plenty of vegetarian-friendly options here as well, in order of relative ease and simplicity. What do you think is the most important recipe you ever learned? Let us know in the comments!

  • 1 Grilled Cheese
    Steamy Kitchen
    Make 1,000 grilled cheeses. Make them when you are half asleep. Make them when you are drunk. Eat them for breakfast. Add ingredients. Fail a few times. Make so many grilled cheeses you could make them on one leg with one arm tied behind your back.

    Get the Super Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipe from Steamy Kitchen
  • 2 Basic Vinaigrette & A Simple Salad
    James Ransom/Food52
  • 3 Guacamole
    Simply Recipes
    Want to throw a party? You need party dip.

    Get the Perfect Guacamole recipe from Simply Recipes
  • 4 French Toast
    Sarah Shatz/Food52
  • 5 Scrambled Eggs
    Melanie Einzig/Food52
    Breakfast is important, and scrambled eggs are the O.G.

    Get the Soft Scrambled Eggs recipe from Food52
  • 6 Brownies
    Brown Eyed Baker
  • 7 Mashed Potatoes
    Simply Recipes
    We like to mix a little sour cream right into ours.

    Get the Perfect Mashed Potatoes recipe from Simply Recipes
  • 8 Green Beans
    Simply Recipes
    You've probably eaten a lot of mushy, waterlogged, over-cooked green beans in your life. Your job is to make them better. Still slightly crunchy, bright, great hot or cold. GO.

    Get the Green Bean Salad with Basil, Balsamic, and Parmesan recipe from Simply Recipes
  • 9 Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Annie's Eats
  • 10 Sautéed Greens
    Emily Todd
    You can follow this same process with any leafy green: spinach, chard, mustard greens, collard greens, broccoli rabe. The bottom line is that somewhere along the line, you're going to need to feed yourself some leafy greens, so they should taste good.

    Get the Kale with Garlic & Red Pepper Flakes recipe from Habitually Hungry
  • 11 Polenta
    svariophoto via Getty Images
  • 12 Roasted Vegetables
    Steamy Kitchen
  • 13 Poached Salmon
    James Ransom/Food52
    This is the easiest, most reliable and least smelly way to cook fish. Learn it, love it.

    Get the Aromatic Poached Salmon with Rye and Caper Breadcrumbs recipe from Food52
  • 14 Chicken Soup
    James Ransom/Food52
    The real way. With a chicken.

    Get the Reform Jewish Penicillin recipe from Food52
  • 15 Risotto
    Simply Recipes
  • 16 Steak
    Simply Recipes
  • 17 Deviled Eggs
    My Well Fed Heart/Food52
  • 18 Roast Chicken
    Simply Recipes
    Roasting a chicken for someone at the right time can heal a broken heart, we swear.

    Get the Keller’s Roast Chicken recipe from Simply Recipes
  • 19 Burgers
    How Sweet It Is
  • 20 Mac And Cheese
    Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton/Food52
    No powdered cheese allowed.

    Get the Classic Mac and Cheese recipe from Food52
  • 21 Pancakes
    Crepes of Wrath/Food52
  • 22 Ratatouille
    Mimi Thorisson/Manger
  • 23 Perfect Rice
    Willow Arlen/Will Cook For Friends
  • 24 Tofu Stir-Fry
  • 25 Spaghetti And Meatballs
    James Ransom/Food52
  • 26 Tomato Soup
    How Sweet It Is
  • 27 Potatoes au Gratin
    Sarah Shatz/Food52
  • 28 Minestrone Soup
    Sarah Shatz/Food52
    Here's why minestrone soup is one of the most important recipes you'll ever learn to make: it teaches you about using dried beans, different cooking times of different vegetables, layering flavors and improvising ingredients seasonally. Learn to make a great one and you'll be well on your way to cooking anything you want.

    Get the Minestrone Soup recipe from Food52
  • 29 Pizza
    How Sweet It Is
  • 30 Beef Bourguignon
    Simply Recipes

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