Mastering basic cooking techniques is essential for chefs and cooks in the food and beverage industry. Different styles of cooking can impact the final output of the dish in terms of taste, presentation and texture1. Cooking techniques are categorized into two groups: dry-heat and moist-heat cooking1.

Dry-heat cooking
The dry-heat method refers to heat shifting to the food without any moisture needed. It involves high heat such as 300°F2. In this category, it is further divided into three sub-groups: roasting, broiling and sautéing2.

Roasting a whole chicken in the convection oven is a dry-heat technique as the process utilizes hot air to conduct heat. Broiling uses heat through the air from an open flame3. Sautéing involves using a hot pan and little fat to cook the food in a speedier manner4. A chef would use butter or oil as fat to start the sautéing process. Once more ingredients are added, the chef will flip the pan around to keep moving. Since the pan is extremely hot, it will brown the surface of the food instantly.

When handling bigger cuts of poultry, it is better to pan-fry instead of sautéing4. Pan-frying is similar to sautéing but with slight differences in technique. In pan-frying, there is no tossing involved and a lower temperature is used instead4.

Moist-heat cooking
This method refers to cooking techniques that incorporate moisture in cooking2. Some examples include poaching, steaming and braising.

Poaching is one of the healthiest ways to prepare food. As it does not require oil, this cooking style is most preferred for the health-conscious. Ingredients great for poaching include chicken, fish and eggs. In this manner, food is prepared either in boiling water, flavored broth or wine. Poaching involves cooking in liquid between the temperatures of 140°F to 180°F5. Steaming food involves hot steam conducting heat to cook food. As soon as water is heated over 212°F, it converts to steam. This process can be done over a stove top, where a pot of water is lowered to simmer. Chicken, seafood and vegetables are placed inside a cooking basket that hovers above the hot liquid and the pot is covered. Braising involves cooking partially in liquid and simmered slowly over low heat. This cooking technique is ideal for tougher cuts of meat7. The connective tissues are more common in such cuts, making them chewy when undercooked. Through braising, the meat will be tenderer from the thorough cooking process.


  1. The Daily Meal. (2013). 15 Basic Cooking Methods You Need to Know. [online] Available at: https://www.thedailymeal.com/15-basic-cooking-methods-you-need-know
  2. The Spruce. (2017). Basic Cooking Methods. [online] Available at: https://www.thespruce.com/basic-cooking-methods-995429
  3. The Spruce. (2017). Grilling & Broiling: An Overview. [online] Available at: https://www.thespruce.com/grilling-and-broiling-an-overview-995495
  4. The Spruce. (2017). What is Sautéeing? [online] Available at: https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-sauteeing-995497
  5. The Spruce. (2017). Poaching, Simmering & Boiling. [online] Available at: https://www.thespruce.com/poaching-simmering-and-boiling-995846
  6. The Spruce. (2017). Steaming: Moist Heat Cooking Method. [online] Available at: https://www.thespruce.com/steaming-moist-heat-cooking-method-995849
  7. The Spruce. (2017). Braising and Stewing Techniques and Tips. [online] Available at: https://www.thespruce.com/braising-and-stewing-techniques-and-tips-995847