By Chloe Bryan
There are a lot — a lot — of cooking videos on YouTube. Like anything else on the internet, they’re not all good, but the best of the genre will teach you basic cooking skills, help you expand your culinary knowledge, and be entertaining to boot.
If you want to amp up your cooking knowledge and food skills but aren’t sure where to begin, check out these seven YouTube cooking channels. Whether you want a recipe to cook a grand pork roast for your entire family or just learn how to chop an onion correctly, they’ll help you out in a pinch (of salt).
Shows like “Gourmet Makes” and “Back to Back Chef” have turned the Bon Appétit test kitchen staff into wholesome internet celebrities. But there are plenty of useful cooking tutorials on the channel even if you’re not looking to replicate Doritos from scratch. (If you are, we salute you.) From pantry-food-staple meals like pasta with tomatoes and chickpeas to basic skills like sharpening kitchen knives, there’s a ton to learn on this channel — and you get to do it with all your test kitchen faves like Claire Saffitz, Molly Baz, Brad Leone, and all the rest.
You might know Andrew Rea’s cooking channel for its painstaking recreation of famous food dishes from movies and TV shows. But the YouTube channel is also home to “Basics with Babish,” a source of completely-from-scratch recipes for simple dishes like chili, carbonara, and latkes.
Rea makes sure to explain the utility of each ingredient, which is helpful for people who want to learn not only how to follow a recipe, but also how to improvise dishes in the future. Rea’s format is also particularly good for cooking tutorials, combining the close-up intimacy of Tasty recipe videos (see below) with the big personality of classic cooking shows.
Australian bartender Steve Roennfeldt has every single cocktail recipe you could possibly imagine on his channel, from classic martinis to drinks that I’ve never heard of but that have extremely fun names like Missionary’s Downfall and Pink Panther’s Milk. (Can you tell I’ve got a lot to learn from Steve?)
Videos are also divided by spirit on the channel’s homepage, which is useful for people who want a cocktail but only have a single bottle of old gin inside their apartment. And yes, there is a quarantine cocktail tutorial. Thank God.
Yes, you have to pay for an NYT Cooking subscription (and that’s not a bad idea!) but you can watch the NYT Cooking YouTube channel for free. It’s a food video wonderland, too: You’ll find all the best Alison Roman recipe favorites, every pie you could ever imagine, and mouth-watering macro shots for days. You might even be inspired to make a batch of elaborate Christmas cookies in the middle of spring.
There are also a lot of fun non-recipe one-offs, from a tour of baker Erin Jeanne McDowell’s kitchen to Melissa Clark’s nonjudgmental, actually helpful guide to eating less meat in 2020.
Buzzfeed’s Tasty changed the cooking video space forever with its signature overhead filming style which, of course, is now all over the place. While you might know Tasty primarily for its over-the-top recipes from the viral video era (remember when every food video seemed to involve chicken, bacon, cheddar, and pizza dough?), its YouTube channel is much, much more than that.
Two of Tasty’s particular strengths on the platform are pantry food cooking — take this tutorial, for instance, where producer Katie Aubin makes a dessert out of only pantry ingredients — and gadget reviews, which help viewers decide which niche kitchen tools are actually good shortcuts and which are all talk. (Here’s a great one about onion-chopping gadgets for those of us prone to allium-induced crying.)
Maangchi, whose real name is Emily Kim, isn’t just YouTube’s queen of Korean cuisine: She’s probably YouTube’s queen of cuisine in general. Known for her glamorous headpieces, warm onscreen presence, and uncompromising approach to traditional Korean cooking, Maangchi will either teach you something new or scratch a deep nostalgia itch. Also her eye-makeup game is phenomenal.
Award-winning chef and The Food Lab author J. Kenji López-Alt also runs a YouTube channel full of informative, easy-to-follow POV recipe videos. We’re particular fans of the channel’s “late night” cooking clips. No, we have not made late-night macaroni and cheese this good (yet), but López-Alt makes us think we can cook it no problem. And we’ll never reheat pizza in anything but a skillet again. Bonus: You can expect cameos from dogs. A blessing!