How YouTube Taught Me to Cook More (and Order Out Less)

I'll admit it: I'm kinda lazy when it comes to cooking. While a meager three dishes make up my repertoire (a mean guac, excellent Chinese sesame noodles and the cheesiest grilled cheese), I would make them rather sporadically, relying on Seamless far more than I should.

Credit: Munchies/Vice via YouTube

(Image credit: Munchies/Vice via YouTube)

Then, I saw that my friend Brian posted video clips of a shocking reinvention of a classic: a bacon, egg and cheese quesadilla. But while his Instagram story post was interesting, it didn't give me enough information about how to actually make the dish, information I found via YouTube.

Yes, YouTube isn't just for gamers, movie trailers and … well, problematic individuals. The cooking content on the video-sharing site is an ultimate resource for aspiring chefs. I discovered this because Brian admitted he was inspired by an episode of Munchies' "The Cooking Show" in which Farideh Sadeghin makes a sausage, egg and cheese quesadilla.

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In the video, Sadeghin presents her recipe with a laid-back attitude, making cooking feel more approachable. The clip even linked to a website with the recipe written out, so I could grab the ingredient rundown for a shopping list I made in the productivity app Things.

And unlike cooking shows on cable, YouTube's app makes it supereasy to rewind and make sure you don't miss a step. With my iPhone propped up in the kitchen and the ingredients spread out in front of me, I was soon cracking eggs and marveling at Sadeghin's supersoft scrambled eggs recipe, which calls for folding cubed cream cheese into the eggs as they cook.

When I finished cooking the quesadillas and chowed down, I thought about why it took me so long to get the itch to prep in the kitchen. I've been watching food-related YouTube videos for years, but my favorite, the "Binging With Babish" series, never seemed to imbue me with any creativity, as his TV and movie-inspired dishes were often too outlandish.

Inspired to continue by the satisfaction of making the meal myself , I looked for something less rich, buttery and artery-clogging than the butter-, cheese- and cream cheese-filled dish I'd just made After clicking around a bit, I discovered that "Binging With Babish" has its own spinoff show, "Basics With Babish," in which the chef tackles entry-level dishes, stuff like burgers, which I've somehow never been happy with when I tried in past years.

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In that playlist, though, I found my next YouTube-in-the-kitchen project: chicken breasts. The cook is practically appealing to my own experience, with a video titled "Chicken Breasts That Don't Suck." And looking at its list of ingredients, I'm confident that I've found a recipe I can craft repeatedly without having to worry about my health (though, seriously, that quesadilla was amazing).

If this sounds like a path you'd like to travel, I'd say check out both the "Basics With Babish" channel plus his website for more details in a more traditional, relaxed environment. And if you're looking for something with a sense of humor, here's the Munchies "Cooking Show" channel.

Also, you might want to check out our Best Tablets page for good touch-screen displays to bring into the kitchen. My iPhone XS Max's 6.5-inch screen may be big enough to suffice, but if your phone isn't that huge, an iPad might be your best bet.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.