We're in a golden age for cooking tutorials -- search, and you shall find an answer. But not all of the videos you'll come across are created equally. Some recipes are downright bad, sometimes the camerawork is wonky, and sometimes you'll find a personality who drones on about their "hubby" in their videos like it's an antiquated food blog from 2006. So you don't have to suffer any more wasted minutes, we've sorted through the very best, most useful cooking channels on YouTube. These are what you should be referencing if you're in a food rut, need guidance on a tough recipe, or just picking up a knife for the first time.
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Though the New York Times' Cooking section is behind a paywall, its very handy YouTube channel is not. From classic recipes, like macaroni and cheese, to trendy ones, like #thestew by Alison Roman, these videos provide an intimate step-by-step look at techniques and offer ingredient substitutions if you don't have something already stocked in your pantry. You'll also find appearances from Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski, Samin Nosrat of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, longtime NYT editor Melissa Clark, and many more familiar faces from the cooking world.
No food magazine has leaned harder into video than the team at Bon Appetit, who've turned their recipe videos and original series into bonafide hits. The channel has become so popular that it's inspired tons of memes of people professing their love for the on-camera staff like Claire Saffitz, and its fans are on a first-name basis with the other editors who host and pop up in videos. Now that there's a merch line, you can show your love for the BA editors while trying your hand at the "gourmet" version of bagel bites.
Andrew Rea, aka Babish, created his channel for reconstructing dishes from TV shows and movies. ("Babish" is the last name of a minor character in The West Wing.) A self-taught chef who eventually quit his full-time job to focus on making cooking videos, Rea is best-known for things like Krabby Patties and Ram-Don from Parasite, but he's also expanded into kitchen basics -- pantry stocking, knife skills, roasting a chicken -- as his popularity has skyrocketed.
Anna Reardon started her channel to house simple recipe videos, but once her following stretched into the thousands, BBC asked her to make a cake for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, which catapulted her into a full-blown YouTuber celebrity. Her latest speciality is debunking viral Instagram cooking videos, where she proves you can’t actually spin hot caramel on an egg beater without getting burned. The baker also takes on seemingly impossible projects, like a cake version of the game Operation that actually works and a freakishly lifelike chocolate bust of Prince Harry (that also kinda looks like Jesse Tyler Ferguson).
You can thank Tasty, Buzzfeed's food arm, for establishing the look and feel of basically every "hands and pans" video you've seen in the past four years. There's a reason these are so popular: Sped-up footage of cheese pulls and overly sweet desserts have become Facebook favorites of high school classmates you never talk to and social media moms alike. Beyond the (often) over-the-top recipe videos, the channel also relies on competition gimmicks, like challenging a chef to make a three-course meal with unconventional kitchen appliances.
As a James-Beard award winning chef, bestselling cookbook author, and founder of Serious Eats, Kenji Lopez-Alt takes a scientific approach to cooking in his many popular YouTube videos. Don’t let the lack of production value and simple style of his newest videos fool you. They're often behind-the-scenes looks at what he’s cooking up late at night after running the line at Wursthall, his German beer garden and restaurant in San Mateo, CA, and he’s famous for breaking down everything from smash burgers to prime rib (included in the Food Lab) in his older videos. His activity on YouTube has fluctuated over the years, but his return is perfectly timed.
Before this cooking start-up was bought up by Breville -- which turned it into a utilitarian company that sells online cooking classes products like the Joule Sous Vide -- ChefSteps was a mandatory stop for home cooks looking for easy instructions on more complicated techniques, like the best way to truss a chicken. It went quiet for a while, but it's back with new videos, like how to use your sous vide to make a perfect medium-rare steak. Even if you aren’t going to try your hand at complex dishes like beef wellington or peking duck, you can enjoy the beautiful footage and learn more about tough recipes with the help of on-screen diagrams and expert chefs.
Deadpan humor and expert editing come together to make the videos from You Suck at Cooking. With more than 100 videos and counting, each episode covers how to make simple dishes, like guacamole and dressed-up packs of ramen noodles, with plenty of gags along the way.
For a hands-and-pans style recipe video that won't give you an aneurysm, Peaceful Cuisine is your best bet. The minimalist, slow-paced ASMR cooking show isn't as useful a tutorial as it is a soothing experience, but if you want to try your hand at any of the vegan dishes, you can find a list of ingredients and steps in the description.
Formerly known as Brothers Green Eats, Mike Greenfield’s instructional videos make you feel like you have everything you need to level-up your home cooking, even if the kitchen studio may be sleeker and hundreds of square feet larger than your apartment’s tiny galley. Some videos utilize now-common appliances, like air fryers and instant pots, to make dozens of meals, while others tackle complicated projects, like making your own cheese and fermenting your own kombucha at home. Vegans and omnivores will all find something to love in here.
Travel around the world while you’re stuck inside with Emmy Made in Japan videos. This YouTuber started by cooking and eating Japanese candies and other snacks, like a bright sugary paste with sprinkles called nerunerunerune, but she has expanded to food from all around the world (including military rations!) to make recipes you can actually recreate at home, like mochi brownies or homemade boba. You'll get a history and cooking lesson rolled into one as Emmy explains where international dishes originated and how they made their way to the US before diving into the recipe.
Listening to this London-based YouTuber talk about “cheese toasties” and his very relatable Animal Crossing: New Horizons obsession is just plain fun. His knife skills could use some work and you probably won’t learn anything that you’ll actually make in your own kitchen, so Raphael Gomes’ videos are strictly for your entertainment. But you’ll easily waste hours watching him eat like Kylie Jenner or a character from The Simpsons for a day.
Skyy John, aka the Tipsy Bartender, is known for his short videos (like, less than a minute long) on how to make just about any cocktail you could dream up, from traditional boozy cocktails to outlandish Long Island iced tea sangria and watermelon jello shots. In spite of their length, the instructional videos are actually useful. Occasionally, he'll throw up an interview, like when he somehow landed former presidential candidate Andrew Yang to discuss robot bartenders. To borrow the Tipsy Bartender's catchphrase, "There you have it!"
With 20 years of bartending experience and an incredible Australian accent, Steve the Bartender produces videos of both individual and multiple drink recipes with the same base spirit that demystify the intimidating cocktail-making process. Even if you thought you’d need a blender and strawberry syrup to make a proper daiquiri, you’ll be a proficient home bartender before you know it.
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