Shut in? Itching for anything new to do? Tired of boxed mac ‘n cheese every day for lunch and dinner? It might be time to mine the millions of cooking videos on YouTube to up your cooking game. After all, it’s not like most of us have anything better to do right now, so why not learn how to make comfort foods like mac and cheese or fried chicken?
We’ve compiled a list of ten recipe-focused YouTube channels we love to watch for inspiration. Scroll through. Maybe a few of them will inspire you to see this quarantine as the chance to learn something new, nourish your foodie soul, and help you create a great meal for whomever you’re locked indoors with.
Binging With Babish (289 videos)
Andrew Rea — the titular Babish who we all love to binge with — has a repository of some of the best and easiest to execute home-cook recipes on the internet. The channel started off as a tribute to Rea’s favorite food recipes from pop culture and still is that, but there’s so much more now. Basics with Babish is a great place to learn home-cooking basics that are easily repeatable by any level of aspiring home cook. Add in Rea’s sharp wit and ability to fail so we can succeed and you have pretty much the best place to start your lockdown food journey.
The Episode To Start With — Pantry Recipes: Chickpeas
This is a very useful episode these days. It’s likely that some of us have random cans of chickpeas in our cupboards. Well, Rea is here to help you use those chickpeas with four useful recipes: Hummus, chana masala and rice, vegan meringue, and vegan chocolate chip cookies.
Pasta Grannies (259 videos)
With everything Italy is going through, it’s a good time to support that country’s elderly population. Pasta Grannies is a repository of recipes from the cooks who keep traditional recipes alive by passing them down to the rest of us. If you really want to up your pasta and sauce skills, this is where to do it.
The Episode To Start With — Pasta Grannies make’ tortellini en brodo’ from Bologna
Tortellini en Brodo is a wonderous dish of mini tortellini in a lush chicken broth. It’s the perfect pandemic meal. It’s also a very time-consuming meal to make from scratch, which works — given how much time we all have indoors.
Bon Appétit (1,100 videos)
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Two good things for your Tuesday morning: 1. @mollybaz made her adult mac and cheese from @basically orzo-style, and this is a reminder that that recipe is ultra comforting and delish. It’s linked in our bio. 2. WE’RE GOING LIVE ON INSTAGRAM LATER! In place of Test Kitchen Tuesday @lallimusic is taking over our IG live and will be joined by @sohlae, @andybaraghani, @moroccochris, and @mollybaz at 2pm EST. Get your questions ready. #BAstaff
Bon Appétit has over 1,000 videos about cooking food. A lot of their shows have themes like cooking with fermentation or recreating popular dishes from high-end chefs or even, say, “Girl Scouts.” Overall, there’s a high-quality to these recipes that never talks down to any home cook while offering serious information and recipes that will hone kitchen skills across the board.
The Episode To Start With — Brad Teaches You How to Sharpen Kitchen Knives
Brad Leone’s It’s Alive show generally focuses on fermentation while also being a very educational and light-hearted watch. But, let’s face it, most folks have dull knives in their kitchen and that leads to a huge barrier in actually wanting to cook. So let Leone humbly bumble through how to sharpen your knives so you can, you know, cook some of his recipes.
Joshua Weissman (159 videos)
Joshua Weissman hit the public’s consciousness when he was 16 and lost 100 pounds and then published a cookbook by 17. Now, Weissman has one of the most popular YouTube recipe channels — choked full of fun and useful ideas. All of these recipe vids are fun and easy to watch all around that’ll definitely help you up that home kitchen game.
The Episode To Start With — Easy Meals Made With What You Have
This episode is another raid the panty special for these times. Weissman cooks up a nice soup, focaccia, bean taco, and congee. Each recipe is very easy to practice and will likely make it into your regular rotation.
First We Feast’s The Burger Show (32 videos)
Chef Alvin Cailin’s The Burger Show is part burger odyssey around America with likes of Nick Kroll and burger historian George Motz and part cooking show. This is where you go to learn how to make the best burgers from around the country. Cailin’s easy-going charm and deep love of all things burgers make this show a must for anyone looking to up their burger game right now.
The Episode To Start With — Debunking Burger Myths with J. Kenji López-Alt
You really need to watch all the George Motz episodes. Motz invites Cailin into his home (with guests) to break down how to cook all kinds of burgers. But, first, you really need to watch the episode with kitchen Jedi master J. Kenji López-Alt. The chef breaks down all the ways you’re f*cking up cooking burgers from the grind to the buns to the toppings, all while making the perfect burger.
Jamie Oliver (1,499 videos)
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How about the gift of a romantic cookery lesson for the one you love this #ValentinesDay? From pasta making to a Thai Feast, we've got so many lessons to choose from at the @jamieolivercookeryschool! And if you're not sure what lesson to pick, we do gift vouchers! Link in my bio to check them all out!
British chef Jamie Oliver has been making cooking at home accessible and fun for decades now. Oliver’s cooking channel on YouTube carries on his TV traditions through easy-to-consume recipe videos with a Mediterranean focus. Italian legend (and Oliver’s mentor) chef Gennaro Contaldo is often there to bring huge energy and great, accessible Italian recipes to the mix, adding a nice depth to the channel.
The Episode To Start With — Gianduja (Homemade Nutella) with Gennaro Contaldo
Need we say more than “homemade Nutella”? Okay, how about this: You can learn to make homemade Nutella in about five minutes by watching this video. Sold yet?
America’s Test Kitchen (1,067 videos)
CIA trained chef Dan Souza has helped make America’s Test Kitchen one of the best places to learn about cooking on the internet. The huge repository of recipes covers skills and recipes with an easy-going nature that’ll put you at ease while trying any new recipe. The recipes cover a very wide-ranging list of cuisines and styles, so you’ll be hard-pressed to get bored by this channel.
The Episode To Start With — How to Make Homemade One-Hour Pizza and Beef Short Rib Ragu
Homemade pizza and easy braised short rib are recipes we should all have in the arsenal. These recipes are shockingly easy to reproduce at home and will fill your kitchen with all the good smells.
Maangchi (392 videos)
Maybe you’re already a competent home cook with European-focused foods. That’s cool. So, why not take this time to start digging into a new cuisine’s recipes? Enter the unflappable Maangchi. These recipes will require a little extra shopping at a Korean supermarket. But trust us, these recipes rule and will offer a much-needed break from all the pasta you’ve likely been eating.
The Episode To Start With — Kimchi Pancake (Kimchijeon: 김치전)
Kimchi is a great probiotic to consume on the regular in these times. So a kimchi pancake is one of the most comforting and nutritious things you can make right now. Get cracking!
Manjula’s Kitchen (488 videos)
Manjula’s Kitchen is one of the best vegan and vegetarian channels on the internet. It also happens to be an amazing place to learn about South Asian cuisine. This channel really is a masterclass in expanding your food horizons while also lowering our animal protein intake. Plus, the colors and the aromatics of these recipes are game-changers for any home cook.
The Episode To Start With — Aam Ki Dal (Toor Dal with Raw Mango) Recipe
This recipe is essentially a yellow lentil soup with a matrix of amazing spices that all offer great health benefits. Don’t let the list of spices intimidate you. If you can make soup, you can make this recipe.
Great Chefs (552 videos)
This is a nostalgia pick for anyone who grew up as a latch-key kid in the 80s and 90s and watched a lot of PBS in the afternoons (like this writer). Great Chefs was the cooking show where the world’s most lauded chefs walked you through their most iconic recipes in their professional kitchens. This show sparked the cooking bug in an entire generation of chefs who are working today. The best part, you can watch them all on YouTube. The jazz, the voice-over recipes, and the 80s kitchens are all like stepping back in time while seriously amping up your kitchen game.
The Episode To Start With — Creamy Risotto with Wild Mushrooms by Lidia Bastianich
Italian-American celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich breaks down how simple yet technically complex a great plate of risotto is in this segment. This video walks you through every step in making a legit risotto without any pretense, just practical information. The end result is a beautiful rendering of how rich and satisfying great risotto can be.