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Canada’s Kitchen Nightmares: Dishes Cooks Struggle with the Most

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In the last month, Google searches across Canada for a range of “how to cook” queries have seen a huge rise. 

Searches for ‘how long to cook fresh pasta’ have increased by 2,800%, “how to cook scrambled eggs” by 4,300% and ‘how to cook prawns’ by 250% as more people opt to refine the art of cooking at home.

However, despite social media platforms continuing to provide accessible content for home cooks to replicate their favourite recipes, including fakeaways, brunch, and more, there are still some dishes and ingredients that are causing kitchen nightmares across Canada. 

To help home cooks overcome this and turn kitchen nightmares into food dreams, meal kit provider Chefs Plate has asked Canada what recipes and ingredients they struggle with the most in the kitchen.

The trickiest dishes to cook, according to Canadians


Reasons for difficulty  


Doesn’t rise


Hard to get the timing right

Sweet and sour pork

Hard to get crispy 


Either under or overcook

Roast beef

Overcook, tough and dry

Hollandaise sauce



Hard to get the timing right / goes hard by time of serving 

Macaroni and cheese

Sauce curdles / goes hard in places


Too many ingredients 


Hard to get flavours right


Either under or overcook

Souffle topped the list, with many struggling to get it to rise. A spokesperson at Chefs Plate confirms how to get your souffle to rise every time: “The key to a risen souffle is in the preparation. Make sure your ramekins are greased well beforehand. Whip your egg whites to stiff peaks and fold them gently into your batter. Preheat your oven for a good length of time beforehand and warm the baking sheet before you place your ramekins onto it.”

Many Canadians also revealed they struggled to get their timings right when cooking muffins. Chefs Plate recommends: “Always follow the timings on your recipe as these will have been tried and tested but you can check for doneness with a skewer and continue if needed. If it comes out clean or with a few crumbs, they’re ready.”

The survey revealed rice to be a problem dish for cooks across the nation, with many overcooking it. Experts share how to cook rice perfectly, “Remove excess starch and prevent the rice from sticking by running it under cold water until it runs clear. Use a pot with a tight fitting lid and combine the rice with water for most types of white rice. Bring the water to boil over a high heat and once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid and let the rice simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, or according to instructions. Avoid lifting the lid or stirring the rice during cooking to prevent steam from escaping.

“After cooking, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for an additional 5–10 minutes to allow the rice to steam and finish cooking off the heat. Finally, fluff the rice gently with a fork to separate the grains.”

Canada’s Most Difficult Ingredients To Cook With


Reason for difficulty




Hard to get quantities right


Burns easily / use too much


Hard to get quantities right


Burns without proper attention


Hard to get the right ripeness


Scalds or burns

Chefs Plate also looked deeper into the ingredients that caused Canadian homecooks the most problems. Respondents expressed having trouble with cooking garlic because ‘it burns so easily’ while struggling to get the correct quantities for spices and the amount of pasta that’s needed.

When it comes to the correct amount of pasta for a serving portion, Chefs Plate said, “Pasta serving sizes are mostly a personal preference but it can be difficult to guess. Our meal kits typically include 85g of penne pasta per serving and that leaves plenty to go around.”

Canada’s Safest Dishes To Cook for Company

  1. Spaghetti
  2. Pizza
  3. Poutine
  4. Hot Dogs
  5. Salad
  6. Pasta
  7. Chilli
  8. Roast Pork
  9. Burgers
  10. Chicken Noodle Soup
  11. Stew

Finally, Chefs Plate asked Canadians if they had to cook for 100 people tomorrow what dish would be the ‘safest’ meal they’d choose to cook. Many of the responses were those that had minimal steps including spaghetti, pizza, poutine and hot dogs.

Much of the research revealed that many cooks struggled with cooking dishes that required ‘too many ingredients’ with one respondent claiming they struggle with “anything more than three steps” a theme seen throughout the full list.

A spokesperson for Chefs Plate added: “Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. Making your favourite dishes at home can be done in simple, key steps to make them accessible for everyone and reduce the need for eating out. Whether it’s a dinner party or family meal time, simplicity is key to delicious home-cooked food.”

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