ADHD Friendly Cooking Tips (Or, How to Not Start Kitchen Fires)

ADHD Friendly Cooking Tips (Or, How to Not Start Kitchen Fires)


Hello br.. Wait. Where am I? And why is my kitchen so clean? [Intro Music] First step to getting a clean kitchen: Decide to show it to the entire internet. Second step: Have someone else do it. Step three: Pay them back by making dinner. Great. Dinner. This is not food. There is nothing to eat. These are plates. Cooking can be really overwhelming for those of us with ADHD because it relies on a lot of stuff our brains find challenging. Planning, prioritizing organizing, time management, using our working memory, filtering out sensory overwhelm, not getting distracted, wandering off… I’m forgetting one… Right! Forgetting what we were doing! Basically, the same challenges that ADHDers face and the rest of their lives, we face in the kitchen too. Only now there are knives, and boiling water, and… [Fire alarm] fire. Excuse me for a sec. [Fire extinguisher spraying] Of course there are some ADHDers for whom cooking is a hyper focus or who have already developed routines and systems that work for them. But for the rest of us, we still have to eat! So I reached out to you guys on social media, to see if you had any ADHD friendly cooking tips, and look! So many ideas, oh my gosh it’s not just me! First, yes! The absolute easiest thing to do is to let somebody else do the meal planning and shopping for you, like… Blue Apron. Thanks, thanks Steve! Blue Apron is actually sponsoring this video which is awesome because it meant that I could buy a few ADHD friendly tools and some food to reenact the rest of the tips. But for the meals blue apron sends you, you don’t have to go shopping for anything, and get overwhelmed at the grocery store. And come home with so many things you don’t have time to make. Is this fennel?! They send you everything you need to cook three meals a week including spices and… recipe cards! With pictures! Wait, they have check boxes now. Somebody give me a pen! Yes, thank you! One step is never one step. Thank you for understanding. They have checkboxes for the sub steps. Oh guys, this could really teach you how to cook [Pen clicks] They tell you what to do while you’re waiting for other stuff to cook?! This is seriously ADHD friendly. Good job Blue Apron. Baby, what do you want for dinner? [Unintelligible murmering] Oh this one! I’m gonna need that back. Dinner will be ready in 55 to 65 minutes? Challenge accepted! [Dramatic music] [Dramatic music] Is it good? If you want to try Blue Apron, I’ve included a link in the description below that’ll get you 40 bucks off your first two weeks. And if you don’t feel like cooking one week, or you know you’re gonna be gone a lot, or you have commitment issues, you can skip or cancel anytime you want. Good tip, Charlotte! Okay, but besides having Blue Apron do most of the work for you, what else can you do? I shall attempt to demonstrate through a series of do’s and don’ts. Do’s are mostly helpful tips you recommend. Don’ts are things I have actually done. Do: Allow more prep time than it says you’ll need. Don’t: Attempt to mash potatoes without boiling them first. Do: Fill up the sink with hot soapy water before you start cooking so that every time you’re done with something, all you have to do is throw it in the water to soak. Don’t: Accidentally throw your phone in the water… to soak. Don’t: Worry about using too many bowls. A trip to the ER after you stab yourself with a knife while frantically searching for garlic salt is way more time-consuming than having to rinse a few, extra prep bowls. The cost of an ER visit is like 78 bowls. And then you have them! Seriously, use the bowls. Do: Make timing meals easier on yourself by cooking everything together. Crock pot, Insta pot, if you forgot to start your crock pot… Sheet pan dinners are amazing. Do: Separate feeding yourself from cooking. Hannah Hart does a really good job explaining that in this video but once the pressure’s off cooking you can enjoy it more and experiment knowing that, if it doesn’t turn out well, you still get to eat. Do: Use a wooden music stand in the kitchen to put electronics on. You can listen to podcasts or music and keep electronics out of harm’s way while cooking. For the record I happen to have a wooden music stand, you can totally use something else. Do: Make it enjoyable! Play some music, get something you like to drink, I don’t know, dance! [Music] Do: Stay in the kitchen while the stove is on high or medium. You know what, when you’re starting out, maybe don’t leave the kitchen if the stove is on at all. May I recommend a baby gate? Do: Have a good sharp chef… chef knife. You’re more likely to hurt yourself with a dull knife than a sharp one, so it’s better to have one nice one than like a bunch of not so nice ones. Chef’s knife! Don’t: Only cook stuff that’s healthy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to eat healthy. But if the choice is always between steamed asparagus and ordering pizza, pizza’s got an unfair advantage, that’s all I’m saying. Do: Date everything you put in the fridge. An easy way to do this is to use colored stickers, where each color represents a different day. Then even if you don’t have time to write the exact date, you still have a general idea how long it’s been in there. Don’t: Eat leftovers you rediscovered in the fridge. If it’s been long enough that you’ve forgotten about it, probably not good. Do: Clear the counter before you start. Don’t: Use a smaller cutting board than you need, because that’s all the counter space you have left. Do: Label your burners if you can tend to forget which ones the front which is the back. Now you know. Do: Have a special place by the stove where you keep your oven mitts. Don’t: Forget to put the oven mitts back. Do: Protect your fingers while you cut. Don’t: Hold something you want to cut while cutting it. I’m not gonna reenact this one, because I still have the scar. Do: Use a meat thermometer. Don’t: Not use a meat thermometer. Don’t ask. If this seems like a lot and you’re already overwhelmed, just stick to the basics. Here’s a helpful order of operations suggested by Lisa: Step 1: Read the recipe. Step 2: Gather the ingredients. Step 3: Gather the tools. Step 4: Prepare the ingredients. Step 5: Cook. [Music] That’s it for this week! Hopefully some of this inspired you to spend a little more time cooking and let you learn from my mistakes. Thank you to everyone on social media, who suggested these awesome tips and helped me brave the kitchen once more. And to my brain advocates and all my Patreon brains: Thank you for the support you give me month after month. Because of you, I never have to partner with a brand I don’t believe in. I can always put this community first and that feels really good. Share your cooking tips in the comments below, like, subscribe, click all the things, and I will see you next week. Bye Brains! [Outro music]

100 thoughts on “ADHD Friendly Cooking Tips (Or, How to Not Start Kitchen Fires)”

  1. Hi I'm considering medication… I have a question, why are you having symptoms if you are on medication that you say helps?

  2. I recommend the tasty website on Facebook and YouTube. They do videos of how to do the meal/dessert/snack with the quantities on the video too. ❤❤

  3. I’m cooking while watching this and for a second I freaked out when your fire alarm went off thinking it was in my own house lol

  4. Fire alarm went off today when I tried to cook French toast.😁😅. it turns into something really dark and crusty.. I ate it. Burned but Not bad. Oh, I am commenting before I finish watching the video..P.S:I like the video so far🤗

  5. Try cooking with a 2 year old that wants to help 😋. Fun and scary!
    She now knows fire is hot because I left the kitchen stairs next to the fire > not proud of that.

    Very happy with my mum! who taught me not only to cook, but also to do it in a structured way 😃

  6. Also, also> Audiobooks are great for when you're cooking or cleaning.. those are some of the only times I can listen to books at home, as I need to be doing something else in order to focus on them.. Obviously this will probably only work if you're not trying to follow a new and intricate recipe, oh, or if you don't have to turn the noisy rangehood fan on. You know what I mean. Audiobooks = awesome

  7. Cooking is no problem at all for me. Cleaning is! I hate cleaning dishes soooo much. I would love to just cook all the time but the cleaning i dread so much. i dont know how to deal with it and its making me crazy

  8. An alternative to having a music stand, which is an expense, is to have a recipe book holder for your phone!

  9. My ADHD friend is great at all aspects of cooking. I have caused a total of one fire so far already.

  10. Accidentally putting your phone in freezer after checking the recipe or forgetting that You're cooking and burning your food 😩😩😩

  11. Ok, I finally understand why I’m so overwhelmed with cooking! Cooking dinner is so stressful for me. Half the time I burn stuff getting distracted when my kids are running around the house. Does anyone have a bad day and can’t focus even with Adderall, anxiety overload the kids or sounds like TV sound too loud and your ready to lose it and have a melt down.

  12. 1. Mis en place
    2. Season a little at a time. It's always easier to add more than to rebalance flavors.
    3. Learn to troubleshoot. Too salty? Add something sweet and/or sour like sugar and/or lemon juice.
    4. Meditate before cooking to help you stay mindful through the process!
    5. Stay hydrated! The kitchen could get very hot and thirst makes your brain fuzzy.
    These tips helped me successfully replicate my Mom's spaghetti recipe for my younger brother's birthday. It's our all-time favorite dish. 🙂

  13. I loved Blue Apron, but unsubscribed after failing to find a good (easy and convenient) way to recycle the bags of "nordic ice" or whatever substance it is that keeps the ingredients cool during shipping. I would have loved to been doing it, though: I gained tons of confidence in the kitchen, I learned to chop vegetables like a pro, and I was introduced to squid ink pasta which tastes AMAZING and which I would never have eaten unprompted because it's BLACK PASTA.

  14. @How to ADHD Ya should've totally danced to your own song. You plugged it in already it would've only been fitting to use it 😉

  15. I try to queue things in such a way that I don't have to wait for anything. No dangerous waiting times inbetween mean I am always occupied, so it's less likely to get distracted.

  16. Seriously. Read the whole recipe first. So many recipes bury instructions half way through an 8 part step and if you just like to jump in and start you will miss things -_-

  17. Hmm am I the only one that paused to see the text of the recipe and got annoyed at how unnecessarily wasteful it seemed as it said to "cut the stems off of broccoli and mushrooms and DISCARD them"?! WHYY would anyone discard perfectly good parts of vegetables /fungi??? You can literally cook the same meal WITHOUT discarding those parts – just chop them into parts similar size as the rest – and the meal will taste the same!!! ..I hate perfectly good food being discarded and wasted, as it's bad for the environment AND inconsiderate to those who struggle /can't afford food! 🙁

  18. My kitchen used to be clean too, because I never cooked. I survived by looking at pictures of food and imagine that I could taste the food. Then I was full. Then I got married to a guy who likes to cook. Now my kitchen isn't so clean and I can reheat in the microwave. I could never actually cook but this looks awesome. I will recommend to my hubby. 👍❤️

  19. I've been trying the different meal kit companies, but not Blue Apron, yet. My biggest complaint for all I've tried is not knowing how to do something that "seems" intuitive or simple. For example, I've never cooked with shallots or (😲) scallions, so when they say trim, slice, chop, etc for these new to me ingredients, I end up stopping to look it up on YouTube. 🤦🏼‍♀️ I am sure I don't need to point out all the ways that could, and has gone wrong. I do like the fact that Blue Apron has steps within steps, so I'm thinking that is next months trial. 😁 Y'all OFTEN cover topics that I don't realize was a "thing" to others until you vocalize it for me. But today, when you were looking into your "empty" cabinets, and again, at 2:03 you spoke directly to my soul! 😂 😂 😂 Pantry is full because I oh so very often come home with tons of stuff that I "plan" to make and never do. 🙄 The struggle is so real! 😁

  20. I've been teaching my 8-year old ADHD-er how to cook for a couple years now. Those rules are so true… But he loves the independence and being trusted. He just came in to hug me… While he's making eggs right… And I had to remind him to get back in the kitchen when there's something in the stove… But I accepted his hug first!

  21. Omg yessss! I hate cooking. I suck at putting complementary flavoured foods together for a meal. I remember putting something in the oven and I got distracted by doing other things as I waitted… then completely forgot I had dinner in the over… went for a nap in fact as I was tired from the insomnia and when I woke up to a fire alarm i went to the kitchen and the tiles behind the oven, were black! 😳 That's how much I burned it! Also grocery stores will have me so confused and anxipus I convince myself that I don't like any of the food and some of it are actually my favourites. But even the favourites I think I'm sick of. 🙄 hate it.

  22. Get yourself one of those stylus pens you can use on your phone. You know the things with the little rubber-like tip. When you have wet hands and want to do something like scroll down on your phone or tablet, pause the music, pause the youtube video you're referencing and rewind it, it saves you from having to constantly dry your hands off or dirty your phone. When finished, put that stylus somewhere in the kitchen so you can use it for the same reason next time.

  23. I’ll admit that I’ve forgotten boiling eggs in the kitchen. I’ve gone back to exploded eggs on my ceiling. Twice!

  24. Love this! I really struggle with consistency. Sometimes its my hyper focus. Other times I either walk away and forget the pot is boiling, forget to set the timer, set the timer but forget to put the food in the oven…. once I even put the dish back in the cupboard with the uncooked food in it.

    I have a couple things I make really well and are quick and easy enough that I don't lose focus. They're the ones I call company worthy. I have a notebook I keep them in because inevitably I forget what they are.

    And I never, not ever, make a new dish for a guest. Made that rule when I didn't read the recipe ahead realized the meat took 3 hours to slow roast. Nobody likes to eat dinner at 9 pm when they thought they were eating at 6!

  25. I'm a conscientious omnivore, meaning I'm careful about animal welfare issues surrounding the meat and animal products I buy. Are Blue Apron's meats humanely raised? (This is different from saying they're "all-natural" or "antibiotic-free," etc., but "Certified Organic," "Humane Certified," etc., or "Free Range," etc. works.)

  26. For those of you who find Blue Apron too much (I ended up with a ton of food I never made, even when I skipped weeks a lot), Peapod or other grocery delivery services are awesome! You can go through what you have bought before and easily re-ordering it. Lots of them, delivery is free if you order more than $100 at a time.

  27. May I suggest another don't?
    Don't be in such a rush to grate the cheese for your stuffed baked potato that you accidentally make bloody cheese stuffed baked potato
    I often have the mentality of 'dammit I hate grating cheese, I just want to get it over and done with'
    and then I have to waste extra time anyway hunting for band aids/plasters

  28. i like cooking so im able to not get distracted while doing it(actually is a lie i have a tv in my kitchen that i watch while i cook) usually dont over cook anything usually

  29. Never occurred to me that setting off the smoke alarm had something to do with being ADD! My cousin used to joke that the smoke detector was not a kitchen timer.

  30. Here's a tip that really really helped me: learning to cut well really sped up my cooking time. https://youtu.be/G-Fg7l7G1zw

    Also, using date stickers really really really helped me.

  31. I tried making coffee on the stove until I blanked on putting water in one time and set it in fire. Any sort of cooking that involves a lot of steps or a long time is a no go.

  32. I’m hyper focus on washing plates… oh well I can only do one thing at a time or I’ll be really overwhelmed and forget everything and burnt everything

  33. I once grated butter thinking it was cheese sad to say when it started melting I didn't not even realize since I was daydreaming 😒I hate when my body goes on autopilot

  34. I was like: I don’t need this I can cook! And then I remembered that I went to the ER after cutting myself and got stitches… still got the scar too!

  35. I often don't read the recipe then start cooking and realize that I don't have a crucial ingredient and I can't make the recipe anymore

  36. Hi Jessica 🙂 I really enjoy your videos and your channel. I'd love to see a video of your about the perfect diet plant for ADHD. I know less carbs and more protein is recommended from reading. But what about people who don't eat meat? Can I have a vegan diet that will support my ADHD brain? I don't want to choose between my animal rights believes and supporting my brain to reach it's full potential. What do you think? Would love to hear your opinion about this subject. Mayne diet plans video? :))) Please keep doing what you're doing and thank you 🙂

  37. Awesome! I get really stressed out if someone else is in the kitchen trying to "help" me. It drives me nuts! I love just putting on a podcast and focussing on cooking. Fortunately, thanks to my mom, I have a decent idea of what things will taste like with different ingredients so I just wing it and make crazy new stuff all the time! Some of it works, some doesn't. But it's fun!

    Oh! it's Chloe! She is so adorable! And who's the big dog?

  38. I ruined so many eggs because 3 DAYS IN A ROW I tried to just simply make hard boiled eggs. Each day, I left them cooking ALL DAY LONG and burnt the eggs completely. I gave up day 3 🙁 I was so frustrated I cried and cried I was like "how could I do this?!" So here I am

  39. Lol I spent a week at a cookery course and the week went really well … because I was able to focus on cooking one part of the dish for everyone. Now I’m back home and cooking by myself, this sh** is impossible! The time management and overwhelm is beyond me 🙄

  40. I'm not allowed to boil water in a tea pot. After 2 of them boiled dry and partially melted (they were ceramic), I realize I should just microwave my water. I forget it's on there and walk away.

  41. My stove comes with the burners pre-labelled! Also, would recommend adding "print recipe" and "make checklist on a sheet of paper". Otherwise you might find yourself needing a new ingredient before you prepped it…. Or maybe even before you bought it!

  42. I buy fruits that are unripe and ripen them at home, good tip for those who often forget or glanced past them a few to many times xD …..avacado, lemons, carrots (vegetable but seems to keep long)… there's more i just can't think of them lol any other suggestions? good/bad tip?

  43. Sadly I’m 13 and my 12 year old sister is a better cook then me because the cooking instructions are not clear enough for me and I bet I’ll still be calling my mom when I’m living with a husband and child so she can help me understand what it’s saying

  44. Of course I had seen ads for Blue Apron before, but yours is the only one that convinced me to actually try it.

    I made my first meal last night and with their instructions I was actually able to multitask different parts of the meal and DIDN’T BURN ANYTHING!

  45. That sticker trick just blew my mind and changed my life. I always forget when I bought and made things because of poor concept of the passage of time.

  46. To me cooking is boring because I’m impatient and stuff and every time my mom tried to teach me how to cook it failed but I still have to eat so…..

  47. "Date everything you put in the fridge…" I was like … that was a weeeeeeird way to go out!
    But she meant write the month and day. Okay.

  48. Yeah I definitely have this problem. Mostly I cant follow a recipe, even if I read over it ten times I still mess it up. Lately I have the worst habit of walking away while the pan is heating up. And using a small chopping board to try and cut corners – or my fingers.
    My solution is to cook simple meals – steamed veg and meat of some sort. If I want to get experimental I have to wait till I have enough energy and motivation to see it through!

    Good tip on filling up the sink with soapy water.

  49. I often cook from recipes dredged up from the nether regions of the internet; it makes it much easier for me to have my phone at roughly eye level so I don't have to handle it much with beef juice or whatever other nasty stuff on my fingers. So my phone case has a big magnet on the back (NiteIze Steelie mount, highly recommended BTW) and I just stick it to my above the range microwave. Poof, now I don't need to worry about misplacing it, washing it, parboiling it, whatever.

    Knives. Yeah, the fancy $200 forged Damascus knives are beautiful. They're also overkill. Drop $30 on a Dexter Russell Sani-Safe chef's knife…they're found in basically every commercial kitchen on the planet and for good reason. They're inexpensive and simply wonderful to use.

    Cooking is my #3 hyperfocus (behind scuba diving and driving) so it's mostly easy for me, but I do still get offtracked and turn my gumbo into…I don't know what that was actually. But it was delicious. So #1 protip from me: if it's yummy and you made it, it's a win. Who cares how it looks or if it's what you set out to make? Don't be afraid to deviate from recipes, or just make something completely random. Chances are it'll at least be mostly edible and you'll learn something from the experience.

  50. I did found this out last night on my own . I went to the groceries to get my fridge full . I was very hungry when I got there , so I decided to buy a chocolate , I ate it before actually getting the groceries and I did buy stuff that I needed only . It helped a lot .Today I made a decent meal and I was very proud of myself .

  51. I love making spaghetti sauce I'll spend hours making it but I really don't like cooking much else

  52. I always try to lable everything, even though I have been ridiculed for it. But sometimes I forget, or can't find the masking tape, or think I don't have time. So I will definitely try try the stickers, and glue them to the fridge.
    … and freezer
    …and I should probably write that down

  53. Don't mix raw vegetables into your leftovers unless you're going to finish them the same day. The mixture goes bad much sooner than either raw vegetables or cooked leftovers their own.

  54. When it comes to cooking, I'm at an even more difficult disadvantage because I have cerebral palsy as well as ADHD. So cutting foods with knives is a harder challenge for me because I can't use both hands, I have limited mobility on my left arm and hand so I have to do everything with my right hand. This doesn't mean that I am not going to learn better skills to improve my cooking abilities because my parents really want to help me increase my independence.

  55. I tend to walk out of the kitchen when I have things in the oven… and then ignore the timer until it stops. And then forget I was cooking. When I can be bothered to cook

  56. So i actually love cooking, specifically baking, but i have a lot of challenges with it. I have a VERY difficult time following recipes exactly, and i usually end up throwing all sorts of stuff in that wasn't in the recipe. At least i know my flavors pretty well, so most of the dishes come out good. When i read lists, or in this case a recipe, I can't read it from A to Z, I'm all over the place. But even tho baking gives me so much anxiety because i'm scared im gonna make a big mistake (and i have a couple times) I've started selling my cakes, and in the end i really do like making them!

  57. Separate feeding yourself from cooking , is one of the best life advice I've ever received.
    Changing my sheets once a week is another one that will change your life.

  58. Wow I feel so called out by the tips to not cut something in your hand AND not avoid using too many bowls. The day after my birthday this year (2nd day of a new job) I cut my finger and had to ask my new roommate I barely knew to drive me to the ER for stitches… Not that this is like a symptom for ADHD, but I was diagnosed today and have fallen into a 3+ hour pit of watching your wonderful, helpful, informative videos. So thank you for helping me through this day… Really.

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