A lot of recipes I've been preparing lately often list salt and black pepper as "to taste" in terms of quantity. I get that the general idea is to make the food taste good, but I'm not sure that I regularly notice salt or pepper unless there is TOO MUCH of either.

When a recipe calls for adding something "to taste", what am I trying to note when I taste it? If it's a brand new recipe, how do I know if something is supposed to be bland, seasoned or salty/peppery?

  • it is what tastes good to you
    – ava
    Apr 20, 2021 at 15:27

3 Answers 3


To taste is one of those awesome cooking terms that trips people up all the time. To taste does not mean to what tastes good to you, although you can use that as a determination and your dish should still come out fine for most people. To taste means that you add salt (or whatever) while tasting the dish and you slowly add until the seasoning tastes perfect. To properly do this you are going to have to train your palate, but luckily it's not that hard to do. As a matter of fact, we have a pretty good way to learn it right here. The end result you are trying to achieve is the point where food tastes the most like itself without adding to much, this the small increments.

The important part to remember is that "to taste" is where your food lives. It's the thing that is unique to you and a part of what makes every dish you make an expression.


"To taste" just means to add as much as needed to make it taste good to you. There's no real right or wrong answer, unless you're cooking for other people. If you don't know what the correct amount of seasoning is for a dish, it's best to leave it on the bland side. Then everyone can season their own dishes "to taste" for themselves.

  • Depends on what spice it is, some are hard to add after cooking is done. However "to taste" usually refers to salt. Oct 16, 2019 at 8:11

The general rule to amount of salt that should be added to a dish is- 0.5% of the total mass of the dish. This means that if the dish that one is cooking is 1kg then the amount of salt to be added should be 0.5% of it, i.e., 5 grams. A little quantity or salt can be here-and-there according to individual preference, but the aforementioned rule is quite standard.

This should help you in never getting confused in future.

  • 5
    Welcome! That sounds like an interesting statement. Do you have a source for that percentage?
    – Stephie
    Apr 17, 2020 at 13:46
  • It would be difficult to apply this "rule" when using ingredients that contain salt of their own, no?
    – moscafj
    Mar 22, 2021 at 12:53
  • The question linked in the accepted answer above contains this exact answer, but with a source.
    – Esther
    Jun 5, 2023 at 17:12

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