The Flavor Star: How to Build Flavor for Amazing Meals

Never force yourself through a bland meal again! Learn how to build and balance flavor like the pros and start cooking the most delectable meals of your life.

  • By Jess Dang
  • June 18, 2020

In today’s episode, I’m covering the 5 main flavor profiles: salty / umami, sweet, sour, bitter, and spice. Most of us are just following recipes when we’re in the kitchen, but if you develop an understanding of flavor and how it is created using a wide variety of ingredients, you’ll be free to go off-roading and become much more confident tinkering with recipes (or even creating your own!).

As a recipe developer, I am always thinking about how to create meals with deep flavor, which often utilizes ingredients across several flavor profiles to deliver a more interesting tasting dish. I’ll be passing this knowledge and these flavoring skills onto you so that you can have more fun in the kitchen, too.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. The concept of “The Flavor Star,” and how flavor profiles balance and enhance one another.
  2. The ingredients you can use to create each flavor profile. We’ll be going well beyond the basics of salt, sugar, lemon juice, and pepper.
  3. We’ll dissect a few recipes to understand how different ingredients contributed to its flavor profile.

Have a listen and become a flavor star! You’ll even get to hear me sing a few tunes in this one!


If you’ve got questions you want us to answer in a future episode, comments about a previous episode, or just want to say hi and share some love, give us a call at 1-650-386-0290 and leave us a voicemail. You might just hear your voice on the podcast!

Love from our podcast community:

“We discovered Cook Smarts when my husband and I were first starting to work full time and needed something better than the 5-10 dishes we were making over and over again. Cook Smarts has really shown us how to experiment with different foods and dishes and we love the flexibility of it! Now with this podcast, we have a nice, easily digestible way to get more tips for the kitchen! It has been wonderful to hear the insight and I send podcasts all the time to my husband to listen to as well. Thank you for providing this new avenue to reach people — love what you do!

– trextolf

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trextolf, thanks for the great review above and make sure to reach out to us at so we can ship a new tote to you.

And of course, if you know someone who wants to improve their cooking knowledge and add more flavor to each meal, please pass along this episode to them!

Links mentioned in this episode

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