If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.
- MasterClass is an e-learning platform that provides classes taught by celebrities and experts.
- It offers classes from famous chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Dominique Ansel, and Gabriella Camara.
- I took 11 MasterClass cooking courses and made everything from Beef Wellington to huevos rancheros.
If you don’t have experience making complete meals day after day, it can feel overwhelming to search for a reliable recipe, complete multiple tasks at once, or roast everything long enough without burning or overcooking your dinner.
A MasterClass subscription gives you access to over 17 cooking courses from celebrity chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, Wolfgang Puck, and Alice Waters.
What is MasterClass?
For $180 a year, or $15 each month, MasterClass gives you unlimited access to online courses from celebrities and world-renowned experts. It can be a pricey investment, but each course includes multiple lessons via episodes – sometimes as many as 36 videos – as well as a full-color PDF workbook featuring recipes and tips.
Additionally, there’s a community forum for each class where you can post questions, get extra info, and potentially interact with the instructor.
Also included in your membership is access to classes in film & TV, music & entertainment, writing, business, design, sports, and more.
For a full rundown of MasterClass, read our review here.
All of the courses we recommend produced mouthwatering meals in our tests and can be followed easily in your home without special equipment or ingredients.
Here are the 11 best culinary arts and cooking classes you can take at home with MasterClass:
“Modern Italian Cooking” with Massimo Bottura
“Modern Italian Cooking” with Massimo Bottura packs a lot of information and skills into this 14-lesson course that takes basic ingredients and turns them into a gourmet dish.
The class is taught by the chef patron of Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-star establishment widely considered to be one of the best restaurants in the world. Most recently, Bottura has gained additional notoriety during the pandemic with his free Kitchen Quarantine series on Instagram.
In this four-hour course, Bottura covers his modern twist on classic Italian dishes, incorporating causes that are important to him such as reducing food waste. He also invites members of Il Tortellante, a fresh pasta workshop for disadvantaged kids, to help make tortellini.
So far, I’ve made two dishes from the course. First was the Sogliola al Cartoccio, or Mediterranean-style sole. Due to grocery shortages during the pandemic, I had to substitute some ingredients, but the finished product was beautiful, delicious, and healthy. Plus, it was relatively easy to make and didn’t take long.
The other dish I made is less of a dish and more of a new habit. Bottura talks about a “Broth of Everything,” a vegetarian broth he makes using vegetable scraps. I started doing this using a gallon bag stored in my freezer. Once it was full, I dehydrated it overnight in the oven at 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The next morning, I put all of the dehydrated, aromatic scraps in a stockpot along with some herbs and simmered it for six hours. The resulting broth is like liquid gold, and yes the name suggests, I use it in everything.
If you’ve ever wondered how to make the mouth-watering treats available at your favorite pastry shops, “French Pastry Fundamentals” with Dominique Ansel is a good place to start.
In his 17-lesson class that runs about three-and-a-half hours, Ansel, the inventor of the cronut and winner of several James Beard Awards, walks you through the steps of how to make mini madeleines, fruit tarts, a chocolate cake, bonbons, and croissants. He also delves into how you can use your new skills to make your own inventions. The class is supported by a 59-page, full-color workbook and an active discussion forum, where you can get help. While I was testing the class, Ansel hosted a live lesson which was really fun and informative.
I chose to tackle the four-lesson recipe for Ansel’s strawberry tart. Though you can complete the whole process in a full day of baking, I decided to do it over the course of a weekend.
I’d never made anything like this strawberry tart before and was a bit intimidated, but Ansel did an excellent job of putting me at ease. The only ingredient I couldn’t find was NH pectin, and I didn’t like the prices online so I used apple pectin instead, even though he says not to. The glaze didn’t come out as beautiful as it could have been, but the resulting tart was still visually-appealing and absolutely delicious. When I shared a picture of it with my local foodie group, I got several requests for the recipe.
‘Cooking I’ with Gordon Ramsay
Even if you’re just starting to find your way around the kitchen, “Cooking I” with Gordon Ramsay has a lot to offer with a balanced collection of lessons ranging from kitchen layout to making his famous Beef Wellington.
With Ramsay’s history of laying into chefs and restauranteurs who don’t live up to his standards on his various TV shows, I expected brusque advice and harsh instructions going into Cooking I, the first of his two MasterClass courses. However, this ended up being far from the truth – Ramsay exhibits the gentleness you see on the cooking competition for children, “MasterChef Junior.”
In the 20-lesson class, Ramsay gives a little history of how he got to where he is today. He covers the basics, including kitchen layout, knife skills, making pasta, and scrambling eggs before delving into fancier dishes.
I decided to take a crack at the Wellington, which took me about four hours. My favorite part of the process was learning how to make crêpes. The first couple I made were horrible, but by the fourth and fifth, I felt like an old pro. The Wellington looked amazing and tasted darn good – definitely restaurant-quality. In fact, I’d previously ordered a beef Wellington at an English restaurant and it didn’t compare to the flavor and quality of my effort. I plan on making this for special occasions in the future.
I absolutely loved the flavors of the huevos rancheros recipe Gabriella Camara shares in her Mexican Cooking MasterClass. It also encouraged me to make salsa verde for the first time, which was easy and delicious.
Her course is rather short compared to others – only 13 lessons and less than three-and-a-half hours of content. Also, the skills you learn don’t really translate to other cuisines.
Still, if you’re interested in learning how to make authentic Mexican dishes, including tortillas, this course is worth your time and money.
‘Cooking Techniques I: Vegetables, Pasta, and Eggs’ with Thomas Keller
There’s a lot to like about the first of Thomas Keller’s three MasterClass courses. First of all, it provides more material than any other culinary class: 36 lessons, nearly 7 hours of video, a 119-page full-color workbook, and an active discussion forum.
Keller’s emphasis on “tools of refinement” can be a bit much for beginning cooks, though I now find myself regularly putting in the extra effort to make his omelet recipe.
“Cooking Techniques II: Meats, Stocks, and Sauces” with Thomas Keller is designed for the hardcore carnivore, with all you need to know to make inspired dishes using beef, poultry, lamb, and other meats.
Keller is best known for The French Laundry, a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Yountville, California (and arguably the best in the world). This is the second of Keller’s three MasterClass courses, and it offers an overwhelming amount of content.
He explains different cuts of beef, pork, poultry, and lamb and what they are used for as well as how to wet- and dry- age. He touches on the different ways of cooking meat, including pan-roasting, frying, oven-roasting, braising, and grilling. In the process, he offers recipes that are accessible yet refined.
My favorite recipe was the Chicken Paillard with Arugula Salad and Sauce Vierge. I had an easy time making it, and everyone in the family enjoyed it. I was struck by how well the chicken and Vierge complemented each other. My teenager said it was his new favorite chicken dish and my wife was impressed by the presentation, so it’s now in our regular rotation.
‘Mixology’ with Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana
This mixology course focuses on making top-notch alcoholic beverages using readily available ingredients and equipment. There’s four and a half hours of content and a beautiful 53-page PDF giving recipes and more details about the drinks.
As a teetotaler, I was bummed that Marrero and Chetiyawardana didn’t provide many alcohol-free substitutes. Still, if you want to up your cocktail skills, this class is for you.
This is another course that will only appeal to a limited audience: those who have smokers and want to up their game.
From picking the right wood and maintaining the fire to choosing the right smoker design, Franklin dives into the details of what you need for a good smoke. He also shows you how to trim and season your meat.
I don’t have a smoker, but I tried the pork butt recipe in my oven following all of the same steps and the results were outstanding nonetheless. This class would be ideal for anyone who is just getting into smoking meat.
In his cooking class, the celebrity chef walks you through his philosophy on cooking and business, how to train your palate, kitchen essentials, and even cocktails in addition to several inspired recipes. I liked that the skills you learn in the course can be used in a variety of contexts.
However, I relied heavily on the closed captioning due to Puck’s heavy Austrian accent. Also, I made his Béchamel sauce, an easy enough recipe, but found it lacked much depth of flavor.
‘The Art of Home Cooking’ with Alice Waters
“The Art of Home Cooking” with Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California offers outstanding tips for making restaurant-quality dishes using ingredients and equipment most home cooks should already have.
Rather than go through countless recipes, Waters provides 17 lessons and nearly four hours of instruction on how to stock your pantry, outfit your kitchen, and get creative with the ingredients you have.
She also explores a few of her favorite home recipes, including tips on how to sub ingredients in and out. You can easily revisit the highlights in the 77-page full-color PDF workbook you receive with the class.
I made her oat pancakes, which were easy and healthy. As recommended by Waters, I topped the creation with a strawberry and pear compote. If I say so myself, the results were worthy of a restaurant in California. I enjoyed the depth of flavor (though it did not play too well with my kindergartener).
What to know before taking a cooking course on MasterClass
In my hours of watching and testing the cooking courses, I picked up a few tips that might enhance your experience.
1. Watch the whole lesson before attempting to make a dish.
You don’t necessarily have to watch the previous lessons (though it often helps). However, you do need a good idea of the whole process before getting started on a recipe. I found it helped to bring my laptop to the kitchen with me, and I’d reference the workbook and the video – making frequent use of the pause button – while preparing meals.
2. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time.
All of the chefs are encouraging, but several stress the importance of practice. If anyone could quickly and easily produce restaurant-quality meals, these chefs would be out of a job. They break down the steps so you can easily learn them, but it may take a few tries before you can master Beef Wellington or perfect a fruit tart.
3. Feel free to use substitutions.
Fresh ingredients are also a must. Yet, the instructors understand that substitutions often need to be made based on where you live and make recommendations accordingly.
Some chefs suggest you turn to local sources for your ingredients when possible, such as a nearby farmers’ market. Or, you might consider signing up for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, which is a subscription-based service that provides you with weekly boxes of fresh local farm products. In addition to the environmental and economic benefits, CSAs can help you minimize your time in grocery stores.
How we evaluated the culinary arts courses
The $180 price is very expensive for online courses, even if they are taught by award-winning chefs around the world. That’s why we tested and reviewed MasterClass with a more critical eye.
I spent hours and hours in front of the screen watching and following all of the culinary arts courses offered on MasterClass. I spent even more time in the kitchen trying my hand at following the tips and skills taught in the classes.
Here are the main attributes we look for and how we evaluate them:
Generalizability: Will what you learn in the course be helpful when you make other cuisines? Will it help you create your own dishes? For instance, learning precise knife skills is helpful when prepping any meal. However, learning to debone one specific species of fish that isn’t even available in your area might not be that useful.
Accessibility: Due to the current pandemic, I had a hard time procuring various ingredients – the stores in my area can be hit or miss. A good MasterClass course or chef will teach you how to cook with easy-to-find ingredients or offer suitable substitutes. Also, you shouldn’t need specialized equipment. If a class required devices that have limited applications, such as a grain mill or a tortilla press, it lost points in our evaluation.
Meal Quality: If you’re taking the time to learn how to cook from the best chefs in the world, you’d expect the resulting meals to be restaurant-quality. Based on the assessments from my wife, two sons, and myself, I used four criteria to assess dish quality: taste, appearance, likelihood to make again, and if the dish was good enough to serve in a nice restaurant.
Enjoyability: Does the instructor make it fun to make the dishes? Does it take a long time to prep and cook the meals? I looked at both of these questions when assessing how enjoyable a course was.
Quantity: How many lessons are there? How many minutes of video are there? How much info is in the PDF workbook that comes with the course? Are the discussion forums active? These factors all played a role in determining whether a course provided enough bang for your buck.
Read more cooking and food-related stories
- How to make bread
- How to make bread without yeast
- How to make stock
- A running list of where to buy groceries online
- Where to buy bread online
- Where to buy flour online
- Where to buy beef, pork, poultry, and more online
- Where to buy the best-tasting, highest-quality seafood online
- The best places to buy beer online