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10 Sautéing Tips

10 Sautéing Tips

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Sautéing, defined. To sauté is to cook food quickly in a minimal amount of fat over relatively high heat. The word comes from the French verb sauter, which means "to jump," and describes not only how food reacts when placed in a hot pan but also the method of tossing the food in the pan. The term also refers to cooking tender cuts of meat (such as chicken breasts, scaloppine, or filet mignon) in a small amount of fat over moderately high heat without frequent stirring―just flipping it over when one side is browned.

What sautéing does. The browning achieved by sautéing lends richness to meats and produce. And because the food is cooked quickly, the integrity of the flavor and texture remains intact; asparagus, for example, retains its slightly grassy punch, as well as a pleasing crisp-tender bite.

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Equipment. Use either a skillet (a wide pan with sloped sides) or sauté pan (a wide pan with straight sides) for this technique. Both have a large surface area, so food is less likely to become overcrowded. Choose a pan with a dense bottom that evenly distributes heat. Nonstick, anodized aluminum, and stainless steel options work well.

Best foods to sauté. Whether it's meat or vegetables, time in the pan is brief, so it's important that the food be naturally tender. Cuts such as beef tenderloin, fish fillets, and chicken breasts are good candidates; tougher cuts like brisket or pork shoulder are better for long cooking over low heat. The same principle holds for produce. Asparagus tips will be more successfully sautéed than beets. Many other tender vegetables, including baby artichokes, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, and bell peppers, lend themselves to this technique. That's not to say that denser, tougher vegetables can't be sautéed―they just may need to be blanched (briefly cooked in boiling water) first to get a head start on cooking.

Size matters. Cutting food to a uniform thickness and size ensures that it will cook evenly. Vegetables should be no larger than bite-sized, meat no larger than portion-sized. Meat that is too thick or vegetables that are too large run the risk of burning or forming a tough, overly browned outer crust in the time that it takes to completely cook them. Have the ingredients prepped before heating the pan.

Heat the pan. Be sure to warm the pan over medium-high heat for a few minutes. It needs to be quite hot in order to cook the food properly. If the heat is too low, the food will end up releasing liquid and steaming rather than sautéing.

Add fat. Fats such as butter, oil, or bacon fat are used to coat the food and prevent it from sticking to the pan, aid in browning, and add flavor. Once the pan is hot, add the fat, and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. (Heating the fat with the pan may cause food to stick.) Heat the fat for 10 to 30 seconds―until oil shimmers or butter's foam subsides―and then add the food.

In general, use fats that have a high smoke point―peanut oil, regular olive oil, canola oil, or rendered pork fat. Once the fat begins to smoke, the flavor changes and can affect the food's taste. Butter adds great flavor, but it may burn, so you will either need to clarify it to remove the milk solids (which are prone to burning) or combine it with oil so there's less chance of burning. Oils that have low smoke points, like extravirgin olive oil and many nut and infused oils, lose their characteristic taste when heated to sautéing's high temperatures. It's OK to sauté with these oils―just remember that their flavor will not be as pungent.

Don't overcrowd. It's crucial that only one layer of food cooks in the pan at a time. When sautéing cuts of meat, there should be at least a half-inch between each piece. Food releases steam when cooking. If that steam doesn't have enough room to escape, it stays in the pan, and the food ends up steaming rather than sautéing and won't brown. If you've ever tried to sauté a large amount of cubed beef for a stew, you may have experienced this problem. The solution is simply to sauté the food in smaller batches.

Toss and turn. When sautéing tender vegetables and bite-sized pieces of meat, stir frequently (but not constantly) to promote even browning and cooking. Dense vegetables such as cubed potatoes, though, should be stirred once every few minutes so that they don't fall apart as they grow tender. Portion-sized cuts of meat (chicken breasts, steaks, or pork medallions, for example) should only be turned once so they have enough time to form a nice crust, which will also keep the meat from sticking to the pan.

Stir-fry vs. sauté. Stir-frying and sautéing are techniques that share some similarities. Both methods cook food quickly in a small amount of fat. But stir-frying cooks food over intensely high heat, stirring constantly. Sautéing involves only moderately high heat, and the food is not in continuous motion.

Ten Simple Tips to Make Food Taste Better

Sometimes it's the small touches that make the biggest difference when you're in the kitchen. Here are some simple tips from America's Test Kitchen for prepping, cooking, and seasoning designed to boost flavor in everyday cooking.

1. Don't Prepare Garlic and Onions in Advance

Chopping garlic and onions releases sharp odors and strong flavors that become overpowering with time, so it's best to cut them at the last minute. Soaking sliced or chopped onions in a solution of baking soda and water (1 tablespoon per cup of water) tames their pungency for raw applications just be sure to rinse them thoroughly before using.

2. Don't Seed Tomatoes

The seeds and surrounding "jelly" contain most of the flavor, so don't seed tomatoes unless called for in a recipe where excess moisture will ruin a dish.

3. Keep Fats Tasting Fresh

The fats in butter, oils, and nuts can go rancid and impart off-flavors to your cooking. Minimize their exposure to oxygen and light to slow down this process. Store butter and nuts in the freezer, keep nut oils in the fridge, and store vegetable oils in a dark pantry.

4. Strike Only When the Pan Is Hot

The temperature of the cooking surface will drop the minute food is added, so don't rush the preheating step at the start of most sautés. Wait for the oil to shimmer when cooking vegetables. When cooking proteins, wait until you see the first wisps of smoke rise from the oil.

5. Never Discard the Fond

Those caramelized browned bits that stick to the bottom of the pan after cooking are packed with savory flavor. Deglaze the hot pan with liquid (wine, broth, or juice) and scrape the bits free with a wooden spoon to incorporate the fond into sauces, soups, or stews.

6. Season with Sugar, Too

Browned food tastes better, and the best way to accelerate this process is with a pinch of sugar sprinkled on lean proteins (chicken and seafood) or vegetables.

7. Bloom Spices and Dried Herbs in Fat

To intensify the flavor of ground spices and dried herbs, cook them for a minute or two in a little butter or oil before adding liquid to the pan. If the recipe calls for sautéing aromatics (like onions), add the spices to the fat in the pan when the vegetables are nearly cooked.

8. Brown Breads, Pies, and Pastries

Browning equals flavor, so don't take breads, pies, or even cakes out of the oven until the exterior is deep golden brown. We bake all pies in a glass plate so we can track color development. When working with puff pastry or other flaky dough on a baking sheet, we lift up the bottom of individual pieces and look for even browning.

9. Add a Little Umami or Savoriness

Soy sauce and anchovies contain high levels of glutamates, which give dishes a savory, meaty boost. Add a teaspoon or two of soy sauce to chili, or cook a few minced anchovies along with the vegetables in a soup or stew.

10. Incorporate Fresh Herbs at the Right Time

Add hardy herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, and marjoram to dishes early in the cooking ­process this way, they release maximum flavor while ensuring that their texture will be less intrusive. Save delicate herbs like parsley, cilantro, tarragon, chives, and basil for the last minute, or they will lose their fresh flavor and bright color.

They're just simple tips, but even if you're not an experienced chef or are just trying to cook more in your every day life, you can use these pointers to make normal dishes sing.

A Beginner's Guide to the Most Confusing Cooking Terms

Being able to cook at home isn't that hard—all you have to do is follow the recipe. Unfortunately,…

The test kitchen team spent more than a year rebuilding our classic landmark family cookbook from the ground up, continuing its quest to create the absolute best versions of recipes everyone counts on. The America's Test Kitchen New Family Cookbook contains more than 1,100 new recipes accompanied by new photography and a brand-new package.

Other Chanterelle Recipes

  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 lb fresh chanterelle mushrooms
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese


  1. Clean mushrooms with a clean paper towel.
  2. Cut the chanterelles into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Preheat a pan with butter and squeezed garlic, cook over low-medium heat for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the sliced ​​mushrooms to the pan and sauté for about 7 minutes over medium heat.
  5. Add heavy cream and Parmesan, toss to combine. Simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add your favorite pasta to the chanterelle mushroom cream sauces.
  7. Serve.

Roasted Golden Chanterelles

  • 8 ounces rinsed and trimmed chanterelle mushrooms, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 thinly sliced peeled shallot (2 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Following the cooking instructions above for drying the mushrooms, transfer the chanterelles to a large skillet or 12 x 15-inch baking dish.
  2. Melt butter and mix.
  3. Mix the chanterelles with the shallot, olive oil and thyme leaves.
  4. Add teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste
  5. Keep stirring until the mushrooms are tender and the edges are golden.
  6. Bake at 400 °
  7. Consume immediately, place in a paper bag, let stand for up to 4 hours.

Pickled Chanterelle Mushrooms

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds chanterelles or other mushrooms
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  1. Prepare your canning equipment and a large pot of hot water. Clean your mushrooms from any dirt, mildew or wet spots. Cut the large ones in half and keep the small chanterelles whole.
  2. Dry sauté the mushrooms in a large skillet. When the moisture is released, sprinkle the chanterelles with a tablespoon of salt, as well as the thyme. Once the chanterelles are dry, pour over the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. To put out the fire.
  3. Fish the mushrooms and wrap them tightly in jars, leaving at least 1/2 inch of free space. Make sure each jar contains a bay leaf and peppercorns.
  4. Pour in the cooking liquid. Make sure it covers the mushrooms. Add more white wine vinegar or distilled vinegar to supplement if needed. Wipe the edges of the jars and seal. Treat in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Chanterelle Mushrooms with Tagliatelle

  • Tagliatelle &ndash Other pastes such as fettuccine or linguine also work.
  • Chanterelle mushrooms
  • Olive Oil &ndash Canola, safflower, and peanut oils are also great options.White onion for more mild flavor.
  • Garlic &ndash Use as much or as little as you want.
  • Dry white wine &ndash Be sure to use a dry variety like a sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio.
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese &ndash Romano, Grana Padano or asiago are great substitutes.
  1. Clean the mushrooms using a kitchen towel or paper towels and slice them lengthwise.
  2. Boil the pasta in salted water according to package directions and be sure to reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  3. Sauté the mushrooms
  4. Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Saute onion until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  7. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to shrink and the moisture evaporates, about 10 minutes.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Pour in the wine, stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
  10. Add the tagliatelle and 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  11. Toss to coat and add more pasta water if needed.
  12. Add the parsley and Parmesan, then stir until combined.
  13. Serve garnished with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Chantrelle Recipes &ndash Sauteed Fresh Chanterelles

  • 1 1/4 pounds fresh chanterelles or Portobellos
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
  • fresh lemon juice to taste
  1. Clean chanterelles with damp towels
  2. Cut the chanterelles in half lengthwise or cut the Portobello into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  3. In a large non-stick skillet, melt the butter with the oil over moderately high heat until the foam dissipates.
  4. Sauté mushrooms, stirring, with salt and pepper to taste, until just tender, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.
  6. In a bowl, combine the mushrooms with the parsley and lemon juice.

Very simple, delicious, and flavorful mushrooms, here are some of the reasons why you should try these chanterelle recipes! If you have your own chanterelles in your garden, harvest them during the chanterelle season and try these cooking tips, easy-to-follow recipes for a wonderful dinner with the family! You can also buy a big bag of chanterelle mushrooms from the nearest farmers market.

Sauteing 101: How to Saute Like a Pro

From the French word, sauter (which means "to jump"), sautéing has become a well-known cooking technique the world over. Typically described as cooking food in a small amount of fat in a shallow pan over medium-high heat, sautéing is characterized by shaking the pan, which keeps the food from burning and distributes it evenly over the hot surface. Many cooks aid the shaking process by tossing the food with tongs or a wooden spoon.

Read on for sautéing tips and recipes (like our Shrimp with Scallions and Crispy Potatoes, pictured) and learn how to sauté with ease.

Ideal Sautéing Ingredients: Pieces of lean, tender protein, like chicken and shrimp, and cut-up vegetables work best when sautéing, because of this technique's quick-cooking effects. These ingredients don't require lengthy cooking time or additional moisture to cook up juicy and tender.

Get Ingredients Ready Before You Start: When sautéing, the cooking process can go rather quickly, so it's important to have all of your ingredients sliced, diced, and apportioned ahead of time to prevent last-minute scrambling.

Sautéing Tip: Since sautéing doesn't rely on a liquid to cook the food (as does stewing and braising), external seasoning and high-quality ingredients are important. Cutting ingredients into smallish, evenly-sized pieces increases the surface area to volume ratio, allowing for more seasoning (a.k.a. flavor) in every bite.

Back Away from the Butter: Due to its low smoke point, butter is not recommended when sautéing. Vegetable oils, such as canola, olive, and corn, are preferred because they can withstand high heat before burning and breaking down. If you want the flavor of butter in your sauté, try adding it at the end or mixing it with a sturdier oil.

Sautéing Tip: Always heat your pan on medium-high for about 1 minute before adding the cooking fat. With your hand placed a few inches above the pan, you should be able to feel heat radiating off the surface. A properly heated pan will cause the searing so highly desired when sautéing. Note: When using nonstick pans, avoid heating an empty pan for more than 30 seconds.

Top Sautéing Mistake: Yes, sautéing requires a hot pan. But a pan heated on medium-high until the oil smokes is too hot &mdash the oil should merely be hot before you start cooking. Sauté pans that are too hot or too cool can interfere with the principles of this cooking process.

Sautéing Tip: Sautéing too much food at once prevents air from circulating and lowers the overall temperature in the pan, which could cause the ingredients to steam rather than cook by dry heat. Which means, goodbye, crisp, golden exteriors! To sauté a large amount of food, try cooking in batches, refreshing and re-heating the fat, as necessary.

Sauté Tip: To minimize the loss of heat in the pan and to distribute the food evenly over the surface, toss or flip food every so often using tongs or the pan's handle. Using a traditional sauté pan with gently sloped sides aids the process when using the handle to flip food.

Sautéing Tip: The great benefits of sautéing are the exterior caramelization of ingredients and the flavorful browned bits left behind in the pan. During the cooking process, allow food to sit in the pan and sear every so often to produce caramelization. Use those browned remnants to create a quick sauce once you've removed the cooked food from the pan.

International Variation: The Chinese variation of a sauté is known as stir-fry. Stir-fries are cooked in a rounded wok instead of a flat pan, but the principles are the same: to quickly cook cut-up ingredients in a small amount of hot oil.

Samin Nosrat’s 10 Essential Persian Recipes

The author of “Salt Fat Acid Heat” and star of the related Netflix show chooses the dishes that define the cuisine for her.

Credit. Con Poulos for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

“You may attend school in America,” my mom regularly told me and my brothers when we were kids in our native San Diego, in the 1980s, “but when you come home, you’re in Iran.” Accordingly, we spoke Farsi, and attended Persian school on Saturdays to learn to read and write the language we listened to classical Persian setar music and celebrated Nowruz, the Persian New Year.

But certainly, the most powerful form of cultural immersion we experienced was culinary. My mom , who left Iran in 1976, steeped us in the smells, tastes and traditions of Persian cuisine. She spent hours upon hours each week traversing not just San Diego but also Orange County and Los Angeles, over 100 miles away, in search of the flavors that reminded her of Iran. She taught us that regardless of what was going on in the news, home is home, and nothing can transport you there like taste.

In Irvine, she found a bakery making fresh sangak, a giant dimpled flatbread named for the pebbles that line the oven floor on which the slabs of dough are baked. She’d line us all up there on weekend mornings so that each of us could order the three-per-person maximum — 12 pieces being enough to justify the hour-and-a-half-long drive for bread.

Systematically, she bought and tasted every brand of plain yogurt available at the grocery store, in search of the thickest, sourest one. She regularly packed us into our blue station wagon and drove across town to the international grocer, where she could have her choice of seven types of feta and buy fresh herbs by the pound rather than by the bunch.

The cornerstone of every Persian meal is rice, or polo. Each day, my mom would unzip a five-kilogram burlap sack of rice — always basmati — and portion out a cup per person into a large bowl, rinsing and soaking it for hours before giving it a brief boil. Then she’d begin the sorcery required to make t ahdig, the crispy rice crust by which every Persian cook’s worth is measured.

Sometimes, she’d line the pot with lavash for a bread tahdig. On other occasions, when a special trip for bread wasn’t possible, she’d use a readily available flour tortilla, which yielded similarly glorious results. Either way, she’d divide and serve the rice and tahdig, encouraging us kids to delay gratification and resist gobbling down that gloriously crunchy crust first . I never could.

Persian cuisine is, above all, about balance — of tastes and flavors, textures and temperatures. In every meal, even on every plate, you’ll find both sweet and sour, soft and crunchy, cooked and raw, hot and cold. In the winter, we ate khoresh-e fesenjoon, a hearty, sweet-and-sour pomegranate and walnut stew to warm us from within. In the summer, we’d peel eggplant for khoresh-e bademjoon, a bright tomato and eggplant stew made distinctly tart with lemon juice and ghooreh, or unripe grapes.


No Persian meal is complete without an abundance of herbs. Every table is set with sabzi khordan, a basket of fresh herbs, radishes and scallions, which are eaten raw and by the handful, often tucked into a piece of fresh flatbread with a bite of feta, cucumber or walnuts. I’ve never quite grown accustomed to the practice and prefer the incredible, and multifaceted, ways herbs find their ways into cooked dishes . Kuku sabzi, a sort of frittata, is so densely packed with finely chopped sautéed herbs that the ingredient list reads like a practical joke.

Across Iran, but particularly in the northern regions, where my family is from, herbs are treated like a vegetable or main ingredient, rather than a garnish. In the Bay Area, where I now live, I can always spot an Iranian shopper’s grocery cart from afar — it’s the one piled high with bunches of parsley, cilantro, dill and mint.

Though I am both Iranian and a cook, I’m hardly an Iranian cook. I’m more of an Iranian eater, so when The Times asked me to choose the dishes that somehow encapsulate Persian cuisine to me — the essential recipes — I interviewed my mother, surveyed two doz en Iranian and Iranian-American cooks, and compared ingredient lists and techniques with just about every Persian cookbook published in the English language in the last 30 years.

Being an Iranian-American — honoring, representing and embodying two cultures that often feel at odds with one another — has always been a tightrope walk for me. This project has felt more significant and personal than any other recipe collection I’ve created.

I’ve sought, more than anything else, to share the taste of my own childhood, which is to say the taste of an Iranian kitchen in America. Even so, I had to break my own heart repeatedly when I chose to leave out many of my favorite dishes , like baghali polo (fava bean rice), tahchin (a savory saffron rice and yogurt cake with layered chicken or lamb) and khoresh-e beh (quince and lamb stew).

A word about terminology: For various personal, political and historical reasons, many Iranians in the West refer to themselves as Persian. “Persian” is both an ethnicity and a language, also known as Farsi, while “Iranian” is a nationality. Not all Persians and Persian-speakers are Iranian, and not all Iranians are Persian. If the distinction leaves you baffled, rest assured that you’re not alone — I’ve spent most of my life confused about it — and for our purposes here, feel free to think of the terms more or less interchangeably.

The task of distilling the entirety of a 2,000-year-old cuisine down to a handful of recipes is a futile one, so think of this list as an invitation to cook rather than a declaration of fact. It’s also an invitation to my childhood home, and to the Iran my mother built for her children out of rice, bread, cheese and herbs.

Cooking Tips

1. Use Day Old, Cold Rice

For best results, use rice that has had enough time to cool down before sautéing along with other ingredients. This will prevent the grains from releasing more water and becoming mushy when stir fried. If you’re on the run and making a last minute dish, no problem, use our Ready To Serve Rice without heating in the microwave!

Minute® Ready to Serve products are fully pre-cooked so technically no heating is required. For your next fried rice dish, simply remove film from the cup and empty the content into the wok, skillet or saucepan and sauté along with the other ingredients. Remember to break up any clumps the grains may have formed.

2. Use the Same Pan

Fewer dishes to clean up is also one of the advantages of making fried rice. For a tastier dish, it is best if you cook all the ingredients using the same pan or wok. That way, you can take advantage of every drop of flavor from all the components of your recipe. One-pan recipes save time on both cooking and clean up time.

If your go-to fried rice includes scrambled egg, make sure to pour and scramble right after your veggies are cooked to the desired texture. Or, make it even easier with this one-bowl Microwave Egg Fried Rice, ready in just 10 minutes.

3. Enhance Flavor With Sauces

One of the easiest ways to enhance the flavor of your recipe is to drizzle with sauces, oils and spices. If you want to go all-in the next time you cook fried rice, make sure to sauté your veggies in peanut oil or sesame oil. Don’t forget to add some soy sauce for an authentic yet effortless hint of flavor.

If you’re eager to take your dish up a notch, using any of these sauces will lighten your fried rice recipe and burst with umami flavors:

  • Fish sauce
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha sauce

Remember to taste before adding salt or more sauce as these liquids have strong flavors. Or, try to find a low-sodium version if you’re looking to cut down on sodium and salt.

4. Cook With Leftover or Frozen Vegetables

Using up leftover vegetables or a convenient bag of frozen vegetables makes for the ultimate short-cut when it comes to cooking without spending a lot of time in the kitchen. In addition to cutting back on waste, they will also take less time to cook as your leftovers roasted, steamed or sautéed vegetables have already been cooked and frozen vegetables are generally blanched before freezing!

Pro Tip: Make sure to thaw and strain before stir frying frozen vegetables as it will help prevent watery or soggy dishes.

Storage Tip: Fried rice can be stored in an air-tight container and refrigerated for about 5 days – making it the perfect recipe for batch cooking and meal prepping for the week. Start off a base of rice and veggies and change protein and sauces to make every meal a little different.

Struggling to cook healthy meals at home?

Forks Meal Planner is here to help.


Fun fact—the Crock-Pot was initially designed and marketed as a bean cooker. There’s no need to pre-soak dried beans and lentils before cooking them in a Crock-Pot or other slow cooker the extended cook time stands in for the soaking process.

*A note on kidney beans: Dried kidney beans contain high levels of PHA, a protein that can cause gastric distress. The protein is destroyed by extended exposure to boiling temperatures (212˚F or above). A slow cooker’s temperature range can’t guarantee that kind of heat, so it’s best to cook kidney beans on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker.

Basic Slow-Cooker Beans Recipe

Place the beans in the slow-cooker pot cover with 2 inches of water, and add seasonings (such as bay leaf, kombu, garlic, or onions). Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until the beans are perfectly tender.


Whole grains have a pesky way of boiling over on the stove and overcooking or undercooking in a pressure cooker. Slow-cooking them frees you up from watching a pot or worrying about doneness, all while infusing each grain with whatever flavors you add to the cooking liquid.

Basic Slow-Cooker Grains Recipe

Cook brown rice 2 to 3 hours and whole-kernel grains (such as wheat berries or sorghum ) 3 to 4 hours on high. Resist the urge to check on them too often lifting the lid lets heat and moisture escape and can alter cooking times.


You can take any vegetable stock or broth recipe, triple the cooking time, and make it in the slow cooker on high power. The resulting liquid will be crystal clear and deeply flavorful.

Basic Slow-Cooker Vegetable Stock Recipe

Place 4 cups vegetables (any veggies except cabbage will do) or vegetable scraps in the slow cooker. Cover with 4 cups water. Cook on high power 3 to 4 hours. Strain.


When you make tomato sauce in a slow cooker, you can skip any sautéing and just simmer all the ingredients 4 to 6 hours on low (or 3 to 4 hours on high).


The low heat of a slow cooker teases out the flavors and concentrates the sweetness of applesauce and fruit compotes.

Basic Slow-Cooker Applesauce/Compote Recipe

Place 2 cups peeled and cut apples (or other fresh or thawed frozen fruit) in the slow cooker with ½ cup water. Cover and cook on high power 1½ to 2 hours. Leave fruit chunky mash it or blend to make a smooth sauce or purée.


Who’s got time to cook (and continually stir) steel-cut oats for 30 minutes on a weekday morning? The slow cooker lets you skip the hassle and wake up to creamy hot cereal for breakfast. Added bonus: Clean-up is a snap, since the low temperature helps keep the oats from sticking to the pot.

Basic Slow-Cooker Oatmeal Recipe

Before you go to bed, measure 1 cup steel-cut oats and 4 cups water into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours (while you sleep).


Didn’t know a slow cooker could be used for potato wedges? This hack, which lets potatoes steam in their own moisture, yields spuds that are both firm and fork-tender, somewhere between boiled and roasted.

Basic Slow-Cooker Potato Wedges Recipe

Cut potatoes or sweet potatoes into wedges. Add to slow cooker along with desired spices or seasoning blends. Stir to coat. Cook on high 4 to 6 hours, or until the potatoes are tender.


When dark, leafy greens are simmered for hours, their flavor mellows and they become meltingly tender.

Basic Slow-Cooker Greens Recipe

In a slow cooker combine 2 pounds of chopped greens (such as kale, collards, mustard, or turnip greens) 32 ounces of vegetable broth or water 1 large onion, sliced and 2 cloves garlic, minced. Cook 4 to 6 hours on high power.

Mistake: You're not deglazing the inner pot after sautéing.


One of the best functions of the Instant Pot is the Sauté function, where you're able to pre-cook some ingredients before pressure cooking. The only issue? If you don't deglaze between—aka scrubbing the brown parts off the bottom—your meal isn't going to get very far. "We always recommend sautéing everything in your inner pot first. Once you do the sautéing, you need to deglaze the bottom before you turn it to pressure cook to ensure any bits of food that might have gotten stuck there aren't stuck any longer. If you don't deglaze the bottom of the inner pot, you'll get the Burn message," Di Meglio says.

How Much Heat To Use When Sauteing

I recently received an email from a reader asking “how much heat to use when sauteing when sauteing. They wanted to know if I use medium, medium-high, or high heat. They also wanted to know about the heat of the pan and the fat you cook with.

Great questions so I wanted to share my response with you. Be sure to read my post How To Saute. It will give you a better idea of the whole process of sauteing so this will make more sense to you.

Factors To Consider

How hot you get your pan before you add your oil or butter and start cooking depends on several factors:

  • What type of pan you are using.
  • What type of fat you are sauteing with.
  • What you are cooking.
  • Your cooking experience level

The Hands Over Pan Technique

You may have seen in cooking magazines or cooking shows where the chef holds his hand over a hot pan and when they can no longer take the heat, the pan is ready.

I find this technique amusing because I know I can hold my hand over the heat longer than my wife and my brother, who works with his hands can keep his hands over the pan a lot longer than I can. It may give you an idea but there is an easier way to tell when the pan is hot enough to add your fat.

Water simmers at 185°F but turns into steam at 212°F. so the best way I know of to tell if the pan is hot enough to add your fat is to sprinkle a few drops of water onto the hot pan. If the water evaporates immediately, you know the pan must be at least 212° F and a good starting point to add the fat.

It’s a great visual clue and safer than seeing how much heat the palm of your hand can take. Another way you can tell the temperature of the pan is using a infrared thermometers but I doubt many of you have one of those in your kitchen drawer.

Once you get your pan hot and add the cooking fat to it, the next question is how hot do you want the fat to be before adding ingredients. Just because the pan is hot doesn’t mean the fat (butter or oil) is ready for cooking.

If you add cold butter to the pan, it can actually lower the temperature and may take longer to heat up to the proper temperature.

How to Properly Heat a Fry or Saute Pan Video

Check out my short cooking video at the top of the page describing a great way to determine how hot the pan should be before adding your fat to it using a simple water test. It will make a huge difference when you pan-fry or saute ingredients so they don’t stick to the pan.

The Ideal Temperature

There really is no ideal temperature. It really depends on what you are sautéing and what you plan to do with the ingredients when you are done. Most of the time I want to sear a piece of meat, chicken or fish and begin the caramelization process (actually the Maillard Reaction) to get that wonderful brown crust but that may not always be the case. Chef Todd Mohr told me:

Caramelization of sugars may not always be the goal, so the pan needn’t be 320°F all the time. That’s just my target zone to get a nice brown color on a protein product for plate presentation. Caramelization may not be the goal if you’re going to use the chicken in another preparation where color or texture isn’t important.

Let’s say you’re making chicken burritos. A caramel “crust” on a chicken breast that is going to be shredded, wrapped in a tortilla with sauce, and baked again, may not be the best method. Then, 320°F isn’t the goal. However, you certainly always want to make sure the pan is above 165F, where proteins coagulate and cooking begins.

Caramelizing and the Maillard Reaction

I am not a food scientist so I will not try to get too scientific explaining this but from what I’ve read, home cooks often confuse Caramelization with the Maillard Reaction, a process called the Maillard Reaction, named for the chemist who first studied these reactions in 1912.

The Maillard reactions, of which there are many, are a series of browning reactions that occur when certain sugars react with the amino acids found in proteins. These reactions are accelerated by heat and also the pH of the food being cooked.

Caramelization is the process where sugars react with sugars in the presence of high heat but without the proteins. I suppose if you are sauteing just vegetables, it would be called caramelizing.

That’s as scientific as I’m going to get but I’m sure there are many great sources out there if you want to learn more about these processes. Whether you call it the Maillard Reaction or Caramelizing, this process is what gives you that wonderful brown and flavorful crust that we are looking for when we saute.

So How Do We Know When The Fat Is Hot Enough?

As mentioned above, we want to start when the fat in the pan is approximately around 320° F which in most cases is just below the smoking point for butter, lard and the various cooking oils. You never want to actually reach the smoking point because at this point the fat is ruined and will add a bad taste to whatever you are cooking.

So the question is how do we know we are approaching the smoking point of the fat we are using and not hit it?

For butter, I suggest when the butter stops foaming and begins to turn a pale brown, it is ready to start sauteing. With oil, you will know it is hot enough when it goes from perfectly smooth to shimmering or forms striations (lines) in the pan. Chef Todd explained to me:

In saute, you heat the oil until “just before it begins to smoke”. Oil will begin a convection process before smoking, going from perfectly smooth in the pan to striated, getting ripples.

Sesame oil will smoke immediately in a 320°F pan. Peanut oil can handle it. So, I heat the pan to around 212°F before adding the oil.

This should give you plenty of time before reaching the oil’s smoking point and now you’re cooking with your eyes watching for those striations. As always, be careful when heating oils or any fats over a hot stove or in a hot pan. Be ready for any possible flame ups that can occur.

Smoking Points

Have you ever added oil or butter to a pan, put the pan on the flame and got involved in something else only to turn around and see the pan smoking? What do you do? Take the pan off the heat and use it anyway? Not a good idea.

The smoking point of fat is the temperature where the heated fat begins to breakdown, degrade and start smoking. At this point the fat is shot and you need to wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and start all over again. If you don’t, the degraded fat transfers its unappealing taste to whatever you are cooking.

WARNING : Hot oil is very dangerous and can burn you. Most home cooks rarely get their pans and the fats they cook with to the proper temperature so if you do start heating your pans and fats to optimum levels, be very careful not to burn yourself.

You may even want to start at slightly lower levels than discussed here until you are comfortable before taking them a little higher.

Practice Makes Perfect

I’m predicting the first time a home cook tries cooking at the proper pan and fat temperatures they are going to burn whatever it is they are cooking. I suggest you start off by practicing with a diced onion in a small saute or fry pan and get a little experience before attempting anything more.

Get the pan hot enough to evaporate some drops of water, watch as the oil begins shimmering in the pan and notice what it you see when you add the diced onion to the pan.

You have to be on your game when cooking like a professional. You can’t be working on ten different things. Staying focused is critical for great outcomes and for your own safety.

Learning how to saute properly, degaze a pan and making reduction sauces on high heat takes practice and a lot of it. So again, be careful.

Just like your chopping skills that take time to develop and get better, sautéing skills are the same. Most home cooks don’t sauté 100 meals a night, six nights a week like a professional cook so they don’t have the skills to work at the highest heat.

For us mere mortals, it’s best to start off using medium to medium-high heat until you build up your speed.

With some dishes where there is a lot of liquid to reduce, it’s fine to crank up the heat to high, but as you get close to finishing the dish or when the sauce is at the right consistency, you may want to turn the heat down a little so it doesn’t get away from you. And by all means, don’t walk away from the stove.

There have been times when I am finishing a pan sauce and something else that needs to be done distracts me and the sauce reduces too much. If this happens, you can try to save it by adding a little more stock but it will turn out better if you stay with the sauce from start to finish.

If you must walk away, (like when one of the kids need immediate attention) just remove the pan from the stove-top and finish it later.

The other factor is the sauté pan. If you are using a well-made, heavy bottomed sauté pan, there is more room for error. That’s because when the pan is doing it job properly, it disperses the heat evenly throughout the bottom and sides and the heavy bottom will prevent burning.

With less expensive pans that are thin and made of inferior materials, hot spots develop that cause one part of the reduction to heat faster than another resulting in uneven cooking and burning.

A good example of how to sauté quickly is Chef Ricco’s Garlic and Oil.

10 Easy Vegan Pasta Recipes

A roundup of 10 Easy Vegan Pasta Recipes that are healthy yet comforting.

These pasta recipes are fuss-free that don’t skimp on flavor, and most are pantry-friendly too! Welcome to healthy vegan comfort food at its easiest (and tastiest)!

Today we’re doing 10 Easy Vegan Pasta Recipes! This is healthy comfort food, made easy. Most of these recipes are very pantry-friendly, and they’re all easy and straightforward, but extremely delicious!

7. 10-Ingredient Roasted Eggplant Pasta

Blog reader Melissa says, “Absolutely stunning recipe. Was absolutely delicious and will definitely make this again. Thanks!

8. 15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta

Quick, easy, and foolproof, this creamy avocado pasta is perfect for hectic weeknights. With just a few pantry staples and some ripe avocados, you can have a healthy yet creamy dinner on the table in just 15 minutes.

Blog reader Lindsay says, “Commenting as I eat! Delicious! I mixed broccoli, peas and mushrooms through it and topped with nooch.”

Blog reader Sarah G. says, “I made this yesterday for a quick, yet nutrious and filling, dinner on a busy weeknight! My BF and I both loved it!

Blog reader Su says, “I made this yesterday despite having zero motivation to cook. It came out amazing and tastes even better today! Thank you for this lovely recipe – definitely a keeper :)


  1. Mudal

    Yes, really. So it happens. Enter we'll discuss this question.

  2. Fenrirn

    I find this to be the wrong way.

  3. Siraj-Al-Leil

    Again, how options?

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