How to Properly Heat a Pan

We have a few stainless steel pans, but I rarely cook with them as I always seem to have food “stick” to the pan. I’ve heard a couple of approaches (including using grapeseed oil), but it’s never been a pleasant experience for me.

Watching this little video tip on how to preheat a pan, I kept thinking Really? I had no idea. I never really felt like I had the pans heated to a ridiculously high degree, but the food I cooked always stuck to the pan like it was glue.

This whole “mercury ball” thing is new to me. I’ve used the water test before to determine when a pan was ready, but whenever the water would sizzle… that’s when I’d start cooking. It’s difficult for me to imagine needing to heat the pan even hotter than where I normally think is acceptable, but hey – I’m no professional or anything.

I still feel more comfortable working with nonstick pans, but I may give the stainless steel pan a whirl next time, just to test out this approach.

Original video is on Original thread via MetaFilter.

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  1. Interesting! Never approached it this way, but I also think it’s a bit laborious and requires a lot of extra attention to the pan when you could be spending that time doing food prep. I’ve always followed the rule of lightly smoking oil – let the pan heat up for a minute, add your oil, and when it just begins to smoke, toss in your ingredients.The key thing to remember about cooking with stainless steel is that you really have to use a much higher heat standard than you would if you cooked with non-stick coated pans. You also have to have patience – it’s all about getting a good sear and allowing whatever you’re cooking to brown and then release itself from the bottom of the pan. If you use the right temperature and refrain from poking or shifting or pan shaking, the food will release from the pan on its own! Takes some practice with timing, but the results are well worth it!

    Chris Reply

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