Culinary Basics: Cooking Methods

culinary basics: cooking methods title

OK, so here we go! The first piece of my new blog series will cover the basic cooking methods we all need to be familiar with. I bet you use most of them already, even if you did not know how they’re called.

According to the type of heat applied to your food, cooking methods can be divided to two categories (plus a third, when these two are combined):

Dry heat methods:

Bake/Roast. Items are cooked in the oven or other enclosed area where heat is applied until food is golden brown and tender.

Grill/Broil. Applying very high temperature for a shorter time period. The heat source is from below when grilling, and from above when broiling.

Deep Fry. Food is completely submerged in a hot fat. The result is a crispy, golden brown exterior and a fully cooked interior.

Pan Fry. Done by adding enough fat to a hot pan so that the fat comes up about half the side of the pan. Food is partially submerged in the fat and then flipped over so both sides can cook.

Sauté. Food is cooked in a thin layer of fat over medium-high heat, usually in a frying pan on the stovetop, just until tender.

Sear. Done with minimal amounts of fat over high heat. Searing gives food a brown, caramelized outside, while not cooking the interior fully.

Flambé. Alcohol is added to a hot pan to create a burst of flames.

Moist heat methods:

Blanche. Food is par-cooked by boiling and then submerged immediately in an ice-bath to stop the cooking process.

Boil. Foods are boiled in water, completely submerged in the boiling liquid and cooked until tender, then drained.

Poach. Food is completely submerged in liquid until fully cooked through and tender.

Scald. Accomplished in water heated to around 185 °F (85 °C), usually in a double boiler, which conducts the heat of the water, contained in a bigger pan, to a smaller pan containing the food, thus avoiding contact between food and water.

Simmer. Slowly cooked with a liquid in a pot on the stovetop.

Steam. Food is placed in a separate steamer over hot liquid. The food is cooked by the steam from the liquid and does not come in contact with the liquid.

Braise/Stew. A combination cooking method that first involves sautéing or searing an item, then simmering it in liquid for a long cooking period until tender. Food is in bigger parts when braising, while diced ingredients are used when stewing.

Check out this excellent Chasing Delicious chart! I’m thinking of featuring more of Russell’s infographics in this series, they are such great sources of information.

chasing delicious cooking methods chart


‘Sketchy kitchen supplies’ illustration featured in title image © Freepik

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