What exactly is medium heat? Should I rely on the stovetop dial or is there a range of temperatures or the appearance of the item cooking that I should observe?

  • Posted by: ChrisA
  • September 20, 2010
  • 79837 views
  • 3 Comments

3 Comments

Review our Code of Conduct
Don't send me emails about new comments
kyle_gene_brown
kyle_gene_brown September 20, 2010

Stoves vary a lot, and what's more there's a big difference between gas and electric, and even between different types of electric (induction or not). I've always looked more at the appearance of what I'm cooking -- high heat in a liquid is very rapid boiling, low heat is a simmer, while medium heat is a slower boil. It's harder for solid items - you can tell in an empty pan by putting a drop of water on an empty pan and watching its behavior (e.g. how fast it evaporates). This cool graphic from wikipedia shows the different behaviors at different temperatures: http://en.wikipedia.org...

Review our Code of Conduct
Don't send me emails about new comments
pierino
pierino September 21, 2010

Please allow me to shout out loud that no two ovens or cooktops are calibrated equally---hey, try working with "gas marks" 1 thru 4 on European stoves! You can't just let it rip and walk away. Depending on what you are cooking an accurate instant read thermometer such as the Thermapen (which I highly endorse) can be a valuable tool. As far as appearance, are you simmering, boiling or braising? Each of these is a different thing. Are you poaching fish or braising meat? The term "medium" is next to meaningless.

Review our Code of Conduct
Don't send me emails about new comments
NYCNomNom
NYCNomNom September 22, 2010

Someone once taught me this trick... Put your hand over the pan about 2-3 inches above the surfance. If it's not warm at all, that's low. If it's warming your hand like a good fireplace but you can leave you're hand there, that's medium. And if you can't leave your hand there for more than a few seconds, that's high. Hope that helps!

Review our Code of Conduct
Don't send me emails about new comments
Showing 3 out of 3 Comments Back to top
Recommended by Food52