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Cold oil hot pan or cold oil cold pan

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

So I was at a culinary class today and the chef told me next time to put the cold oil into a hot pan, this way it reduces the risk of burning the oil. I always liked to put the oil in until shimmering or sometimes until just starting to smoke before adding whatever. What do you guys do cold oil in hot pan or cold pan and cold oil together until shimmering or smoking or whatever..

post #2 of 23
Typically I heat the pan first and then add the oil. I would think your pan would have to be on the burner a long time and smoking hot before you would burn the oil.
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Nicko 
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
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post #3 of 23

I was taught to heat the pan, then add the oil - I've done it that way for more years than I care to remember!

post #4 of 23

For time out of mind the rule has been cold oil/hot pan.

 

I'm trying to envision the benefit of putting cold oil into a cold pan, and can't. Are there advantages to doing that, Mike? Or is it merely just the way you've always done it?

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 23

I heat the pan then put in the oil.

 

Unless of course it's a nonstick pan in which case the oil goes into the cold pan first.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #6 of 23

If you are using aluminum pans like those in a lot of restaurants and you put them on the heat dry, the bottoms will pop out and you will have a misshapen unstable mini wok that doesn't work as well on the flat spider of the stove top.

 

If you start with cold oil, cold pan you can tell the temperature of the pan better by watching the kinetic activity, than you can with a dry pan.

 

What are advantages to cold oil, hot pan?

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #7 of 23

I was told to put cold oil in a very hot pan.. to avoid things like meat etc. to stick to the pan.

Don't blame me if this is a myth, all I know it works,..  sometimes.

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 

Well meat in a cold pan with cold oil WILL stick.. only reason ive done cold pan cold oil is because you can tell when the oil is hot by it shimmering, but when at a cooking class a chef instructs me to change my ways, it really makes me think and here most of you seem to agree with him.. obv is your using non stick you have to put oil in first but other then that I will try hot pan cold oil...

post #9 of 23


    It is true, but why not cold pan, cold oil, heat pan then cook whatever. What are advantages to heating pan before adding oil? The goal is to have the pan and the oil hot before adding the food. That is what prevents sticking.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

Chef Layne that is what I am asking. I guess the idea is you will not bun the oil as much, also I heard people say you can control the amount of oil better for some reason?

post #11 of 23

I am of the opinion that you burn the oil less and can tell the temperature of the oil better thereby giving you better control by starting it in a cold pan and watching the action and motion of the oil as it heats. I am not saying to put food in before the oil is hot. I can't tell you how many times over the years I have observed saute cooks putting pans on to heat before adding oil and leaving them on too long then adding oil and getting a spontaneous combustion, definitely not desirable and definitely dangerous on a busy crowded line. I also have observed that preheating before adding oil causes aluminum pans to pop out outward and stainless pans pop inward. As to controlling the amount of the oil better or using less by adding it to a hot pan the theory is that hot oil is more viscous than cold oil. Can't argue that point, but being aware of that fact makes it easy to add the right amount of oil as long as I remember that it will be more viscous as it warms. Some restaurants leave the pans on dry heat until an order comes in, then add oil and saute, thereby reducing the time waiting for the pan and oil to get hot. Can't argue this point, but a hot oven with saute pans in it preheating while waiting for orders will accomplish the same thing without popped bottoms due to direct heat.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #12 of 23

but when at a cooking class a chef instructs me to change my ways,.....

 

Mike, FWIW, in such circumstances it doesn't matter which way you prefer, or I prefer, or how anybody in the Cheftalk family prefers. The secret of success in this industry is simple. Whether at school, or on the line:

 

If Chef tells you to do one thing, and God tells you to do another, just pray that God is forgiving.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #13 of 23
From a professional view point your pans are always stacked on the stove, hot ready to go. Oil is on your station warm (not cold) ready to go. It simply would not be practical to start with a cold pan each time in a high volume kitchen.
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post


    It is true, but why not cold pan, cold oil, heat pan then cook whatever. What are advantages to heating pan before adding oil? The goal is to have the pan and the oil hot before adding the food. That is what prevents sticking.


Your question and your idea about it are equally my thoughts.


 

 

post #15 of 23

Heat pan,

add oil.

 

The oil, upon contact with the pan forms an instant "non stick" surface"... like a quick and dirty "pan seasoning".

post #16 of 23

I'm with the majority here. Cold pan, heat then oil, food in.  Depends a bit on what you're cooking too.  If it;s steaks, or lambchops etc, they generally get coated in oil and pepper, spices etc, before they are introduced to the hot pan.  Works for me, home cook here.  Works well.  Fish is a differfent matter. I like to have moderately hot oil and butter in the pan then fish in, baste as needed.  Veg too I like to do this way.

 

As has been said, whatever works for you.

 

More importantly, at this stage -  it's whatever teacher says, if they will be grading you.

 

Try different ways out at home to see what YOU like, then take that with you.

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #17 of 23

Hmmm, I'm a cold oil, cold pan person.  Can't say why other than that's just what makes sense to me.  Seems like you've got little to lose and really nothing to gain either way though.

post #18 of 23

Interesting question:

I actually do a couple of different things:

cast iron -> cold oil to hot pan. It seems to form a nice anti-stick layer this way

non-stick -> cold oil to cold pan. I seem to remember that someone told me never to put them on the fire when empty

 

wok (both cast steel and cast iron) -> cold oil to hot pan. It's what I've seen the Asian cooks do.......

 

all other -> I just chop and change depending on what I'm cooking.

 

I cook on gas, so pans heat up very quickly

 

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

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Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

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post #19 of 23

Nicko's right, if you're going to saute or cook proteins in a busy kitchen you shouldn't be using cold pans, it takes extra time you simply can't afford on a busy night.  On the other hand there really shouldn't be much of a physical difference between cold oil hot pan vs. cold oil cold pan once both pans are hot.

"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #20 of 23

Room temp oil in hot pan is way to go when on the line .( Don't overheat Teflon empty if possible) And I trust we are talking about saute only.?  Other then on the line it could be a toss=up.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #21 of 23

I will throw a totally different idea and that is oil the food i.e. scallops steak and this allows you to get the pan hotter especially where you are trying to caramelize things quickly like scallops.

post #22 of 23

I have to assume we're talking sautee, stir-fry type applications here, and that's definitely room temp oil into a hot pan.  Heating the pan first will allows the metal to expand, and when the oil comes in contact with the surface it heats quickly and seals up all the tiny holes to make a non-stick surface.  The other practical reason is to avoid overheating the oil and causing a fire because you got preoccupied and forgot it was on.  

post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 

I guess for me the biggest drawback is that I rely on watching the behavior of the oil in the pan to tell the temperature... for example shimmering.. or testing a piece of something by touching it to the oil to see if it sizzles. I actually burnt the oil more recently by trying hot pan room temp oil cuz the pan was too hot and the oil burnt in a second so quick i hadnt time to put anything in it

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