How To Deglaze

Deglazing: What it Is and Why Do It?

Deglazing is a fancy schmancy word that means to basically pour some cold liquid into a very hot pan to get up all the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Those yummy little brown bits (not the black burnt bits) are where all the flavors are.

You want the caramelized brown "stuff" to stick to the pan. So it wouldn't make any sense to use a pan with a non stick surface. That only defeats the purpose of creating that wonderful base.

I have also read that you should stay away from cast iron pans because the iron reacts to food high in acid like red wine and gives off a metallic taste. Although I love cooking foods in my cast iron skillet, but stay away if you are planning to make a pan sauce.

You probably deglaze all the time without even realizing it: 

• When you pour water into the roasting pan to make gravy
• When you add some chicken stock to a pan of sautéed onions
• When you pour some wine into the pan that you roasted the pork in.

  Now that you know what it is, let’s make sure you are doing it right :)

• Make sure that there is nothing burnt onto the pan you are going to deglaze—you are looking for deep brown bits, not blackened bits
• Pour off most of the fat in the pan.
• Turn the heat up to high.
• Add cold liquid to the hot pan—the liquid will come up to boiling very quickly, bringing up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan
• Using a spoon or spatula, scrape up the fond as the liquid boils
• Once the yummy bits are dispersed throughout the liquid, turn down the heat

Quick Tip: It is important you remove the pan from the heat when adding any liquids with alcohol so you don't end up with singed eyebrows. That probably won't be a good look for you! 

You can now use this mixture to create a wonderful sauce to go with your meal.

Almost any liquid can be used for deglazing, although you should stay away from dairy. There is a good chance that dairy products can curdle when boiling, so stick with clear liquids.

Here’s a good list to start:

• Red or white wine
• Beer
• Stock—fish, chicken, beef, vegetable, etc.
• Broth
• Cooking liquid (water that you cooked beans in, for example)
• Cognac/brandy
• Fruit juice
• Vinegar
 Of course, you can also use water to deglaze, but that wouldn't be quite as flavorful as some of the other options.

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