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Common Cooking Mistakes – Cold Pans

Common Cooking Mistakes fixed

I’m back today to share one of the common cooking mistakes with you, that you might not be aware you’re making. We all make mistakes and experience our share of culinary no-no’s. I mean we are human, so it happens. I find myself goofing from time to time, and sometimes I feel downright idiotic. The other day for instance, I was making oven french fries for a BBQ and not paying attention while helping someone else prepare their roasted butternut Squash. They weren’t used to my crazy sharp chef’s knife an they had never prepped butternut Squash before. It was underripe, and they didn’t want to cut themselves, so I volunteered.

Well, in the midst of juggling tasks and socializing, I payed zero attention to those poor spuds. Not only did I burn and overcook these innocent fries, but I over-seasoned them, BADLY! I literally have no idea how I managed to add that much salt. Maybe I seasoned them twice on accident, who knows. But, they were SOOOO inedible that I literally found myself collapsed on the floor in hysterical laughter, my boyfriend and I both. Upon tasting, it was hilarious how horribly chewy and salty they were. So I dumped the whole pan in the trash and continued to laugh off the screw up.


After culinary school, however, there are some preparation steps or cooking procedures that come second nature to me. All the drilling the chef’s did engraved a lot into my brain. So, I forget sometimes the random things that others are sometimes just not told or taught. Aaron, the BF, reminded me of this the other evening.

He said he’d prepare the pork chops I had thawed for dinner, so I could finish up some emails. It put a smile on my face and I thanked him for the helping hand, then continued working. A few minutes later he comes back in the bedroom and says he’s letting the pan heat up. I thought nothing of the comment until I start to smell something cooking while he’s standing in the bedroom with me.

“Uh, Aaron? Are the Pork Chops already in the Pan? I thought you were heating it up?”

He replied, “Yeah, the pan is heating up”

My response, “So you put the chops in the cold pan?”

Aaron, “Yeah, so?”

My first thought was “NOOOOOOO, Those pork chops are officially glued to the pan. No nice sear on the pig tonight….”

I then explained to him today’s Common Cooking Mistake.

Throwing your foods onto the cold stainless steel, before preheating the pan and oil, is a no no.  When you do this the ultimate result will be your food being glued to the surface. They stick, and you’re forced to scrape your meats, veggies, or whatever your cooking, off violently. It’s a darn pain that leaves you a scrubbing job made for an electric sander. This is a mistake people commonly make and it has created a misconception about stainless steel cookware.

When your stainless steel pans are properly heated before adding your foods they won’t stick. Plain and simple. Heat your empty pan for 2 minutes or so. You will know the pan is heated enough when you can hold your hand 3 inches above it’s surface and feel the radiating heat. Add your oil and wait for it to simmer. Only then should you add the goods.

If you’re using nonstick cookware it’s not absolutely necessary to preheat your pans, but if you do, add the oil or fat before heating to avoid any fumes that can be created when heating the nonstick surface. Uhhh….Yeah, Teflon fumes aren’t super healthy….

So keep on cooking, keep on creating in the kitchen, but if you aren’t already… start preheating those pans.

Pick up this awesome stainless steel skillet (pictured above) for a steal. Normally $100 now only $28.24 on Amazon


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Written by

I'm Nicole. Ceo, Pastry Chef, and Photographer for I'm a lover of sweets, art, and an avid puppy cuddler. I hope my recipes, kitchen tips, tricks, and culinary adventures inspire you to put your "Creativity to Plate!" You can read more about me and Confectionalism on the About Confectionalism link in the Menu bar to the far left of the site. Happy Cooking! Sincerely, Nicole

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