Photo by Steven DepoloCreative Commons License.

When you sauté, you are cooking a food with a small amount of fat at a high heat. The food is sautéd in a pan that is very hot, and the food develops a brown color from the oils.


Difficulty to learn: Medium/Hard

Some Thoughts For You:

Sautéing is a simple idea with a slightly steep learning curve. What a proper sauté accomplishes is the locking in of moisture and flavor into the food, which can provide a more distinct flavor than traditional cooking methods.

Typical foods to sauté include meats (such as lamb) and vegetables (such as onions).

What You Will Need:

Your main tool for sautéing will be a large shallow pan (or a skillet). It should be large enough to fit your food as well as a little oil or butter. If your pan is small, your food will not evenly brown.

You will need a little oil or butter to act as the catalyst for the sauté. The best oils for a sauté have a high smoke point, such as peanut oil or canola oil.

Consider using protective gloves since you will be working with oil at a very high heat.

Basic Steps:

The following steps apply for sautéing tender foods, such as beans or onions.

  1. Grab your pan and begin heating it without any oil or food in it.
  2. Make sure your food is cut into relatively small pieces. Large pieces will take longer to saute, and have the potential of being under cooked.
  3. Add a little oil to the pan, just enough to coat it. Too much oil will impede the sautéing process.
  4. Add your food. You should hear a sizzle as the food contacts the oil.
  5. Stir the food occasionally, keeping an eye on the pan. Your food should not take more than 5-8 minutes to entirely sauté. Your food will have a light brown color around it.
  6. Carefully scoop out your food. You can put it on a paper towel if you want to soak out any excess oil.

Tips For You:

  • Do not use olive oil to sauté. It has a low smoke point and will backfire on you.
  • Sautéing works best on tender foods, since this preparation method locks in flavors and moisture.

Some Links To Help With Preparation: