Photo by Naotake MurayamaCreative Commons License.

Searing (or pan searing) is a technique used in grilling, baking, braising, roasting, sautéing, etc., in which the surface of the food (usually meat, poultry or fish) is cooked at high temperature until a caramelized crust forms (Wikipedia, nd).



Difficulty to learn: Medium

Some Thoughts For You:

If searing were a genre of music, it would be heavy metal. Intense heat combined with a short period of time creates an explosive sear on meat and vegetables alike.

People like to sear their meat in order to lock in flavor, add a nice crispy outside texture, and for the dark color. Although not essential when cooking meat, searing certainly is a positive preparation step to consider.

You can also sear other foods, such as brocoli or asparagus. By searing vegetables, you are obtaining a hearty crunch while retaining all of the precious moisture.

What You Will Need:

For searing meat and vegetables alike, a stainless steel or cast iron skillet is recommended. Try to avoid nonstick skillets since they will partially impede the searing process.

You will also need an oil for the searing process. Olive oil is recommended.

Basic Steps:

The following steps are for cooking steak, but can apply for most foods you want to sear. Always use proper hand protection when cooking with oils on high heat. 

  1. Prepare your meat as desired, making sure it is dry. Less moisture on the meat will help the searing process.
  2. Heat your pan to a high heat.
  3. Coat the surface of the pan with olive oil. A thin layer is more than enough.
  4. Add the meat to the pan.
  5. Let the meat sit for 1-2 minutes, without touching it. Seriously, letting it sit will improve the sear drastically.
  6. Flip your meat and repeat step 5 for the other side.
  7. If one side looks dry (or you smell a slight burning) immediately lower the heat and add more oil to the pan.
  8. Remove your seared meat from the pan and transfer it to the next stage of the cooking process.

Tips For You:

  • Searing is not essential to the preparation of meat! You can still have a tasty meal even without a sear.
  • Pouring a cup of wine or broth into the “fond” (remains in the pan from the sear) can create a tasty pan-drizzle for your meat.

Some Links To Help With Preparation: