Photo by AndyCreative Commons License.

Simmering is when you heat a liquid at just below boiling temperature. This is trickier than boiling, since you need to constantly monitor the temperature of the water to prevent boiling from occurring. Simmering allows for gentler and slower cooking of foods.


Difficulty to learn: Medium

Some Thoughts For You:

Simmering occurs between the temperatures of 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit. This is slightly lower than the boiling point of a liquid, which is around 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

So why simmer your food and not boil it? Boiling is best for when the cooking needs to be completed quickly. All the components of the pot are churned around, and it is not the best idea to boil any liquid for long periods of time due to evaporation of the liquids. Simmering is a slightly gentler way to heat your liquids.

Simmering is best for recipes involving proteins or broths. Tough and fibrous vegetables should be simmered rather than boiled so that they, over time, can become a little more tender.

What You Will Need:

You will need a basic pot to heat your liquids in. It should be compatible with your stove type.

Gauging the exact temperature of the liquid is a little difficult to do. You can consider investing in a food thermometer for more precise temperature monitoring.

You will also need some sort of stirring tool to mix your liquid. Wooden spoons usually work best, and will not retain heat.

Basic Steps:

The following steps apply for simmering most liquids on a gas stove top. They can be applied generally to most stove tops and heat sources though.

  1. Place your pot of liquid on the stove top and begin to heat it. If you have a thermometer, watch for the 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit range. Otherwise, watch for when a few bubbles break the surface of the liquid every second. If there are frantic bubbles, you are likely boiling the liquid and the heat should be reduced.
  2. Keep stirring the liquid often, and stay by it to monitor the temperature. Boiling could lead to the evaporation of your liquid!
  3. The length of your simmer depends on the recipe. Do not leave your food unattended for long periods of time!

Tips For You:

  • Consider covering the top of your pot during simmering to retain all of your liquids!

Some Links To Help With Preparation: