What Is Deglazing and How Do I Do It?

When you’re watching a cooking show and someone says they’re deglazing a pan, it can sound like a really fancy term for what is essentially a really simple cooking technique. It might sound like something one needs to go to culinary school to learn to do, but it’s something you’ve probably already done several times while cooking.

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So, What Is Deglazing?

Deglazing is essentially adding liquid to a hot pan, which ensures that all the caramelised bits of food stuck to the bottom of your pan get released. Whether you’ve been browning or searing meat, caramelising onions, or sauteing vegetables, you’ll find browned bits stuck to the bottom of your pan. Those bits, also called the fond, have a lot of flavour that add a lot of complexity and body to your dish, so you should never just scrape them off and throw them. Deglazing a pan means adding a liquid, like stock or wine, to loosen the fond. The mixture you get from mixing the liquid with the fond can be used to make a sauce or gravy. 

How Do I Deglaze a Pan?

First, check your pan or skillet for any burnt or blackened bits, and remove those. If there’s any fat left over from your meat, pour out most of it. Pour about 1 cup of liquid into your pan. You can use wine, cooking sherry, vinegar, stock, juice or even beer for this. As the liquid begins to sizzle, use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan and loosen the fond. Let the liquid continue to simmer till it comes to a boil, all the while scraping the bottom to ensure there’s no fond left on the pan. Once it comes to a boil, let this liquid simmer till it’s reduced by half and then make a pan sauce or gravy.