How to Deglaze a Pan

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That dark brown, caramelized meat stuck to the bottom of a pan after frying or baking is called "fond" in the classical kitchen, and it's full of rich flavor. It contains the same savory flavor compounds that make browned meats taste so good, and provides the basis for amazing sauces and gravies. Deglazing your pan to dissolve the intensely flavored fond is a powerful way to add flavor to your meal.

How to Deglaze a Pan
(Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Heatproof dish
  • Pan with caramelized meat residue
  • Wooden spoon
  • Deglazing liquid
Step 1

Remove the meat from the pan, and pour away any free-flowing fat into a heatproof dish. Some will remain, but this will have minimal effect on your finished sauce.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media
Step 2

Return your pan to the burner, on a high setting, and immediately add your deglazing liquid. If you aren't working from a specific recipe you can simply add vegetable or meat stock, wine, spirits, cola, clear sodas, fruit juices or even plain water. You can be as conservative or creative as you like.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media
Step 3

Stir the fond and deglazing liquid together over high heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the browned-on juices from the bottom of the pan. By the time it comes to a full boil, most or all of it should be freed.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media
Step 4

Stir the sauce vigorously to dissolve the fond into the liquid, intensifying its color and flavor. For a finished, professional appearance, you might opt to strain the juices through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any visible flecks from the sauce.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media
Step 5

Thicken the sauce if desired, with a starch-based thickener or simply by reducing the liquid until it thickens on its own. Chefs "mount" the sauce with a small quantity of cold butter, whisking it into the hot juices to temporarily thicken the sauce.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media
Step 6

Serve the sauce separately in a gravy boat, or spoon it restaurant-fashion directly over the finished entree.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

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