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Jan 15, 2012 11:11 AM

Any tips to minimize stovetop mess when cooking and frying?

I love my stainless steel Wolf cooktop, but it's a real PITA to clean. I keep the exhaust fan going when I fry, but it seems to have little impact on the mess I make when I cook. especially when I'm frying anything - even light pan searing makes a mess. And not just on the burner I'm using - the whole cooktop has to be cleaned, and it's not a simple matter. The iron grates are large and heavy. And I find if I don't clean up, the next time I cook the grease really bakes on and is that much harder to clean.

Here and there I use splatter shields, but it's usually when I first put the food in, even just chopped onions to be sauteed, that a big cleanup becomes inevitable.

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  1. I was going to suggest splatter shield but you already mention them. The only thing I can suggest, is when you put food in the pan, take it off the stove. I get my pan smoking hot, and then when i add something I usually hold the pan over the sink so that the splatter is contained over the sink. I have a glass top so its easy to clean, but I hate when oil splatters on the element and cakes on and smokes so I always take the pan off the heat.

    You could try cleaning with a brush, or at work I clean the mess right away and that helps, maybe a rag and a pair of tongs or something like that might help. You could lower the heat a little and see if that helps, or use a non-stick or something and try using less oil so there is less splatter.

    In japan my girlfriend's mom uses a brush to thinly coat the pan rather then have a pool of oil, if its mostly oil splatter this might help as well.

    Sometimes I'll also put the food in the pan and right away stick the splatter guard overtop and that way after a couple minutes when the pan is happier i can remove it and not have had much splatter.

    3 Replies
    1. re: TeRReT

      "I get my pan smoking hot, and then when i add something I usually hold the pan over the sink so that the splatter is contained over the sink. "

      I also get my pan smoking hot, but I don't move my pan over the sink because I am scared. :P

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        the fear of spattering oil outweighs the fear of my girlfriend or mother's wrath were i to create a mess on the stove :P

        btw, when my girlfriend starts reading chowhound and connecting my username with me, I will be even more scared :P

        1. re: TeRReT

          Time to retire this name, and use another one.

          I don't know if they will associate your CHOWHOUND name with your real person, but you should be more careful about that photo icon. She may recognize that that is the knife she bought you, and the wood background (wooden table?)..... it will really add up fast.

          Please consider putting up some random pictures of insects and rocks as your icon photo. :)

    2. Dry food shouldn't splatter much. Unless it's something inherently moist, be sure the food is as dry as possible before putting in the hot oil.
      When I wash veggies, I dry them off, then dice. Any water clinging to the surface will cause splatter.
      I also make sure I use a pan big enough for the job.

      1. I hate frying, just for that reason. When I'm in the mood, I will put strips of tinfoil to cover the front, side and griddle areas. Looks silly, but it works.

        I haven't done this, but you might be able to take off the grate, put in a large foil, cut/tear around the flame/aerator (whatever that thing is called where the flame comes out) and then put your grate back down over the foil--kind of a bib for the burner.

        3 Replies
        1. re: teresakendrick

          I do something similar--paper towels over the unused burners and adjacent counter areas. Makes a mess even with a splatter screen. Still is a clean up mess.

          1. re: pine time

            I'm think I'm leaning towards doing just that - covering the other grates with sheets of aluminum foil, though it seems so wasteful. I'm uneasy about using paper towels because here and there I've had paper towels too close to the stove and they caught fire, and then I had to yell at the culprit that left them there. I'd really have no one to blame if I purposely put the paper towels there myself.

            1. re: helou

              If you use heavy duty foil, you could probably remove it and fold it up to reuse a couple of times. I only bring out the foil if I know I'm going to fry something that's really going to splatter and/or I have company coming! I'm afraid I'd burn down the kitchen if I tried paper or cloth towels.

              I have a huge box of foil squares that work great for this.

        2. Use a deeper pan (e.g. a smallish cast-iron pot) along with a splatter shield. Frying is inherently messy, but that should contain most of the splatter.

          1. I sear in my dutch oven, the high sides reduce splattering. As for deep frying, I use an electric one where the food is enclosed.