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Do you do the pan flip?

No, not a new dance. :)

You know, when one flips the contents of a pan of sauteing vegetables the way the pros do. Or adds pasta to a pan sauce and flips the pan so that the pasta and sauce mix perfectly.

I recently mastered this in the last couple of months and I think it makes a huge difference. With a spoon or other utensil, the contents of the pan just move around. But with the flip, the contents from underneath wind up on top and vice versa with just a few quick jerks of the wrist. It is especially useful with pasta. I love it!

So, do you do the pan flip?

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  1. Only for the last 30 years or so.


    1. 1. put a bunch of dry beans in a skillet
      2. sit in front of TV flipping your beans for a couple of hours
      3. ??????????????
      4. Profit


      Its an essential skill and is super easy to learn in a day. Everyone should try to learn this one.

      1. No, I'm not that adept to try it. When I make a frittata, I start it on our ceramic cooktop and then finish it under the broiler, thus avoiding the pan flip. The flip would be difficult because I use an old-fashioned cast iron skillet. IT'S HEAVY!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: ChiliDude

          The isn't what the Op is referring to.

        2. I love the pan flip, especially when I'm making sautéed vegetables (don't make much pasta, so I haven't really blended my pasta that way).

          Word of advice, though: if you accidentally add more oil than you usually do, and you do the pan flip, you might end up burning yourself with hot oil. Ouch.

          1. Sure, but think of it as the 'pan yank'

            1 Reply
            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

              Yep, it's more of a yank than a flip. I don't flip my cast iron, because I don't want to scratch my stove top (it's recommended that I don't even use cast iron - I know, it's terrible, but I don't have gas, so I am stuck with an electric stove, and I am just careful).....

            2. Flipping with a pan is to save, what, 5-seconds that it takes to use a spatula? I tried it a few times, and I use the spatula to save the 5-minutes of cleaning up the mess. ;-)

              6 Replies
              1. re: Antilope

                "Flipping with a pan is to save, what, 5-seconds that it takes to use a spatula? I tried it a few times, and I use the spatula to save the 5-minutes of cleaning up the mess. ;-)"

                Like I said in my original post, when you use a spoon or a spatula, you are really just moving the contents around. When you flip, you are literally taking what was once underneath and bringing it to the top, and vice versa. It is most noticeable when you add pasta to a sauce. You can never accomplish this with just a spoon or a spatula. It really has nothing to do with time saved and everything to do with getting a thorough mix of ingredients.

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  If you stir with a spatula yes, you are just moving things around. If you flip with the spatula, you are turning it over just as effectively as if you pan-flip, maybe more. Pancakes, fried eggs? Hand me the spatula. Cubes of potato? The pan-flip, since it turns over many pieces at one. Not all, though - the spatula is needed to turn the stragglers.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    "Pancakes, fried eggs?"

                    The method I am talking about is not used for these items. Pancakes and fried eggs need to be completely lifted and turned over. The pan flip, or the "yank" as others have called it, would not do this.

                    1. re: ttoommyy

                      'Pancakes and fried eggs need to be completely lifted and turned over."
                      No they don't, I flip my fried eggs every morning (all most) with no help from a spatula, the same goes for a pancake if you are cooking one at a time.

                  2. re: ttoommyy

                    Sure you can accomplish it with a spoon or spatula where you take what is on the bottom a put it on top. Might not look so impressive, but believe me it can be done. My wrist can handle a heavy pan as well so I've learned to adapt my techniques. (Now rolling an omlette that's a technique where it's hard to duplicate the wrist action.)

                  3. Yes, I flip. But I'm not very good at it.

                    1. Not with a Cast iron pan here....but even with a light weight pan - everything was all over the stove....

                      1. I flip but because it is fun and I wanted to be able to do it. The job can get done without it. Once you can do it, it is a convenience.

                        I learned by using uncooked rice. I practiced on the patio until I didn't have to sweep rice up anymore. Hint: Just in case somebody doesn't know, you have to use the right shaped pan with a nice curve on the edge, typically a skillet or a frypan like this one http://www.amazon.com/All-Clad-5112-S... It won't work with a straight edged pan.

                        1. I do sometimes, but I cheat. I bought that 'flip pan' a few years ago when it was 'all the rage'. It works well, I do some great flips, and ended up wearing it a couple of times!! I can flip in a med sized iron skillet, esp for hashbrowns, which I am staying away from on my low carb menu. It is really hard to stay away from them with fresh eggs, but they won't get me to where I want to be weightwise.

                          1. When I go to people's homes and cook dinner for us, I actually get an audience when I do this. I am amazed at the number of people who can't do this. But as has been pointed out, you need the correct shape. I take my own gear with me unless I have done a recon of their equipment. And I always take my own knives.

                            I learned with an All-Clad 10 inch after seeing Julia Child do it on TV. Took about 3 omelets.

                            1. I have always wanted to learn to do this....mostly to show off. lol. Other than practicing outside & using dried beans and a skillet with sloped sides--what tips can you flippers give me? I assume that it is "all in the wrist". Walk me through it please. And are there certain types of foods that you wouldn't do this with?

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: sparkareno

                                I do, but then I clean the cooktop, too ;-)

                                1. re: sparkareno

                                  I only do it with a half pan or less when sauteing vegetables, toasting nuts or mixing pasta with sauce. I've done the omelet flip a time or two but hardly ever make omelets so I'm no pro at that.

                                  Yes, it is all in the wrist. You have to not be afraid to follow through once you initiate the "yank." Aborting the action in mid yank is where people go wrong and get frustrated. And make a mess.

                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                    I will work up the nerve to commit to the yank once begun. But what is the step by step procedure? I guess I can check out youtube--surely someone has posted lessons.

                                    1. re: sparkareno

                                      I think you tube is your best bet. I couldn't begin to write down the steps nor do I think you would benefit from just reading them.

                                      1. re: sparkareno

                                        Use something that will not stick while cooking. That is why I made herb omelets. Plenty of butter in the pan. No sticky cheese. Do not expect a perfect fold in half. Thirds are far easier.

                                        Then cheap non-sticky veggies. Nothing with starch. Use celery or cabbage. Graduate with pasta and scant sauce. Yes, you will probably make a mess. After doing it for 40 years, I forgot to drain the extra oil, did the flip with a wok, and have a nice burn on my arm. The food stayed in the wok.

                                        Get messy, have fun.

                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                            Thank you for linking to that video! He explains and demonstrates it so clearly.

                                            1. re: ecclescake

                                              So... are you going to get some rice in a pan and try it? It only takes one or two 20 minute practice sessions.

                                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                I certainly intend to! I've managed to learn how to flip crêpes so this is the logical next step.

                                      2. re: sparkareno

                                        In many instances, you do not need to lift the pan to flip the contents. With the pan remaining on the stove, turn the handle so it points at your navel. In a very rapid, smooth motion, slide the pan forward a few inches, toward the back of the stove, then without pausing, yank the handle back toward you. Practice this with dry beans or whatever, on a tabletop. You can flip small pieces of food with this method - for the larger ones you need to hold the pan in the air to flip. When doing the latter, tilt the pan so the rim that is farthest from your hand is tilted downward, then rotate your wrist upward a bit as you flip, so that you are tossing the contents in a parabola aiming back toward you, and catching them in the pan. Your arm moves forward, then back in a smooth, rapid motion.

                                        1. re: sparkareno

                                          I flip when I want to keep the food moving in the pan. Of course, that has to be tembered with how much liquid is in there, too. I tried to flip to turn over an omelet. What a mess. So my flipping days are limited to impressing myself and quick sautees. I'll leave the more aggressive flipping to the young and those who have stock in paper towel companies.

                                        2. I do not.

                                          Why would I want my food on the floor? :)

                                          1. I flipped my potatoes/onion/garlic last night and then my fried eggs this morning. However, 2/3rds of the time I flip my contents with a spatula. I mostly flip just to avoid having to clean a spatula - so I'm a lazy flipper. Often times the trick is knowing what you can and can't flip and when - such as lots of grease, something that is yet too runny, etc...