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When a recipe says "bring to a simmer", what amount of heat should one use?

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Sometimes the recipe says bring to a simmer, while the pot is over very low heat. It seems like it would take a very long time to come to a simmer over this heat, if ever. Does liquid always come to a simmer eventually, no matter what amount of heat it is over? Or can you crank it up, bring it to a simmer, and then return it to its original level of heat? If it isn't over heat and the recipe says "bring to a simmer" should you use high heat, or medium heat?

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  1. You can crank up the heat for sure until you see those little bubbles just forming. That's a simmer. But you need to remove the pot from the heat so as not to end up with a 'boil'. Once you get the simmer turn down the heat and put the pot back on. For me I know what stove setting on which burners give me a simmer. So I just turn the burner to say #3 and I'll have a simmer soon. Depends on whether I use a lid also. Do some 'science' experiments in your kitchen and record your results and you'll soon have things like this down pat.