To use a liquid to dissolve food particles and caramelized pan drippings after cooking something else, usually via searing, roasting, or sauteing. The liquid allows the caramelized bits stuck to the pan, referred to as the “fond” to release, adding flavor to sauces, etc.

How to deglaze (a pan)

Turn the heat to high. Remove the previously-cooked items from the pan if they are at risk of burning (often the case with meats). Pour in your deglazing liquid – enough to cover the bottom of the pan by at least 1/4 inch. It will boil rapidly. Use a spoon, spatula, or whisk to scrape the fond off the bottom of the pan. Let the liquid reduce, usually stirring, which will concentrate the flavors and cook off the alcohol if your liquid contained any.

Fats and deglazing

The fat remaining in the pan after the previous cooking operation is an important consideration when deglazing. If there is a significant amount of fat left in the pan, it will prevent good deglazing, and make an unappealing mess. There are two options: make a roux, or defat the pan.

If you want to make gravy, make a roux. If you want to create au jus, or a similar pan sauce, defat the pan.

Deglazing liquids

You can choose from many liquids to deglaze a pan. Any low fat (aka, water-like) liquid will work. Choose one that will bring the flavor you want to your sauce or gravy. The most common options do not burn with high heat, though milk is a common choice for country-style gravy (as in sausage gravy for biscuits and gravy 🙂 )

Common Deglazing liquids:

  • Stock
  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Bourbon
  • Water (but it doesn’t add any flavor…)