What is a Braising Pan?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
In the first step of braising, food is seared with fat and dry heat.
In the first step of braising, food is seared with fat and dry heat.

A braising pan is a cooking pan which is specifically designed for braising. If possible, try to handle the pan before you purchase it, to make sure that you are purchasing a high quality pan which will stand up to years of use. If this is not possible, order the pan through a reputable company which will allow you to return the pan if it is not satisfactory.

Chili is an example of braised food.
Chili is an example of braised food.

Braising is a two step process which results in extremely tender, flavorful food. In the first step, the food is seared with fat and dry heat. In the second stage, the food is partially covered in water and cooked at very low temperature for a long time. Braising is ideal for tough meats, since the slow cooking process gently breaks down the meat, making it more tender and allowing it to absorb the flavor of the dish.

An example of braised food includes beef stew.
An example of braised food includes beef stew.

Some examples of braised foods are coq au vin, chili, and beef stews. In all of these cases, the long, slow cooking of the dish is crucial, since it creates a rich, complex flavor and very tender meat. Braising is not generally suitable for meats which are already tender, and when used for vegetables, it can tend to make the vegetables fall apart entirely. Unless this is the intended goal, cooks may want to explore alternative cooking methods such as sauteeing.

Coq au vin is an example of a braised food.
Coq au vin is an example of a braised food.

Several things distinguish a braising pan from other pans. The first is a very solid, sturdy construction which allows the pan to withstand prolonged heating. Typically, the handle is made from an oven proof material, so that the braising pan can be used in recipes which call for oven use. A braising pan also has a snug fitting lid, which may be made from glass so that the cook can check on the food without disturbing the contents of the pan by lifting the lid.

Round steak is an ideal cut of beef for braising.
Round steak is an ideal cut of beef for braising.

Cast iron is an excellent material for braising pans, since it withstands searing and slow heating very well. Nonstick cookware may be acceptable in some cases, although it may not be oven safe, and cooks need to be careful about using fats and oils, as well as metal utensils. If a braising pan is going to be used in the oven, make sure that it does not contain any plastic components, although silicone cool grip handles are quite useful and oven safe.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

write79

Thanks for the tips! I'm pretty new to cooking and appreciate any help I can get. I honestly never thought of making sure a braising pan is oven-proof. I would have been so irritated if I had spent money on one that wasn't, and then needed to use it in the oven someday.

I'll be purchasing a braising pan while cookware shopping tomorrow. Now I know what to look for!

anon12580

can you use a glass pan as a braising pan?

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    • In the first step of braising, food is seared with fat and dry heat.
      In the first step of braising, food is seared with fat and dry heat.
    • Chili is an example of braised food.
      Chili is an example of braised food.
    • An example of braised food includes beef stew.
      An example of braised food includes beef stew.
    • Coq au vin is an example of a braised food.
      Coq au vin is an example of a braised food.
    • Round steak is an ideal cut of beef for braising.
      Round steak is an ideal cut of beef for braising.