Stop Your Saucepans Sticking With A Heat Diffuser
It’s never so much having to clean the burned bits off pans is it? Oh no, it’s the wrecked meal which if you’re careful you can still serve from the top half of the pan – which is why I’m so starstruck with my new cooktop diffuser!
How to stop saucepans burning and sticking to slow cooked or starchy food – or sausages which burn as you look at them – is a pretty common problem with an easy and inexpensive solution.
Even with top quality pans which have a very thick base, when you cook rice or maybe a thick stew there is a tendency for food to stick on the bottom then burn.
A really good cooker helps, but even then there are times you can’t get the heat quite low enough, without it going right off. Short of constant stirring and attention, once the process has started, it won’t stop – jam is the worst even in a Maslin pan.
This usually means the food has reached a point where there isn’t enough liquid left to prevent it sticking then burning – but sometimes that’s exactly what you want, without it burning!
The best way I’ve found is very old fashioned though with a modern twist. Simmer sheets or a cooktop diffuser will spread the hot spots and protect the bottom of the pan, effectively giving you a lower heat setting on the stove top. You’ll find a good many to choose from and all come in between $10-$20 – you don’t need to spend more.
Other than making sure you get one compatible with your stove top, the problem of your lovingly prepared and cooked meal burning in the final stages, is pretty much gone – except for jam! The best sellers are detailed below, giving you which you can use on gas, electric and halogen ceramic hobs – do watch the cheaper tin ones, they rust easily if you don’t dry after washing.
The Norpro 144 Heat Diffuser
One point to make with the Norpro heat diffuser and others of this type, is that they are made of tin – the instructions are not to put them in the dishwasher.
You know those brown rust spots? That’s the problem with them, so hand wash in soapy water and it will last you for years.
If it begins to get brown, soak in very hot water with washing liquid, then give it a scrub and dry carefully to stop it rusting, but to be honest I don’t bother – who sees them anyway?
The Norpro is certainly cheap enough, but not in my opinion the best buy for lasting and looking good.
Nordic Ware – Made in the US
However – not suitable for ceramic hobs – this is not flat underneath. If you want one suited to a halogen or other induction hob, checkout the saucepan heat diffuser below – its the one I use on my halogen hob and can recommend for them.
The Cooktop Diffuser For Ceramic Hobs
Most of the other cooktop diffusers can’t be used on an induction hob, so this is the boy for you. Even if you don’t have ceramic to contend with, the fact that this babe can go in the dishwasher along with the pot it protects is a winner in my book, sorry but I just hate anything not easy to clean!
Though these are a very old fashioned and simple solution, they work. Mom tells me my grandmother used a piece of cut and hammered copper gramps made for her – clever people our ancestors.
Want to check prices on these and other models? The link below will take you to a selection of the best selling and most popular heat diffusers available at Amazon, including those featured above.
Often it’s the simplest ideas which make the most difference, my other favorite time saver is a Spill Stopper which stops pans boiling over – absolutely invaluable when you’re cooking pasta or simmering vegetables, because you can walk away without coming back to a flood. I think granny used a spoon across the top – these are easier!
There’s more about Spill Stoppers and a bunch of other really useful and fun kitchen gadgets here.