Lesson 16: How to Saute

Sautéing is probably the most widely referenced, but improperly labeled cooking technique. When people say that something is sautéed, they actually mean that it has been pan fried or stir fried. But the common phrase that people understand is to refer to this food item as having been sautéed. By definition, a sauté is where you have a thinly sliced item that you cook in a sauté pan with a minimal amount of oil over medium-high to high heat and you flip the item no more than twice. If you add additional oil to the pan, you are now pan frying. If you do not add additional oil, but jostle and move the ingredients rapidly and often, you are stir frying. Sound confusing? It really isn’t.

Let’s use a pork chop as an example. To properly sauté a pork chop, you add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large sauté pan. Bring it to a medium-high heat. When the pan is heated, place the pork chop into the oil on the pan and allow to cook until 50% finished. At this point, you flip the pork chop and allow it to finish cooking on the other side. This produces a large amount of browning on the pork chop, because the surface of the meat will be exposed to the heat source (dry, direct heat). This creates a large amount of the savory browning compound found in the Maillard reaction. This is what defines and is desired in sautéing.

But, we are new cooks. So we will not be cooking at a high heat, because we will burn everything! Remember what I taught you earlier? You can obtain the same results at a lower heat as at a high heat. It simply takes a little longer. Inside of our practice recipes, I will teach you the intricacies of the sauté technique.

Equipment Needed for Sauté Practice Recipes:
chef’s knife
butter knife
cutting board
large mixing bowl
medium mixing bowl
measuring cups
measuring spoons
large whisk
large high-sided sauté pan
medium sauté pan
high heat spatula
high heat flipper
metal tongs

Saute Recipes:

Adult Grilled Cheese



Classic Denver Omelet

Potato Omelet

Spinach and Feta Omelet


Uncle Lee’s Pork Chops