Hot pan, cold water

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My mother always said not to pour cold water into a hot pan. But I do this all the be time. Once I finish cooking something in a pan, nonstick or otherwise, I immediately hit it with water and soap and let it soak before I scrub it. Does this ruin the pan?
 
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It can cause warping in some pans and cracking in cast iron. I often add just a little water to a pan to loosen solids and then set aside to cool.
 
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My mother always said not to pour cold water into a hot pan. But I do this all the be time. Once I finish cooking something in a pan, nonstick or otherwise, I immediately hit it with water and soap and let it soak before I scrub it. Does this ruin the pan?
Pans made of steel or aluminum tend to bend a lot while suffering that kind of changes in their temperature or as jimyra said, cast iron breaks. Follow Pat Pat's advice, adding just a bit of water to scrub all the burnt parts, this technique is called "deglazing", you can use it for the cleansing of the pan or building a nice pan sauce with the burnt bits that are called "fond". I hope this helps you out.
 
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So deglazing is bad?
I did not say that, deglazing consists in adding a small amount of liquid (usually alcohol) to build a pan sauce. For cleansing purposes I deglaze with water with the flame still on but on low heat.

What is bad for the pan is dropping the pan's temperature as low as room temperature from the high temperature it had before, which will result probably on the bending of the pan itself in the case of aluminum and steel pans; cast iron would break. You do this when you take the pan immediately from the stove and put it through the running water.

Deglazing doesn't represent bending or cracking the pan, since the small amount of liquid wouldn't be enough to drop the pan's temperature, the liquid after all consumes in the heat.

I hope this clears it up for you.
 
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My mother always said not to pour cold water into a hot pan. But I do this all the be time. Once I finish cooking something in a pan, nonstick or otherwise, I immediately hit it with water and soap and let it soak before I scrub it. Does this ruin the pan?
It all depends on the pan. If you are talking about single construction pans such as solid steel or aluminum, no, it will not likely ruin the pan as in render it useless. But, it can warp the pan and cause it to not sit flush on a flat cooking surface which will, in turn, damage the pans heat conductivity.

As for pans with more complex construction such as multi ply pans, pans with copper/aluminum cores or tin/steel lined pans, dousing them with cold water can cause the bonded metal to pull away from the pan and ruin it. In the case of steel lined copper pans, once the steel pulls away from the copper, the pan is useless. Tin lined copper, however, can be repaired by re-tinning the pan or if warped, hammering it back into shape by someone who knows what they are doing. In the case of pans with cores, once the core is damaged, the pan is done.

If you want to remove the bits from your pan before washing, let the pan cool and then add some water and bring it back up to temperature. If you don't have the time, add boiling water to the hot pan. Otherwise, let the pan cook and use some good old fashioned elbow grease to scrub it clean.

:)
 

phatch

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Keep telling yourself that (addressed to DK not sgs)

You add enough liquid so it doesn't all boil away meaning you're lowering the temp below boiling. Same as if you added somewhat more liquid yes?

Is it about how far below boiling you take it?

How fast you take it there?

The explanations so far are lacking. Particularly as you deglaze over heat usually.
 

pete

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Keep telling yourself that (addressed to DK not sgs)

You add enough liquid so it doesn't all boil away meaning you're lowering the temp below boiling. Same as if you added somewhat more liquid yes?

Is it about how far below boiling you take it?

How fast you take it there?

The explanations so far are lacking. Particularly as you deglaze over heat usually.
If you don't think your pan is still screaming hot right after you add the liquid to deglaze, then I challenge you to grab on to the edges with your bare hand, or touch the bottom of the pan. But yes, even deglazing a pan will start to warp a pan. Even though it is minor, and might even spring back slightly, over time it takes its toll on a pan. That's one of the reasons restaurants regularly have to replace their pans. But even the constant use, over high heat alone will take it's toll on the flatness of a pan. But back to deglazing; deglazing only really lowers the temperature of bottom of the pan and not even that significantly-again deglaze your pan and place your hand on the outside bottom of the pan and see how much it was affected. It doesn't really affect the sides of the pan at all. Now take that screaming hot pan and quickly immerse it in cold water. The whole pan is going to suddenly contract, but due to imperfections in the material and thickness it's not all going to contract at the same time, or by the same amount, thus causing warping. Again, each time might not be that significant, but over time, and doing it repeatedly the warp will become noticeable and eventually make the pan unusable.
 
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I've heard that and seen people do both of adding screaming hot pans to water and to let them cool first. Personally I've never seen a pan crack or warp from adding a liquid to it when it was hot. Generally recipes that call for deglazing don't tell you to bring the liquid to temp before hand. I ran a saute line for many years and the majority of the time the pans were losing their shape due to being thrown into bus pans and thrown around and falling from stacks rather than temperature fluctuations. But I guess if you are cooking at home with nice pans and don't need to cool them off instantly then let them cool slightly on the counter or stove before adding water to soak. (FYI I have a 12 All-clad pan that I use almost everyday at home and end up cooling it off most of the time after using with water because my little kids are tall enough to get near the stove and sink now and have seen no evidence of warping or cracking if this helps.)
 

nicko

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Honestly I think it depends on how hot your pan is. If it is scalding hot then no don't put cold water in it for all of the reasons already mentioned. In terms of deglazing often your pan is not that crazy hot and the wine is warm/room temp so I think that heat change is minimal.
 
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Like Nicko says, it all depends on how hot the pan is. If it’s been in the oven @450 for 45 mins and you throw the whole pan/pot in a sink of cold water, it will warp. I’ve seen this happen with many pots and pans, the ones with “sandwich bottoms” tend to fare better.

Aluminum will warp faster than the USS Enterprise, so will carbon steel. Gawd knows how many cheap pots and pans I’ve re-flattened or re-peened the rivets on, using a meat hammer and a cement filled parking post as an anvil.
 
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cold water + hot pan = bad idea. The structure of the material is impacted. it can lead to warping of the pan or in case of teflon pan - to breaking the surface and particles of teflon get to your food - which is bad of course.
When deglazing: after all you use just a little amount of liquid which is usually in room temperature, so there is no or little temperature decrease shock.
 
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I have never used "cold" liquid to deglaze, nor have I used to much liquid that I felt I would thermal shock a pan. Is this a method I'm not familiar with?

I have, however, shattered a cheap cast iron pan by running cold tap water in it right after blackening some fish (stupid, and one of those "duh" moments). Coincidentally, I have also (my wife actually) exploded a rectangular cast iron grill pan/skillet on an induction range. I figured we (she) set it on high & the induction heated it up too fast...within seconds. My thoughts are that any moisture in the pan didn't have time to steam off & spontaneously exploded. Half the pan literally flew about five feet across the kitchen. It was amazing.
 
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I have never used "cold" liquid to deglaze, nor have I used to much liquid that I felt I would thermal shock a pan. Is this a method I'm not familiar with?

I have, however, shattered a cheap cast iron pan by running cold tap water in it right after blackening some fish (stupid, and one of those "duh" moments). Coincidentally, I have also (my wife actually) exploded a rectangular cast iron grill pan/skillet on an induction range. I figured we (she) set it on high & the induction heated it up too fast...within seconds. My thoughts are that any moisture in the pan didn't have time to steam off & spontaneously exploded. Half the pan literally flew about five feet across the kitchen. It was amazing.

The cast iron must react different that say a layered stainless steel or something.
 
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