Deglaze A Pan

Deglazing makes use of the rich brown bits that form at the bottom of a pan as foods are sauteed or roasted.

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Article by: Barbara Bowman

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So Why Deglaze A Pan?

During the process of sauteing or roasting meats or poultry, small browned bits form on the bottom of the pan.  The bits are very flavorful and when combined with wine (or other liquids) you can make a quick and flavorful pan sauce.  Adding a liquid to the pan dislodges the bits and allows them to dissolve and incorporate into a sauce or become part of the liquid that will be used for braising.

Deglazing With Wine

Wine is an excellent liquid to use for deglazing a pan because it adds some acidity and flavor.   Different wines will impact the dish in different ways.  This chart shows the effects of different wines.
 WineWine Types 

  Affect On Sauce

 Pairs With
Red winesBarolo, Rioja, Zinfandel, Shiraz Dark brownish-red saucesBeef, lamb or game
White winesMuscadet, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin BlancLight caramel colored sauceVeal, pork, poultry
Sweet WinesSauternes or a Sweet BordeauxAdds a sweetness that pairs well with pork Pork

Steps To Deglaze Pan To Create A Pan Sauce

  1. Once the meat has been sauteed remove it from the pan.
  2. Add any aromatics you may like including onion, garlic, shallot, carrot and/or celery or fresh herbs.
  3. Add the wine to the pan (about 1 cup)  and bring to a boil while scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spatula. Stir to blend the bits into the wine.
  4. Continue to cook the sauce for a couple of minutes until it begins to thicken slightly.
  5. Pour any accumulated juices from the warm plate back into the sauce.
  6. You may add butter at this point if you wish.  It will produce a silky sauce but can be left out if you prefer to reduce the fat in the sauce.
  7. Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings.

Other Deglazing Liquids

Other liquids can work well for deglazing a pan and adding flavor to a sauce.  Here are a few suggestions. 


BeerProduces a caramel-flavored sauce which works well for meats and poultry
Chicken StockChicken stock produces a light colored sauce and will benefit from the addition of fresh herbs or some sauteed shallot.
WaterYou can deglaze a pan with water but it won't add any flavor or acidty.
Apple juiceApple juice produces a sweet sauce that works well with pork

Deglazing Tips

  1. Avoid using non-stick pans because the surface actually deters the formation of those yummy browned bits.
  2. After removing the meat from the pan make sure to place in on a warmed plate and tent loosely with foil.
  3. Pour off any excess fat which can otherwise leave the sauce greasy.
  4. Deglaze the pan using a wire whisk which helps incorporate the liquid and can fit into the edges of the pan.
  5. To enhance the flavor reduce the sauce until thick.
  6. You can add a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream to add a rich texture.
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