Cooking With a Cold Pan—and Cold Oil or Butter
Why it’s bad: If the oil isn’t hot enough, those sautéed vegetables will adhere to the pan like glue, giving you a tough scrubbing job later on. A hot pan and oil bond to create a surface that’s virtually nonstick. (Want more incentive to preheat your skillet? See mistake No. 10.)
Do this instead: Heat an empty pan for at least 1 or 2 minutes. The pan is ready when you can hold your hand about 3 inches above it and feel the heat radiating from the surface. Then add the fat. Oil will shimmer when it’s hot; butter should melt and foam. One exception: If you’re using a nonstick pan to brown delicate foods, add the oil or butter before turning on the heat, since some nonstick pans release fumes when they’re heated up empty for an extended period.