Tossing food in a skillet is an efficient way to mix and move food.

How do you do a pan flip? Explanation in steps

Credits: serious eats

How do you flip food in a pan? Throwing food.

In our eyes there are two ways to do things in life: you can do something well or you can do it well and with great style! Let's take the World Cup as an example: You can do something well, like Germany's technical skills, or you can do it well and with a lot of style, like Brazil, they not only play the game, but they do it in a beautiful way with many highlights.

We assume that none of us strives to do things badly or halfheartedly.

It's not about one way being automatically better than the other - on any given day, each of these teams has a chance to beat the other. They are just two different ways of approaching a task, one purely technical, the other with a bit of style and flair.

Learning how to flip and toss food in a sauté pan or skillet is a similar thing. In most cases, it's not an essential cooking skill, as there's always an equally good but less spectacular way to perform it (like stirring or using your spatula). And frankly, even in trained hands, there's a risk that throwing food into a skillet could end up with a little mess. It's like juggling - you can get really good at it, but that doesn't mean you'll never drop a ball.

"It's an incredibly fast and efficient way to mix and work food in the pan, with just a few quick throws that have the same effect as prolonged stirring."

What can you flip?

Before we get into the how, the first question is what food to toss. I know many people like to flip pancakes, frittatas and omelets in the skillet. Such upheavals - successfully executed - are quite impressive. But we don't recommend it. For one, it's far too easy to flip them too hard or too soft causing them to fall on themselves in sad, broken heaps. Second, because each of these dishes is large in relation to the size of the pan, they are much more likely to miss their target partially or completely on their way down (imagine somersaults on a huge trampoline; imagine than doing the same somersaults on a small trampoline - which one would you find safer?). Third, even when you spin and land successfully, they come down hard on their wet side, which all too often means a big old splashing belly flop.

Instead, we recommend flipping pancakes gently with a spatula; flip frittatas onto an upturned plate, then slide them back into the pan; and as for omelettes, they should not, at least according to the classical French technique, be turned at all, but rolled up in the pan while the top is still moist, and then carefully turned onto the plate.

What should you throw in the air? Personally, I like to toss small mixed ingredients when stir-frying and sautéing so they combine quickly and move around the pan. I also like to throw around foods like pasta in the sauce, and starchy dishes like risotto, although this can be a messier business at times, so try that carefully (and with an apron…).

How to Flip?

The first thing you need to know is that the base has to be right, a skillet with sloping sides. And absolutely not flat as often with cast iron pans. If you want to throw something in the air, it has to go up with a nice slanting ramp, and not like a car with full throttle against a crash barrier…

Let's use the example of ski jumping, the starting position is when the food is in the pan. The food is the ski jumper, the flat sides are the ski jump itself.

How to flip? Easily explained

Credits: serious eats

The first thing the ski jumper has to do is charge down towards the ramp. That's what you should do with the food. But first, it's always a good idea to stir the food with a spoon, spatula, or tongs to make sure everything slides into the pan and isn't stuck (kind of like when the skier flips over a few times). and slides again before making the jump). When you're sure the food is free to jump, give it a push down to the farthest slope of the pan.

Toss food into the pan

Credits: serious eats

Now our ski jump analogy ends, because if we stuck with that, you would shoot the food out of the pan and it would end up as far out of the pan as possible, and we don't want that. Instead, just as the food begins to shoot out of the pan, you need to lift the front of the pan and pull back a little to redirect the food's trajectory so that it shoots vertically upwards, or - even better - to back and slightly towards you. This should be a smooth and smooth movement.

How do you toss food?

Credits: serious eats

With the food in the air and (hopefully) still above the pan, you should then raise the skillet to catch any falling food.

Good flipping of a pancake

Credits: serious eats

Get it right and all the food will end up where it started, not on the floor. Once you've mastered this move, you can reverse it so that the forward movement in this last step of catching the food functions simultaneously with the forward (and downward) movement of the next launch.

Are you, by chance, still looking for good frying pans to flip perfectly with? We have selected the best for you!

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