How to Saute without Oil

Several of the recipes on this blog call for the no oil saute method. It’s very easy to do. And don’t worry– your food will not permanently weld itself to the pan if you follow these simple tips:

  • Use a saute pan that is about the size of, or slightly larger than, the burner. If the pan is much larger than the burner, heat will not be distributed evenly, and food will stick to the edges of the pan.
  • This technique works best for heartier fruits, vegetables, and starches like potatoes that can be peeled and cubed, foods that do well with an outer sear. Make sure that all the items you are sauteing are cut into even bite-size or smaller pieces.
  • If you test the pan, and the water quickly evaporates, or breaks up into smaller balls and then evaporates, the pan is not quite hot enough. Wipe the pan and continue to let it heat until ready.

You will need:

A saute pan
Water, for testing the pan
1/2 cup liquid to de-glaze the pan (water, wine, stock, non dairy milk, etc.)


  1. Over medium heat, heat a saute pan for approximately 10 minutes, testing for readiness starting at seven minutes by dripping a few droplets of water into a pan.  The water should bounce around the pan without evaporating. Here is an example:
  2. Place vegetables/ starches into the pan, ensuring that the pan is not overcrowded.
  3. Allow them to begin to caramelize.caramelization_mushrooms_biro
  4. Add 1/2 the liquid to deglaze the pan, and then toss the vegetable/starches to cook until done, turning if necessary. Add more liquid if necessary.

3 thoughts on “How to Saute without Oil

  1. […] Heat a dry saute pan to hot (approximately 10 minutes). To test for readiness, sprinkle the pan with a few droplets of water. If they form a ball, and roll around the pan, it is ready. See How to Saute without Oil […]


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