Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm getting ready to heat up a pre-prepared meal (the ones that are kept in the freezer), and the instructions say to place in a pan and cook on high heat for three minutes.

When should the three minute timer start? As soon as I turn on the heat, or after the pan is nice and hot?

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you cook (or bake) using a timer, you should always use preheated equipment. Your stove top may differ from my stove top in terms of the length of time it would take to get to high heat (hell, my stove top wouldn't even hit high heat in three minutes), and this would greatly effect the final quality.

Always preheat, the instructions expect it. Otherwise, it would tell you to put a pan on the stove top, place in pan, and turn on to high heat. Leave for three minutes and remove.

share|improve this answer
Thanks: you answered my question as written, but just as a follow-up, the exact instructions are (step 1) place contents into a skillet. (step 2) Cook on high heat for three minutes. It seems weird to not mention the heating requirement before the placement requirement, which is what's tripping me up. Would you interpret these instructions the same way? – user4262 Jan 15 '11 at 3:16
@Mark : not all instructions are well written; unless it specifically says to place in a cold pan to start, assume you should pre-heat it first. If you have a cheap, thin pan it might not matter, but for cast iron, it'll be significantly different. – Joe Jan 15 '11 at 3:25
I agree with Joe 100%. – mrwienerdog Jan 15 '11 at 4:14

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.