Often, recipes require you to brown meat or pan sear meat. When working with large amounts, how do you prevent any of the bits that stick from burning?

A practical example: I marinaded chicken breast fillets with Chinese five spice. Whilest pan frying on a cast iron, pieces of chicken got stuck. Since I had to cook in multiple batches the pieces that got stuck eventually got burnt and ruined any possibility of using the fond (of course, you probably wouldn't use this fond, but this happens with beef too).

I want the cast iron to be hot for a nice browning but raising the temperature inevitably makes any stuck pieces of chicken burn even faster. Oil helps to a point but I don't want to use too much. Cleaning the cast iron becomes a pain because now there's charred patches that are rather hard to properly make out on the black surface. Any ideas?

  • What do you mean by " Oil helps to a point but I don't want to use too much"? There are people who try to fry in cast iron with zero oil, and that is guaranteed to stick, at least for meat. Or did you simply mean that you use a thin layer of oil?
    – rumtscho
    Nov 14, 2019 at 17:57
  • @rumtscho I'm not against using oil or anything, I just meant adding more oil brings diminishing returns. So yes, I do use a layer of oil, and I top it up as I cook.
    – user975989
    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:08

3 Answers 3


Using slightly lower heat helps, but if you have several batches to do, mostly it's best to scrape/wipe out the pan between batches. I would not use cast iron in this case, as you point out, it is difficult to clean quickly. The fond can be scraped onto a plate and used at the end, alternately, the fond from the last batch can be used.


Add vinegar and use a spatula to scrape. Then, trow it away in a sink and carefully use a paper towel to remove excesss.

  • Between each batch?
    – user975989
    Nov 14, 2019 at 1:51
  • @user975989 Yes, every time when you see that the pan or the remainings is starting to burn.
    – Croves
    Nov 14, 2019 at 12:37

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I find that when I'm searing anything in batches to avoid using cast iron as things tend to stick (unless the cast iron is "seasoned" and thus super non-stick!). I'll either use non-stick, or if I want to use the fond (for a soup or braise, etc.) I'll use an enameled cast iron dutch oven. If things get burn-y, the slicker surfaces are easier to wipe out too!

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