I have a new gas cooktop and the lowest setting on the smallest burner still produces afast rolling boil rather that a very low simmer. How can I reduce the heat?

  • Does this happen all of the time after you turn down the flame? You could just remove the cookware for a few minutes then put it back on the low flame – Huangism Jan 19 '15 at 20:29
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    Turn the knob toward the off position and adjust carefully from that direction. – Optionparty Jan 19 '15 at 21:47

1. Simmer/Burner Plate

You can use a simmer plate or something to diffuse the heat. For example:

From the first link, a suggestion is to use a cast iron skillet as a heat diffuser. That should work in a pinch.

2. Adjust the Flame

Alternatively, some stoves allow you to adjust the flame level. I'm not a technician, so please do this at your own risk, read the manual, etc....

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    one can also try using a larger pot - the increased surface area makes it get rid of heat faster, thus it won't heat up as much as a smaller pot – user2813274 Jan 20 '15 at 1:07

Since this is a new gas range, I'd suggest that you have the supplier confirm that the correct size orifices are installed. Generally speaking, most gas ranges come with two or more sets of orifices: Propane and Natural gas. Not only do those have different BTU ratings per unit of gas, they also normally run different pressures. In North America, natural gas is usually at 7" water column pressure, Propane runs at 11" water column pressure. Propane also contains more energy than Natural gas, which exacerbates the problem if you are running from Propane with Natural Gas orifices installed.

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  • the pressures you mentioned are typical for residential indoor gas distribution. the actual pressure to the burner is normally regulated to a lower pressure. 3" for ng. Outdoor you may have over 60 psi. – hildred Jan 20 '15 at 1:00

This is a common problem for single cooks who cook in small portions. A burner produces a constant energy output, which will bring different amounts of food to different end temperatures.

You can consider cooking a larger batch of food at once. This will give you a simmer and lots of tasty leftovers. Many liquid foods such as soups also freeze well.

Of course this is not the right solution for every case, but it's worth taking into account.

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I'm surprised nobody has suggested turning up the heat until the burner is almost off. Just between being off and being at full is the smallest flame possible.

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  • Interesting. My initial reaction was to think that this wasn't possible on my stove. I tried to visualize it and I was convinced that the electric starter would continuously "zap" if left in such a position. I just went downstairs and tested it and you're right. You can get the flame lower than it is on the low setting. My Spidey senses are tingling though. It seems slightly unsafe. If the flame is very low it may blow out, allowing unlit gas to filter into your kitchen. Maybe I'm just paranoid. – Preston Feb 16 '15 at 19:59
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    @PrestonFitzgerald - it's not always unsafe. If you're there watching the food, you'll notice the stove going out quickly. Our stove at home will try to restart if it goes out while the gas flows, so there's loud clicking sounds if there's a problem, not if it is still burning. It also depends on the actual size of the flame - when you're picking a flame size, you nudge it pretty carefully till it looks stable, and the size you want is secondary. Sometimes you have to put up with a little bigger flame to make sure it's stable, the "minimum stable flame size" is actually a constant. – Megha Sep 22 '16 at 23:29

If you can't adjust or diffuse the heat enough, consider a separate electric cooktop. Single place electric burners are very common, inexpensive, and you may be able to adjust the heat output better. Look into induction cooktops when you do, you might be surprised at the control you have over your cooking with one of these.

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I wanted to comment on another answer, but I don't have enough reputation.

On my stove, I am able to achieve a lower output towards the "off" position, than in the lowest output position.

The risk is that the flame may go out, especially if it is windy. This could essentially fill the room with unburned gas and be an explosion risk. But that is why most stoves have a thermocouple. If your stove has a thermocouple, it should be safe to use this method, since it would turn off the gas supply if there isn't any flame.

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