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When I'm going to boil something, I'll set the water to boil while I prepare the food itself. When the water is boiling and my ingredients are ready, I turn to tip them in. But as I add the pieces of food, the volatile hot water splashes everywhere.

I can prevent this by carefully putting the food in piece by piece so that I only let go when it's not partially in the water. However this is an impractically slow method with lots of pieces to put in.

Besides that slow way, I haven't been able to stop this happening. No matter how much I add at a time, it still splashes because the food is falling in and causing a big disturbance in the surface of the water.

How could I prevent this happening?

  • I would have added the boiling water to the ingredients. (reverse) – Mr_Green Feb 8 '16 at 13:07
  • @Mr_Green but he has to cook those items so again you need to put that vessel on the pot. – The Dictator Feb 8 '16 at 13:21
  • Well, my case works if you have two stoves. Even it can be managed if you have one stove but it depends on the individual. – Mr_Green Feb 8 '16 at 13:32
  • Chances of getting hurt is more here. @Mr_Green – The Dictator Feb 8 '16 at 13:35
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    I stand back, and use a chef's knife to do the actual pushing in. – Wayfaring Stranger Apr 7 '18 at 23:30
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There are a few common techniques:

  1. Use a taller pot. The more height from the water to the top of the pot, the more of the water is contained.
  2. Lower the ingredients in with a flexible cutting board. The board flexes into a half-cone over the pot, and allows you to drop the ingredients from a much lower height.
  3. Lower the ingredients over a utensil. A spider or slotted spoon make a perfect jumping point for ingredients, reducing how much splash they make. Note that this trick works for pouring sauces into containers (as you reduce the velocity of the molten goods).
  4. Drop the temperature. There is less splash-back with water that is less volatile.
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  1. Put in your food slowly, as you already discovered. If they are largish pieces, e.g. whole potatoes, you just need the patience for it. If you have a bowl of something small like beans, use a ladle to take scoops out of the bowl and lower it into the water.

  2. In addition to 1, use a larger pot with higher sides, but don't fill it. A little bit of splash will happen, but it will not reach you or spill over your stove.

Also, I don't know what you mean by "boil something", but I suspect you may be blanching vegetables. If this is the case, I find it best to use a large sieve analogously to a fryer basket (boil in the sieve), else you can never get the whole amount in and out quickly enough to not undercook some pieces and overcook others.

For something almost "flowing" like rice or couscous, you can also find something spouted to measure them in, and slowly spread the food over the water from a low height. Basically, you really need the "slow" part, you cannot just throw everything and not get splashed.

  • 3
    I usually also lower the heat on the boiling pan of water to keep it slightly above "just boiling". The water is boiling, it's not going to boil more by keeping the burner on max. Since any stuff you put in is going to lower the temperature anyway, just keep it at a nice slow-rolling boil, chuck in stuff, then bring it back on temperature by opening up full whack, and readjust to the desired level. Adding stuff tends to be less volatile that way. – Willem van Rumpt Feb 6 '16 at 19:34
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Another possible solution is to use a cutting board to drop the food into the pot:

  • If you have the thin flexible boards, you can grab the two shorter sides, curve the board, and slide things into the pot. If you put the board part way into the pot (so it's not quite in the water), there's a limited drop that will reduce the splashing.

  • If you're using a wooden or stiff plastic cutting board, you can place it over the top of the pot, so that the majority the pot is covered up except for a small part in the back, the slowly push the food into the exposed hole. This makes it so there's less area for the water to splash back at you, and the place that can splash back is further away from you.

If you use the second method with a wooden board, you'll want to make sure that you don't set it back down on the counter and leave it -- you'll want to leave it propped up so it can dry out.

Another option which is often used with fried foods is a spider which allows you to slowly place food into a liquid.

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  1. You have to drop items in boiling water with less distance. Lesser the distance is , lesser the splashing.
  2. Hold Bowl or anything in which you have put your item in one hand and from other hand pick it up and drop it into water slowly. You can use gloves for protection.
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I am reckless, I just toss stuff in and have learned which way the splash is likely to come from and just move out of the way.

Also the more you cook the more resistant to burning you become...to a point of course.

  • While the question certainly wasn't "is Escoce reckless?", you do have a point, so upvote from me :) Eventually, you get to the point where you can shrug off oil spatter :) – rackandboneman Apr 7 '18 at 23:23
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Have you considered putting the ingredients in before the water is too hot to burn you? This is as opposed to putting it in cold, instead wait for the water to warm up but not boiling yet, and then put in ingredients.

You would need to get the timing right but a minute or two shouldn't affect how the food cooks; alternatively, you could adjust your cooking times. This mild inconvenience seems worth it to not have to get burned by scalding splashes.

Another possibility is to try to find a lid in which the center of the lid comes out so only a small hole opens up in the center instead of taking off the whole lid. I don't know if they make that, but it might help your issue if you can find one. I googled but no luck.

However, here is an alternative idea to the center hole idea. You can get a large plastic lid of the right size that is strong enough not to melt. For example a bucket lid from a paint pail you can pick up at the hardware store for $1. When it comes time to add the ingredients, now remove the glass lid temporarily and place the plastic lid with a small hole cut out. Now add your ingredients. After adding the ingredients, now put the glass lid back on.

Effectively, this is a splash guard. Here is a picture:

cutting out a splash guard.

Additionally, some paint pail lids already have a hole which contains its own lid.

paint pail lid with hole

If you want to get really fancy you can make a cut out of one of those plastic lids to fit the lid of a food processor which has a large mouth, and that would be a very good splash guard. I will photoshop a picture so hold on...

ok here you go: custom splash guard lid

Update: I just came back here because I realized the simplest solution seems to be overlooked. Just wear gloves (maybe those yellow rubber ones?) and long sleeves! Granted, this might not be convenient, especially in a hot kitchen. However, if you really hate getting scalded by splashing water then that is another possible solution to your problem.

  • Please do not self-delete and then post a new answer, especially when your new answer includes the old answer and there are already votes on your answer. Just edit. If people want to change their votes, they can do so after you edit. – Cascabel Feb 8 '16 at 20:31
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    For what it's worth, a splash guard (if you can make it work - not 100% sure about these specific ideas for making one) is a much better idea than your initial one. A lot of things (vegetables) only need a minute or two in boiling water, so starting from merely warm water means it'll take longer, but it's also hard to predict how long it'll take and you'll be stuck watching carefully to make sure you get it out at the right time. – Cascabel Feb 8 '16 at 20:33
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I use Japanese technique by simply use pan instead of pot.

In the pic, I boiled spagetti without the old boring problem!

picture

  • 1
    Could you explain, please? What is different when using a pan vs. a pot? – Stephie Apr 8 '18 at 9:47
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In addition, check whether the ingredients you want to boil actually benefit from being added to already boiling water, or if it just usually done so by convention.

For rice and similar grains, there are plenty of cooking methods that heat grain and water together from cold.

Root/tuber vegetables often benefit from being started in cold water, they will cook more evenly since there is less heat gradient throughout the pieces.

Most things that depend on being cooked in hot water and for a short time (eg when blanching green vegetables) will be hard to remove quickly from the boiling water without using something sieve-like - in which case you can also use the same implement to insert them.

Alternatively, you could only boil a small amount of water in the pot first, while readying more boiling water in a kettle, and then add the ingredients followed by the extra boiling water from the kettle.

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