Technique: Boil vs. Simmer

By Edible Memphis / Photography By Justin Fox Burks | April 19, 2017
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Boiling and simmer are two essential cooking techniques and the terms have specific meanings in terms of temperature – which can be very important depending upon what is being cooked.


Boiling is a moist-heat cooking method that uses hot liquid (about 212°F) to cook submerged foods. The liquid bubbles vigorously and produces steam. The activity of the liquid and high temperature can break down items (such as root vegetables) quickly.


Simmering is also a moist-heat cooking method, but the temperature is lower than boiling (about 185°–205°F). The liquid shimmers a bit and there may be a few, small bubbles around the edge of the pot or ingredients. Simmering is gentler on fragile items such as fish.

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