How To Boil And Simmer Water

11/04/2011 11:15 am ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Watch this video to learn how to simmer and boil water.

Video Transcript

I'm Chef Rob Mullooly from the Culinary Institute of America, and today I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: the difference between simmering and boiling water.

Simmering water is at about 180 degrees, and boiling water is at 212 degrees. But instead of getting so technical and talking about the temperatures, let's just take our eye and look at what we have here.

I have one gallon of water inside this pot. What we call here at the school the difference between simmering and boiling, we call it "smiling but not laughing."

A simmer is really good for cooking potatoes, or cooking eggs; you want to simmer them, you don't want to cook them too quickly. So look for a nice gentle simmer in the smiling range.

If I turn the temperature up on my pot, you can see that now I'm laughing, because I've got a rolling boil at this point. You want to cook pasta with this, at a rapid boil, you want to cook green vegetables at a rapid boil.

So that's how you simmer and that's how you boil.

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