Simmering is a cooking method that is gentler than boiling but slightly more aggressive than poaching. It involves cooking a food item in a liquid or cooking just the very liquid itself.

Simmering is great for making dishes like sauces, stocks, soups, stews, and even starches like potatoes.

The temperature required to simmer a dish is between 185 degrees and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. It is just a little bit below the boiling point, which is at 212 degrees.

In this article, we will discuss how to identify the simmering setting on a stove and some other helpful information about this cooking method.

All temperatures discussed in this article are in degrees Fahrenheit.

what temperature is simmer 1 - 10

What temperature is simmer 1-10?

Stoves come with knobs that are used to control the cooking temperature. How these knobs look and how many numbers they have varies from stove to stove.

Some stoves come with knobs that range between 1-6, some between 1-9, and others between 1-10.

One thing we can all agree on is that 1 is the lowest heat setting on all knobs and is best for dishes that require poaching.

We can also agree that 6, 9, or 10 are the highest heat settings depending on which type of stove you have.

Now, the number setting for simmering is the medium-low number of each of these knobs respectively, and should work just fine for simmering.

Which begs the question, which number exactly is medium-low?

For knobs that come with the numbers 1-6, the medium-low heat setting will be between 2 and 3, while knobs with numbers 1-9 or 1-10, will have a medium-low heat setting between 3 and 4.

Because most stoves do not indicate exactly which number the simmer setting is (and this number varies from stove to stove), it is important to be able to identify when a dish is undergoing poaching, simmering, or boiling by becoming familiar with what dishes look like during each cooking method.

This can be done by looking at the size of the bubbles, the amount of movement of the bubbles, and even the amount of steam.

This, through experience, is the only sure way of knowing if your dish is simmering or not.

Is simmer low or medium heat?

Simmer is neither low heat nor medium heat. It is medium-low heat.

Low heat on its own may not be enough to simmer and is more suitable for food that requires poaching.

Using low heat to simmer may leave the food you are cooking unready.

Medium heat is closer to 212 degrees which is the boiling point and is more suitable for dishes that require boiling.

If medium heat is used to simmer, you could end up boiling the food that you are preparing and it might not become as tender as desired. You could also end up burning the food.

Medium-low heat is perfect for simmering because it has a temperature range between 185 and 205 degrees which is gentle and provides the slow cooking that is required for this cooking method.

Simmer heating dish

What does “BRING TO SIMMER” mean when cooking?

“Bring to simmer” means to cook a dish at a medium-low temperature between 185 degrees and 205 degrees which is slightly higher than the temperature required for poaching and slightly lower than the temperature needed to boil a dish.

The term simmer is sometimes found in food recipes that require you to begin by first boiling the food and then reducing the heat at a slow pace to a medium-low temperature.

Doing this can be beneficial because the dishes will be heated faster and it is also easier to identify which temperature you are at since the boiling point at maximum is 212 degrees.

Reducing the heat to a simmer is then subsequently easier as well.

The term “Bring to simmer” can also be found in instructions that only require simmering a dish without boiling it first.

What is a low simmer on the stove?

A low simmer is when you cook a dish at temperatures between 185 degrees to just below 195 degrees and is most suitable for foods like stocks and braises which require slower and gentler cooking.

During a low simmer, you will be able to see just a little steam and very few bubbles in the liquid. There is also little to no movement of the liquid at all.

What does a perfect simmer look like?

A perfect simmer happens at about 205 degrees which is still slightly lower than boiling temperature.

During a perfect simmer, there is usually more bubbling of the liquid than what can be observed in a low simmer.

These bubbles, however, are still tiny in size compared to the larger bubbles that can be seen when a liquid is set to boil.

There is also more steam produced during a perfect simmer compared to what is seen in a low simmer but less than the amount of steam produced during boiling.

Lastly, there is more movement of the liquid in a perfect simmer than in a low simmer but this movement is still less compared to the movement at the boiling point which is more rapid and aggressive.

A perfect simmer is usually used to cook reduced sauces like gravies, or fruit, wine, and meat sauces.


Simmering when mastered can take your culinary results to the next level.

It is a great cooking method when you want to make certain food items like meat more tender or enrich the flavor of a dish.

It also enables you to make sure that tough foodstuffs get evenly cooked and that more delicate ingredients can be prepared without losing their structure or breaking apart.

Learning to simmer food can be a little challenging if you are a beginner, but with the knowledge and tips provided in this article, and a little bit of practice, you are sure to become a pro at simmering dishes in no time!

Always remember, simmering is a game of the eye, so always monitor your dish for the best results.