Simple Stupid Gas Range Upgrade

If you are lucky enough to have a gas range, you already know the joys of a dead even heat source that can range from medium-low to blowtorch. None of that cyclic all-on/all-off nonsense of the typical electric range, for example.

However, “low heat” is not something in the typical gas range’s vocabulary. On our Viking, the lowest setting on the smallest burner will keep a small pot of water at a rolling boil and will consistently cause a cup of rice to boil over. And it is a really low flame!

Enter the heat diffuser. A heat diffuser sits between burner and your pan or pot. It effectively acts as a heat buffer and, as the name implies, diffuser.

On a gas range like mine, it allows one to achieve the lowest simmer/heat you might want. On an electric range, a cast iron heat diffuser — you want thermal mass — will nicely even on the all-on/all-off behavior of most ranges.

At ~$20, it is a worthy tool to add to your cooking arsenal!

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5 Responses to “Simple Stupid Gas Range Upgrade”

  1. annbb says:

    I have one exactly like that! Well, except mine is no
    longer shiny black. But I LOVE it and it does exactly
    what you said – an actual simmer.

  2. Justin Watt says:

    Random question: what do you cook with?

    My Cuisinart Chef’s Classic pots (wow, that’s looks like such a spam link—it’s not) have a pretty solid, thick bottom, and tend to do a pretty good job distributing and diffusing the heat, even with rice. Still I’m interested in the heat diffusers, for the rare occasions when I really just want to keep something warm on the stove.

  3. bbum says:

    I cook with a random set of pots that is just about as old as my marriage, maybe older. Stainless steel. Relatively heavy, but not very.

    Frankly, we could do with a pot upgrade. Even so, I’ll still need the heat diffuser to … well .. diffuse the heat and give me a low setting lower than is otherwise possible on the range.

    I might start using the heat diffuser to keep a pot o’ Chemex coffee warm.

  4. Justin Watt says:

    Well, when you find yourself in the market for new pans (or any other cooking instruments for that matter) you seem like the type of individual that would appreciate A Cook’s Wares: Choosing Pans

  5. Jim says:

    That’s pretty nice – my solution was just to put a brick between the flame and the pot. Worked great, for zero dollars 🙂

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