The Surprising Braising Definition in Cooking Revealed: Is It Really Better Than Other Methods?

braising definition in cooking

According to John, “Braising is a cooking method that involves browning meat before slow-cooking it in a small amount of liquid.” 

Braising seems simple but there are secrets to unlock. In this guide you will learn how cheap cuts can be turned tender with braising techniques like picking the best ingredients and perfecting the timing. 

Implement these methods and braising will become your go-to cooking style, allowing you to create delicious meals without breaking the bank. Keep reading to access these invaluable tips!

Key Takeaway

Braising is a cooking method that involves browning meat then cooking it slowly in a small amount of liquid in a covered pot. During braising, moisture in the cooking vessel tenderizes less expensive cuts of meat making them flavorful.

What is Braising ?

Braising is one of the most delicious ways to cook meat and vegetables. It involves cooking foods slowly in a covered pot with a small amount of liquid over a long period of time. 

This allows moisture to gently enter the ingredients and keep everything juicy and tender throughout the entire cooking process (1). 

Braising works especially well for turning tougher cuts of meat tender, as the low and slow cooking helps transform chewy cuts into cuts that are fall-off-the-bone soft. 

Whether it’s a roast, short ribs, or even fall vegetables, braising is a wonderful cooking method that results in fully flavored meals thanks to the time it spends simmering away.

Main Ingredients for Braising

To braise meat or veggies right, you’ll want to have the key players on hand. Things like hearty cuts of meat or sturdy veggies, aromatic helpers for boosting flavor, braising liquids for moisture, and seasoning spark are the main stars in any braised dish (2).

  • Meat or vegetable: Common cuts of meat braised include beef chuck, pork shoulder/butt, lamb shanks and short ribs. Popular vegetables that can be braised include carrots, cabbage, potatoes and mushrooms.
  • Aromatics: Ingredients like onions, shallots, celery, mushrooms, garlic and fresh herbs are often used to add flavor to the braising liquid.
  • Liquid: Common braising liquids include wine, broth or stock, soup and water. The liquid allows gentle heat penetration and keeps the food moist during long cooking.
  • Seasonings: Salt and pepper are usually added along with any other herbs or spices. Seasonings like thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and red wine vinegar are common braising boosters.
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Credit : Food Network

Steps for Successful Braising

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, follow these simple steps to start your low and slow braise:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 300°F. Season meat or vegetable generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a small amount of olive or vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed oven-proof pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the meat or vegetable on all sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add more oil if needed and reduce heat to medium. Add cut up aromatics and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened.
  4. Return browned ingredients back to the pot along with just enough liquid to come about halfway up the ingredients. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  5. Cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil. Transfer to oven and braise for 2-4 hours, until very tender when pierced with a fork. Check occasionally, adding more liquid if needed so the ingredients remain moist.
  6. Once fully cooked and tender, season braising liquid with salt and pepper to taste. The long cooking time allows the flavors to mingle beautifully. Serve braised meat or veggies with braising liquid and aromatics spooned over top.

Benefits of Braising

Braising offers some amazing perks that make it a true favorite cooking method. It can take normally chewy cuts and turn them fall-off-the-bone tender. 

Braising also locks in moisture so everything stays juicy instead of drying out. Plus, braising allows flavors to deepen and blend together beautifully over a long period.

  • Braising tenderizes tough cuts of meat that become fall-off-the-bone soft after long, slow cooking. Cuts like chuck roast, short ribs and pork shoulder are perfect for braising.
  • Braising seals in moisture so the food stays tender and juicy (3). The low-and-slow cooking method allows collagen-rich cuts to break down.
  • The braising liquid becomes a flavorful sauce or gravy from the fond (browned bits on the bottom of the pot) released during cooking.
  • Aromatics like onions, garlic and herbs enhance the flavor of braised dishes by mingling in the covered pot for hours.
  • Braising is an easy one-pot meal that can be prepared in advance and reheated later in the braising liquid.
  • Leftover braised meat is delicious for recipes like tacos, stews, sandwiches and more.

Popular Braised Dishes

Braising is such a delicious way to cook because it works for so many different MEALS. Once you understand the basic technique, you can braise all sorts of cuts like CHUCK ROAST, SHORT RIBS, BEEF BRISKET and more. Here are some traditionally braised dishes that are true crowd-pleasers:

braising definition in cooking
  • Beef Bourguignon – This classic French stew starts by browning cubed beef chuck roast before simmering it in RED WINE alongside onions, mushrooms and MARJORAM. The beer tenderizes the beef into spoon-soft bites surrounded by the aromatic wine sauce.
  • Osso Buco – Italians braise veal shanks, also called OSSO BUCO, over the course of a few hours until the marrow inside is meltingly tender. The sauce takes on intense flavor from white wine, TOMATOES and vegetables like carrots and celery. Rich and satisfying.
  • Braised Pork Shoulder – Pork shoulder has SUCH GRATIFYING TEXTURE after braising for hours in anything from APPLE CIDER to BEER to COFFEE. Shred the succulent meat and nestle it in buttery POLENTA or serve it on buns as pulled pork sandwiches. Amazing!
  • Coq au Vin – This classic method of braising chicken parts in red wine sees bone-in chicken legs and thigh braised to the point of fall-off-the-bone tenderness in a sauce boosted by mushrooms, onion and BACON. So full of FLAVOR!
  • Lamb Tagine – Moroccan lamb TAGINE braises chuck or shoulder cuts along with spices like cinnamon, ginger,paprika and preserved lemons. Served with couscous or rice, it’s a hearty warm weather meal or chilly night’s comfort.


Braising is truly a remarkable cooking method that should be part of everyone’s kitchen repertoire. After years of using this technique, I’ve found that braising allows you to take inexpensive cuts of meat and transform them into tender, flavor-packed dishes. 

It draws out moisture and marries flavors together in a slow, low oven. Whether you braise on the stovetop or in a Dutch oven, you’re guaranteed tender meat and vegetables in a rich, satisfying sauce. Braising isn’t difficult either – just sear and simmer. 

The long cooking process means you have an easy one-pot meal with minimal effort. I encourage both novice and experienced cooks to experiment with braising different proteins and veggies. You’ll be amazed at the intensely tasty results!

Please feel free to reach out if you have any other questions about braising or need recipe recommendations. I’d be happy to share more tips.



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