Learn How to Cook With Stainless Steel Pots and Pans
(Without Your Food Sticking)
A great set of stainless steel cooking pots is a delight in any kitchen — if you know how to use it correctly. While stainless steel pans may not be as forgiving as nonstick pans, they can often produce superior results, and are prized throughout the cooking world for good reason. Stainless steel’s excellent heat retention and durability make it an excellent choice in the kitchen.
For the best experience, you first have to get your hands on a good stainless steel cookware set without breaking the bank. This is https://brewcookingpots.co.za
One of the biggest challenges that stainless steel users face, though, is that if the pan is used incorrectly, the food sticks. Food sticks when the temperature of a pan is either too hot or too cold.
However, used correctly, stainless steel pots and pans can be some of your best friends in the kitchen and are long-lasting kitchen necessities. They just take a few unique usage tips to become the stars they deserve to be.
Follow along as we cover some of the dos — and don’ts — of cooking with stainless steel.
DO: PREHEAT AND OIL YOUR PAN
Meat won’t stick if you properly preheat your pan.
Let’s assume you’re using a skillet and either searing or sautéeing some food — be it meat or veggies. The first step you’ll need to take with your pan is preheating it.
You’ll want to begin by placing your frying pan on the stovetop over medium heat, or medium-high heat if you’re feeling ambitious. You’ll know the pan is ready to use when a water droplet becomes a ball and bounces around the surface. Simply splash a few drops of water on the pan and when you see this effect, the pan is good to go.
You should do this before adding any oil to the pan: if you add oil first, you risk the oil heating up before the pan is fully heated. If you’re using an oil with a low smoke temperature, like olive oil, it can begin to smoke before you’re ready to cook. Make sure the water in the pan has evaporated before you add the oil or you risk the oil jumping out of the pan and burning you.
Oil is necessary to prevent sticking because it acts as a barrier between the pan and the food, but you don’t need too much. Enough to coat the bottom of the pan should be plenty, unless your recipe specifically calls for more. If you have too much, wipe out the excess with a paper towel. We don’t recommend using a canned cooking spray since the chemical propellants can stick to your pan long-term. It’s fine to use a spray bottle with natural oil, however.
Once you’ve added the oil, let it heat until it swirls around the pan loosely. Adding your food to cold oil will likely lead to sticking since the temperature of the pan will drop too quickly from the addition of the cold oil and cold food.
Any food you put in the pan should give that classic sizzle — one of the most satisfying aspects of cooking. If your food doesn’t sizzle, your temperature is too low and you risk the food sticking. For this reason, it’s good to test a single piece of food for sizzle before adding the whole batch.
DO: GET YOUR FOOD TO ROOM TEMPERATURE
Make sure meat isn’t directly out of the fridge when you sear it.
Just as your pan should be at the right temperature, your food should be at the right temperature before you cook it. Adding cold food to a hot pan can drastically drop the temperature of the pan and eventually lead to the cook’s anathema of sticking food.
The best way to prepare your food is to have it reach room temperature — or at least close to it — before cooking. Fortunately, the solution here is quite simple, and only takes a little foresight. Remove your food from the fridge before cooking it. How long it takes to reach room temperature depends entirely on the food item: A thick steak will take longer than a piece of salmon or some broccoli, for example.
DO: BE PATIENT WITH A SEAR
Meat like duck breast will release from the pan when it’s ready to flip.
If you’re searing a steak — or chicken, or fish, or anything else — the pan will let you know when the meat is ready to go. That’s because a proper sear will create a barrier between the meat and the pan via the beautiful browned outside it produces. If you feel the urge to check your food item with a spatula, make sure not to forcibly lift it if it feels like it’s sticking — it just needs more time. You should only sear once on each side. Give the pan a shake and if the meat moves around of its own accord, it’s ready to flip.
DON’T: NEGLECT THE STUCK BITS WHEN MAKING SAUCE
A stainless steel pan is ideal for making sauces, soups, and stews.
One of the main selling points of a stainless steel pan over a nonstick or a cast iron pan is that some bits do in fact stick to the bottom of the pan even if you do everything correctly. These bits are called “fond,” a French word that has many meanings when not used culinarily: background, bottom, depth, the core of the issue, the basis. In culinary terms, these ideas loosely translate into the base of a sauce. That’s because the fond is full of flavor. It’s no surprise that chefs are so fond of fond.
Because stainless steel is non-reactive and can develop stuck bits, it’s the best choice for making a pan sauce. You can deglaze the pan when your primary cooking is done. Deglazing is a process that begins with adding an astringent like wine, vinegar, liquor, or stock to a pan. The liquid loosens the stuck bits and this forms the foundation of what could quickly become a delicious pan sauce. If you’d like to make a pepper sauce for seared duck breast or red wine sauce for steak, this is when you do it.
Stainless steel is also perfect for cooking acidic dishes like tomato sauce. Copper, aluminum, and cast iron all react poorly with acidic foods: Aluminum can lead to a metallic taste, copper can lead to illness if it’s not lined with a non-reactive surface, and acidic foods can strip a cast iron pan’s seasoning.
Stainless steel is non-reactive and thus is ideal for making a Bolognese sauce, for example. The flavor won’t be tainted by the metal, and the acidity won’t damage the pan. Sauces, soups, and stews are where your stock pot, saucier, or sauté pan truly shine: The stability of the metal, combined with its durability, make stainless steel an excellent choice for any of these pans.
CARING FOR YOUR STAINLESS STEEL PANS
Your stainless steel pans can take a beating and still stay in great shape.
Taking good care of your stainless steel pans is as important as using them correctly when cooking. By doing so, you’ll ensure that they’ll be in their best possible shape and will be valuable tools long into the future.
One of the major upsides of a stainless steel pan is that it’s dishwasher-safe. Because there’s no delicate non-stick coating to damage, a stainless steel pan can survive countless tours through a dishwasher.
If, however, you prefer the traditional route of hand-washing your pan, a stainless steel pan is happy with that as well. Just make sure to let the pan cool before running any water over it to prevent warping or discoloration. Once it’s cool, you can wash it with soapy water or a dedicated cleaning agent like Bar Keeper’s Friend.
Make sure you keep the pan dry and away from moisture when it’s not being used. Even stainless steel doesn’t like being wet when it’s not necessary.
KNOW YOUR COOKWARE
By knowing how to best use your cookware you’ll get the most out of your kitchen. Stainless steel pans can be an invaluable kitchen ally and last for ages if properly cared for.
If you’ve been wary of stainless steel before, try it again and discover how it can work for you. Upgrade your cookware to stainless steel and find out just how much fun cooking can be.
10 Things You Should NEVER DO with Your Stainless Steel Pans
Please see below tip from below article
Stainless steel cookware seems indestructible, and it practically is. It can take high heat, won’t rust or chip, and won’t break if you drop it. But it’s definitely possible to inadvertently cause some serious damage — or at least turn your once-shiny premium cookware into a sticky, discolored, pitted, warped, or unbalanced mess. And nobody wants that!
Here are 10 things you definitely do not want to do to your stainless steel pans.
1. DON’T LET THE PAN SIT EMPTY ON THE BURNER FOR TOO LONG.
Let’s be clear: Yes, you want to preheat your pan for a bit before sautéing or searing (if you’re just reheating soup or steaming veggies that’s a different story). And you don’t want to add your cooking fat until the pan is good and hot. As food scientist Harold McGee says, “The longer the oil spends in contact with the hot surface, especially metal, the more time it has to be broken down by the extreme conditions and exposure to oxygen. Broken-down oil gets viscous and gummy, and even a slight degree of this can contribute to sticking and residues on the food.”
But don’t let that empty pan preheat for too long, or let it boil dry, because the prolonged high heat can cause stubborn discoloration. You might end up with yellow, brown, bluish, or rainbow tints on the surface that are hard to get off.
2. DON’T USE IT ON A GRILL (OR IN A MICROWAVE).
Most stainless-steel pots and pans are meant to be used at moderate heat and technically can withstand up to 500 or 600 degrees Fahrenheit. A grill has the potential to get much hotter, which can damage and warp the metal. “High, unnecessary heat is the enemy of cookware,” says Pamela Stafford, the Director at Hestan Culinary who has been in the industry for 28 years — 20 of which were spent at All-Clad.
And you don’t want to nuke it either. The microwaves can cause electrical currents in the metal, and if there’s a jagged edge or kink, it could cause sparks.
3. DON’T USE COOKING SPRAYS.
The problem with cooking sprays is that they don’t just contain oil, they also have things like emulsifiers, propellants, and anti-foaming agents. The emulsifiers, in particular, have a tendency to build up into a sticky, cooked-on coating. “Cooking sprays are very gummy and virtually impossible to get off the pan,” says Stafford. Use butter or oil instead!
4. DON’T LET FATS HEAT PAST THEIR SMOKE POINT.
According to Cook’s Illustrated, when cooking fats get heated past their smoke point, “their triglycerides break down into free fatty acids, which then polymerize to a resin that is insoluble in water.” Basically, this is how cast iron pans get seasoned, but it’s not a good thing for your shiny stainless steel. If you’ve ever deep-fried in a stainless steel pot, you’ve probably seen the yellow, slightly sticky after-effects of this process. It’s kind of impossible to prevent this from happening all of the time, but you’ll want to keep it to a minimum unless you like to do a lot of scrubbing.
5. DON’T ADD SALT WHEN THE WATER IS COLD.
All chefs agree, you need to generously season your cooking water, whether you’re boiling pasta or vegetables, so that the food is properly flavored. The directive is usually to salt it so much it tastes like the sea. “But you don’t want to add salt too soon because it drops to the bottom of the pan,” says Stafford. “You get these little white dots, called salt pitting. When added to water once it’s boiling, the salt dissolves right away.”
6. DON’T USE A KNIFE TO CUT SOMETHING IN THE PAN.
Maybe you just want to make a teensy cut to see if the meat is done, or maybe you realized some of your pieces are too big and you want to cut them in half. It’s so tempting to skip the cutting board and just reach for your chef’s knife and do it in the pan. But that’s a big no-no, says Stafford: “That’s the worst thing you can do for your pan and your knife. You’re going to put a permanent mark in the pan.” Aside from just not looking pretty, deep scratches can be hard to clean. Plus, that’s a good way to bend or chip your knife blade.
7. DON’T USE BLEACH, OVEN CLEANER OR OTHER CAUSTIC CLEANSERS.
“I would never use bleach,” says Stafford. “First of all, you can get it on your clothes, your floor, the counter.” But most important, caustic cleaners like chlorine bleach and oven cleaner can ruin coatings and cause etching, says Wirecutter, and lead to more pitting and crevices that will be even harder to clean out later. Sure, a capful diluted in a gallon of water likely won’t cause a problem, but Stafford says it’s better to stick with dish soap. For really stuck-on stains, try a mildly abrasive cleanser like Bar Keepers Friend and a good scrubber.
8. DON’T USE OVERLY ABRASIVE SCRUBBERS.
Speaking of scrubbers, don’t reach for steel wool unless you want to give your shiny stainless steel a brushed finish, Stafford says. “A scrubby sponge and Bar Keepers Friend is a much more gentle exfoliant cleaner that will produce minimal damage.”
9. DON’T PUT IT IN THE DISHWASHER.
Sure, the manufacturer says your cookware can go in the dishwasher, and that’s usually how pots and pans are cleaned in restaurants, but over time harsh dishwasher detergents can take a toll. “Most dishwasher detergents are caustic,” Stafford warns, “so they keep eating away at the material. And the rim is unprotected, exposing where the aluminum core meets the layers. The detergents leach into the aluminum and degrades it and it erodes and you get these sharp edges over time, and the beautiful shine will get dull.”
10. DON’T PUT A HOT PAN IN A SINK OF COLD WATER.
This just might be one of the most important things to remember. When a super-hot pan is tossed in cold water, the thermal shock can warp the metal. This is especially true if the pan got overheated. “I’ve seen pans where I can feel the layers have gotten separated, and it’s no longer flat, it’s convex,” says Stafford. She recommends letting the pan cool down first and using warm water instead of cold. “I let it sit in warm soapy water while I have dinner. You’ll be amazed how quickly everything comes off.”