Overwhelmed with the thought of switching from nonstick to stainless steel cookware?
I made the switch to stainless steel after I noticed my nonstick pans peeling into my food. It scared me to think that this stuff could be leaching into my food.
I will preface that I am not a professional chef, I am just a mom making small changes in my home to life a simpler life.
Tips to Buying a Set of Stainless Steel Cookware
It can feel overwhelming buying a set of pots and pans because they can be expensive and there are so many options.
I decided to make the switch to stainless steel cookware after I noticed the nonstick coating peeling off.
The coating on nonstick is typically durable, but it is not meant to last forever.
Stainless steel cookware can last you forever, if you buy a quality set and properly take care of them.
Budget: Before you start shopping, determine a budget that you would like to keep in mind.
18/10 SS: Look for pots and pans that are 18/10 stainless steel stainless steel. When you see the 18/10 stamped on the bottom of the pan, it means the pan is 18% chromium and 10 nickel.
Clad: Buy a set with a copper or an aluminum clad core as these both heat quickly and evenly. The core is a disc on the bottom of the pan and the clad is the layer on the sides and the base.
Benefits to Cooking with Stainless Steel Cookware
At first cooking stainless steel cookware can feel overwhelming because we are all so used to the nonstick pans.
There are so many great benefits to cooking with stainless steel, so it is worth learning how to use them.
Best Seared Steak Ever: Cooking with stainless steel or cast iron will give a NY strip steak the best sear. Even pork chops or burgers will taste better after cooked in stainless steel.
Non- Toxic: Stainless steel pots and pans do not contain a nonstick coating, so they are consider non-toxic.
Durable: Unlike cookware with a nonstick coating that peels and scratches over time, stainless steel will last forever. If cared for properly a set of good quality stainless steel pans can last for many years.
Overtime your pans may look like this, but don’t worry you did not ruin them. You can polish them up with some of the tips below.
How to Wash Stainless Steel Cookware
Never put your pots and pans in the dishwasher, even if the instructions that came with the pans say you can.
Putting any pan in the dishwasher is a bad idea because overtime it can damage the pan.
Allow the cookware to completely cool before cleaning them to avoid warping the pan.
Hand Wash: It is always best to hand wash pots and pans with warm soapy water and a nonabrasive brush or sponge.
Stainless steel wool: Steel wool or any abrasive cleaners are not recommended as it can scratch.
Bar Keepers Friend: To give your pots and pans a polish, use Bar Keepers Friend. Overtime the pans will show signs of use, but Bar Keepers Friend will shine them right up again.
Vinegar and Dish Soap: If you have a burnt spot on the inside of the pan that just won’t budge, you can mix a little soap and vinegar into the pan. Scrub the mixture then let it soak for about 30 minutes before washing the pan. You may need to repeat the process a couple of times to completely clean the pan.
Baking Soda: Another at home cleaning option is to use baking soda. Make a paste with water and baking soda then coat your pan and allow it to sit. Scrub the pan with a brush and gloves to give the pan a good cleaning.
Seasoning Stainless Steel Cookware
Typically a cast iron skillet is seasoned, but according to some there can be benefits to seasoning stainless steel too.
I personally don’t see the benefit to seasoning a stainless steel pans, so I skipped this step with my cookware.
There are mixed reviews about stainless steel as some feel there are no benefit and some feel that you must season the pans.
Seasoning stainless steel is optional, so you can skip this step if you prefer not to do this.
If you decided seasoning is not for you, you will still cook great food in the pans as long as you heat the pan correctly and take care of them properly.
Steps to Season Stainless Steel Pans
Before you season stainless steel cookware, make sure to read the manufactures instructions on seasoning.
Some manufactures may advise against seasoning, so double check the instructions before seasoning pans.
Heat the Pan: To season pans first heat the pan to medium high heat.
Add Oil: Pour about a tablespoon of avocado oil or another oil with a high smoke point. Spread the oil around with a paper towel to coat the whole inside of the pan. Carefully discard the paper towel in the trash.
Smoking: Allow the pan to heat up until it starts to smoke then immediately remove from heat.
Seasoned Pan: After the pan has cooled, wipe additional oil from the pan with a paper towel. Now you have a seasoned pan!
How to Cook With Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is not nonstick, so you will always have to grease your pan before cooking. Cook with your pans on medium or low heat until you get used to cooking with the pans.
If you follow these steps, you can even cook eggs in stainless steel pans without it sticking.
Always Heat the Pan First: Before you do anything always heat your pan.
Add Oil to Hot Pan: Never add oil to a cold pan. Once the pan is hot, add your cooking oil to the pan.
Heat the Oil: Allow the oil to heat up before cooking. The oil should be hot, but not smoking.
Cooking: Now that your pan and oil have been properly heated you can add the food to the pan.
Don’t Add Salt: Do not add salt until the water has been boiled as this can cause pitting. Always allow the water to boil before adding salt.
How to Cook Eggs in a Stainless Steel Pan
Believe it or not you can cook eggs in stainless steel cookware. It helps if you can allow your eggs to rest on the counter a bit before pouring them into a hot pan.
Cold food has a tendency to stick to a hot pan. So, allow the food to come closer to room temperature before putting it into the pan.
Now that your eggs are closer to room temperature, heat a pan of medium to low heat. I recommend cooking on a lower heat setting when you are getting used to cooking with stainless steel.
The pans can heat up quick and burn food if you are keeping a close eye. Once the pan has been heated pour oil or butter into the pan.
Allow the fat to heat up a bit before pour the egg mixture into the pan. The pan and fat should be hot, but not smoking.
Pour the egg mixture into the pan and prepare your eggs as you normally would.
If you still struggle to cook eggs in stainless steel cookware, an alternative would be to use a ceramic pan or a quick week day option would be to microwave eggs.
Tips to Microwaving Eggs
On a busy week day morning, I don’t have time to prepare eggs on the stove. Instead I cracked 2 eggs in a small microwave safe bowl.
Then whip the eggs with a fork to make scrambled eggs and place into the microwave for 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds whip the eggs again with your fork then starting the microwave for another 30 seconds.
The eggs might be done after one minute of cooking the eggs. If they look like the need more time add additional 15 second intervals until they are cooked through.
The egg bowl will be very hot, so be careful! I love to have my microwave scrambled eggs on Dave’s Killer Bagels with mashed avocado.
Best Utensils to Use
I typically use wood, nylon, or silicone utensils when cooking with my stainless steel pots and pans.
You can use a metal spatulas or spoons, but be careful as this could cause minor scratching to the pan.
Tips to Cooking Meat on Stainless Steel
Stainless steel pans will give meat such a good sear that you will wonder why you never used these pans before.
Before adding meat to a stainless steel pan it is recommended to let the meat come close to room temperature before putting it on a pan.
The reason for this is when you put a piece of cold meat on a pan it will decrease the temperature of the pan.
Follow the steps above to heat your pan and oil properly. Also, make sure to use an oil with a high smoke point such as Avocado oil or refined olive oil.
Once the meat has come as close to room temperature as possible and the pan is heated with oil, it is time to add the meat.
Preventing a Burn: Carefully add the meat to the pan by laying it down closest to you first then placing the back half of the meat down. This will prevent the hot oil from splattering up and possibly burning you.
Creating the Sear: Meat will stick on the stainless steel pan until the pan has heated up again, but don’t worry you want this to happen. This process is what creates a nice sear on meat, so don’t try to scrape the meat from the pan prematurely.
Time to Flip: The meat will release from the pan on its own after the pan has heated back up. Once the meat has released from the pan, it can be flipped and cooked on the other side.
Additional Tips to Cooking Meat
Flipping the meat depends on how you prefer it to be cooked, so keep that in mind before flipping to meat too.
If you prefer a rare steak then flip it right away or leave it for an extra couple of minutes for a more well done steak.
After the meat has been cooked to your preference, remove it from the pan and let it rest.
Remove the pan from the hot burner and allow the pan to cool completely before soaking the pan.
A hot pan could warp if immediately submerged in cold water, so let the pan cool first.
Can Stainless Steel Be Use in the Oven?
The pots and pans that I purchased cannot be used in the oven like a cast iron skillet. I don’t typically cook on the stove then immediately in the oven, so I did not need this feature.
If I ever need to put a pan in the oven, I just use my cast iron skillet to cook this meal.
I purchased my stainless steel cookware set a few years ago and I still love them.
The price for my cookware set is reasonable and they are good quality as well as durable.
There are higher end pots and pans that are oven and broiler safe up to 600°F.
Making the switch from nonstick to stainless steel cookware is easier than you might think. Swapping out your nonstick pans for a quality stainless steel pans will give your steak a much better char.
Another benefit to cooking with stainless steel over nonstick is that it is a safer in your home.
If you purchased a new cookware set, you must see these pots and pans organizers to keep your kitchen tidy!
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