How To Cook With Stainless Steel

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It took one meal to make it obvious that I had no idea how to cook with stainless steel. One burned, disappointing meal made (naturally) when we had company coming for dinner. So, we all had a good laugh then we went out to eat.

Fortunately, I’ve since figured out how to cook with stainless steel, which is good because on Mother’s Day my husband rounded out my single skillet by giving me an entire set of stainless steel pots and pans.

How to Cook with Stainless Steel Pots and Pans


I’d been wanting to replace my nonstick pots and pans for years after reading that nonstick cookware has been linked to cancer and that the manufacturer of Teflon lied to consumers — and the EPA — about that link.

Of course, there’s been enough debate on the matter that I was reluctant to toss my nonstick set out — until my husband’s cancer diagnosis. Once your loved one is dealing with something like that, you do everything you can to minimize your family’s exposure to carcinogens. But I don’t want to turn this into a preachy blog entry, so I’m just going to assume you’ll make up your own mind on the matter.

As far as finding my stainless steel set, I did a lot of price comparing and saw a HUGE range of prices! We decided to go with this 10-piece multi-ply set which received rave reviews. Plus, it cost 75% less than a similar set from All-Clad! Now that I know how to cook with stainless steel, I absolutely love it.

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How To Cook With Stainless Steel

1. Use a lower temperature. The multi-ply construction used in most brands of stainless steel cookware means that the sides and bottom of the pan heat evenly, so your food’s being cooked in more than one direction. In recipes calling for “medium-high” heat, I used to set my burner at 6 or 7. Now it’s more like 4 or 5.

2. Never skip preheating. With non-stick, you have to minimize preheating time, but the opposite is true with stainless steel. That’s because, when cold, stainless steel is porous — even though you can’t see or feel it. It’s the edges of those pores that cause food to stick. Preheating the pan causes the steel to expand, closing the pores and creating a smooth cooking surface. (Adding oil once the pan is properly heated helps, too. Add it too early, though, and it’ll just sink into the pores so they’ll still grab onto your food.)

3. Preheat the right way. Until you get a good feel for how long to preheat, use the water drop test. To do this, wait until the rim of the pan is almost too hot to touch, then add a splash of water. If it stays in a ball and rolls around your pan like what’s shown in the video below, it’s ready. NOTE: Your pan will go from properly preheated to overheated very quickly, so have your ingredients ready before you preheat!

4. Oil after preheating. If you add oil to the pan before it’s preheated, the oil will sink into the pores mentioned above. So, wait until it’s hot enough then pull the pan off the burner and add your oil. Swirl this around (or use a pastry brush) and return the pan to heat. This small amount of oil will heat very quickly, so in 3-5 seconds you’re ready to cook.

5. Meat will let you know when it’s ready to flip. If you’ve properly preheated and oiled your pan, there’s a simple test to find out if the meat is browned and ready to flip — it won’t stick. No, really. Once the meat is properly seared and has developed a nice crust, there’s nothing left for the pores of the pan to grab. At that point, the pan releases the meat, and it’s easy to flip. If you have to lever the meat up with a spatula, it is NOT ready.

6. Don’t discard the brown bits. They’re known as “fond” and are the source of fantastic flavor. To deglaze, remove your food to a plate then drain the fat from the pan, add a liquid (water, stock, wine) and scrape up the brown bits as the liquid comes to a boil. Continue stirring and scraping until the liquid reduces by half, then adjust your seasonings and spoon your sauce over your food. Delicious!

7. Don’t warp them. Stainless steel cookware will warp if exposed to temperature extremes, so don’t run your just-used pots or pans under the faucet to cool them quickly. Let them cool on their own before washing.

8. Stick with non-metal scrubbers. Need some extra cleaning oomph? Sprinkle some baking soda or use  Bar Keeper’s Friend. (That stuff’s pretty amazing on stainless steel sinks, too.) But never, under any circumstances, use a stainless steel scouring pad or steel wool to clean your stainless steel!

9. They’re dishwasher safe but may spot. I put my stainless steel pots and pans in the dishwasher all the time, and they come out just fine. They do sometimes acquire spots if there was a lot of plasticware in the top rack, but those are easy to remove. You can get your stainless steel cookware shiny and looking brand new by wiping it with a microfiber cloth dipped in white vinegar then buffing it dry.

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  1. I love my stainless steel pans and the first thing I discovered was that they do heat faster and maintain heat so much better than anything else I have ever used. The set I have was a Christmas gift from my parents and one of my sons one year. I asked for them. I agree with you about pots, pans, appliances as gifts. Now, don’t get me wrong. If I didn’t ASK for a vacuum cleaner and received one I would be annoyed!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Exactly! And I don’t know about you, but I always feel bad during the rest of the year if I spring for pricier kitchen gadgets. Much less guilt’s involved in asking for them as gifts.

  2. The only thing in the kitchen I love more than my stainless steel cookware is a cast iron fry pan which dates back to my grandmother. Sometimes I feel as though I should use wrist supports when lifting it, but there are some recipes that would not seem the same without this old hand me down.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I have a cast iron Dutch oven which belonged to an old neighbor of mine who’d left it to me in her will. It’s one of my very favorite kitchen things, too. My husband and I hadn’t been married but a few weeks when he washed it in hot, soapy water and then a cycle through the dishwasher to get rid of the “layer of hard, shiny black stuff” (which my neighbor had spent 30+ years creating). Let’s just say my vocabulary that day surprised him, and considering he’s retired military, that’s hard to do! Fortunately, we were able to re-season the pan. Phew!

    2. I come from a military background so I can only imagine what you must have said in order to surprise your hubby…LOL.

    3. Katie Berry says:

      Heh. Let’s just say that this Air Force brat made an Army man blush. 😉

  3. Teflon fumes will kill birds, and that’s been proven – there are many sad stories of pet birds dying because someone left a non-stick pan on the stove, and my local bird shelter won’t let anyone adopt a bird if there are any non-stick pans in the house. I figure, if it kills birds, it’s probably not good for people. (Thanks for the article – I found through Instapundit – I’m bookmarking and will be checking back here.)

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thank you for bookmarking my site, Laurie! I hope to see you visit often. 🙂

  4. Umm I have questions re SS. I would like a set but it seems so temperamental. So to put a pan in a hot oven you have to heat it first on the stovetop or how? Then when it’s hot it has to set and cool down before putting it in the sink?

    Also, what bothers me with nonstick is that it chips and flakes and you end up eating it. I just can’t see that being “a good thing.”

    Thanks for the info! The set you picked looks good and covers most cooking. Plus the price is right. Pots and pans can get so expensive.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Nikita, I’m trying to think of any instance when a person would put a room-temperature stainless steel pan into a hot oven. Most things require stove-top cooking before transferring to the oven, like when you saute veggies and/or brown meat, then add other ingredients and pop into the oven. Even a roast, for instance, would get browned on the stove first. And wouldn’t anything that didn’t involve stove-top cooking to start with actually go into a casserole or baking dish, and not a SS pan?

      Yeah, they are a little finicky at first, but only for a short time. Once you reach the point where you can recognize by touching the rim of the pan when it’s about ready, and what amount of oil to use, everything’s fine.

      Did you know non-stick pans warp if you put them in the sink when they’re hot, too?

    2. A SS roasting pan would be an example. I am looking at this site because I received a 3 ply All-Clad SS Roasting pan with rack for my birthday and am trying to figure out if I should lower the oven temp or shorten the cooking time for roasted whole chicken or cornish hens. The first one I overcooked (and I do want crispy skin).

    3. Katie Berry says:

      As it happens, I was given one a SS roasting pan recently, too. There are a couple of ways to do this. I like to put the room-temperature pan in the oven while I preheat, then pull it out and put the chicken, which has been coated with olive oil, skin-side down for a minute. That starts the skin browning and crisping, then I turn the chicken right-side up, pop a thermometer in, and roast away.

    4. Good idea! Thanks a bunch!

  5. DCHomewares says:

    These are really great tips. I love using my stainless pots as well but glad to know that people are still using cast iron skillets and pans. You’ve got to love those vintage cookwares, I got one that is originally my grandma’s 🙂

  6. Hi,
    The last of our non-stick cookware is an electric griddle that I keep because I can’t seem to get pancakes to cook in SS without making a mess of every single one…do you know of any tricks for pancakes?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      The trick is remembering to let the pan AND the oil re-heat between batches of pancakes. I think a lot of us tend to figure that if pancakes are sticking we need to turn the heat down, but that’s actually the opposite of what we need to do when using SS. Remember what I said about the pan having “pores” until it gets hot? That’s what’s causing them to stick. So put the burner on 6 and wait until it gets good and hot, as in that video clip I linked to in my entry. Then add oil or an oil-butter combo but NOT straight butter.

      You’re going to want to use a bit more than normal, too, because you want the oil to sink into those pores and create a surface on which your pancakes will float. Wait until that’s shimmering, then add your batter. Watch for the edges to begin looking dry and the bubbles that form on the top. Wait again between batches, adding more oil as needed, so those “pores” stay filled with oil and not batter. (How weird to think of oil-filled pores as being a good thing, right?)


    2. Funnily enough pancakes is the first thing I tried with my new stainless steel pan and it worked like magic!!! I’ve just let the pan preheat to 6 and then made the pancakes completely without oil or butter. They didn’t stick whatsoever. But I make thin European style pancakes, not thick American style ones. Maybe that’s the difference? And I’ve freshly seasoned the new pan the day before.

  7. Finally had enough of my teflon pans. The teflon was coming off and although I haven’t read or done any research on the stuff, I just can’t see how ingesting the stuff can be good for my family. So with some Christmas money from my in-laws I bought a new set of SS yesterday. First thing this morning my husband cooked an egg and sprayed it with Pam. Wrong. My beautiful new pan is all grimy and brown. Hopefully with some Barkeepers Friend we can get that thing looking like new again.

    Your cooking tips and information on the SS were very helpful and I cooked a flawless dinner with my new pans, and they cleaned up beautifully after. Thanks for the info.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      So glad to have helped, MaryLee! My husband did the same thing with Pam on ours, and I about blew my top. Now I keep a spray bottle with 1/2 cup olive oil and 1 tbsp distilled water next to the stove. Swirl before use and spray it on just like Pam!

  8. I have had a set of SS since several years ago. I cooked with them a few times and hated it. I either thought I was a horrible cook or that stainless steel just plain sucks lol. Little did I know that you need to preheat the pan then add oil before cooking. My entire life all I have know are Teflon non stick pans. I finally got fed up with my dying set of pans that were cracking and chipping plus full of harmful chemicals.
    I am now learning how to cook with stainless steel and cast iron and so excited about learning new methods of cooking while I also spring clean my house and downsize my possessions from cluttered to minimalist. That way I have only what I need. Things that work great and that I actually use: LOVE to use!

  9. I tend to cook quite often with frozen foods. I JUST bought my first set of All Clad D5, since I have been reading about SS cooking. Do I need to stop cooking from frozen?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      If you’re stirring frozen ingredients into already heated ones (adding frozen veggies to a soup, for instance), I wouldn’t change a thing. But I wouldn’t throw frozen chicken breasts straight into an otherwise empty hot pan.

  10. What about using cooking sprays instead of oil? I don’t use oil when cooking 9 out of 10 times. I do not want the extra fat ((don’t need to hear about sprays being bad, lol.)

    I just got an all clad stainless steel set for christmas and after cooking one time and having to spend 30 min cleaning the pan I’m already ready to send it back 🙁

    A chef friend of mine suggested bringing baking soda and water to a boil to clean it. You mentioned letting it cool before cleaning. So … after boiling the baking soda and water … would I then let it cool before moving it to the sink to scrub/wipe?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Cooking sprays do work but you need quite a bit more than with Teflon pans. It’s still fewer calories than if you were using oil, though.

      Bringing baking soda and water — or vinegar and water — to boil in stainless steel does help to loosen cooked-on foods. Then you kind of scrape around with a wood or rubber spatula to get as much of the gunk up, dump it, and wash. Since you’re using hot water to wash and rinse (right? right???) you don’t have to wait.

      I know it can be kind of a steep learning curve to switch to stainless, but once you get the hang of it they’re fantastic. I’m on the same set of pots and pans and they look brand new.

    2. Thank you for your reply!!! I came across your blog by googling and didn’t expect a reply since this is an older post!

      I used cooking spray last night and it took me 30min to clean one pan 🙁 Problem is it was a skillet and the spray mainly stuck on the SIDES. That wasn’t easy to boil off since I had to fill it so full and it still didn’t really get the rim of the pan. I ended up rubbing bar keepers friend soft scrub all over sides and rim and put it back on heat with just a LITTLE water in the bottom. It formed a “crust” of sorts on the sides when it got hot and came right off when I took it to sink to wash (yes in warm water.) I’m thinking of making my own Cooking Spray. Since TECHNICALLY cooking spray is NOT macro (fat/calorie) free .. especially with the amount you have to use to really see good results. The nutrient difference wouldn’t be any different (if not less) in a homemade version using just oil and water in a spray bottle. Hoping that doesn’t leave a film!!

    3. Katie Berry says:

      Well, I’m glad you found my blog! 🙂

      Sounds like you’ve learned the hard way that you need to spray the sides of the skillet, too. As far as the gunk on the bottom, I usually let the pan cool while we’re eating then wash as much gunk off as I can. To get rid of the rest, dump any water out of the pan and sprinkle on some Barkeeper’s Friend. Scrub with that — you want to scour it, basically — and rinse repeatedly. Boom, the gunk goes away.

      It helps to remember, too, to use a cold water soak for eggs, potatoes, and rice. Hot water will just bind those to the pan even more.

      Making your own cooking spray is a cinch. Be sure to add 1 tsp. water for every 8 oz. oil and swirl it before use. The water will help propel the oil through the spray nozzle without clogging.


    4. I am in a similar situation I got some new All Clas from my husband this year for Christmas and the first few times after cooking with them cleaning was a pain. But I think I’m learning what I did wrong and this blog seems to have some great advice that is on point. I think preheating then heating oil is key. The last couple times I cooked that way and it was way way reduced in terms of anything sticking to the pan. And I am using a little more oil than I used to with nonstick, at a little lower temperature also. I think it’s just a learning curve like the blog author mentioned. Good luck!

    5. Katie Berry says:

      I’m glad you found my tips helpful, Candace!

    6. Sean Echols says:

      Sounds like your not preheating correctly or adding oil before pan is at the correct temperature.

      Nothing beats a good set of stainless and this is from a guy who loves cast iron.

  11. I just invested in a Calphalon SS omelette skillet and watched a lot of youtube videos but came across your blog and wanted to thank you for the tips! I grew up on cast iron but have cooked on nonstick since the 90s so not as steep a learning curve but just more of a remembering how thing. LOL And I cracked up at teaching your husband new words when he washed the cast iron! LOL That is something my husband would have done with my pans.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      My husband was awful on my pans! Enjoy your omelettes. 🙂

  12. Irma Ashayagori says:

    Thank you so much for all the tips from all of you. I just bought a SS set and my first meal came out so bland my 13 year old son was so dissapointed. Taking all these tips and starting again. Way scared to learn to cook again after 27 years. But got tired of buying pot set after pot set.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the tips! Getting used to cooking with (and cleaning) SS pans takes a bit of time but once you get the hang of it you’ll never look back. Like you said, it’s wonderful not having to replace set after set!

  13. Cyndee Jueschke says:

    We use a LOT of olive oil in our cooking and every single pot and pan I’ve purchased looks ruined within a short period of time (one of those things that bugs the heck out of me), so from your blog (which I love) I gather that SS will not look burnt from now until hereafter? Yes, I realize it must be cleaned properly and I’m more than willing to take the time and effort to clean it properly.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      If you’re willing to clean it properly after each use then it should look fine. I’m a big fan of Bar Keeper’s Friend to scrub my stainless steel pots and pans after each use. It’s all natural, and it scours away burned on food wonderfully.

  14. Hi. Just purchased a set of SS fry pans. Am having ALOT of trouble not getting eggs to stick. Also just curious – I feel like I’m using a lot more oil than non-stick?? Thank you

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’ve found that I need to heat my fry pan for several minutes, add oil and swirl it around, then let the oil heat another minute before adding the eggs. Once I have, I turn the heat down to medium so they don’t burn. Letting the pan get good and hot first, and then the oil is the trick so you don’t wind up using twice as much oil.

  15. I don’t know if my last comment posted so I am going to try and post again.

    When cooking with my SS covered I boil over, even after turning down the heat, because I read your article. Got any tips? Boiling over frustrates me so much and I want to love my SS but I just can’t yet. I hope to the more I learn.

    Also, my husband makes fried chicken and insists the way he learned it in a recipe book you fry it in oil, is that okay to do in a SS? Because last time he did it, it sort of got all ugly colored and scorched in a way. I have managed to clean it since. I plan on doing some real cleaning after I have read your tips to keep my SS tip-top and lasting for years!

    Please help answer these questions for me. Thanks!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Sorry about that Ayla — I was just a bit surprised someone would ask about boiling water. 🙂 The easiest solution is not covering the pot. If the recipe calls for boiling AND covering, and you’ve got the heat turned down as low as you can go, it’s time to wonder about the recipe. Covering a pot traps the heat, so anything boiling is bound to overflow, and that’s true for SS or any other material. Most recipes say to bring to a boil then reduce to simmer — on my stove that’s the lowest setting possible.

      As far as frying chicken in oil, sure it’s okay to do in SS. I make fried chicken all the time! When you’re done and washing the cooled pan, give it a rinse then dump out any water and sprinkle in some salt then scour it with a sponge or dishcloth. (Or use Barkeeper’s Friend.) Since SS is porous, the oil from frying chicken needs to get scrubbed out of the pores. Once you’ve scoured it, wash with hot soapy water, rinse well, and dry.

  16. J Livingston says:

    Thanks for the tips! Just got a set for Christmas and found your site. Can’t wait to try them out. May I ask, how is your husband?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you found my site and hope that these tips help you enjoy your new stainless steel cookware! And thank you for inquiring about my husband’s health. Sadly, he passed away from brain cancer but we had a wonderful time together while he was alive.

  17. Hi, I read a lot on the internet about how to use stainless steel skillets/frying pans, but what about saucepans?

    For example, cooking porridge on the stove? If I heat the saucepan first and add oil and then my porridge, I fry my porridge, which is not what I had in mind. I have however tried heating porridge in a cold SS saucepan with and without oil, and don’t seem to have any issues.

    I’ve not tried that with a sauce though, and I think I would likely burn the sauce if I heated the pan first, especially a delicate one.

    What would be your advice?

    Many thanks

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Okay, saucepans are a bit different. For the most part, they’re not used for things you’re worried about sticking. Still, like you point out, you don’t want to fry porridge. When you’re making something liquid-based (like boiling porridge or making soup), you don’t need to preheat the pan. Just add the liquid and turn the burner on then cook your food.

      Fat-based sauces — like gravies or other ones that start with butter, lard or oil — you also don’t have to worry about sticking, since you’re going to wind up stirring them almost constantly, anyway. So, again, plop the fat into the pan then turn the burner on and proceed with your recipe.

      I hope that’s not too confusing. The point is: the only time you need to preheat the pan before adding oil is when you’re frying or sauteeing.

    2. Fabulous! That’s what I thought and what I’ve found with my limited experiments. Just wanted to hear it from an expert. Thanks so much!

    3. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome!

  18. Kathy Chapman says:

    Hi My loveable husband got me a set of SS cookware. Every time I make fried potatoes, all they do is stick it pan and burn on bottom. They do not brown on top. Should I soak the potatoes in cold water before I cut them or is my pan just not hot enough. Or does it matter what oil you use.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      It sounds like you need to use more oil and flip them halfway through.

  19. SG Anderson says:

    I just lucked into a fantastic buy at a yard sale…a full 1950’s Presto Pride copper clad cookware set for $30. I have been looking at new sets, biding my time until the right set caught my eye. This set is in perfect condition, looks brand new, and is very heavy! I am sooooo excited to get rid of all of the old pieces I was holding on to (your know, for my husbands benefit – Mr. Metal utensil, steel wool scrubby). I plan of filling the trash-can. Finding your blog has been a god-send! I knew cooking with SS was different, but now I have the scoop! I printed out your guidelines and I am going to laminate them and put them on the inside of the cabinet so he sees them EVERYTIME he takes a piece out to use. I will get him trained, I swear, he is a work in progress, we have only been together 25 years. Stainless steel and cast iron are the only way to go!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Susan,
      What a great yard sale find! Those copper bottom pans are amazing, and the weight means they cook more evenly than the newer stuff, too. Congratulations on your great deal!

  20. Strangely I bought a used stainless pan that was filthy- like all this gross cooked on oil. The first few times I used it, it was great and then it started to make everything stick. Theres white residue that appears to be embedded on the pan. My question- was removing the layers of cooked on grease the wrong move? I think maybe it was protecting and sealing the pan like cast iron. Has anyone really seasoned a pan and noticed a difference?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I don’t season my stainless steel pans, but I’ve read that other people do. The white residue can usually be removed by scrubbing with baking soda or Bar Keepers friend. It happens quite often on stainless steel, especially if you put it through the dishwasher. It’s not a big deal — just sprinkle some cleaner on, scrub gently, and wash.

  21. What can be done for a ss pan, using heat 7 to boil water, that has a heat bump on the bottom?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Deb,
      Unfortunately, it sounds like the pan has warped. There’s no easy fix for that.

  22. Hello,
    Thank you for this informative post. My question is about salt and SS, I read that I shouldn’t add salt to cold water in a SS pot, but then what about salted meat sitting on the bottom of the pan?
    I want to cook stuffed wine leaves in my new SS pot and to do that we layer (in a cold pot) olive oil, seasoned meat, stuffed wine leaves and then immerse all in salted water and lemon juice.
    I can use boiled water and dissolve the salt prior to adding to pot, but I am just wondering if the salt on the meet will damage the bottom of my pot?


    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Nora,
      I’ve heard that about salt and SS, too. My understanding is that the concern arises when high concentrations of salt come into direct contact with the pot. Since cold water doesn’t dissolve salt quickly, there’s the potential for salt grains to sit on the bottom and cause problems. I’ve been using my SS set for years and haven’t encountered this problem at all.

      With salted meat, or with the recipe as you described above, there’s a layer of oil between the salt and the pot. Since both the pot and the oil are already heated, the salt begins to dissolve immediately. I wouldn’t leave the SS pot sitting with salty oil, wine, and lemon juice for hours afterward, but who wants to leave a dirty pot sitting around all day, anyway?

      Since SS pots and pans have excellent resistance against corrosion, if you do see any discoloration (usually from the metal’s “pores” closing and trapping food while the pan cools), gentle cleaning with Bar Keeper’s Friend and a sponge or dishrag should clean it right up.

      And, by the way, your recipe sounds fantastic!

  23. Any tips on how to cook eggs in stainless steel? Since they have to be cold, going into a hot pan makes a layer of ick that’s so difficult to clean, and makes me regret buying them! I preheat, use oil… I’m at a loss!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Amanda,
      Using stainless steel to cook eggs can be a challenge. The trick is to use plenty of oil. I’ve found that heating the pan then spraying it a cooking spray doesn’t work as well as heating it and then adding a generous glug of oil from the bottle. Swirl the pan to spread the oil around on the sides and then add more if you don’t see a good layer on the bottom of the pan.

      After cooking, take the pan off the heat and let it cool completely. A short soak in warm water should loosen up any mess; then you can scrape it away with a wood or rubber spatula and wash the pan.

  24. Thanks for the informative article. This might be a silly question, but is preheating & oiling necessary for the pots if you are cooking with liquids? For instance, heating a can of beans, boiling veggies, making rice, etc. Thanks for your reply.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Ashley! That’s not a silly question at all. Preheating isn’t necessary for cooking the things you mentioned, just for frying or sautéing. ?

  25. My husband boiled something in water and it left whit spots all over the insides, any suggestions?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      That happens sometimes. I notice it often when I boil pasta or potatoes. The good news is that it’s not hard to get rid of those marks — just lightly dampen the pot and scour it with a rag dipped into baking soda, salt, or even Barkeeper’s Friend. Rub well then rinse and towel dry. Voila, no more spots!

  26. Dear Katie,
    We just ordered a glass top rangesince our old one got tired. All of the stove manufactures recommend flat bottom stainless steels cookware to prevent scratching the top.
    This morning I ordered all clad pots and pans due in this Thurs. I plan to use your blog to look for answer’s to any problems that I may run into or any that some of your other readers face.
    Thank you for being there for us

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Ray,
      I love my glass top range, and stainless steel works beautifully with it. Be sure to check my homemade soft scrub recipe for a good, safe scouring powder to eliminate the burned-on bits such range tops develop. (Or maybe I’m just a particularly messy cook?) Enjoy!

  27. Steve says,
    Between kids and grand kids I have had several frying pans with the heat bumps. I take them outside, lay them across a couple of pieces of wood. Then I take a section of a 4″ x 4″ post and tap lightly with a small sledge. I’ve saved many a “rocking pan”

    1. Katie Berry says:

      What a great tip, Steve! Thank you for sharing it!

  28. I’m just starting out with my new stainless steel pan and so far I’m quite excited. Your seasoning instructions helped me to make perfect lamb chops and amazing pancakes, but an omelette that I made with bacon on the bottom got stuck and burned. The bacon was fine on it’s own, but when I added the eggs it started sticking. Do you have any ideas why? And do you have any recommendation what to cook with stainless steel pans and what better with iron cast pans?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Anja,
      Your previous comment indicated that you didn’t use butter or oil, and that’s probably why your eggs stuck. In step 4 above, I explain why oiling after preheating is important.

    2. margaret chemutai says:

      Am glad I found this blog.
      Very helpful info.thanks a lot.
      I purchased my SS pots and pans three months ago and haven’t use them because I didn’t know how , but now I will start using the following your guidance .unfortunately am fro a remote country and can’t find the bar keepers cleaner but anyway I ca use vinegar or bicarbonate of sofa.thank you

    3. Katie Berry says:

      Bicarbonate works, as does salt.

  29. Thanks for the great info!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome!

  30. Best advice I’ve read for stainless steel cookware. I’ve had my Le Creuset stainless steel cookware set for a while and struggled to get the best out of them. Once I tried your advice no more sticking, perfectly cooked food and so easy to clean. I can now get rid of all my non-stick pans and roasters.

    Thank you.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Glad to hear it, Henry!

  31. I’ve read countless articles to figure out this shockingly confusing stainless steel cooking issue, but, finally, I’ve found yours: the most complete, logical, best-written one yet!

    No matter what oil I use (even 500°-rated refined avocado), and with the stove set even below dead-medium, there’s always a lot of smoke, burning, and my detectors go off. Do I just have a super-hot stove?

    Also, although I never, ever wash the pan until after it’s cold, it warped, and now the oil runs to the sides if I pour it into the middle. Why does the warping occur?

    Could it be that I deglaze with cold liquids? You didn’t mention whether or not the deglaze liquid should be pre-heated.

    Please help. And thank you for the article!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      It can be really frustrating, can’t it? The burning oil issue can be due to a number of things, starting with the heat setting. But also make sure you’re using a pan that’s not too big for what you’re cooking — extra, empty surface area leads to burning oil. Make sure you’re matching the burner size to the pan, too. Using a large burner for a small pan gets the sides of the pan super hot.

      That said, some foods are just prone to filling the kitchen with smoke — burgers and steaks are big culprits. With those, once you get a nice dark, golden sear on the outside, lower the heat to finish cooking.

      As for the warping, it could be the cold deglazing liquids. Any time you pour any cold liquid into a hot metal pan it can cause problems. Using too big of a pan, so that only the center is covered with food, can also cause it. 🙂

  32. Confused!? says:

    You say leave the pan cool naturally after cooking, the instructions that came with my cruisinsrt stainless steel pan said fill immediately with hot water And liquid soap and let’s set till it cools. Then clean. Confused!?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      When in doubt, go with the manufacturer’s instructions. Not all sets are as sturdy as Cuisinart, though. Someone with a less sturdy set following those directions might very well hold their hot pan under the faucet while turning it on — with the result that the hot pan first gets doused with cold water while the tap heats up. See? That’s why I recommend just letting them cool on their own while you enjoy your food.

  33. Thanks for your SS tips / REALLY helpful!!

    When you want to heat a pan of cold water to boil pasta, how do you do it? Preheat pan and add room temperature water? Or something else?

    And if re-heating some leftovers……(eg chicken pasta dish…?!) …. again pre hear and food at room temperature?

    Thanks so much 🙂

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Michelle!

      I’m glad you’re finding my tips on cooking with stainless steel helpful! As far as water for boiling pasta, I fill the pan with lukewarm or hot water out of the tap then put it on the burner, and then turn the heat on. Using lukewarm water keeps the burner’s heat from warping the pan.

      For reheating leftovers, pull them out of the fridge long enough to take off the chill a bit. Ten to fifteen minutes usually does the trick.


  34. Katie – thx so much for your quick reply. You’ve also helped me figure out the best way to deal with frozen home made soup and stock – think ahead and defrost and bring to room temperature!

    I’ll check your other pages for household tips 🙂

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re so welcome! I know it’s difficult thinking ahead like that sometimes, so don’t forget you can also fill the pot with a couple centimeters of warm/hot water to cover the bottom then add your frozen soup or stock to it. So long as the icy lump isn’t sitting directly on the base of the pot when you turn on the heat, you’ll be fine.

  35. Brilliant – thank you Katie! 🙂

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome!

  36. You mentioned using straight butter when cooking pancakes is not a good idea on SS. Why is that?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      The smoke point of butter is lower than oil, so it tends to burn and then stick to the pan. Using oil, or combining oil and butter if you want that butter flavor, keeps this from happening.

  37. Is it ok to make spaghetti sauce or any sauce with tomatoes in the SS pans?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Yes, acidic foods like tomatoes and sauce are fine.

  38. francesca says:

    hello, how do you saute “frozen” veggies (as per instructions, cook frozen) in a SS fry pan? … much thx.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’ll experience warping with any kind of metal pan if you heat it then add frozen vegetables to it. With SS, follow the steps I mentioned and keep the time between adding oil and adding your vegetables short.

    2. francesca says:

      ty for the quick reply … I am not sure the “steps” you mentioned I need to follow … can you re-iterate pls and ty.

    3. Katie Berry says:

      Specifically, items 1-4 above.

    4. francesca says:

      got it … basically same preheating steps as cooking eggs, pancakes … much thanx!

    5. Katie Berry says:

      Yep. Just make sure it doesn’t get scorching hot. You’ve got this!

  39. I keep finding conflicting information. Your post made sense to me, but I am trying to cook on a new induction cooktop and I don’t think these tips apply to that type of surface? Am I wrong?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I don’t have an induction cooktop, so I can’t speak from experience cooking on one, but I do know that not all stainless steel cookware is magnetic. It depends on the type of cookware you have. Since induction involves passing heat through magnetic currents, if your cookware isn’t magnetic, it won’t heat evenly. You might want to look for ferritic stainless steel cookware since it’s magnetic. I hope that helps. 🙂