Cooking with stainless steel can be a challenge. The food often sticks to the pan, making it difficult to remove and clean.
However, if you follow these eleven tips, you’ll be able to cook with stainless steel like a pro! – without food sticking to it. So read how to cook with stainless steel so that the food does not stick.
My stainless steel cookware including the base and sides has one layer of aluminum between two layers of stainless steel. This distributes heat evenly and energy efficiently from several directions and makes it easy to regulate. I have been using this cookware set for years, and in this article, I am going to share the tips that have worked best for me.
- 1 Does the Food Stick to Stainless Steel Cookware?
- 2 How to Cook with Stainless Steel Without sticking?
- 2.1 1 – Always Preheat the Pan
- 2.2 2 – But Avoid Dry Boiling
- 2.3 3 – How Long to Preheat – The Water Test
- 2.4 4 – Always Add Fats
- 2.5 5 – Avoid Overheating the Fats
- 2.6 6 – Food Temperature Matters too
- 2.7 7 – Add Food after Adding Fat
- 2.8 8 – Do not flip the meat until it releases on its own
- 2.9 9 – The Fond
- 2.10 10 – Abrupt Temperature Change
- 2.11 11 – Rule for Adding salt
- 3 How To Clean Stainless Steel Cookware If Food Sticks
- 4 Stainless Steel is a Popular cookware material
- 5 The Bottom Line
- 6 FAQs
Does the Food Stick to Stainless Steel Cookware?
The simple answer is yes, sometimes food can stick to stainless steel cookware. But don’t worry – there are ways to get it off without damaging the pan.
But just so you know food sticking is not always a bad thing. Fond which is the brown bits that stick to the pan after cooking can actually enhance the flavor of your sauce, don’t be afraid to let some of the food stick to the pan and then deglaze it with some liquid like water, wine or broth.
Deglazing is a cooking technique where you remove the fond from the pan by adding a liquid and scraping the bits off of the pan with a wooden or metal spatula.
How to Cook with Stainless Steel Without sticking?
If you’re worried about food sticking to your stainless steel cookware, there are a few things you can do to prevent it.
1 – Always Preheat the Pan
First, make sure your pan is properly heated before adding oil or food. A cold pan will cause food to stick. Unless you are warming soup or steaming vegetables.
2 – But Avoid Dry Boiling
yes, preheating is important, but you also don’t want to overheat the pan empty. This can cause rainbow tints and discoloration. These spots are called heat tints and they happen when the chromium in the steel reacts with oxygen in the air at high temperatures. They can be hard to get rid of.
3 – How Long to Preheat – The Water Test
When you become a pro with stainless steel you can feel the temperature is right just by holding your hand close to the surface of the pan. But when you’re just starting out, the best way to test if your pan is properly heated is by using the water test.
Drop a few drops of water into the pan, if they evaporate immediately then the pan is not hot enough but If the water droplets dance around (like mercury), the pan is ready.
4 – Always Add Fats
Once the pan is hot, add oil to help prevent sticking. You don’t need to drench the pan, just add enough to coat the bottom. In a hot pan, the oil will spread out on its own.
5 – Avoid Overheating the Fats
If the pan is too hot and the oil gets more time on the hot metal surface to oxidize and break down, it will get gummy and viscous, and that can cause sticking.
6 – Food Temperature Matters too
As important as it is to get the pan at the right temperature, the food you’re cooking also needs to be at room temperature.
Let the egg you’re about to fry sit out on the counter for some time before cooking. Adding a cold chicken breast to a hot pan will cause the temperature of the pan to drop and the chicken will stick.
7 – Add Food after Adding Fat
After the oil is heated, add your food to the pan. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan, otherwise, the food will steam instead of sear and it will stick.
8 – Do not flip the meat until it releases on its own
If you are making a steak in a stainless steel pan, do not flip it until it releases on its own. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes. Once it releases, you can then flip it and cook it for the desired amount of time.
9 – The Fond
Remember I talked about the fond earlier, well the fond is actually a good thing. It’s the brown bits that stick to the pan after cooking and can enhance the flavor of your sauce. So don’t be afraid to let some of the food stick to the pan and then deglaze it with some liquid like water, wine, or broth.
You’ll have delicious sauce with your steak in no time.
10 – Abrupt Temperature Change
The abrupt temperature change can warp your stainless steel cookware. So avoid adding cold liquid to a hot pan or putting a hot pan under cold water. Instead, let the pan cool down gradually on its own before washing.
11 – Rule for Adding salt
We all love to eat pasta but when do you add salt? Some people add salt right after they’ve added the pasta to the water but this can actually cause pitting to your stainless steel pot surface because the salt takes longer to dissolve in cold water and sits on the surface. So the general rule is to add salt to the water only after it has come to a boil.
How To Clean Stainless Steel Cookware If Food Sticks
If you do have food that is stuck to your pan, don’t worry, it’s easy to clean. The first thing you want to do while the pan is still warm is clean the stainless steel pan using a paper towel. Remove any crumbs or bits that you are able to. Use tongs if you have to.
Then, add some water to the pan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes. The heat will help loosen any stuck-on food.
After a few minutes, use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape off any remaining food. If there is still food stuck on, you can repeat the process.
Personally, I avoid using a dishwasher to clean my stainless steel cookware because dishwashing detergents can be a bit harsh and also leave water marks. I prefer to hand wash my stainless steel cookware with warm soapy water and then dry it off with a clean towel.
Stainless Steel is a Popular cookware material
Stainless Steel vs Cast Iron vs Non-Stick
Stainless steel is a popular choice for many people because it doesn’t corrode, it doesn’t react with food and it’s easy to clean.
If you compare it to a cast iron skillet, it is lighter in weight and does not require seasoning and maintenance. if you compare it to a non-stick pan, it can withstand higher temperatures without releasing toxins into the food.
A stainless steel pan also does not require special utensils, so you can use your regular wooden or metal spatula.
Most Stainless steel can go in the oven but make sure to read your manufacturer’s manual especially if your stainless steel has parts that cannot withstand high heat.
The Bottom Line
Stainless steel is a great material for cookware, but if you’re not careful it can stick. We’ve given you some tips on how to avoid this and make your meals with stainless steel a success.
Remember to always preheat the pan before adding oil or food, use room temperature ingredients whenever possible, and don’t flip the meat until it releases on its own.
If food does stick, no worries! The bits that are stuck can be used to create an excellent sauce for your steak.
And finally, remember to clean your stainless steel cookware properly if the food does stick – heating it with some water while scraping with a spatula and finally rinsing with dish soap and water will usually do the trick.
Have you tried cooking with stainless steel? What tricks have worked best for you? Be sure to read my other article about how to make stainless steel non-stick for more ideas.
Is it hard to cook with stainless steel pans?
No, it’s not hard to cook with stainless steel pans. The key is to use the right amount of oil or butter and to preheat the pan before adding food.
Do I need to use special utensils with stainless steel?
No, you don’t need to use special utensils with stainless steel. You can use your regular wooden or metal spatula.
Can I put my stainless steel pan in the oven?
Most stainless steel pans can go in the oven but make sure to read your manufacturer’s manual especially if your stainless steel has parts that cannot withstand high heat.
What foods should not be cooked in stainless steel?
There are no specific foods that should not be cooked in stainless steel. However, fried eggs and delicate fish can be difficult to cook with stainless steel because they tend to stick to the pan. But with experience, you’ll learn how to cook these foods without them sticking.