Why didn't someone TELL me about stainless steel skillets????

Being a child of the 70’s, I was brought up to believe that the only worthwhile way to fry things was in a non-stick or cast iron pan. I have been harboring the belief that everything sticks hopelessly to anything else!


I lucked out and stumbled upon a high-quality, heavy-bottom stainless steel skillet at a thrift shop a few months ago, and decided to give it a try for all of $3.


FINALLY a pan that not only puts a nice brown crust on a piece of meat (which cast iron will also do) but ALSO allows me to see what I’m doing when I make the sauce afterwards, AND… (Damn all you liars! is remarkably easy to clean! Yes, the sides tend to require a big more elbow grease, but here’s the thing: I LOVE the knowledge that I can actually apply said elbow grease without fear of shredding the delicate surface! This ain’t no candy-ass pan that needs to be babied or it becomes landfill, no sir! THIS is a proper pan that can be left to burn then scrubbed with the harshest materials you can throw at it… and all you get is a nice, shiny, ready-to-go pan that will give you a delicious meal the next time you use it.

And for the record: I have fried eggs in it, fried potatoes, and a variety of other foods I was sure would be hopelessly stuck. Nope. Especially when you let the food alone to cook long enough to release on its own.

I can’t believe I had to live for half a century, being a very good cook, by the way, and be so incredibly misinformed about the reality of a stainless steel pan. I feel duped.

(Of course, high-quality, heavy-bottom stainless steel skillets ain’t cheap, and cheap, thin, badly made skillets are crap, and that’s what I’ve previously experienced… so I didn’t just imagine things…)

So let me share with you young 'uns out there that may suffer from the same misconception: as soon as you are able, get yourself a good quality stainless steel skillet! I don’t know that it makes much difference when it comes to other kinds of pots, but if you cook animal protein in any kind of serious way, this is the ticket!

[Teflon_Illuminati]Another one has found out. Dispatch the Kick-Murder squads![/teflon_illuminati]

Hmm sorry!

I love my stainless steel skillets. In fact, about the only thing I use my nonstick for are eggs. Stainless steel, as the OP pointed out, is the thing you want if you want a nice crisp on things.

Do you have a cast iron or otherwise dark-colored skillet? Those put an even better crisp on things. No clue what the science behind that is, I just know it to be true.

Agreed. It’s a pain in the ass to see nothing but walls and walls of non-stick cookware in stores… My stainless steel pan is a workhorse, knowing I can be rough when cleaning it but knowing it can actually get a good sear and create a good pan sauce. I really don’t get why companies are so obsessed with applying non-stick coating to every single pot or pan in existence.

I didn’t stop in the middle on skillets - I just have cast iron and non-stick. The small non-stick fry pan that I have, from All-Clad, actually does a decent job at browning.

I do love my stainless steel stock pot. Onions and other aromatics brown nicely in the pot, and the brown residue on the pot bottom comes up easily.

I’m disappointed in my hard-anodized aluminum pot. I accidentally boiled off some sugar water in it, and the resulting stuck-on carbon mass has proved impervious to everything I’ve tried.

I love my stainless steel. My husband hates them, he thinks they are hard to clean. He is wrong. I apply the concept of deglazing… he just trys to scrub them. They heat cleanly and evenly and are easier to care for than cast iron, although for really high heat applications, like southern style fried chicken or stir-fry, a well-seasoned and aged cast iron skillet cannot be beat.

Heh, I only knew stainless steel and cast iron when I grew up. I remember the first teflon pans and people were just amazed at them! No more soaking your pots or using steel wool on them! Non-stick is fairly “new” and doesn’t require any cleaning time to speak of, so of course, stores will sell more of them, if possible.

I refuse to use any non-stick or aluminum - I don’t want non-stick crap in my food and aluminum is ok, but can’t compare.

I have a couple glass pots and some stainless pots and use them a lot, but have cast iron, too.

Anyone who says that stainless steel is hard to clean simply doesn’t know about deglazing, in my experience.

To quickly & easily clean your stainless:

Put the pan on the stove over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, throw in a cup or two of water. Stand back, it’ll steam. When the steam dies down, bring it to a boil, and scrape the bottom & sides with a spatula.

Very, very few things won’t come off using this method. Steel wool and elbow grease is not necessary.

No offense, but that doesn’t sound easier to clean than well seasoned cast iron. :slight_smile:

I think the problem is that many, many people have been burned (metaphorically, for the most part) by cheap stainless steel skillets.

Don’t get me started on the craptacular el-cheapo skillet I bought a while back. Damn thing doesn’t even sit on the stovetop properly anymore, because it distorted from the heat. Ugh.

OTOH, a good-quality skillet like my Lagostina? Yeah… it’s a thing of beauty. Gorgeous even heat distribution, browns meat like a dream, and cleans up with a minimum of scrubbing. You just need to have the patience and wait until the food sears up enough to release on its own, rather than giving in to temptation and flipping too soon. I ruined a few chicken breasts learning that lesson. :slight_smile:

I recently discovered the awesomeness that is tri ply cookware (stainless steel with hunk of aluminum sandwiched between for heat distribution). Sticking is rarely an issue as long as you preheat the pan before adding the food and keep the heat setting no higher than medium.

The cleaner Barkeepers Friend works awesome to make your pots look like new.

If you can afford them, Scanpan’s titanium covered aluminum skillets are nice too. You can’t hurt them.

Oh it’s not. But as good as cast iron is, it’s not appropriate for all cooking. You risk getting a metallic flavor if you cook highly acidic foods in them, and I dislike them because of their heaviness - I can’t easily flip or jostle the food with one hand, and they get awfully heavy if used for soups or stews.

“Well-seasoned” is also a problem. I can’t tell you how often I’ve gotten my cast iron nicely seasoned, only to find some knucklehead washing it with soap & water a few weeks later.

Don’t get me wrong - I like my cast iron for certain things - but I use my stainless a lot more.

Add me to the list in praise of the heavy stainless steel pans. I never realized the impact the cookware could have on the outcome of a meal until I made Chicken Cacciatore in it for the first time. The chicken was beautifully browned, and there was plenty of fond in the bottom of the pan to make a rich and delicious sauce. It’s now my go to pan for nearly everything.

Whenever I have trouble cleaning it, I just shake in a little bar keepers friend and the stains disappear. If you have stainless steel cookware buy a bottle and keep it handy - it really does make your pans look brand new.

Do they make SS pans with that are smooth on the bottom of the inside? The ones I’ve used were very hard to clean because they had fine concentric grooves on the bottom, machining marks or something.

Oh, so you’ve met my roommate.

You see, I made a steak one night, then left the pan on the stove to cool off, planning on cleaning it up in the morning. Of course, I was running late and didn’t get a chance to clean up until after work.

Of course, that’s when I found my now incredibly rusty cast iron pan soaking in a sink full of water. Oh, the sink was incredibly rusty, too.

I know nothing about different kinds of pots and pans, so this is quite intriguing. how can you tell if a stainless steel skillet is good quality or a piece of junk? are there specific brands that are good?

missed the edit window on my last post. I just wanted to say that I actually started a new “please give me advice about cookware” thread here.

But…but…They have always told me, that, sure, you can use a non-non stick pan, but you’ll need artery -clogging and thigh-fattening amounts of butter or oil to make it work. Are those lies, too? :eek:

I feel your pain. I came home a few weeks ago to find that my husband, in a fit of philanthropy, had washed my cast iron skillet. In the DISHWASHER.