Stainless steel cookware doesn’t get as much attention as non stick cookware these days. That’s unfortunate since good stainless steel can be an excellent cookware for your home. We researched online reviews and tests to compile the best list of stainless steel cookware pros and cons so you can be as well prepared to make a purchasing decision as possible. If you’re interested in in non stick cookware be sure to check out our article “What is the best non stick cookware?” Continue reading to learn the details as well as some addition tips and information to help you with your shopping goal.
Stainless Steel Cookware Pros
Stainless steel cookware is extremely durable, especially when compared to non stick coated pans. It is very scratch and dent resistant. This also means it holds up well to vigorous cleaning and metal utensils.
With the great durability comes it’s ability to easily be tossed in the dishwasher without worry. Some non stick cookware may tout that it’s dishwasher safe but ultimately this wears on the non stick coating and will ultimately shorten its usable lifespan. Cast iron also can’t be put in a dishwasher as it will hurt the seasoning and can cause rusting.
Good heat retention and transfer
This is assuming you’re buying quality stainless steel cookware. If your buying tri ply stainless steel cookware you’re much better off. Tri ply is stainless steel with an aluminum core. Aluminum conducts heat much better than stainless steel alone and allows for more even heating. There are also stainless steel cookware designs with aluminum only in the base to help with conductivity but this is less than ideal and doesn’t perform as well as tri ply designs.
If you want to help do your part for the environment then you can rest assured that stainless steel cookware fits the bill. Although, even though it’s recyclable you may never get the opportunity to do so given how resilient stainless steel is.
Stainless Steel Cookware Cons
Good quality stainless steel cookware is expensive and you’ll want to get good quality cookware or it won’t perform well. Quality stainless steel cookware will have a layer of stainless steel on the top and bottom of the pan with aluminum in the core. Aluminum is a good heat conductor and stainless steel isn’t. Aluminum isn’t durable so encapsulating it with stainless steel is a great marriage.
Not Non Stick
Stainless steel cookware is not non stick unfortunately although there are ways to improve its non stick properties. Cooking with butter or oil will greatly help with sticking. Seasoning with an oil such as flaxseed oil will also help add a natural non stick layer to the cooking surface.
Things To Keep In Mind
Is it safe to use stainless steel cookware?
Stainless steel cookware is considered safe. There is potential for trace amounts of metals like nickel or chromium to work its way into your food from deep scratches or gouges in the cookware. These are not toxic metals and should not be a concern unless you happen to be unlucky enough to have an allergy to them.
Do Things stick to stainless steel pans?
Unfortunately yes, however using butter or oil while cooking generally resolve this problem. You can try seasoning your pan with flaxseed oil to create a natural non stick layer on the surface of the cookware.
How do you care for stainless steel cookware?
Soak in hot water with soap after cooking and then wash, rinse, and dry. Stainless steel is dishwasher safe if you prefer to wash that way.
It’s not recommended to use strong abrasives like steel wool or oven cleaner.
Salt can cause minor discoloration or pitting which isn’t going to harm cooking performance but may be considered unsightly by some. To help prevent this, add salt later in the cooking process to minimize contact.
How do you remove burnt food from stainless steel?
Add a small amount of baking soda with some water and allow to sit for an 30 minutes or so before trying to scrub off the burnt on buildup. If you’re still having trouble you can repeat the process or try using vinegar if the buildup is particularly hard to remove.
How do I season a stainless steel pan?
- Clean the pan thoroughly prior to seasoning.
- Apply a high smoke point oil to the cooking surface, such as flaxseed oil or peanut oil.
- Place the pan on medium to medium high heat on the stove top until the oil begins to smoke and burn off. Alternatively you can place the pan in the oven at 350 to 400 degrees and allow the oil to burn off.
- Once the oil has burned off, allow the pan to cool some and then wipe any remaining oil away with a paper towel.
- To maintain the seasoned surface do not clean with soap and water. Simply rinse with soap and wipe clean with a paper towel. If it needs scrubbing use a bit of salt as an abrasive.
Can you use stainless steel cookware with an induction cooktop?
It will vary from pan to pan. If the type of stainless still used is magnetic then it is probably compatible. If you’re shopping for stainless steel cookware and want to ensure that it’s compatible with your induction cooktop be sure and look for labeling that states it is “induction ready”.
Is Stainless Steel Cookware Oven Safe?
If your cookware is 100% stainless steel it is safe up to temperatures of 500 degrees in an oven. If it has any silicone parts such as on the handle then you shouldn’t exceed 400 degrees however you should follow the manufacturers directions.
The Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel cookware is the workhorse cookware of the commercial kitchen and can be great for the home cook. When considering buying keep in mind the stainless steel cookware pros and cons and plan on avoiding the cheaper options. Premium brands such as All Clad are much better options that ones you’ve never heard of before. Quality stainless steel will cook far more evenly and prevent hot spots that will scorch food in some spots and under cook it in others. Good luck shopping for a quality set of cookware.