Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Tips for cooking with stainless steel cookware

Cooking with stainless steel.

For those accustomed to using Teflon, the idea of using stainless steel for much more than boiling pasta can be a bit intimidating! I know, because I was there once too.

Even though my mom has been using her stainless steel cookware for longer than I've been alive, I honestly didn't do much cooking until after I was married -- at which point I was using my husband's Wearever Teflon pots and pans.

I loved using Teflon, but studies have shown that the fumes released during high heat are just not good for us (and DuPont, the maker of Teflon has lied about this for financial gain). (Since this isn't a post about the dangers of Teflon, I'll let you do your own further research if you desire!)

When our Teflon pans wore out, I relied on my cast iron skillet more than ever (read about cooking with cast iron here!), along with a few stainless steel pans from a garage sale. Even though my stainless steel pans weren't the highest quality (far from what I now use!) they worked well enough and keeping the health benefits in mind, using the stainless steel pans was not the nightmare I had envisioned! :)

Obviously, the quality of the stainless steel cookware will determine somewhat how easy it is to use.

In a nutshell, when looking for stainless steel cookware (at thrift stores or even brand new) the best options are 18/10 stainless steel (18/8 is all right as well) and have either a thick multi-ply bottom or else multiple layers all the way through (like All-Clad or Multi-Clad), which help conduct the heat evenly. Pans that are thin just burn too easily. If you do a lot of cooking, good cookware is an investment that you'll be enjoying every day!

One of my sauce pans

Tips from my personal experience with stainless steel cookware

1. Keep the heat at medium or below (sometimes higher but never above medium-high!) and keep an eye on what you're cooking. Stir, check, and adjust the heat as you learn about your cookware and even your stove. (The electric burners on my stove are all very different from each other! Truly!)

2. Don't be afraid to add some oil (for frying) or water (for re-heating leftovers). I often refer to package instructions for the best way to cook different frozen veggies. I've learned when I prefer to use my pan lids, and when I prefer to leave the pan uncovered. Usually it's just a matter of experience and trial and error for the various foods! :)

3. Don't expect stainless steel to cook exactly like Teflon cooks. But since I do have a high-quality set of cookware, I haven't had issues with sticking food or burning things. (It is amazing how much difference the quality of the cookware makes when it comes to food sticking!!)

There is one exception though. I am still experimenting with the best way to cook scrambled eggs in stainless steel. (Cast iron seems to work better for eggs, usually.) Sometimes my eggs don't stick a bit; other times they stick a lot. I'm guessing that there is a perfect balance of pre-heating time/temp, oil, and cooking temperature (which of course is affected by the number of eggs thrown into the skillet!) and I just haven't figured out how to do it on my stove. Yet. :) (Anyone have tips for this??)

UPDATE: I tried your suggestions and now making scrambled eggs in my stainless steel cookware is easy and successfully non-stick every time!!

4. If something is stuck on stainless steel, I usually just do a soak in soapy water and it wipes clean the next day. If you're in a hurry or have a particularly annoying stuck-food issue, Bar Keeper's Friend works wonders. It's mild and effective. You could also put some water in the pan and bring it to a boil, to loosen the food.

5. While it is certainly safe to use metal utensils on stainless steel, they will leave small scratch marks on the cookware. This is mostly cosmetic, though larger scratches could increase sticking.

For these reasons, I have personally opted to use only wooden/bamboo, silicone, or nylon utensils whenever they will touch the cookware. I do still have two of my "garage sale pans" and use metal serving utensils with those. They are very scratched but still don't stick much, as long as I've followed rules #1 and 2 above! ;)

6. Bonus tip: How to make perfect fried eggs in a stainless steel skillet

Does anyone have any tips to add to my list?

Here is my review of the stainless steel cookware we own!

Originally published in April, 2009

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1. Homemade breadcrumbs (A Proverbs 31 Wife)
2. Keep a running grocery list (Recipes Happen)


Thanks for sharing the tips about stainless steel cookware. Presently I am using Pampered Chef teflon coated cookware and I am beginning to not like it! They just do not seem to be holding up as good as even the aluminum cookware that I had before it. I think in the coming year I am going to be investing in some better cookware that is NOT teflon coated and your tips will be something I keep in mind. :)

Thanks for hosting kitchen tips! :)


Use clarified butter for oil when cooking your eggs, they just wont stick if you use clarified butter. Scrambled, fried, or omelet preheat the pan add clarified butter add eggs. I have all-clad as well just love them. The saute pan I have had for over ten years never a problem. Tuna

I was wondering when you need to boil water for hard-boiled eggs or pasta or whatever, do you put the pot on high heat then (and cover it, to save time and electricity/gas)?

I do use a lid for things like that, but never high heat. Medium-high is the highest I use. :) I believe the recommendations for most stainless steel cookware is to not use high heat. If you have cheaper cookware (and don't mind possibly harming it) then high heat is probably fine. :)

Thanks for the tips!

Tammy --

Thank you for posting this. I do have on question: Do you preheat the pans before adding the oil? Or just add the oil and put on the heat? Or does it matter?

I'm not sure which is the best way! I have tried both, but need to do more controlled experimentation before I can decide which I prefer... :) Generally I don't pre-heat an empty pan though.

If I am sauteing with garlic or minced ginger, I always add them with the room temperature oil to the cold pan and then turn on the stove. This way the garlic/ginger has a chance to heat up slowly and permeate/infuse the oil, instead of adding it to a hot oiled pan, which gives it just 2-3 minutes before it will burn.

here is the rule of pan...cold oil. You heat your pan if stainless steel on medium to medium low heat...add oil when heated then add food when oil shimmers. Hope this helps.

Preheat the pan for two minutes. Add butter and allow to start to brown or add oil and allow it to begin to ripple before cooking. Eggs or other items will not stick.

the pre heating the pan is the best thing that i herd of...
i burned my eggs the first time just with cooking spray no preheat.. we love our new stainless pots and pans but have to learn how to cook on them.....

I've tried frying / scrambling eggs many times in my good quality stainless pans. They ALWAYS stick. Heating the pan first does not work. Rubbing the cold pan with butter, adding the eggs and then heating does not work. I simply cannot get eggs to not stick, so I'm forced to use my non-stick pan for any egg cooking. I am using good stainless pans and am dissappointed that many foods stick. Any other suggestions?

2 ways to do this is to preaheat stainless pan on high heat for approx 90 seconds on gas, then add small amount of oil and be sure to swish it around to coat entire pan , drop your egg in just before oil smokes, allow to cook untouched for a minute, reduce heat then turn over (should not stick) perfect egg, golden on the outside with soft runny yoke. The other is to season your stainless pan first........heat for 90 seconds on high heat, then add enough oil (peanut or vegetable works fine) to coat bottom of pan entirely, allow to smoke for a couple of seconds.......turn off and allow to cool. for at least 10 minutes......wipe excess oil away with paper now have a non stick surface..Peheat pan on low for 90 seconds on gas, , drop your egg in (no need to add more oil), cook for two mins then turn over and cook to your liking.....will not clean pan simply wipe with paper towel then put away, pan will remain non stick until washed with detergent......if it becomes too discoloured over time, soak, clean and repeat procedure

I am hoping to make the switch to stainless. I have a few pieces, but would like to get a few more. I cook my eggs in a wok, easy to clean... I can never get them off my stainless pan, they always stick to the bottom.

Like you, I enjoy my stainless cookware. Everything you posted rings true for me. We don't eat scrambled eggs, so I'm no help for you there.

Keep up the great work with your site! I enjoy reading.

One thing I try to remember when cooking in my stainless cookware is the old adage "hot pan, cold oil food will not stick" so far this has worked for me. I tend to cook eggs on my cast iron griddle because they come out so much better on them, same thing with pancakes. I am still replacing pans as they wear out with better quality ones. I make my bacon in my stainless steel wok the high sides contain the grease so much better!

Mary in Ohio

I've always heard about the dangers of teflon, but seeing as how my households income is really low I never really worried about it. However, you've totally sold me on stainless steel. Next time I come accross some for a good deal I'm taking the plunge. Thanks for the tip.

I have never been able to master cooking scrambled eggs in stainless (but I love cooking in it), so I have my fingers crossed someone has the answer! :) For omelets, what works best for me is preheating the pan thoroughly (but not too hot) and then adding the butter to the pan. If I have a little pat of butter left in the middle and pour the eggs on top of it, I can sometimes avoid that one spot in the middle that sticks.

I love my faberware stainless steel pans- here is my tip get yourself a couple nylon pan scrapers for easy clean up of stuck on food- pampered chef makes them but I'm sure you can find them other places- they work great on all kinds of metal pans

I agree, a nylon pan scraper is great for cleaning.


I've heard that butter helps prevent sticking much better than oil. My mom suggested I use butter instead of oil for the scrambled egg issue but I haven't tried it yet. She also said that keeping the heat low was key. Hope that helps.

I gave up non stick cookware about four years ago. When I cook eggs- if it is just for one or two people I grease a ramekin and microwave the eggs. As long as you stop midway and stir they are perfectly suitable for a breakfast sandwich. I have used my seasoned wok for larger quantities of eggs with great success.

Great post!

I have to tell you that all that you said about Teflon is all the info I have researched and heard myself.
I did the same thing... but I didn't wait until my Teflon set died... lol! I just tossed it and bought a Cuisinart Stainless Steal set off Amazon for a steal... and then have started collecting Cast Iron.

Baking Soda works fabulous on Stainless Steel for those stubborn baked on messes. It shines it up really nice too!

Hugs.. Amy

When I got married, my husband and I decided if we could give our family health benfits just by registering for stainless steel instead of Teflon, we would do it. But as a brand-new wife, trying to make meals for my sweet husband in a type of cookware I'd never used before led to many tearful nights in the kitchen. I've grown a lot since then, and I love my stainless cookware now. Just a couple of weeks ago we had the most perfect batch of French Toast I've ever made - stainless cookware or otherwise!

Some things that helped worked for me with my cookware (18/10 Calphalon stainless):
- I heat my pans empty just until I can feel the heat rising from it, and then add olive oil. When the oil is hot, I add my food.
- I never put items in the skillet right out of the fridge, (as I was accustomed to doing with non-stick coated pans). The closer to room temperature a food is when you put it in a hot pan, the less likely it is to stick.
- Finally, I once read that food will grip to a stainless pan until it's "done." I thought this sounded bogus at first, but I've found it to be true. If something (especially things like pancakes) is sticking to your pan, it might just be because it's not done yet.

Hope this helps anyone who is new to stainless steel. It can be frustrating at first, but it's worth it!

Your post was more helpful than any others. Just got the same pans and its like i forgot how to cook.... Will try thank you much!

Tammy -

I never cook scrambled eggs in a stainless steel pan.

Just use your cast iron for scrambled eggs. Make sure you cook your eggs in plenty of butter, bacon fat, duck fat, or coconut oil -- that way they won't stick and it's good for your cast iron.

If you don't use enough fat, your eggs will stick. But real butter and bacon grease are really healthy traditional fats.

Avoid margarine canola oil, vegetable oil like the plague -- they are really bad for you! Heart disease was unheard of a century ago. Our ancestors all cooked with bacon grease, lard and butter!


Our ancestors all cooked with bacon grease, lard and butter!

Unless we have Jewish ancestors! ;)

They used shmaltz (chicken fat)...I'm sure it's just as good as bacon grease or lard.

Sometimes when I skim the top of my chicken soup (after it's been in the fridge overnight), I keep the shmaltzy white stuff that has risen to the top and add it to brown rice or quinoa for a HUGE flavor boost.

I've heard (on a cooking show) that the problem with food sticking (eggs in particular) is in the temperature differentiation between the pan and the egg itself. For example, if you preheat your pan, then get an egg straight from the refrigerator, it's going to stick because the pan is extra hot and the egg is extra cold. If you allow the egg to sit out of the refrigerator, so it's not so cold when you put it in the pan, it doesn't stick. I've been doing this for years (I just take out the eggs I'm going to use and put them in a bowl on the counter 20 - 30 minutes before cooking) and I've had really good luck with it!

~ Mia

Thanks, Mia! I will definitely try this! :)

(if you're pressed for time). I do this a lot for baking.

I'm totally going to do this! Great idea. :)

Do you think microwaving the eggs for 20 seconds would work as well? Im kind of impatient... and running a lil late most of the time. I always clean pans after use so a quik wipe to clean is always prefered. Should I try to soak steel pans in oil and heat pan so the steel pores will open and grease clog all of them? I never used cast iron but I believe thats what has to be done with them before use in cooking. Thanks for all the comments!

If you microwave and egg in the shell, you have to prick to shell or the increased pressure can cause the shell to break (since you're only warming them for 20 seconds, it probably wouldn't actually explode, but it still might be messy), but, since you're just warming them so that they won't be cold going into the pan, you could 1st crack them into a small bowl and jut heat them slightly that way :)

Wow! Thank you for that post. I just recently received stainless pans as a gift and hated them because I haven't been able to make a perfect fried egg. I have been determined to master this. I tried staying true to "hot pan, cold oil". I used butter and room temperature eggs (placed them in warm water for 2 minutes). Perfect fried eggs every time!

We have stainless steel saucepans and skillets--the set was cheaper than buying just the saucepans--plus we have a stainless steel stockpot we use for making spaghetti or large batches of spaghetti sauce. But we pretty much never use the stainless steel skillets and I'm considering getting rid of them. I just can't get food not to stick.

I grew up using cast iron skillets and that's what we use now.

Do not give up on your skillets! the more you use them, the less food will stick to them, I bought a set of Kenmore 18/10 cookware from sears last year, I had the same concerns until I tried them, I do not have problems with sticking foods at all, ever. I will always only own Stainless and Cast Iron cookware, nothing else will ever do.

I have always used stainless steel, and have never cooked on a teflon pan. The key to cooking with stainless steel is pre-heating the pan. Heat the pan till warm when you place your hand a few inches away from the bottom. Then add butter or oil, then when that is hot ( right away if proper heated) then you add your food. Not adding enough grease is a sure recipe for sticking. You need more than if you were using a non-stick pan. Scratches have nothing to do with sticking, neither does a high heat. Food that sticks at a high heat has more to do with the food your cooking. Stainless steel pans do not wear out due to high temperatures either. My mom has the same stainless steel pans that she received for her wedding and they are over 30 years olds and in excellent condition. Cooking with stainless steel on a gas range is much easier than on a electric. The heat is much more controllable. I do not care for the way an electric range heats.
Stainless steel is wonderful, second only to cast iron.

I recently switched over to all stainless steel and while I was worried about stickage, I haven't had many any problems except one omelet gone wrong.

Since we are on a student budget I did a lot of research before buying my set and eventually went with a $100 set of Wolf Gang Puck from Sam's club. It is a simple set (just 6 pots and lids, plus a few other pices) but the price is great and it is still good quality. I have known others who have the same set and love it too. So for those of you looking to try stainless steel but not invest too much, I would recommend it highly.

I have this same set, and I think it is of great quality for the price.

I, too, have a set of Wolfgang Puck pots, pans and skillets that I have used for 8 years. The skillets are Teflon coated and I am phasing them out now. I use my cast iron or a Farber-ware stainless skillet for most fry-pan needs but I am still working on the rest of the household (all of my guys are cookers and often fend for themselves) to eliminate all non-stick coated pans.

Anyway, I wanted to say that WP stainless pans have worked as well for us and held up as nicely as any other more expensive pots and pans I have used. I am a personal chef and have experience with multiple stainless steel cookware makers.

The most important feature to keep in mind and question on more economical cookware is "how is the bottom constructed?" On high-end SS cookware, copper clad bottoms work great and keep the pans from being too heavy. However, on low-end SS cookware, the copper and ss is not thick enough to be effective at heat distribution. If you are purchasing low-end SS cookware, look for a heavy bottom which is usually constructed with a disk on the bottom. These disk vary in their composition but almost any combo seems to do a good job.

Also "Hot pan, cold oil, food won't stick" are words to live by when cooking on stainless steel.

One last note, we have found that using beef fat (tallow) is a good way to learn to fry on SS. The tallow is sturdier/thicker/something-or-other-er in a way that makes cooking even more naturally non-stick. Once the frying in SS is mastered, those skills transfer to other fats as one experiments with them.

that calls itself 'hard coat enamel' i cant find any info on it. is it the same thing as teflon?

Porcelain enamel (which covers cast iron) -- also called enamelware -- is different from non-stick. It looks completely different too, though. :) (Teflon is a brand of non-stick, but the no-name "non stick" is usually the same ingredients!)

If you could find a link or give me more info (brand, specific name, what it looks/feels like, etc.) I might be able to dig up more info about it! :) I see Cook's Essentials had a hardcoat enamel cookware but from the descriptions I'm finding online it looks like they all have Teflon or similar coatings inside, unless it specifies otherwise...

Hi Tammy!

When I got married last September, I registered for a really nice set of Calphalon stainless steel. The reason was less than noble- I thought it was prettier than the non-stick cookware. But now I'm very glad I did, after reading the questionable safety of Teflon. Overall I've had no problems with the cookware, except, as you mentioned- eggs! Argh! I ended up going out and buying one piece of non-stick for just that purpose. But I will try the Bar Keepers Friend, my mom has used the regular stuff for years for cleaning- I didn't know they made one just for stainless. I love having a nice high quality set of pans, I just want to make sure I care for them properly so they last.

I forgot to login before I commented..that last comment was me!

I love love love my stainless mom gave me the "teflon is bad" speech and bought me the stainless. No complaints here!

My dh bought me a very nice Wolfgang Puck set of stainless steel cookware for Christmas 1 year ago & it still looks new! Of course, I DID put signs on my stove to NOT put the burner above 7! LOL Nothing burns unless you put the burner higher than that. I also use the Bar Keepers Friend occasionally to get any stubborn stuff off the bottom that might have dripped over the edge.

I haven't found the secret to non-sticking scrambled eggs yet, but I do soak the pan overnight in hot soapy water and it really just wipes off, no scrubbing! I wish I would have gotten GOOD cookware early on, it makes cooking much more enjoyable for me. I LOVE my stainless steel cookware!! :)

I would like a pizza crust that is thin and crispy.
I most always use a packaged mix and they are ok but would like one that would come out more cracker like.

How about making my easy pizza crust, pressing it really thin (make twice as many pizzas from the same amount of dough) on a well-greased pan. Don't let the crust rise at all -- just put the toppings on and bake it right away. Depending on your pan, you may need to put it on the bottom rack in the oven so the crust gets really browned by the time the top is done. It may take some experimenting! I hope these ideas help... :)

I use a set of stainless steel Revereware (w/ copper bottoms) that belonged to my mother. The pieces must be at least 40 years old or more and last forever!

What would cause the copper to burn off of my pans? The Revereware is only a year old and has no copper left on the pans. Are they safe to use?


Revere-ware (and others) have a cheaper line that looks just like the stuff sold 50 years ago. The difference is that the copper cladding, as well as the stainless steel, is not as thick or of as high a quality. In the old stuff (and the high-end versions now sold), you could cook at high heat with no ill effects. However, with the thinner, lesser quality copper, high heat will cause it to actually evaporate and even sometimes flake off if gotten too hot.

They are still safe to use as the inside is still all stainless steel. Just be more conscious of the temps you cook at as the bottoms are actually now thinner than before.

Start looking for a better set or buy one at a time until you can replace these. Yard sales and thrift stores can be great sources. Don't focus too much on replacing the pieces that you use mostly for "wet" cooking like steaming and boiling. Focus on replacing the ones you fry in or want to make gravies and sauces in as a heavier bottom will be easier to cook in and give you better results. Then as time and money permit, you can replace the rest if you still want to.

I recently bought Cooks brand stainless steel cookware and am getting very frustrated. At this point I am almost afraid to cook in them. My fried eggs and potatos are sticking but I see that I'm in good company. I've gotten some good tips reading everybody's posts and am determined to make them work as they were not cheap. Where can I find this "Bar Keepers Friend" that I'm reading about? I've never seen or heard of it.

It's great! It is @ Wal-mart in the cleaning products isle... usually by the oven cleaners
& such! Get it -- you won't regret it!!! Good luck!

For frying potatoes I have learned two things that work for me.

#1 Instead of slicing my potatoes, I cube them - about 1/2inch but no more than 3/4inch. I don't know why it made a difference but it was extraordinary how much better/easier it was.

#2 Heat pan on medium-high, add generous oil, turn down to medium and add potatoes (add onions if you want and other seasonings on top but DON"T stir in yet). Now, LEAVE IT ALONE! Let the potatoes get very golden and crispy on the bottom; you will be able to tell from the edges. They will release easier at this point. I use a metal spatula and turn/stir it all up and then, LEAVE IT ALONE until the bottom is done. Just keep giving each turning enough time and a chance to brown well.

Put some whole milk in the eggs when you mix them up this will make them lighter and fluffier, but not too much or they will get watery, an once should do per egg. Then wipe the inside of the stainless steel skillet with crisco before you set the skillet down to heat. If the Crisco smokes it's too hot for the eggs.

Please don't put milk in your eggs. The milk solids burn at lower temps then eggs which usually results in browner eggs or even burnt. Additionally milk dilutes the doesn't make them fluffy. To make scrambled eggs fluffy you need to add 1 tsp of water per egg. This will all evaporate when cooking and will result in much fluffy eggs. Not sure how the whole milk thing started but do it side by side, one pan with eggs w/ milk and one with eggs w/ water. You will see a big difference.

Has anyone tried Paderno pots and pans??? Stainless steel, beautiful pots and pans that cook beautifully!!

My method from keeping eggs from sticking is to use equal parts EVOO and butter. Add them to a preheated pan. I have no problems at all. I use the copper core line of All-Clad and am very happy with my pans. I really don't have any problems at all with sticking regardless of how high i set the heat. I cook stir fry at the highest setting and still dont have any sticking issues. I dont know if its the pans or my dumb luck!

Im a single dad of 3. Kids all grown and gone now. At 46, I now have a bird. (A Quaker Parrot). I quickly learned that cooking with Teflon, kills birds. Needless to say.. out with the old, in with the new.. I just bought myself a new set of 18/10 stainless tonight knowing the problems of sticking and burning foods.. Now that Ive read all your posts on your page, I think I will manage well. Im so use to cooking with non-stick Teflon for years.. and yes Ive seen the black flakes for the pan.. Now with stainless, no need to worry anymore. Wish me luck in my new cooking venture. I will be happy to come back to read more posts here if I have any trouble.. P.S. I think I will run out and get a cast iron just for scrambled eggs..

I just bought the set of Stainless Steel pans at Costco last night. I've known for some time that Teflon was not good for us and am so excited to finally have stainless steel. The set at Costco is a pretty good deal. 18/10 Steel, 16 piece set for $199. Anyway, thanks for all the advice. I cooked an egg this morning - no problems. I preheated the pan - a bit below medium heat, added lots of real butter after it was heated, and cooked it with no sticking! Is it my imagination or did my egg taste better?! :-)
FYI - look into microwaves - they really are not good for us! I've thrown mine out and don't miss it a bit.

Here's another tip you may want to try! If you want to boil pasta... it can be hard because the starch can scorch!

Place approximately 1" of water in your Stainless Steel pan... bring it to a rolling boil. Remove from heat & dump out the water. This is all while it is still hot: Dry bottom with a paper towel. Add oil to the bottom of the pan... turn pan until bottom & approximately 1" of the sides are coated. Then add your water or chicken stock. Bring to boil then add your pasta! Stir your Pasta OFTEN!!! Then this will keep your pan from sticking! Hope it helps!!! Happy boiling!

Many pasta experts tell you not to use oil when cooking pasta because the sauce will not adhere to the pasta afterwards. There are a few exceptions, such as pasta that has a tendency to stick together, such as raviloi.

I am so excited to see all the tips for cooking with stainless steel. I brought home a set of Kenmore 18/10 stainless steel cookware w/copper ring bottom. Amazingly right now Sears has 50% off till 2/7/10. I can't wait to start cooking with mine. I hope I can make the transition from teflon easily. Can anyone tell me if stainless steel pans turn dull if washed in dishwasher?

my stainless comes out of the dishwasher gorgeous! Just like stainless silverware has no problem in the dishwasher, neither does SS cookware.

Aluminum, on the other hand, comes out of the dishwasher discolored and dull so should always be hand washed. Aluminum isn't really a "healthy" choice anyway.

I'm not much of a cook at the moment (but getting the ONE thing I can do perfect in SS is scrambled eggs- anytime! I use an olive oil-based butter- one from a tub. And while I don't go overboard, I don't skimp. Add the the milk and eggs...shouldn't matter how many eggs and cook on lower heat.
I don't even eat scrambled eggs, but my almost 2 year old and sig. other much on them all the time!! My son won't eat the eggs unless they are done I know I've done them righ ;)

I was researching stainless steel cookware and looking at reviews for a particular set on Amazon, when I found this in the comments section. Shortly thereafter, I read your article and your request for how to make eggs in stainless cookware, so thought I'd share what I found. I obviously don't know the person who wrote this or if it really works (I'm just learning about stainless steel myself), but maybe you could try it and see if it works for you:

"I use a stainless steel egg pan from the Waffle House. I have had it for years. You have to know how to properly clean them, for food to not stick. You take a brillo pad, and scrub in a circular motion. Rinse, dry. Pour in about a teaspoon of salt, get a paper towel, and rub the salt in a circular motion. Empty salt into the trash. Trust me, eggs will not stick after this. I used to cook at the Waffle House. You will never see them use non-stick pans for eggs or omletes. Perfect everytime!"

I hope this helps you!

I've been cooking for years and have cooked with almost every type of cookware available. The key to cooking good scrambled eggs is the same no matter what type of cookware. Always cook eggs at a low heat and allow them to cook slowly; this will eliminate sticking and rubbery eggs too. Of course, you do have to use some type of oil too. As far as using stainless steel for them, use an even lower heat than you would for other pan surfaces.

Another tip, if you;re going to cook any meat that has fat in it such as sausage, start the pan cold with the food in it and allow the fat in the meat to gradually liquify and then the meat won't stick either.

I agree using non-stick cookware is not healthy, and I'm also fearful of using any aluminum pans in cooking with the alleged link to Alzheimer's. I've thrown all my aluminum out becasue my father-in-law has Alzheimer's and I'm hoping my husband won't ever have symptoms of it. Better safe than sorry. The arguments on the link between the two go back and forth depending on which sites you're searching.

Wow, thanks for this article and everyone who commented on it! I am a Tupperware Consultant and recently bought my first Tupperware Chef Series 8 in fry pan. It's 3-layer, 18/20 ss. And I thought I had ruined it. I was using medium heat and managed to bake on scrambled eggs. How on earth was I going to tell customers about our beautiful pans if I, an avid cook/baker, couldn't figure them out? More oil. Heat the pan first. Follow the directions. Imagine that :) Seriously, these comments really helped.


I feel really silly! I have been cooking for so many years, and I have my grandmother's stainless steel stock pot. I fell in love with Le Creuset, but I'm trying to learn how in the world my grandmother loved her stainless so much. I tried to heat the pan first and add the oil, but I guess the pan was too hot because the oil immediately starting smoking. I guess you have to know the smokepoint of the oil you're using? I was using olive oil, trying to saute some squash. I guess I should just heat to low. I'm going to keep trying!

Just a tip for cleaning ss pans.

Straight after you have finished cooking, add hot water and a squirt of dishwashing liquid and return to the heat for 5 or 10 mins. This works a treat and even badly burnt on food will come off with ease.

Some good tips in this article :)

Just got my 17 piece set of Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless from last night. Almost too pretty to use. I said almost! As soon as I unloaded my potrack of all the so-called non-sitck Ultrex purchased from HSN about 5 years ago (Don't blame HSN. It's Ultrex that isn't standing behind their product), and hung up my new Stainless I whipped up a batch of enchilada sauce in one of the sauce pans. Perfect! This morning I used the 8" skillet to do up two fried eggs. Heated the pan over medium heat, added some EVOO, watched for the shimmer, added two fresh, naturally nested eggs direct from the frig to the pan, plopped a lid on for a moment to speed the cooking (I like the whites done and the yolks warm but liquid) and they came out perfect with nothing but a little oil left in the pan. A little kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Yum. Will make scrambled eggs for dinner just to see how it goes. I'll let you know how it goes.

I stumbled here researching for info on how to clean SS skillets. the consensus seems to be to use Bar keepers Friend" and/or let SS pans soaking over night with soap and water....

recently while watching a cooking show by Rachel Allen on PBS she demonstrated how to make juicy scramble eggs without sticking, I use this method with a Stainless Steel Skilled from my mother's 1976 bought set.

The trick was to pour your egg mixture into a cold/warm buttered SS pan and allowing temperature to rise at medium heat while constantly stirring and mixing with wooden spoon making sure to keep the egg from sticking to the sides until reaching the desire texture, if solidifying to fast momentarily move pan away from heat while continuing to stir, Once cooked to taste remove from pan immediately and serve. I've done this a few times with great success and without any sticking. :-)

After Christmas I researched and purchased a set of Cuisinart MultiClad Stainless Cookware. I stared at it for three days before I got the nerve to use it!! I had read all of your comments on cooking and cleaning. When I got my nerve up, I thought that if I could cook an omelet without sticking, I could cook anything. And that's exactly what I did!! I followed all of your advice and it was a wonderful "nonstick" omelet! I have been cooking with complete success ever since. Thank you all for your wonderful comments and help!

I'm trying to find out if you can cook tomato sauce in stainless steel.

Yes, you can cook tomato sauce in stainless steel!

I wouldn't recommend storing tomato-based foods (sauce, chili, spaghetti sauce, etc.) in any metal pan (even stainless steel) long-term, though.

For example, it's totally fine to cook tomatoes in stainless steel -- but put the leftovers into another container before refrigerating. :)

Are there any other foods that shouldn't be stored in metal containers? I don't do this that often but I never knew about it...


Hi Hank,

I don't store foods in metal in the fridge.

Long-term, foods with acid content (think tomatoes, pineapple, applesauce, etc.) can corrode metal containers. Some containers can leach metals into the foods.

For example, I have made homemade whipped cream (just heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract, whipped) in a stainless steel mixing bowl and stored it in the fridge overnight and the next day the whipped cream tasted odd and was ever so slightly gray-ish where it was in contact with the bowl.

I don't know about the acid content of whipped cream, but that experience (which actually happened several times before I stopped!) and everything I've read on the topic seems to indicate that glass is the best food storage container for the refrigerator (I do use plastics too).

Opened metal cans of food shouldn't be refrigerated in the can, as the metal can transfer taste to the food.

Would storing a stainless steel pot of tomato-based chili in the fridge be extremely dangerous? I don't think so, especially if it's a high-quality pan without pitting. But if it's not necessary, I think it's best not to. This is based on my experiences and what I've read/heard -- so take it for what it's worth! I'm not really an authority on the topic. :)

Hi Tammy

I agree. Stainless steel is fine for tomatoes, but not for storage. They used to say that you must not cook acidic foods in aluminium cookware, but you don't tend to find much of that these days, unless they are very old pots and pans. It can discolour the aluminium, and also, there were fears about the acid foods releasing the aluminium into the food, and a possible correlation with Alzheimer's. I don't know if that was just a scare, or if there was any truth to it.

Oops! Gotta go get my daughter from school!



The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee; and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:22-26)

Yes -- Karla, I have always read that too, about aluminum cookware.

Aluminum is much softer and prone to breaking down when in contact with acids. This could be tomato sauce, or apple sauce... lemon juice... anything with acid in it.

Personally I don't use aluminum cookware at all. I feel the possible health risks are too great!

Good stainless steel cookware was something we invested in a few years ago. Since we use it multiple times per day, we felt it was something we wanted to *not* skimp on if possible, and I am really blessed to have nice cookware that makes cooking so much easier (and safer)! :)

I don't use them either. I had a few passed on to me over the years, but quickly got rid of them. I have some stainless steel cookware that I was given as a wedding present over 11 years ago, and I still use most of them. The handles, which were some kind of thermoplastic, are not so good as they were, but they still hold up to everything, you can scour them if things stick and they are wonderful. I have collected a few more over the years in various sales, but my main saucepans are still the same set I had for my wedding.

I do have some good quality stainless steel bowls that I have collected over the years, and they are fine for storing acidic foods such as chili, spaghetti sauce, etc in, but I tend to use glass/Pyrex for creamy things, just from personal preference.



The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee; and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:22-26)

Just a quick extra note, I do not like stainless steel frying pans. They are okay for sauteing vegetables, etc, but useless for frying meat, eggs, etc. I have two cast iron skillets, both of which were bought second hand (!), sanded down gently, and then seasoned in the oven. You cannot beat cast iron skillets. I have one small teflon frying pan that I use mainly for scrambled eggs, etc, because the clean up is so much easier, but that is all. You have to know how to look after them, but once you know the trick to seasoning them, they are fabulous. Also, they can be used in the oven, under the grill (UK term for broiler), I have even used my smaller one on the barbecue and on a camp stove!



The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee; and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:22-26)

Karla, I used to be the same way -- hanging on to my last Teflon skillet for making eggs!
However, I am able to make great scrambled eggs in stainless steel and almost always have NO sticking! Sometimes I even just wipe out the skillet after making eggs, and cook something else in it -- it is THAT clean! Amazing, but true! :)
I do love cast iron, also. I use it for making taco meat, especially! :) And, cast iron is good for you! :)

Yes, definitely taco meat, and I fry my refried beans in the same pan after the tacos, so they pick up the flavour of the spices I use to season my tacos. Also, have you ever tried the dish "tortilla"? It is the original Spanish omelet, and I always do it in my cast iron skillet, and it is a great way to use up leftover veg. Let me know if you want to know more, great easy dish to make. I often make it when my vegetarian in-laws come for dinner. My kids both love it, and the leftovers are good cold with a bit of bread and salad. Great one dish meal, and cheap as anything to make.

And, of course, let's not forget cornbread! Great for one pan skillet dinners as well. I just love the way it conducts the heat. I also use it for making my fried rice that people beg me for. I have tried cooking it in other pans, but I always come back to the iron skillet. It is the only way to get that slight crustiness that good fried rice has, which comes from an iron skillet. Yummmm.



The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee; and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:22-26)

Tammy, I just went back and read your hint about heating the pan first. I still do that with my iron skillets, and I used to do that with my stainless steel frying pan, but it did not really work for eggs, not for me, anyway! Years and years ago, when I used to work at a fast food restaurant, we had a grill with a stainless steel surface, and we used to heat it up before oiling it, for frying eggs for breakfast sandwiches, and it was okay for that, but we didn't scramble eggs on it!

I don't even own a ss frying pan anymore! I think I gave the one that came with my wedding present set to my in-laws, or someone. I cannot remember, it has been so long! Keep well.



The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee; and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:22-26)

We just bought a set of stainless. The one thing that has been great for me is cooking eggs! I have not had any issues with eggs sticking. Potatoes are another story. I shredded fresh potatoes, rinsed the starch in cold water, heated my pan and sprayed with cooking spray. The potatoes stuck like crazy! Any suggestions?

Cooking spray likely isn't giving you enough oil to properly coat the pan. Try using olive oil or butter. Heat the pan first, then add the oil. When the oil is heated, add your potatoes. Let your potatoes brown a bit on the bottom before you turn them.

If anyone is looking for a REALLY great multi-clad set, Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad is FABULOUS. Walmart sells it - but I actually purchased mine on eBay for less than Walmart. Cook's Illustrated and America's Test Kitchens reviewed the Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad against All-Clad and it matched up evenly in all categories except one, where Tramontina got one less star than All-Clad. It is a true tri-ply clad (all the way up the sides, not just a disk on the bottom) and you can get an 8-piece set for around $150, or a 10 piece set for around $200. I got the 10 piece set because the pans are bigger.

Walmart also sells a "kitchen essentials" collection based on a Cook's Illustrated article that has a couple of tri-ply clad pans, an enameled casserole, a cast iron skillet, etc., also for around $200.

I have a couple of All-Clad pans (lucky finds at thrift stores) and honestly, I cannot tell the difference between my All-Clad and the Tramontina. The Tramontina handles are a little more comfy in my hands but the pans really cook quite the same. If you get the Tramontina, make sure it says Tri-Ply Clad on it because Tramontina does make other cookware. The Tramontina being sold now is also induction-ready.

As far as tomatoes and acidic foods on stainless steel, stainless steel is non-reactive with any food. I store things in the fridge in stainless steel bowls all the time with no issues.

Someone up above mentioned scrubbing your SS pans with salt. Salt actually may/will react with your pans and cause pitting of the stainless steel. It likely won't affect how the pan cooks, but it won't look as pretty.

Also - when boiling water, you can use high heat. If you check out the FAQ on All-Clad's website, they recommend using medium to low heat *except* for boiling water.

Basic rule of thumb for cooking in stainless is what everyone has captured already: heat the pan, then heat the oil, then add your food. If it sizzles, it is hot enough. If it pops loudly, your pan is too hot. Remove it from the heat for a minute or two and let it cool down, then try again.

Someone asked a question about using stainless steel on the Amazon forum. In reply, someone suggested they learn to cook first and referred them to this website. I wasn't too proud to have a look myself and found the videos on pan frying and preheating to be enlightening to someone like me, a bad cook with great equipment. I changed my whole outlook on pan frying and preheating.

This is a sample lesson about pan frying from an online cooking school.

I have no affiliation with the website or online school. I'm cheap and the sample lesson was free.

I worked in the family restaurant business for 25 yrs. We used stainless steel exclusively, even for baking. I wholeheartedly agree with your take on the matter. No problems with sticking but I learned proper heating techniques young. Small learning curve but great payoff in browning with the added bonus of the longevity of the pans. I proudly use cast iron & SS and store in mainly glass. Thanks for all the great cooking ideas, stainless & otherwise. Feel like I've discovered a gem in your blog. :)

do you have to treat the stainless steel before using it ?

About how sometimes they stick and sometimes not: srambled eggs continue cooking after you stop, they are meant to be CREAMY, that is the butter an milk, not uncooked egg you see. Daddy was right. Don't cook the eggs dry!! Is all. I just found this out. No substitute for creamy scrambled eggs. And Teflon... that chemically smell... something wrong there.

We have been married for 27 years and have bought our first set of stainless steel (Kirkland 18/10 from Costco). I'm so glad i looked up tips for cooking with ss otherwise I'm afraid I would have burned a lot of food and gotten very discouraged. Thanks everyone!

OK, I get the bit the pan has to be heated to cook on stainless steel, what about reheating? Say I make bolagnase sauce with ground beef all fully cooked, want to reheat some the next day. Do I have to preheat the pan and oil it before reheating or can I just reheat slowly?

Also something like rice. In none stick I have always put some rice at bottom say one cup and covered with 2 cups water, brought to boil then turned down heat all the way and cook for 20 minutes. No stirring!

I'm not sure on re-heating; I very rarely leave leftovers in the pans, so haven't tried it.

I dont leave things in pans neither. I transfer things into glass containers but I do not want to reheat the food in the microwave so I really dont know if I should preheat the pan or not!

Ok so I have tried and both methods work. Last night I took my bolagnase sauce out of the glass container it was stored in and place it in a preheated stainless steel pot. It worked no sticking but it was drier than normal.

Tonight I took the same sauce and reheated it slowly on a low heat stirring lots in the stainless steel pot and again no sticking.
It seems to be more what I am use to.

At the moment I only have one stainless steel pot and seeing how I cook with it. I have had the pot for many years but never used it. I wanted to get as much info as I could before trying but it seems like I just have to jump in and risk the pan and the food.

Oh, okay, now I understand your question better. :)

I don't pre-heat my stainless steel cookware unless I am frying something. So for scrambled eggs, meat patties, fish, -- something fried, I preheat, then add oil, then add food. For sauces, soups, or leftovers like lasagna, I don't pre-heat the pan (but if it's something drier, I may add a little water, and cover while heating at a low temperature). For rice, I don't really like re-heating it on the stove-top unless I'm making it into fried rice. It seems to get mushy or else stick (depending on the type of rice)... :)

But you're right -- it can be a trial-and-error learning experience! :) I find it much easier to work with high-quality stainless steel cookware, though. Things don't usually stick, food heats evenly, and anything that does stick will come right off with a short soak. :)

I cooked some potatoes tonight in my SS pot, I added some sea salt to the water. When I drained the water out I noticed something on the bottom of the pan, I thought it was some stain. I took out the BKF to see if it would remove it, nope no such luck. I took a closer look at the pan and it looked like the SS had chipped off. Do you know what might have caused that? We just bought the pans this last weekend. Oh, the brand is cuisinart. I'm kind of bummed about it.

Ahhhh, I don't know! What kind of pan is it and what quality of stainless steel? I have had that happen with a stainless steel baking sheet -- only the stainless steel hadn't chipped off, it just had marks on it that were like IN the metal and could not be removed. I had baked seasoned, salted chicken leg quarters on the sheet and that happened.

I've cooked potatoes with salt and it hasn't done a thing to my cookware... I wonder if it's a lower quality of stainless steel in your pan? Or is there a reason to not use sea salt in stainless steel? (I don't know because I don't use sea salt...)

I'd contact the company if possible, and consider returning the product...

we got these new pans as a gift for christmas and was noticing that the meat we cook in it sticks to it especially the scrambled eggs...i was wondering is there an easier way to cook meals in these SS pans????

If you'll read the comments written above you will see various ways of preventing sticking. For cooking meat you should pre-heat your stainless steel pan first then after it's heated add the oil and let that heat as well. For scrambled eggs I follow the same rule. Also, never use more than medium /med high heat with stainless steel cookware. Hope this helps!

I'm thinking about starting up with stainless steel cookware. I looked at some from Duxtop. I couldn't find anything about their steel gauge though. This is their website:

Go to the tab on the left that reads "induction ready cookware". There is a 10 piece set. What do you think?

I haven't heard of Duxtop, so I'm just going by their description for that set, and it looks comparable (how it's made) to all-clad or my multi-clad cookware.

It is more expensive than what we paid for our Cuisinart stainless steel Multi-Clad -- we got a 17-piece set for the price they are giving for their 10-piece set. I'm not sure what would justify paying that much more for Duxtop... it's still cheaper than All Clad's tri-ply cookware though. :)

Have you looked for reviews of the cookware online? That's what I would do... :)

I saw some reviews on Amazon about them. There were only about a dozen reviews. Most of them were very positive and one reviewer even said he got Duxtop over All clad and was happy about it. But with only a dozen reviews that still might not be a very good representation of the product. That's why I'm hesitant.

Thanks for your feedback!

I recently purchased an eight inch Cuisinart Contour Stainless Open Skillet with a pure aluminum-encapsulated base. I'm not much of a cook, and I like to use convenience foods. The skillet came with no instructions on it's use. The first time I used it, I heated about 1/8 cup of canola oil and a teaspoon of margarine over medium heat on a gas stove. After a few minutes of waiting for the margarine to melt, the contents exploded over much of my kitchen. After cleaning up, I was able to cook some frozen shredded hash brown potatoes and a couple of eggs. The eggs slightly stuck to the pan. The second time I used the pan, I preheated it and again used about 1/8 cup of oil and a teaspoon of margarine. I then added some frozen cubed hash brown potatoes, only to have them stick to the pan. I was unable to brown them, as they stayed stuck as they browned. I finally poured them onto a non-stick skillet and finished cooking. How can I cook these convenience foods in my stainless steel skillet?

Hi Tammy,

I have recently posted to get more information about viking cookware but I didn't get a response, can you please let me know if they are good?

for a crowd, I always do scrambled eggs in a glass 9x13 pan in the oven, melting butter in it first and then adding eggs with sour cream and chives and salt and pepper. They bake up soft and fluffy and you have enough for a crowd all at one time. Yum! Also, for hash browns. Do not turn them for a long time! They will develop a brown, crisp side and then they will turn easily without sticking. I don't use raw potatoes for good hashbrowns. Use cold baked potatoes or cold boiled potatoes and grate them for the creamiest centers of your hashbrowns and the crispiest outside.

I have always cooked with stainless steel. But we would have a tephlon coated pan for eggs.
Recently I learned how to properly use my cast iron skillet for eggs and I love it.

The Tip I am sharing is how I make my own bread crumbs.

Hey Tammy, here's my tip this week - Keep a Running Grocery List!


I have switched all my cookware to Scanpans. They are a little spendy, but are definitely worth it -- they do not scratch, the coating never comes off because it is not a "coating" really. You can even use metal utensils if you want and it will not scratch. I LOVE them. They sell them at Sur La Table and are worth every penny as they do not off-gas, do not scratch weird teflon stuff into your eggs, cook like a dream.

Tammy, we had parrots at one time. Someone told me not to cook with Teflon because the fumes would kill my parrots. I immediately stopped cooking with the Teflon. I did have a Teflon liner in my oven that I forgot about. One day, I turned on the self-cleaning gizmo in my oven (forgetting about the Teflon liner). Five of my little parrots died. We were able to save our African Grey. It was touch and go for him for several days, but he was able to come home after about 2 weeks. That goes to tell us something about Teflon. I will never use any Teflon again!

We have used our stainless steel (Cuisinart) for all of our 20 years of marriage that my husband bought and used for a few years before that. Because I use the CAYGO (Clean As You Go) system, which means I make a sink of dishwater before I start cooking and wash cooking utensils, measuring cups, bowls, etc. as I go. I never have to scrub the pans. When I am done cooking, I scoop out a cup or so of soapy dish water and put it in the still hot/warm pan. Anything that is stuck on the pan cooks itself off. So, by the time we are finished with the meal and ready to do the dishes, the pan is cool and nothing is stuck. A swish and a swipe and its clean. In the case of something burnt on, a little Cameo and a sponge works great. This helps keep them looking new inside and out as well. Our pots and pans still look shiny and new. This system works for cookie sheets and casserole dishes as well. You should almost never have to scrub any pan with this system.

Tammy, I have used Stainless Steel Cookware for a lot of years! I do sometimes use a lid on mine, but not unless I am simmering something for a long time. (Like cooking dried beans that I forgot to soak overnight.)

I also use my Cast Iron Cookware. I have a whole set of it! Love, Love, Love it!

Here is how you clean anything that sticks on the bottom of a stainless steel pan- you deglaze the pan with liquid. So after you are done cooking anything- meat- whatever- remove all the food from the pan- add any kind of liquid (if you are just cleaning up use water) you don't need a lot- heat the pan back up and scrape the stuff right up with a nylon spatula. Works every time. You can use broth or wine if you want to make the scrapings into a gravy or sauce. Never have to scrub a SS pan again!

I completely agree. After removing food from pan, take pan to sink, add some water (enough to cover the bottom), go back to the stove, place on burner, scrap with nylon spatula, only takes seconds and cleans way better than scrubbing everything out later.

I have been debating on purchasing a 14"stainless steel wok (Cuisinart to match my set) and after reading the many posts above I am a little closer to my decision. The other option was a Nordicware Superior Steel 14'' Wok for the non-stick even though it is aluminized. I do a lot of mass cooking for a non profit and the larger pan would reduce my work (and mess). I love cooking with stainless and cleanup is a breeze. The worry of How my pans look on the pot rack is long since gone, a used pan is a much better sign of a good cook. After a year of use my stainless still looks great and I will never go back to the teflon. Sorry I'm a little tired and lost track of my thoughts. Thank you for the posts they have been helpful and I will attempt eggs in the morning then make my decision.

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