Best Stainless-Steel Cookware: These Are Our top 4

Written by Peter Allen on . Posted in Cookware

If you need or want some stainless-steel cookware, now is the time to do it. We have assembled the greatest sets you could possibly imagine. These sets are the toughest you ever saw, and have the strength of an ox, but the grace of a swan swimming on the water.

Okay, maybe that was a little weird, but my point is that getting your hands on best stainless-steel cookware doesn’t need to be like looking for a needle in the haystack. Come along with us and we will show you the best of the best.

Best Stainless-Steel Cookware: A Comparison

If you just want the quick scoop on what’s the best, check these out:

Model


Pieces


Our Rating


All-Clad D3 Tri-Ply Bonded


10


5.0


Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel


14


4.9


Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro


12


4.9


T-Fal Stainless Steel Copper Bottom


13


4.8


Deik Cookware


12


4.8


Frigidaire 5 Piece Induction


5


4.7


MICHELANGELO Stainless


10


4.7


Duxtop 14 Piece Whole Clad


14


4.6


Cook N Home


10


4.5


Chef’s Star Stainless


17


4.3


Our 4 Picks of The Products Reviewed

T-Fal Stainless Steel Copper Bottom Cookware

Now I am going to give you a little background here about our family. We are big RVers. This is a tradition that has been going on for the past three generations. My great grandparents were camper folks, they loved their fifth wheel and even took it with them when they eventually moved to Florida.

My parents had an old Winnebago that my dad took immaculate care of. We did not go on vacation unless we had that Winnebago with us. Disney, Yellowstone, Niagara Falls-that Winnie saw it all. Now I am an RVer, and my dad has since upgraded to a nicer RV too.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because we both needed new stainless-steel pots and pans for our beloved campers. And, because the ones we had in our home were not really cutting it anymore. So, me and my dad decided to test out four sets altogether to get the scoop on the best of the best.

The first set I picked up was the T-Fal Stainless Steel Cookware Set, and these are pots and pans that feature a copper bottom. I opted for the thirteen-piece set. Here’s what you get:  The 13-piece set includes 8- and 10.5-inch fry pans; 12-inch covered fry pan; 1-, 2-, and 3-quart sauce pans; and a 5-quart covered stew pot.

When I first took them out of the box I was just amazed at how shiny and beautiful they were. They weren’t too heavy, either, but definitely felt nice and sturdy. I was confident these could withstand wear and tear while we do our camping, so I was already pleased with my purchase for sure.

They are constructed of good quality 18/10 stainless steel. I think these will last long. Also, the multi-layer base with copper bottom gives you some good, fast even heat distribution.

Holding these in my hand was a pleasure. The handles are ergonomic and even though they are made of tough stainless steel, they are really nice to hold onto and will be comfortable for use for everybody.

The glass lids are a nice touch. Before I was all about stainless steel lids, because they were safer to me. But I would come to find out that these glass ones were going to be just fine. I had heard some stories in the past about some glass lids breaking during use, so naturally I was a little worried.

I also liked that these were oven safe up to 500 degrees F. Sometimes we like to build fires and put a grate over the fire so that we can boil water while we cook outside the camper. This helps avoid cooking smells inside the RV. Plus, the kids enjoy “cooking like cowboys” as they call it.

These pots could probably withstand a small bit of embers; I would not put them over a flame at all. They are not cast-iron skillets. They are induction stove compatible, feature a limited lifetime warranty, and are dishwasher safe, which is pretty darn handy if you ask me!

Indeed, these are the essentials you need for day to day cookware. I was able to brown and sear a fillet of fish using the fry pan with ease, and also made my son eggs in them. Everything tasted great.

I did do a test meal which I will tell you about later.

Using the stock pot, I was able to cook up a huge batch of chili to take to the fellows down at the fire station where I work. Everything just heats up so quickly and you don’t waste a lot of time using these pots and pans. The handles-now I can’t tell you how nice they are. And they do not get hot either, contrary to what you might think.

The glass lids do a nice job of keeping flavor inside. When I seared up my fish, I seasoned it with some lemon pepper, and I could taste every last morsel. I think that the fact that these feature small surface areas and high straight saucepan edges make them ideal for boiling things, reheating stuff, or whipping up some sauces.

The construction of these things is pretty nice. My grandpa used to work at the steel mill and sometimes I would watch him from the offices that sat above the steel workers doing their jobs, so I do know a few things about steel and steel construction.

First of all, the design is contemporary and high performance. It is very durable too. I noticed also that the brushed and polished stainless-steel exterior looks clean and will last so long as you take care of it properly. (We will talk about ways to care for your stainless-steel cookware).

Another great thing to think about is the multilayer base. This brings you the best in heat, and the base at the bottom of the cookware encloses a thick-gauge aluminum core that has a copper disc that delivers the best in heat distribution, preventing hotspots and making sure there is no warping.

So, I will now tell you about my test meal which was the big chili I made for the guys at my station. I browned up the ground beef in the big fry pan, and it was easy to do so. Then I loaded the stock pot with my tomato sauce, tomatoes, water, and beans.

I used the smaller fry pan to fry up some onions to add to the chili. These combined with some spices made my guys a chili that filled them up while we waited for calls to come in at the station. It did a great job. I think it will also do well in my camper too.

Pros:

Cons:

  • Must season before use
  • Does not have nonstick coating
  • No One Egg Wonder in this set

Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set

Here is a nice 12 piece set that I also picked up for use at home and hope to use a few pans in the RV also. One thing to note is that I mostly use these over small embers in my campsite; I don’t want to imply that you could use these in your own RV. Most RV stoves are kind of small. My goal is durability. You definitely get that with this particular set.

First, let’s list off the twelve pieces you get in this great set: The set consists of 1-1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans; 8- and 10-inch open skillets; 3-1/2-quart covered sauté pan; 8-quart covered stockpot; steamer insert with lid.

My first impression taking these out of the box was that they seemed kind of lightweight for my taste. I was not too excited about that. But I would soon find out that appearances can be deceiving. Besides, the polished surface looks really sharp, and it will not discolor, react with any food you cook, or alter the flavors.

The handles on this cookware is also something good.

These handles are cool grip, and they are secured on with stainless steel rivets. The lids are self-basting, tight fitting, and generally just really great. I like the triple-ply construction, as it has the heat conductivity of a pure aluminum core-that is basically the top of the line.

It makes sure that maximum heat retention is achieved, and that heat distribution is even. This makes sure that hot spots do not occur.

You can also look forward to the fact that these pots and pans are oven safe up to 550 degrees F. Also, there are tapered rims, so it is easy to pour things out without dripping or spills. It is very “neat!” You will enjoy using this on your induction cooktop stove, because it works with those types of appliances as well as other stoves.

This is the sort of pot and pan set that is designed for a home chef. So, if you want to cook like a pro, this is the set you want to buy. The stainless steel is 18/10 and brushed, so it looks really good and matches all kitchens. The interiors are mirror polished, so it is all non-reactive and features quick food release. Pans are safe for broiler use, so that’s pretty handy, too.

We took the skillets with us camping, and it worked out really well. We made some grilled cheese on the camp stove and it worked out really well. I wanted to catch some fish and fillet them, and I had my chance when I caught and filleted a trout. I fried that fish also in the larger skillet and it was wonderful. Everything tasted just as it should.

There is no coating or plastic on these pans, so put them right into the dishwasher. The multiClad uncoated stainless-steel cookware is definitely one that you will enjoy for years to come, and will probably pass down to your kids, too.

You might be wondering just why you should even invest in this type of cookware. Well, Cuisinart is pretty darn good cookware. It was inspired by French kitchens and started making cookware nearly 30 years ago. They are made of only the finest materials that are available so that you end up with cookware that performs the absolute greatest. The MultiClad Pro Stainless cookware is designed to answer the needs of home cooks and pro chefs alike.

MultiClad Pro stainless cookware is not just a name designed to make your buying experience fancy or something that just sounds good on paper. It is premium cookware that features construction of the triple ply variety. This means the first layer is a core of pure aluminum that is bonded to a stainless-steel interior, and a brushed stainless exterior; this is a fusion of the greatest materials for cooking and it also offers unsurpassed performance.

The heat surround technology gives you even heat distribution along the side walls and bottom of the cookware, this takes away hotspots.  Plus, the aluminum core heats and cools really quickly so you get precise temperature control. The stainless-steel interior is perfect for simmering sauces or making pastas with ease.

Now I will not lie and omit the stuff I did not care for when it came to these pots and pans. I like to keep mine shiny with the use of Bar Keepers Friend; my grandma and mom as well as my wife really like how it cleans.

So, I took a page from their book and used it to keep these pots looking good. However, I noticed that the mirror-finish on these, started to get swirl marks from the spots in which I’d done the cleaning. This was not a big deal and did not affect how my pots performed, but I did miss the nice shiny exterior of the cookware.

Also, the reason I had to use the Bar Keeper’s friend is because of the stains that did occur on this stainless steel. This happens if you get some stuck food on the pan. I decided to wash it down well with soap and water and use a plastic sponge and then there were some white marks on the pans. Turns out it is nothing bad or unsanitary but did make me a little annoyed.

And I will tell you- these things heat up FAST. Do not walk away and leave these sitting there. You will regret it if you put it under cold water right away. This could lead to warping which nobody wants. Just be smart about it, OK?

Pros:

Cons:

  • Cookware does stain
  • You must preheat the pan correctly
  • You get swirl marks after using Bar Keepers friend

Calphalon Classic Stainless-Steel Cookware Set, 14-Piece

Now this was a set that my dad picked up, so I went over with my laptop to get his thoughts on the set. He too was looking to get some cookware that was durable and didn’t mess around. Indeed, this is a set that will be one to pass down to your kids after you get done with them. Calphalon is a big name when it comes to cookware.

When I first got married my cousin gave me this Calphalon skillet. It was so big and heavy, I wondered what the heck I would do with it. Well, guess what. Ten years of marriage, one kid and a thousand plus dinners and that thing is still going strong. You can already tell that this is going to be the one that wins the prize for longevity and durability.

The pure stainless-steel cookware you get in this set is as follows: Includes 8-and 10-inch omelet pans, 12-inch omelet pan with lid, 1 1/2-, 2 1/2- and 3 1/2-quart sauce pans with lids, 3-quart sauté pan, and 8-quart stock pot with lid.

Dad noted that he was impressed by how the cookware looked and felt. It felt nice and easy to hold, but not flimsy or cheap by any means. The impact-bonded aluminum bases were great as they provided flat, even heating.

The handles were pleasant to the touch. They are long, designed for hands to hold, and give you a nice, secure grip so you can cook with safety in mind. They are metal, and even though you might think that will end up getting really hot, think again. They stay nice and cool. They are double riveted, a process that is done by hand.

We noted that inside the pans there were fill lines. This is great. No need to dirty up measuring cups when it’s time to measure out oil, water, whatever it is you have to put in there. The lids have straining holes that you can use to line up with pour spouts so that you can drain liquids without having to pull out your colander and use that.

And the best part is that this all comes with a full lifetime warranty!

We really couldn’t get over the great craftsmanship that went into this pot and pan set. It is made from brushed stainless steel, and features impact-bonded aluminum bases for fast and even heating. This is great for everyday reliable performance.

You can really do everything with these-simmering, searing, boiling, and anything else you can think of. You can use them on gas, electric, halogen, or induction stove tops. And you can also use metal utensils. This is a big win as we mostly use metal utensils here in our home. Plus, many camping utensils are metal, so we were extra happy about that.

We believe that hand-washing is the way to go on these things, but you can absolutely put them in the dishwasher if you want to. I would hand wash them if it were my decision, however.

My dad made stir fry for himself and my mom as his test meal. The trick to using these and making sure you get what you need out of them is in the pre-heating of the pan as well as using the correct amount of oil. Not doing so means food will stick. The stir fry turned out very well in the use of these pots and pans. The veggies went into the larger fry pan; a mix of fresh veggies that were chopped up that same day.

The pan was preheated, and two tablespoons of oil went inside. The veggies came out beautifully, and so did the beef tips which my dad sautéed in the smaller pan. A little rice was prepared in the 2-quart saucepan, and dinner was served. They dabbed a little soy sauce on top of the mix, and it was a nice-tasting, delicious and fresh meal made possible by the great cookware it came in.

Everything cooked evenly and all the stir fry sauce was distributed evenly. All you needed to do, said my dad, was to put the pan on medium high heat, meat almost to room temperature, and then use a teaspoon of real butter to judge if the pan is hot enough for the first few times that you cook to get your bearings about the pan. The butter should just start to foam, not fizz up or brown.

The small skillet will be a nice addition to the camper, as well as the smallest of the saucepans. They can definitely withstand the tough parts of camping and will last my parents for years to come.

They are top quality and to keep them looking their best, you should invest in some Bar Keepers’ Friend for cookware. It will help your set stay nice and sanitary for use after use. They use this on their set, and it keeps things fresh and clean.

Pros:

  • Good, heavy cookware
  • Instructions for use are easy to follow
  • Set is professional chef quality

Cons:

  • These pans are an investment
  • Some users report pans burning after one use
  • Will need to buy Bar Keepers Friend as an additional purchase

All-Clad D3 Tri-Ply Bonded Cookware Set

This was my dad’s second set that he picked up, so we talked about that too while I was over. This one was another huge investment, but totally worth it because he does not want to buy another set so long as he is alive (his words).

In this great set you get: 8 inch and 10-inch fry pans, 2 quart and 3-quart sauce pans with lids, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and 8-quart stockpot with lid. That’s a pretty good set of nickel free stainless-steel cookware.

The construction of this set is one to be admired.

There is a 3-ply bonded construction which is made up of durable stainless steel, which surrounds an aluminum core for even heating throughout the pan. The surfaces are highly polished and feature a starburst finish. They are stick resistant and easy to maintain. They will not react with food, either. The alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum bond together to make sure that heat distribution happens without hot spots.

The stainless-steel handles are contoured and feel good to hold in your hands. They are permanently fastened to the pots with stainless steel rivets, and the capacity of the pot is etched on the base as well as the nice flat stainless-steel lids. They are oven and broiler safe up to 600 degrees F. They are compatible with induction stoves. They feature a limited lifetime warranty and are manufactured right here in the United State of America.

The key to making sure these things work, he said, is to make sure that you have your pan preheated and your flames set to low. That is how you will get stick-free, stainless steel cooking. Another great thing about these pots are that they are dishwasher, oven and broiler safe. You can put them in there up to 600 Degrees F, minus the lids.

The best part is that All-Clad metal crafters is a brand you can absolutely trust. They know that for people like you and me cooking is what we love, and it plays a big role in our daily lives. That’s why for the past 40 years, the people at All-Clad have poured meticulously over every detail, making their products the best they can be right in Canonsburg PA. Pennsylvania is known for its steel production, so you are definitely getting a top-quality product here.

This is, after all, a pot and pan set that is an investment, but indeed meets the standards of professional chefs. Your All-Clad set will last you a lifetime, because the company that makes them seeks to follow standards of the utmost care and quality. There is even a stamp upon the cookware that guarantees the authenticity and quality of the piece.

And some might even argue that these pots are an inspiration. If you read through some of the other reviews as you decide, you will find some people really got into cooking as a result of using these great pots and pans. Having the right tools to do a job does make a world of difference after all.

Now, one thing I want to say is this: This is a very good quality set of surgical grade stainless steel cookware. My dad is glad he got them, and I am, too. Now, we hand-wash ours. I want to tell you why we do that.

It is because when researching these to determine which set, we should buy, we found out that these really should not go into the dishwasher according to one user. This user stated that because of the tri-poly layering, there is a thin layer of aluminum that is exposed along the rims.

And, any exposed aluminum that goes into your dishwasher runs the risk of corroding due to the harsh chemicals found inside dishwashing detergents. The ingredients in just about all dishwashers, said this user, were way too harsh for aluminum. This is why those pans end up with a gray or even sometimes white residue when they go through your dishwasher.

This particular user, unfortunately, made the error of putting their pan into the dishwasher. The user reported seeing the layers of stainless steel and aluminum thanks to that one cycle in the dishwasher.

So, just make sure that you keep your investment safe and sound, and just hand-wash these. I know it is hard because of how busy we all are, but you have to go the extra mile to make sure that your great pots and pans stay safe. Don’t let this deter you from buying them- they are really something special.

Good cookware makes you cook better, that’s what my dad says after picking these up. He made some nice breakfast frittatas for himself and my mom using the large skillet, and also made up some homemade vegetable soup for the two of them one night using the 3-quart saucepan. Both of these test meals went off without a hitch.

The aluminum is responsible for the a-plus heat transfer, the thick stainless encases the aluminum. This set is also very heavy, and all you have to do is make sure you treat them right and they will serve you for years to come. To keep them looking their best, just do the following:  clean them after they’ve cooled off with Bar Keepers friend, and this will make them look stunning.

Yeah, they might get a few scratches here and there, but users reported these pans to be a lot better than the ones they had previously owned-even their nonstick ones. A bonus is that you also will use less heat using these, as the heat gets distributed evenly thanks to the triple metal layer.

So, you might save a few pennies in the process!

If you want quality, durability, longevity, and to never buy another pot or pan again, get this set.

Pros:

  • Chef and professional quality cookware
  • Looks stylish in just about any kitchen
  • Stainless steel lids-no worries about glass breaking

Cons:

  • Should not go in dishwasher
  • These are an investment
  • Eggs will stick if not prepared correctly

Stainless Steel & Induction Cooktops: Can I Use It?

Induction cooktops are flat and have magnetic properties. Your induction stove User Guide will let you know if your stovetop uses magnets, because not all induction ovens use them. If you decide to shop for cookware in a brick and mortar store, you should take a magnet with you and see if it happens to stick to the bottom.

The description on your favorite retail site will let you know if your preferred cookware is magnetic or not. Some cookwares that are not magnetic include copper and aluminum cookware. Cast iron does well on induction stoves, but usually the bottoms are slightly bowed out and not flat enough.

You can use other cookware if you purchase a special disc called the Mauviel Induction Disc that you can put right on top of your induction cooktop right underneath your pot or pan. The heat then rises to heat up the contents of your pot, pan or skillet. You can then use the Stainless Steel whether it has or doesn’t have magnets. Just search for the disc wherever you like to shop.

Stainless Steel Cookware Guide

In your quest for high-quality stainless-steel cookware, be sure to check out our guide so you can learn about the qualities and features that will best serve your cooking style, so you can serve your family and friends the best food they ever had.

In the next few sections, we will discuss why stainless steel is the best choice, how to care for your pots and pans, and just what makes this type of cookware so special. Knowing what you need to get before you buy and how to care for it will make your experience in ownership much easier.

Why Choose Stainless Steel Pans?

First of all, let’s do a little talking about what stainless steel is.

Metallurgy is the science of materials and engineering. Stainless steel is a steel alloy that has a minimum 10.5% chromium by its mass. An alloy is when several metals are blended together. The Chromium does not rust, tarnish, and lends a shiny and lustrous look. It cleans up nicely with some polish, looking good as new. In some environments, you can count on some rust, but it will not do so sitting in your cupboards.

It is durable and strong and can withstand very high levels of heat. You can often put these things right into the oven with no worries about them getting damaged, provided that the handles are safe for the oven. You would not want to put a plastic-handled stainless-steel pan inside, but a metal one will be okay. Just review your product’s guide to see how high the temperature tolerance is.

Stainless steel cooking equipment is fashionable, liked around the world, and heralded by professional chefs as well as home cooks. They are durable, look great in all kitchens, and are certainly cost effective, making them an attractive option for consumers worldwide.

Some reasons people love it are:

Appearance – It is smooth, shines like a diamond, and needs not be cleaned too thoroughly to keep looking shiny and new.

Durability – This outlasts many other cookware items. Stainless steel is very tough, and most of it is safe to throw into the dishwasher right when you are done. It resists stains and scratches and will not get any dents or dings with normal use. Plus, it lasts forever.

After all, many restaurants use stainless steel for cost effectivity.

Versatility – This does not react and will not make stains on cookware when certain foods are prepared inside it. Foods like Brussels Sprouts, carrots, or even acidic foods like tomatoes will not corrode or harm the stainless steel.

Upkeep – Maintenance is easy as stainless steel is dishwasher safe and is so easy to get food off without having to use harsh chemicals. Just use detergent and warm water to soak away stuck on food and grab some Bar Keepers Friend if you have a really tough stain.

Cost Effective – Nearly everybody can afford a great stainless-steel cookware set. It is moderately priced, and you can buy sets from just around a few dollars to hundreds of dollars.

It is lightweight and easy to move around in your kitchen and is reasonably priced. You can buy individual pieces, or you can buy a whole set of pots and pans. The cookware is non-porous, and will not chip, rust or tarnish. It is also a popular consumer and chef choice because many of them feature inner cores of copper or aluminum to offset conductivity issues that may arise with stainless steel cookware.

Cheaper models typically do not have this, but the more expensive models will have copper layers that go up the sides partially or all the way. In this case we suggest you invest in the set that you can afford the most-going with what’s cheapest is not always the best idea. Everything we have outlined here is of the utmost quality and will serve your family well with proper care.

How to Care for This Cookware?

When you first get your set of stainless-steel cookware, be sure to wash it right out of the box. Rinse it off and dry it with a towel.

You do not need to season most of these sets as you do with porcelain cookware. You will fry with olive oil, butter, coconut oil or canola oil, however-so do be sure to clean up all food scraps and debris before you put them into your dishwasher or hand-washing the pots and pans. You can look forward to handing these down to your kids, nieces or nephews or a friend if you take good care of them.

It is not recommended that you put salt directly on the bottom of your cookware. This could make spots appear and pit the metal. If you must use salt, add it to water that is boiling, or foods as they are cooking.

You can get rid of any streaks that appear on your cookware by wiping it clean with a cloth, and then washing it in soapy detergent with water. Then you must rinse, and towel dry the cookware. At times, you might see that stainless steel has these rainbow-like spots on them.

This is caused by the heat being used on the pots being too high. You can remove it with a cleaner like Bar Keepers Friend, or, if you prefer, use 100% tomato juice. It will get rid of all the burned-on bits with its natural acidic properties and will remove stains. You can also mix up some vinegar and baking soda. Just be sure that you add in some cool water and soak it all overnight. Clean off water spots using the same method, as this is caused by minerals in hard water.

How to Buy Best Stainless-Steel Cookware Set?

First, let’s talk about the methods for choosing the best stainless-steel cookware.

There are tons of brands out there today. Some are ones you’ve never heard of, and so it becomes very overwhelming trying to choose which stainless steel cookwares are the very best. There are loads of different sizes, and various methods by which the cookware is produced.

Some are clad types, some are not, for instance.

You should know what you want, and how much money you have to spend. Once you have a budget and gain some insight about stainless steel cookware, you can make the very best choice that will stretch your dollar and make you excited to get cooking.

For maximum heat conductivity, it is recommended that you look for a clad copper bottom. These can be a little pricey, but the goal is to get something that will last you for a while. If you’ve got the money, consider getting one of these-they are really a great product. And, they are durable, too- it keeps looking good and strong long after the others have left.

One worry that consumers have is that the stainless steel will react to acidic foods. This is simply not true. It is one of the easiest cookware metals to maintain and keep clean, and always stays looking very shiny. It is made of various alloys including carbon, steel and even chromium-yes, that chromium that you used to find on bumpers of older cars. It is known as “stainless steel” as it does not corrode or stain easily.

It is best to choose pots and pans that have an aluminum or copper core-this is what they call the “clad” cookware. It is “dressed” or covered with a metal that is a good heat conductor. This will help you avoid uneven heat and pesky hot spots so your food cooks evenly each and every time.

Some things for you to consider when you buy stainless steel:

  • Be sure to choose sets that have copper core or aluminum core. This will ensure the best heat distribution. It will be in the base of the pan, and sometimes on the side walls. Some sets will include aluminum or copper or both in the base.
  • The best and heaviest, most durable stainless steel is called 18/10. This means the metal has 10% nickel and 18% chromium, and therefore will last longer. Chromium protects the metal from rust and stains, and with more chrome, the pots will look shinier than ever. The higher those numbers, the more resistant the cookware is.
  • Choose cookware sets that have the pots and pans you personally need most often for meals. A good basic set will include a skillet or sauté pan, a saucepan for making soups, stews and sauces, and a stock pot for pastas and big batches of food. Be sure to read our product descriptions carefully for the best information about which set has what items.
  • Do buy sets that have good, sturdy handles and lids with handles or even knobs that will make it easier to remove the lids quickly. Many are sold with ergonomic handles that are easy to grip or handles that are cool to the touch. If you need the handles and such to go into the oven, make sure they can withstand temperatures at which you will cook. Most often it is best to choose the lids that have the metal handles. This way, you don’t have to worry about it melting or anything like that.
  • One thing that always bugged me about the cookware buying experience is the fact that manufacturers count accessories like slotted spoons, lids, or spatulas as part of the set. This drives me crazy! Many of us may not need any extra spatulas, spoons or other items like it. Make sure your set has exactly what it is you want in it, and that the price is fair for what you are getting. You can use all kinds of utensils with your cookware-plastic, silicone, rubber, and wood. However, the use of metal may leave scratches, so do keep that in mind.
  • Talk to friends and family. What did they buy? What do they recommend? Be sure to ask so you can get an idea of what others are into.

The Art of Non-Stick Cooking

Even the safest stainless-steel cookware should be cared for properly, and one way to do this is to master the art of cooking with stainless steel so that nothing sticks to it.

In the article above, we talked a lot about making sure that nothing sticks to your cookware, but never really got into how to prevent stuff from sticking to it. So, let’s get you set up with some tips that you can use when it comes to making sure that your pans have nothing stuck-or very little at the least!

  • Let your foods get the chill off of them before you start cooking. Cold food will stick to a hot pan, much like your tongue sticks to a freezer pop or the light pole your friend dared you to lick in 3rd grade. Remove your foods from the fridge and allow them to warm up for 10 to 15 minutes before you begin the cooking process. If you are cooking some meat, pat it dry to remove moisture.
  • Preheat the pan. Do this over medium heat. Some stainless-steel cookware has an aluminum core or base, and it holds heat quite well. Do not preheat a pan on high because you want to save some time-the pan will just end up getting too hot when you add the food. It should only take a few moments to heat up your pots and pans to the correct temperature.
  • Do the butter test. To check if the pan is properly preheated, make sure it is ready by rubbing a teaspoon of butter over the inside of your pan. If the butter bubbles brisky, (it should not be brown) it is ready and is properly preheated. If the butter begins to burn and turn brown, the heat setting is up too high and should be lowered. Wipe out the burned butter with a paper towel, taking care not to burn yourself. Then lower the heat, wait a moment, and try the butter test once more.

The more you do this, the more you will get to know your own pots and pans.

  • Do not use aerosol sprays for cooking. We all know and love them; and they even make coconut oil ones now-hooray! But these are not to be used on your stainless-steel cookware. Reason being is that these aerosol sprays contain a chemical propellant that is hard to remove. Instead, get yourself an oil mister that is filled with olive or vegetable oil and use that instead. You can also dab a bit of oil on a paper towel and wipe the interior of the pan that way.
  • Cook using less oil. You do not need a ton of oil to keep your food from sticking to the pot. So long as you have preheated properly, you only need just enough oil to get the pan coated. No more than one teaspoon should collect if you pick up the pan and tilt it around.
  • Keep the heat down low. Stainless steel cookware is pretty efficient, so high heat can cause your food to stick and burn. Keep the heat at medium high or even lower. In many cases you probably don’t even need a high heat setting. It’s best to think of it like a speedometer on a car. Many of them go up to 130 MPH, but who really needs to be driving that fast anyway?
  • Make room. Give your food enough room to be cooked properly. Overcrowding the pan can reduce the temperature, which causes foods to stick, cook unevenly, or even be undercooked which can be a food safety hazard.
  • Keep the cookware clean-and be thorough! Residue from cooking you previously did, or aerosol sprays is a major cause of why food sticks. Most stainless-steel pans and pots are dishwasher safe, but we really do recommend that you hand wash so that the luster of the stainless steel is preserved.

Wash stainless steel surfaces after each and every use in hot, soapy water using a good dish detergent like Dawn or your favorite brand, and a soft sponge or soft bristle brush. Avoid abrasive cleaning instruments. A good one is the Dobie pads by Scotch Brite.

And if your pans get that rainbow discoloration, just use good old Bar Keeper’s Friend or any other stainless-steel polish as well as a non-abrasive pad or bristle brush to get it looking good again.

Hot Spots: What the Heck Are They?

This is a tip that will apply to any new pan, no matter what it is made of. All pans have hot and cold spots. These are small areas that are on the bottom of the pan as well as the sides that get super-hot-or, conversely, the ones that just never get hot enough (“cold spots”). These are a product of the materials from which the pans are made, and also of the heat source you’re using to cook.

To test for a spot, fill up the pan of choice with a few inches of water and bring it to a boil on high heat. The hot spots are the places that you see rapid bubbling happening. The cold spots are the places where there are few bubbles-or none whatsoever.

Any food that you cook on a hotspot without turning, stirring or moving around will get burned, or just stick right to the pan. So, if you have yourself a stove and a recipe asking you to do something over medium high heat, bring the heat down to medium and keep that food moving so that it will not be in a hot or cold spot.

You might see some pro chefs on television shaking their pans. This is done to move the food around and also to change position of the pan over the heat source and let the hot spots cool down and the cool spots heat up.

I Want to Season My Pan

Some of you might want to season the pans, and that is fine. Here’s how you can do it properly.

  1. Start off by washing your pan thoroughly with mild dish soap and warm water, dry it off thoroughly.
  2. Next, coat your pan with a layer of oil. Use peanut oil, as it has a high smoke point. You can use your fingers to coat the entire inside of the pan, and do not forget the inner rim.
  3. After that, heat up the oiled pan. You can season this on the stove or right inside your oven. If you are using the stove, put the pan over medium heat and let it sit, waiting for the oil to smoke. Then remove it from the heat. If you are using an oven, place the piled pan in a preheated 350-degree oven for an entire hour.
  4. Now it is time to cool the pan. Once the pan has been removed from the heat, be sure to let it cool down until you can handle it. Now take a paper towel. Using that paper towel, wipe out all of the excess oil. Before you store the pan, put a layer of paper towels between each stacked pan so that excess scratching does not occur.
  5. To keep a seasoned pan in its seasoned state, avoid washing it with dish soap. Instead, wipe out the pan clean with paper towels after every time you use it. If food still sticks, just scrub it with oil and salt, and then wipe it clean with a paper towel. If you must wash the pan with soap, use the steps above to get it re-seasoned again before you use it.

Seasoning really worked for us.

We seasoned our pans and then made some hamburgers with them one night. We did find it to be a good experience, as sometimes after we used the pans, we would rinse them out and soak them in soapy water for what seemed like forever. And then we would be scrubbing away with our Dobie pads!

Cleaning after using a seasoned pan was very nice and it is like having non-stick cookware, just without Teflon and the harmful chemicals that can be found inside those non-stick pans. And for what it’s worth, the pan looked very shiny and lovely after it was seasoned. We used peanut oil when we did ours.

Conclusion

We hope this guide has been helpful in getting you on the right track to finding the greatest stainless-steel cookware you ever did see. After all, think of it as an investment. I know we did. Our good durable choices turned out to be great for home and good to take on the road, too.

As big RVers, we wanted some stuff we could take on the road and not worry about getting beat up a bit. We certainly found it with this best stainless-steel cookware. Cooking is an adventure, so treat it as such and get the right gear. You will certainly enjoy it much more once you know what’s the best option for you for your kitchen.

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Peter Allen

Peter Allen

Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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