How to Cook With Stainless Steel Cookware

Learn how to cook with Stainless Steel Cookware and avoid food sticking to the pan.

  • Team Made In
  • Jan 18, 2023
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5-ply Stainless Clad is the most versatile cookware material, due to its heat control, which allows you to cook practically anything you want to perfection (well, besides scrambled eggs, you might want to use Non Stick for that). But whether you're searing, sautéing, boiling, braising, or reducing, Stainless Clad can get the job done to perfection. It’s why it continues to be a mainstay in restaurants all around the world.

And yet, there are many things about cooking with Stainless Clad that can be daunting, like food sticking or burning. However, if you use the right technique, all of that is easily avoidable. Check out this video or follow along below.

1. Temper Your Food

Before your pan even touches the heat source, you want to make sure that the ingredients you will be cooking with are at room temperature or as close to as room temperature as possible. When cold food touches a hot pan, it has the tendency to stick. Plus, cooking proteins when they are at room temperature helps ensure the protein cooks evenly throughout.

2. Preheat Your Pan

Whether it’s a Frying Pan for searing, Saucepan for sautéing, or Stock Pot for braising, preheating your pans is essential. Since Stainless Clad’s metal composition, which consists of an aluminum core, ensures perfect heat conduction you only need to preheat your pan over medium-low heat to start. You can lower or raise the heat as you continue to cook, but starting to heat the pan on low to medium is best.

3. The Water Test

Over medium-low heat, allow your Stainless Clad Pan to preheat for 1 to 2 minutes. The best way to tell if your pan is ready for oil is to add a small drop of water to the pan. If your pan is at the proper temperature, the droplet will stay intact and move around the pan like a marble spinning on a plate. If your pan is too cold, it’ll bubble and evaporate quickly. If your pan is too hot, it’ll fracture into smaller droplets and dart around the pan very fast.

4. Add Your Oil

Once your pan is at the perfect temperature, it’s time to add your cooking oil to the pan. The oil will need to come to temperature, which will take about 1-2 minutes. You will know when your oil is ready when it glistens or shimmers, and starts to ripple across the surface. If your oil starts to smoke, the pan is too hot, and you should turn down the temperature. We recommend avoiding cooking spray, as that can cake onto the surface of your pan.

5. Add Your Ingredients

Whether you’re cooking with proteins or vegetables, make sure they are at room temperature (or as close as they can be), and make sure they’re dry (as the recipe requires) to prevent sticking. Cold food or any moisture that is leftover on your ingredients will get in the way of achieving a Maillard reaction, the browning of crusts.

6. Time to Flip

If you’ve followed all the steps above, your food will tell you when it’s time to be flipped. A crust will form on your proteins, which will naturally release itself from the pan, making it extremely easy to flip. For vegetables, you’ll be able to perfectly sauté them, whether you're sweating down carrots and celery or caramelizing onions.

7. Keep Your Food From Sticking

Concern over food sticking can be a hang up when it comes to using Stainless Clad Cookware. If you're concerned about making a mess, follow these steps below. Remember that if some food sticks, it can usually be cleaned relatively easily with one of these methods

  1. Watch your heat. If you’re cooking over too high of a flame, food is more likely to burn and become stuck to the bottom. Since Stainless Clad Cookware is known for how quickly it heats up, there’s no need to crank the heat too high. Cooking over medium should almost always be sufficient.
  2. Use enough oil. You don’t want to cook in a Stainless Clad Pan without a protective layer of oil. Make sure you’re using something with an appropriate smoke point as well so you’re not overheating the oil, which can cause it to cake on.
  3. Be careful with delicate foods. Flaky fish and eggs can certainly be cooked in Stainless Clad but you may need to add more oil. If you’re concerned about them sticking, opt for our Non Stick Cookware or a well-seasoned piece of Carbon Steel that’s built up a naturally non stick patina.
  4. Fully clean your Cookware. Make sure you’re starting with a clean surface when you cook with Stainless Clad. Old oil can build up into a sticky film that will cling to your ingredients.

Ready to Cook?

There's a reason Stainless Clad is so beloved the restaurant industry. Whether you're sautéing vegetables, searing a steak, or even making stock, it's the right material for the job. Now that you know how to cook with Stainless Clad, check out our full line of Stainless Clad Pots and Pans and Cookware Sets.

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