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The Most Common Stainless Clad Questions, Answered

Everything there is to know about the cookware that earned us a place in professional kitchens.

By Rachel Robey
May 11, 2022
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Stainless Clad Cookware is what first earned us a place in professional kitchens. It’s versatile, durable, and reliable. To make sure you’re getting the best results with your stainless clad cookware, we’ve answered your most frequently asked questions below.

What’s So Great About Stainless Clad Cookware?

It can do everything from boiling pasta to searing steak, and it’s non-reactive so it handles acidity with no fuss. And on top of all that, it’s super lightweight. Stainless clad works on any cooking surface—gas stoves, electric burners, flat tops, and induction stoves alike—and it’s oven-safe up to 800-degrees Fahrenheit.

How Does Stainless Clad Compare to Carbon Steel and Non Stick?

Stainless clad is one of the most popular types of cookware, both in professional and home kitchens. It’s lightweight, affordable, versatile, and relatively low-maintenance. Here are some things to consider when cooking with stainless clad and how it compares to Carbon Steel and Non Stick.

Stainless Clad versus Carbon Steel: Stainless clad and carbon steel are relatively similar in  terms of performance and versatility, but they have a few key distinctions. Stainless clad is lighter and non-reactive—meaning that you can cook with acidic ingredients without them imparting a metallic taste. However, carbon steel is more durable and can tolerate higher temperatures (up to 1,200-degrees Fahrenheit). Carbon steel also requires seasoning and will develop a natural non stick patina overtime. Unlike stainless clad however, carbon steel is reactive and cooking with acidic ingredients can strip its seasoning. However, both can go straight from the stove into the oven, and both conduct, retain, and diffuse heat very well. We recommend having both so you’ve always got the proper tools for the job.

Stainless Clad versus Non Stick: Stainless clad cookware is able to perform at higher temperatures (up to 800-degrees Fahrenheit) than its non stick counterpart (which can handle up to 500-degrees Fahrenheit). Stainless clad pans are also much more resistant to dents and scratches. Because the bodies of our non stick pans are the same as our stainless clad pans (albeit with two additional layers of professional-quality non stick coating), they perform very similarly. They have the added benefit of being completely non stick right out of the box, where stainless clad cookware may not be the best choice for delicate ingredients like eggs or flaky fish. 

How Do You Cook With Stainless Clad?

Cooking with stainless clad is hard to get wrong, but there are a few best practices that will set you up for success every time. To ensure your food doesn’t stick and the cookware is easy to clean up, it’s important to pay attention to timing and temperature.

We recommend letting your pan heat up over medium heat for 1-2 minutes before adding fat. To make sure it’s at the right temperature, you can perform the bead test by adding a few drops of water directly to the pan. If the droplets form a single bead that dances around the pan, it’s ready. If the water does nothing, it needs more time to heat up. If it explodes and fizzles violently, it’s too hot. Check out the video above to see Steve perform the bead test so you know what to look for.

Once your pan is at the right temperature, add your fat or oil and make sure this gets hot before adding anything else. Many recipes will instruct you to wait until the oil is “shimmering,” which is when the oil spreads out and begins to glisten and ripple.

At this point, you can begin to add ingredients. In order to get the best sear, they should be at room temperature and as dry as possible. You can test the temperature by slowly lowering the ingredients into the pan. If you immediately hear a gentle sizzle, you can start cooking. If there’s no sizzle, wait a bit longer for the oil to heat up. Be careful of splattering, which may occur if there’s residual moisture on your ingredients.

Because stainless clad cookware heats quickly and evenly, you’ll find that most things can be cooked over medium to medium-high heat. Tempting as it may be, try not to crank the heat to speed up the cooking. Once your ingredients are in, resist the urge to move them around. Proteins will cling to the surface of the pan as they begin to cook, but will naturally release once fully cooked and crisped.

How Do You Clean and Care for Stainless Clad and Stainless Steel Cookware?

Compared to cookware that requires seasoning, cleaning stainless clad cookware is a breeze. Let your pan cool before cleaning and always hand wash with a sponge, mild soap, and warm water. Dry immediately, and do not put it in the dishwasher. For tough debris or rainbow stains, use our Make It Like New Cleaner.

Here are a few other tips that will preserve the integrity and appearance of your cookware as long as possible:

  1. Don’t use metal utensils, as they can scratch up the surface over time.
  2. To prevent pitting, wait until water is boiling to add salt. Pitting happens when salt reacts with the chromium in your pan, leaving small depressions or spots on its surface. This is purely an aesthetic concern and doesn’t affect your pan’s ability to cook.
  3. Avoid temperatures over 800-degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. If storing cookware in stacks, separate the pans with cloth or kitchen towel to prevent scratching.

What Is a Stay-Cool Handle?

One of our biggest requests from professional chefs was to design a handle that wouldn’t burn their hand when cooking over high heat. Our Stay-Cool Handle is completely hollow, providing a sturdy, ergonomic grip. This makes for easier sautéing and maneuvering on the stovetop.

Why Did You Design With 5-Ply?

All of our stainless clad cookware is 5-ply, meaning it’s made from five layers of four different metals (304, 18/10 Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Aluminum Alloy, and High Grade Ferritic 430). 5-ply helps the cookware heat up quickly, cook evenly (no hot spots), and respond quickly to changes in temperature.

Each metal serves a distinct purpose. Aluminum contributes excellent heat conduction and almost no weight, and the aluminum alloy (which sandwiches the pure aluminum center) is reinforced with magnesium and manganese to increase its strength and hardness.

The 18/10 stainless steel is the shiny top surface of our pan. “18/10” means it has a higher nickel percentage, contributing shine and corrosion resistance. It’s also non-reactive, allowing you to cook with acid. The bottoms of our pans are made from high grade ferritic 430, another type of stainless steel that’s even more durable and scratch resistant.

Our frying pans have a thickness of 2.7 mm, and the rest of the collection is 2.3 mm thick. For the chefs we worked with, that was the perfect balance of weight and performance—they found the extra .4 mm of thickness in the frying pans makes them more durable and less likely to burn food.

What Does “Clad” Mean?

Cladding refers to how the metal is fabricated. We “clad” an aluminum/aluminum alloy core with two different layers of stainless steel.  With cheaper cookware, you’ll often find a “sandwich bottom” that’s simply pasted on at the end of manufacturing. It’s a way to save money while still retaining some of the benefits of high quality stainless cookware, but it leads to uneven heating and poor conductivity. Cladded cookware is much more consistent but typically costs more because it’s bonded throughout the pan, not just at the bottom.

What Utensils Should I Use?

Our Wooden Spoon is a universal cooking tool that works with all of our cookware, including stainless clad. Metal utensils can leave scratches and should be avoided, but any silicone or wooden utensils are safe to use.

Is Stainless Clad Dishwasher Safe?

Despite being technically dishwasher safe, we strongly recommend hand washing our stainless clad cookware. This keeps them looking as new and fresh as possible.

For many chefs and home cooks, stainless clad cookware is the foundation of the kitchen. It consistently performs, can handle just about everything, and doesn’t require much by way of maintenance. Now that you know everything there is to know about it, it’s probably time to get your own.

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