I have always used non stick pans and have been disappointed with them. I found out I was screwing them up by using cooking spray on them. Who would have known.
In my search for a new fry pan I came across stainless steel but have been leery as if not used properly you can have major issues with food burning and sticking.
What should I know about using and caring for stainless? I was going to get one fry pan as a tester.
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Stainless is ok for me and cleans up extremely well with Barkeep's Friend. I always wanted to get a good quality carbon steel pan to test in the same way you described. I've no experience with those. I am curious what the collective experience here thinks about SS and will be watching this thread.
All-Clad is what I use. Expensive but worth it. Made in America. It is a tool and you must learn to use it well. I also use steel, cast iron and non-stick.
Instead of a frying pan, you should start off with a saute pan. A bit more versatile and easier to work with for many dishes. Make sure it has the lid, you'll do a bunch of one-pot meals and braising. Fry pan is good for exactly that, frying...and some braising.
You recognized non-stick's don't need cooking spray, in-fact, non-stick pans should only be used for eggs, fish, dishes that are sugary, or, cheesy. Otherwise, use a standard pan or, cast iron, with oil or, butter to provide a fatty non-stick surface.
All-Clad is the standard for many high-end kitchens; there's similar multi-cladded constructed brands but, they're the most recognizable. Most restaurants will use heavy gauge/commercial aluminum pots-pans; while solid, they don't allow for the precise temperature control that higher-end restaurants demand...along with the higher unit costs comparatively. Temp control is the key to cooking well, rarely should you use full-blast on the burner unless searing or, boiling.
This is a good resource to start building up your quality kitchen tools
I have used All-Clad for over 40 years, my original 10 pieces are still in use. More recently, 10 to 15 + years, I have used their non-stick successfully.
My stove top is induction and requires a ferrous material for cooking and All-Clad is perfect.
I expect my daughter will inherit my cookware and it will last beyond her lifetime.
Obviously, I highly recommend it! Good cookware is an investment for a lifetime plus.
I have a couple. They sure are purdy. Nice for sauces and sauteing. Frying splatters up the sides and kinda burns. Tough to clean. I got tired of using Barkeepers Friend and an electric polisher, 15 minutes to make them shine like new and bought a Vollrath coated pan.
Bar Keeper's and Bon Ami are the industry cleaning standard for pro kitchens, if that doesn't seem to be doing the trick, Cameo has been gaining in popularity. If the spots/stains are hard, leave it on there for 15-20 minutes to work in.
When all else fails, PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash) gets everything off...just don't use it on sheet pans. It took the tin right off, now that pan is used for my gun smithing work
I have a variety of all clad. I just bought a new D5 brushed stainless set because my old LTD set isn’t induction compatible which I just switched to. Those will go to my son at some point
That said.... the carbon steel I have has very quickly become one of my favorites. Season the inside just like cast iron and it’s about as non stuck as it gets. Treat it the same as cast iron
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Heat the pan before you put food in it.
That's how you keep food from sticking.
if you're going to brown hamburger, for example, heat the empty pan on medium heat for a few minutes, then add oil, then add food.
Remember...hot pan, cold oil, then add food.
As already mentioned, use Barkeeper's Friend for cleaning SS. Great stuff that will keep your SS cookware looking like new.
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To save a ton of money on All Clad and get something that still works great I recommend these...
As for sticking watch this video, it completely cured my problem with sticking.
Aside from that I still keep a non-stick for eggs and very sticky stuff, like sugary sauces. I like the ceramic types. They aren't as great as teflon but they seem to hold up better.
These go to eleven.
I have a decent sized set of Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless. If I'm not using cast iron, I'm using my tri-ply stainless. Coming from a coated pan, you do have to learn how to cook in them (as mentioned already in this thread). I have yet to find something that I can't cook in either cast iron or stainless. I've owned my stainless set for 8 years now. I've had visitors burn them up pretty well, enough to have to do some couple day soaks and serious elbow scrubbing/polishing. They all polish up and look like new though. Pretty easy to clean, and great for cooking in.
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I have two pieces of All-clad D5, a 1.5t pot and a 2qt sautés pan. They are excellent and I find them easy to clean. If I need a frying pan I use cast iron but I plan on buying an all-clad frying pan someday. Like good cast iron it will be something you can hand down forever if taken care of.
I JUST saw a commercial for a company called "Made In", anyone have any experience with them? They get great reviews and their stainless is cheaper than all-clad. They also have carbon steel pans.
Made In Cookware
Another All Clad fan here. I won’t repeat the good advice above but I wanted to add that I’ve bought several of my pieces from Home Goods for very reasonable prices.
I have All Clad non stick. Not what you're looking for but very high quality, super even heating, no regrets although they're heavy to work with but also why they have even heat. If you want stainless go with All Clad, if you're looking for good prices on single All Clad pans, Marshalls is the place.
Depending on location, Home Goods/Marshalls/TJMaxx can be a hidden gem for those on a budget but, looking for some good stuff. I've directed a couple of recently divorced friends there when they needed some stuff to rebuild.
Sur La Table just recently closed a number of their stores, a fair amount of their merchandise was on clearance pricing.
The majority of my kitchen, I got outfitted through multiple trips to Williams Sonoma outlet. There's a handful around the country, and they have more All-Clad then any place I've ever seen, you could build a battleship with the amount of inventory they had. Usually its at-least 30% off, I've seen it at 50% off.
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I cook with All Clad Copper Core, and Demeyere.
The copper core is All Clad's best line, and Demeyere is amazing. But it costs.
Slowly transitioning over to stainless steel. Key is to get GOOD stainless.
I like AllClad as it’s made about 10 miles south of me. (And apparently the OP) Others have mentioned other good brands.
Biggest lesson learned is a lower heat setting than what aluminum non stick requires and a bit more fat.
The 12” fry pan with a lid was my first purchase and it’s good all round. Like was mentioned above a sauté pan can be a bit more versatile.
Hit this site up for deals.
My favorite piece from them is the 5.5 qt Dutch oven. I live the bowl like sides as it’s so easy to sauté ingredients before making a soup or stew and no corners for stuff to catch and burn
Found this site to help visualize diameters of the stock pots and sauté pans
One of the techniques to good use of stainless pans is to let them heat up first, then add oil, then add the food. A lot of sticking issues with stainless is because the pan isn't hot enough first.
http://shotworkspro.com - Much better than scrap paper! Use 'Take5' to get 5 bucks off.
I did some research into the company. They have good marketing and horrible customer service
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My dad literally made a career out of selling stainless cookware sets. I know very little about them, but my set was free from his old inventory.
Vita Craft made ours. I has multi-layers (5 ply or 8 ply or something like that). The skillet has an oil core.
I don't have problems with burning things.
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