Why We Swear by Stainless Steel Cookware - And Why You Should Make the SwitchRyan Nadolny | Ryan Eats Everything
If you want pans that are nearly indestructible and will last forever, then you want stainless steel cookware.
In recent years we've seen a huge a insurgence of kitchen gadgets and tools promising to make our time in the kitchen tastier and easier.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know what I would do without my air fryer, but I think I can skip the banana slicer. What do you do with all the time you saved by not using a butter knife?
When it comes to kitchen gear, our team of Food Fanatic cooks all swear by stainless steel cookware, but I understand how selecting the right pots and pans can be overwhelming with so many new styles and brands.
The market is flooded with celebrity endorsed products that look pretty but generally use low grade and cheap materials. Yes, even your favorite chef’s line of pans is most likely not very high quality. I know, I know.
Confused yet? Yeah. I get that. That's why I am breaking down everything you need to know about the most popular kinds of cookware.
What Are the Most Popular Types of Cookware?
For the sake of brevity, we’ll stick with the three main types of stove top and oven cookware for today's comparison:
- Cast iron cookware
- Non-stick cookware
- Stainless steel cookware
Each has various benefits and drawbacks, and all make sense to use in difference scenarios. So why do we love stainless steel? Read on to find out!
Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron cookware is a favorite among many people for all the right reasons. Cast iron is durable, holds heat well, and is essentially indestructible.
Unfortunately, cast iron pans are ridiculously heavy, weighing as much as 12 pounds. Trying to flip an omelet one handed with a 12 pound skillet is a lot harder than it sounds. (And it sounds pretty hard.)
Cast iron will also need special care to keep the surface non-stick. They can’t be washed like traditional pans and can't be put in the dishwasher.
That said, cast iron is a beautiful cooking material and can seamlessly transfer from the stove to the oven, making it great for baking, too.
To me, non-stick pans belong in the beginner’s category. They’re great for the cook that is starting out and still lacking confidence in the kitchen.
They have their place, but everything you can do with non-stick can be done better and safer with stainless steel cookware. Hear me out on this one!
Non-stick pans are coated with a synthetic chemical that keeps food from sticking to the pan, commonly known as Teflon. That's the first warning flag.
Anything coated in synthetic chemicals can’t be good for you, and in fact - there's a lot of emerging information about the dangers of non-stick coatings.
Non-stick pans also need to be handled with care. You can only use plastic, wood, or silicone utensils - metal is an absolute no-no.
Once the pan gets a scratch on it, you might as well throw it away. Teflon is a very toxic chemical, and once scratched can leach into your food.
Call me picky, but personally, I like my food without polytetrafluoroethylene.
Stainless Steel Cookware
Now, let’s talk about the star of the show - stainless steel cookware. Like myself, it’s often misunderstood, but at its core is sexy, stylish and cooks a mean steak!
If you went into any professional kitchen, you would see the only pans being used are stainless steel. That should speak volumes in itself.
Don't let that intimidate you though. Stainless steel cookware is accessible, easy to use and care for, and right at home in your kitchen.
We love that stainless steel cookware cooks evenly and isn't finicky when it comes to prep, care and maintence. Other than seasoning your pan, stainless steel doesn’t require a lot of attention.
It’s lightweight compared to cast iron cookware, dishwasher safe, doesn’t require a meticulous cleaning regiment, and is metal utensil safe.
To season your stainless pan, simply heat it up on your stovetop on medium heat. Add a high smoke point oil such as peanut or vegetable oil to the pan.
Using a wadded-up paper towel, coat the entire inside of the pan and let it continue to cook until it starts to slightly smoke.
Turn the pan off and allow it to completely cool. Once your pan is cool to the touch, use a fresh paper towel to wipe off any excess oil. That’s it. Now your pan is seasoned and ready to go.
If you notice food is sticking, repeat the process. When you’re ready to cook, make sure your pan is hot before adding oil to the pan.
You can test if it’s hot by adding a very small amount of water to the pan, like 1/8th of a teaspoon. The water should first spread into small beads and then come back together into one large droplet. Now you’re ready to cook!
What To Look For in Stainless Steel Cookware
When choosing your stainless steel pans, don’t confuse it with aluminum or carbon steel - aluminum is cheaper and lighter but doesn’t retain heat as well and won’t last long.
Carbon steel is a good option if you want to combine the benefits of stainless-steel and cast iron. Unfortunately, these pans tend to cost a lot more, without many added benefits.
Look for stainless steel pans with an aluminum core, encapsulated bottom, or tri-ply with tri-ply largely being considered the better of the three.
What To Cook in Your New Stainless Steel Cookware
If you're wondering what to cook in your new stainless steel cookware, the answer is simple. Everything! Whatever you used your other pans for, stainless will get the job done and do it even better. (Told you. We're big big fans.)
Try some of our favorite recipes to cook with our stainless steel cookware:
- Pan fried chickpeas - An easy and addictive snack that you can have ready in just a few minutes. And they’re healthy!
- Pan fried beef tacos - Everyone loves tacos, and these are a fun new way of serving them. Plus, you can have this dinner ready quick, making it the perfect weeknight meal. Perhaps on a Tuesday?!
- Pan fried lamb chops with rosemary - Stainless-steel is the best pan for searing meat and this delicious rosemary rubbed lamb chops recipe is no exception. Serve them with creamy risotto and asparagus.
- Fried avocado tacos - If you have one of those vegetarians in your home and try to go meatless on Mondays, then this is the recipe you need to try. I bet you won’t even miss the meat.
- Shrimp fried cauliflower rice - Take it from me, you won’t even notice that you’re eat cauliflower instead of rice. Just like you would get from you local takeout joint, but even better because you made it!
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Ryan is a food and writer from Toledo, Ohio where he's had a love affair with food since 1984. When he's not cooking or writing, he's planning the next he wants to eat.Tags: Product Reviews