25 answers

Stainless Steel Vs. Non-Stick

My pans are in bad shape. Looking for new ones. I have always used non-stick - but learning more now that they are unsafe. I cook a lot for my family (4 year old daughter and 9mos old son).

Which would you recommend and also any tips on where to get them at a good deal?


3 moms found this helpful

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Long overdue THANK YOU for your help! I went with stainless and have been very happy!

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I love cast iron. Once it is seasoned it cooks evenly cleans nicely and I have heard it is very healthy. It acctually helps the body absorb iron. They are also very inexpensive. It may just be coincidence but my family is very healthy. Almost no sick days, ear infections, ect. I don't supplement their diets but I do cook at home almost every night. Hope this helps. Also if I use cooking spray they are very easy to clean even stuff like cornbeef hash (yuck)or eggs dosn't stick.

I love my stainless steel pans but I still have a non stick pan too for frying eggs and country potatoes. But if I had to choose it would be SS.


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A good stainless steel pan should provide you with great food and an awesome cooking experience.

However, people continue to make the same mistake over and over again when using stainless - they want to cook EVERYTHING on high. Silly, silly, silly! Don't do it.

When using a stainless pan, about the highest you want to go is medium. Heat the pan first, then add the oil or the butter and let that heat - THEN add what you're going to cook. Unless you are sauteeing, do NOT touch the food in the pan. Leave it alone and let it cook. If you scoot it around in the pan or try to flip it repeatedly, then the outer layer of the food will stick to the pan and leave a holy mess. If you are patient and let the food cook the way it is supposed to, the food will release flawlessly when it is time to flip ip.

Finally, wash your stainless steel pans by hand and use a product called 'Bar Keepers Friend'. You only need a little bit. It is like a powder and won't create a 'lather' but it will clean your pans. I tend to follow that with a little bit of dishwashing detergent. Avoid putting your stainless steel pans in the dishwasher.

Cook correctly, treat your pans right, and you'll enjoy them for years and years to come. We've had our All-Clad set for 8 years and they still look shiny and new and do a great job cooking for us.

2 moms found this helpful

I searched this one for a long time myself. I just bought a new set and it is stainless steel. The is is the multiclad cuisinart. I haven't used them yet but they have great reviews. I actually had replaced my nonstick fry pans with a couple stainless steal pans of good quality to try them out. It is my feeling that no one needs nonstick pans for soups, ect.... I haven't ever had them and have never spent much time cleaning the SS pans. A little soak helps if they are super dirty. The same with the fry pans, esp. Lets say you cooked eggs or hamburgers, when you serve them fill the bottom of the pan with water and let sit. You could also bring the water to a boil. This is easy, easy to do. I recently read to use a few drops of oil and salt for cleaning. I tried that and even with out soap, they came out sparkling. I think they cooked better the next time, too, though could be my imagination.
Two things to remember. 1. The pans should have heavy bottoms (the ones I bought are rated for up to 550 degrees so watch that too. some were only rated up to 350 and that sounded like they must be too thin and poorer quality) and 2. Watch your temperature. You can use high temps for searing if you want, but for most things, when people have too much sticking they temp was too high.
They are not non stick and will take a tad more effort, but honestly, I don't even think about it. I don't necessarily think it hurts to keep a little non stick around for the occasional egg, either, just watch the temp carefully on those because that is what releases the chemicals, which you probably already know.

1 mom found this helpful

I know that this is late, but wanted to add my 2 cents worth. I have stainless and love them too. Mine are 10+ years old and still look brand new, I've had a few accidents burning things in them - but a little soak with dawn detergent and they clean right up. Also - there was a cooking show on tv - the Frugal Gourmet - and he used to say "hot pan, cold oil, no stick". I don't think the pan has to be hot enough to spontaneous combust, and the oil, spray, butter etc.. doesn't have to be refrigerated, but you get the idea. Always works for me!

1 mom found this helpful

I know you have a ton of answers already, but I just completed months-long research for the best, non-toxic cookware now that I am pregnant and finally settled on a mix of stainless steel skillets, a cast iron skillet, and le crueset pots and a le creuset saucier pan. The best piece of advice for cooking with each of those (and the hardest adjustment to make from cooking with non-stick) is to use medium heat, at the absolute highest. High heat cooking will make your food stick and burn easily in stainless, enamel and cast iron, and is just not necesary. Also, be sure not to scour you stainless with anything abrasive because it scratches off the non-reactive surface and exposes the aluminum and chromium (that is what the 18/10 in stainless steel stand for, 18% aluminum and 10% chromium) and those compounds will leach into the food your cooking. Expensive endeavor, but well worth it!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi - I didn't read all of the postings and am a little late to respond but thought I'd offer a couple of tips for keeping your SS pans in great shape. To avoid scratches, use nonstick utensils and never clean them with a scouring pad. I use the plastic scrub brushes, which work great and don't scratch the pans. I buy the large ones at Crate & Barrel, and Trader Joe's sells a small pack of 3 or 4. If you get "spots" from boiling water or other similar spots yet the surface is clean and smooth, pour a little white vinegar and swirl it around, empty the vinegar (but don't rinse) then add some baking soda. It will "sizzle" from the acid/base combination, then scrub and wash with soap and water. They'll be good as new. Enjoy!!

1 mom found this helpful

I'd keep a non stick for eggs (pancakes come off of stainless just great if you use oil and let them cook thoroughly) and go stainless for all the rest. Le Creuset of something like that is nice but really heavy. I find I don't use it as much as I thought I would for this reason. But if you go this direction, try Marshalls or TJ Maxx as they have it (or something like it) for less. America's Test Kitchen tested a bunch of stainless cookware and while they liked the very expensive All Clad, they liked pretty much equally well the set sold at Costco. Can't remember the name, but you could Google ATK and see if you can find it there. It was really inexpensive and worked as well as the All Clad. Good luck!

Think about how often you are going to be using these pans- almost everyday, right?

Before just going out and buying a set of cookware which will most likely include things you don't use or really need,(and its all boxed up, so you can't take the pans out and really check them out), I would take a look at your inventory now:

1) What pans do you REALLY USE ALL THE TIME? If you use your 12" saucepan every night, then invest in a really good one.
Don't automatically go for one just because it is expensive- shop around for an afternoon and 'try out' a lot of pans- handles are different, some are heavy to work with, etc.

Find a couple of really good, high quality stainless steel pans that feel comfortable in your hand and are sizes that you use all the time and invest in those.

2) For a good, big soup pot, and other bakeware, etc. check out Home Goods! They often have amazing deals on high quality cookware - I got a wonderful Dutch oven there and a le Cruset soup pot as well that I use all the time for a fraction of the price anywhere else.

Have fun! Take a GF who likes to cook with you and head out for some pan shopping :)

Get stainless steal and 1-2 cast iron pans, they are great for cooking most things, including nice fluffy omlettes, you also get some extra iron from the cast iron pans. I got one at Bed, Bath Beyond for under $20, they are heavy duty and will last you for years! Teflon/non-stick contain harmful chemicals, if damaged, leaks into your foods.

Good Luck,
Chicago Examiner Family Health Expert

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