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Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless Steel Cookware is a Staple in Great Kitchens

Summary: Stainless steel cookware comes in a variety of grades and varied quality. This range leads many to ask, “Can I use my stainless steel cookware in the oven? What other tips should I know to keep my stainless steel pans looking good?”


Dear Rita: I was watching your video on making filet mignon. Like a lot of recipes I see for meat or fish, it calls for starting the dish on the stove, and finishing it in a hot oven. Like a lot of recipes I see for meat or fish, it calls for starting the dish on the stove, and finishing it in a hot oven. The recipe looks delicious and I’d like to try it, but I have a question. My new husband and I received a set of good quality stainless steel cookware for our wedding. The cookware is quite nice and I’m very happy with it, but I’m not sure if I can use stainless steel in the oven like you do with your anodized aluminum pans.
Can I use my stainless steel cookware in the oven? What would make a good quality stainless steel pan unsafe for use in the oven? What determines if a pan is oven proof or not? The handle, grade, brand or thickness?Can I wash my stainless steel pans in the dishwasher or should I wash them by hand in the sink? What else should I know to care for my cookware? Thank you, Nancy H. Mississauga, Ontario

Dear Nancy: GOOD stainless cookware is usually oven proof. Some are not so read instructions! As Macy’s Culinary Professional, I work with a huge amount of different cookware and have found that, yes; most good quality stainless steel pans are ovenproof. Again, check instructions for your pan – sometimes the base pan is ovenproof but the lid is not. You mentioned the words “grade, brand, thickness, composition”. All these play a part in whether the cookware is oven proof and to what degree. Some stainless steel cookware is even safe under the broiler.

If your stainless steel pans develop a rainbow hue on the inside bottom, it usually means the heat was too high. With some elbow grease, this can be buffed out with a stainless steel cleaner.

Pitting on the bottom of stainless steel cookware can sometimes mean you are adding salt to a dry pot – add salt after the liquid is added.

And even if the stainless steel pan is dishwasher proof (most stainless cookware is) know that sometimes a citrus based dish detergent can cause “etching” on/in the pan so, again, read manufacturer’s instructions on caring for your cookware.

Whether or not to spray the inside of the stainless steel pan with cooking spray?

A big debate still rages as sometimes sprays can bind with the surface of the stainless steel pan, causing a yellow film that is really hard and sometimes impossible to remove. But I understand Pam is now making a spray that is guaranteed not to do this. I’m testing it out now and will report back. GOOD stainless pans are usually oven proof. Some are not so read instructions! As Macy’s Culinary Professional, I work with a huge amount of different cookware and have found that, yes; most good quality stainless steel pans are ovenproof. Again, check instructions – sometimes the base pan is ovenproof but the lid is not. You mentioned the words “grade, brand, thickness, composition”. All these play a part in whether the pan is oven (and broiler) proof and to what degree.

If your stainless develops a rainbow hue on the inside bottom, it usually means the heat was too high and, yes, this can be buffed on with a stainless steel cleaner.

Pitting on the bottom of the pot can sometimes mean you are adding salt to a dry pot – add salt after the liquid is added.

And even if the pan is dishwasher proof (most stainless are) know that sometimes a citrus based dish detergent can cause “etching” on/in the pan so, again, read manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Whether or not to spray the inside of the pan with cooking spray? A big debate still rages as sometimes sprays can bind with the surface of the pan, causing a yellow film that is really hard and sometimes impossible to remove. But I understand Pam is now making a spray that is guaranteed not to do this. I’m testing it out now and will report back.

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