Shiny stainless steel cookware looks great in your kitchen, offers excellent heat distribution, and doesn’t require any babying because of its rough-tough construction – all things good.
But does that mean you can use a stainless pan for cooking practically any food? Well, that’s not true. Stainless steel cookware also comes with certain shortcomings – some foods sticking to it being the most important one.
Many home cooks complain about food sticking to their steel pan or cleaning it being a headache; if you’re also one of those fellows, we have got your back.
Today we’ll talk about what not to cook in stainless steel cookware and the foods that suit these pans the best. If you’re interested in knowing more about stainless steel-worthy dishes, keep reading and find the answer!
Can You Cook Anything In Stainless Steel Cookware?
Although stainless steel cookware stays intact for decades despite regular usage, it’s not the one-fits-all kind.
Some ingredients and recipes turn out bleh when you cook them in a stainless steel pot/pan. Similarly, some other dishes taste great when cooked in a steel pot but taking out their remnants will be a pain for you.
Therefore, you should be clear about what to cook and what not to cook in stainless steel pans before making them your go-to in the kitchen.
Before we get specific, here are three kinds of raw ingredients you should avoid cooking with a steel pan:
High Protein, Low Fat Foods
Poultry, delicate fish, and lean beef are high in proteins and low in fats, making them not-so-good choices for stainless steel cookware.
When you add such ingredients to a stainless steel pot or pan, their protein constituents form bonds with the metal surface and make food release difficult for you.
Unless you coat the stainless steel pan in fats and heat it to the perfect level, don’t add low-fat foods to it, or else get ready to clean a mess.
If you think putting a frozen or cold meatloaf in a stainless steel pan will speed up the cooking process, you’re highly mistaken.
When you add cold ingredients to a hot pan, they change its temperature and cause some alterations in its pores, eventually leading to food sticking.
While cooking/heating frozen foods, let them rest on the countertop before adding them to a pan and enjoy effortless food release.
Foods that melt in the pan can be tricky with stainless steel pans. When you cook cheese or eggs in a stainless steel pan, they will leach into its tiny pores and eventually stick in there.
And when it is time for you to flip these ingredients, they won’t cooperate.
What Not To Cook In Stainless Steel Pan?
If you’re a smart home cook that doesn’t take chances with their meals, knowing about the things you cannot perfectly cook in stainless steel is vital for you – it will improve your culinary skills and reduce your workload.
Now that you understand the types of ingredients you should avoid cooking in stainless steel cookware, let’s get more specific and list a few recipes you won’t like when cooked in these pots and pans:
Crepes & Pancakes
Crepes and pancakes require a short cooking time, and you have to flip them before their corners get dark. However, doing so is quite problematic with stainless steel pans.
First, you’ll have to use plenty of oil to ensure the crepes and pancakes don’t get burned, which ruins their taste and look.
Secondly, a stainless steel pan will change your pancakes’ color faster than expected. And when you try to flip these already browned cakes, they turn out to be undercooked from the middle.
Therefore, use a heavy-based pan/skillet for pancakes that takes time to heat up and doesn’t change your food’s color when it’s undercooked.
Omelets and Half-Fried Eggs
Although you can cook eggs in a stainless steel pan, it will take a lot of practice and time if you’re new to this cookware.
The most important factor that makes eggs a no-no for stainless steel pans is the temperature balance required. If you break an egg in a cold or poorly heated pan, it will stick inside its pores and won’t come out unless you scrap it off.
On the flip side, when you pour beaten eggs in a hot stainless steel pan, their color will change quickly, and you might also experience a burnt taste.
So, it’d be helpful if you prefer a non-stick or seasoned cast-iron pan for cooking eggs.
Lean Meat and Delicate Fish
Lean meat doesn’t have sufficient fats, as a result, it sticks to a stainless steel pan pretty badly. This mostly happens when you don’t preheat the pan or the meat fillet/loaf is cold. If you have to cook poultry or lean meat in a steel pan, learn to maintain the right temperature.
However, cooking delicate fish is hardly doable with stainless steel cookware. Thin fish fillets will quickly stick to the porous surface of a stainless steel pan, making cleaning a strenuous task for you.
If you’re health-conscious, cooking delicate fish in a stainless steel pan isn’t a rational choice for you since it will require extra oil.
What Can You Cook In A Stainless Steel Pan?
After listing the foods you cannot cook in stainless steel cookware, now let’s bust some myths and help you understand what you can cook in this incredible cookware.
Apart from the above-listed greasy and sticky recipes, you can cook practically anything in stainless steel cookware. From simmering sauces to searing steaks and boiling vegetables to stir-frying sausages, you can put together endless delicious meals with your stainless steel pan.
There’s a prevalent myth about not reducing sauces and cooking acidic foods in stainless steel cookware. Luckily, that’s not true. High-quality stainless steel cookware is one of the best options you will come across, so experience with any recipe you want, and it will come out just fine.
Is It Safe To Cook With Stainless Steel?
Reactive metals and toxic coatings are two lingering dangers that might limit your cookware choices once you start this research. Luckily enough, neither one is true for stainless steel cookware.
Stainless steel is a non-reactive and finely polished metal that doesn’t release any toxic substances to your food and offers exceptional heating alongside. Stainless steel cookware will always be a safe and practical choice whether you reduce sauces or stir fry veggies.
Stainless steel cookware is practical, reliable, and the best value for your money; don’t be double-minded if you’re going to purchase it. Sure, you will experience a few limitations with steel pans and pots; they don’t overpower this cookware’s usability.
Once you learn to maintain the perfect cooking temperature for stainless steel cookware, you’ll love the perfectly crisped and thoroughly cooked meals you’ll get after it. Eggs, cheese, lean meat, and delicate fish aren’t the best choices for stainless steel cookware – anything other than these will make you fall in love with this cookware!
Can you cook tomato sauce in stainless steel cookware? Stainless steel cookware is non-reactive and thoroughly polished, making it a good choice for cooking and storing tomato sauce. Your stainless steel pot will not alter the tomato sauce’s flavor, neither will it get stained because of it. So, you can confidently cook acidic sauces and other food in stainless steel.
Can you boil water in stainless steel? Yes, since stainless steel is sturdy and corrosion-resistant, you can boil water in it without stressing much. Although some low-quality stainless steel pots will get discolored if you use them to boil water, it’s not a common problem with high-quality steel. If you see water stains inside a steel pot, use a coarse scrubber to remove them, and that will suffice.
Does vinegar damage stainless steel? Concentrated vinegar can affect a stainless steel pan’s look, but the diluted versions don’t. If you’re using vinegar to clean a steel pan, use the diluted one, and don’t soak your pan in it for more than 5 minutes because that can cause metal chipping/rusting.
Can you cook acidic foods in stainless steel? Yes, you can cook acidic foods like tomatoes, wine, lime, lemon, and vinegar in stainless steel because it is a non-reactive metal, and these foods don’t impact its color either.