Unhealthy scratched non-stick surfaces are a common reason to switch to a more durable stainless frying pan. For me burning myself after a broken handle made me never ever again buy a common no-name, non-stick frying pan.
Although in my thirties I’ve already owned a whole bunch of frying pans. All of them were non-stick from the local wholesale or supermarket and they typically cost around €40,- And all of them had the same problem… After around one year the handle starts to get loose and the non-stick surface gets more and more scratched.
This year I reached my boiling point 🙂 when the handle of my non-stick BK saute pan broke off after just 1 month of use. Reason turned out to be a screw with not enough thread in the handle. With a small but painful burning mark on my leg I latterly threw the hot pan out the door into the garden. Although not an above average cook I was determined to get a heavy duty durable professional stainless frying pan!
Before wandering days and nights on Google it is very handy to set up some requirements for your cookware.
First I decided that I would only buy a frying pan for now. My other Saute Pan was still ok and since these pans are not cheap I would take it one step at a time.
I had two important requirements for my frying pan:
1. It has to be durable, dishwasher safe pan. Ok, I know even the best cookware should better not go in the dishwasher but we are a family of five and if it does go into the washer I don’t want to receive a heart attack. Also I own a small Stainless Fisher Frying Pan from my grandmothers and that thing has seen thousands of dishwasher hours and is still frying excellent. The only problem is again the plastic handle that is showing some cracks.
2. Size should be 26cm (10.2 inch). I’ve tested different sizes and 26cm is the best size for our stove and the meals we typically make. This is really important to test because a pan to small or too big will just end up not being used.
What is the best material for a Frying Pan?
Non-Stick Frying Pans: As mentioned non-stick frying pans are susceptible to scratching and not capable of using high heats to cook professionally. Also one time burning your food will forever ruin your pan.
Ceramic Frying Pans: Simply said all Ceramic frying pans are very delicate and most are crap (sorry!). Simply type in a ceramic pan brand name and see all the feedback for cracked and flaked bottoms to discolorations and whole ceramic parts coming loose from the frying pan bottom.
Cast Iron Frying Pans: Needs some attention in seasoning and care, is very heavy but can last you a lifetime and gives great cooking results. Is is just not a real “fire and forget” kind of cookware.
Carbon Steal Frying Pans: Lasts a lifetime, very heavy frying pans (can be to heavy for some). Needs seasoning. It is the carefactor and the weight that made me turn away from carbon steal frying pans. I’m simply not sure my wife can lift the frying pan with ease and when it does accidentally sees the dishwashers inside the pan and me would need some time to recuperate.
Stainless Steel Frying Pans: Durable, easy to clean (see Barkeepers Friend below), high heat capability, not ruined when burned, not ruined when dish washed. Stainless steel it is for our family!. Oh I surely take care of the pans but sometimes there is no time and/or someone else is cooking (my mom making pancakes with the kids) and then I just don’t want to have any fears for improper use and care.
After weeks of reading reviews, cooking sites, forums and viewing youtube clips this was my top 4 list of top high quality Stainless Frying Pan Cookware:
- All Clad (US)
- Demeyere (DE)
- Mauviel (FR)
- Le Creuset (FR)
Basically you are more then safe with any of these brands and it’s up to your personal requirements to see if they offer a suitable pan.
All Clad Stainless Frying Pan
All Clad is certainly the most famous brand and you can find loads of posts, clips and reviews on there frying pans. The only negative I could find is that some people love the All Clad handle but also some really hate it. Since I’m also buying this pan to be used by my wife I wanted to take no risk so I didn’t choose the All Clad. Also they are pretty hard to find in The Netherlands so I would have to order in Germany meaning extra shipping.
Below you see the proper way to cook a steak with a stainless steel All Clad pan. It really, really works…
Demeyere Stainless Frying Pan
They sure offer innovative, thick and very durable cookware. The downside is there price and they didn’t have a 26cm frying pan. Another concern was that I read some posts of people returning Demeyere pans because of their heavy weight. I do consider them an option for the saucepan because there bottoms are very heavy, and not rounded and our stove is not the most stable base for rounded small pans.
See on Amazon: Demeyere Proline 5 Star 9.4 Inch Fry Pan
Mauviel Stainless Frying Pan
Absolutely beautiful pots and pans. You will certainly fall in love with their copper pans but also the Stainless Frying Pans are almost to gorgeous to use. On 24Kitchen channel I saw some top chefs using Mauviel and they are without doubt a very good investment. For me the price just made them out of reach for the frying pan. I am however looking at some of there other pans like the Sauté Pan when my old non-stick wears out and my bank account has recuperated a bit.
Le Creuset Stainless Frying Pan
Foremost known for there enameled cast-iron cookware Le Creuset also offers very good stainless pans. They have a friendly price tag (for top-end cookware), are very well made, their handles have no negative feedback and they offer a lifetime warranty. I’ve read multiple posts from people using Le Creuset cookware with much delight for 30+ years. Simply said I could not find any reason to prefer one of the above brands before Le Creuset. Also since they were offered in several high-end local cooking webstores.
I bought the 26cm (10 inch) stainless steel Le Creuset frying pan and use it with much pleasure everyday. The handle is indeed not aggravating in any way. It looks beautiful and is a very sturdy well made product.
See on Amazon: Le Creuset Stainless Frying Pan, 10-Inch
Use and care of a stainless steel frying pan
Most people know that a carbon steel pan needs seasoning to become non-stick. Here is what is considered a good guide to do so: Chemistry of cast-iron seasoning. In my opinion though I think seasoning a pan in suchs a way is trying to mimick the seasoning result that really just needs months of use. My advice for a Carbon steel pan seasoning is like The Buyer advices: Season it once by burning some oil and then just use it every day…
For stainless steel pans there is much debate on whether they need seasoning. My personal experience is that when I wash the stainless Creuset with boiling hot water directly after every use it’s very easy to clean and works perfectly without any sticking. Eggs, fish everything works perfect so washing with hot water and drying with a paper-towel after every use works very well. Be aware that Steak and Fish need sticking and you should leave them for a minute (No, don’t poke, touch, feel!) and it will come out perfect without sticking.
Perfect Steak: Leidenfrost hot pan, oil in, steak in, “sshhhtt”, fire down a bit, leave it alone!, turn, “sshhhtt”, leave it alone… perfect!
A stainless steel pan will not look as new after 1 month of use. It will look beautiful but not as new, accept that! If however there are burned residues on the pan, watermarks etc you can really clean it properly with Bar Keepers Friend. It was a pain to get here in The Netherlands but after reading all the positive on forums worldwide I had to get it and it absolutely works like nothing else. Secondly is it cheap! If you have a stainless pan, buy it… You won’t be disappointed.