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Did I ruin my All Clad?

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I got a beautiful All Clad 10 inch stainless steel fry pan for my wedding. I cooked ground turkey for tacos, and then proceeded to wash my pan. I could not get the turkey off the pan without scrubbing hard so I went and bought barkeepers friend. I used that and now the pan looks stained on the cooking surface with whiteish spots that have a rainbow like quality.

I cooked with it again and I feel like everything is now very hard to clean off it. Did I ruin it? Am I cooking wrong? This is my only high quality stainless steel product, but I have never had these problems with my cheaper cookware....help me please! I really want to use my new pan.


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  1. Scrub that baby again with a plastic pad and some more BKF. Sounds like it might just not be quite clean enough.
    Remember that it's not non-stick; stickiness is a function of fat in the pan and cooking temperature, and different things will require different temperatures.
    Get to know your pan; it'll take a little while. You didn't ruin it.

    1. This is why I threw away my one All-Clad fry pan, which I bought on the advice of "experts." AC is fine for sauce pans (though it's overpriced), but I wasn't about to spend 20 minutes or more cleaning a pan after each use. Consider enameled cast iron, carbon steel (my favorite).
      cast iron, aluminum or (if used at fairly low temperature), non-stick. And remember, high price does not necessarily mean happiness.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mpalmer6c

        Please tell me that you didn't throw away a perfectly good All-Clad pan!

        If anyone feels the need to toss a AC pan, I will send my address for your culinary orphans.

        1. re: Kelli2006

          Perfectly good or not,the lifetime warranty is always good to someone for something.Get a replacement pan,re-gift it,don't leave the $$ on the table to blow away.

      2. Sounds like you cook with your stove set too hot. No way should anything cooked for tacos be hard to scub off after a 5 minute soak. Turn the heat down a notch or two, medium (not medium high or high) is about right for most ground meats.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ThreeGigs

          Definately too hot. You are never going to see your perfect SSpan the way it was out of the box-a sad plain fact. But your pan is not ruined. One thing I do when I have a really sticky mess is deglaze it by returning it the the heat with some water added-bring to a light boil and it will come off easier when you wash it.Never use your pan on highheat-Medium is about as far as you should go. You can send AC orphans my way as well.

        2. I've been using the same 12" All-Clad stainless steel skillet for 10 years. In my experience:
          * Never put them (or good knives) in the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent is too harsh, and will leave a film.
          * Use the deglazing method for stubborn, stuck-on stuff
          * Make a paste of kosher salt and water to remove any stains that remain
          * Don't use steel wool or any metallic scrubbers when cleaning
          * Residential stoves don't got hot enough to ruin one of these pans. I use mine over high heat to sear meats all the time
          * While not quite indestructible, one way to ruin the pan is to warp it by not letting it cool before putting it in the sink and running cold water on it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: choppcs

            Knives are completely different than stainless steel pots & pans, and while some may have experienced a film on theirs, I can honestly say that I've never seen that on my pans. Cleaning up the rainbow effect on pans is like cleaning the bottom of your shoes... sure it'll look pretty but aren't you about to get them all dirty again? In other words, if you're spending time cleaning the INSIDE of your pans, I think you're a bit wacky.

          2. Try a stainless steel cleaner (one for cookware, NOT applainces). My neighbor sells Pampered Chef and they are coming out with one. She was telling me it will clean up the rainbow effect that happens to good stainless steel cookware. That sounds like what happened to yours. I am sure other companies make similar cleaners. BKF is only good to a point.

            1. Thank you all for the great advice. I'm going to wash it again today and then use the Barkeepers and more of a "polish" once I've washed it. I will not use anything harsh on it.
              Thank you for the advice about the heat level. I am still learning how to cook and maybe I got a little crazy with the heat. I would never think of throwing my pan away....every young cook makes a couple of mistakes and I hope to use this pan for years to come.

              Thanks again!

              2 Replies
              1. re: leaht

                The trick is to heat it up first. Once hot (at med)you can place the chicken or whatever protein you may be cooking on it. Let it cook-you want a nice light brown-when it flips easily it is ready to turn. Always place a cold item on a hot pan-then it is less likely to stick. If placed even on a warm pan, then it is gonna stick. I still have to deglaze every once in a while.

                1. re: leaht

                  Oh, leaht, forgive me. I wouldn't say this except that you said that you are just learning to cook....
                  Where you may have gone off the rails was trying to cook ground turkey with too little fat in the pan. SS is not non-stick. Ground turkey has so little fat that it's going to stick to just about anything. Heck, it might stick to teflon!
                  Next time, use more fat of some sort in that skillet and cook on a lower heat. Or use an el cheapo teflon for the turkey or cook it in the microwave. It's a difficult product.

                  BTW, I have an All-Clad that I mess up occasionally. All I do is let it soak for an hour or so before I even attempt anything. SS is amazing. The gunk usually softens and comes right off without scrubbing or ruining my nails. Mine is copper and it just gets prettier from use. I would never dream of using BKF on it.

                2. I get the rainbow film and the whitish spots other times, but it will also come off if you sprinkle the surface (dry) liberally with plain baking soda, then take a freshly cut wedge of lemon or lime, and use the fleshy part (juice and all) as a scrub, in circular motion. Then just rinse with water. It should be back to its shiny self.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: HLing

                    Or you can completely forget about those harmless little marks and they will disappear the next time you cook with the pans. It saves you time, baking soda, lemons, energy and water (for rinsing).

                    1. re: HaagenDazs

                      well, actually, there's another reason for using the lemon and baking soda combo. ONE is that I'm starting to learn to respect and take care of things that I appreciate using. It's not a chore, nor a waste of energy to me, rather, it gives me more energy to do a job from beginning to end. TWO, and more practically, I've learned from the experience of seeing the plumber using that special, last resort, noisy machine to unclog the drain, and out came black gunk. The plumber then told us that many people think that running the greasy pot under hot water will dissolve the grease, when the fact is when it cools down, wherever that grease happens to be (and usually it's a place unreachable, will re-clog with other bits around it. He said the best thing that actually breaks up the grease is acid and soda, so, either lemon/lime or vinegar with baking soda is a good prevention for the expensive and ugly event. So, not just for the pots and pan, but for all dish washing now, I follow the procedure of first wiping the grease and scraps off into the garbage, and then washing them in the sink. It saves on the amount of detergent used, as well as the agony of a clogged drain.

                      1. re: HLing

                        Good thinking,as someone with well and septic I am all to aware of what you speak.Smart prevention isn't silly.

                  2. Need some help on cleaning my All Clad non-stick fry pan. Around the sides of the pan there are dark brown spots that appear to be burned on oils that I can't get out. Any suggestions on what type of cleaner I can use?


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: meehldil

                      BKF and elbow grease WILL get it off. It might take a few minutes of effort. Effort meaning rubbing with damp cloth and BKF, reapplied as needed.

                    2. Know that it is 99.9% impossible to ruin All-Clad or any other decent cookware by cooking food in it, even at high temperature. What you did is called cooking in it.
                      Ground meat in particular tends to leave the whitish spotting you are describing on stainless steel. It's nothing a damp dishcloth and some barkeepers friend can't clean up. Specifically, damp cloth or sponge, wet pan, a sprinkling of BKF and the barest bit of elbow grease. In my kitchen this is about a 45 second activity. If I've seared meat at super high temp and need to remove welded on oil/fat splatters, that might take two minutes.

                      1. Leah,

                        The unfortunate truth about All Clad is that they will only be new once. It sounds to me that, like a NORMAL COOK, you used salt in your recipe. The mind-blowing thing about All Clad products is that salt stains them and leads to white pits and discoloration. They recommend letting things come to a boil / simmer before salting, but the fact is, even heavily salted sausage will discolor a pan if seared.

                        I actually did a post on restoring an old All Clad piece with BKF that you can check out here


                        That said, the sooner you accept that your pans will only be new the first time you use them, the sooner you can begin enjoying their more positive attributes. They heat evenly, and with a little work, the outside will continue to sparkle for years. Ask any great chef what their favorite piece of cookware is. More times than not, it will be an unattractive piece that looks like hell but cooks beautifully.

                        1. You did likely cook at too high a temperature with it. Keep in mind that, so long as your pan isn't one of those ghetto Emeril specials, the pan is able to achieve higher temperatures with less flame put to it. Took my girlfriend months to get used to my pans when we moved in together - she was burning things constantly. Now that she's got the hang of it, she doesn't use anything else.

                          1. I put my All Clad pan inside the Oven and put it on Self Cleaning thinking that it would come out shiny and new looking. It is black and spotted all over it now. I tried some Bar Keepers on it but that doesn't seem to do any good. Have I ruined it?!