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Sep 12, 2008 08:54 PM

Stainless Steel Skillets: Better Then Non-Stick?

Regarding the brand Demeyere, will the stainless steel skillet (Atlanta Series) give me a somewhat non-stick cooking quality, especially when cooking scrambled eggs, eggs in general, pancakes, fish and crumbed foods?

Reading other posts it seems that some people prefer to have a non-stick skillet especially for cooking eggs and pancakes, where as other people swear by a good stainless steel skillet will give you the same benefits if used correctly.

Also I can honestly say that I am not interested in cast iron as far as skillets are concerned, but I do know that they offer non-stick benefits also.

Cheers :-)

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  1. As you note, others will have different opinions and/or experiences. My stainless skillets, which I love, have never been at all non-stick unless I work hard to make them that way (plenty of butter, oil or cooking spray). My wife and I have 10 inch and 7 1/2 inch nonstick skillets that we use for eggs and such. (We have a griddle that we use for pancakes.)

    1. Stainless steel is about as far from non-stick as you can get.

      1. Nope. Stainless is about the "stickiest" surface there is. If you don't want cast iron, sonsider carbon steel. I have three French-made, moderately priced CS panxs and I use them for almost everything now. Only need tongs, not a spatula, even for fish. French chefs have been cooking with them for generations. (I have one non-stick that I use for eggs and such,)

        Marian Burros ran some tests:

        1 Reply
        1. re: mpalmer6c

          I think stainless is good for POTS and I use cast iron for skillets (I love them). As far as commercial "NON-STICK" surfaces go the chemicals and the things I've heard (true or not) now weird me out and I've stopped using them.

        2. stainless will stick, but it's supposed to, to create frond when you saute to make sauce. I've found it sticks a bit less if you follow the hot pan cold oil mantra, but if you're looking for a non stick surface, stainless won't do it. cast iron properly seasoned can be almost as effective as non stick pans, though you indicated you're not interested in cast iron. Personally, i'd take a seasoned cast iron pan over a non stick surface any day.

          3 Replies
          1. re: chuckl


            I don't want non-stick because (my opion) of the health issues. I'm not keen on cast iron for skillets because of the cleaning, seasoning and drying issues (I want to use my dish washer :-) ).

            I don't mind the fact that samll amounts of food will stick to a stainless steel pan which you can use as a sauce. I am trying to find a skillet that would be ideal for cooking eggs and pancakes etc.

            I know if I turn to a non-stick skillet then there is no problems with sticking, but I would prefer to use a stainless steel skillet as I will buy one anyway, I guess my other option is to buy a cast iron skillet just for eggs and other delicate foods. (I just like quick clean ups )

            1. re: snax

              The probalem with stainless skillets isn't food sticking to the bottom of the pan. it's all the little brown spots baking on to the the sides like epoxy. I figured every time I used my All-Clad it took about 20 minutes to clean the interior. It's not just my aany idea; check out the Burros article. Just trying to warn you against something expensive you might not like.

              1. re: snax

                cast iron is so simple to take care of. once you have the thing seasoned and if you use a bit of oil each time you cook, all you have to do is wipe it or rinse it , maybe a quick scrub here and there with a soft scotch brite pad and are done. once a month or so, give it a little extra tlc and you will be fine. just don't put it away in the back of the cabinet damp with other pans stacked on top of it.

            2. Can you use an enameled cast iron skillet for eggs etc?

              4 Replies
              1. re: snax

                Based on my experience I would rank materials, from sticky to non as:

                stainless steel
                bare aluminum
                worn non-stick
                enameled steel or cast iron
                hard anodized aluminum
                glazed pottery
                well seasoned cast iron or carbon steel
                good nonstick

                1. re: paulj

                  I agree with your rating, although I haven't tried glazed pottery on a cooktop (would it hold up?)

                  The stickier the material, the more oil or fat is needed. And even then, I find stainless very sticky.

                  If you get a good SMOOTH, well seasoned cast iron pan, and only use it for eggs and pancakes, the cleanup is pretty easy. However, I don't think much of the new pans that have a rough sand-cast finish and come "preseasoned" as far as "nonstick".

                  1. re: mlgb

                    I have experience with two types of glazed pottery items, Chinese sand pots, and a Spanish casuela. I've used the sand pots on a butane hot plate without problem. I get some sticking, even burning if I don't watch the rice dish carefully, but it washes off easily. I've only used the Spanish one in the oven, to oven-roast a fish steak. The label says it's ok on a gas burner, but on electric it probably needs a trivet.

                    Both call an initial soaking.

                2. re: snax

                  Sure, don't forget the butter! The enamelled stuff is most definitely not non-stick, but better than stainless (very similar to anodized aluminum). Come to think of it, a nice heavy anodized aluminum pan might be just the ticket. Handles heat really well, and cleans up nice. It is a whole lot lighter than cast iron and is non-reactive.

                  Neither anodized aluminum nor enamelled cast iron definitely will tolerate the dishwasher. Stainless steel ought to handle the dishwasher, but the metals in the multi-ply bottoms might have issues (we had one delaminate when my wife and I were newlyweds and didn't know any better).