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First tri ply stainless steel pan - prep, cleaning, tips

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I just purchased my first stainless steel pan and went with a saute pan from the Calphalon Tri Ply Stainless Steel line.

I haven't used it yet - is there anything I should do before use? There was a recent discussion about using hot oil to prep the pan to reduce sticking, but most people didn't seem to think that was a good idea.

I've also never maintained stainless steel before, especially one with a mirror finish outside. What type of sponges or scrubbers should I get - any brand recommendations? I know scratches will form, but I don't want to use something inappropriate on it! My yellow/green Scotch Brite sponges may need to be retired.

Lastly, I've been reading through the threads here but I thought I'd also ask if there are any other tips I should know. What I've learned so far:
- Be careful with salt directly on the pan because that can cause pitting, and the Calphalon site doesn't mention that, so that's useful to know!
- Use of baking soda to clean voids the warranty.
- Have Barkeepers Friend on hand.
- Use lower heat than I'm used to - although Calphalon suggests high heat sometimes, unlike the All Clad site that says always stick with low/medium heat.
The last thing I want to do is ruin my new pan!

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  1. <I haven't used it yet - is there anything I should do before use?>

    Nothing really. Maybe rinse it to remove dust and all.

    <There was a recent discussion about using hot oil to prep the pan to reduce sticking, but most people didn't seem to think that was a good idea.>

    It does not hurt to use the hot oil to prep, but it is far from require and there are other ways to get around this stickiness. Again, you can do it and you don't have to do it. It is up to you.

    < What type of sponges or scrubbers should I get - any brand recommendations?>

    Anything will work really. As for your typical yellow/green Scotch sponge, you can always use the yellow side for daily cleaning and the green side for unusual stains.

    <- Be careful with salt directly on the pan because that can cause pitting, and the Calphalon site doesn't mention that, so that's useful to know! >

    Yeah, but even if you have small amount of pitting, it is not the end of the world.

    <- Use of baking soda to clean voids the warranty.>

    I have never heard of that. Really?

    <- Have Barkeepers Friend on hand.>

    Barkeepers Friend is nice especially for removing certain stains. That being said. You don't have to have it.

    <- Use lower heat than I'm used to>

    I definitely won't say that. First, it depends what you have been working with now. It is very tough to say that you should use a lower heat than what you are used to when we don't know what you are used to. For most applications, just use common sense. Triply cookware are the toughest all-around cookware. They are chemically inert, structurally strong and temperature durable. Almost every other cookware are weaker than triply cookware in some way. Telfon cookware are temperature and structurally weaker than triply cookware. Carbon steel and cast iron cookware are chemically less stable than triply cookware. Pure aluminum cookware and clay cookware are structurally weaker than triply cookware....etc.

    I think the only thing you need to watch out is try to minimize situations where you heat up an empty triply cookware (without food or water in it). You can still do it, just keep your eyes open. This is true for any cookware really.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I agree with all of that, with the proviso that if you're seriously upgrading you may want to use a lower temperature at first, not so much to protect the pans as to protect the food! The heat propagation of these tri-ply pans is amazing and you may find yourself cooking things quicker than you used to. For your first couple of dishes, keep an eye on whatever's in the pan. You may find that onions brown faster, making them more difficult to sweat at your old heat levels, that garlic burns more quickly than it did, etc.

      These are all absolutely good things, of course. It gives you a lot more flexibility, it can save you time and it may just reduce the heat in the kitchen by just a little bit. But it's worth keeping an eye on.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        +1

        Very good answer.

        I'd add: it's a just a pan !

      2. redlady, you certainly needn't baby that pan! I have a few of the same Calphalon pans, and they are real workhorses.
        That said, stick to the blue scrubby pads instead of the green, and your mirror shine will last longer.

        1. redlady,

          I've been happily using Calph. TP for 12 years now and love it. I have 3 tips for you:

          1. Avoid cleaners with lemon or citric acid. Your pan most likely has aluminum rivets which do not play well with citrus. It also has the aluminum "sandwich" filling which will corrode. If you plan to use your dishwasher, be aware that the more powerful detergents, by which I mean the ones that actually clean dishes, usually have citric acid. Try one with phosphates, which you'll likely need to order online. Even hand washing, avoid the lemon detergents.

          2. Oven cleaner is your new friend. Sooner or later the bottom of your pan will get some lovely amber/brown oil baked onto it. Spray it with oven cleaner (I use Easy Off Heavy Duty), come back 5-6 hours later, and rinse it clean. It's that easy.

          3. By far, the easiest way to get rid of crusty gunk in your pan is to deglaze right away. Forgive me if you know this already, but here goes... pour a cup or more of water into the hot pan as soon as you plate your food. Scrape up the burned-on stuff. If it doesn't lift easily, boil the water, turn off the heat and go eat. Later, everything should pretty much lift off. If it doesn't, well, break out BKF or Easy Off. Boiling water works great for burned anything, like tomato sauce, chili, whatever.

          Happy cooking!

          1. Thanks for all the great tips so far, and I'm pleased to hear that so many people have been happy with their Calphalon tri ply pans for many years.

            Kitchengardengal, for the blue scubby sponges, I'm guessing you're referring to this? http://www.amazon.com/Scotch-Brite-3M...

            Chemicalkinetics, as for the baking soda and warranty, Calphalon says about their tri ply line: "DO NOT USE abrasive cleaners or cleaning pads, oven cleaners or other caustic cleaning solutions, baking soda, bleach, or liquid household cleaners used for floors, porcelain, etc. to clean the pans. These types of cleaners will damage the finish and void the warranty. To restore the shine to the stainless steel, you may also use Bar Keeper’s Friend® cleanser (or other polish made especially for stainless steel) and a non-abrasive sponge or soft bristle brush. "

            That's from this page: http://www.calphalon.com/Product-Supp...

            But it sounds like many people do use baking soda, so perhaps they can't really tell.

            Regarding your comment about minimizing heating up the cookware while empty, could you elaborate a bit? I had read that the pan should heat up for a bit before adding oil, so I assume then you'd always heat it for a minute or two while empty.

            2 Replies
              1. re: redlady

                Forget baking soda.

                Barkeeper s Friend is your best friend .

                And then oven cleaner if it gets really bad