A stainless steel fry pan or skillet is the choice for many chefs. The stainless steel frying pan is often the workhorse in restaurants and home kitchens. A quality skillet offers an attractive appearance, great heat distribution, and easy cleanup. Whether you saute, make crepes, or pan fry, a stainless steel skillet is a great tool to use. You can’t get the fond for sauces from a nonstick pan as you can with stainless steel.
Frying Pan Basics
Frying pans are typically sized 7″ to 14″, and have sloped sides. The sloped sides make it easy for turning, flipping, and releasing foods. A similar sized pan but with straight sides is a sauté pan. The frying pan is great for frying eggs, searing, or browning with oils, butter, or liquids. A stainless steel frying pan with its attractive shiny surface fits the decor of many homes.
Why Choose a Stainless Steel Fry Pan
Stainless steel cookware is lightweight, non-reactive to foods, healthy, dishwasher safe, and works on or in a stove or induction unit. Because it is not good at distributing heat, a quality stainless steel frying pan will be clad with layers of copper and/or aluminum, at least on the bottom if not up the side walls also. Quality stainless steel is referred to as “18/10” because it contains 18% chromium and 10% nickel. 18/10 stainless steel is best on the inside, and a magnetic or 18/0 stainless steel on the outside for induction cooking. Because stainless steel is non-porous, and not coating with chemicals or nonstick surface treatments, it is considered a healthy cookware.
Characteristics of a Stainless Steel Frying Pan
While a standard stainless steel frying pan does not have a nonstick interior surface, proper cleaning and heat levels will avoid food sticking to the frying pan. Quality aluminum or copper layered frying pans distribute heat so well, manufacturers recommend using just low to medium heat. Preheating the skillet for a couple of minutes first will heat the pan adequately for most purposes. The preheating closes the pores of the metal surface reducing the chance of food sticking. The polished surface makes the stainless steel frying pan easy to clean, inside and out. Like most metal cookware, it is not recommended to add salt directly to the stainless steel fry pan. Rather, add salt to liquids or foods already being cooked.
Cleaning a Stainless Steel Frying Pan
Most stainless steel skillets are dishwasher safe. Even so, hand washing is recommended. Usual cleaning involves immersing the stainless steel frying pan into warm sudsy water, and clean with a fine powder cleanser like Bon Ami or Bar Keepers Friend. Rub in a circular motion from the inside outwards. Dry the pan immediately. Do not use oven cleaners, bleaches, or steel wool.
The stainless steel frying pan is found in the homes of many chefs and serious home cooks. It is versatile, easy to clean and a safe alternative to nonstick surfaces. Look for 18/10 stainless steel with aluminum or copper layers.