Good Question: Stainless Steel vs. Non-Stick

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Dear Kitchen,
I've heard that buying nonstick cookware isn't always the best idea -- that some dishes actually work better with what I guess would be stick cookware. Is that true?

Heather

Dear Heather,

I have to say, for the most part, I tend to prefer using non non-stick pans. The few instances I use a non-stick are for things like eggs, pancakes, delicate fish, or risotto cakes. However, I prefer stainless steel for just about every thing else. It’s especially good when searing meat, or any time you’d want a nice golden color on something. If you’d want to make a gravy or pan sauce, the process of which involves deglazing the pan, stainless steel is definately better.

There are health issues associated with non-stick pans as well. Studies have found that pans coated with Teflon can give off unhealthy fumes when the pans are heated to medium and high temperatures.

The key is to choose a pan that has an aluminum, or perhaps copper core sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel. And the heavier the better. Food tends to burn more when the pan is lightweight and then cleanup is a chore. I have an All-Clad stainless steel frypan and I’ve never had a problem cleaning it.