Help! Everything Burns in My Stainless Steel Pans

published Feb 29, 2016
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Q: I just switched from nonstick pans to stainless steel pans, but now everything I cook sticks on there, unless I use copious amounts of oil. What can I do to make cooking with these a little easier?

Sent by Alexandra

Editor: Alexandra, the solution isn’t in adding more fat, but rather when you add it. Stainless steel needs to be preheated before you add fat to the pan. It doesn’t need to be blistering, but you should be able to feel the heat radiating from the pan when you hold a hand over it. Once it’s hot, then you add the fat. It should spread across the pan quickly and begin to shimmer in a matter of seconds.

And remember, if you’re searing meats, resist the urge to agitate them until they’ve thoroughly browned. As the proteins constrict, they will release their grip on the pan and you should be able to flip them with minimal sticking.

Kitchn readers, how do you manage cooking in stainless steel pans without sticking?