This Brilliant Trick Will Keep Food from Sticking to Stainless Steel Pans

published Mar 24, 2022
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Credit: Macy's

Every time I’ve had the chance to peek into a restaurant kitchen, I’ve immediately noticed all the stainless steel pans. It seems like stainless steel is a popular choice for pro chefs, but I’ve always wondered: How in the world do they prevent food from sticking to it?

Misen, the makers of my favorite kitchen knives, just did home cooks a solid by posting a TikTok video that answers that question once and for all. If you’re like me (and 3.2 million other viewers), you’ll be surprised to learn that it all comes down to pre-heating the pan properly.

The idea is to place your pan over a medium flame for a minute or two, then spoon a few drops of water into it to test it. “If it fizzles or does nothing, wait a little longer,” they say. If the water splits into little beads, though — which is a pretty dramatic moment in the video — it means it’s too hot and you need to turn down the heat and let the pan cool off.

When the water becomes a slippery bead that glides around, however, the pan is ready for use.

At that point, our Misen hero pours some oil into the just-right pan, swirls it around, then adds an egg, which miraculously glides over the surface of the pan just like the bead of water did. Science-lovers may want to learn more about this gliding property (which is called the Leidenfrost effect, if you feel like doing a little research), but for the rest of us, it’s enough to learn that it’s actually possible to cook up a perfect breakfast without having to scrub the pan clean.

If, after you watch the video, you feel like testing it out with your favorite egg recipe, these creamed spinach scrambled eggs or cheesy grits with fried eggs and bacon could both be good options — minus the mess, of course!