• Stainless Steel vs. Non-Stick

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    I am turning in some of my points with Holiday Inn and have a choice. I can get a very nice stainless steel set with aluminum to spread the heat, or I can get a very nice set of non-stick. I use a gas oven and top. I am curious what the cooking aficionados here think about the choices. I really enjoy cooking and am looking forward to this, but I would like to make the correct decisions.

    Viewing 6 reply threads
    • #1096533

      Both are good options and it really gets down to personal preference and, to some extent, money. The stainless steel and aluminum should give you a lifetime of service. But if you don’t use oils and other non-stick cooking techniques you will spend a good bit of time cleaning them. The non-stick pans will serve you well, until the non-stick coating gets scratched or worn. Then you will have to throw the pan away and buy another. If you buy high end cookware, this can get very expensive very quickly. I have a set of Calphalon cookware that I bought in ’94 and still use today. I was given a Calphalon non-stick frying pan the following year as a gift and that was thrown away after about 2 years of use because the coating was scratched and worn. That pan cost more than the frying pan of the same size from the set (each is about $100) and it’s long gone while the plain pan is still serving me well.

      I’d take the good quality stainlees steel pans and buy some inexpensive non-stick pans that you won’t mind throwing away in a year or so.

      • #1096537

        … And buy one heavy cast iron pan. Season it well, maintain it and pass to your great-grandchildren.

    • #1096536

      Wwweellll, I’ll turn this on its head and say no to either with a preference for Le Creuset We were given a set about 5 years ago and they absolutely brilliant. Hob to ovenwear, great weight and really versatile.

    • #1096539

      I agree completely with DocWatson. I’ve used some very expensive ($200 +) non stick pans and they are wonderful at first. The non stick coating does wear however, and eventually they are next to useless. They are very convenient, but as Doc says, buy inexpensive non stick pans.

      My favourite pan now is an inexpensive ($50) 12 inch stainless steel pan that I picked up at Wal Mart.The biggest problem with stainless steel pan users is temperature. A MEDIUM heat setting is the highest you’ll ever need. Many users crank the heat up too high and then wonder why food sticks and burns, or why the pan warps. Another mistake many people make is trying to turn or flip the ingredients in the pan too soon. Leave the food alone until it has had a chance to seal on the outside. In most cases then, a simple quick shake is enough to loosen the contents.

      Unlike non stick, a stainless steel pan can be cleaned very easily. If any stains remain after scouring, a little lemon juice and some baking soda will return the pan to “store bought” condition.

      • #1096542

        The answers received so far are great. Since the non-stick have gotten fairly cheap lately I like the idea of buying them cheap and using until they are bad. I thought that I should be more specific on my choises so that you can see they are good quality.

        Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Anodized 12-Pc. Cookware Set (Stainless Steel set)
        Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick 10-Pc. Cookware Set (Non Stick)

        I find it funny that these come with huge crock pots as I live alone and will rarely have use for such large cooking tools.

        • #1096566

          If they are the ones list on this page http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/pc/1/en/c…ints/us/bm.html%5B/url%5D Then I would go for the
          Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Anodized 12-Pc. Cookware Set

          DaveA I am so far behind, I think I am First
          Genealogy....confusing the dead and annoying the living

          • #1096571

            I agree about the stainless steel being best but the set offered doesn’t have glass lids where the nonstick set does. I’d really miss that. Either way, though, it looks like you’ll want to pick up some of those silicon pot handle covers.

            • #1096617

              I, too, agree with Doc Watson. I worked for years as a professional chef, and at home I use both non-stick and stainless-steel-lined heavy aluminum pans. The non-stick last only a few years, and then I replace them. Here’s a tip: go to a restaurant supply house. You can get restaurant-quality heavy duty non-stick pans for not much money (relatively speaking). They perform well and are inexpensive enough that you won’t mind replacing them when the lining gets worn.


            • #1096635

              Thanks all, I ended up going with the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Anodized 12-Pc. Cookware Set. The nicest part is it just cost me points with a hotel chain, but having good information is also a huge plus. I can get the glass lids fairl cheap so will add those as I find I need them. I already have a couple non-stick pans that I have been using and will continue to use for omelets and other basics, but it will be nice to be able to properly brown mushrooms and potatos again.

              Speaking of which,

              Why did the mushroom go to the party? Because he was a FunGi!
              Why did the Fungi leave the party? Because there wasn’t MushRoom!


            • #1096649

              Looks like you’ve gotten a set of cookware that you will enjoy for years to come. I believe you’ve made the right choice and I wouldn’t worry about the pots that you feel are too large. I also live alone these days, and find that there is more than one occasion that I wish I had a large stockpot or frying pan to use for a certain recipe.

    • #1096790

      >a very nice set of non-stick.
      I have gone through several non-stick.
      I suspect, but have no proof or reference, that excessive heat ruins the finish.
      I grew up with a cast-iron frying pan. Get it real hot and drop in the food (Lancashire diet)

    • #1165435

      Non-Stick and Plain Stainless have two different purposes. You need both. Non-stick is great for eggs, things with batter, things with sugar, etc. Basically things you don’t want to stick (and burn) to the bottom of the pan. Stainless (also including Cast Iron, coated Cast Iron) is for things that you want to stick, such as meat to be seared, or anything you want to make a sauce from. The brown stuff that sticks to the bottom of the pan is called fond. It comes off very easily when you add a bit of wine or stock to the hot pan after cooking the meat and pouring off the grease or oil, called de-glazing. Liquid + fond + whatever in the presence of heat = Sauce. And darned good sauce at that. Add some herbs, salt & pepper, and a pat of butter and pour over the meat entree. Delicious! Buy good stainless or cast iron, treat it right and pass it to your grandchildren. Buy cheap non-stick and throw it away when it wears out.

    • #1165521

      Or learn to cook using the Stainless Steel all the time

      DaveA I am so far behind, I think I am First
      Genealogy....confusing the dead and annoying the living

      • #1165544

        Or learn to cook using the Stainless Steel all the time

        But then you have to cleanup all that extra fond. And I’m not fond of cleanup.

    • #1166409

      But then you have to cleanup all that extra fond. And I’m not fond of cleanup.

      Properly seasoned stainless steel cookware will not have fond that sticks! – At least that is what I have found, we no longer use any ‘non-stick’ cookware (which again if not seasoned properly food WILL stick).

      The difference between Genius and Stupidity:
      A Genius knows their limits.
      - Albert Einstein

      • #1171211

        Daisy mentioned loving glass lids. I am the opposite – I want metal. Glass lids are too heavy. As I get older I find I want lighter weight lids. I use both non-stick and “sticky” pans.

        If you want longer lasting non-stick pans, I have a couple from QVC’s lines Cooks Essentials and Techniques and you can use metal utensils on them. Worth a look.

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