How Do I Choose a Stainless Steel Pan?


The modern stainless steel frying pan is not only beautiful and functional but also smart. because it reduces cooking time significantly. The stainless steel pan is suitable for preparing thousands of different dishes for every family member. If you still do not use steel pans for frying, you should. Let’s learn how to choose a stainless steel pan.

How Do I Choose a Stainless Steel Pan?

If you want to choose a good-quality stainless steel pan, you need to follow these guidelines:

  • Grade. The best grade for stainless steel pans is 304 chromium-nickel steel. But products from this alloy are the most expensive. In the budget segment, they use cheaper stainless steel brands 202 and 201, which can also be identified by the 18/10 marking. The outer bottom coating can be made of 430 steel (nickel-free ferritic).
  • Thickness. The walls of a stainless steel pan must be at least 1.2 mm thick and the bottom must be at least 3 mm thick. The thickness of the heat distribution aluminium plate should be at least 3mm, but a good stainless steel pan should be with a 4.5-5mm plate.
  • Build quality. Check the bottom, especially the layered one. Evaluate the reliability of the handles – they should be firmly attached.
  • Smooth surface. The inner and top surface should be smooth, free from scratches and stains.
  • Bottom diameter. Should be suitable for the size of the burner, especially if there is an electric stove in the house.
  • Stainless steel handle. The ideal frying pan handle should not be afraid of high temperatures while remaining comfortable for your hands. Opt for stainless steel or bimetallic handle.
  • Stainless steel lid. It is advisable to buy a stainless steel pan complete with a glass lid. These covers are made with metal rims for added strength. A hole is provided in the glass for a steam outlet.

These are just general guidelines to follow while choosing a stainless steel pan. Now let’s dive into the details.

How to Buy the Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set (TIPS & BUYING GUIDE)

Ultimate Guide on How to Choose a Stainless Steel Pan

To choose a stainless steel frying pan that meets expectations, you will have to delve into the production technology and learn how to navigate the characteristics.

How can you tell if a pan is a stainless steel? To tell if a pan is a stainless steel, use a saline solution. A strong saline solution is a good provocateur of corrosive destruction. For this purpose, put a pan in a saline solution for a day. Stainless steel, having a high degree of resistance to such aggressive environments, will remain unaffected by corrosion.

Or you can always look at the marking. The marking indicates the properties characteristic of the given material. Based on these properties, it is possible to understand how to identify and distinguish stainless steel from common metal.

Steel Grades

Frying pans, pots, cutlery and other kitchen utensils are made of food-grade stainless steel which is an alloy that is hygienic and safe in all respects. The steel grade must be indicated in the characteristics of the goods.

The best grade for frying pans and other cookware is 304 chromium-nickel steel. But products from this alloy are the most expensive. In the budget segment, they use cheaper stainless steel of the 202 and 201 grades, which can also be identified by the 18/10 marking. The outer bottom coating can be made of 430 steel (nickel-free ferritic).

Is 304 or 430 stainless better? 304 chrome-nickel steel is better for pans and other cookware since 304 stainless steel is acid and heat resistant, and ecofriendly, meaning it does not contain toxic substances. 430 steel has a lower acid resistance compared to 304 stainless steel, and it will gradually deteriorate in contact with water and heat. That is why you should opt for 304 steel, even if it is more expensive.

Cookware can be made of food-grade chromium-nickel steel, a series of grades 300 (grade 304) and 200 (grades 202 and 201).

Grade 304 has the highest quality level. Chromium and nickel included in the alloy provide material resistance to corrosion. The higher the specific gravity of nickel in the composition, the less susceptible to rust formation is steel.

You can determine the content of chromium and nickel by marking. The most common varieties are 18/8 and 18/10. The first number is the percentage of chromium, the second is the percentage of nickel. In cheap steel grades 202 and 201, nickel is often replaced by manganese, which does not have the best effect on the consumer properties of the product.

Bottom Types and Thickness Requirements

Encapsulated Bottom

Stainless steel pans would not be this popular if the encapsulated bottom had not been invented. The features of this technology are not only in thickness but also in a special layered structure.

The triple bottom is a “sandwich” of two stainless steel plates and an aluminium or copper disc between them. Aluminium and copper have high thermal conductivity, so the bottom heats up quickly and evenly, and the food does not stick or burn.

 

The thickness of the heat-distributing aluminium plate according to requirements should not be less than 3 mm, but a good stainless steel pan should be with a plate of 4.5-5 mm. For copper, a thickness of 1.5 cm is sufficient.

A more complex, thick encapsulated bottom consists of five or even more layers. In this case, manufacturers add carbon steel discs in the design. They give strength and protect against burnout. A particularly strong bottom is needed for gas stoves. So, if you have a gas stove, opt for a stainless steel pan with five or even more layers.

It is not for nothing that the multilayer bottom is called heat storage. Thanks to the aluminium inside the “sandwich”, food remains hot for a long time, so cooking continues even after the stove is turned off. This way you can save energy and money, of course.

Thin stainless steel pans with a regular single-layer bottom should only be considered for stewing and cooking quick and simple meals in small quantities.

Bottom with Cells

The inner part of the bottom is also different. In addition to smooth, there are corrugated or cellular. The corrugated surface reduces the contact of food with fat, making the dish more dietary.

 

Stainless steel polishing can be matte or shiny. Shiny pans look beautiful but require careful handling and careful maintenance. It is better to wipe such dishes dry immediately after washing, and periodically wash them with special means.

Stainless Steel Pan Handle

The ideal frying pan handle should not be afraid of high temperatures while remaining comfortable on the hands.

Stainless steel cookware contains handles made of different materials:

  • Stainless steel handles are practical, as they are not afraid of high temperatures and flames, easy to clean. However, they get very hot, and you will need potholders.
  • Bimetallic look like steel, but the structure consists of several types of metals, so that the handle remains cold, without heating from the vessel. This is the best handle for a stainless steel pan, but it can get hot if it gets close to the burner.
  • The thermoplastic handle is put in a plastic cover to prevent burns.
  • The wood handle is made out of pressed wood which does not dry out and is not afraid of water.

The fastening of handles on steel dishes can be welded or riveted. The rivets are reliable, but some people don’t like seeing them. Spot welding is practically invisible, but for low-quality products, this option is less reliable.

Stainless Steel Pan Lid

It is advisable to buy a stainless steel pan complete with a glass lid. These covers are made with metal rims for added strength. A hole is provided in the glass for a steam outlet.

The main requirement for the lid is a snug fit. Otherwise, during cooking, it will begin to tremble, creating an unpleasant noise. Also, a poor fit will lead to steam escaping, which is not always appropriate.

What to Look for When Buying a Stainless Steel Pan? What Is the Best Way to Buy Stainless Steel Cookware?

To buy a good and durable stainless steel pan, take the time to carefully examine the potential purchase.

What to look for when buying a stainless steel pan?

  • Metal thickness. The walls must be at least 1.2 mm thick and the bottom must be at least 3 mm thick.
  • Build quality. Check the bottom, especially the layered one. Evaluate the reliability of the handles — they should be firmly attached.
  • Smooth surface. The inner and top surface should be smooth, free from scratches and stains.
  • Bottom diameter. Should be suitable for the size of the burner, especially if there is an electric stove in the house.

When choosing a manufacturer, pay attention to the authority of the brand and the guarantee. Study the reviews of those who have already managed to evaluate the quality in practice.

Types of Steel Pans

The classic uncoated stainless steel pan is designed for everyday cooking. It is convenient to cook sauces for second courses and frying for first courses in this one, fry pancakes and cutlets, stew a small number of vegetables or mushrooms.

What Stainless Steel Pans Do Chefs Use?

Chefs use all different stainless steel pans, such as a classic stainless steel pan, pancake makers, stewpans, braziers, wok pans, grill pans, pans for cooking paella, etc. The choice of a pan depends on the type of food a chef wants to cook.

Classic stainless steel frying pan. The walls of universal pans are slightly bevelled or almost straight, the depth is small, there is a lid. As a rule, classic pans have one long handle with heat protection.

The pancake maker is easy to recognize by its small diameter and low, slightly chamfered sides, making it easy to turn and tilt the finished pancake. A steel pancake pan is suitable only for experienced and patient chefs because if it is heated incorrectly, the pancakes will burn.

The stewpan is distinguished by its high walls, so it is sometimes referred to as a variety of pots. In a deep stainless steel pan it is convenient to stew coarsely chopped and stuffed vegetables, large pieces of meat and poultry. Unlike the uncoated aluminium skillet, you don’t have to be afraid to add sour vegetables here. Stews, sauces, thick soups are prepared in stews.

The brazier is lower in height than the stewpan and is intended for baking and stewing. It is important here that the bottom is thick as the cooking takes a long time.

Wok pans are also made of stainless steel. A distinctive feature of the dishes is a rounded, narrow bottom and wide walls, on which the fried pieces are removed so that they remain hot and reach readiness without oil and high temperature. It is important for the wok that the bottom is capsuled, otherwise, it will never reach the required temperature.

The stainless steel grill pan is ideal for grilling delicate fish steaks. Having got used to it, you can get mouth-watering entrecote. The grill has a ribbed bottom to help reduce the amount of fat in dishes. For a stainless steel griller, it is important that the bottom is thermally accumulating.

The grill line includes non-stick coated stainless steel pans. This is a good choice, as it is difficult to ensure that meat or fish does not stick to stainless steel with a little oil. Most often, the coating is made ceramic.

Frying pans for cooking paella over an open fire are made of carbon steel and stainless steel paella for the stove. These are round pans with low sides slightly bevelled to the sides and small handles.

The Benefits of Stainless Steel Cookware Video Guide

Kateryna

I am passionate about making my home a better place and I want to share all my knowledge with you.

Recent Posts