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Old 05-01-2022, 10:53 PM   #1
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Non-Stick vs Stainless Steel vs Cast Iron Pans?

So i use nonstick pans for a long time and had no idea these may be toxic? The last pan i bought was one of those cheap nonstick pans i saw. Rarely do i use a frying pan because i steam food in a pot. But if i use a pan, it would be either steak, eggs, beef, burger or maybe sausage links. But my pan is scratched up and i heard you cannot use it anymore? The scratches are due to me using a knife on it many times. The nonstick has to contain Teflon no matter what? Heard that nowadays many of these non Non-Stick do not contain PFOA so its safe as long as the nonstick isn't scratched? Then again i saw that report about nonstick being toxic if its nonstick?



I never used a stainless steel pan ever to make steak or eggs. i always heard stainless steel pans are a huge pain to clean if you are cooking steak or eggs on it. is that true or not? But is stainless steel pan preferred if you want to fry eggs or a steak? What about cast iron? i just recently heard of that recently... but read it is hassle to clean and take care of it. Could you damage the cast iron somehow if you clean it wrong or damage it? Read it can form rust if you do something wrong. Also read you suppose to dry it and then heat it up each time after cleaning? That sound so confusing especially when i read about seasoning it as i always used a nonstick pan as its easy to clean and you could be lazy with it and leave it in the sink for a while and clean it later.



Based on that, what pan should i get for this? Should i get a stainless steel pan for this or just get a cheap nonstick pan? i did hear many of the nonstick pans have teflon so that isn't safe? But what if it mentions on the pan that it has no PFOA? i do know the nonstick pans are easy to clean which is what i like. Thoughts on the TFAL brand? What about TFAL Hard Titantium?



Also, since i already have a stainless steel pot that i use to cook foods like broccoli and pasta, is there any cons to trying to fry a steak on it or make eggs on it? i mean its exactly the same thing almost with a stainless steel pan right almost? Except there is a barrier because of the height? i don't want to risk doing damage to it as i currently use it for pasta and broccoli where i steam it with water only.



Thanks.

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Old 05-02-2022, 06:27 AM   #2
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Welcome to DC derek700 and
WOW!- don't even know where to start!

My first thought is- Are you confusing Stainless Steel with Carbon Steel?

2nd, non-stick will no longer be non-stick if scratched a lot. You should not be using metal utensils with those pans.

3rd, I would not recommend using your pasta pan, for the reason you yourself stated. It will be awkward and you will either ruin your food or the pan.

There will be many who will chime in to help answer some of your questions. I'll also get back to you once I've sorted thru some of it to put into proper context in my own mind.
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Old 05-02-2022, 06:32 AM   #3
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I prefer cast iron. They take a little more care but worth it.
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Old 05-02-2022, 07:22 AM   #4
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if the non-stick is Teflon / aka PTFE, some clarity on "toxic" -

PTFE itself is not toxic unless over-heated. too hot and it starts to break down. if you have birds in the house, they are exceptionally sensitive to this problem and many people have accidentally killed their pet birds.


fwiw, there are other materials/formulations of "non-stick" that are not PTFE based.



PFOA was used in the manufacture of PTFE items, and is toxic. however on "hard goods" like metal pans, PFOA is no longer present. PFOA is not used in USA/Europe anymore, but other countries may still permit it.


I have and use on a near daily basis a 100+ year old Griswold fry pan. with use, cast iron approaches non-stick qualities. it's the best choice for high heat searing.
"takes more care" is a myth. a quick hand wash, allow to dry, done.


I also use stainless - and with proper technique it can produce "non-stick" results.
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Old 05-02-2022, 08:59 AM   #5
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I have one non-stick small saute pan, which I use perhaps once a week. I have the same size stainless steel pan that I use four or five times a week. Personally, I prefer the stainless steel pans (also have larger fry pans and pots). I love my cast iron pans, pots, and dutch oven. They are great, and caring for them properly is a labor of love!

Stainless isn't a pain to clean. If you are doing eggs or searing steak, simply put a bit of dish soap and some hot water in it to cover the "gunk" and let it sit in the sink for a while, or overnight. Use one of those nylon scrubbies for anything still stuck, and you have a pristine pan ready to go on the culinary adventure!
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Old 05-02-2022, 09:20 AM   #6
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For the price of non-stick they have become interchangeable.
However aluminum gets the most use around here. Heavy aluminum.
I am considering getting a couple bright aluminum saute pans like they use in Waffle House. They make eggs and omelettes in them with no sticking. I like the handles as well but I'm not sure they can go into the oven?
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Old 05-02-2022, 12:10 PM   #7
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Heat the stainless steel over medium heat before adding oil, butter, or your favorite fat. Tilt the pan to completely coat the cooking surface. Eggs, crepes, meats jutt don't stick. Meats like steaks, burgers, chops, chicken will stick a little as it 's cooking, giving you a flavorful fond. The meat will release when it's properly browned. The pan can be deglazed with wine, water, or other liquids, giving you a flavorful base for sauces, and gravies.

Raw aluminum becomes non-stick when peoperly seasoned. Seasoning also creates a barier so that alkalie, and acidic foods won't react with the metal.

High carbon pans, and mineral pans also need tk be seaoned to create the non-stick surface.

Cast iron pans are also in need of seasoning.

When properly seasoned, all of the pans are virtually stick free. I've cooked raw eggs and omelets in stainless steel, my high carbon stel wok, my cast iron, and in my aluminum pans. The eggs just slide around with just a wipe of oil on the pa nefore cooking. Cleanup is very easy. Contrary to popular wisdom, once a good seasoning is established, wasing with hot, soapy water won't damage the seasoning. However, a quick run under hot water, and the use of a good sponge will clean your pan. Do nt scrub with abrasice cleaners, or steel wool. That will damage the seasoning. Cast iron and high carbon steel won't rust if there is a propper sesoning on the entire inside, and outside of the pan. It is advisable, however, to wipe a yhin coating of oil onto the metal.

I hope this info is helpful.

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Old 05-02-2022, 01:36 PM   #8
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Am talking about stainless steel and not carbon steel. Have a stainless steel pot that i use for making pasta and broccoli. How would i destroy this stainless steel pot though if i try to make steak or eggs with it? issue though its pot so high in height compared to a stainless steel pan, so tougher to use?



Well i never looked at the pans i ever had until the last nonstick pan i bought got scratched a while back and later on reading that is no good. But i had no idea nonstick is bad because it contains teflon.



So ALL types of nonstick pans contain Teflon no matter what? So what is difference from say a ten dollar nonstick pan vs a twenty five dollar TFAL nonstick pan? So TFAL is highest quailty nonstick? Also read when you use it, the middle part of it turns red to indicate its ready for cooking... never heard of any pan having that. But that is good and normal?



Well if someone only uses the pan to cook steak/eggs/beef once or twice a week at the most... but might not even use it for long period of time... which pan you recommend? Again, i had no idea about the controversy of teflon. But its only dangerous if your nonstick pan is scratched right?
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Old 05-02-2022, 01:37 PM   #9
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Cast iron just seems like lot of work. Again i might not use it for a long time so it would then rust? The idea that after you are done using it and need to clean it by putting oil over it and then turning on the stove... that is something i never heard of. Also i heard cast iron could leach things into your food if you don't clean or use it properly? Like imagine its rusted but you might not know there is still rust there before you use it again? Also heard you can't cook acidic foods in it thought i won't be doing that.



Stainless steel seems to be the safest of all but then i read cleaning it up when frying eggs is a pain. Well as long as you use some oil, isn't that fine?



Because if there are no health concerns of nonstick teflon, i wouldn't even look to other forms of cookware. im used to how easy it is to clean nonstick. Could you guys who have TFAL post the exact TFAL pans you use? Are the more expensive TFAL pans like TFAL Titantium Plus better than TFAL Simplicity etc? So does the stainless steel pan need to have any requirements? Such as make sure it isn't a cheap price pan? imagine you see a $15 dollar stainless steel pan. Do you need to make sure it says 18/10 on it? Does it need to say high quality stainless steel on it?



What brand are good? What about gibson overseas? Or does any brand work as long as it says stainless steel even if its a cheap brand? Because stainless steel seems to be the best overall when you look at no health concerns... but you also don't need to take lot of care for it like cast iron? Only issue i read is cleaning can be hassle. i don't mind this as long as i don't damage the stainless steel when cleaning it. Can you damage stainless steel?
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Old 05-02-2022, 01:51 PM   #10
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No matter what type of pan you choose there is always care and maintenance needed. It depends on you as to whether or not you think it "extra" work or normal or little.

I don't think my Cast Iron is extra work. I've even soaked for a bit in soapy water because I've let something stick. Scrub it, dry it, wipe with oil and put it away.

It will not rust if wiped dry and oiled. The amount of iron that would leach into your food is minimal and probably even good for you (IMHO 'cause I don't take suppliments). As with normal kitchen routines, do not leave things in the pot longer than necessary with your meal. Especially acidic foods - pitting can occur.

Stainless Steel, something sticks, scrub it, dry it, put it away.

Non-stick - do not heat on high without food being in it. do not use metal utensils. Wash it, dry it, put it away. Something stuck use a non-metal scrubby.
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Old 05-02-2022, 02:42 PM   #11
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Found a cheap stainless steel pan that is under twenty dollars. im not in the us but in another country.


Brand is called Gibson Elite and shows at the back


GibsonElite
GibsonOveraeas
gibsonusa.com


Details are


Stainless Steel Frying Pan
9.5 inch


Durable stainless steel construction
Encapsulated aluminum base heats evenly
Double riveted, stay cool handle
Suitable for all stovetops including induction
Dishwasher safe



is this good? There is an ll inch one that cost 50 dollars. But my concern is... is this stainless steel from gibson good and safe?
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Old 05-02-2022, 09:33 PM   #12
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Almost forgot to mention, welcome to the forum!

That sounds like a good skillet for that price, but the encapsulated base, instead of the entire pan being layered metal, can cause problems - unless you do have induction, that thin metal can get burned foods, in regular electric, but especially with gas. As for the 18/10 metal, this can't be used on the bottoms of induction capable pans, as it is not magnetic, so it won't be listed, unless they list it as the cooking surface, or something like that.

I have 3 teflon lined NS left on my wall - one 2 qt Cuisinart saucepan (rarely use it, but just in case), a 12" Circulon wok, for tossing and steaming veggies in, mostly, and an 8" Marcus skillet, for omelettes, mostly. Those are all at least 20 years old, and no scratches, since I never use metal in them.

The rest of the NS skillets are the ceramic type. Got them way back after there was that scare about teflon, so there were some deals, and I got them from Williams Sonoma, for a steal. They just say "Made In France Induction". I was replacing my old NS because I was looking for induction capable. I have had good results with those, and they look brand new. The ceramic seem to brown better, but that's not what I use them for, so no big deal. I saw a bunch of TV shows using those early on, but most have switched back to the teflon type. Maybe the ceramic aren't as durable, using every day?

Cast iron or carbon steel will require seasoning, and frequent use. To keep them well seasoned. While not really more work, you have to be diligent about getting the food out of them, and cleaning them quickly, and drying them out - something I always do over a flame. I have two carbon steel woks, and a CI skillet, that I've had since the early 80s, and something I found to wash these with fairly recently was a SS scrubber, that scrubs the stuck on food off, without scratching. This is because it is basically braided chains of rounded SS. I use this on my enameled CI Dutch ovens, too, and doesn't scratch them. After using it, it can go in the DW. Here's one example of the one I have:
https://www.amazon.com/Cleaner-Stain...dexMainSlot=24
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Old 05-02-2022, 10:43 PM   #13
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Thanks for response. So the example i posted is good though at that price? The thing is it doesn't mention 18/10 metal so that mean it might not be high quality stainless steel?



Saw another stainless steel pan at that size where the price is 35 dollars and its Hamilton Beach brand and it also has that encapsulated base but does have the words high quality stainless steel.



So is it worth buying the gibson brand that is under 20 dollars? Thing is that store has a sale now where there is discount where its literally like 13 dollars on all these cookware products but that ends very soon. But how do i know what quality stainless steel it is? Could it have n ickel or lead if it is poor quality stainless steel? Or spend more on the Hamilton Beach one that shows 18/10?
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Old 05-03-2022, 02:21 PM   #14
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Derek, You don't have to worry about lead in SS, and all SS will have some nickel - that is what the 10 is, in 18/10, the 18 being the percentage of chromium - the higher the better, up to a point, though they also add many other things, including molybdenum, which is supposed to help against pitting. But when you see the term "high quality stainless steel" it means nothing - like seeing foods labeled "healthy".

Sometimes you find deals on things like this when the company is switching styles, or something lime that, and the one that is being sold won't be found any more, even though it might be better than what you'll see in the future! I got a bunch of things like that, and was never sorry I bought them.

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Old 05-03-2022, 10:59 PM   #15
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My issue is this. i had bought two stainless steel pots not that long ago. One was a hamilton beach one that was under 50 dollars and that seem to be quality stainless steel. The other one at walmart and mainstays brand and it was literally 15 dollars. Both are shown as 18/10. The thing is the expensive pot... i use it for pasta and broccoli and vegetables where the food touches the water and the stainless steel. The other cheaper stainless steel pot from mainstay... i use it to steam food. By that i mean fill it with water, then put a food steaming tray in it... then put either chicken breast or salmon in a plate and put it on top of the stainless steel steamer tray and steam it. Does that make sense? But the thing is that cheaper mainstay stainless steel pot... there are tons of spots in the inside of it. it sort of look like corrosion and the thing is lot of grease has got on it many time and some days i didn't clean it well. i just use sink water and rinse it once or twice and thats it and believe that might be why its like this? However in the first week, i was real careful and still notice like a spot in it. Then used a stainless steel scrubber on it.


Does anyone know why there are so many spots on the cheaper stainless steel? Again both these are labeled stainless steel 18/10 but you can tell from looking at each... the hamilton beach under 50 dollar one is much nicer than the cheaper mainstays.



So do people here ever fry eggs on a stainless steel pan? Almost every video i see online, they use a nonstick whether its TFAL or cast iron. So would it be bad idea to use stainless steel pan for that?



Also when i used my nonstick pan even when it was damaged, had no idea you weren't suppose to... i used it for steak, eggs, burger, beef and sausage links. But apparently you not suppose to use it for meat? Again i had no idea about this. So if you only had one pan... which would it be? Because people say stainless steel is the best but not good for eggs because of stickyness?



Now... if you are rarely going to fry foods... let say you want to make steak or eggs twice a month or only going to make steak few times in few months. is it bad idea to just use a stainless steel pot you already own and cook a steak that way to save money on not buying a stainless steel pan? The reason why i ask this is because i travel quite a bit and my trip is almost over so if i buy a stainless steel pan, it probably get maybe a few uses only before i will not need it anymore as i would be traveling somewhere else. So obviously dont want to spend 50 dollars plus on a stainless steel pan where i might get just few uses out of it. is it possible to use my stainless steel pot to make a steak? My only concern is if i damage it somehow since i use this stainless steel pot for cooking pasta and vegetables etc.



Would like opinion on this.
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Old 05-03-2022, 11:31 PM   #16
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derek, are you saying that when you travel you buy a pan each time? for sure I would just buy a cheap one. Or an expensive one I would pack up and take with me.

For steaming, I would suggest that the marks you see in these pans are mineral deposits. Just rinsing after steaming is not going to get rid of the deposits. Yes, salmon is greasy and therefore you would have to use soap and also a scrubber to get rid of itall.

If you really want to fry in the pan you use for pasta and vegie, I say go ahead! I only meant, previously, that it would be awkward and if it does leave a stain from the oils it won't hurt your pasta at all.

There is no reason you can't use stainless steel for eggs, I do. Remember to keep a very low heat and oil or butter or fat will keep it from sticking.

There is also no reason you can't use a non-stick for meat as well. Just do not preheat. There was an article somewhere that explained why and when it got dangerous - it was because even though your burner may register one heat the empty pan can increase very quickly to the danger point of releasing toxins into the air. I don't believe it poisons the food.
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Old 05-04-2022, 12:16 AM   #17
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Well phrased it incorrectly. Have traveled for years but when i go to one location, im there for a long time before i go to another location. Thing is i always buy a new pot to steam food everytime i go to a new location or come back to same location. Reason being the pot i use to steam food... chicken on a plate over a stainless steel steaming tray... gets extremely greasy and the bottom of it looks disgusting. These pots were always cheap aluminum pots and always were no good after few months.



The other pot i use to make pasta, vegetables where the food touches the water... i used those cheap regular pots that is made of aluminum but it was scratched for a while and had no idea that was not safe to use. So basically i replaced both with two stainless steel pots not that long ago etc. i always bought new pot or two new pot because of this.



And the nonstick pan that i have... that was scratched long time ago and i always used it to occasionally make steak or eggs or burgers because i didn't know i shouldn't use it anymore. So a cooking pan is the only thing i want a replacement. Does that make sense? But thing is i rarely use a pan. i might use it a few times in few months only.



So that has to be mineral deposits then? So if i had used my more expensive stainless steel pot to steam chicken/salmon on a plate over a stainless steel steaming tray, same thing would happen to it? So even if i use it where the pasta and broccoli touch the bottom of that cheap stainless steel pot with water to cook... it still safe? Again that cheaper stainless steel pot... the only thing that touches the bottom of it is the stainless steel steam tray. So you saying even if its cheap poor quality stainless steel, its still safe?



My concern is somehow i damage the nicer hamilton beach stainless steel pot that i been using for pasta and broccoli if i try to use it to fry steak or eggs. But if i had a stainless steel pan... well even if i damage it somehow... well my hamilton beach stainless steel pot is still good. it actually is called a hamilton beach stainless steel dutch oven. But you are saying if i do use i this hamilton beach stainless steel pot to make steak or eggs with oil, the bottom of it will look much more different than how it is now? Again no grease or anything like that has touched the inside of the hamilton beach stainless steel pot.



i sort of do not want to buy a cheap pan because if i do, it will be nonstick and teflon? So i want to stick with stainless steel because of this reason. Heard of cast iron but read taking care of it is lot of hassle and its very heavy. Also read you could leech iron on your food if you do not clean it correctly? So what is your thought on all this?
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Old 05-04-2022, 01:10 AM   #18
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I used to fry eggs on stainless steel. Now I have a non-stick pan that uses a ceramic coating. For scrambled eggs or omelette, I always use it, but only because it cleans up more easily. If I cook a steak or pork chops, I use the stainless steel. I seem to get more fond with that. I want that fond for whatever sauce I'm going to make. As far as I can tell, the "good stainless" is just more durable and has fewer hot spots. The cheaper stainless is not less healthy. Since I don't move often, I want stuff that is durable. If I was travelling and didn't want to bring excess stuff with me, I would probably just buy the cheaper stainless and leave it behind for the next person in that dwelling.
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Old 05-04-2022, 01:24 AM   #19
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Hi all. I joined this forum while searching for information on vintage copper sauce-pans, so here I am.

My favorite teflon pan recently needed to be replaced, and I decided to give carbon steel a try. It has taken a lot of time and patience, but my two carbon steel pans are now properly seasoned, I've been cooking with them for a while, and they are getting closer and closer to non-stick. I definitely will not be returning to teflon-coated pans, for anything. The carbon steel seasoning process, and learning how to cook with them, has been a lot of fun.

I cook omelettes in a cast iron crepe pan. Teflon-coated pans are definitely easier to clean, and I have no health concerns with them, but I enjoy cooking with cast iron and carbon steel much more, and I think they cook better.

We discussed Teflon vs carbon steel and cast iron on another forum, and it generated some 'heat'. Lots of factors to consider, but it's all personal preference.
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Old 05-04-2022, 01:42 AM   #20
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Welcome to Discuss Cooking runscott.
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