Do Stainless Pans Improve With Age?

blondelleNovember 26, 2006

Yes, I know you can't season stainless, but I swear I've read in several places that the pans become more nonstick the more you use them. Steel also has pores so maybe they fill too with polymerized oil. Is this just folly, or have you found the performance of your older stainless improves with age? I think I also read that some chefs treat their new stainless to improve it. I think they did something with salt to it.

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I have had stainless Farberware pots and pans for 18 years and haven't noticed any improvement with age. However, the finish is is wonderful condition on both the inside and outside of the pan, But they're thin and cook poorly. I'm now replacing them with clad stainless. But I am curious as to what the pro's might do to improve the performance of stainless cookware. Perhaps someone else will know a little more on the topic.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 9:27AM
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I've been using many of the same SS pans for 20-something years and don't see an improvement. On the other hand, they have not deteriorated either. Some of the old handles might move just a tad but the finish is the same. SS is one of the materials that has withstood the test of time.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 9:47AM
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Unlike cast iron, stainless does not improve with age, and unlike non-stick, it does not deteriorate with age either. If you like it when it's new, you will be happy for a long long time. If you don't like it when it's new, you will be unhappy until you replace it.

I've seen reports of one exception to the above that have nothing to do with whether food sticks to the pan or not. Some people have reported here and elsewhere that a brand new highly polished stainess pan can exhibit strange behavior when used to boil water. With no small imperfections in the surface providing places for the trains of small steam bubbles to start, the transition from simmering to boiling is quite abrupt. The word "explosive" was used in one report. I suspect what's happening is that very large steam bubbles are forming so there is no slow boil, just no boil followed by a very high boil. As I said, this has nothing to do with food sticking but people reporting this say that it improves as the pan gets older and small scratches and pits appear in the surface.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 12:01PM
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