Do I need a non stick pan?

debrak_2008October 19, 2012

With my new kitchen I am determined to be a better cook. One thing I learning is that some things need to be cooked on the stove top at a higher heat. Since I currently use an eco friendly non stick pan, I can't turn it very high.

Do I need a non stick pan? Can you use a stainless pan on higher heat without sticking? Years ago I remember using some stainless pans. They worked for a while but then started to stick too much and I had to throw them out.

I have an electric glass top range.

Any advise is appreciated!

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Do you have (NON-COATED) cast iron cookware?


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 3:34PM
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Can't use cast iron as it will scratch the glass.

I used cast iron years ago when I had the coil type electric range and found it very heavy to use.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 3:50PM
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I have one non-stick pan that I use for crepes, that's the only one. Elery also uses it for eggs, but I use cast iron.

The stainless stuck? Was there some residue on it? I just scrub mine and it's good as new. Don't turn the heat up too high, though, or you get black outside, raw inside! Of course, I have a gas stove, which is much different, but I have some really old Revere Ware that still works fine.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 4:38PM
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Hi & welcome to the CF! Hope to see you around as you're enjoying that new kitchen.

SS & CI are the best, IMO. Although an aluminum stockpot is also very useful (inexpensive) for cooking large quantities of pasta, potatoes, or boiling lobster.

SS will not stick if used properly. Some people have trouble with proteins sticking because they are unfamilar with a few basics. For example to cook a chop...first, put some heat under the pan and get it hot, then add a tablespoon or two of your preferred fat/oil and give that a second to get hot (will happen quickly because your pan is already hot), add your seasoned chop(s). DO NOT TOUCH THEM. Allow them to cook without you fussing around trying to look underneath. You have to allow the maillard reaction to take place (results from a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar). When that has happened the chop will release on its own from the pan. After 2-3 minutes, lightly try to left the chop. If it shows resistence, leave it alone and try again in another minute. Flip and repeat. Any fond remaining on the bottom of the pan can be quickly deglazed with wine or broth & a makes for a yummy pan sauce/gravy.

CI is hard to duplicate for non-stick and perfect browning. It is heavy though but, sometimes, the best choice.

A non-stick pan is used by some for eggs (especially omelets) and sticky things like caramel. I don't own any non-stick and do just fine.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 4:42PM
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Julia Child used non stick pans, and that's a good enough endorsement for me.

I use them for eggy/sticky stuff, but never raise the temp really high. I find the best quality for the dollar are the heavy aluminum nonstick pans available at Sam's Club. As they get scratched up after a few years I toss them. They're cheap.

For high heat searing I use cast iron, but if you can't do that, then carbon steel pans are quite good. I have some good old Wagner cast iron, but if I were starting out today I'd get Paderno carbon steel pans--about half the weight of cast iron, but slick as a whistle (much smoother than modern Lodge cast iron) and they take a seasoning quite nicely. They come in various sizes. I have one and I'm impressed with it. So if you have reservations about Teflon and other nonstick coatings, you can get a Paderno pan like the one at the link, season it well, and it'll be nearly as nonstick as Teflon--plus you can safely use it at a higher temp than Teflon.

If you want more info on cookware than any sane person needs (but you'll find a lot of Cooking Forum denizens aren't necessarily sane :)), google 'understanding stovetop cookware kinsey' and it'll bring you to an egullet post by Samuel Kinsey on cookware materials and design. Very informative. Spend 20 minutes reading it and you'll know more about cookware than most sales clerks in a cookware store.

Here is a link that might be useful: Paderno carbon steel pan

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 4:48PM
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I have a kitchenaid SS cookware set from a long time ago. The pots seem fine, but the frying pans had issues. I might have thrown them out. I will look for them and if they are still around give them a good scrub and try again. I put them in the DW, could that be the problem? Everything seemed to stick and burn.

maillard reaction? deglazed? I think I need cooking lessons, lol!

I'm in the KF on a daily basis but need to start moving from designing to cooking. Thanks for the welcome.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 4:58PM
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Is there something you can put on your glass top electric stove top to protect it? Do you have room to add a gas cooktop somewhere else in the kitchen? What does your range manufacturer recommend? You might want to look into getting a heat diffuser.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 6:12PM
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My fav pans are cast iron and carbon steel. I used the cast iron when I had a smoothtop cook top, and it didn't scratch it. I don't see any reason to be sliding any pan around if the surface is so delicate that it may scratch.

I don't trust any non-stick pan for high heat applications. It doesn't matter how much you pay for them, the all lose their non-stickiness within a few years, faster if you use high heat. Cast iron and carbon steel, when properly seasoned, are non-stick at any temperature. And they are pretty cheap compared to the All Clad or other expensive SS wares. It is misleading to think of them as "life time" purchases - "multi-generational" is more accurate.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 6:41PM
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My electric glass top range actually came with a cast iron grill pan. Are you sure you can't use cast iron?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 6:59PM
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The dishwasher won't hurt your stainless--I always wash mine in the DW--had Farberware for about 30 years, now have a nice set of All-Clad.

I wonder if you used cooking sprays on it? they do leave a residue and after time, your cookware will stick

Stainless or cast iron are definitely the way to go--you cannot fry things as crisply in non-stick, it just doesn't work. I'm going crazy trying to find an old-type metal-grid (no non-stick coating) waffle iron because you cannot get nice crispy waffles in the things they sell today.

Anyway, to use your stainless, heat it up to the temperature you need for your recipe, THEN add cold oil, then your food. Remember Jeff Smith's adage--hot pan, cold oil, food won't stick. And it works every time.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 7:23PM
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Non-stick is not important for deep frying. Non-stick for pan frying and Sauteing, yes.

Cast iron is great for both. to minimize scratching glass/ceramic cook top, you can get the finest grit silicone carbide wet/dry sand paper from Home Depot and sand smooth the bottom of your cast iron pan.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 8:50PM
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My kitchen is just getting the final details so have to work with electric. Which is fine as I'm actually afraid of gas but thats another story.

As for cast iron scratching I don't remember how or why I think it somewhere? Also I have a stone that I use for cooking alot and it has scratched the stove on the painted areas.

Never heard of a heat diffuser, will check it out.

I was a BIG user of cooking spray. While my kitchen was being remodeled my dd took the cooking spray to someones house to cook something and never brought it back. I decided we would not use it anymore because of the overspray. So I must have ruined the pans with over use of PAM.

My issues have been the food cooking slowly and not being crisp but rather soggy.

UH I always added the oil first, then turned on the heat.

I have alot to learn.

Have never heard of carbon steel so thats another thing to check out.

The old SS pans are gone.

Thank you all for the help. I have learned so much already. Who is Jeff Smith??? I'll google him.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:35PM
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"---As for cast iron scratching I don't remember how or why I think it somewhere? ---"

Cast iron has iron carbide cyrstals, which is very hard, and they can scratch glass or ceramic cook top.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:03PM
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