Learning to use stainless steel cookware

Joined May 13, 2011
My fiance and I are registering for gifts for our wedding and we have a dilemma on which cookware to register for.

We both love to cook. I'd say we are way more adventurous and better than your average armature cook. Let's just say the "quickest" meal we make is a pizza, but it's never ordered out or from the freezer.

We currently have a few hand-me-down Calphalon items that have seen better days in terms of appearances, but still work very well. Although we only have three pieces, we prefer to use these pieces over some of the other mish mash that we have in our cupboard (QVC's Cook's Essentials, Farberware, etc.)  Basically, anything with that non-stick "coating" is not our cooking style. Now, I know that most Calphalon cookware is marketed as "non-stick", but because of the age of the hand-me-downs we have and the way it feels/looks, if it was ever coated with anything, it no longer is. 

With that said, we are strongly considering registering for All-Clad stainless steel cookware. My biggest concern is that I won't be a good cook with it! Is it that big of a difference cooking with SS vs. non-stick? What do I have to do differently when cooking? I don't care about clean up- my pots and pans are not meant to be displayed for looks, they are meant to be USED- and used often! 

Can anyone who has/does use both types of cookware explain what they do differently when they cook with SS vs. the analon non-stick? Will food be prepared better or worse on either type? 

We are trying to decide between All-Clad SS and Calphalon Unison. We've read reviews on both, but it doesn't answer my question. 

Thanks everyone for your help!
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Hi, Chefpms. Welcome to Cheftalk.

The whole "secret" of using stainless steel cookware is to lower the heat. Medium high is about the hottest you ever want to go, and most cooking is done on the low- to medium- settings. Overheating causes discoleration of the cookware and burning/sticking of the food.

One practical consideration is that you should be pre-heating the cookware, so that it comes up to the temperature at which you intend cooking. That is, instead of cranking up the heat and then lowering it, you want to heat the pan slowly until it's ready. This too helps prevent sticking.

You may find, too, if you've been using the non-stick, that a bit more oil is needed for some things.

But, frankly, I don't think you'll have much of a problem making the transition.

That said, I have no use for All-Clad. It's overly expensive, compared to similar products from other makers. And, in my experience, All-Clad does not stand behind its products. The best warranty in the world is useless if the company doesn't back it. So, if it were me, I'd go with other brands.
Joined Apr 13, 2011
What calphalon do you currently use? Calphalon has an amazing warranty with their higher end cookware. The calphalon one, unison, commercial all have lifetime warranty. I am pretty sure the try ply has the same warranty but much less than the all clad. You should get the same results out of these as with the all clad.

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Joined Feb 3, 2011
You can buy a simmer mat (ring) from any decent cook store. Cheap and very handy. They are really only any good for domestic use though. It gives you a "half gear" for want of a better term.

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