Cleaning Stainless Steal Pans

Cleaning stainless steel pans involves a process. I’m excited to share it with you because of my love-hate relationship with stainless steel pans.

In the past, I’ve given up. I wanted to be that amazing chef who could cook on any surface successfully. Ha. Yeah, whatever. Obviously, I’m not. In fact, a few months ago I had shoved all my stainless steel pots and pans into the bottom of the oven. There was no hope for them. They were beyond rescuing. I eventually threw them out.

Then for my birthday, I thought I’d save the day and become a hero. I was determined to learn how to care for my stainless steal pans. But in my zest to prove myself, I did a stupid thing. I bought another stainless steal pan. (Insert eye roll here.) Yup, the logic in that decision is zero. I thought that if I invested in a good stainless steal pan then I’d make myself take care it.

I ended up getting an All Clad stainless steal pan. It was by far the most expensive pan I’ve ever purchased. When I received it via Amazon, I was so excited. There is something about a nice shiny stainless steal pan. I was ready and eager to put my skills to the test.

Unfortunately, my skills were lacking. I tried. I even googled it. What more can you do? Ok, probably a lot more. But I cleaned and scrubbed and used all the elbow power I had inside me, but it was to no avail. It was pointless. After trying again and again, I finally gave up. In my mind, it was the last stainless steal pan that I would ever buy.

I put it in its coffin-I mean cupboard. It stayed there for months. Every time I opened the cupboard I was reminded of my failure. Meh. I can seriously attest to the fact that it stared back at me. That pan mocked me with all its lack of luster. Then one day on a whim, I decided to try it again. But this time I came prepared and armed with what I needed. And miracle! It actually worked.

Here are three tips that will help you clean your stainless steal pans:

Clean it immediately after cooking.

The longer the food sits on the stainless steal, the more the food imbeds itself into the pores of the pan. The trick is to clean it before the food has a chance to grab a hold of the pan. So, immediately after cooking keep the pan hot. I turn my burner to medium heat. After the pan is hot, I take about a cup of water and pour it all over the pan. The water hits the pan with a sizzle. Then using a wooden spoon (or plastic-but never metal), scrape off the bits of food. It shouldn’t require too much scraping if your pan is hot enough. Once you’ve scraped your pan of the big bits and most of the grease, then you take it to the sink for a clean.

Use a scratch free sponge.

Scratching your stainless steal pans can make for a frustrating experience when cooking. While scratches aren’t exactly harmful on stainless steal pans, it doesn’t make for a smooth surface for cooking. Smooth surfaces are best. Scratches also create traps for food to get stuck which makes it more difficult to keep your pan clean. To keep your pans clean and scratch free, it helps to use a a scratch free sponge. I love the Jets-Scrubz. I usually put a little Dawn dish soap and warm water in the pan, then use the sponge to wipe. It works better than a rag and it doesn’t scratch the pan.

Use a Stainless Steal & Aluminum Cleaner.

When the first two tips aren’t enough to get the food off your pan, it’s time to bring out the big guns. For the hard to clean grease, I use All-Clad Stainless Steel Cookware Cleaner. It’s a powder that you pour onto your pan with water. Then you use the sponge I mentioned above to scrub the pan. Sometimes I will allow the cleaner to sit for an extended amount of time. After I scrub using the cleaner, I usually rinse and then clean with Dawn Dish soap.

I wish I had learned all these tips and tricks for cleaning stainless steel earlier. But it’s better late than never, right? What about you guys? Do you use stainless steel? If so, how do you clean your pans?

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