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What to Look For in Stainless Steel Cookware

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Stainless steel provides the most versatile functions in a cookware set. However, you need to know what to look for when you buy a stainless steel set, which is typically more expensive than other materials.

Even Heating

While stainless steel has a gleaming, mirror-like appearance, it’s by itself not the most conductive material. Unless stainless steel pots and pans have aluminum cores, they won’t retain and distribute heat evenly. You’ll get hot spots in some places and cold spots in others. Some cookware have layers of steel, aluminum, and copper in the base to maximize the heat distribution.


The quality of the stainless steel has a great impact on the durability—resistance to corroding, warping, staining, and denting. You’ll see some stainless steel labeled 18/10, which means it’s 18 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel. Chromium keeps stainless steel from rusting, and nickel keeps the pots and pans brilliant and shiny.


Stainless steel is pretty tough. It’s generally okay to run your cookware through the dishwasher as long as you remove it right after to dry it thoroughly with a towel. Water left on the cookware can cause spots.

Burnt-on food is a pain to scrub off, but it’s not the end of the world. Try soaking the pot or pan in hot, soapy water before brushing it with a nylon brush or pad. Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive metal scouring pads. which can scratch and damage the stainless steel surface.

If your stainless steel has lost some of its luster, sprinkle some baking soda over the wet surface, rub it in with a synthetic pad, and then rinse and dry.

Brittany Rowland Brittany Rowland researches new developments in Appliances, Kitchen and CE products features with a vigor to which few would aspire… but someone has to do it. See more about Brittany

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