How to not let food stick to tfal stainless steel

I was gifted a stainless steel pot/pan set that I was told cooks evenly. I have tried to sear fish it falls apart, had a barbecue sauce stick to the bottom of the pan. I know home cook's kitchen flame is not as hot as a commercial kitchen but how can I work with these pots/pans?

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Smaug
Smaug April 11, 2016

What are you used to cooking in? Stainless steel will stick, some worse than other- most situations you need a cushion of either liquid or oil- sounds like your barbecue sauce dried out, and the fish would need more oil. New stainless steel pans should be cleaned thoroughly and cured, but curing doesn't make a huge difference in their performance as with cast iron, which is much more porous.

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Garlic Fiend
Garlic Fiend April 11, 2016

I've used stainless steel pans for years before I had my first non-stick pan. Stainless steel pans need to be hot first before you pour the oil in, preferably an oil with a higher smoking point, like canola, peanut, grape seed, walnut, etc (not extra virgin olive oil). You will also need to use more oil than you would for nonstick. Then you have to wait a few seconds for the oil to heat up before you can throw the food in. Heat pan, add oil, heat oil, add food.

Fish is tricky. Once fish is in, wait for it to brown. Once the crust forms, the fish should release easily for you to flip over. You have to make sure the fish (and any ingredient) is dry dry dry because you're adding it directly to hot oil and any liquid will splatter on impact.

In terms of something like bbq sauce or spaghetti sauce, you just have to monitor the heat carefully at low. Stir every so often, especially the bottom that's over the heat source and the sauce should not burn.

Stainless steel is better than nonstick for stirfries because you can heat the oil and pan to a higher temp since you don't have to worry about ruining the nonstick material. I love it. I hope you learn to enjoy cooking in it as well

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Kristen W.
Kristen W. April 12, 2016

Also be aware that stoves vary, and you will need to experiment a bit to see how long it takes for your stove to hear your pan (and, once you add it, the oil) sufficiently to form a proper crust on your fish fast enough to not overcook it. It may take longer than you think (the heating part, not the cooking part).

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