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The 8 Most Common Stainless Clad Questions, Answered

Learn everything there is to know about the cookware that earned us a place in professional kitchens.

By Rachel Robey
Dec 4, 2023
stainless cookware
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Our Stainless Clad Cookware is what first earned us a place in professional kitchens. It’s versatile, durable, and reliable. To make sure you’re getting the best results with your stainless pots or pans, we’ve compiled—and answered—your most frequently asked questions below. Let's get into it.

What’s So Great About Stainless Clad Cookware?

Home and professional chefs alike revere our Stainless Collection for its ability to do everything, from boiling pasta to searing steak, with convenience and ease. Since it's non-reactive ,it handles acidity with no fuss—and on top of all that, it’s incredibly lightweight and easy to maneuver, whether you're cooking on the stove or in the oven.

Stainless Clad works on any cooking surface—gas stoves, electric burners, flat tops, and induction stoves alike—and is oven-safe up to 800F.

What Does “Clad” Mean?

Cladding refers to how the metal is fabricated and layered during the manufacturing process. We “clad” an aluminum and aluminum alloy core with two different layers of premium stainless steel in order to capture the high temperature capabilities of aluminum with the superior heat conduction of stainless steel. The result is our Award-Winning 5-Ply Construction that heats evenly and quickly.

With cheaper cookware, you’ll often find a “sandwich bottom” that’s simply pasted on at the end of manufacturing. It’s a way to save money while still retaining some of the benefits of high quality stainless cookware, but it leads to uneven heating and poor conductivity. Cladded cookware is much more consistent but typically costs more because it’s bonded throughout the pan, not just at the bottom.

Why Do You Design With 5-Ply?

All of our Stainless Clad Cookware is 5-ply, meaning it’s made from five layers of four different metals (304, 18/10 Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Aluminum Alloy, and High Grade Ferritic 430). 5-ply helps the cookware heat up quickly, cook evenly (meaning no hot spots), and respond quickly to changes in temperature.

Each metal serves a distinct purpose. Aluminum contributes excellent heat conduction and almost no weight, and the aluminum alloy (which sandwiches the pure aluminum center) is reinforced with magnesium and manganese to increase its strength and hardness.

The 18/10 stainless steel is the shiny top surface of our pan. “18/10” means it has a higher nickel percentage, contributing shine and corrosion resistance. It’s also non-reactive, allowing you to cook with acidic ingredients like vinegar, wine, or tomatoes. The bottoms of our pans are made from high grade ferritic 430, another type of stainless steel that’s even more durable and scratch resistant.

Our Stainless Clad Frying Pans have a thickness of 2.7 mm, and the rest of the collection is 2.3 mm thick. The chefs we worked with during the design process told us that was the perfect balance of weight and performance—they found the extra .4 mm of thickness in the frying pans makes them more durable and less likely to burn food.

How Do You Cook with Stainless Clad?

Cooking with stainless clad is hard to get wrong, but there are a few best practices that will set you up for success every time. To ensure your food doesn’t stick and the cookware is easy to clean up, it’s important to pay attention to timing and temperature.

Let Your Pan Heat Up

We recommend letting your pan heat up over medium heat for 1-2 minutes before adding cooking fat.

To make sure it’s at the right temperature, you can perform the bead test by adding a few drops of water directly to the pan. If the droplets form a single bead that dances around the pan, it’s ready. If the water does nothing, it needs more time to heat up. If it explodes and fizzles violently, it’s too hot. Check out the video above to see Steve perform the bead test so you know what to look for.

Add Cooking Oil

Once your pan is at the right temperature, add your fat or oil and make sure this gets hot before adding anything else. Many recipes will instruct you to wait until the oil is “shimmering,” which is when the oil spreads out and begins to glisten and ripple.

Incorporate Ingredients

At this point, you can begin to add ingredients. In order to get the best sear, they should be at room temperature and as dry as possible. You can test the temperature by slowly lowering the ingredients into the pan. If you immediately hear a gentle sizzle, you can start cooking. If there’s no sizzle, wait a bit longer for the oil to heat up. Be careful of oil splattering, which may occur if there’s residual moisture on your ingredients.

Watch the Heat

Because stainless clad cookware heats quickly and evenly, you’ll find that most things can be cooked over medium to medium-high heat. Tempting as it may be, try not to crank the heat to speed up the cooking. Once your ingredients are in, resist the urge to move them around. Proteins will cling to the surface of the pan as they begin to cook, but will naturally release once fully cooked and crisped.

Use the Right Utensils

Be sure to not use sharp metal utensils, as these could scratch your pan. Superficial scratches don't harm the cooking surface of your cookware, but can be unsightly. We recommend using wooden or high-quality metal utensils—like our Wooden Spoon and Utensil Set—for this reason.

How Do You Clean and Care for Stainless Clad Cookware?

Cleaning stainless clad cookware is much like cleaning any standard pan. Let your pan cool before cleaning and always hand wash with a sponge, mild soap, and warm water. Dry immediately, and do not put it in the dishwasher. For tough debris or rainbow stains, use our Make It Like New Cleaner.

Here are a few other tips that will preserve the integrity and appearance of your cookware as long as possible:

  1. Don’t use sharp metal utensils, as they can scratch up the surface over time.
  2. To prevent pitting, wait until water is boiling to add salt. Pitting happens when salt reacts with the chromium in your pan, leaving small depressions or spots on its surface. This is purely an aesthetic concern and doesn’t affect your pan’s ability to cook.
  3. Avoid temperatures over 800F.
  4. If storing cookware in stacks, separate the pans with cloth or kitchen towel to prevent scratching.

Check out our Stainless Clad care guide for everything else to know about maintaining this cookware.

Is Stainless Clad Dishwasher Safe?

While technically dishwasher safe, we strongly recommend hand washing our Stainless Clad Cookware. This helps preserve your pan for longer, and avoids harsh chemicals commonly used in the dishwasher. Check out our guide on whether stainless can go in the dishwasher for a deeper dive into the nuances.

How Does Stainless Clad Compare to Carbon Steel and Non Stick?

Stainless is one of the most popular types of cookware, both in professional and home kitchens. It’s lightweight, affordable, versatile, and relatively low-maintenance. Here are some things to consider when cooking with stainless, and how it compares to both carbon steel and non stick.

Stainless vs. Carbon Steel:

Stainless clad and carbon steel are relatively similar in terms of performance and versatility, but they have a few key distinctions.

Stainless is lighter and non-reactive—meaning that you can cook with acidic ingredients without them imparting a metallic taste. However, carbon steel is more durable and can tolerate higher temperatures (up to 1,200-degrees Fahrenheit).

Carbon steel also requires seasoning and will develop a natural non stick patina overtime, unlike the surface of stainless that remains unchanged. Unlike stainless, carbon steel is reactive and cooking with acidic ingredients can strip its seasoning.

Both can go straight from the stove into the oven, and both conduct, retain, and diffuse heat very well. We recommend having both on hand so you’ve always got the proper tools for the job. For more information, check out our guide on the differences between carbon steel and stainless steel.

Stainless vs. Non Stick:

Stainless cookware is able to perform at higher temperatures (up to 800F) than its non stick counterpart (which can handle up to 500F). Stainless clad pans are also much more resistant to dents and scratches, where non stick is more prone to scratching due to its delicate coating.

Because the bodies of our non stick pans are the same as our stainless clad pans (albeit with two additional layers of professional-quality non stick coating), they perform very similarly. They have the added benefit of being completely non stick right out of the box, where stainless clad cookware may not be the best choice for delicate ingredients like eggs or flaky fish. 

Like carbon steel, we recommend thinking of these materials not as competitors, but as complements of a fully stocked kitchen. For a deeper dive, don't miss our comparison of stainless vs. non stick.

What Is a Stay-Cool Handle?

One of our biggest requests from professional chefs was to design a handle that wouldn’t burn their hand when cooking over high heat. Our Stay-Cool Handle is completely hollow, providing a sturdy, ergonomic grip. This makes for easier sautéing and maneuvering on the stovetop.

Ready to Shop?

For many chefs and home cooks, our Stainless Clad Cookware is the foundation of the kitchen. It consistently performs, can handle just about everything, and doesn’t require much by way of maintenance. Now that you know everything there is to know about it, the only decision you need to make is: what shape first?

Why Choose Made In?