Whether you're a seasoned chef or just starting out in the kitchen, there's something special about creating delicious meals in your favourite pan. 

But what is so special about stainless steel pans? They’re versatile, durable, and provide excellent heat distribution, making them perfect for a wide range of food escapades. 

So here are 10 mouth-watering ideas for you to try out (and if you’re still a little unsure, scroll to the bottom for our easy to use Do’s / Don’ts guide for cooking with stainless steel):

Perfectly Seared Steak

There's nothing quite like the sizzle of a steak hitting a hot stainless steel pan. Achieve a perfect sear by heating your pan over high heat, seasoning your steak generously with salt and pepper, and searing it for a few minutes on each side until it's cooked to your desired level of doneness.

Crispy Fried Chicken

Forget the deep fryer – you can achieve crispy, golden-brown fried chicken right in your stainless steel frying pan. Simply dredge your chicken pieces in seasoned flour, heat some oil in the pan, and fry them until they're beautifully crispy and cooked through.

Sautéed Garlic Shrimp

For a quick and flavourful meal, try sautéing garlic shrimp in your stainless steel pan. Heat some olive oil in the pan, add minced garlic and shrimp, and cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of parsley for a burst of freshness.

Vegetable Stir-Fry

Stainless steel pans are perfect for stir-frying vegetables, as they allow for even cooking and quick heat transfer. Chop up your favourite vegetables, such as bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots, and stir-fry them in a hot pan with a splash of soy sauce and sesame oil for a delicious and healthy meal.

Pan-Seared Salmon

Salmon is a versatile fish that cooks beautifully in a stainless steel frying pan. Season your salmon fillets with salt, pepper, and your favourite herbs, then sear them in a hot pan until they're crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

One-Pot Pasta

Save on clean-up by cooking your pasta dishes in a stainless steel frying pan. Simply add your pasta, sauce, and any desired toppings to the pan, along with enough water to cover everything, and cook until the pasta is tender and the sauce is thick and flavourful. Here’s a recipe for a mouth watering tomato, capers & olive spaghetti recipe by Alan Rosenthal too.

Spicy Tofu Scramble

For a hearty and satisfying breakfast or brunch, try making a spicy tofu scramble in your stainless steel pan. Crumble tofu into the pan and cook it with onions, peppers, and spices until it's golden brown and flavourful. Serve with avocado slices and toast for a complete meal.

Homemade Omelette

Whip up a fluffy omelette in your stainless steel frying pan for a quick and delicious meal any time of day. Beat eggs with a splash of milk, pour them into the hot pan, and add your favourite fillings, such as cheese, vegetables, and cooked meats. Fold the omelette over and cook until it's set and golden brown.

Caramelised Onions

Take your dishes to the next level by caramelising onions in your stainless steel pan. Cook thinly sliced onions in butter or olive oil over low heat until they're soft, sweet, and golden brown. Use them to top burgers, pizzas, or salads for added flavour.

Berry Compote

Finish off your meal with a sweet treat by making a berry compote in your stainless steel frying pan. Cook mixed berries with a splash of water and a sprinkle of sugar until they're soft and syrupy, then serve warm over ice cream, pancakes, or yoghurt for a delightful dessert.

Whether you're searing steaks, frying chicken, or sautéing vegetables, these pans are versatile enough to handle it all. Try out these recipes in your own kitchen and discover the simple joy of cooking with stainless steel. 

As promised, a few handy tips below:

How to cook on a stainless steel pan

The rundown:

Most home cooks have stainless steel pans, but only use them for boiling and stewing. Stainless steel is perfect for this, but many don’t realise that they’re great for frying and searing too. The secret to doing this without stickage is to preheat your pan thoroughly. 

If you put food straight into a cold, or even warm stainless steel pan, it will stick. But how do you know if your stainless steel is hot enough? A tried-and-tested method is the water droplet test.

Try throwing a droplet of water on the pan. If it sits there, it’s too cold. If it bubbles and steams, still too cold. If it forms a bubble of water that rolls and dances around the pan before evaporating, it’s time. Add your oil, wait for it to smoke a little and then add your food. Don’t touch it until it’s thoroughly browned, and it will come away easily.


  • Use stainless steel for frying, searing, boiling and stewing - these pans are very versatile. All-metal pans can also go in the oven.
  • Preheat thoroughly with the water droplet test before searing. Be patient - this can take several minutes.
  • Cook with room temperature foods. Adding cold food straight from the fridge will lower the temperature of the pan and might cause sticking.
  • Pat dry meat - removing surface moisture helps achieve a good sear without sticking.
  • After frying, deglaze the sticky brown bits (the ‘fond’) left in your pan with wine or stock to create delicious sauces. You don’t get fond with non-stick pans.
  • Caramelise onions - the ‘stickiness’ of the stainless steel creates fond and makes the process faster.


  • Stir food around too much when searing. Leaving it alone will help form a golden crust and also help the food release.
  • Add oil immediately - let the pan preheat first, or your oil will get too hot.
  • Attempt scrambled eggs - unless you cook them quickly on a high heat, they’ll stick.

Happy cooking!

More reading:

April 17, 2024 — Catherine McKay
Tags: recipe