To be blunt, preparing eggs in stainless steel cookware is not the easiest way to do it. In fact, unless you really know how you will probably have a miserable time of it because they so easily stick to the pan.
If eggs so easily stick to stainless steel then why would you want to use it to cook them in the first place? What a solid question!
Related Articles - Stainless Steel Cookware: Pros and Cons
There are only a few reasons you choose stainless steel for egg cooking:
Now let's look at exactly why stainless steel is challenging, and how to successfully cook eggs using it.
The answer is pretty simple, stainless steel is designed for food to stick to it.
Stainless steel is a good chef's choice for cooking sauces because it easily creates fond. The process of creating fond usually refers to the creation of a base in a sauce.
Yes, we are talking about the little brown bits of delicious flavor left after cooking meat or sauce.
Many people ignore these bits and treat them as garbage or cancer itself. One person's trash is another person's treasure as these are the key to many deep rich flavors.
Remember this refers to brown and not black bits. If you have overcooked your dish and left black bits, you can toss them.
The first thing that generally helps prevent most foods from sticking is the hot pan and cold oil technique.
Pan temperature is something that you should always pay attention to, but especially with your eggs.
It is best to heat the pan on medium heat and to lower the heat after you add the eggs.
Cooking eggs on a lower heat will almost always produce a better outcome.
Be sure to match your pan with a burner that covers the bottom surface area of the pan.
Cooking with stainless steel is also much easier when everything is heating evenly.
For the cold oil, don’t worry, you won’t have to refrigerate your oils just to cook your eggs.
With the hot pan and cold oil technique, cold oil just means you don’t let the oil get too hot before adding your eggs to it.
If the oil is bubbling hot when you add the eggs you may not get a sufficient barrier between them and the pan.
Now that you have the basic ideas of how to keep eggs from sticking, let's look at more exact steps for each way to cook an egg.
When cracking straight into the pan you can take a little long between egg cracks and some eggs will start cooking before others.
Also if you get some shell in the container it is easier to get it out of that than a hot pan.
Cracking into a container makes it easier to add ingredients to spice up your eggs and mix them well.
EGG CRACKING TIP:
Try cracking eggs on a flat surface, as cracking on the edge of a pan or counter is more likely to push pieces of shell into the yoke.
You don’t want to cook with a big pan on a small burner as it will cook unevenly.
If you are cooking four or more eggs you should use at least a 12” pan.
A fatal mistake (for your eggs) that is often made is heating the pan up on the highest heat possible. I know patience hurts, trust me I do, but that is definitely the key here.
Heat up the pan at the temperature you're going to cook the eggs to start, medium. The reason this is important is that we can forget to lower the temperature, and it just makes the next steps more tricky.
Once the pan is properly heated you can add the oil or butter. You should need more than a tablespoon, but a little more is better than less.
To test the pan's heat you can put a few drops of water on the pan to see how fast it evaporates.
It should not evaporate instantly or take a long time. Rather it should just evaporate within a few seconds on proper medium heat.
Spread the oil or fat to cover the surface of the pan.
Using a more solid fat like butter is going to make cooking eggs in stainless steel much easier using other oils.
Pour the eggs from the container into the oil-covered pan. If you are using butter, you should add the eggs as soon as the butter is melted and spread.
After this, you won’t have to pay much attention to the fat and you can just let it work it’s non-stick magic.
A wooden spoon or plastic spatula will be the easiest utensils to accomplish this task. You want to give them a chance to cook before stirring, but you don’t want to let them brown.
Also, remember to plan ahead while cooking and have a plate or dish ready to unload them in. We sometimes forget that the pan is still hot and cooking for a bit after turning off the heat.
You can easily overcook them at the very end of the process, or when trying to melt cheese on top.
The process is very similar to cooking scrambled eggs.
However, frying eggs in stainless steel is much more difficult because you don't stir them as you do with scrambled.
Therefore there is a little more risk of sticking.
Again, this will make it easier to pour and ensure they all start cooking at the same time.
This also can help you avoid wacky shaped fried eggs as you can more easily control the pour.
Remember the goal is to heat and cook them evenly as possible.
You want to make sure the pan is big enough to comfortably hold all your eggs without them touching the side.
Just like you would with the scrambled eggs you want to use the hot pan and cold oil technique.
Warm the pan on medium, and proceed to the next step when your sure it’s at full temperature.
You can next add oil or butter. You will want at least 1 tablespoon, but maybe more if you don’t mind it.
There are two ways you can go about making sure you have a solid oil layer between the eggs and pan:
Pour the eggs slowly to avoid splattering and sloshing the egg white too much on the pan.
You also may consider lowering the cooking temperature once you get the eggs in the pan just a bit.
The only thing you really want to avoid is flipping too early and too much.
If you try to flip before the egg browns a bit on the bottom you will mess them up.
Also, if you flip too much you can start to lose the protective oil layer between the egg and pan.
You can cover your eggs 30-60 seconds in to help the tops of the eggs more evenly with the bottom.
When cooked to desired consistency, quickly serve onto a plate to avoid overcooking in the cooling pan.
After reading all this you are probably thinking that this is a lot of work just to cook eggs. You are right, but this is definitely something you can get better at very quickly with just a few attempts.
For extra non-sticking power, you can always season your stainless steel pan.
We highly recommend using butter when cooking eggs in stainless steel if you can. You will notice that it is so much easier than using oil, and it tastes better too!
If you are still having a hard time with stainless steel cooking and want to avoid the non-stick surfaces, you can always try cast iron cookware.