Think Twice Before Making Pancakes In Stainless Steel Pans

Pancakes are a quintessential breakfast food for millions of people around the world. Besides being cheap and easy to make, they're also super versatile. If you get tired of one flavor, just switch up either the recipe or the topping! That's how a ton of great pancake recipes were born, from simple banana pancakes to more creative variations like cannoli and oven-baked blueberry.

However, if you've been using a stainless steel pan to cook your morning pancakes, take a pause. Stainless steel pans aren't the best cookware to use for pancakes since they typically lack a non-stick coating. Without this protective layer between the bare metal and the pancakes, the proteins in the batter — transformed by heat — can turn into a strong adhesive and stick directly to the metal pan's surface. It's similar to how an omelet can cling to a metal pan if you don't use oil or butter before cooking. Because of this, your pancakes will be harder to flip and will be at increased risk of accidentally overcooking.

To make a stainless steel pan more pancake-friendly, you can apply cooking fat, like oil, to the pan's surface once it's preheated. This layer of grease will create a smooth, non-stick surface that prevents the pancake from clinging to the pan. However, some people may be rightfully concerned about this workaround since it's not exactly the healthiest way to cook a pancake. Luckily, you can avoid this issue altogether by choosing the right cookware for the job.

What is the right cookware for pancakes?

Choosing the right cookware for pancakes basically boils down to one question: How resistant to sticking is it? You have a broad array of acceptable options, the first of which is a cast iron skillet. While they can still be sticky if left untreated, you can season the pan with a thin layer of cooking oil, which will create a hardy, non-stick layer over the top of the cast iron surface that you can utilize repeatedly.

Next up, we have non-stick pans, which are the go-to choice for many pancake enthusiasts. These pans come pre-coated with a non-stick material like Teflon, so no matter what you do, the pancake shouldn't stick, even if you use a minimal amount of butter or oil. Cutting back on the added fat can keep your meals a bit healthier. Just remember to handle these pans with care to preserve their non-stick coating, which can flake off if they're damaged.

Lastly, there are electric griddles. They offer a generously sized non-stick cooking surface, perfect for making pancakes and other griddle-friendly foods like bacon and eggs. This is a great choice if you often cook breakfast for many people at once. However, this cookware is a bit less versatile than a pan, so you may have to use it frequently to justify the purchase. Otherwise, we recommend just sticking with a traditional pan or skillet!