Is it true that one should not use stainless steel utensils on a stainless steel pot or pan? I had to get rid of some old pots because my food started have a metallic taste to it. I always see on cooking shows, however, that chefs will often use stainless steel utensils (like a whisk) on a stainless steel pot.

What should I do to prevent this metallic leaching? And should I be cooking with, say, wooden utensils to prevent scratching my cookware?

Update: The metallic leaching was very distinct. It's sort of like the taste one gets from aluminum soda cans or stainless steel water bottles that were made back in the day. When I switched out the pots and pans to newer ones, the taste was no longer there. Switching back to the old ones again, the taste returned. I tried cooking different foods to make sure it wasn't something related to acidity or some sort of ingredient.

  • 1
    Are you sure those were stainless pans? It sounds like uncoated aluminum or something else, especially with acid foods.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Jul 24, 2013 at 14:16
  • @SAJ14SAJ I know one of my older pots was aluminum, but the older skillet has stainless steel on the bottom. I got the same effect from both though.
    – MarkE
    Jul 24, 2013 at 14:18
  • @MarkE maybe it was a low-quality skillet with a very thin steel surface on a sandwich bottom made with a reactive metal, and the surface got worn away? Nothing edible is corrosive enough to react with stainless steel and/or dissolve it.
    – rumtscho
    Jul 24, 2013 at 14:23
  • 1
    MarkE, @rumtscho is right, if you can taste it, they were not likely to be SS on the food side. done well to avoid them if you're tasting anything off. Even un-seasoned cast iron doesn't have that kind of taste.
    – MandoMando
    Jul 24, 2013 at 15:08

3 Answers 3


Of course stainless utensils can be used on stainless pots and pans; otherwise, the restaurant industry would come to halt.

The only time you need to use utensils of specific materials is pans with a non-stick coating that can be scratched, such as using plastic for PTFE.

As to your alleged "metallic leaching," that is not typical at all to stainless steel cookware. You would have to provide more information to get a good answer.


It is possible that either the cookware or the utensils being used are a metal other than stainless steel. Aluminum used to be a common household material until more recently. This does create a metallic taste to food, especially when there is an acidity in the ingredients like tomatoes or lemons.


Materials of equal hardness will abrade each other, so stainless-on-stainless scratching is possible, especially because the utensil might be made from an ever so slightly harder variant of stainless than the pan.

Aluminium could be identified by behaviour in a dishwasher, density (weight vs displacement), or scratch testing with other materials...

Cooking show hosts are likely not to care about wearing the cookware down quickly.

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