I have been cooking with my stainless steel pan for a while, and have tried many techniques to prevent sticking. Hot pan then oil did work to some extent, but I still had trouble with eggs, potatoes, and tofu. While I was doing this, I did make sure that water droplets were able to glide across the surface, and not evaporate.

Recently I have been trying to to "season" the pan each time before cooking by getting the pan hot, adding oil, then letting it cool all the way. This way, I could add eggs at lower temperatures as I might in a Teflon pan, and they were able to slide around and not just release. I found this to work well for fried potatoes as well.

However, I am having second thoughts about this method for several reasons. For one, I am not sure it is healthy. Second, no matter what method I try, I always have trouble making crispy skin salmon in my stainless steel pan. Therefore, I would like to revisit the hot pan + oil method properly.

One problem I had was that the temperature of the pan to be hot enough, the oil would always smoke when added, and would start to splatter when I placed the salmon. Is there a way to achieve the Leidenfrost effect without burning the oil? Also, if this effect is indeed due to the pores of the metal remaining open at a certain temperature, how can I cook proteins at lower temperatures? Finally, how can I achieve the food gliding effect of seasoning before each use without reheating the same oil?

  • 1
    I'll let someone come up with an intelligent complete answer, but I don't think you can properly "season" a stainless steel pan. If your oil is smoking on contact you'll need to adjust the pan temp or switch to a different oil with a higher smoke point.
    – talon8
    Dec 19, 2013 at 22:26
  • What I was referring to was something along the lines of this: youtube.com/watch?v=WDAs3PmdLd0 Is it healthy to be heating the pan that much with olive oil? Even when my pan is that hot and water glides on it, I could never get my salmon to slide like it did in this video. And also, I felt that if I ever got my pan that hot, smoking aside, I could never lower the temperature fast enough if I wanted to cook at lower heats.
    – Elbert
    Dec 20, 2013 at 2:10
  • I don't cook in stainless steel but here are some links that I found: missvickie.com/howto/cooking101/secret.htm oursavorylife.com/… prweb.com/releases/2012/5/prweb9500465.htm
    – Divi
    Dec 22, 2013 at 10:33

2 Answers 2


Heat the stainless steal pan on medium-high. After its hot add your oil. You'll know your pan is hot enough when the oil has wavy movment when you tilt your pan. Now raise the temperature gradually until the oil begins become only slighty darker. If you've reached smoke point you are done (the pan should only be SLIGHTLY smoking) Remove any excess oil and add new oil.


Small amounts of oil are needed for fish without the skin. But if the skin is on and your trying to get it crispy all of the skin on the surface of the fish must be submerged in water to get an effective crust.

  • 2
    Guessing you mean "submerged in oil" above. I've never heard of anything getting a nice crispy crust when cooked in water.
    – Caleb
    Jul 10, 2014 at 14:55

Each time I put a piece of meat in the hot oil in my stainless steel pan, it immediately got stuck to the pan. I now put the meat in the pan with the oil before turning on the heat. That works quite well.

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