I recently purchased a stainless steel pan from AllClad, but I'm struggling to use it. Food, and in particular eggs, seem to stick readily to the pan, making it hard to use. There is a question on Seasoned Advice that pertains to cooking an omelette on a stainless steel pan, but I think the challenges of frying an egg are different and more challenging. I've been able to cook an omelette in this pan, but have yet to succeed with a fried egg.

Looking online, I learned that stainless steel pans, like cast-iron, need to be seasoned in order to be non-stick. The process that I followed to season my pan was as follows:

  1. Pour in 1/4 cup walnut oil.
  2. Heat pan on medium heat until the oil begins to smoke.
  3. Turn heat off and let the pan cool completely.
  4. Remove the oil and wipe the pan dry.

I tried this process, but when I try to fry an egg in the pan, it still sticks readily. There is some improvement, but it is still not possible to cook an egg without sticking that destroys the egg in the end.

I'm not sure what I may be doing wrong, or is a stainless steel pan just not something that one can use for frying eggs? Should I just expect that there will be some stick whenever I use this pan?


After watching this short course on pay frying, I tried to pre-heat my pan, using the water-test as a guide, and adding just a bit of oil to the pan before dropping the egg in. The results were the same. The egg stuck to the pan thoroughly. So again I'm not sure what I'm doing incorrectly. Maybe the oil I'm using isn't right? I've been using ghee.

Update 2:

I've yet to succeed in frying a egg on this pan, but a few additional questions/issues have surfaced:

  1. Some answers here have suggested that despite the presence on the web of tutorials for "seasoning" stainless steel pan this is not necessary and may not be advisable.

  2. The trick may be to fry the egg starting at a much lower heat then you might with something like a piece of meat. For meat, you often encounter the suggestion to use the "water test", but as at least one answer has suggested here that may not work with a fried egg.

These are the possibly insights I've gleaned so far, but I've also yet to succeed, so these may turn out to be wrong as well.

Satisfying Answer (May be others)

The solution that I have settled on here -- i.e. what finally worked for me -- was to work with lower heat than I thought was needed, and not to season the pan. There is definitely a lot of conflicting information out there about stainless steel pans. There are a great number of blog posts and YouTube videos that talk about how to season a pan. Seasoning may still be a useful thing to do, but I was able to fry an egg on an unseasoned pan finally.

The method I used is more or less as follows:

  1. Clean pan thoroughly.

  2. Take egg out of refrigerator and let it sit in warm water for five minutes or so. (This may not be necessary.)

  3. Put pan on stove on medium flame/heat. (I only tried this on a gas stove.)

  4. Let pan pre-heat until it is warm when you hold your hands over the pan. Warm, not hot! This might take 20-30 seconds, maybe less.

  5. Add the oil (1-2 tbsp), and lower the flame to low. Let the oil heat a bit, perhaps another 10-15 seconds, or less.

  6. Crack the egg into the pan. The whites should stay clear, only slowly whitening. If the egg begins to turn white immediately, the pan is too hot. And the egg should also not stick at this point. There may be a bit of sticking, especially around the edges. You can dislodge the sticking gently by hand, but don't mess with the egg too much. Cook until done or ready to flip. Make sure heat stays low. If you see some sticking it may be (I'm not sure about this) because the pan has become too hot.

So that's the best I've been able to do with help from the selected answer.

  • Did you add oil before frying? Just because it's seasoned doesn't mean you don't need to add oil before cooking.
    – Wolfgang
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 20:50
  • I did. But I think my problem may have been not properly pre-heating the pan
    – fraxture
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 20:54
  • 5
    Possible duplicate of Can't make an omelette in my all-clad pan because of sticking
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 15:10
  • I'm curious. Is there a reason you're trying to do this in stainless rather than in non-stick or on a seasoned pan? Sometimes you just shouldn't use stainless for stuff. When I go to restaurants where I can see the chefs working, they use non-stick for eggs. What are you trying to achieve with the stainless?
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 15:30
  • 1
    @Catja I see your point. I guess the question is simply: can, and if so, how can this be done with stainless steel. If the answer is it cannot, so be bit. But there are plenty of videos on YouTube where people do succeed and so I am curious why I cannot. Also, I don't currently have a nonstick pan, and am not crazy about their chemical surface.
    – fraxture
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 16:23

7 Answers 7


From your description there are two things that stand out to me:

1) stainless steel pans should NOT be seasoned in a manner similar to cast iron. These are completely different materials, and if you "seasoned" your stainless pan, such that it has a coating of basically burned oil on it, you have to first clean that pan until it's nice and shiny/bare steel again.

2) using the sizzle test for eggs suggests to me the pan is too hot. For eggs, you always want to use lower heat to prevent them going dry and sticking (even in a non-stick pan, you will have some sticking if you use high heat for eggs, especially when scrambling)

so try this: clean your pan. when ready to cook the egg, heat the pan on medium heat. to test for hotness, hold your hand close to the surface to see if it feels warm. obviously, don't burn yourself ;) add your ghee to the pan and let it heat a little longer until it looks very fluid and shimmery. swirl the pan to distribute the oil, then add your egg(s) and do your thing

  • 1
    I tried to do what you said as best as I could, but achieved basically the same result. I first cleaned the pan with Bar Keeper's Friend. I dried it thoroughly, and then I put it on a medium to medium low flame. When it was warm (may 30-40 seconds on the flame) I put in the oil and waited for another 15-20 seconds, and then cracked the egg into the pan. But it stuck again. You can tell it's sticking without touching it because the egg's surface fissures, especially around the edges where it's thinner. I tried this twice, once with Ghee and once with Walnut oil. No luck.
    – fraxture
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 13:16
  • This is a bit of a timely technique I might try that seems similar to what you are suggesting: youtube.com/watch?v=deSZka-j0Y0
    – fraxture
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 13:27
  • After watching this video, I wonder if I need to start with even less heat...
    – fraxture
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 13:32
  • 2
    Finally had some success follow your instructions, or the spirit of them, a bit more closely. In my first attempt, I allowed the pan to get too hot. When you said warm, I didn't really think warm the first time. But taking that more literally I basically added the oil after about 20-30 seconds on medium flame. Then waited another 10 seconds maybe and dropped the egg in. The heat was so low that the egg only slowly began to whiten. It didn't stick at this temperature.
    – fraxture
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 17:15
  • I like this answer. The one tip I would add that seems obvious now but wasn't obvious to me when I learned is to wait a bit before trying to move the egg. Commented Apr 28, 2021 at 18:06

Like the OP in this previous question (Why do scrambled/fried eggs stick less when cooked with butter instead of oil?), I believe you are blaming the equipment when the fault may well lie with the operator...

See this answer and the linked material there (especially the Alton Brown video) to improve your technique.

The keys are thoroughly warming the pan and oil to a medium heat and patience.

(should this be considered a duplicate question?)

  • 1
    if you had read my question, you would have seen that in my question I stated: "I'm not sure what I may be doing wrong..." Also, in my update, which you apparently also did not read, I stated that I'd tried pre-heating the pan according to the so-called "water test." I will check out your links. I'm quite sure I haven't learned to use this pan correctly. But what I'm looking for is some sort of guidance about how to improve my "operation" of the equipment.
    – fraxture
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 15:00
  • First, I assure I did read your question completely and several times. My comment about the equipment vs user comes down to whether we should judge this as a duplicate (to several other candidates) in which your question differentiates solely on the pan. Secondly, the 'water test' tells you the pan is 'at least' hot enough, but does not address the question of whether or not your pan may well be "too hot" (which..ooh.. can cause sticking).
    – Cos Callis
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 15:22
  • 3
    You wrote: "I believe you are blaming the equipment..." That's wrong -- as the question makes clear. What you say about the "water test", I believe, is also wrong. If when you drop water on the pan, it breaks apart into several beads, that's an indication that it's too hot (according to the course I linked in the update to my question.)
    – fraxture
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 16:05
  • 1
    In the video linked from that Q, Alton Brown appears to be using a non-stick pan.
    – fraxture
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 12:59

I have had a set AllClad pans for over a decade and I had this issue at first but here's what I do that mostly avoids sticking:

  • Heat: I throw small drops of water on the pan. If they dissipate immediately the pan might be a little too hot. If they turn into little balls that roll around as if there is no friction, then it's perfect.
  • Use Butter: I prefer this to oil mainly for the flavor but it also is helpful to know whether the pan is the right temperature. If it starts bubbling hard and browning, it's too hot. You can still use it but turn the heat down.
  • Once the butter has laid down flat and the water has left it, you can drop the eggs in. My eggs are cold from the fridge so I usually turn the heat down after they have warmed a bit.
  • Wait a bit before breaking the yolks. The yolk sticks a lot more than the whites. For scrambled eggs, I typically wait for the white to go translucent and then gently break the yolks. Let the yolk harden a bit and then fold. At this point I let turn the heat way down (off even) and let them get to the desired consistency.

This typically results in no sticking that would require more than a brush or scouring pad. I would recommend getting some Bar Keeper's Friend powder for maintaining the pans especially if you want to keep the outside of them looking nice. What's worse than eggs is burned-on oil and you are bound to do this at some point especially if you use the pan for searing. Detergent won't put much of a dent on that. The oxalic acid will take it off in seconds with a little elbow grease. Baking soda is also a decent option for this. Kosher salt can be used in a similar manner for eggs if you really get them stuck.

  • If you mean to clean I'd say just boil diluted vinegar; that'll get pretty much any food off. To get polymerized oils and the like steel wool is the easiest.
    – Casey
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 20:50
  • @Casey It might be easy but it will scratch the finish on the pans.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 13:46
  • @Casey And boiling vinegar is super-overkill otherwise. Detergent and a non-scratch sponge or soft brush are more than adequate if you cook the eggs like a explain here. And, they taste amazing.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 13:52
  • If you prize the look of the finish on the pans it's probably not the way to go, I guess, but it doesn't really hurt the functionality of the pans at all. Anyway, I found Barkeeper's Friend next to useless for a lot of stuff that I could scrub off easily with steel wool.
    – Casey
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 14:17
  • 1
    @Casey I can totally understand why you aren't concerned, then. The OP mentioned AllClad specifically. With those, there's a 'satin' or glass-like finish on the cooking surface which is part of why you pay a premium. I just cooked some eggs actually and after I washed the pan, the water rolls off like it's a duck's back. It's worth preserving.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 18:49

I have two All Clad tri-ply stainless steel pans. First things - these pans are much more efficient. The highest heat level I use is medium high. That's for searing only, then reduce heat to medium for cooking. Seasoning the pan, I preheated the pan on the stove you can trust with a drop of water. If it bubbles the pan is ready then turn the heat off.

Use whatever oil you cook with. Remember this well - Oil will affect the taste of your food. Use a paper towel to wipe excess oil off the pan. I did this twice before I cook on it. You could check All Clad website for more details.

PS. I only use high temperature to boil water in the pan. Always wipe pan thoroughly dry after washing it with soap and water and soft sponge only.

  • Welcome! I've attempted to improve your post by adding some punctuation. Please review the edit and feel free to fix anything that was wrong. If you could, in future, please attempt to use proper punctuation so that your meaning is more clear.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 4:58
  • 4
    This answer doesn't really address the question.
    – GdD
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 7:52

Use plenty of fat! I always fry my eggs in butter - I love the flavor. Use plenty so it creates a nice puddle for your eggs. I have no difficulty in my pan either on high heat (you must stay there and babysit it!) for brown butter; or lower and slower. Yumm. Always delicious, easy, never seasoned a stainless steel pan in my life. Chandler. Good luck.


I have an All Clad SS pan, a non stick pan, a lodge cast iron and I have fried an egg with a small amount of butter on low heat and the egg does not stick.
It slides around the pan more easily than any other pan.

  • This doesn't answer the OP's question about what they're doing wrong.
    – Sneftel
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 16:12
  • 2
    I see this post as an answer telling us that low heat + little fat is a successful solution. Even if it is a very partial answer, I am inclined to keep it, since it doesn't seem to hurt the guidelines.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 16:25

Here’s the best answer, based on decades of cooking at home and decades of life experience and much time spent researching this: Don’t use stainless steel to cook eggs. At all. No professional chef does this. At all. Use cast iron or nonstick pans for eggs. Period.

  • 1
    Please do not insult other users here. This time, I edited it out, but it is our job as moderators to also sanction users who repeatedly break our Code of conduct.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 8:23

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