The truth is if you have chosen a stainless steel pan to cook eggs in, your job is a little more complicated than if you went for a nonstick pan instead. They are called nonstick for a reason. That is unless you know the secret I am about to reveal.
So here you are, it's just your eggs and your stainless steel frying pan now and there is no turning back. We are going to cover cooking the three most popular egg dishes step-by-step - fried eggs, scrambled eggs, and omelets. If you follow the guidelines exactly, you WILL master cooking this all-important breakfast meal.
How do you keep eggs from sticking to stainless steel pans?
The main sticking point (literally) when it comes to cooking in stainless steel cookware is just that: food sticking to it. It is actually designed that way so don't blame the material. Sticking is what creates fond which is used by chefs as a base for sauces. Fond is one of the main reasons professional chefs prefer cooking with stainless steel.
This is not what you want when cooking eggs though, and the way to prevent sticking is by adding fat to the pan before adding the eggs. There is no way around this so if you are on a diet, consider choosing nonstick cookware instead where you can cook without fat or oil.
The other main factor of success is temperature. Let's look at this in detail for popular egg meals.
How do you fry eggs in stainless steel?
Before you start frying eggs, you need to decide n the kind of fat you are going to use as this will slightly alter the heating of the pan before the eggs go in.
The two main types are solid fats such as butter, ghee, coconut oil, or even lard if you like the taste and liquid fats such as olive oil or any other oils with a high smoking point.
Prepare the eggs so they are close by as you will not have a big window of time to crack them into the pan when the temperature is just right. You can also crack them into a container beforehand.
Start by heating the pan over medium heat. You need to let it become very hot but not too hot. A good way to judge this is by splashing a little water into the pan. If it bubbles and dances around, the temperature is right, if it immediately evaporates the skillet is too hot.
Once the pan reaches the desired temperature, add in the fat. The trick is to use enough fat to cover the whole cooking surface where the eggs touch the pan material. Don't leave any blind spots as the egg will stick and ruin the whole meal.
If you are using solid fats, about 1 tablespoon will usually do. Let it melt and move it around until it covers the whole surface including the sides. Pour any excess fat out of the skillet and add the eggs immediately. Do not overheat the fat before you crack the eggs!
If you use oil, you also need to cover the cooking surface with it but you need to pay extra attention not to overheat the oil (as you will not have the visual clue of melting to judge the temperature of it).
Once you crack the eggs into the pan, immediately lower the heat to medium-low. Let them sit until they are cooked to the desired state (usually 3-5 minutes).
Remove the eggs with a spatula if you want sunny-side-up or flip them over if you want them done on both sides.
Making scrambled eggs in a stainless steel pan
Making scrambled eggs in a stainless steel skillet is similar to the method used for fried eggs but you will need to leave more fat in the pan. This will also alter the taste somewhat so choose a type of fat you like. I personally prefer butter but you can use ghee or olive oil too.
Crack the eggs into a container and scramble them with a whisk or fork. This is also a good time to add any seasonings or milk if you use them.
Place the stainless steel skillet over medium heat and let it sit until it becomes hot but not too hot. You can use the same water trick to judge the temperature if you don't yet have much experience with it. Splash some water into the hot pan and heat it until it bubbles and dances around. If it evaporates right away, lower the heat.
Once the pan is at the right temperature, add your choice of fat and let it melt (about 1 tablespoon will do). Move the liquid fat around until it covers the whole cooking surface. You will want to leave more fat in the pan compared to what you use for fried eggs as scrambled eggs will soak up more liquid while moved around.
Pour the eggs from the container and let it sit until it starts to solidify around the edges. Using a spatula, slowly start stirring the eggs around until they reach the desired state.
Cooking an omelet in a stainless steel skillet
Making an omelet in stainless steel cookware is very similar to the steps described for fried eggs above but with a few small differences.
The first one is that you need to consider the size of the pan better. For a proper omelet, you want a certain thickness - especially if you like your omelet soft in the middle.
Usually, an 8" frying pan will work for 2-3 eggs. You will want to go with a 10" pan if you want to use more eggs.
The second difference is that you need to make sure to cover the sides of the pan with fat as well. As opposed to fried eggs, omelets will touch the sides of the skillet and you don't want any dry spots there. Sticking to the side of the pan can easily ruin the presentation when folding your omelet in half.
Crack the eggs into a container and mix in your desired ingredients if any.
Follow the steps described for fried eggs with the heating of the pan and fat.