How To Store Stainless Steel Cookware: All You Need to Know

Belinda Woodhouse
Belinda Woodhouse

Belinda Woodhouse

Belinda Woodhouse is an award-winning food and travel writer. Her writing is heavily influenced by her experiences with a wide range of international cuisines. She regularly writes for the International Living Magazine.

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how to store stainless steel cookware

If you store stainless steel cookware properly, it can last a lifetime! I know because I remember cooking with my mother and her stainless steel set from when I was very young – then she passed that set down to me! 

To ensure you get a lifetime of happy cooking memories, hosting wonderful dinner parties, and feeding family and friends with your stainless steel pots and pans, we’re going to look at:

  • How to store stainless steel cookware 
  • What happens if you don’t store stainless steel carefully
  • Best practices for storing stainless steel cookware
  • Helpful products like organizers, racks, and protectors.
  • Stackable stainless steel sets
  • How to maintain stainless steel cookware

If your pans have holes in the handles, you can work them into your kitchen decor! Hang them from hooks, rails or rafters around the kitchen. This is ideal as it stops the cookware from banging into each other scratching it, loosening handles, or even denting.   

What happens if you don’t store stainless steel carefully?

Scratching, oxidation, cracked or loosened handles, and denting happen when stainless steel cookware is all thrown in on top of one another. Although stainless steel is durable and hardy, it still needs maintenance to ensure it lasts. 


Stainless steel is an alloy usually made from iron, chromium, and nickel. The chromium reacts with air and creates a rust-resistant layer of oxidation on the surface of the stainless steel. If this layer scratches, it makes it less resistant to rust and corrosion.

Scratches are bad enough on regular uncoated stainless steel. But if your stainless steel pans have a layer of nonstick and or ceramic coating, a scratch can mean the end of your cookware’s useful life.

Best Practices for Storing Stainless Steel Cookware

Let’s go into detail on some of my favorite ways to store your stainless steel cookware in drawers, on racks, stacked, or hanging around the kitchen. No matter what your kitchen design is, some of these tips are sure to help you as you think through how to store your cookware.

Pan Organizer Racks

Organizer racks like these G-TING Pot Rack Organizers are awesome if you have counter or wall space, but don’t have drawers or a lot of cupboard space in your kitchen.

Pot organizer racks can be mounted on the wall or free-standing, with vertical or horizontal configurations depending on your kitchen design and how much counter space you have to spare. The other handy thing is that they can be assembled to be one-sided with individual spaces above one another, or two sided to fit an entire stainless steel cookware set. 

G-TING Pot Rack Organizers
✅ Adjustable Tiers
✅ 3 DIY Methods
✅ Easy to install
✅ Solid Construction
✅ With non-slip silicone pad
Check Today's Price

Handy tip: look for an adjustable assembly so you can make each space as large or small as you need to fit everything from a one-egg fry pan to your 8 quart (32 cup) stock pot.  

Hooks, Rails, and Rafters

Hanging your stainless steel cookware is a great way to conserve space and protect your pots and pans while adding decoration and a lovely homey feel to your kitchen. Both wall-mounted and ceiling-mounted hanging rack storage comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, construction, and design.

Hanging your stainless steel cookware

Every storage rack I have seen, whether wall mounted or ceiling mounted, has horizontal bars with slidable hooks. These hooks are wonderfully versatile allowing you to craft a design that works for your cookware set, size, and frequency of use. 

OROPY Wall Mounted Pot Rack Storage Shelf
✅ Storage shelf + 2 tier cross bars
✅ Large Storage Capacity
✅ Made of high quality thick iron
✅ Two Installation Methods
✅ Powder Coated Finish
Check Today's Price

Handy tip: look for something with a storage rack and hanging rails  (more than one if you love cooking like me and have a large set)  so you can store pots up top and both your pans and utensils hanging below. 

Felt Pan Protectors.

Pan protectors for stainless steel pots and pans are the best invention since sliced bread, as they say. Limiting scratching to prevent oxidation, they are well worth grabbing, especially if you’ve invested in an expensive set of cookware. Most sets coming in standard sizes of 11 inch, 14 inch, and 15 inch, or a mixture of sizes. 

Good pot and pan protectors can also be used to protect your countertops and furniture from hot pots. Glassware, bakeware, and ceramic dishes can also benefit from pan proctors to avoid chipping or locking. 

Pot and Pan Protectors
✅ Three Different Size
✅ Easy to Use
✅ Multi-used
✅ Premium Polyester Felt
✅ Easy to Clean
Check Today's Price

Handy tip: you can cut these down to size to fit any cookware.


Some stainless steel sets of cookware are designed to be stackable. Nesting on top of the other or stacking one inside the other, good stackable sets like Calphalon can save 30% of cupboard space. 

Calphalon’s Premier Space Saving Stainless Steel Pots and Pans are the best design I’ve seen. Flat tempered glass lids that are interchangeable with most of the pots mean you don’t have that pesky problem of rummaging around looking for the right lid to match your pot as they slide all over the cupboard. Or worse, having to buy a small rack just to store lids! 

Calphalon Premier Space-Saving Stainless Steel Pots and Pans
✅ Stacks smaller
✅ Nests in any order
✅ Heavy-gauge aluminum core
✅ Fully-clad
✅ Oven-safe up to 450°F
✅ Stay cool handles
Check Today's Price

Handy tip: if you do have lids with handles on the top, then turning them upside down on top of one pot will allow you to nest another pot on top of the first one.

Maintaining Stainless Steel Cookware for Storage

Proper cleaning is the crucial first step in making sure your stainless steel pans will last a lifetime. Consider skipping the dishwasher and hand washing your pans instead.

Clean them gently, using a plastic scour instead of steel wool or chainmail scrubbers. Drying your stainless steel thoroughly before storing can prevent crusted food from rotting or any salt or minerals from the water from causing corrosion. 

If good old elbow grease can’t get rid of a stain, Weiman stainless steel cookware cleaner will help remove any stubborn residues, stains or burned food. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store metal pans?

All metal pans–stainless steel, aluminum, copper–should be stored the same way: cleaned and fully dried before being stored. Aluminum and copper are softer metals than stainless steel and more prone to scratching and denting. Stainless steel pans, when thrown in together on top of each other, can scratch and have handles loosen.

How do you keep stainless steel pots from rusting?

Stainless steel shouldn’t rust when looked after well. Stainless steel is an alloy made of iron, chromium, and nickel; the chromium reacts with air and creates a rust-resistant layer of oxidation on the surface of the stainless steel. However, since most stainless steel is layered with aluminum, the aluminum can rust if it’s exposed – like around the rim of the pan or rivets of the handle.

When should you throw out stainless steel cookware?

When stainless steel is severely scratched so that it goes through to the aluminum layer and begins to rust, it’s time to throw it out. That won’t happen under normal circumstances, though! If a pan is badly warped or corroded, showing deep pitting, you probably need to let it go. If the stainless steel pan has a nonstick or ceramic coating it needs to be replaced when the coating is cracked or peeling, severely scratched, or simply doesn’t perform like a nonstick pan anymore.


Stainless steel is durable and versatile. With just a minute or two of care after each use it will make amazing meals for decades to come. Just store it so that it won’t scratch, by hanging the pans or using a rack. If you stack them, then place a pan protector in between each piece. Even if your set is designed to stack, like Calphalon’s Premier Space Saving Stainless Steel Pots and Pans, it is still wise to use a pan protector! 

We’d love to hear from you with any comments or experiences with stainless steel cookware! and will answer as soon as we’ve finished making something fabulous in the kitchen. 

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Belinda Woodhouse
About The Author
Belinda "Bel" Woodhouse is an award-winning food and travel writer celebrated for her global culinary narratives. As International Living's Mexico Correspondent, she blends Yucatán flavors with her European aspirations. Every piece she pens is a passport to the world's culinary treasures.

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