Flatware is an essential part of everyday life, just as cookware sets and tableware in general. Even people who don’t cook, still need to use tools to eat. These tools come in varied designs, styles, and materials. Stainless steel flatware is one of the most popular options.
Let us discover the concepts, advantages, and recommendations around stainless steel flatware, the “silent hero” behind your weekday dinners (and dinner parties!).
- Understanding Stainless Steel Flatware
- What Usually Comes In a Stainless Steel Flatware Set?
- Stainless Steel Flatware Advantages
- How To Care For A Stainless Steel Flatware Set
- Must-Have Dalstrong Stainless Steel Flatware
- Frequently Asked Questions About Stainless Steel Flatwar
1. Understanding Stainless Steel Flatware
When we say flatware, we’re referring to the utensils used for eating food, generally including several types of forks, knives, and spoons. As you can see, flatware is absolutely essential in everyday life.
Stainless steel is definitely the most popular material for flatware. While there are other options like plastic flatware, sterling silver flatware, or gold flatware, stainless steel remains the most common and the most used because of several reasons:
- Stainless steel is made of at least 10.5% chromium, which creates resistance to rust and corrosion. Flatware is frequently exposed to humidity, water, and corrosive agents in a kitchen environment.
- It is way more durable than other known materials.
- It doesn’t require special or demanding maintenance.
- Stainless steel is a very affordable material.
- Stainless steel is also versatile enough to fit many styles and both formal occasions and informal dining.
2. What Usually Comes In a Stainless Steel Flatware Set?
Generally, a stainless steel set will include one or several types of knives, spoons and forks, namely in some of these categories:
Table forks (the larger ones, sometimes referred to as dinner forks), salad forks (slightly smaller), meat forks (with two long tines, also called carving forks), dessert forks, and others.
Tablespoons, soup spoons (the larger ones), serving spoons (deeper ones, used to transfer food), teaspoons (for stirring coffee or tea), dessert spoons (medium-sized), sugar spoons (used for serving sugar), and others.
Dinner knives (most common ones), steak knives (sharper and serrated, for cutting meat), butter knives (small and blunt), bread knives, and many others.
3. Stainless Steel Flatware Advantages
Let’s check the advantages of Stainless Steel Flatware over other materials.
Stainless Steel Flatware vs. Silverware sets
Besides the obvious (stainless steel flatware is made from a metal alloy and silver flatware is made from silver or a silver alloy called “sterling silver”), there are other clear differences between the two.
The most obvious one is the lower price: stainless steel is relatively inexpensive, while silverware sets cost a lot more (ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars). Also, stainless steel is very resistant to external wear, while silver is delicate.
Silverware sets also require special care and regular polishing. Stainless steel is relatively very easy to clean and maintain, with no special procedures.
For the previously stated reasons, stainless steel is more practical and great for everyday use, while silver is usually reserved in households for special occasions and formal dining, just like when grandma decides to bring the “fancy china”.
The same differences apply to gold flatware.
Stainless Steel Flatware vs. Plastic flatware
Disposable plastic flatware is great for picnics, camping, and outdoor activities. It’s lightweight and disposable, so you don’t have to clean it afterward.
But plastic is not suitable for everyday meals, because it is not as hygienic and safe as stainless steel. It will also break easily. Actually, using too much plastic is not eco-friendly, so we encourage you to only resort to this type of flatware where there is really no better option.
4. How To Care For A Stainless Steel Flatware Set
A stainless steel flatware set is meant to be used every day, but, like all kitchen utensils, they require proper care to ensure their quality and longevity. Here are some helpful guidelines you can check on how to care for stainless steel flatware:
It's true that stainless steel is resistant to rust and corrosion, but that doesn't mean it won't stain or discolor. There are ways to prevent this with proper cleaning.
- Hand washing flatware after each use is ideal.
- Use warm water, mild soap, or a cleaner recommended for stainless steel. Avoid harsh detergents.
- Do not use abrasive sponges that can scratch the stainless steel surface.
- If you prefer to soak, use a plastic or stainless steel container. Avoid dipping stainless steel cutlery in aluminum or copper materials, which can generate stains.
- The soaking time should be as short as possible, 10 minutes is enough, 30 minutes maximum. Never allow your cutlery to soak or remain wet or damp overnight.
- Avoid pouring the detergent directly on the cutlery, mix it first with warm water.
- Do not immerse stainless steel in salt water, chlorinated cleaners, or bleach.
- Dry your flatware immediately after washing it to avoid water spots.
- Lastly, do not leave your cutlery in food containers for too long. Some foods such as coffee, tea, vinegar, salt, mustard, mayonnaise, and eggs can be very aggressive to stainless steel and can eventually cause pitting, erosion, and discoloration.
The dishwasher debate
"The manufacturer says my stainless steel cutlery is dishwasher safe" - Okay, still: you should avoid it as much as possible. The chemicals and high temperatures in dishwashers can cause flatware to discolor or lose its luster over time.
If you absolutely must use the dishwasher:
- Be sure to place the cutlery on the top rack, handle side up.
- Use a small quantity of mild detergent.
- Remove cutlery from the dishwasher immediately after the cycle is complete and quickly polish water spots with a dishcloth or soft cloth.
Proper storage and handling
Proper storage is crucial to maintain the quality of your stainless steel flatware. Although stainless steel flatware is very sturdy and durable, it can become scratched and even dented if handled improperly.
- Store flatware in a dry, well-ventilated place to avoid moisture buildup that can cause rust and corrosion.
- Use a cutlery tray or organizer where the pieces are kept separate to avoid scratching each other.
- Avoid wet or moisture-prone environments such as the basement or garage.
- Avoid using flatware for purposes other than eating, like opening cans or containers.
Damaged flatware can cause injury when eating and can also scratch other pieces of flatware during storage or use. So, if a piece of your stainless steel flatware set becomes damaged (such as a bent fork or a knife with a loose handle rivet), it's best to stop using it and replace it as soon as possible.
The baking soda hack
The goal is to prevent your stainless steel cutlery set from deteriorating. But in case that does happen, there is a miraculous substance to go back in time: baking soda.
Baking soda is non-abrasive and won't damage the original grain. The foolproof method for removing rust from stainless steel flatware is very simple:
- Clean the item very well.
- In a bowl, create a paste by combining water and baking soda.
- Put some paste on the rusty surface and let it sit for an hour.
- Rub with a soft brush or toothbrush.
- Rinse with water making sure to dry the item thoroughly.
Other substances that work very well to remove rust such as vinegar, lemon juice, cream of tartar and oxalic acid, but hopefully you won't need any of them if you take precautions!
To keep your stainless steel flatware looking shiny and new, you can choose to polish it every once in a while.
Use a non-abrasive polish designed specifically for stainless steel and apply it with a soft cloth for a mirror polished look. Do not ever use steel wool or abrasive cleaners, or it will scratch the surface of the stainless steel.
5. Must-Have Dalstrong Stainless Steel Flatware
You can use this 20piece set every day for the rest of your life. It’s not only built to serve entire family generations; it’s designed in a way that you’ll want to use it every day, forever. It’s extremely comfortable to hold and extremely pleasant to look at (and show off).
The includes 20 stainless steel flatware pieces, namely: four 8’’ table forks, four 9’’ table knives, four 8’’ tablespoons, four 7’’ dessert forks, and four 7’’ dessert spoons. The perfect amount and types of pieces to gracefully serve and enjoy any meal of the day.
There is a reason why this cutlery set has so many great reviews and it’s an absolute favorite among Dalstrong’s community with over 1 million units sold. The design is stylish, the knives are sharp (even the forks are sharp!), and the weight and the balanced feel you get when you hold the pieces, it’s unbeatable.
- Made of superior quality, polished 18/10 stainless steel. As we explained, stainless steel has great advantages over other materials. It can withstand heavy, frequent use and it is resistant to stains, rust, and corrosion.
- The Nitrogen addition further enhances the already premium-quality steel.
- One of the highlights is how great this flatware feels in your hands. Sturdy enough to provide a firm grip, but also ergonomic enough for it to be comfortable.
- Expanding on the previous point, the pieces have a unique shape with a peaked, angular handle and a narrow neck that distinguishes them from the average stainless steel flatware.
- The packaging is superb (and gift-worthy).
- It is very easy to maintain its cleanliness and best shape. Always shiny as new.
- It is guaranteed with a lifetime warranty against defects and, as always, with Dalstrong’s praised customer service.
- Really affordable for a 20piece set of this quality.
- They may weigh more than the average flatware. More than a con, this is just a warning, as the weight of this set is one of its most valued qualities.
- The design is classic stainless steel, which is suitable for most day-to-day situations. But if you like more color options or disruptive designs, this may not be it.
A meat fork counts as flatware since it is often used at the table for cutting, carving, and eating meat, even if the tines are longer and thinner than a regular fork. That being said, this Valhalla meat fork will also be the fanciest and prettiest fork you’ll have on your table, for sure.
The 7.7-inch fork features a resin/wood handle with a cosmic vibe, typical of the Valhalla series. And the fork tines, of course, are made of high-carbon stainless steel, the best material for flatware.
- My favorite highlight of this meat fork is that every handle is unique. That means, your fork will always be different from all other meat forks on the planet, even if they’re the same model.
- The extra long tines are made of mirror polished stainless steel, which means they’re strong and durable.
- Each one of these forks takes over 60 days to build. It’s been carefully crafted with attention to every detail.
- Lightweight and easy to control.
- It comes with a beautiful, matching Valhalla leather sheath.
- The unique, truly original aesthetic of the Valhalla series may be difficult to match with other designs in the kitchen. You’ll want to buy a whole set, which is a significant investment.
- The fork is worth every penny, but it still costs more than the average fork.
A carving tool set is an essential addition to a stainless steel flatware set. Beyond the forks, knives, and spoons you use every day for eating, flatware also involves the tools you need to serve and present food.
In this stainless steel set from Dalstrong's Crusader series, each tool is forged from a single piece of German ThyssenKrupp steel. This steel will stand the test of time without wearing out, scratching, or breaking, even in the busiest kitchen and for the most demanding cook.
The modern design of the Crusader series is based on the "less is more" approach, with a minimalist and futuristic vibe.
You can use the carving knife to carve or slice meat, turkey, chicken, or roast beef into thin slices. The fork will help you keep the meat in place during this process.
- Solid German stainless steel design with perfect shape and size for working with expert precision.
- High chromium content for durability and to prevent rust and corrosion.
- Seamless transition from the blade to the stainless steel handle.
- Heat treatment plus frozen nitrogen cooling for improved hardness and flexibility.
- Every single part of the fork and knife is easy to clean and not likely to accumulate debris.
- The blade of the knife has indentations and a fuller groove that reduce friction when cutting and prevent food from sticking.
- Certified by the renowned US National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) seal of hygiene and quality.
- It looks amazing! The stainless steel is shiny and eye-catching.
- Some people prefer their cutting tool handles to be made of traditional wood and are not yet adjusted to the feel of stainless steel in their hands.
- Perhaps some chefs will need a carving knife with a longer blade.
6. Frequently Asked Questions About Stainless Steel Flatware
What flatware do you need for gourmet settings?
A gourmet table setting in formal dining will usually have the essential types of knives, forks, and spoons; and more specialized items like a serving spoon or a steak knife, depending on the meal.
What is black flatware made of?
Black flatware is usually made of stainless steel! The matte black finish can come from several coating methods.
What’s a slotted serving spoon used for?
In flatware, a slotted serving spoon is used for serving or transferring foods that contain liquid, allowing it to drain through the slots.
Is a dinnerware set the same as a flatware set?
Dinnerware and flatware are both used in a table setting for very similar purposes. But, while flatware refers to the utensils used for eating, dinnerware refers to the items used to hold and serve food, like dishes, platters, bowls, and drinking glasses.