At present, Different Types of Cookware Materials are available in the market. While you have so many options for cookware, choosing one of them might be confusing. So it is difficult to find out the best cookware material for healthy cooking. However, the truth is every kind of cookware material has its own features and drawbacks. This article is for those people who want to buy cookware but confuse to select the right one. In this post, you will get almost everything in detail with the pros and cons of various types of cookware materials. Let’s check it out to get more useful information.
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Different Types of Cookware Materials
There is a shortlist of various cookware materials for you. Hopefully, this information will help you to choose the right one for yourself.
Stainless steel is an extremely durable cookware material. It is non-reactive, non-porous, dishwasher safe, and resistant to rust, corrosion, denting, and scratching. Stainless steel has an attractive silvery outlook and it doesn’t be outdated. However, they are not a good conductor of heat by itself. To increase the heat conductivity, an aluminum or copper core is been used as an interior layer of the stainless steel cookware. Still, they are considered as one of the best types of cookware.
Pros of Stainless Steel
- Safe for the oven.
- Compatible to use with metal utensils.
- Suitable for versatile use.
- Inexpensive than other usual cooking materials such as copper.
- Recyclable and Eco-friendly.
- Easy to clean and maintain.
Cons of Stainless Steel
- Poor heat conductivity.
- Sometimes it can be expensive when it comes with a copper core.
- It is heavy to handle while it combined with other metals.
- If it scratched or damaged it could leach metallic flavor to food.
Raw aluminum is extremely soft and reactive to food so that it must be treated in certain ways before it’s used as cookware. Hard anodized aluminum is an alternative to stainless steel. It’s durable, inexpensive, and a great heat conductor. This material is also well-known as the best baking pan material. Moreover, aluminum is always paired with another material to increase durability. Hard anodized aluminum cookware is easy to handle and clean and safe for the dishwasher.
Pros of Aluminium
- Excellent heat conductivity, transfer heat evenly and properly.
- Sturdy, lightweight, and resistant to scratch.
- Can be used on a stovetop or oven.
- Most of the hard anodized cookware is safe for the dishwasher.
- Easy to clean and maintain, doesn’t need extra effort for cleaning.
Cons of Aluminium
- Aluminium is difficult to repair if it damaged once.
- It reacts to acidic food such as tomato or any food with vinegar.
- Not safe for the induction cooktop.
- Not actually safe for high heat temperature.
- It may not be the best for sweet baked foods.
Cast iron is one of the most durable and versatile cookware materials. You can cook food anywhere with cast iron cookware from oven to broiler. However, cast iron requires extra care for cleaning and storing. It also needs seasoning to protect it from rust. Besides protecting rust, seasoning creates a wonderfully natural non-stick surface. Even though cast iron is reactive to acidic food, if you season it properly you can prevent this issue.
Pros of Cast Iron
- Once it gets hot, it will stay hot for a long time.
- Resistant to warping, rust, and scratching.
- Stable to use with metal utensils.
- Extremely durable and less expensive.
- Naturally non-stick.
- It is safe for the oven, stovetop, broiler, grill, even direct fire.
Cons of Cast Iron
- Cast iron doesn’t get hot evenly. It requires pre-heat before starting to cook with it.
- It needs extra care. Otherwise, it could rust or crack easily.
- Cast iron is a reactive material. It doesn’t take well to acidic food.
- Heavy to handle and takes extra effort to clean.
Enameled Cast Iron
This is also one kind of cast iron cookware that comes with a special porcelain coating. This coating makes this cookware perfect for frying, seasoning, or slow cooking. Enameled cast iron is also easy to clean as well as need less seasoning than the cast iron. But they are mostly expensive compared to the cast iron cookware.
Pros of Enameled Cast Iron Cookware
- Non-reactive coating for healthy cooking.
- Almost all of them don’t require seasoning.
- Very easy to clean and maintain.
- High heat retention capability.
- Ideal for cooking acidic foods.
- Durable and last for a long time.
- Available in different sizes and colors.
- Can be used to serve food on the table.
Cons of Enameled Cast Iron Cookware
- Very expensive.
- Heavyweight makes it tough to handle.
- Required higher time to heat.
Copper is an excellent heat conductor. It heats evenly and rapidly and cools down as soon as it’s removed from the heat. Compared to other cookware materials, copper is very expensive. However, copper reacts with natural minerals and acidic foods so that it cannot be used alone for most cookware applications. It can add metallic flavor or taste to many foods. Because of that, copper cookware must be lined with non-reactive materials like tin or stainless steel.
Pros of Copper
- Great heat conductor of any material used to make cookware.
- No need to pre-heat as it heats evenly.
- Cooks food evenly and adjusts to temperature changes quickly.
- Safe for the oven, stovetop, and broiler.
- It can be used for boiling, sautéing, steaming, and braising.
Cons of Copper
- More expensive than other usual materials.
- Reactive to acidic foods.
- Not capable to use on induction cooktops.
- It needs regular polishing to keep its shine and brightness.
Compared to other non-lined cooking materials non-stick allows cooking with less fat and much easier to clean. But it is not compatible with doing all kind of job that means it’s not for versatile use. Non-stick pans can be made from the same kind of materials as other cookware like aluminum, stainless steel, and copper. The main and the only difference is that the cooking surface is coated with a non-stick compound. PTFE is the most commonly found non-stick coating, even though other more Eco-friendly options have gained popularity in the last few years.
Pros of Non-Stick Materials
- Allow cooking with less oil or butter.
- Many Eco-friendly options allow for non-stick coatings that are safer and withstand high heat temperatures.
- Lightweight, strong, rust, and heat resistant.
- Very easy to maintain and clean.
- Won’t stick the foods to the surface.
- Release food easily.
- Non-reactive and also non-porous.
Cons of Non-Stick Materials
- Not safe for metal utensils, use wooden or plastic utensils with it.
- Not safe for super high heat temperature, it would be better to use at medium to low heat.
- Non-stick comes with a short lifetime.
- It is not dishwasher safe.
Ceramic is a new addition in the world of non-stick cookware. It is widely considered to be the safest and most eco-friendly option as it’s free of PTOA and PTFE. It is available in various designs and attractive colors. It doesn’t leach any metallic flavor to food. However, ceramic is ideal for dishes that need slow cooking because it heats up gradually. Although ceramic cookware is sturdy, still it could chip or crack easily so that it requires extra care and attention.
Pros of Ceramic
- Needs less oil or butter to cook and reduce cholesterol from food.
- The safest option for healthy cooking as it is free from any chemical and toxic.
- Comes with a smooth surface that releases food easily.
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
- Non-reactive and also nonporous to any foods.
- Can store food in the refrigerator with it.
Cons of Ceramic
- Can resist high heat, recommended for only medium to low heat.
- Cannot use metal utensils with it.
- Could break easily than other usual cookware materials.
- Requires extra attention during cleaning and storing.
- Sometimes it could be more expensive than other cooking metals.
Carbon steel is mainly popular for wok and skillet. They are mainly popular for their high durability, lightweight and reasonable price. A carbon steel skillet or wok much thinner compared to a cast iron one. So people who love to use Glass Top Stove or Induction Stove prefer using carbon steel skillet instead of cast iron.
Pros of Carbon Steel
- Highly reactive to heat.
- Even heat distribution.
- Easy to clean and maintain.
- Carbon steel wok mostly popular for Asian Cuisine.
- Better non-stick properties without any kind of nonstick coating.
Cons of Carbon Steel
- Seasoning is mandatory before first use.
- Not ideal for cooking acidic foods.
- Required regular seasoning to maintain the nonstick properties.
In conclusion, which cookware you will buy for your kitchen is totally up to you. But remember one thing, healthy cookware is the most important part of a healthy life. So, whenever you want to buy any cookware ensure that you know everything about it. All of the information I’ve added above the post for Different Types of Cookware Materials will give you a clear cut concept about them.
Useful Resources for Further Reading
- A Comprehensive Comparison of Cookware Materials – Fix
- Stainless Steel Leaches Nickel and Chromium into Foods During Cooking – NCBI
- Comparative Study of Leaching of Aluminium from Aluminium, Clay, Stainless Steel, and Steel Cooking Pots – Hindawi
- Iron and Carcinogens in Cast Iron – What’s Cooking America
- COPPER COOKWARE KILLS MORE MICROBES – Futurity