For many people, buying cookware can be an overwhelming process. The options will be almost endless, each with its claim to fame. One of the most important considerations would be the material used in the cookware. This will have an impact on price, aesthetics, durability, safety, and overall quality, among other things.
Two of the most popular materials that you will often find are stainless steel and non-stick. For the uninitiated, it is easy to assume that the two are the same. However, they are different in more ways than one. If you are having a hard time deciding, read this short guide about stainless steel vs non-stick and learn from the insights we’ll be sharing.
What is Stainless Steel Cookware?
Stainless steel cookware is usually a combination of different metals. Some of the most common metals used in such cookware include iron, chromium, and carbon. It also has small percentages of titanium, copper, and nickel. It has multiple layers of steel, but it is only stainless steel that gets in direct contact with whatever it is that you are cooking.
What is Non-Stick Cookware?
Non-stick cookware, as the name implies, comes with a non-stick surface, which is often made of a material called Teflon. It has a thin coating at the top, making sure that food won’t stick on the surface, especially when you are frying. However, it has a bad reputation because it has a synthetic chemical that will be a potential health risk.
A Direct Comparison of Stainless Steel vs Non-stick Cookware
If you are still having a hard time understanding the two materials, let us have a head-to-head comparison.
When looking for cookware, durability is a crucial consideration. You don’t want to end up wasting your money with pots and pans that will quickly ask for a replacement. Between the two materials, stainless steel is better if you are looking for durability. As noted earlier, it is made of multiple layers of metals, so you can be confident that it can withstand the test of time. In the case of non-stick pans, one of the most common problems is that the cooking surface can end up peeling after quite some time. Nonetheless, it is also moderately durable.
It is important to choose cookware that distributes heat evenly. This means that all portions will be hot at the same time, which will prevent hot spots. When there is even heat distribution, all parts of your food will be cooked evenly. Between the two materials, stainless steel does a better job when it comes to distributing heat. When you are using this cookware, there is a lesser likelihood that there will be burnt spots as it distributes heat equally in all parts.
Depending on what you will be cooking, you need cookware that can withstand heat. Some materials may not be able to handle heat well, and hence, durability can be compromised. Between stainless steel and non-stick, you should choose stainless steel if you are looking for a more heat-resistant material. Again, this can be attributed to the use of multiple metals in several layers. You can use stainless steel even in the oven without worrying that heat will damage its components.
Before you cook food, some cookware materials will need preheating. With stainless steel, pre-heating is mandatory. With non-stick cookware, on the other hand, there is no need for preheating. This means that you can instantly add food after turning on the heat and you don’t have to worry that it will end up sticking on the surface.
Ease of Cleaning
Cleaning cookware can be a nightmare, especially if food is stuck on the surface. From the two materials that we are comparing in this brief guide, non-stick wins when it comes to ease of cleaning. This is because food does not stick on the surface. This is unlike stainless steel wherein oil and grease will commonly be left on the top part of the cookware. It can be quite difficult to clean, especially once grease has hardened.
Before using stainless steel cookware, you need to grease the surface, which is what will prevent the food from sticking on the top part. You can do this with oil or butter. In contrast, when you use non-stick cookware, there is no need for greasing. This is because the surface is already smooth, and food won’t end up sticking.
Safety is one of the most important factors that affect the decision of many people on the cookware to use. Non-stick cookware has been a subject of several studies in the past and it has been proven that it can be potentially toxic. The harm from this material arises from what is used in the nonstick coating. Over time, it can break down and this will mix with your food. This is where it can be potentially toxic. In contrast, stainless steel is known for being a safer alternative. There is no safety concern associated with its use.
A lot of you are on a budget, and hence, the price of the cookware will also be a crucial factor as you decide what to buy. In most cases, non-stick cookware is often cheaper. However, this will depend on the brand and quality of the product that you will buy. In recent years, we have also seen an influx of high-end non-stick pots and pans.
Now that you are done reading this quick stainless steel vs non-stick cookware comparison, we hope that making the right choice is a lot easier. If you are on a budget and you want cookware that is easy to use and clean, non-stick is the way to go. However, if you are looking for more durable cookware that can withstand high-heat and is safe, you will never go wrong with stainless steel.