Stainless Steel vs Nonstick Cookware – Which Is Best for You?
The debate around stainless steel vs non-stick cookware has been going on for quite a while now because when shopping for cookware, the question automatically comes to our mind, unless we exactly what we are looking for, whether we should go for nonstick or the all-classic stainless steel cookware.
There is a lot to consider when buying cookware, mainly because they are quite an investment. Since both these materials have their own pros and cons, making a comparison is sometimes the best way to go. So, let’s put both these cookware materials side by side and take a look at each of them individually!
Stainless Steel vs Nonstick Cookware
Stainless Steel Cookware:
Stainless steel cookware requires a few cooking skills to cook and maintain. While it can’t demand the seasoning regiment cast-iron does, stainless steel is overall less forgiving with food compared to either nonstick or cast-iron pans. Nonstick pans are fabricated particularly to prevent food from sticking and cast-iron develops a patina that acts like a natural nonstick surface. Clean and uncoated stainless steel cookware, however, feature absolutely no nonstick element.
Attempting to preheat a stainless steel pan properly can result in irreparable sticking, and the identical will happen with overheating. Essentially, until a cook really knows a recipe and the pan it’s being cooked in, something getting prepared in stainless requires constant adapting to.
This particular cookware material has been around for many years now. In fact, it is one of the most recommended ones in the market. What are the reasons behind its huge fan following? Here are some advantages that it offers:
What are the advantages of stainless steel cookware?
You can scrub a stainless steel pan, scratch it, or even bang it on the table and it still won’t break. It’s a lot harder and more robust than copper or aluminum. Plus, its melting point is way higher than either of these materials. So, it’s overall a very durable cookware material.
Stainless steel does not require any special care or maintenance regimes. All you have to do is keep them clean and use them correctly. They are dishwasher safe, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time cleaning them by hand. Even if your cookware starts to look dull or old, a cup of water with vinegar can restore the sparkle.
Pure aluminum and copper pans can be dangerous because they react with acidic food. Unlike these materials, stainless steel is inert and does not react with foods in the pan. This factor makes it safe to use and is a popular reason it’s favored over other cookware materials.
You can porch, stew, steam, braise, boil, saute, steam, or fry in a stainless steel pan without worrying much about the food or the pan. These versatile pots and pans are an all-in-one cookware and let you do pretty much anything.
Most of the time, stainless steel cookware sets give you excellent value for your money. Generally, these are pretty budget-friendly. Plus, they last long enough for you to get the most use out of them. It will be years and decades before you have to replace a stainless steel pan. So, they are incredibly cost-efficient.
Stainless steel pans have a classic look to them. They can look vintage or as modern as you would like. However, their original shiny finish is just undoubtedly gorgeous. Having a set of stainless steel pans arranged in your kitchen can look neat and professional.
What are the disadvantages of stainless steel cookware?
Accidentally burning food in a stainless steel pot or pan can be a nightmare. Burnt food requires special abrasive cleaners and lots of elbow effort to clean. It is also highly recommended that you don’t cook breaded, delicate items on such a pan. They are more prone to sticking and can be a hassle to clean off.
It can be unsafe:
Never cook highly acidic foods in your stainless steel pots for long periods. There is a risk that your pot might leach some heavy metals or chemicals into your food. Stainless steel cookware can contain nickel, chromium, or iron; none of which have any nutritional benefits for you. In fact, nickel has some rather harmful effects on human health, like dermatitis.
Corrosion Is Not Inevitable:
People who are allergic to nickel are recommended to stay away from stainless steel pots and pans with high levels of it. But the problem is that nickel is an essential component to make stainless steel rust-resistant. If you choose cookware that has less amount of nickel, such pans are more prone to rust. So, either way, they are not safe.
How to care for your stainless steel cookware - According to experts!
Following are the 8 tips to care for your stainless steel cookware:
- Before adding the oil, heat your pan. Then add the food ingredients after the oil is heated.
- It’s best to wait until the water reaches a full boil before adding salt.
- Only non-abrasive cleansers and sponges should be used.
- Take the chill out of food by lowering it to room temperature.
- High heat should not be used to expedite the preheating process.
- Get the stainless steel pans and pots to dry immediately after washing.
- Allow the stainless steel cooking pans and pots to cool before washing them.
Non-stick cookware is a modern wonder of the culinary world. True to the name, such cookware pieces have a non-stick layer on top. They may have a PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) or Teflon coat, or it may have Teflon-free coat, or healthy ceramic nonstick coat, which prevents food from sticking to its surface. The heat distributes just fine, and the food cooks normally. The only difference is that you don’t have to spend hours cleaning the pan afterwards.
What are the advantages of Nonstick Cookware:
The most crucial advantage of a non-stick pan is that nothing sticks to its surface. As a result, cleaning and maintenance become incredibly easy. Sometimes, all you have to do is wipe a wet towel on the surface, and you are good to go. There is no need to run the pan under the water or use any soap. That’s how easy to clean these pans and pots are! Easy cleaning means less effort and far lesser time spent in the kitchen against the sink.
Oiling or Buttering:
This fact is significant for those who are a little more health-conscious. With non-stick pans, you can cook your food in less than half the amount of oil than in a conventional pan. If you are cooking some sort of meat, it cooks in its own juices, so you don’t have to add much oil, butter, or water.
As opposed to stainless steel cookware, non-stick has a lot more variety in the market. The styles, colors, and designs vary a lot. So much so that it is sometimes hard to choose which one you want. For the ones who are always looking for aesthetics, matching colors, and exquisite designs, non-stick would be the right way to go.
Probably the most significant part of the whole buying process is the budget. Generally, non-stick pans are more affordable compared to stainless steel pans. So, buyers who are on a budget can find something cheaper in the non-stick section.
Imagine frying an egg in minimal oil and not having to worry about it sticking to the surface. Doesn’t it sound wonderful? Those who are fond of culinary and spend a lot of time in the kitchen will agree that utensils are very important. They can directly impact how you feel while you are cooking. If the tools are great, you will put in your best effort, and the outcome will be amazing. Since there are minimal chances of food burning or sticking to the pan, using non-stick pans can reduce your stress levels. This way, they can improve your overall experience in the kitchen.
What are the disadvantages of Nonstick Cookware:
Let’s talk about the drawbacks of using non-stick cookware:
Temperatures above 350 degrees Celsius can trigger decomposition. It means that your pan will emit strong fumes. These fumes can be very dangerous enough to cause problems like polymer-fume fever. (It is a condition characterized by temporary flu, fever, headache, and chills.) These fumes can also kill pets around you. They are especially toxic to birds who have a fragile respiratory system.
Not Metal Utensils Safe:
Using sharp metal utensils can create minor and major scratches on the non-stick surface. It can lead to peeling or chipping of the layer, which is a terrible sign! The non-stick layer can start to wear off and mix with your food, and we all know that’s never a good thing.
Nonstick Cookware Doesn’t Age Well:
As non-stick pans grow old, they start to flake and chip naturally. Even if you have used them the right way and have taken proper care of them, this is just how they age. The chemical coating starts to flake off and comes in contact with your food. Because of this reason, these pans are not as long-lasting as stainless steel and should be discarded after every few years.
Non-stick pans allow you to cook pretty much anything, but you cannot use them the way you can use a stainless steel pot. For example, this type of cookware cannot go inside the oven, and boiling can also be risky. Moreover, if you want to sear your food, non-stick pans would not be an ideal option for that either. Similarly, liquids and sauces are not a fan of this material and should stay away from it.
How to care for your nonstick cookware? According to experts!
Nonstick cookware has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its ability to cook certain types of food easily and without the use of oil or butter which makes it a healthier cooking solution than traditional stainless steel pots and pans.
However, if not cleaned and maintained properly, nonstick cookware can be at risk for scratches and damages.
- It is very important to clean your nonstick cookware after each use to prevent the buildup of food particles that cause a sticky mess when cooked repeatedly.
- It is also necessary to keep the surface from getting scratched by using only plastic or wooden utensils on nonstick cookware as metal utensils can scratch and damage the surface.
- In addition to this, it is important to not use steel wool or harsh scouring pads on the surface of your nonstick pots and pans; these abrasives will scratch the protective coating and cause cooking food to stick more easily.
- To clean burnt food from the bottom of your pan, use a small amount of dish soap and warm water to create suds; then rub with a soft sponge or brush. Make sure to dry thoroughly after cleaning.
- Re-season your nonstick cookware after you have washed and dried it to ensure the surface has not been damaged.
- Be sure to store extra oil or butter used for cooking in an airtight container, especially if your pan is stored in a cabinet with other pots and pans. This will prevent rancidity and keep it fresh and ready for your next meal.
Stainless steel vs Nonstick Cookware - What should you get?
After all this information and a comparison of pros and cons, it should be easy to make the final decision. If you are looking for something more budget-friendly and easy to clean, the best choice would be non-stick. On the other hand, if you are leaning towards long-lasting, safe, and versatile cookware, stainless steel would be the way to go.