The best material for cookware depends on the type of cooking. Different cooking methods require different control of heat which is highly dependent on the different types of cookware you use, and also the cookware material.
The best cookware brands offer a variety of cookware materials because they know that the best cookware material is decided by each dish or recipe. This is why you should have a pots and pans set that includes different cookware materials.
Which Cookware Materials Are Best?
Take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each cookware material to decide which cookware sets are the best for you and your kitchen. Think about the different recipes you like to follow and your personal cooking methods.
With our easy cookware buying guide to help you, you’ll be able to find the perfect cookware materials for your brand new cookware set.
The advantage of nonstick cookware is that they are easy to wash and require less greasing to keep the food from sticking to the interior or getting burned.
Unfortunately, nonstick cookware is the most fragile cookware material because it is easily scratched and cannot withstand high heat. However, more high-end cookware brands have now put out scratch-resistant cookware sets with some even being safe for the oven.
Nonstick cookware is best for ingredients that burn easily like eggs. It is also good for slow cooking dishes.
Ceramic cookware is a new less sensitive alternative for nonstick cookware. However, to maintain the nonstick surfaces, ceramic cookware must be cleaned very thoroughly to prevent grease layers from building up.
Like nonstick cookware, ceramic cookware is not suitable for excessive heat. The best ceramic cookware aspect is that it is environmentally friendly and does not pose any health risks from a chemical used in its manufacturing.
Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel is one of the most durable cookware materials and is the easiest to maintain. Professional chefs like using stainless steel cookware because there is no risk of chemical reactions or tinting the food.
The biggest disadvantage of stainless steel cookware is that they do not respond quickly to temperature changes. The best stainless steel cookware is stainless steel all clad cookware which means that the pots and pans are bonded with copper or aluminum which offer much better temperature control.
Cast Iron Cookware
Unlike stainless steel, users of cast iron cookware choose this cookware material because it does react with ingredients. The best-cast iron cookware has accumulated flavors from long use which is why people learn how to season cast iron pans.
Cast iron is one of the most durable cookware materials which is emphasized by its heaviness. Cast iron cookware is best for slow cooking, grilling, and frying because despite being slow to heat up, cast iron holds heat much longer than other materials.
Copper is the most sensitive cookware material which is good for controlling temperatures but there are many disadvantages to copper cookware. It is more pricey, fragile, not suitable for induction cooking and causes chemical reactions with food.
The best copper cookware has different cookware material lining to prevent chemical reactions. Professional cooks may prefer copper cookware for the temperature control but it is not a recommended investment for home cooks.
Aluminum cookware is a more affordable alternative to copper cookware that is still highly responsive to heat. However, copper causes chemical reactions while cooking, as well and cannot be used for induction cooking.
The best aluminum cookware is high grade hard anodized and has a nonstick lining. This prevents chemical reactions while still making use of aluminum’s high heat conductivity.
Clay and Stoneware Cookware
Clay and stoneware cookware is the rarest cookware material and mainly used for oven specialty cookware. Clay and stoneware cookware are good for holding on to heat, are heat resistant and have a naturally nonstick surface when properly maintained.
One important thing to note is that extreme temperature changes, like moving a dish from the oven directly to a cold surface, can cause cracking and other damage.
Carbon Steel Cookware
Carbon steel cookware is one of the most suitable cookware materials for high heat cooking like stir-frying and searing. However, that is about its only advantage over other cookware materials.
Carbon steel cookware can rust if not maintained properly and causes chemical reactions with food. This is why carbon steel is more a specialty cookware material used in enameled pots and pans.
Each cookware material has its advantages and disadvantages. This is why the best cookware set is not made of a single cookware material but a variety of materials.
Unfortunately, that is rare with even the best high-end cookware sets so you will probably have to complete your cookware set with specialty pots and pans.