Ceramic Cookware vs. Stainless Steel Cookware: Which Is Better?
Are you looking to buy a new set of cookware? If you are, you have many options to choose from. However, your search is likely to come down to ceramic cookware vs. stainless steel cookware, as these are two of the more popular options. But for very different reasons.
If you value durable, long-lasting, and versatile cookware, then you should choose stainless steel. But if you are willing to compromise on durability for a non-toxic, non-stick pan, then you should choose ceramic cookware.
Ceramic-coated cookware is not very durable. They usually only last 2-3 years when cleaned and maintained properly. Stainless steel pots and pans are durable and can last for several decades if properly maintained. When choosing between them, it’s important you weigh your priorities when cooking and weigh the pros and cons of each.
Fortunately, you can read on to learn more about the pros and cons of both and how to decide which is best for you.
What Is Ceramic Cookware?
People typically use the word ceramic when talking about objects like vases and plates. However, ceramics are also used in cookware, cutlery, and water filters. Ceramic pots and pans are quite durable, albeit not as much as their stainless steel counterparts, which we’ll discuss later in this guide.
This durability comes from this cookware’s metallic base. These pans have an aluminum or copper core encased in ceramic coating. The coating gives these pans an attractive matte finish as well as non-stick properties.
Pros and Cons of Ceramic Cookware
Here are some of the benefits that come with ceramic cookware:
1) Non-Stick Properties
The key advantage of ceramic cookware is that it’s non-stick. You can cook delicious meals for your family without worrying about food clinging to your pan.
The silicone oil coating on ceramic cookware is what gives it its non-stick properties. This coating activates when you heat the pan, making the surface non-stick.
As time passes, however, don’t expect your non-stick ceramic pan to stay as effective as when you first bought it. Most ceramic pans and pots last about 2 years, and up to 3 years maintained properly.
2) Free of Toxic Materials
Compared to other nonstick cookware, such as Teflon cookware, ceramic pans are the healthier option.
The difference is the lack of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in ceramic cookware. This substance is found in Teflon and releases harmful byproducts when heated.
Furthermore, ceramic pans aren’t made using heavy metals like lead and cadmium, which are toxic to humans.
3) Hassle-Free Cleaning
Despite not being dishwasher safe, ceramic pots and pans are super easy to clean. Soap and warm water are the only requirements to clean ceramic cookware thoroughly. Additionally, their non-stick properties make getting rid of food residues a breeze.
Using ceramic cookware also has some downsides. Here are some of them:
1) You Can’t Use Metal Utensils With It
One negative aspect of ceramic cookware is the inability to use metal utensils with them.
Metal utensils can scratch the ceramic coating, making your pan lose its non-stick qualities quickly.
Therefore, you should only use wooden or silicone utensils with ceramic cookware.
2) Doesn’t Maintain Its Non-Stick Properties For Long
Another issue with ceramic pans is that their non-stick properties diminish over time. This is also true for other non-stick cookware. However, ceramic cookware tends to lose its non-stick qualities at a faster rate.
3) More Expensive Than Other Non-Stick Cookware
Although ceramic cookware is generally less expensive than stainless steel, it typically costs more than non-stick Teflon pans.
You may see exceptions to this rule depending on the brands of the pans you’re comparing.
The price also varies by the quality of the material. Pure ceramic cookware, which is ceramic from the base to its coating, tends to be expensive. Lower-quality ceramic pans tend to be fragile and do not last very long.
What Is Stainless Steel Cookware?
In contrast to ceramic cookware, stainless steel pans are manufactured exclusively with metals. Specifically, they’re made of a chromium-supplemented steel alloy. The chromium’s role is to make the material corrosion-resistant. Additionally, it gives stainless steel pans their characteristic shininess.
Another noticeable feature of stainless steel cookware is the long handle. The handle’s length and material are designed to insulate it from the heat as you cook.
Most stainless steel cookware can withstand much higher temperatures than ceramic pans. Therefore, it’s more versatile, and you can use it for a wider variety of cooking methods, like searing, sauteing, and frying.
Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel Cookware
Using stainless steel cookware offers many perks. They include:
1) High Durability
Stainless steel cookware is arguably the most durable type of cookware you can buy. These pans are designed to last for decades. If you maintain these pans the right way, you may end up passing them down to your kids.
However, this high durability is reflected in stainless steel cookware’s heftier price tag.
2) Easy to Clean
Like ceramic cookware, stainless steel pans are easy to clean. They’re completely dishwasher safe because there’s no non-stick coating to worry about damaging.
Furthermore, these pans are non-porous, which means that they don’t absorb food remains and develop stubborn stains.
Use a steel wool sponge to scrub off any oil or food residue on your pan’s surface.
3) High Versatility
Stainless steel cookware has excellent conductivity and heat distribution. As a result, you can use it to cook a diverse range of recipes. Whether you plan on searing meat, simmering sauces, or sauteing vegetables, you won’t face any issues doing so with a stainless steel pan.
On the other hand, here are a couple of disadvantages of stainless steel cookware:
1) Has Multiple Parts
Stainless steel’s high conductivity is a double-edged sword. Sure, it helps when cooking certain recipes. However, it also poses a high risk of getting burned while handling the pan.
This is true even if you grab the pan’s handle with your bare hands. Even though the handle is made of less conductive materials, it can still get quite hot.
Additionally, the handle is a separate piece that’s attached to the pan with fixtures. If these fixtures become faulty over time, there’s a danger of the pan falling apart while you carry it and causing injury.
2) Can Release Harmful Byproducts Into Your Food
As previously mentioned, stainless steel cookware is made of a steel alloy. This alloy consists of chromium, iron, and nickel.
When you cook acidic foods in your stainless steel pan, it may release traces of these elements into your food. Nickel leaking into your food is the biggest issue, as this metal can harm your health when ingested.
Ceramic Cookware vs. Stainless Steel Cookware
When you compare ceramic and stainless steel cookware, you should look at several parameters to decide which is right for you.
Starting with price, ceramic cookware is typically less expensive. It also offers great value for money due to its non-stick qualities.
While stainless steel cookware isn’t non-stick, it’s superior to ceramic cookware in durability and versatility.
A ceramic pan’s non-stick performance deteriorates over time. Additionally, you can’t use metal utensils with it because they’ll scratch and ruin it. In contrast, stainless steel pans are sturdy and designed to stand the test of time.
Furthermore, stainless steel cookware offers much better conductivity and heat distribution. In turn, it allows you to do more things, such as searing meat or sauteing vegetables.
If healthy cooking is your priority, ceramic cookware is the better option. It’s free of the metals that stainless steel pans contain, so there’s no risk of metal traces seeping into your food.
Finally, if convenience is your priority, both ceramic and stainless steel pans offer it. They’re easy to clean and don’t need seasoning. However, stainless steel pans are dishwasher safe, which can’t be said for ceramic cookware.
Final Thoughts: Ceramic Cookware vs. Stainless Steel Cookware
Those of you looking for a non-stick option should go for ceramic pans. This choice is suitable too if healthy cooking is a priority.
On the other hand, stainless steel cookware is ideal if you want more durable pans. It also allows you to make delicious food using a more diverse range of cooking methods than ceramic cookware.
When making your decision, consider your priorities and needs and choose the cookware type that satisfies them best.
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