Aluminum Vs Stainless Steel: Let’s Compare

Aluminum and stainless steel cookware are present in every kitchen cabinet. But when it comes to choosing the best one, it has a little confusing. Everything about aluminum and stainless steel cookware given below will help you choose the right one!

Aluminum Cookware 

Aluminum is a lightweight, malleable metal that conducts heat quickly and evenly. Manufacturers often coat it with an anodized layer to make it non-reactive and durable, preventing reaction between the food and the pot or pan.


  • Lightweight: Aluminum is known as one of the lightest metals, making the cookware easy to handle and move. You can easily hang them up or store them in a cupboard.
  • Affordable: Price less costly than other types of cookware, such as stainless steel.
  • Heat up food evenly: This material is an excellent heat conductor. It can evenly distribute heat to the food, which helps food to cook well. 
  • Oven-safe: Most aluminum cookware is safe in the oven, so you can feel free when using it for baking as well as cooking on the stove.


  • Not durable: A soft metal, it is easily scratched and dented regularly. Even if you carefully use your cookware, aluminum is effortless to dent.
  • Not healthy: Aluminum is a reactive metal, meaning that it can leach into food. This is especially true when cooking acidic foods, such as tomatoes or citrus fruits, will release Aluminum ions which are harmful to health if consumed in high amounts.
  • Not suitable for induction cooktops: You can not use aluminum cookware in induction cooktops because it doesn’t have magnetic properties.

Stainless Steel Cookware 

Stainless steel is a safe choice for household cookware. This is uniquely resistant to corrosion and tarnishing. Stainless steel is also relatively resistant to scratches. If you use stainless steel properly, you can expect it to last many years.


  • Oven-safe: Safe to use in the oven with high temperatures up to 500°F. 
  • Easy to maintain: Stainless cookware is easy to clean and safe for dishwashers. It is also rust-resistant, so you don’t need to season it before cleaning.  
  • Non-reactive nature: This material is non-reactive to acidic or alkaline food, help to avoid harmful chemicals in your food. Because there is no pitting or scratching, your foods do not have metallic taste or discoloration when cooking. 


  • No nonstick surface: Stainless steel cookware is typically nonstick and unsuitable for some delicate foods. Therefore, to cook in stainless steel, you have to use extra oil, which could be bad for your health.
  • Not good in heat conductivity: Stainless steel material does not perform well in heat conductivity. Manufacturers often add an aluminum or copper core inside to enhance this drawback.
  • Expensive: Cheap stainless steel cookware less effective in cooking food evenly. It’s recommended to buy the high-quality one to have an excellent performance.

Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Cookware 

There are some points that make aluminum and stainless steel cookware distinct from each other, look at the chart below for more information:

CriteriaAluminum Stainless steel
ConstructionTwo main types are standard and hard-anodized aluminum with ceramic or PTFE non-stick coatingAn artificial alloy includes iron, chromium, nickel, carbon and small quantities of other metals like aluminum and copper
VersatilityNot stable for versatile use but it is suitable for bakeware. Suitable for versatile use. Best for searing, browning, or cooking items with a high-fat content or dish that requires higher temperatures
Oven-safe temperatureOven-safe up to 450 degrees FahrenheitOven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
Weight  (12-inch fry pan)2-3 pounds3-5 pounds
Heat conductivity Is one of the best metals for conducting heat. It can heat up quickly, allowing you to get your cooking done faster and more efficientlyNot a great conductor of heat
React with acidic foodsWhen you cook high-acid foods like tomatoes or citrus in aluminum pots and pans, your food may have a metallic flavor.Does not react with acidic foods, protecting you from metals leaching into food and changing the taste and health profile of the dish
CleaningHandwashing with soap, warm water, and a soft sponge is recommended to prevent the cooking surface from scratching.

Not suitable for dishwasher cleaning

Easier to clean. Safe for dishwasher cleaning. 
Lifetime1- 3 years5- 30 years
PriceMore affordableMore expensive

Aluminum cookware is a good choice because of its quick heating and elimination of hotspot properties. The coating prevents food from coming into touch with the metal core, however, it limits the temperature at which the utensils are safe to use. Stainless steel utensils, on the other hand, can endure high temperatures and have no coatings, which makes them ideal for many cooking methods. 


Are all stainless steel pans non-toxic?

Stainless steel is safe to some extent. But this cookware is usually made up of nickel and chromium. These heavy metals are usually present at safe, low levels or doses. However, if you are sensitive or allergic to chromium or nickel, you should avoid using stainless steel.

What are the side effects of cooking in aluminum?

Aluminum cookware can easily become scratched and pitted from regular use, resulting in pieces of aluminum absorbing into the food. Some studies show that people with pre-existing kidney problems are more at risk of the potential side effects of aluminum, as in this case, the body’s ability to eliminate aluminum is limited.

Hyper-acidity, indigestion, flatulence, peptic ulcer, skin problems such as pigmentation, eczema, dandruff and chronic inflammation of the intestine are among the side effects of eating food cooked in aluminum.

Does aluminum foil release toxins when heated?

The heating process causes the aluminum to leach into food. When aluminum foil is heated to high temperatures, it may become harmful. According to research published in the International Journal of Electrochemical Science, leaching from aluminum foil can result in unacceptably high levels of aluminum contamination in food, which can negatively affect your health. 

What cookware is 100% non-toxic?

Both aluminum and stainless steel cookware are relatively safe for cooking. However, if you are specifically looking for cookware that is 100% non-toxic, stainless steel would be a better choice.

In general, aluminum cookware is a good choice for an affordable, lightweight option that heats up quickly. Meanwhile, stainless steel cookware is the place to go if you’re looking for a durable, non-stick option that cooks well at high temperatures. Personal preference and what type of food you cook the most are the important things that decide the best option.