Both ceramic and stainless steel cookware are great options for your kitchen. So when it comes to choosing one of them, it is a little complicated. In this post, we will share everything about ceramic and stainless steel cookware to help you choose the right one.
What Is Ceramic Cookware?
Ceramic cookware originates primarily from ceramic materials. It includes two types: 100% Ceramic and Ceramic Coated. Ceramic-coated cookware’s composition is typically a metal base, such as aluminum or stainless steel, with a ceramic coating on the cooking surface.
Both are safe for your health, but there are certain distinguishing factors between them. In particular, ceramic-coated cookware is less healthy than 100% ceramic cookware. Meanwhile, cookware with a ceramic coating has a greater tolerance to temperature than pure ceramic.
Furthermore, most ceramic-coated cookware is dishwasher safe. It is also compatible with metal utensils. Whereas, the 100% ceramic cookware is not. Compared with pure ceramic, coated ceramic pots and pans are more durable.
Ceramic cookware pros and cons
- A non-stick coating: Ceramic cookware surface is typically nonstick thanks to the sol-gel coating on it. This eliminates the use of cooking oil and butter to keep food from sticking to the cooking surface.
- Easy to clean: Thanks to its non-stick feature, you will save lots of effort when washing the cookware. Wipe the surface to remove the food remains on the pots and pans.
- Natural material, safe for health: The coating is all-natural and free of common toxins such as Lead or Cadmium, PTFE and PFOA free as well.
- Non-reactive nature of acid: It’s ideal for cooking acidic and alkaline foods. The non-reactive nature also has an advantage in storing foods after baking.
- High tolerance to heat: It can withstand high temperatures up to 700oF.
- Low-medium heat only: Although ceramic cookware has a high tolerance to heat, continuous exposure to high heat may damage the coating. So it has certain limitations concerning heat levels, it is best to use it on low to medium cooking.
- Not durable: Ceramic cookware is fragile and breaks easily. That’s why when compared to stainless steel cookware, it has a shorter lifespan.
- Not metal utensil safe: Ceramic products are more delicate than stainless-steel cookware. Therefore, metallic utensils are prone to break or damage the ceramic coating.
What Is Stainless Steel Cookware?
Stainless steel is one of the best materials for use in cooking because of its versatility for a wide range of cooking methods without damage. Steel is an alloy metal, it typically has iron and a small percentage of carbon to create a highly durable metal with a great resistant warp, scratch, and chip.
Manufacturers mix chromium (10.5% by weight to be considered stainless steel at all) with the steel to form stainless steel to help steel be more durable and resist natural corrosion. Chromium combines with oxygen to form a tough outer layer with corrosion-resistant, or nonreactive characteristics.
Stainless steel cookware pros and cons
- Oven-safe: Stainless steel is an excellent material because it is safe to use, can withstand high temperatures (up to 500°F) without damage, and distributes heat evenly.
- Easy to maintain: Stainless cookware is easy to clean and maintain, it is also safe for dishwashers. Furthermore, stainless steel is rust-resistant, so before cleaning, you don’t need to season it.
- Non-reactive nature: Stainless steel is non-reactive to food, whether acidic or alkaline. The non-reactive nature avoids harmful chemicals in your food. Because there is no pitting or scratching, there is no metallic taste or discoloration on your food when cooking.
- No nonstick surface: Because stainless steel cookware is typically non-stick, it is unsuitable for some delicate foods. Therefore, to cook in stainless steel you must use extra oil, which could be bad for your health.
- Not good in heat conductivity: Stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat. An aluminum or copper core is necessary to enhance its heat conductivity, if not, your cooking surface will tend to have hot spots as pure stainless steel conducts heat poorly.
- Expensive: Cheap stainless steel cookware may be less effective to cook food evenly. So you have to buy the high-quality one to have a great performance.
Ceramic Cookware Vs. Stainless Steel: Which One is Better?
Both ceramic and stainless steel cookware are good, but there are some distinguishing factors between them. Below is a comparison chart about the key differences you can refer to:
|Ceramic Cookware||Stainless Steel|
|Heat Conductivity||Having slightly low heat conductivity, may lead to uneven cooking if not handled properly.||Having excellent heat conduction allows for even heat distribution throughout the cooking surface.|
|Non-Stick Properties||Thanks to its excellent non-stick surface, you can use less oil or fat while cooking and making cleanup easier.||Does not have non-stick properties, you will need oil or other cooking aids to keep food from sticking to the surface.|
|Durability||More prone to chipping or cracking, especially if not well cared for.||Highly durable and greatly resistant to scratches, dents, and chips.|
|Maintenance||To avoid damaging the ceramic coating, you need to have gentle care with it. The dishwasher is not an ideal option to clean, you have to adhere to specific cleaning instructions from the manufacturer.||Easy to clean with a dishwasher and can withstand more aggressive cleaning methods.|
|Reactivity||Ceramic cookware, particularly those with an enamel coating, is non-reactive, flavors or chemicals can not leach into food.||Non-reactive properties and do not leach any metallic flavors or chemicals into food.|
|Price||More affordable for high-quality items.||More expensive for high-quality items.|
|Lifetime||Averaging only about 3-5 years even if well taken care of and used for delicate low-heat cooking.||High-quality stainless steel can last 25 years or more.|
Which is healthier ceramic or stainless steel?
Ceramic cookware ranks among the healthiest cookware options, it is 100% safe, free of dangerous toxins, and environmentally friendly as well. Ceramic and stainless steel cookware score equally high for safety. However, with stainless steel, there are various series, each has a different construction. A small scratch on stainless steel cookware may cause small metal particles into your food.
Should you throw away scratched ceramic pans?
Scratched ceramic pans can be harmful to your health, so it is advised to throw them out when your pans are scratched. Some of the nonstick coatings can flake into your food, and the pan’s surface also becomes easily sticky, which can release toxic compounds. However, for a slightly scratched ceramic pan, it is safe to use as long as the aluminum layer is not exposed.
What not to use on ceramic cookware?
It is best to choose ones that won’t scratch or damage the ceramic surface when using ceramic cookware. Metal utensils, metal whisks, metal tongs, knives, and any sharp utensils are among the things you should never use with ceramic cookware.
How long do ceramic pans last?
Ceramic cookware has a relatively short lifespan when compared to other types of traditional nonstick pans and cookware materials like stainless steel cookware. The average ceramic cookware lifespan will last for about a year, but quality ceramics with well taken care of can last for up to 3 years.
Ceramic cookware is best for its non-stick properties and potential health benefits, while stainless steel cookware offers excellent heat conductivity, durability, and easy maintenance. Generally, the decision between ceramic cookware and stainless steel cookware depends on personal preferences and cooking needs.
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