I remember that one time I was shopping for cookware and could not decide which one to buy. With cookware, there is so much to consider before making a purchase. As I was still considering which one to buy, my partner started getting restless because we had other places to be.
Needless to say, I did not buy my cookware that day. I decided to go back home and do proper research before going back to buy the cookware.
There are several things you should know about stainless steel vs non-stick cookware. Both of them have their pros and cons. When you use a non-stick pan for your cooking, you use less oil which makes it the healthier option. Food never sticks to non-stick cookware and they are very easy to clean. Stainless steel cookware is very durable and can withstand very high heat. They also cook food evenly because they are good conductors of heat.
Back to my dilemma on which type of cookware to buy, I did my research diligently. The more I research I did, the more convinced I became that I need both stainless steel cookware and non-stick cookware in my kitchen. I could not see the possibility of trading one for the other.
You see, there are certain foods that when cooked in stainless steel cookware, they would turn out perfectly. If you tried cooking the same food in non-stick cookware, the results may not be as good and the cookware may end up overheating.
There are also certain foods that just need to be prepared in non-stick cookware. If you try cooking them in stainless steel cookware, the food will stick onto it and even burn. You cannot substitute stainless steel cookware with non-stick cookware and vice versa.
When deciding whether to cook food in stainless steel cookware or non-stick cookware, there are several things you need to consider. These include;
- The stickiness of the food
- The amount of heat needed to cook the food
- Amount of oil needed to cook the food.
- The method you will use to cook the food.
If you have trouble with food sticking to your cookware or a weird smell tainting your food, you just did not use the right cookware while preparing your food. Choosing the right cookware is key to preparing a decent meal without using too much effort.
Non-stick pans are perfect for reheating food. If you have leftovers in the fridge and need a quick fix, just use your non-stick pan to reheat them.
Stainless steel cookware makes the best soups and stews. Everything cooks evenly and the end result is always amazing. You can never go wrong with stainless steel cookware.
I gathered a lot of information on both stainless steel cookware and non-stick cookware and I am excited to share it with you. Here is everything you need to know about stainless steel and non-stick. Hopefully, when you are done reading the article you will have an easier time deciding on which one to use or purchase.
Everything about stainless steel
I always say that stainless steel is a must-have in every kitchen. Stainless steel cookware is very durable. They last for years on end as long as you take good care of them.
With stainless steel, you can use any amount of heat that the recipe requires, be it low heat or very high heat. In fact, you can even use your stainless steel cookware in the oven, pretty amazing, right?
There are different brands of stainless steel in the market. Heavy stainless steel usually cooks food more evenly compared to the lighter ones. I recommend you invest in one or two of very good quality.
The ones that are of good quality are a bit expensive, but trust me, the investment is totally worth it. You won’t need to buy another in a really long time.
Compared to other cookware, stainless steel cooks food more evenly. The different metals used to make stainless steel are very good conductors of heat.
When you heat stainless steel, the metals distribute heat evenly throughout the cookware. For this reason, your food receives an equal amount of heat and cooks at the same pace.
Stainless still does not have a non-stick surface. For this reason, you need to use a considerable amount of oil when cooking to prevent food from sticking onto the cookware.
You also need to ensure that the cookware is heated properly before you add your food. Otherwise, your food or ingredients will stick to the cookware.
Stainless steel may not be the go-to cookware for anyone trying to reduce their calorie intake. You cannot cook without oil on a non-stick pan. In fact, you may have to use more oil compared to if you had used non-stick.
So if you want to use a small amount of oil or no oil at all in your cooking, don’t go for stainless steel. However, you can still use healthy oils like coconut oil and olive oil which won’t have a negative impact on your health.
Need to make soup, stew, or pasta? Make stainless steel your best friend. I always use stainless steel when I need to boil anything and so far I have never been disappointed. Stainless steel is perfect when it comes to boiling because of the even distribution of heat throughout the cookware. Anything boiled in stainless steel always tastes amazing.
Stainless steel also cooks food faster compared to non-stick. However, it is not the best option for sautéing or reheating food.
One of the main drawbacks of stainless steel is that stainless steel cookware is not very easy to clean. When you use it too often, it also tends to get discolored or spotted. You need to clean stainless steel thoroughly for it to maintain its shine. Otherwise, it will get stained.
You may also have to clean it as soon as you finish cooking so that the quality of your stainless steel is not compromised.
Most professionals prefer using stainless steel cookware. You need to have certain cooking skills in order to properly use stainless steel in your cooking and also maintain it. You need to know the amount of oil you need to use, how long to heat the oil before adding the ingredients, and how much heat you need to use as you cook.
If you do not use enough oil, food will stick to your cookware. The same thing will also happen if you use more heat than it is required.
It may sound a bit complicated but it isn’t. Once you get the hang of it, cooking with stainless steel will always be a breeze.
I use stainless still to brown my meats and they always turn out nice, brown, and tasty. I also use the juices left behind by the meat to make tasty sauces.
Pros of stainless steel
- They cook food more evenly because heat is distributed evenly throughout the cookware.
- Cook food faster compared to other cookware.
- It can withstand very high heat.
- Very durable. Stainless steel is always a worthy investment.
- Great for boiling.
Cons of stainless steel.
- They are a bit more expensive compared to other cookware.
- Tend to discolor when used too often.
- You will use more oil compared to others.
- Have no non-stick features so food particles may stick on it.
Everything about Non-stick Cookware
Non-stick pans are usually coated with a layer of Teflon which gives them their non-stick feature. When you cook with non-stick, food cannot stick onto the pan. This makes non-stick cookware very easy to clean.
You do not need to put too much effort into cleaning, and neither do you have to wash it as soon as you are done cooking. They can wait in the sink until you are done cooking. In fact, you can just use a paper towel to wipe it clean. Detergents tend to damage the Teflon coating.
Non-stick pans are not as expensive as stainless steel cookware. You can afford one without digging deep into your pockets.
Non-stick pans are very convenient. I use them daily when making breakfast for my family. I don’t need to worry about my eggs or pancakes sticking onto the pan. They always come out perfect. Non-stick pans are a must-have in my kitchen because they come in very handy whenever I need a quick fix.
Unlike stainless steel, you don’t need to use too much oil when cooking if you are using non-stick. You use very little to no oil while cooking which is definitely healthy. Want to eat healthier? Put your non-stick pan to use.
Non-stick pans do a great job when it comes to reheating food and sautéing. If you need to lightly fry anything, use non-stick instead of stainless steel.
You do not need to preheat non-stick before adding your ingredients or food. So there is absolutely no need to worry whether the pan is heated enough and whether food will stick on to it if you have not heated it enough.
Non-stick cookware can be used by literally anyone. You do not need to have any special cooking skills to use it. As long as you follow your recipe, the food will turn out amazing without any complications.
However, you need to be careful not to overheat the pan because your food may end up absorbing the smell of Teflon used to coat it. Food that smells like Teflon has never been appealing to anyone.
Non-stick pans do not withstand too much heat. Never ever put your non-stick pan in the oven. You will end up with a cooking disaster and you will spend a lot of money trying to fix it.
There are many different brands of non-stick pans in the market. They are all very affordable. If you want to buy a non-stick pan, I recommend that you buy the lighter ones. They always do a better job when it comes to cooking compared to the heavier ones.
Invest in one of the good qualities for a better cooking experience. You may need to add a few extra coins but it is totally worth it. In the kitchen, cheap is always expensive.
When using non-stick pans, you should not use any sharp utensils. They sharp utensils scratch the coating of non-stick pans. Experts recommend that you use wooden utensils or silicon ones when using a non-stick pan. If you use sharp utensils and the coating peels off, your pan will no longer be non-stick.
You also shouldn’t use plastic utensils because when the heat is high, it may cause the plastic utensils to melt. We don’t want that to happen, do we?
Non-stick pans may not be the best for browning meats because you cannot use too much heat with them. Besides, you cannot use the meat juices left behind to make a tasty sauce using wine or broth.
One of the main drawbacks of stainless steel is that the nonstick coating may start peeling or get scratched. When it does and you still use it to cook your food, there is a major health risk. Scientists are yet to agree on the specifics but I recommend that once your non-stick pan starts to peel, stop using it and get a new one.
No one wants to get sick because of using non-stick pans that have particles of Teflon. Better safe than sorry. Besides, non-stick cookware is quite affordable.
Pros of non-stick pans
- They are very affordable.
- They are easy to clean.
- Food does not stick onto the pan as you are cooking.
- They do not require you to use too much oil thus promoting healthy cooking.
Cons of non-stick pans
- The Teflon used to coat non-stick pans may start peeling and pose a health risk.
- They cannot withstand too much heat. You can’t use them in the oven.
- They are not as durable as stainless steel
- Not great for browning meats.
Comparison between stainless steel and non-stick
Stainless steel lasts for longer compared to non-stick. When you use non-stick pans frequently, the Teflon coating starts peeling off and the pan loses its non-stick features.
You also need to be very careful when cleaning non-stick because it may not last long if it is not cleaned properly.
Non-stick pans are easier to clean compared to stainless steel. You do not need to use detergents to clean non-stick. In fact, detergents tend to cause damage to them. Simply use a paper towel to wipe off the dirt.
On the other hand, you need to put in a lot of effort in cleaning stainless steel for it to maintain its shine. Food also tends to stick on stainless steel making cleaning harder.
Stainless steel can withstand very high temperatures. You can even use stainless steel in your oven. Non-stick does not do well in high temperatures.
In fact, when you use too much heat, the Teflon will produce fumes which will taint the smell of your food. This may have a negative impact on your health.
Food sticking to cookware
Stainless steel does not have any non-stick properties. For this reason, food tends to stick on the cookware while you are cooking.
Consequently, cleaning stainless steel is quite a task. On the other hand, food cannot stick onto non-stick as long as its coating has not been interfered with. This makes it very easy to clean.
When cooking using stainless steel, you need to use a considerable amount of oil so that your food does not stick to the cookware.
On the other hand, while using non-stick you can use little to no oil. If you are trying to reduce the amount of oil you use in your food, use non-stick instead of stainless steel.
Before using stainless steel, you need to preheat it. If you don’t, you will have a cooking disaster where ingredients or food sticks to the sides of your cookware.
With non-stick, you do not need to worry about pre-heating at all. Whether or not you preheat the pan, food will not stick onto it.
Greasing before use.
Before using your stainless steel cookware, you need to grease it with a little bit of oil or butter. With non-stick cookware, there is absolutely no need for greasing.
You can cook with it as it is and your food will turn out just fine.
Exposure to toxic chemicals
With stainless steel cookware, there are no safety concerns whatsoever. You can use the cookware for years on end without any worry.
Non-stick on the other hand is not as safe. When you overheat it, the fumes from the Teflon taint food and this may have a negative impact on your health.
When non-stick cookware stays for a long time or you do not care for it properly, its coating gets damaged and starts to come off.
As you use it for cooking, particles of the coating mix with your food. The particles, when ingested, may cause major health issues.
Cleaning using the dishwasher.
You can safely clean stainless steel cookware inside your dishwasher. On the other hand, the dishwasher may not be the safest option when it comes to cleaning your non-stick cookware.
Water and detergents tend to damage the Teflon coating on non-stick cookware. Your non-stick cookware may lose its non-stick features if you wash it in the dishwasher.
Stainless steel is a good conductor of heat. For this reason, stainless steel distributes heat evenly throughout the cookware.
Consequently, food cooks evenly inside stainless steel cookware. This makes stainless steel cookware the perfect option for browning meats.
On the other hand, non-stick cookware is a poor conductor of heat. It never does well in high heat and it is also not the best place to brown your meats.
Stainless steel cookware is more expensive compared to non-stick cookware.
However, I am a firm believer that if you buy stainless steel cookware, it is a worthy investment because it will last for years on end. Non-stick cookware does not last for very long.
If you need to boil anything, stainless steel cookware is your best bet because it conducts and distributes heat evenly throughout the cookware.
Non-stick is not efficient for boiling because it is a poor conductor of heat.
Which one is the best?
I believe that you should have both stainless steel cookware and non-stick cookware in your kitchen. You should at least have one of each.
Both of them are perfect for preparing different kinds of foods. You cannot substitute one with another if you want to have a good cooking experience.
Delicate meals like eggs, fish, and mushrooms among others that have a tendency of sticking onto the pan are better cooked in non-stick pans. Foods like stews and soups that require a high amount of heat cook better in stainless steel cookware.
There is a perfect balance on what should be cooked where. The trick is in figuring out which foods thrive in being cooked in stainless steel cookware and which ones don’t.
Thinking of making a sauce by adding wine, water, or broth to the juices and particles where you cook your meet? Stainless steel cookware will do it best. Thinking of sautéing some mushrooms for dinner? The non-stick pan will do the job perfectly.
Non-stick pans are very convenient when you need a quick fix. They also come in handy when you have no time for cleaning. It will take you less than two minutes to do it. I particularly like using non-stick pans to prepare breakfast because I never have a lot of time.
Besides, I am the kind of person that cannot leave dirty dishes in the sink when I go to work or to run errands. If I use non-stick pans, I don’t spend too much time cleaning them after breakfast.
So why settle for one when you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Purchase both and use them differently.