Stainless Steel vs Nonstick vs Ceramic Cookware Set (An Ultimate Guide 2020)

It’s time to upgrade your kitchen. And unless you’re a gourmand, you’re probably torn between getting Stainless Steel vs Nonstick vs Ceramic Cookware Set of cookware.

You have to dig through the trenches for information regarding the different cookware styles, materials, and the different price points the market has to offer.

Suffice it to say it’s wise to be well-informed before you can go ahead and make any decision on what to buy or add to your list of pans and pots.

Stainless Steel vs Nonstick vs Ceramic Cookware Set
Stainless Steel vs Nonstick vs Ceramic Cookware Set

Every cookware arrives with its own set of pros and cons. Also, certain cooking methods tend to work much better with certain cooking materials.

For instance, an ideal pan for sautéing is super sensitive to temperature changes, while the best pan for braising should be one that’s able to hold as much heat as possible and regulate it regardless of temperature changes.

The whole point is to figure out which cookware is best suited for the type of food you want to prepare.

Luckily for you, this guide Stainless Steel vs Nonstick vs Ceramic Cookware Set will be helping you learn more about the three main types of cookware materials and how they each work, not forget their pros and cons.

The end goal is to help you make an informed decision on what to buy depending on your cooking needs.

Let’s get started:

Stainless Steel Vs Nonstick Vs Ceramic Cookware Set – Which One To Choose?

Let’s start one by one:

1. Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless pans could easily steal the shine if durability was the be-all-end-all of great cookware. But that’s not where the war ends unless you’re only interested in a workhorse.

Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Stainless Steel Cookware Set

If anything, the only cookware material that can give it a run for its money in terms of durability is cast iron.

For starters, stainless has no coating to wear off. So you don’t have to worry about scratching off anything or improper storage or falls.

Better yet, stainless steel cookware does a spectacular job producing that beautiful looking, delicious browning or Maillard reaction. There are some best stainless steel cookware without aluminum that you can check.

Pros

  • Stainless steel pans are durable like we mentioned. It’s to be however noted that with this durability comes the issue of gumminess. In other words, you’re bound to have a hard time cooking pancakes on a stainless steel pan without applying enough oil. 
  • Stainless steel pans are perfect for stir-frying, browning, and searing. You don’t have to worry about using excessive heat on them as they have no coating to be charred out. It’s even more effective for preparing meals that require high heat.
  • Stainless steel pans are safe. They don’t leech negative elements or give off harmful fumes while cooking in them. Meaning you don’t have to worry about flavor reactions and reaction with acidic food when cooking in them as with other types of cookware.

Cons 

  • One drawback of stainless steel cookware is cleaning them when they’re scorched in the event of burnt food.
  • Another notable con associated with stainless steel is the issue of stickiness. You have to use oil to prevent your food from sticking. If you’re using healthy oils to prepare your meals, this shouldn’t be a problem.

The problem comes when you’re using olive oil for your cooking, considering they tend to be carcinogenic when exposed to extremely high temperatures. 

2. Ceramic Cookware 

The main difference between Stainless steel and Ceramic cookware is that, while the latter is non-stick, the former isn’t. This makes it an ideal choice of the pan for beginning cooks and chefs that are more concerned about the issue of their food sticking to the surface of the pan while cooking.

Ceramic Cookware Set
Ceramic Cookware Set

That’s to also say that you don’t have to use too much oil while using a ceramic pan for cooking. This also makes it an ideal choice of the pan if you’re into healthy eating.

Ceramic cookware is also safe to use as it can withstand extremely high temperatures going up to 700 Fahrenheit. It’s also safe for dishwashing, and even easier for hand washing as its surface is very slick and non-porous.

Ceramic pans don’t chip that easily. But that’s not to say that they’re completely immune to chipping. And once it happens, the cookware becomes completely useless, as it’s no longer able to conduct heat evenly.

It’s for this reason that you’re advised to place some padding in between each ceramic pan or pot while storing them. This should help in preventing them from chipping, thus extending their usability.

Ceramic is one of the most environmentally friendly cookware options. This makes it an ideal choice of the pan if you’re looking to go green.

Also, compared to their non-stick counterpart, they’re free of worrisome chemical elements.

You can check out the best ceramic nonstick cookware set on the market.

Pros

  • They’re easy to clean.
  • They’ve got an aesthetic appeal, as they come in various colors.
  • You can store your food in them without worrying about anything. It’s even better because some of them have lids.
  • They’re dishwasher safe.

 Cons

  • They’re not built for high heat, especially where you’ll be exposing them to the heat for a protracted period. In other words, it’s the cookware to buy if you’re planning to use them for low-heat cooking.
  • Not very durable when compared to their stainless steel counterpart.
  • Again, they’re not 100 percent effective in preventing food from sticking. This is particularly the case when they start wearing out.
  • They’re safe, but a series of recent studies reveal that they might be containing some small amounts of lead, which is actually harmful but not to the same extent as the type of chemical produced by non-sticks.

3. Non-stick Cookware

These are specifically designed to keep your food from sticking on your pan. They’re also the easiest to clean. Better yet, they make an ideal choice of cookware for the health-conscious bunch that is more concerned about the amount of oil they use in cooking.

But it is very much difficult to choose the best nonstick pans for your kitchen. For that, we have covered an in-depth on that.

Nonstick Cookware Set
Nonstick Cookware Set

However, those helping cooking surfaces have been reported to pose some potential health risks that are worth discussing in this post. There have been a series of raised concerns surrounding some of the non-stick coatings including PTFE or Teflon as it’s also known. However, the main issue is with the use of PFOA, which was banned a few years ago by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fortunately, Teflon has been free of PFOA chemical since 2013 when the ban was issued.

It’s to be, however, noted that using non-stick cookware doesn’t expose you to PFOA. The reason being the chemical is only evident in the manufacturing process of the cookware, and rarely does it end in the finished product.

However, exposing the pan to extremely high temperatures also poses the risk of the chemical leaking into the air.

To prevent this from happening, a few precautions have to be observed:  

  • You’re advised against heating an empty pan on a burner.
  • Always keep your burner on low or medium heat whenever you’re using the pan for cooking.
  • Throw the pan out immediately the coating chips or flakes.

Also worth noting is that non-stick pans cannot produce the same amount of searing or the browning effect as stainless steel pans.

Pros

  • Non-sticks tend to last longer than ceramic cookware
  • They’re also lighter in weight compared to ceramics. This makes them an ideal choice of cookware for flipping food.
  • The smooth and glossy cooking surfaces make it a cinch to clean them up.
  • They tend to heat up much faster, which speeds up cooking.

Cons

  • At high temperatures, the cookware produces some chemical elements that might prove detrimental to your health. To stay safe, you’re advised to reserve them for low heat cooking only.
  • They’re relatively thin, which means they’re poor at retaining heat.
  • They also delicate while cooking. To avoid scratching off the non-stick coating, you’re advised to use wooden kitchen utensils to stir or cook your food.

It’s a wrap – Our Final recommendation

Given the option to choose between the three types of cookware, i.e. Nonstick vs Ceramic vs Stainless Steel cookware set, our suggestion leans in favor of ceramic cookware. But then again, they have different applications with stainless steel. So the most logical thing to do would be to buy them both, which kind of renders non-stick pans useless when the three types of cookware are thrown into the same mix.

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