Stainless steel, Teflon, Ceramic, Glass – how can you know which one is the best cookware material for your needs? Well, you might want to start off by learning the pros and cons of each type. In this article, we’re sharing this with you to help you find your ally in the kitchen. When you have the right cookware by your side, you become fearless. You’ll find yourself finally ready to try those recipes that you always wanted to but never had the right type of cookware to actually take action. Now, you can take a stand.
5 best cookware materials
We’ve made a list of most loved cookware materials, so you can find yours.
- No oil required
- Super easy to clean
- Great for pancakes and other delicate food
- Doesn’t last long
- Can be toxic when the coating starts to chip off
- Dangerous on high heat
When we’re talking about common types of cookware, probably the first one that comes into your mind is Teflon. Teflon has been around for decades, making cooking pretty easy thanks to its nonstick coating. This type of cookware will work wonders if you want to make scrambled eggs; pancakes and similar food that needs to come out looking great instead of sticking to the pan.
Nonstick also means using a few drops of oil, or not using oil at all. This is great if you’re on a healthy diet and are trying to avoid the use of vegetable oil. One of the biggest perks of Teflon is an easy cleanup. Since the food won’t stick, there is practically nothing to clean. And everyone who has ever cooked knows how much pain can be to clean a dish after having that delicious meal.
Now, the main concern about Teflon coating is that it can be toxic.
Wait, don’t panic yet. It’s not as scary as it sounds.
Teflon cookware does not seem to withstand high temperatures (more than 570°F (300°C)). As a matter of fact, at these temperatures, the coating will start releasing toxins into the air and food. This can lead to Teflon flu, a dangerous state that no one would want to find themselves in. Aside from this, Teflon coating can also release toxins into food once it starts chipping off or wearing out. You would want to throw that pot or pan away the second you spot the first scratch on your Teflon.
Since the coating gets scratched easily or quickly starts to chip off, Teflon cookware usually lasts for one or two years, depending on how often you use it and whether you are kind to it.
- Even cooking
- No burnt food
- PFAS, PFOA, lead or cadmium free
- Easy to clean
- Comes in various colors and looks very stylish
- Doesn’t last long
- Only to be used on low temperatures
Ceramic is the best type of cookware material if you’re looking for an alternative to Teflon or simply want a set of stylish pots and pans to have around. There are two types of ceramic cookware – one is ceramic-coated and the second one is pure ceramic.
Pure ceramic cookware is made from ceramic clay, being a natural option for cooking. This is one of the safest cooking materials out there. Both types are nonstick and free of PFOA, PFAS, lead, and cadmium. The difference with ceramic-coated cookware lies in what’s beneath the surface. Once the coating is scratched, it can leach toxins into the food, just like Teflon. So, the same rule applies here – throw that dish away once this happens.
Nonstick coating equals less to no oil and easy cleanup which is why we love ceramic cookware so much. Even cooking and no hot spots are also worth mentioning. Ceramic cookware is ideal for cooking on low, allowing the food to release its own flavors. You will love the taste and texture of tender chicken breast or your favorite veggies. Pure ceramic is also great for the oven.
Just like Teflon, this type of cookware isn’t durable. Expect it to last for a year or two tops, before you need to buy a new set of new pots and pans. However, while you have it, you’ll enjoy its rich color and fancy design as ceramic cookware is known for looking gorgeous.
3. Stainless steel
- Can withstand rigorous use
- Everyday use
- Pans are great for searing food
- You can cook all kinds of foods
- Great heat distribution and retention
- Food sticks to the bottom
- Has a learning curve
- Burnt food, tougher cleanup
Stainless steel is the best material for pots and pans in terms of rigorous everyday use. If you like to cook, then this one is a must-have. It’s great for cooking a variety of food, from steaks, chicken breasts to veggies and soups. Pans are usually used for searing meat and getting that crisp finish.
The sturdy stainless steel construction makes this one of the most durable cookware materials so it can last a lifetime with proper care. This one is certainly worth the money. We suggest buying a good quality set of pots and pans even though it means spending more money. You won’t regret it.
What’s great about stainless steel is that it doesn’t react with acidic food. You won’t have to worry whether certain foods will taste the same. Also, scratch-resistant properties make it safe for metal utensils and add up to its durability. Great heat distribution and retention are also advantages of this cookware type.
Now let’s talk about the disadvantages. As you probably know, the first one is a lack of nonstick properties. Yes, the food tends to stick. Yes, cleanup is not as easy as with Teflon and Ceramic. However, there are some tips and tricks on cleaning stainless steel cookware which can help you get the job done effortlessly. And despite these cons, stainless steel is still considered the best cookware material for everyday use.
Cooking with stainless steel is also not easy, that is, it has a learning curve. It takes some trial and error until you figure out the best way to use a certain pot or pan. But, after all, this is not rocket science so relax.
4. Enameled cast-iron
- Great for any cooking job
- Adaptable to different cooking surfaces
- Great heat retention
- Won’t rust
- The paint can chip off
- More expensive than other types of nonstick cookware
Every home should have a set of enamel cast-iron cookware. It can be used on all types of cooking surfaces, including grill and induction. In addition, you can prepare all kinds of food in these, exploring the world of marvelous flavors and textures. You can use it for baking, searing, frying, sautéing, roasting and slow cooking. This makes it the best material for cookware for every passionate home chef.
Unlike bare cast iron, enamel cast iron doesn’t rust and react with acidic food. An enameled coating creates a non-stick surface. Enamel cast iron is known for great heat retention. You can leave food in the pot or Dutch oven and serve it warm in front of your guests. Also, enamel cast iron comes in all kinds of colors so it will look elegant and classy at the table. If you want your guests to enjoy everything about your dinner party, start with enamel cast iron cookware.
Sturdy and heavy construction promises decades of reliable use. Therefore, if you want to invest in this cookware type, we encourage you to do so. However, one should bear in mind that the enameled coating/paint can chip off. And as mentioned this type of cookware is pretty heavy. Not everyone would be able to lift it once it’s full of food. Lastly, this type of cookware is definitely more expensive than Teflon and Ceramic.
- Food looks terrific in it
- Great for an oven and glass cooktop
- Faster cooking
- Doesn’t react with food
- Delivers delicious and tender food
- Dishwasher safe
- Can easily break
- Not recommended for stovetop cooking
Glass cookware is right next to pure ceramic when it comes to the best cookware material for health. It’s safe for use because it’s made of glass. But what else does glass cookware have to offer?
One of the obvious advantages is that you can actually see your food while it’s cooking. No need to lift the lid. This speeds up cooking. Once the food is ready to be served, you can do that straight from the glass cookware. It will surely look presentable.
Glass cookware doesn’t react with food and delivers finger-licking food. You can try all kinds of oven-based recipes with glass cookware. Soon you’ll find out that this cookware delivers unparalleled taste. It also works great on glass top stove. However, it doesn’t work well on stovetops due to the fact that hot spots are easily formed.
What many people love about this cookware type is that it’s dishwasher safe. You don’t have to bother with hand washing the dish yourself, the dishwasher can do that for you.
Noticeably, glass cookware has to be used with great care as it breaks easily. Another downside is that it’s heavy.
We’ve answered some of the most common questions home chefs love to ask about best material for pots and pans.
What is the best cookware material?
You just read about them. Now, think about what type of cooking you mostly do and pick a cookware set based on that. If it’s oven-based, go for enamel cast Dutch oven, or glass cookware. For healthy eating, opt for pure ceramic. If you cook every day, you probably need a set of stainless steel pots and pans.
Which cooking utensil material is best for health?
Best cooking utensils are those made of bamboo, glass, stainless steel, and silicone.
What is the safest cookware for your health?
Pure ceramic and glass are one your best bets if you’re looking for safest material for pots and pans.
Can I use metal utensils on Teflon?
Nope. Metal utensils will scratch the Teflon coating which will cause the toxins to leach into your food.
What is the best nonstick cookware set?
Read our nonstick cookware review to learn more about this.
The bottom line
A high-quality cookware set truly makes cooking enjoyable and easier. It’s best to have different types of cookware in your kitchen because each one has intended use. However, if you can’t make up your mind, stainless steel and nonstick are always a great choice