Being a home cook, you must have your fair share of cookware variety up your arsenal. One basic question that may often arise inside you must be what to choose between stainless steel and nonstick cookware. Both of these are great for certain uses, in fact, it truly depends on what type of food you are cooking.
The main question is: when should a home cook prefer using stainless steel, or cast iron, or nonstick pans to fit the equation between the cooking process and the suitable cookware?
We will help you sort through your choice step by step so that you can have a clearer idea of what cookware do you need based on some rudimentary cooking factors.
Why do we need a variety of cookware?
You should decide what type of cookware you should use for the meal prepping process. Since each type of cookware is designed to handle different types of food, and deal with certain ingredients suitably, thus the food taste can depend on what type of cookware was used for cooking.
There are quite a lot of factors to consider while choosing different types of cooking appliances for your kitchen. Hence it is wise to understand the pros and cons of each cookware specifically.
What is stainless steel cookware?
Stainless steel is uncoated pans that do a great job at cooking certain types of food. Stainless steel is more durable since they don’t have the disadvantage of the withering away of an upper coat.
Stainless steel cooking appliances, unlike other types of cookware, don’ get chipped, cracked, rusted, or stained. But stainless steel can get stained depending on what you cook, so you should be aware of when to use your stainless steel pans.
Stainless steel can help you achieve a browned effect in the meals you like or a hint of smoky flavor. It is also great for sautéing vegetables, searing meat, boiling, or deep frying.
If you consider aesthetics as an important factor to choose kitchen cookware, stainless steel is the prettiest of them all. As much as it is budget-friendly, it comes with a sleek design attractive to the eyes. If you take time to take proper care of your stainless steel cookware, they will stay unchipped, unrusted, and unburnt for years.
What is Non-Stick cookware?
As the name suggests, non-stick cookware makes sure your food doesn’t get stuck with the surface of the pan. It is usually covered with a material named Teflon, which is a type of chemical nonstick coating. Sometimes titanium is reinforced as an overcoat for non-stick cookware too, which is known as titanium cookware, a safe option for cooking.
The characteristics of a non-stick pan don’t allow the food to have a browning or searing effect. Rather non-stick pans allow the food to be cooked or steamed more or less in their juices. That being said, less cooking oil is needed when you cook something on non-stick cookware.
If you want to cook delicate food ingredients that may break down in a cast-iron skillet or a stainless steel pan, you’re good to go with a non-stick pan.
Although the nonstick cookwares are convenient for cleaning and cooking for its overcoat, they can pose a potential risk under high temperatures. The chemical used for the overcoat can alter and eventually mix with the food under a high temperature. Thus a moderate temperature should be maintained while cooking on a non-stick pan.
Stainless steel vs Nonstick
Here are some comparisons between stainless steel and nonstick to help you navigate through your choices:
- Stainless steel can be chosen for cooking and searing meat, since it works the best with proteins, browning them to perfection and enriching them with great flavor in presence of sufficient cooking oil; On the other hand, nonstick pans can be best used for food that you don’t want to be seared in general. Rather it can be utilized for steaming food.
- Stainless steel is more durable since it has no external coating for protecting, but the non-stick pan’s protection layer may get damaged after a long continuation of use.
- Stainless steel pans should be preheated before adding oil or butter, and it will not harm if the temperature gets a tad bit high. But for non-stick pans, you should restrict yourself to a moderate temperature since the coating can get altered due to overheating, causing unwanted chemical elements getting mixed up in the food.
- Stainless steel pans are best suited for caramelizing, browning, and sautéing vegetables, and non-stick pans are best for steaming them.
- Stainless steel pans should be avoided while cooking delicate and soft food items which can easily stick to the pan’s surface, but with non-stick pans, you can easily handle any delicate food.
- Stainless steel pans take time to be cleaned, on the other hand, the protection layer of the non-stick pans allows them to be cleaned easily.
- You can follow certain homemade remedies to clean a stainless steel pan, and for nonstick pans, you can use nonstick cookware repair spray.
Is nonstick cookware toxic?
Teflon is mainly used as the chemical for non-stick pan overcoats. It is manufactured using perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been proven to be carcinogenic to human beings.
When heated more than a certain extent, this chemical disintegrates and infuses into the food which is greatly harmful to the human body. Thus overheating non-stick pans or any kind of scratching of the surface can cause these virulent chemicals to be released.
Maintaining proper safety measures, you should always be careful about when to throw away non-stick pans. Here are some signs you should look for in your nonstick cookware:
- The pan is getting warped: Warping doesn’t cause potential sickening to the human body, but it will change the taste of the food. To ensure your food is getting evenly heated on all sides, you should get rid of warped pans.
- Discoloration: Some discoloration should not require much concern as it a natural consequence of cooking food for a long time. But dark discoloration is concerning as it means the nonstick coats have been damaged.
- Presence of scratches: Scratches indicate that the pan has been used for a long time and its upper coat is no longer integrated. Discard the pan as long as you don’t want the chemicals flaking in your food.
If you want to avoid the potential hazards of using a nonstick pan, you can stick to the ceramic cookware option, as it is better from stainless steel and free of any harmful chemicals.
If you’re just getting started with cooking, nonstick cookware is a better option for you since it’s easier to use and easier to clean as well.
But if you are aware of your cooking skills in the kitchen, you’re good to go with stainless steel since it can give you a better gas range and more budget-friendly over time.
It is better to have both cookware options in your kitchen, thus you can use whichever is suitable for your cooking option. Choosing the best cookware can allow your performance to be much better in the kitchen.