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Stainless Steel vs Nonstick Cookware

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As a cookware based site, we get asked all sorts of questions relating to which kind of cookware people should invest in. There are many popular choices of materials when it comes to choosing a new set of cookware, such as stainless steel and nonstick sets. Both of these cookware sets have their advantages and disadvantages. Below we will try to discuss some of these points, and hopefully help you make up your mind when it comes to choosing a set.

The first issue we will discuss here is the health aspect. There are two parts to this debate, and the first one is the use of cooking oil. Generally a stainless steel set will require a good amount of oil to make sure your food doesn’t stick in it. A nonstick set on the other hand requires next to no oil to function, therefore it is healthier for you in the long run. The lack of oil also helps to seal in the flavor when you use nonstick cookware.
On the other hand there are safety concerns relating to the nonstick cookware coating that has been in the public eye for a few years now. We wrote a article on this not too long ago to dispel some of the myths about this, so this is worth a read if you don’t know a lot about this subject. The good news is that most nonstick cookware these days is completely free of all the chemicals that can be harmful, but this is something you need to check if you consider investing in a nonstick set.

Next up we will talk about the cleaning aspect. A decent nonstick set can be cleaned with a paper towel, or some soapy water and a sponge for those bigger messes. This is all it takes in most cases to get nonstick cookware clean. Stainless steel on the other hand is a bit more of a job to get clean in certain situations. If food gets burnt on, you will need to break out the steel wool to get the food off. In general, stainless steel is normally not that difficult to get clean. One advantage stainless steel cookware has is that it can be used in the dishwasher without any problems. Most nonstick cookware cannot be put through a dishwasher as this type of cleaning is too rough, and can damage the nonstick coating. There are exceptions however, such as the fantastic Scanpan CTX set which can be used in the dishwasher with no hassles.

The other aspect to consider is convenience. When it comes to using stainless steel you can use any kind of utensils with this set without worrying about doing any damage to the cookware. With most nonstick cookware you can only use plastic or nylon cooking utensils in most cases, otherwise you could damage the coating. Again, there are some exceptions to this rule like the Scanpan CTX which we linked to a few sentences above. The titanium ceramic nonstick coating on this particular set is very tough, so you can use metal utensils without worrying about doing any damage. Most better nonstick cookware sets come with a limited lifetime warranty, so you shouldn’t be too concerned about how long they will last if you intend to take proper care of them.
When you use nonstick cookware you should also know that this type of cookware can’t be used on high temperatures. This is because high temperatures cause damage to the coating, so you must be careful to avoid this. The heat distribution properties of nonstick ceramic help to evenly distribute heat, so you should never need to use nonstick cookware above medium temperatures in any case.

In terms of being oven friendly, there are cookware sets from both sides that can be used in the oven. Generally it all depends on what sort of handles are used with the cookware set, so there is no real advantage to choosing one over the other in this case. You will need to check the product specifications to see if the particular set you want is oven friendly or not.

To sum things up, stainless steel is very durable, but somewhat more difficult to clean. Nonstick is easier to clean and work with, but you must be careful with the cookware to keep it in the best condition.
You can see some of our top rated reviewed nonstick cookware sets under the reviews section.