Ceramic vs Stainless-Steel Cookware
Cooking of its own accord is a great way to beat stress and make delicious meals for yourself and your family. However, there are few things more frustrating than a bad set of pots and pans. And that’s regardless of whether they’re ceramic, stainless steel or any other material. The best way to combat this is to invest in high-quality pots. Particularly ones that can enhance the experience of your culinary expertise. And that starts with choosing the right cookware materials.
Both stainless steel and ceramic cookware frequently hit the top spots, when it comes to the best pots and pans on the market. But which material is better for you? Find out which type is better for your own cooking style as we go head to head with ceramic vs stainless steel cookware, in this article.
Benefits of Stainless Steel Cookware
Arguably the biggest factor, when it comes to choosing stainless steel cookware, is the ability of this material to easily handle high heat levels. Its high melting point means you can really go to town when it comes to cooking. And – provided you season your pan first – it can have an extremely long lifespan. Allowing you to cook with one set of pots and pans for the rest of your life.
Better still, stainless steel is completely inert, meaning that it won’t leech tastes or odours into food. Nor will it absorb these from the food itself. There’s a wide range of different styles and types available. And these can often be found at very reasonable prices. Although you should always be aware of the quality of the pots you buy.
It is often preferred by home chefs over cast iron, because the heat distribution is much more even than the cast iron options. While cast iron can help with regards to specific cooking times and gaining the exact texture they’re aiming for, a home-based cook will often prefer to have the security of knowing their food is being heated evenly. With no hot spots and danger of areas being undercooked.
Stainless steel is also incredibly easy to clean
Particularly as many are treated with non-stick coatings, such as Teflon, or can be seasoned to become non-stick (we discuss how to do this, below). If you’re in a pinch, a lot of stainless steel cookware can even be dishwasher safe, making clean-up much quicker and easier. Do be aware, however, that excessive humidity can sometimes corrode the metal surface of the pan. So, try not to do this too often.
Finally, stainless steel offers a lighter, sleeker option in kitchenware. Thus allowing you to match any and all kitchens, thanks to the minimalist style of the pots. Available in just one colour, you can be sure that using stainless steel ensure that your kitchen gadgets will always sit well with their design.
Benefits of Ceramic Cookware
Ceramic cookware goes back thousands of years, before the advent of harmful chemicals. And, therefore, has been used by everyone from the Greeks to the Chinese over its history. Made solely with water and organic materials, before being primed in extremely high temperatures, there’s a reason why ceramic cookware has survived for so long – even with the advent of manufacturing and the production of the less expensive metals.
For starters, ceramic cookware is extremely durable, in that it can withstand a high heat of up to 2,700 Fahrenheit. Many ceramic pots and pans now also use an aluminum base, which allows for the even distribution of heat, to help combat the hot spots that can be created when cooking on the stovetop.
Ceramic is also naturally non-stick.
Meaning you usually don’t have to worry about any additional coating and can even allow you to use less butter or oil before cooking. This, in turn, can even help some households lose weight, as using fewer calories during your cooking can mean fewer calories end up in your stomach! Similarly, being able to use less of these grease-based ingredients means you can get the more authentic taste of whatever you happen to be cooking. Especially as the flavours won’t be diluted with oils or similar.
The non-stick also means that cleaning up is easy. As buyers simply need some hot water and soap, in order to shift away the ingredients, without the need for a scrubbing brush. The easy to clean nature of ceramic cookware means you can spend more time enjoying your food and less time worrying about soaking your dishes.
Finally, ceramic cookware can come in a wide range of colours and designs. And, therefore, is ideal for those looking to add a little variety to their kitchen, or wanting to wow at the dinner table. If you’re looking for something unique, to match your unique personality or vivid kitchen decor, then ceramic is a great choice to opt for.
Ceramic Vs Stainless Steel Cookware – Pros and Cons
Heat Distribution, Retention and Timing
First and foremost, is one of the most important aspects when looking into cookware – how well the cookware actually heats and cooks the food itself. For starters, we know that stainless steel cookware is excellent for heat distribution and retains heat extremely well. However, it may take a little while longer than other cookware types to heat up. Either by a few minutes or seconds (depending on the heat).
In comparison, ceramic cookware takes longer to heat but may also have excellent heat distribution, making this a near-tie. You should also be aware of those pots which simply use a ceramic coating. Especially as this can affect the validity of the heat distribution times given. Some options may use metals within the pan itself, which hold heat much better but can throw off your cooking time. In other words, food will often need to be removed straight away, once cooked. In order to avoid your food being overcooked via slower cooling times.
You should also be aware that, for many ceramic pans, despite the overall high heating point, you will need to use low heat in order to avoid damage caused to the surface of the pot. Particularly if the cookware uses a ceramic coating and is not made up entirely of ceramic material.
Cleaning and Care
The second thing you should consider, when buying new cookware, is how easy it is to maintain. Any cookware can be brilliant to use, the first few times you cook. But this can quickly wear off with cheaper options and low-quality materials. Overall, it is generally agreed that stainless steel cookware is extremely easy to use. Mostly because it is so durable and low maintenance. However, it’s no secret that a well-cared-for ceramic option can also be easy to clean up.
The downfall of ceramic cookware, then, falls during the use of the cookware itself. With stainless steel, you can use almost any tools when cooking and never worry about chipping the cookware. In other words, the tough material can easily withstand the occasional scratch from cutlery and utensils. With ceramic options, however, you will need to use silicone or plastic utensils. Which will help to maintain the integrity of the cookware. Worse still, those pots which only use a ceramic coating will inevitably come away over time. Eventually leaving you with a damaged set of cookware that will need to be replaced.
Finally, stainless steel can require seasoning before use
Especially if you have opted for plain steel with no added non-stick coating. By seasoning your cookware, you can ensure that your pans will have a much longer lifespan. You can do this by using a little oil and placing it over medium heat for around 15 minutes. Once this has been done, you’ll need to clean the stainless steel. When we consider this vs ceramic, it’s easy to see that the latter is much easier, as no prep work is required before using your new kitchenware.
For many, the price of the cookware will often affect which type will be purchased. Ensuring that your new ceramic vs stainless steel cookware fits in with your budget is important. Even though both should also be considered investments. As a rule, ceramic options do tend to be much cheaper than stainless steel pots. But do be aware that this can vary from product to product. Particularly as very cheap options will often use cheaper coatings. So they may need to be purchased more frequently, lowering the overall value for money.
Is Ceramic Cookware Better Than Stainless Steel?
When considering the specifics, it can be easy to think that one product is better than the other. Especially when it comes to ceramic vs stainless steel, on a one-on-one basis. However, whichever one seems like the clear winner in this head-to-head will only ever be obvious to you, as your preferences become clear. In other words, the answer is – unfortunately – always much more complex than a simple one vs the other. Mostly due to the individual cooking styles of every, unique chef. In the end, it all comes down to personal choice. And whether you prefer to use stainless steel or ceramics is entirely down to you.