Many questions have plagued the minds of chefs throughout the ages, but the one that has practically divided the cooking community is, perhaps unsurprisingly, about cookware. Maybe you have found yourself on the precipice of this major decision in your cooking career: ceramic vs stainless steel cookware.
Yes, it’s that eons-old debate: ceramic vs stainless steel. Today, it’s all going to be out on the table, including the pros and cons of each and what each has over the other. In the end, you can decide for yourself whether cooking with ceramic or stainless steel is better for you.
First up is ceramic, a combination of heated oxides and non-oxides. People have been using ceramics for millennia. Something that’s lasted that long has to be good… right?
The Pros of Ceramic:
1) It’s completely free of toxins. This is probably one of the best advantages when it comes to ceramic. The material is all-natural and completely free of chemicals like cadmium or lead. This ensures that anything cooked in your nonstick cookware is safe for you and your loved ones to eat. Which is a definite plus.
2) It has a nonstick surface. Another big advantage ceramic has over stainless steel is that ceramic is naturally non-stick. Stainless steel is not. Ceramic is also free of Teflon, a chemical commonly found in non-stick, non-ceramic cookware. Teflon has been linked to things like thyroid disorders, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, and testicular cancer.
3) It’s easy to clean. While it’s not exactly dishwasher safe – you can put it in the dishwasher, but it will shorten the life of the coating of your pans – ceramic’s non-stick nature means that cleanup is easy. Just let it cool, grab some warm water and a sponge, and rub it down. Simple as that!
4) It heats up evenly. Ceramic is famous for heating completely evenly. No more worrying about uneven cooking or burning your food!
The Cons of Ceramic:
1) Shorter Lifespan. While a ceramic pan or pot has an impressive lifespan, it’s nothing compared to that of stainless steel. If you’re a clumsy person, ceramic may not be for you. One fall to the floor might spell the end for your cookware.
2) Not safe for metal. You cannot use metal utensils with ceramic cookware. If you prefer metal utensils, then ceramic may not be for you as metal could damage and even break ceramics. Wood or nylon is best.
3) Low to medium heat only. Another thing about ceramic cookware set is that it can only be used on low to medium heat. This may restrict your recipes in the kitchen because you might want to cook something on high heat. If you don’t like to be restricted, ceramics may not be for you.
Stainless steel. The name has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? It just inspires confidence in the kitchen. Stainless is always good and steel has to be durable, so if you put them both together you get cookware that
The Pros of Stainless Steel:
1) Super Durable. Gone are the days when you’ll have to worry about chipping or rust. Stainless steel is resistant to both of these common issues. It’s also the second most durable material on the market, coming in second only to cast iron.
2) Even Cooking. Like ceramic, if the stainless steel is made correctly, your cookware will absorb heat beautifully. Stainless steel has one of the best heat extensions on the market, making for amazing cooking performance.
3) Low Maintenance. There’s nothing special about cleaning stainless steel. No measures to take to prevent rusting, no extra guides one would need to look upon the internet about using steel wool or a wooden spoon. Just scrub it using soap and water for simple, regular cleaning. And a lot of these products are dishwasher safe too, so it may be even less work!
4) Not Food Reactive. Finally, you can cook anything on stainless steel cookware. From tomato sauce to lemons, any acidic product can go on a stainless steel pot or pan without a chef having to worry about getting some foreign flavor.
The Cons of Stainless Steel
1) Non-non-stick. Sorry for the double negative, but stainless steel is not non-stick. You need a lot of oil for this kind of cookware to create a non-stick surface.
2) It’s expensive. For the chefs who are on a budget, stainless steel might not be for you. It tends to be a bit pricier than other options.
Which one gets it better when it comes to…
Safety? Ceramic. One scratch on a stainless steel pan can lead to metal particles going into your food.
Price? Ceramic. As previously mentioned, stainless steel can be pricey. You can find a nice ceramic set for about $100.
Durability? Stainless steel. While ceramic is durable, almost nothing beats stainless steel.
Popularity? Stainless steel. Durability and the fact that it’s easily maintained make stainless steel way more popular.
So, the real answer to the question of ceramic vs stainless steel is one that comes up a lot in a chef’s life. At the end of the day, it’s up to you and how you want to run your kitchen. Then again, you could always just have both ceramic and stainless steel in your kitchen.