We can’t off the bat say that there is any one material that is best for cookware. Every material will have its upsides and downsides. And different materials will work best for certain methods.
An ideal sauté pan may be sensitive to temperature, but a braising pot needs to regulate and hold heat in spite of temperature changes.
You should have a cookware roster that is made up of materials that are best suited to their roles, and the foods you cook.
If you are a cooking enthusiast or just want to learn more about cooking check out www.alices.kitchen, and stick around to find out more about cooking materials.
What Are The Common Materials?
There are 6 common cookware materials, aside from non-stick of course. These are the six:
- Cast Iron.
- Carbon Steel.
- Stainless Steel.
- Stoneware and Clay.
We will look into the beneficial properties of each of these now.
To start up, stainless steel.
This material is made when chromium, and nickel is added to steel which makes it strongly anti-corrosive. The most preferable type of stainless steel will be marked as “18/10”, which is the ratio of chromium to nickel that is added.
Other types can have good results though. It is ideal as it will not react with any acidic or alkaline foods, and it doesn’t scratch easy either.
However, it does not conduct heat very well, but luckily there is a process that permanently bonds layers to copper and aluminum which allows it to conduct heat, making it even more versatile.
Copper is one of the best conductors of heat. It heats evenly and quickly, and it also cools as well as it heats, so you get full control over how the heat is applied.
A pan will have responsiveness, which is how quickly it responds to a change in temperature, and it can be a major factor in whether it will deliver the best results.
Copper can’t be used alone for much kitchenware as it reacts with natural acids and minerals, which can give some foods a metallic taste. This is why it is usually lined with stainless steel or tin to give it a safe barrier.
Stainless steel lining lasts a lifetime, but tin will wear down, so stainless steel is preferred.
The biggest downside is that copper is expensive as it’s a precious metal. But with how well it cooks your food, it is worth it.
Aluminum is second best after copper when it comes to being able to conduct heat. It’s also pretty cheap and when it has magnesium, copper and other metals to strengthen it, becomes a very responsive piece of cooking equipment.
However, like copper, it will react with natural foods on its own, so it is usually lined with non-stock coatings, or stainless steel clad.
Another alternative is that it becomes anodized, which will harden the surface and give it a gray color. This is becoming very popular as it looks nice, is easy cleaning and more durable in the long term.
Many stainless steel pots are not usable on induction stoves unless they are paired with an exterior made of steel. They will usually have some requirements that you need to consider so always look into what the manufacturer recommends.
Carbon steel is the next best conductor of heat. It is durable and cheap, and is usually found in use for woks and skillets.
It can be very versatile, although it can be heat and slow to heat. You may also find that they react with extremely acidic foods so are not the best material all round. However, they can retain heat very well, and they are a great choice for using high heat techniques.
Cast iron is actually not the best conductor of heat, it is relatively poor. It takes ages to cool down and heat up. But this does mean it is ideal for cooking in things such as a fry pan, grill pan, Dutch oven, or griddle.
Cast iron is durable, and it will not dent, wrap, or chip easily. It can be bought in its natural state or with an enamel coating.
This is the oldest type of cookware, but they are very durable and can give you incredible results. Pizza is often cooked this way. These are used most often for mac and cheese, casseroles, lasagna and so on.
They heat evenly and hold heat like cast iron does.