As long as you can fry the perfect egg, it doesn’t matter what material you are using right? Wrong! There is a reason there are so many different types to choose from and it is not all about price. Some are safer to use, some materials will be faster to heat whilst others will be more durable to see which is the best overall, we have taken a close look at the most common. There are those that are better for different techniques but whatever you are after, here is a guide to the different types of cookware materials:
One of the most common materials used in cookware, and for good reason. For the every day casual chef, these are well suited and are one of the best materials for scratch resistance. This means you can use metal spoons, spatulas, you name it and it won’t impact the finish. The user also gets plenty of control as they offer reasonable heat responsiveness so when you need to reduce the heat, it’ll respond in kind.
Anyone worried about transferring flavors between the. cookware material and the food they are cooking should consider stainless steel as it isn’t an issue. When it comes to cleaning, they can go in the dishwasher and take a fair amount of punishment in terms of scrubbing. The main thing to look out for is the difference between a quality product and the ones worth avoiding.
Another common material that is known for its quality which is why it is a mainstay in various professional kitchens around the world. Not only for the elite, although they can help moves your skills to the next level, they are versatile enough to be used on any surface but should not be put in the dishwasher or used with detergent. The best approach for cleaning is to use a paper towel otherwise it could rust due to its lack of chromium.
Still, the best carbon steel pans are of high quality because they heat fast and create an evenly distributed surface for heat. They are more brittle than most so if they are dropped they are less likely to break or damage and they are also easier to handle because they are lighter than the likes of cast iron.
Non-stick pans are often found in most households but not often in a professional kitchen. This is because although they are affordable and easy to use, they are not as durable. The coating tends to chip and fray over time which can find its way into your meal. Although they are good for when you are cooking sticky foods, you will need to use plastic or wooden utensils, and do so with care since they don’t offer much in the way of scratch resistance.
Non-stick pans are easy to clean although they are not well suited to high heat as it can cause the coating to wear faster.
Arguably the most eye-catching type of cookware material, copper is resistant to changing cooking temperatures so whether you need to heat fast or cool down without scolding what is in the pan, copper is a good option. The user gets an even cooking surface and versatility as they are fine for sauteing, boiling, searing, simmering, and beyond.
Sometimes these products can be on the heavy side and to maintain their appealing shine there is a level of upkeep that will not be necessary with other options they are also expensive, can dent easily, and are not suited to induction surfaces.
These heavy yet durable cookware items are ideal for cooking with plenty of heat and stay hot for longer than other materials. On the other hand, this makes them difficult for cooling down once you want to take the edge off. Still, they are good for non-stick purposes and can transfer minerals such as iron into your food naturally.
In terms of durability, these are some of the best which is why they have been used for the generation, passing their quality cast iron cookware down. You’ll get a good workout using them as they are heavy, and need some maintenance to prevent rust.
Enameled Cast Iron
These offer more versatility than regular cast iron products, heating slower and more evenly. They are colorful and can be used for everything from sauteing to frying. Both dishwasher safe and fine to go in the oven up to around 500 degrees F depending on the product and other materials used. Much like their regular versions, these are heavy pans and will last a long time.
You can wash them with soap and water without any issue so they are also low maintenance compared to other types. However, they take a while to cool down and are not as responsive heat-wise.
So, What Is The Best Cookware Material?
We are not taking into account price here as we are purely looking for the best material and because they are used by professional chefs and anyone who takes their cooking seriously, we have to go with carbon steel. Although they are not as easy to clean, it only takes a little added care to keep these highly versatile and quality pans in good condition.
When cooking under pressure or even when you want to get the most out of your time at the stove, carbon steel pans are great as they are fast to heat but also responsive to changes in temperature. These are traits you don’t get from the likes of cast iron and they are certainly lighter and easier to handle.
For aesthetic purposes, you can’t beat that shine of a copper pan but the upkeep and price given that they are not as versatile as carbon steel makes them less ideal. The cooking style is a big factor when looking for the best products for your need but carbon steel are good for multi-purpose cooking as they offer even heat distribution.
Does The Cooktop Matter?
The surface you are cooking on should influence your choice of cookware material. Make sure it is suitable as some are not to be used on the likes of induction stovetops for example. Round bottom products such as woks will also not be usable on a flat surface so there is much to take into account when looking for the ideal cookware material and style.