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Stainless Steel And Non Stick Cooking Pans

28 13:27:47
I have had cheap, medium priced and expensive stainless steel, cheap, medium priced and expensive non-stick and at all price brackets stainless steel beats the non-stick. Although I have also learned that one should buy the best (which, if you look for one indicator, means the heaviest and thickest-based) cookware one can afford, unless it's only for temporary arrangement.

I have been cooking for about 15 years now, and I tried almost the whole gamut of cookware products. All have their benefits, and I wouldn't be without my cast-iron enamelled Le Creusets or silicone loaf tin. Copper pans have fantastic uses too. Overall, though, for pots and pans for the majority of cooking tasks you can't beat stainless steel (although I do keep my eyes open for hard anodised not-non-stick finishes, but these, so far, have been too expensive for the relatively small extra benefit).


1) Stainless steel will last longer. Whatever you do, if used regularly and in a normal manner, the non-stick coating will, eventually, develop scratches, and peel and crack. In fact, it's recommended to change the non-stick cookware every few years! Excuse me, but I can't afford (and in all honesty, don't want to) use a product that seems to have built-in obsolescence. If I spend 40GBP ($80) on a cooking pot, I expect it to last for many years, not to need replacing almost as soon as I get used to it.

2) Stainless steel is much more forgiving. With most non-stick surfaces, you are limited in the range of cooking tools and cleaning implements that you can use. Even the ingredients of your dish (bones and shells for example) can scratch the surface! I am busy and cook in a flurry of creative chaos (to call it nicely) and I think the effort to keep special plastic or wooden tools for the pot or pots I am using is just not worth the additional benefit. Plus, once those little scratches appear, something will stick and as you try to clean it, the surface will get damaged more, and then stick more, and so on.

3) Non stick sticks. I am yet to see a truly non-stick non-stick. It might be my personal talent for burning things, but they do, occasionally, burn, cook dry, overheat and similar. With a stainless steel cookware it can pretty much always be scraped, scrubbed and sanded off. With a non-stick surface, although it might take longer for the disaster to happen, once it's stuck, that's it: you can't resort to Brillo pads or sharp blades, you can only throw the thing away.

4) Stainless steel is more heat resistant. It can be used in the oven at all temperatures (including over 200C), and if you accidentally overheat it on the hob, it doesn't start to emit mysterious fumes, but just goes, well, very, very hot.

5) Non stick produces noxious fumes. Overheated stainless steel fumes won't give you a headache, kill your canary or cause bad reaction in your child. In fact, there won't be any fumes at all, just a very hot pan. Overheated non-stick can produce pretty noxious fumes that have been known to kill pet birds and cause people to suffer to.

6) Stainless steel doesn't chip and the chips are not a health hazard, like chips of non-stick are often considered to be.

7) Non stick is more fragile. You can stack stainless steel pans inside each other, chuck other things made of metal into them and generally store them with much less care than you have to give to non-stick.

8) Good stainless steel doesn't clean any worse than non-stick with a bit of a soak, and is in fact much easier to clean if anything does stick.

My favourite stainless steel cookware brand is Stellar (I like Lamina & 1000 series, but if you are sill unconvinced, they do lots of non-stick too!).