Let’s look quickly at why ceramic nonstick can be considered better in comparison to other cookware types. In a nutshell, the following looks at ceramic vs aluminum vs stainless steel vs cast iron vs copper.
5 reasons to like ceramic
- Ceramic is easy to clean.
- It has no harmful PTFE, PFOAs, or heavy metals.
- Ceramic won’t taint the flavor of your food (as you find with metal cookware).
- Ceramic is a greener alternative as it is considered non-toxic and more eco-friendly than most other cookware materials.
- Ceramic doesn’t react with acids from tomatoes, citrus, and other acidic food
The thing to like about aluminum cookware is that it is lightweight, heats rapidly, and is cheap.
What’s not so good is that the base can warp from the high heat and the health concerns with aluminum.
Aluminum cooking vessels leach aluminum, which is considered a neurotoxin, meaning it is a toxin that affects the brain and nervous system.
Aluminum cookware is especially reactive to acidic food with older saucepans leaching more so than newer ones. This is something to consider when cooking popular tomato soups, for example.
Cast iron cookware
Cast iron cookware will last you a life time. It is solid and rugged and will take the highest of cooking temperatures.
The thing with cast iron is that it can rust if not properly cared for. It can taint the flavor of your food, especially if cooking with tomatoes, as iron will leach from the vessel. However, these things can be minimized if the cookware is not seasoned correctly. The other thing is that it can add black specks to your food. This is something you can avoid as I explain in my article covering the black residue from cast iron pans.
Cast iron cookware is heavy and takes the longest of times to heat. Once it is heated however, it will hold that heat for longer.
Cast iron cookware can be a great option for low-fat cooking – see my article on the best cast iron pan here!
Iron has benefits for our health, but people who suffer problems with iron build up (e.g. because of hemochromatosis) need to be watchful of this.
Stainless steel cookware
Stainless steel cookware is a popular option. Often it has copper contained within the base to allow the pots and pans to heat rapidly and evenly. These will last you for years as well if properly cared for. They are fairly easy to clean. You need good quality stainless steel.
For info on the quality rating of stainless steel, see my article on the Made In brand of stainless steel cookware.
A metal alloy product, lower quality stainless steel cookware can leach metals such as iron, chromium, molybdenum, nickel, titanium, copper, and vanadium into food. Nickel is not needed for our health.
Copper in cookware
Copper kitchen decor is appealing for some and so copper cookware compliments this look.
Copper conducts heat well.
The thing about copper though is that it is reactive to acid and so leaches metals, copper and possibly nickel, into the foods being prepared. These metals have potential human health effects when accumulated at high levels.