Ceramic v Stainless Steel Cookware

Ask any group of chefs which type of cookwarSilicone Bakeware Dangers – Is it Safe?e they prefer and you’ll trigger a lively discussion with plenty of strong opinions! Whilst stainless steel cookware accounts for 50% of cookware sold, ceramic cookware is increasingly popular and both types definitely have their fans.

The biggest difference is that ceramic cookware is non-stick. Because of this, it is easier to clean and ideal for inexperienced cooks. On the other hand, it is better suited for low and medium heat cooking. When cooking with ceramic cookware you should only use utensils made from nylon, silicone or wood to prevent scratches to the non-stick surface. In sharp contrast, stainless steel cookware is tough and resilient and can resist being man-handled by even the poorest cooks! It can be used to cook foods at higher temperatures and a thorough cleaning will make it look good as new.

If you’re looking for a new set of cooking pans, which is best for you? Read on as we explore the key differences between ceramic v stainless steel to help you make the right choice.

An Introduction to Ceramic and Stainless Steel Cookware

Benefits of Ceramic Cookware

Ceramic Cookware

Ceramic cookware can be stylish, good looking and very easy to use. It has a non-stick lining that makes it easy to cook foods to perfection before slipping it easily out of the pan onto the serving plate.

Ceramic cookware can be used on both gas and electric cookers and a big advantage is that they can be used to store food in both the fridge and freezer. They can often also be used in the microwave too (provided they don’t contain any metal!) 

Ceramic pans do not contain any metals to taint food nor do they retain flavours from foods that you previously cooked in the pan. They can be used for all types of cooking but only at low and medium heats and using fat is not necessary. The non-stick surface must be treated with care because scratches and chips mean that the heat is not conducted well and can render the pan useless. Some manufacturers do recommend that you season the pan to enhance its non-stick properties before you start using it.

Stainless Steel v Ceramic Cookware

Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless steel pans can also be stylish to look at and come in a variety of qualities. The best quality stainless steel cookware is made from triple-ply stainless steel with a copper core as this enhances heat conduction. Stainless steel pans can be used with both gas and electric cookers and are perfect for cooking on high heat to sear meat or make the perfect sit fry although they will need  cooking oil. They too are healthy to use as they do not affect the flavour of the food being cooked nor do they retain food flavours.

Ceramic v Stainless Steel Cookware – Which is Best for My Cooking Style?

Whilst ceramic cookware is most suited to low and medium heat cooking, stainless steel can be used with high heat for fast cooking. Ceramic cookware because of its non-stick lining needs no fat, but stainless steel definitely does. Peanut and coconut oils and sprays are best as they work well at high temperatures. It does take practice using a stainless steel pan to understand how much fat is needed and also, if the pan does not have a copper core, whether it has any hot spots where food can burn.

Ceramic v Stainless Steel Cookware – Which is Easiest to Clean?

Because of their non-stick properties, ceramic pans are very easy to wash. Usually some hot soapy water and a non-abrasive pan scourer is all that is needed. Check the label, if you are buying a new pan as most ceramic pans cannot be washed in a dishwasher – although this isn’t really necessary.

Stainless steel pans are definitely more rugged and can take a battering in the kitchen! They do take longer to clean and will often need a good soaking followed by a pan scourer but having said that, they bounce back and look great once again! Stainless steel pans can be popped in the dishwasher, but if food is cooked on, they might not clean perfectly.

Ceramic or Stainless Steel Cookware – Which is Better Value?

Ceramic cookware is definitely the cheaper option up front. Having said that, they are less of an investment as they will only last a few years because their non-stick lining is easily damaged. Their life can be prolonged by using the correct utensils and storing the pans with a folded tea towel to protect the non-stick lining.

Stainless steel pans, on the other hand, can be looked on as heirloom pans as they can last a lifetime! Opt for the better quality ones with a coper core as cheaper stainless steel can lose its shape and will not conduct heat evenly.

Which Cookware Should You Buy?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference, but it is worth giving some consideration before you go shopping as to what you will want to use your pans for – what style of cooking, what heat setting will you like to use and whether you will want ‘easy clean’ pans.

If you are a relative novice, the best option for you is likely to be ceramic cookware. It is easy to use and easy to clean, meaning that you can be in and out of the kitchen quickly.

If you are a bit more experienced and don’t mind some extra work to clean up after cooking, stainless steel cookware is for you. It will withstand almost anything and will last a lifetime.