If you’ve ever stayed up watching late night tv, odds are that you’ve seen some pretty interesting infomercials hosted by an insanely energetic and charismatic individual trying to sell you one home product or another promising to make your life easier. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if the products work as promised. When it come to the kitchen, it seems like there’s a constant parade of new gadgets and gimmicks that will “revolutionize” your kitchen. Magic Bullet anyone? With all of this noise it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. However, waterless cookware is not a gimmick. It allows for low-heat cooking without additional fats or oils – a healthier way to cook for you and your family.
In this article we’ll take closer look and help you discover if waterless cookware is right for you.
What is Waterless Cookware?
As the name suggests, waterless cookware enables cooking without the use of additional water or grease. This approach is generally healthier and uses less energy. Utilizing the water that is naturally found in foods and the remaining drops of water from washing your veggies enables the food to be properly cooked at lower temperatures. This reduces the need to use oils to prevent sticking and helps maintain the nutrient density in the vegetables that is often lost when cooking at higher temperatures.
Note that using waterless cookware does not mean that you never need to add water. Some foods like rice will still need additional water to be added. However, waterless cooking unlocks the potential of the water that is naturally stored in foods.
Waterless cookware has a stainless steel cooking surface to prevent metals leaching into food, an iron core to retain heat, and an aluminum or copper base that is thicker than average to ensure that heat is evenly distributed. This combination of materials enables even heating, rapid heat transfer, and heat retention inside the cookware, aided by a water-tight seal that promotes the circulation of the steam.
Waterless pots and pans feature a steam control valve on the lid that allows cooks a form of temperature control. By closing this valve, steam stays locked inside and allows higher temperatures to be reached, even when the heat on the stovetop is low.
What are the Benefits of Waterless Cookware?
So we’ve talked about what waterless cookware is and how it works – but why should you care? Read on to learn more about the benefits and why waterless cookware could revolutionize the way you cook.
There are a variety of reasons to use waterless cookware, but the primary reason is that by cooking in this method, you don’t need to add extra fats or oils. For many people this can be a quick and easy way to reduce the amount of fat and overall calories consumed in your diet.
Let’s face it, we’re all busier than ever and when we’re busy our diet tends to suffer. By making the switch to waterless cookware, you can take a simple but important step towards a healthier lifestyle. In addition to using fewer fats, more nutrients will remain in your food when cooking. In the traditional pan-frying or steaming of foods, vital nutrients are cooked out due to water vapor evaporating and the high-heat.
More Beautiful Food
Have you tried to make Instagram worthy healthy food, only to have the results look like a glorified microwave dinner? You’re not alone! The low-heat steaming of waterless cooking allows for the foods to be more vibrant, presentable, and enjoyable. Even the pickiest eaters will have a hard time saying no to the beautifully crisp broccoli!
Like the beautiful, bright food you can cook in the waterless cookware, the pots and the pans themselves are quite beautiful. Made from stainless steel, they have sleek, clean, modern looks to make any kitchen (or cook) more beautiful.
Everyone likes energy savings, right? Waterless cookware works two-fold in reducing energy consumption. First, by reducing the amount of cook time. Food can be cooked faster because heat is trapped inside the pot due to the water-tight seal. This means less energy required for the duration of cooking. The second saving comes from the fact that you can cook food on low or medium settings due to the same heat efficiency.
Safer Cooking & Durability
In this regard safer cooking and the durability of the cookware go hand in hand. The materials are of higher quality. Usually, they are made of surgical steel due to its impermeable nature which prevents heavy metals from seeping into the food. It also prevents aluminum from coming into contact with your food. Secondly, since it is corrosion resistant you don’t need to worry about corroded particles from the pot or pan leaching into your food. Since waterless cookware is made of stronger materials it is usually more expensive but often times it comes with a lifetime warranty. Like all stainless steel cookware, it’s built to last.
What are the Cons of Waterless Cookware?
Unfortunately, there are few perfect things in this world. That also goes for waterless cookware as well. There are some drawbacks to this cookware, which we’ll lay out for you below.
As briefly mentioned above the price could perhaps put some people off. It can be significantly more expensive than ‘traditional’ cookware, with a set of pots often reaching the $200 mark. However, if you take into consideration the durability and potential lifetime warranties, that can possibly make the price easier to swallow.
If you are like us and have a hard time waiting for water to boil, and always like to check up on how the food is going, waterless cooking could be a nightmare for you as you can’t open the lid whilst it is cooking! Opening the lid will release the heat and the moisture that is required for the food to cook properly.
On the flip side, you might need to stick around the kitchen whilst food cooks to control the steam valve. This can be an inconvenience for some, especially when talking about foods with relatively long cook times.
Difficult to clean lids
Whilst the steam valve is necessary to properly control the temperature, it can also make the pot lids of waterless cookware a pain to clean. Whilst the rest of the posts are as easy to clean as any stainless steel pans, cleaning the lids properly can be a painstaking process.
While the materials that are used to make them are durable and safe, this can also make them quite heavy. The combination of steel, copper, and iron can make this cookware difficult for some people to cook with.
With so many options nowadays on what and where to buy things, it can be a bit overwhelming at times. Especially when it comes to more expensive items, you want to make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. When buying waterless cookware, there are a few things that you should look for to ensure quality:
- Made from surgical grade steel
- Dishwasher safe
- Oven safe
- Heavy-gauge bottom
- Lifetime warranty
In addition to these characteristics, American Grocery has a helpful buying guide for waterless cookware. This includes a list with some of their favorite items along with an in-depth description of each brand as well as the pros and cons of each of the cookware sets. You can use it as a starting point to help find what is right for you.
What to Cook in Waterless Cookware?
At first, it might be challenging to get used to this new method of cooking and there might be a little bit of a learning curve trying to figure out what recipes to cook. However, like pretty much everything, practice makes perfect.
Lastly, let’s look at a recipe to make the transition to waterless cookware a little bit easier, that is, if you decide to make the change! Or at the very least, add it to your culinary repertoire. You will be amazed just how easy cooking with it can be!
Juicy Fried Chicken and Potato Skillet
- 6 legs, thighs, wings or any combination. Skin removed.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4-6 small potatoes, quartered
- 1 onion quartered
Heat the pan at a medium heat until water beads form when dripped in the pan. Salt and pepper chicken. Add chicken pieces and brown all sides. Add potatoes and onions. Cover and heat until the steam tries to escape. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 20‑25 minutes until potatoes are done.
When you start to lookup more waterless recipes yourself you will find that there is a consistent method across recipes. You first start cooking meat, add your seasonings, then add your veggies. After that, you close the lid and wait for the prescribed time. Voilà! It’s that easy!
For more ideas, you can check out Food24 which has a list of 20 different recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to help you figure out what to cook and when to help you along the way. And if that isn’t enough, Pinterest is another great source to find many more delicious waterless cooking recipes!