simple natural living on a budget
simple natural living on a budget
pots and pans

Why You Should Switch to Stainless Steel Cookware: The Pros & Cons

There are so many options when you’re looking for new pots and pans: stainless steel cookware, non-stick cookware, ceramic, aluminum, coper, cast iron … So which one do you choose?

Why You Should Switch to Stainless Steel Cookware: the Pros & Cons

For many years, the hottest thing in cookware was to have a nonstick coating. But are they really safe? The government says they are, but do a little research and you will see that they are not.

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Check out your old non-stick pots and pans. Is any of the coating scratched or peeling? If you’ve had them for a while, there’s a good chance it is. So this toxic coating is now flaking off into your food. Yuck!

That’s why I decided to get rid of them! I started doing a little research, and stainless steel is what I settled on. Here’s why:

There are so many benefits to stainless steel cookware:

Safe and Non-toxic

Non-stick cookware contains PFOA and PTFE – the toxic chemicals that give the cookware non-stick properties. If non-stick cookware is scratched, flaking, or overheated, these toxic chemicals can end up in your food.

Check these articles out for some more information on the dangers of non-stick cookware:

Killer Cookware: The Dangers of Teflon

Important Reasons to Ditch Teflon and Non-Stick Cookware

Aluminum is another common material for cookware. But aluminum is a known neurotoxin. Using high heat can leach aluminum into your food.

Stainless steel does not contain any PFOA, PTFE, aluminum, or any other harmful chemicals.

Low Maintenance and Easy to Care For

Stainless steel cookware is easy to clean with your regular dish soap. Burnt on food can easily cleaned with a little elbow grease.

You don’t have to worry about things like seasoning like you would with a high-maintenance cast iron pan.

Highly Durable

Stainless steel is resistant to tarnish, rust, and corrosion. All concerns with other types of metal cookware.

Stainless steel doesn’t scratch or peel like non-stick cookware. So you can use any cooking utensil you like – even metal (a huge no-no for non-stick).

Using too high of heat can cause damage to non-stick coatings, especially in ceramic pans. Not a worry with stainless steel. Stainless steel is practically indestructible!

Versatile

Stainless steel can withstand extremely high temperatures, unlike other cookware. No damage, no chemicals leaching into your food.

It is also oven safe (depending on the material of the handle, of course). Some recipes start on the stove and finish in the oven. You can’t do this with non-stick pans!

Food Tastes Better

Copper, aluminum, and poorly seasoned cast iron can react with acidic foods, leaching chemicals or a metallic or weird tastes into food. Stainless steel is non-reactive to both acidic and alkaline foods, leaving your food tasting like food.

Stainless Steel is recyclable

On the off chance that you do manage to destroy a stainless steel pan, you can rest easy knowing that it doesn’t have to end up in a landfill.

Plus, they look good!

While there are a few disadvantages to stainless steel, I’d say they are relatively minor:

Price

A quality set of stainless steel cookware can be a little pricey, but so is any good quality cookware. There are cheaper options, but you will pay for it with quality.

Heat Transfer

This is only a concern in lower-quality, cheaper cookware. A good stainless steel pan will have a copper or aluminum core surrounded by layers of stainless steel. This helps the pan heat and cook evenly while keeping you protected from the reactive, potentially harmful copper or aluminum.

Food Can Stick

Food can stick to stainless steel. And you will probably end up with a few stuck on messes, especially at first. But fear not! With the proper technique and a little practice, most things won’t stick.

Using and Caring For Stainless Steel Cookware

Cooking with stainless steel can be a little challenging at first. Especially if you’re used to those handy non-stick pans you just tossed out. (You did get rid of them, right?)

Here’s a few cooking tips I’ve learned since getting my new stainless steel pots and pans:

  • Preheat your pans. This is a very important step if you don’t want everything sticking. But keep an eye on it; they can quickly overheat.
  • Drop a few drops of water in the pan to see if it’s properly preheated. If it is, the water droplets will dance around in little balls.
  • Once the pan is preheated, add a little oil or butter and swirl it around the bottom. Let the oil heat up a moment before you start cooking.
  • Bring food to room temperature before adding to the pan. This also helps prevent sticking.
  • If your food is sticking, it’s not ready to flip. The food will naturally start to release from the pan when it is ready to be flipped.

Eggs can be one of the hardest things too cook in a stainless steel pan. After many failed attempts at both scrambled and fried eggs, there are a few tips I’ve learned to make things go a little more smoothly:

  • make sure the pan is preheated
  • don’t turn the heat too high
  • use plenty of oil or butter – you need more than a thin coating to keep eggs from sticking
  • use a metal utensil to help you get under the eggs better

Check this out for step-by-step directions on how to cook eggs in stainless steel cookware.

And a few care tips too:

  • Never run hot stainless steel cookware under cold water. The temperature change can cause them to warp.
  • If you do end up with stuck on food, put enough water in the pot or pan to cover the mess, heat over low heat, cover and remove from heat. Let it sit for a while and the mess should come right out.
  • If you still have stuck on food, a metal scrubber will quickly remove it. Since they don’t have a coating, you don’t have to worry about scratching them.

Try stainless steel for yourself!

They’re safe and non-toxic, extremely durable, low maintenance, versatile, recyclable, and they look good too! After buying a set for myself, I wouldn’t go back to non-stick pans. I love them and I hope you will too!

Have you recently switched to stainless steel cookware? Or maybe you’ve been using them forever. Share your thoughts about them below. Do you have any good tips and tricks for cooking with stainless steel?

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