Stainless Steel Cookware: Pros and Cons
With all the fancy options of material for cookware, why do people choose stainless steel?
Well, the truth is that while stainless steel might not be the new thing in cookware, it has had a solid place in the kitchen for a long time.
There are many reasons stainless steel is popular, but there are a few things to consider if you are looking to buy some.
Here are the pros and cons of using stainless steel cookware.
- What is Stainless Steel Cookware Made of?
- PROS: Advantages of Stainless Steel Cookware
- CONS: Disadvantages of Stainless Steel Cookware
- Should You Buy Stainless Steel Cookware?
What is Stainless Steel Cookware?
Stainless steel is a classic choice of cookware known for its beautiful shine and durability.
It is used in the home and by top chefs around the world and considered to be a premium choice of cookware.
Stainless steel was first invented in the early 1900s, to help stop rusting in gun barrels.
It quickly grew in popularity as it was branded as "rustless metal", and started being used in everything from knives to jet aircraft.
What is Stainless Steel Cookware Made of?
Stainless steel is an iron alloy blend containing some chromium and nickel.
This blend helps give the metal heat and corrosion resistance.
Regular stainless steel is naturally a poor heat conductor, and that is its main drawback.
However, higher-quality stainless steel blends now have less nickel and are made with an aluminum or copper base.
This aluminum or copper base allows the stainless steel to both heat and cook food more evenly.
PROS: Advantages of Stainless Steel Cookware
The main feature of stainless steel is that it is a very tough and long-lasting material.
There are low-quality stainless steel brands that won’t be as durable, but most are hard extremely hard to damage.
When it comes to stainless steel you should avoid going too cheap with your purchase.
Easy to Clean
Stainless steel is arguably the easiest cookware to clean. Of course, that is if you don’t forget the oil or butter and blacken your food to a fiery crisp.
However, if you do, another advantage of stainless steel is that it is almost always dishwasher safe.
The ability to clean it with ease makes stainless steel a great option for beginner cooks.
You will also find that pretty much any size or type of pan you are looking for is available in stainless steel.
Stainless steel is considered to be one of the safest materials for cookware, as it is less likely than other materials to leech metals from the pan into your food.
If you do manage to somehow scratch it badly you might consider replacing it because then leeching may be more likely. Scratching it is really hard to do, as stainless steel is scratch and corrosion-resistant.
As most stainless is non-stick, you also don’t have to worry about the harmful chemicals from the non-stick surface.
While there is no cookware that is truly 100 percent safe, stainless steel cookware is known to be right up there next to cast iron to be great for cooking food safely.
Stainless steel is well-known for being non-reactive to food and for its ability to withstand high heat.
Therefore this is a go-to for cooks who really strive to maintain and preserve the natural flavors of their food.
CONS: Disadvantages of Stainless Steel Cookware
As mentioned before, it is not a great idea to go cheap when it comes to stainless steel.
The prices for a quality 10 pc stainless steel set are not out of this world, as it will usually cost you just under $200.
They get more pricey than that, and the morse expensive ones are worth considering.
The main reason to consider spending more is that a good set of stainless cookware can last your lifetime if properly maintained.
When you consider this, it makes it a lot easier to spend the money on something you will use daily for a long time.
Poor Heat Distribution
The heat distribution in lower quality and more basic stainless steel is poor, and not really worth your time.
It can take longer to heat up and may cook food unevenly.
You can avoid this disadvantage by looking for higher quality stainless steel cookware. As mentioned before, the higher-quality stuff is layered with a copper or aluminum base to counteract the uneven heating problem.
In fact, the combination of copper or aluminum with stainless steel eliminates almost all of the cons of cooking regular stainless steel.
With proper caution and care, this should never happen, but it is something to consider.
A multi-colored tint can appear after use which is sometimes called "heat tint."
It is caused by the small amounts of chromium in the pan that help reduce corrosion and rust.
It can occur if you let your water boil dry in your pot, or the pan just sits at high heat with nothing in it.
This tint is nothing to worry about other than for aesthetics reasons.
To remove this discoloration you can use a stainless steel cleaner like Bar Keepers Friend or Comet.
You have to be aware and make sure to use butter or oils because foods can easily stick to the surface.
This makes cooking a bit harder if you are trying to cut out fats and oils from your diet.
Regular stainless cookware is designed for food to stick, and there are good reasons for it.
Also, most stainless steel sets do now come with at least one pan with a non-stick surface.
While this sticky surface is an issue in some cases, it can be solved by seasoning your stainless steel cookware.
Just like when seasoning cast iron, you use oils and high temperatures to help create a non-stick surface on your stainless steel pan.
Should You Buy Stainless Steel Cookware?
We don't want to tell you how to live your life but, yes you should.
Stainless steel is all-around a great choice for cookware. It is just hard to beat the triple combination of versatility, durability, and easy cleaning.
Most, if not all of the disadvantages of stainless steel can be easily solved by choosing higher-quality brands.
They cost more money, yes, but they are some of the best options in cookware.
Stainless steel has been a popular choice for a long time and will most likely be for a long time to come.
So if you are looking to buy some new cookware, just remember you cannot go wrong with stainless steel.