Both aluminum and ceramic cookware are very popular nowadays. They both have their obvious pros and cons when it comes to cooking, caring, and maintaining. Let’s consider the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of cookware so that you would choose which is better for you.
Which is better — aluminum or ceramic cookware? Aluminum cookware is better for quick meals like scrambled eggs, pancakes, and vegetables, otherwise, it will deform during prolonged heating. Ceramic cookware is better for cooking meat, fish, soup, pies, and vegetables with little or no oil. Aluminum cookware heats up quickly, is affordable and easy to care for. Ceramic cookware is durable, eco-friendly, and scratch-resistant.
Is Ceramic Cookware Any Good? Pros & Cons
Ceramic Cookware Pros:
- The durability of the protective layer. This distinguishes ceramics from many types of coatings, and not only non-stick ones. Suffice it to recall the tile traditionally used for the decoration of bathrooms and toilets. It is extremely difficult to scratch unless you try hard. The same applies to the frying pan. Its abrasion is practically zero. And if you use special spatulas (wooden, plastic) to remove what is cooked on it, then the “working” surface will remain in its original condition for a long time.
- Inertness to increased thermal stress. The ceramic coating of the pan can withstand heating up to +460ºС. While its Teflon opponent can be heated only up to +180ºС. So you can easily cook whatever you want using ceramic cookware and not be afraid that it will be damaged.
- Possibility to cook without fats and oils. In principle, this applies to any frying pan. Only the consequences will be completely different. With a ceramic frying pan, there will be no problems with using almost zero oil.
- Lightweight. If we compare ceramic and cast iron pans by this parameter, then the latter is several times heavier. Anyone will say that reducing the weight of kitchen utensils in terms of ease of use is a big plus.
- Eco-friendliness. Only natural ingredients are used as raw materials — clay, sand, crushed fragments of natural stones. If you buy ceramic cookware from a well-known manufacturer with an impeccable reputation, then there is nothing to worry about. Ceramic cookware does not release any toxic substances and is absolutely safe for your health.
- Non-stick effect. You can fry without oil or with a minimum amount which is more economical for the wallet and healthier for the body.
- Scratch resistance. If it was dangerous to scratch Teflon, then ceramic can be scratched, but it is not easy.
- Compatibility with metal objects: it is quite possible to turn food with a metal fork.
- Even heating. Ceramics are excellently heated to high temperatures, while quickly and evenly. This allows you to get healthy food evenly processed by temperature.
- The simplicity of care. Ceramic cookware is easy to clean and care for. Many models can be placed in the dishwasher.
- Variety of shades. There are a lot of those who consider the variety of colors to be an essential advantage of ceramic pans. You can choose any color that will best suit your kitchen.
Ceramic Cookware Cons:
- Ceramic cookware should not be washed with metal sponges. This is not always convenient, as it is difficult to remove carbon deposits.
- Ceramics cannot stand temperature extremes, which means that after taking out the pan with food from the refrigerator, you cannot put it to heat up on the stove. Also, do not pour cold water into a hot pan.
- Ceramic cookware cannot be soaked in water for a long time, as the coating will get micro scratches.
- Ceramic cookware is expensive. But ceramic cookware can last up to 5-10 years if treated properly. Always buy only good-quality ceramic cookware from trusted manufactures. Only in this case, you will be able to return your investment and enjoy healthy food cooked in ceramic cookware with almost no oil.
- Ceramic cookware must not be used on the induction stovetop. It requires a magnetic metallic field, which is absent in ceramic.
That said, ceramic cookware is not that demanding. However, you need to follow some basic recommendations for use if you want it to last.
First, do not heat it to a high temperature. Therefore, prepare all the necessary products in advance so that they can be loaded into the frying pan almost immediately. Secondly, use only the cleaning agents recommended by the manufacturer. Thirdly, to cook not everything in a ceramic pan, but only those dishes for which it is better “adapted” (meaning the temperature regime).
Ceramic Cookware Sets Pros and Cons Video Guide
Why is ceramic coating dangerous? Ceramics are completely safe, but only in the case of a trusted manufacturer. To save production costs, some manufacturers use a harmful composition that is toxic and unacceptable for use. All products with an unreasonably low price fall into the risk zone.
Summing up, the ceramic non-stick coating is 100% safe, eco-friendly, and scratch-resistant. Ceramic cookware will help you to use less oil, therefore, making you healthier and slimmer. Ceramic cookware is easy to clean and it looks nice. It is definitely worth buying.
However, cheap ceramic cookware can be toxic if it is made out of low-quality fake materials. Even though the ceramic coating is scratch-resistant, you should not use metal spatulas, as it will lead to micro scratches that will destroy the non-stick properties. Also, you should not presoak ceramic cookware. Other than that, ceramic cookware is almost perfect for anyone who wants to cook tasty food with zero oil.
Now, let’s dive into the pros and cons of aluminum cookware. Kitchen cookware must fulfill its main function which is being useful in the preparation of delicious dishes. A properly sized aluminum frying pan will help you avoid unnecessary waste of money.
Is Aluminum Cookware Any Good? Pros & Cons
Is aluminum cookware good? Yes, aluminum cookware is good because it is lightweight, has excellent heat distribution properties. It is dishwasher-friendly and easy to clean. It is affordable and durable. The thermal conductivity of aluminum cookware makes food heat up quickly. But this metal is not very strong and prolonged heating over 350°C leads to deformation, especially when used for more than 30-40 minutes.
Aluminum cookware is safe. There is an assumption that the use of uncoated aluminum cookware can harm human health, but there is no exact confirmation of this — the doses of aluminum that enter the human body when using cookware are much lower than the maximum permissible ones and even those contained, for example, in ordinary food. Aluminum is known to be a part of many foods and is involved in metabolism.
Aluminum Cookware Pros:
- Quick heating — you will not have to wait long before heating such a frying pan.
- Scratch-resistance. Aluminum cookware will not be damaged even if you drop it. But, of course, it does not mean you have to do it.
- Heat preservation. Aluminum cookware with a thick bottom will make the food stay warm for a long time. That is why you will not need to reheat the meal again.
- Durability. How long does aluminum cookware last? Aluminum cookware with a thick bottom will last up to 5 years. However, the thin aluminum bottom does not tolerate overheating very well, and changes shape quickly. Therefore, in aluminum pans, the bottom must necessarily be thick, at least 5 mm for a frying pan for meat and at least 2 mm for pancakes.
- Aluminum cookware does not rust thanks to the special properties of this metal when interacting with oxygen.
- Temperature-resistance. A good coating allows you to heat such pans up to +400 degrees, it will be possible to cook any dishes in them both on the stove and in the oven.
- Easy care and maintenance. Aluminum does not belong to porous materials, therefore it is quite easy to remove various kinds of contamination from it; in combination with some coatings, such pans can even be washed in the dishwasher.
- Cast aluminum cookware can be used on all types of stoves – gas, induction, or electric.
Aluminum Cookware Cons:
- High price for cookware with a thick bottom. Prices for products with a thick bottom and dense walls are quite high when compared with the cost of pans made of other materials.
- Not suitable for long food storing. There is an opinion that in the process of such storage, oxidative processes begin to occur in products due to a reaction with the metal, which can subsequently negatively affect the taste and benefits of the dish.
- Due to the non-stick coating, aluminum cookware cannot be washed with abrasive products and hard brushes. Lemon and vinegar are not used during cooking because they leave dark spots and damage the top layer.
Aluminum pans can be non-stick or stick. Oddly enough, but even in our technological age, uncoated aluminum pans still have their fans. Their main advantage is an almost unlimited service life, the main disadvantage is poor non-stick properties and the associated inconvenience. Uncoated aluminum pans are not easy to cook and difficult to clean.
It is much more practical and convenient to use non-stick aluminum pans. The food does not burn on them, they are easy to wash after use. The main disadvantage of conventional aluminum non-stick pans is their limited lifespan. A polymer that provides non-stick properties, a “vulnerable” material that becomes thinner or deteriorates over time.
Manufacturers of non-stick coatings are constantly improving their properties, and today you can find pans with a non-stick coating of increased strength in stores, but they cost significantly more.
When choosing non-stick aluminum cookware, follow a few guidelines:
1. Choose a pan with a thick bottom and sides (the thicker the better). Aluminum frying pans are stamped (from sheet aluminum), chased (a technology that allows you to make products with a thick bottom from an aluminum sheet), and cast. Cast pans usually have the thickest sides and bottom.
2. Choose a pan with a quality non-stick coating. There are two methods for applying non-stick coatings – roll-roll and spraying. The spray method usually produces much better quality. In addition, it will not be superfluous to pay attention to the brand of the coating. It will be better if it belongs to a well-known manufacturer (for example, Teflon, Whitford, Akzo Nobel, or Greblon). Avoid buying pans that don’t have any coverage information on their packaging as they may be of poor quality.
That said, aluminum cookware is the most popular among buyers today. They are lightweight, have excellent heat distribution properties, and are easy to clean. In addition, it is in this category that there is the largest selection of pans for every taste and wallet.
Now you know all the pros and cons of ceramic and aluminum cookware and it’s up to you to decide which is better.