Nonstick And Stainless Steel Pan: When shopping for cookware, many people often find it difficult to choose between a stainless steel pan and a nonstick pan. Even worse, they may choose a pan that doesn’t satisfy their requirements! “But why does this happen?” you may ask. Well, the primary reason behind this is a general lack of knowledge about the differences between a stainless steel pan and a non stick pan, the purposes their serve, and their suitability for cooking different types of foods. If you are one of those who are unaware of what differentiates the two most popular and frequently used types of pans, then this article is just what you want to read!
Difference Between Nonstick And Stainless Steel Pan
Nonstick pans are widely used for cooking foods that stick to the surface of the pan, like say, pancakes, eggs, and risotto. Nonstick pans were traditionally coated with Teflon, the material responsible for giving them their ‘non-sticky’ feature. However, a number of other materials have come in to use for coating pans, ceramic being one of them.
There were some health concerns about Teflon-coated pans as they often exuded unhealthy fumes when heated too much. This safety concern was alleviated by the introduction of different coating materials. Also, many experts argue that the fumes exuded by Teflon-coated nonstick pans are no more toxic than the fumes exuded by regular cooking oils. This debate, though, is for another day.
The pros of cooking in a nonstick pan
- Nonstick pans are extremely easy to clean. A simple wipe with a paper towel is all it takes to clean them! This makes them very convenient to use and saves ample amounts of time and energy.
- When you cook in a nonstick pan, you don’t need to use a lot of oil or butter. As a matter of fact, some people avoid using them at all! This makes cooking in nonstick pans a healthier option.
- Another benefit of nonstick pans is that they are highly resistant to acids from foods such as tomatoes, wine, etc. They do not react to such acids at all!
- It is very easy to handle nonstick pans as they are lightweight cookware.
- You don’t need to preheat the pan before you add the ingredients.
- Nonstick pans are cheaper than most of their counterparts.
The cons of cooking in a nonstick pan
- Nonstick pans may not be the ideal choice if you want to make your food crisp
- Coatings on nonstick pans may be delicate. They may come off from the surface and end up in your food. However, such occurrences are few and far in between.
- We have already discussed how Teflon coated pans may give out toxic fumes.
- Using metal spoons and spatulas to stir in a nonstick pan may damage the coating. Plastic spoons and spatulas may melt. So wooden spoons are the only good options you have for stirring your food in a nonstick pan.
Stainless steel pans
Stainless steel pans are generally made out of a combination of metals. Iron, carbon, and chromium are the most frequently used metals to manufacture such pans. You may also find small proportions of nickel, copper, or titanium.
While a stainless steel pan may be made up of multiple layers of metal, but the only metal that comes in contact with food is stainless steel.
The pros of cooking in a stainless steel pan
- Stainless steel pans are stable and it is highly unlikely that they would release toxic elements.
- Stainless steel pans are usually bulky. The mass and firmness of such pans means that heat distribution is even and that there are no hot spots.
- They are extremely durable, can bear high temperatures, and are easily cleaned in a dishwasher
The cons of cooking in a stainless steel pan
- Food may stick to the surface of the pan
- They are ot ideal for gentle heating or for sauteing your food.
- You need to preheat the pan before adding the ingredients.
- You need to add some butter, oil, or lard to cook properly in a stainless steel pan.
How to decide which type of cooking pan is best for you?
Both these types of pans are neither better nor worse than the other. It all depends on the type of food you want to cook. If you want to cook food that sticks to the surface then a nonstick pan is the best option for you. Conversely, if you want to crisper your food, then you can’t go wrong with stainless steel pans. So the best option would be to have one of each kind at your disposal.
We hope this article helped you understand the differences between stainless steel and nonstick pans, and would help you make a smart decision when you go out to purchase a pan. Happy cooking!