With a vast range of different types of cookware material to choose from, finding the best cookware for your home, and needs, may seem like a real challenge. Though it doesn’t need to be.
The process becomes much easier when you understand the various cookware materials and the benefits each of them offers.
If you’re currently trying to determine the best cookware material(s) for your purposes, here’s some help. In this article, we’ve detailed everything you need to know about selecting the ideal cookware materials.
How To Choose Cookware Material
Before you start comparing cast iron, quartz stone, and other cookware materials, think first about yourself and your circumstances.
Start by considering your budget. Some cookware materials can be more costly than others, though they can offer a superior everyday cooking experience. If you’re willing to spend the extra money in the short term, you will purchase a durable material that will last much longer.
Next, consider how much time you are willing to spend on cleaning and maintaining cookware. Some materials require frequent polishing and handwashing, while others can be put safely into the dishwasher. Yet some also heat more precisely or cook more consistently. What do you really desire and do you like taking time and care cooking, or do you just want the job done?
Then think about what you are cooking on and in. All materials used for cooking work fine on conventional gas or electric stoves and most are also fine in ovens – to certain temperatures. However, induction cooktops are becoming increasingly popular and not all materials will work on induction, and some products mix materials and may not be suitable for ovens.
Lastly, you’ll need to consider how different cookware materials react with various foods. For example, aluminium tends to absorb into the acidic dishes it cooks. Being aware of how each material reacts with food is essential before choosing cookware.
The Seven Standard Types of Cookware Material
Below, we’ve listed the different types of cookware material that everyone should know about. While there are other materials used for cookware or variations of these seven, by knowing more about each of the below you’ll find that you have most of the answers you’ll need when shopping.
1. Cast Iron
Firstly, there’s cast iron cookware. It’s a traditional, yet timeless cookware material that consumers continue to turn towards.
This particular cookware material is popular because it’s affordable and extremely durable. It can handle high heat very well, and when cooking, you can transfer it from the stove to the oven without an issue or the need to use other cookware.
Since cast iron is also very easy to clean and maintain, you can rest easy knowing that this cookware will last the long haul.
On the downside, it can be very heavy and, in extreme cases, if not correctly seasoned (or oiled) it can rust.
2. Quartz Stone
There’s a lot to love about quartz stone cookware. This material is hard-wearing, very easy to clean, and doesn’t require extreme maintenance. Simply place it in the dishwasher after use.
Quartz stone is also great at distributing heat. It will cook your dishes evenly, eliminate hotspots, and increase your cooking control. If that’s not enough, quartz stone also comes with a non-stick coating, which is very durable and will last a long time.
3. Tri-Ply Material
Next, there’s tri-ply cookware - a premium material that offers many benefits in the kitchen.
This material is a fantastic heat conductor. It’ll heat up quickly, distribute heat evenly, and will cook your dishes thoroughly. Plus, it’s also really easy to maintain and clean - since this material is also dishwasher safe.
Though tri-ply cookware is more costly than the standard aluminium or stainless steel material, it’s well worth the investment. Especially since this material can handle acidic dishes and has a better non-stick performance.
4. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is another popular cookware material since it heats up quickly and doesn’t affect the taste of the dishes being cooked. This material is also very easy to clean and is dishwasher safe too.
That being said, low-end stainless steel cookware has its flaws. For example, it doesn’t disperse heat well, which makes it harder to cook dishes evenly. Plus, if food burns onto the cookware, it’s very difficult to remove.
If you are going to buy stainless steel cookware, choose high-end steel.
Aluminium cookware is lightweight, affordable, won’t rust, and is a great heat conductor - which makes cooking very easy.
Although, aluminium does have its downfalls. For example, this material is known to react with acidic foods and dishes - which can have some negative effects on the food.
If you are going to use aluminium cookware, you should choose the premium anodised range - though it is more costly.
Many consumers will often turn to ceramic cookware because it isn't expensive, is easy to clean, and includes a smooth non-stick surface.
Though, this non-stick feature of ceramic cookware isn’t long-lasting. Once the coating is removed, many foods will start sticking to the material, even when combated with oil. In the end, you’re left in the position where you’ll need to buy another pan.
Although ceramic cookware is also very lightweight, it is also easy to scratch, and can’t handle high heat.
Copper cookware is another favoured material for cooking, especially since it's great at conducting heat and cooking your dishes evenly.
However, copper cookware is one of the most expensive materials and requires a lot of maintenance. This material demands regular polishing to avoid corrosion and will spot if it’s not dried right away.
If you’re looking for a cookware material that requires very little upkeep, copper is not the right cookware for you.
With this simple guide by your side, learning how to choose the best cookware material for your kitchen, cooking styles and desired effort becomes much easier.