What’s the Best Material for New Cookware?

stainless steel cookware is a great option

If you are hungry for new cookware, there is a wide array of cookware materials and designs that you can choose from to suit your wants and budget. From stainless steel and nonstick enamel cookware to copper and cast iron, the sheer number of options can make the selection process overwhelming, particularly if you are unsure about what you want.

Of course, the allure of owning chef-endorsed sets and top-shelf cookware can be appealing and tempting. However, you still have to educate yourself in order to make the best decision. If you are wondering what the best material for new cookware is, here is a guide that can help you out before shopping:

Stainless steel cookware
Stainless steel cookware is a staple in many people’s kitchens because it is often inexpensive and long-lasting. Classic stainless steel is a perfect choice if you braise and brown often.

Pros

  • Very long lasting
  • Extremely easy to clean and maintain. Most brands are dishwasher safe.
  • Comes in sets so you get everything in one purchase.
  • Depending on what other material is used, it can be used on all stove types.

Cons

  • Uncoated pans are hard to clean and difficult to maintain.
  • It has poor heat transfer and distribution.

cast iron distributes heat evenly

Cast iron cookware
When seasoned properly, cast iron cookware is a good option as it is non-stick and distributes heat evenly. Cast iron is ideal for sautéing, frying, and searing.

Pros

  • It heats slowly and evenly, and it maintains heat long after the stove is off
  • It can be used safely in the oven
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • It is very heavy
  • It does not react well with acidic food like tomatoes.

Copper
Although it can cost a pretty penny, copper cookware retains heat wonderfully, which is perfect for making high temp foods like candy.

Pros

  • It cooks food evenly.

Cons

  • Often expensive
  • It reacts with alkaline and acidic foods and can leave a metallic copper aftertaste in food.
  • Has to be well maintained and serviced now and then.

Aluminum
When you are looking for a workhorse in the kitchen, aluminum cookware is a brilliant alternative. Aluminum conducts heat well, it is affordable, and it is typically sold at affordable prices.

Pros

  • Disperses heat evenly throughout the pan.
  • It is perfect for meals that need to cook slowly.
  • It resists denting and scratching well.

Cons

  • Unless anodized, raw aluminum reacts with acidic and alkaline foods.
  • It can cause health concerns as it is prone to staining and often discolors light colored meals and sauces.