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A variety of cookware in the kitchen made of different materials increases the efficiency of cooking different meals. This is why I compare the Stainless steel vs copper cookware to diversify the kitchen cookware collection.
Each cookware material has its advantages and disadvantages to consider before you choose the ideal type of cookware.
Some cookware materials are reactive to metals, non-reactive, better heat conductivity.
Stainless Steel Cookware
The stainless steel is a popular cooking material, utensils, and other kitchen appliances. Brands like Mauviel, Cuisinart, All-clad produce high-quality stainless steel cookware.
A strong combination of nickel and chromium metals make stainless steel. The quantity these alloy determines the grade of the stainless steel, low or high.
Stainless steel is very durable which means you can use the cookware for a very long time without damages.
It is a non-reactive material which wont react to acidic ingredients.
The price range of stainless steel cookware varies depending on the combination with other materials like Aluminum and copper for better heat conductivity.
So what makes stainless steel a better option for cookware? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
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Stainless Steel Pros
This material is very sturdy and it being a metal alloy, makes stainless steel long-lasting. It doesn’t chip, rust, scratch or stain easily.
Easy to clean
Its strong material allows it to be dishwasher safe to simplify the cleaning process.
When cooking acidic foods, you don’t need to worry about reacting with the cookware. Stainless steel is a safe material for cooking.
Cooking with stainless steel helps retain flavor because there is no leaching of metal to the food. With the addition of nonstick coating on the stainless cookware, it increases the flavor of the food.
Corrosion and rust-resistant
One big advantage of stainless steel is the ability to be corrosion and rust-resistant. Due to the hardness of the material, it also makes it resistant to scratches, stains, and dents.
Classic and beautiful
The appearance of stainless steel cookware is bright, sparkling and beautiful. It never appears to be outdated which makes it a great choice for many users.
Generally, it is a poor conductor of heat but manufacturers add good heat conductor of heat materials to improve heat distribution. Adding Aluminum and copper material at the bottom ensures quality, evenly and faster heat distribution.
Ecofriendly & Recyclable
The good news is stainless steel can be recycled to make new products. This helps in keeping the environment clean from scrap metals.
Stainless Steel Cons
Poor heat transfer
It is a poor heat conductor compared with copper and aluminum materials. This is the reason stainless steel cookware are paired with good heat conductors to increase the conductivity.
Food tends to stick in some stainless steel cookware which requires scrubbing them off before cleaning.
The prices of stainless steel vary depending on the quality grade level of the cookware. High-grade stainless steel cookware is not cheap but it’s worth it.
No Zero-fat Cooking
In contrast to nonstick cookware which requires little to zero oil while cooking, stainless steel cant cook without oil. Food sticks on the pot and pans of stainless steel if the oil or butter is not enough.
What to Look For When Buying Stainless Steel Cookware
Although stainless steel has great qualities and strengths, not all of the cookware are manufactured equal. Consider the following factors;
Handles & Lids
Strong handles and lids can be beneficial oven usage. The handles should be able to resist high cooking temperatures. Also, for the safety of the cookware, cool-touch, non-slip handles with secure grip are great.
Quality 18/10 Grade Stainless Steel
This is a durable combination of 18% Chromium and 10% Nickel. Cookware with this grade is more durable and quality.
Stainless steel cookware with an Aluminum base offers high heat and even distribution all over the pot or pan. Some cookware may fit the Aluminum on the sidewalls or both for efficient heat transfer.
Pans With Copper Core Lining
The combination increases the control of heat and also distribution. Copper is a good conductor of heat therefore it enhances the quality of the cookware.
How to Care for Your Stainless Steel Cookware
To maintain the stainless steel shiny appearance, it needs some care. Its recommended to scrub the cookware to remove rusty blooms if present and allow it to dry.
Keep the cookware away from moisture after cleaning to prevent moisture-induced rusting.
Handwashing the cookware in warm soapy water is the safest way to clean the cookware for long-lasting usage.
If the water used has high Calcium (hard water), it forms a white residue on the cookware. The best way to remove the residue is to clean using vinegar and warm soapy water.
Avoid using metal scouring pads and abrasive cleaners as they scratch the cookware. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for more cookware longevity.
Copper material has been used for many years because it has great heat conductivity. In most cases, the cookware is combined with stainless steel for a stable product.
The stainless steel is used in the cooking surface and the copper on the outside for heat balance. Pure copper cooker heats very fast and can be hard to regulate the temperatures.
Copper cookware has a great look to compliment your kitchen decor.
It is a reactive metal therefore, acidic foods can react with copper which is unhealthy. This problem is solved by inserting stainless steel lining to protect food reacting with the metal.
Overall, copper cookware is a great choice that delivers faster cooking due to the capability of good heat conductivity.
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Copper Cookware Pros
Copper is a good heat conductor thus the cookware distributes heat faster and evenly. It is a better heat conductor than Aluminum and stainless steel.
No Hot Spots
The presence of hot spots in a pot or pan causes unevenly cooked food. This may lead to some parts of food appear burnt and others undercooked. Using copper cookware eliminates this problem because it distributes heat evenly.
Adapts to Temperature quickly
The high thermal conductivity helps the cookware to change faster depending on the heat levels. Just the way the copper pots and pans heat quickly, they also cool down fast when off the stovetop.
The copper cookware can last for a long time under proper care and maintenance. Polishing the cookware maintains the great looks
The rich glow and rustic looks appeal to many people and chefs. When hung in the kitchen, they create a classic and stylish appearance.
Copper Cookware Cons
Requires Extra Care
For long-lasting copper cookware, careful care and maintenance are recommended. Cleaning must be done by hand washing and manual drying to protect spots, discoloration, and corrosion.
The cookware is not dishwasher safe and regular polishing is key to maintaining the pristine look.
This cookware is highly reactive to acidic and alkaline foods. This occurs on cookware without a lining of stainless steel or Aluminum materials.
Toxic With Direct Contact Of Food
When it comes to contact with acidic foods, it reacts to produce toxic substances. Too much exposure to copper toxicity can cause harm to the body.
The price of copper cookware is beyond the average that may discourage some customers. Professionals prefer the cookware raising the cost to buy a complete set.
If you are a beginner using copper cookware, it can be challenging regulating the heat on the pots and pans. The flame used with stainless steel cookware is not the same for copper cookware.
Cooktop stove Limitation
Ceramic-Glass-Top stove and induction cooktops are not possible for copper cookware.
What to Look for When Buying Copper Cookware
The thickness of the copper cookware and lining is a great feature to look for. Thick cookware distributes heat perfectly without overheating.
Lined cookware as mentioned before, ensure the copper cookware doesn’t come to contact with food. Stainless steel or Aluminum lined cookware is great.
Nonstick coating can help cooking food with less oil and easy cleaning. PFOA nonstick coating is a great choice for the copper cookware.
It’s better to avoid copper pots and pans with the blue patina and pitting.
Stainless Steel vs Copper Cookware: The Main Differences
The main difference between stainless steel and copper cookware is what makes one superior to the other.
- Copper cookware is a good conductor of heat than stainless steel.
- Stainless steel is Non-reactive to acidic foods while copper is highly reactive
- Cookware with copper material requires extra care than stainless steel
- Stainless steel is great for use in all the cooktops
- For the beauty, stainless steel appears to be shiny and beautiful than copper cookware.
- Stainless steel is more durable
- The copper cookware is not dishwasher safe like stainless steel
- Finally, stainless steel is less expensive than copper cookware.
The comparison of stainless steel vs Copper cookware shows both are premium cookware offering quality.
Both cookware with lining provides excellent cooking results. Stainless with try ply, 5-ply offer the most performance.
Bottom line is that your preference is the driving power to choose between the two cookware.
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.