Home Cookware & Bakeware Equipment Carbon Steel Vs. Nonstick Cookware: Explore 8 Differences

Carbon Steel Vs. Nonstick Cookware: Explore 8 Differences

by Helen
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Carbon Steel Vs Nonstick - What's The Difference?

Carbon Steel is prized in professional kitchens in France and has begun to take a foot hold in home kitchens in the USA, although Non Stick Cookware is a top contender of cookware for home cooks worldwide. These two kinds of cookware are a perfect pair for all home cooks. So which is best, Carbon Steel vs. Nonstick Pan, and how do they differ?

We firmly believe pots and pans of both of these materials should be in every kitchen. This article will help to make your decision. In this article, we will tell you what you need to know about how Carbon Steel and Non Stick Cookware are similar and different.

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1) Material

Since Carbon Steel Cookware comprises 99% iron and 1% carbon, it is considered a hybrid between Stainless Steel and Cast Iron Cookware. On the other hand, NonStick Cookware is typically made from Stainless Steel, and it has either PTFE or ceramic coating on the pan's surface, which will prevent food from sticking.  If you prefer pans which do not have a PTFE or Teflon coating the best of Caraway’s ceramic coated cookware.

2) Type Of Cooking Surface

Since both Carbon Steel and NonStick Cookware have a layer on the surfaces, it is a much better cooking experience.

Carbon Steel's layer is its seasoning, which has to be applied to all new pans. Seasoning your pan provides a smooth surface for cooking and produces a slick layer, or patina, over time. This layer of protection on the pan will also help prevent moisture from infiltrating the metal, which may cause it to rust.

While NonStick Cookware comes with a coating out of the box, the best coating for Non Stick is PTFE. It can last up to 70 times longer than Ceramic Cookware, is non-toxic, and has a nonstick surface that lasts the longest. What's more, you can cook without oil.

3) Price Point

Depending on the quality, pricing for both pans can vary. Still, Non Stick Cookware is more expensive than Carbon Steel Cookware, mainly due to the extra material needed to make the Pan. Both Carbon Steel and Non Stick Cookware are made with an alloy, or blend, of metals, but Non Stick Cookware's coating is an extra cost to manufacture the Pan.

A high-quality Carbon Steel Frying pan can start at $69 for an 8-Inch Frying Pan to $95 for a 12-Inch Frying Pan. Also, For example, Made In Non Stick Frying Pans can range from $89 for an 8-Inch Frying to approximately $119 for a 12-Inch Frying Pan.

4) Care Of Both Carbon Steel and Nonstick Cookware

It's easy to wash and care for both of these types of Pans. It is not recommended to put any cookware in the dishwasher. Because harsh cleaners can damage the surfaces, it's also easier for them to get scratched or dented by other things in the dishwasher. It is always best to clean Pans once thoroughly cooled, and you have removed as many food particles as possible.

Depending on the food or mess left in the pan, there are three steps to cleaning your Carbon Steel Cookware. Wipe the Pan with out with a paper towel. If stuck food bits remain, sprinkle a tablespoon of each neutral oil and kosher salt, then scrub the residue with a paper towel.

The final option involves water—the last option for Carbon Steel. Fill your Pan with water until the bottom is completely covered. On Medium heat, place the pan and bring the water to a boil. With a wooden spoon or wooden cooking utensil, gently scrape the stuck-on food pieces. Once the stuck-on food particles release, discard the water, and dry it well with a towel. Next, place the pan on the stove on low heat, then rub the surface with a thin layer of neutral oil.

On the other hand, for high-quality Non Stick Cookware, you can use a non-abrasive cleaner and the soft side of the sponge or eco-friendly cloth, which will clean your pan in seconds.

image: MadeIn

4) Care Of Both Carbon Steel and Nonstick Cookware

It's easy to wash and care for both of these types of Pans. It is not recommended to put any cookware in the dishwasher. Because harsh cleaners can damage the surfaces, it's also easier for them to get scratched or dented by other things in the dishwasher. It is always best to clean Pans once thoroughly cooled, and you have removed as many food particles as possible.

Depending on the food or mess left in the pan, there are three steps to cleaning your Carbon Steel Cookware. Wipe the Pan with out with a paper towel. If stuck food bits remain, sprinkle a tablespoon of each neutral oil and kosher salt, then scrub the residue with a paper towel.

The final option involves water—the last option for Carbon Steel. Fill your Pan with water until the bottom is completely covered. On Medium heat, place the pan and bring the water to a boil. With a wooden spoon, gently scrape the stuck-on food pieces. Once the stuck-on food particles release, discard the water, and dry it well with a towel. Next, place the pan on the stove on low heat, then rub the surface with a thin layer of neutral oil.

On the other hand, for high-quality Non Stick Cookware, you can use a non-abrasive cleaner and the soft side of the sponge or eco-friendly cloth, which will clean your pan in seconds.

5) Carbon Steel Vs. Non Stick: Durability

Carbon Steel Cookware is nearly indestructible, regardless of how you beat it up. Whether it is an accident, rust, putting a nick on the surface, or making your best attempt at cooking an omelet, there's virtually always a way to fix it. Easily clean the rust off a pan with vinegar and water; nick on the pan's surface, fill in with seasoning, and clean the biggest messes.

The belief that Non Stick Cookware merely lasts a few months is a myth. While Non Stick Cookware is not as long-lasting as Carbon Steel, it can last for years if you care for it properly. Always wash it by hand, avoid cooking with metal utensils, and always remember it's only oven safe up to 500F. An Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is recommended for a stove-to-oven braising vessel.

image: MadeIn

6) What You Can Cook

Carbon Steel searing proteins and roasting vegetables at high temperatures. Also, since they can be safe to use up to 1200F and is just as great on an outdoor grill, on a gas stovetop an open fire, plus it's induction-compatible as well.

While Non Stick Cookware is excellent for cooking delicate foods such as fish and eggs and sautéeing vegetables, although you can use it for searing proteins, such as steak or salmon, Carbon Steel is better suited for these proteins.

7) Versatility

You can use both Carbon Steel and Non Stick Cookware to cook all food types because they are very versatile; they have some restrictions on what to cook in them.

For example, acidic foods like citrus, wine, vinegar, and tomatoes can strip the seasoning on your Carbon Steel Cookware.  If this happens, you can re-season your pan.

You can cook anything on your Non Stick Cookware; always preheat your Non Stick Pots or Pans with food or oil in them.   The cooking temperature is the main restriction with Non Stick Cookware, as Non Stick Cookware is unsafe above 500F.

7) Heat Conductivity

Carbon Steel is a fantastic conductor of heat, gets extremely hot, and responds well to changes in temperature relatively quickly. While Carbon Steel pots, pans, and griddles handle high heat, it is not necessary to cook with high heat points all the time. You can accomplish perfect sears and chars over medium heat.

The heat conductivity of Non Stick Cookware highly depends on its construction. If made of aluminum, it'll conduct heat well but won't be durable. The best Non Stick Pan for excellent heat conduction is made with a 5-Ply construction, as it can react to changes in temperature fast and efficiently.

carbon steel non stick
image: MadeIn

Which One Should I Buy?

Carbon Steel and Non Stick Cookware are the perfect complements to one another. They both should have a place in your kitchen, especially since they are ideal for different tasks.

For high-heat cooking like searing steak and charring fresh vegetables, we recommend you turn to Carbon Steel Cookware. It's virtually indestructible and comes in various shapes and sizes like a WokPizza Steel, and Roasting Pan.

For delicate cooking, such as fried eggs or searing delicate fish, reach for high-quality Non Stick Cookware. The PTFE coating is highly durable and long-lasting and features the best non-stick surface on the market.

Both Pans have a place in your kitchen and can help you build an arsenal of cookware perfect for preparing any meal. A Blue Carbon Steel Roasting pan is a great addition to any home cooks kitchen tools.

READ NEXTMadeIn Nonstick Cookware Review

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