Home Cookware & Bakeware Equipment Nonstick vs Stainless Steel Cookware: Which is Better?
stainless steel non stick frying pan

Nonstick vs Stainless Steel Cookware: Which is Better?

by Helen
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Is Stainless Steel Pan Better Than Non Stick?

Stainless Steel vs. Nonstick, which is your favorite?  The debate continues whether Stainless Steel Frying pans or Non Stick Frying pans are better and is always a top-of-mind question when shopping for cookware.  However, each one has its place and purpose in the kitchen.  This article will cover the differences between non stick and stainless steel cookware so you can choose the suitable material for all your recipes.  When choosing between a stainless steel pan or a nonstick pan, there are a few factors to consider. 

What To Know About Nonstick Pans

 When you buy cookware, whether you're getting new cookware for your kitchen for the first time or buying an item for a particular dish, the focus should be on nontoxic, quality, longevity, and efficiency. 

You will need to purchase the right equipment for the right cooking task and use the device properly, as the manufacturer recommends.  Keep this in mind for every purchase you make, including when buying pans.  Should you buy ceramic, copper, stainless steel, or nonstick pans?  If you cook regularly, at the very least, you need nonstick and stainless steel pans.  We highly recommend both because nonstick cookware covers cooking bases that stainless steel pans don't do well with, and vice versa.

RELATED: How To Cookware Buying Guide

****Prices are accurate as of the date of this post.
 
[*Affiliate links are used in this post. By making a purchase, I may receive a commission. Thank you for supporting this is Bambam's Coop Lifestyle and Household.]

Our Top Nonstick Pans Pick

nonstick vs stainless steel
Sardel Non Stick Frying Pan 3-Piece Set
$225.00
nonstick vs stainless steel
MADEIN Non Stick Frying Pan 3-Piece Set
$290.00
GreenPan Venice Pro Stainless Steel Healthy Ceramic Nonstick
$159.71

When To Use Nonstick Pans?

 Now that you are proficient and know how to shop for cookware that's non stick, let's cover how you'll utilize your pans and how to care for them properly.  For starters, as mentioned above, lower heat is the key to prolonging the pan's longevity.  Unlike stainless steel pans, nonstick pans can cook foods with very little or no cooking oil because of their nonstick coating, but excessive heat causes damage to the nonstick coating.  Therefore, instead of cooking foods that require a higher heat point, stick to cooking more delicate foods like eggs, pancakes, quesadillas, crepes, and delicate fish and cook on low to medium heat. 

Also, searing in a nonstick pan is never a good idea.  It would be best not to sear in a nonstick pan because searing requires high heat.  Also, avoid cooking acidic foods like tomato sauce, wines, and nonstick cooking sprays.  Why should you avoid cooking acidic foods in nonstick pans?  Nonstick cooking sprays will build up; thus, the residue is hard to remove, plus the acid will wear away at the pan's coating.  Therefore, instead of nonstick spray, use cooking oil or butter.

Note: Always use wood, rubber, or silicone on nonstick cookware. 

Cleaning

Also, avoid cleaning your nonstick pots or pans in the dishwasher — they can't handle the heat from the dishwasher, even if the labels advise you that you can.  The combination of extremely hot water is unsuitable for metals and, in this case, will destroy your cookware coating.  This rule applies to stainless steel cookware.  Even though it is labeled as dishwasher safe, it is best to hand wash it.

Our take on cooking with stainless steel or non stick, you have to is each type of pan has its place in the kitchen. 

When To Use Nonstick vs Stainless Steel Pans

In closing, Non Stick, it's crucial to remember never to go above a medium flame, not use utensils that can scratch the pan's surface, and avoid certain foods.  The coating of nonstick pans tends to wear down regardless of best efforts.  Once food sticks to your nonstick cookware, it is time to replace it.  Better quality cookware can be more expensive but will last many years and won't require frequent replacement.

As I mentioned, the sweet spot is having a pan with the best of both pans, a stainless steel exterior, and a non stick surface coating.  The stainless steel nonstick cookware set by MadeIn is oven-safe and nontoxic, plus more. 

Deep Frying Foods

When it comes to deep frying, stainless steel pans are a better option than nonstick pans. High heat can damage the pan's nonstick coating, which can harm your health. Stainless steel pans, however, can withstand high temperatures and distribute heat evenly, ensuring your food is perfectly cooked. It's important to use caution when deep frying and never leave hot oil unattended. Additionally, a deep fryer designed explicitly for frying can be safer and more efficient.

Our Top Stainless Steel Pan Picks

Stainless Steel vs Nonstick Pans: What To Know About Stainless Steel Cookware

First, a stainless steel pan is my go-to and my kitchen's workhorse. When on the market for a stainless steel pan, look for a multi-ply pan with an aluminum or copper core. The function of aluminum and copper is heat conductors, and when those materials are coated in stainless steel, they give the pan a nice sleek look and non-reactive finish. Like its nonstick counterpart, look for a pan with a heavier bottom for maximum and even heating. Thin, lighter cookware pans are more likely to have uneven heating and are much easier to damage.

Our Top Stainless Steel Pan Picks

stainless steel pan vs non stick
Sardel 12” Stainless Steel Skillet
$225.00
stainless steel pan vs non stick
MadeIn Stainless Clad Frying Pan
$290.00
stainless steel pan vs non stick
360 Cookware 3.5 Quart Sauté Pan with Cover

$249.00

When to Use Stainless Steel Pans

While there is a learning curve when learning how to cook with stainless steel pots and pans, you can cook almost anything. Sometimes, it can be harder to clean stainless steel cookware; if you allow the pan to heat enough and enough fat, most foods will not stick to the bottom of the pan. If food sticks to the bottom of the stainless steel pan, you're not getting your pan hot enough.

The key is searing your proteins, which creates a crust that keeps food from sticking to the bottom. You can prepare foods that require higher heat and cook with items you can't with a nonstick pan, like acidic foods, wood and metal utensils, and nonstick sprays. Additionally, good quality stainless steel cookware sets tend to be rated to tolerate much higher heat on the stovetop and in the oven. This makes them ideal for food items requiring searing and oven finishes, such as steaks, chicken, beef, pork, and braises.

Pan Care

Never cool your stainless steel pans with cold water to avoid warping or damage. Wash them when they are cool unless you use hot water. As I mentioned before and in other articles, many brands recommend hand washing stainless steel pans and not in the dishwasher. When cleaning pans, sometimes food can be tough to remove; soaking them will likely help remove the stuck-on food, but if not, Bar Keepers Friend scrub is your best friend.

RELATEDThe Best Stainless Steel Cookware To Buy

NonStick or Stainless Steel Pan, Which Is Best For Cooking?

Stainless steel pans are generally considered healthier as they don't contain non stick coatings that can potentially release harmful chemicals when heated. However, nonstick pans are often considered more convenient as they are easier to clean, and food is less likely to stick to the surface. In terms of durability, stainless steel pans tend to last longer, but nonstick pans can be more delicate and may need to be replaced more frequently. Ultimately, deciding between stainless steel pan vs non stick both have a place in your kitchen arsenal since they both are great for cooking at different temperatures and foods.

Final Thoughts: When to use stainless steel pan vs non stick

The main thing to remember when using either of these pans is they are there to work for you, but for that to happen, you must choose the right one for the dish you are making.  Using the right equipment will make the equipment last longer and make you a better cook.  So keep the flame down and make some pancakes, or turn it up a little and get a dark golden brown sear on your favorite protein.  And finally, hand wash your pans whenever possible.

Stainless Steel cookware vs Non Stick Cookware

Choosing between Stainless Steel cookware vs. Non Stick Cookware is about something other than one is better.  Non Stick, which is more forgiving and easier to cook with, should be used for low-fat and delicate foods, and Stainless should be used for cooking pretty much everything else.  You don't have to decide between Stainless Steel or Non Stick Cookware.  Expand your cookware set collection and learn to work with Non-Stick and Stainless Steel to take your cooking to a new level.  A cookware starter set is perfect as there are cookware brands: Non Stick Frying Pan and Stainless Clad Frying Pan.

If you have to have an inexpensive nonstick pan, GreenLife offers modern and fun designs in bright colors and is affordable.  Though, it fails in durability.  GreenLife's claims of healthy nonstick cookware are valid.  This claim is true, but only if you follow the manufacturer's use and maintenance guidelines will you experience a healthy cooking experience.  You can read my full review of the GreenLife Pan. 

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