Stainless Steel vs Nonstick Cookware: Which Should You Buy? (2023)

Over the past few months, I've personally learned the differences between stainless steel and nonstick cookware. I can safely say that they are not the same. Although I'm not Julia Child, my sister taught me how to cook when I was little, following her around the kitchen. Quarantine has also pushed me to cook more, like most people do.

On this new adventure (where I learned how to make "healthy" chicken nuggets), I made a serious mistake: I switchednonstick panonestainless steel. I foolishly didn't expect them to be that much different thoughsabrehow different are these types of pans. I've made eggs twice a week (if not more) for the past 10 years of my life, but always in a nonstick skillet. The switch to stainless steel really hit my culinary prowess hard. How can you screw up a fried egg? Easily stainless steel I guess. I wasn't prepared for the differences between stainless steel and nonstick pans.

People who love their stainless steel cookware will praise and disparage them. And vice versa: people who love their nonstick cookware will complain about how high maintenance stainless steel cookware is. So what are the differences between stainless steel and non-stick?

cheap stainless steel cookware:Farberware Millennium Stainless Steel Pots and Pans Set

High quality stainless steel cookware:7 piece set in fully coated stainless steel. kitchen utensils set

Stainless Steel vs Nonstick Cookware: Which Should You Buy? (2)

7 stainless steel parts. kitchen utensils set

(Video) Which Pan Is Right For You?

all well dressed

$ 549,99

cheap nonstick pans:AmazonBasics Nonstick Cookware Set

Stainless Steel vs Nonstick Cookware: Which Should You Buy? (3)


$ 63,73

High quality non-stick pans:Calphalon Premier Hard Anodized Nonstick 8 Piece Cookware Set

Stainless Steel vs Nonstick Cookware: Which Should You Buy? (4)

(Video) Non-stick vs Stainless Steel Cookware

Benefits of stainless steel cookware

more shopping

  • Get a reliable generator at 58% off Amazon if you act fast
  • 5 incredible wine hotels for an oenophile's dream stay

stainless steel cookwareIs Durable Unlike other types of cookware, stainless steel does not:

  • Switches
  • crack
  • Mancha
  • Oxide

Now, see RE:coloring below, because that's not entirely true. It won't tarnish over time like a nonstick pan from repeated use, but stainless steel can tarnish depending on what you're cooking. In general, stainless steel is excellent for sautéing, grilling, frying or boiling.

Lower quality stainless steel will not last as long and cook as evenly as higher quality multi-layer cookware sets. A 3-tier or 5-tier stainless steel cookware set will cook evenly in the pot or skillet, no flipping required for complete cooking.

Compared to cookware like cast iron, stainless steel offers a similar grilling experience without the bulky weight. You won't feel like you're about to pull your wrist out of the socket when you pick up the stainless steel pot from the stove. Some stainless steel sets can also withstand high temperatures, up to 500°F oven temperatures, just like cast iron.

If you're all about aesthetics, stainless steel is the best looking of all cookware. It has an elegant design, from economical toFully Coated Sets. Stainless steel will not look burnt, rusted or chipped after years of use. As long as you take good care of it, it will always look good and can be a visual highlight in your kitchen.

Benefits of nonstick cookware

there are severalbenefits of nonstick cookware;the most obvious one is that nonstick cookware sets are generally inexpensive. Other benefits include:

  • food does not stick
  • easy to cook
  • easy to clean
  • Requires less cooking oil

You don't need culinary training to master nonstick cookware. Although not infallible, you need to know how to cook, it is the easiest type of pan to use. You are less likely to burn food with this nonstick, especially compared to stainless steel or even cast iron. Unless you really let it burn like hell, your food won't stick to these pots and pans, which means they're also easy to clean.

Nonstick pans can be used on gas and electric stoves with similar results. Some brands of nonstick cookware (such asT-Fal) are designed with features to ensure pots and pans heat evenly.

(Video) Food Sticking to Stainless Steel Pans? 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid

You don't need to use a ton of oil or spray when cooking with nonstick, whereas in a stainless steel pan you might need a fair amount of oil to keep food from sticking.

Disadvantages of stainless steel cookware

The name stainless steel is misleading. If you never misjudge the temperature of your stove, it sure as hell won't stain. However, for all normal human beings, stainless steel is easy to tarnish. If you leave an egg too long, wait 10 minutes, rubbing hard to remove the burnt shell from the pan.

In my personal experience, I've switched cookware, from nonstick to stainless, and from gas ranges to electric. In my months of cooking on the electric range, repeatedly the burners would betray my pan and overheat, even on medium or low heat.

As long as you clean it immediately after cooking, you can get rid of burnt food. You can remove most stains from your stainless steel cookware withbartender's friend. If you don't want non-stop scrubbing, Bar Keeper has a ready to forget (for a while) powder that will do the job for you.

Stainless Steel vs Nonstick Cookware: Which Should You Buy? (8)

Friend of Bar Managers

(Video) 4 Types of Toxic Cookware to Avoid and 4 Safe Alternatives

$ 27,99

Disadvantages of nonstick cookware

Much has been said about non-stick pans beingtoxic due to teflon.However, today's cookware is PFOA-free, which means they're safer than the stuff your parents probably had in their kitchen. Always check product details when purchasing nonstick, but you shouldn't worry about ingesting toxic materials with new cookware.

Of course, the toxicity in old nonstick cookware came from chipping and scraping, which is almost inevitable. If you use metal forks and knives on a pan, they will scratch the surface. Even youspatulait can be too harsh on your pan, so you should opt for silicone utensils to avoid scratching the surface when cooking.

Unlike some stainless steel sets, nonstick cookware often cannot be used at high temperatures. If you use the highest temperature on the stove, both the food and the pan can burn to such an extent that they will not be washed. And since it's nonstick, you'll be scrubbing it down the sink too, not just throwing everything in the dishwasher. Many nonstick sets are not dishwasher safe or they will lose their nonstick coating, which defeats the purpose of buying nonstick.

The verdict?

If you're a novice chef, you'll probably be better off with nonstick pans. It's easier to use, works similarly on gas and electric stoves, and is easy to clean. But if you know what you're doing in the kitchen and you have a gas range, stainless steel is the way to go. It's more profitable over time as quality stainless steel sets are built to last. Plus, you can cook on the stovetop and in the oven with multiple stainless steel kits, allowing you to prepare a wider variety of meals in the kitchen.

Hearst Newspapers participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means that we may receive commissions paid for editorially selected products purchased through our links to retailers' websites.

(Video) How to Properly Cook With Stainless Steel Pans | Made In Cookware

Ana Suarez is a senior business editor at Hearst Newspapers. Email her at


Do chefs use non-stick or stainless steel? ›

Many professional chefs and restaurants prefer stainless steel cookware because of its longevity. Even for at-home chefs, nonstick pans are a favorite because they require less oil and are easier to clean.

Why do chefs prefer stainless steel pans? ›

Chefs, professional cooks, and restaurants use stainless steel cookware. They prefer it because it's practically indestructible. The construction and material offer superior heat distribution, and when used properly, a stainless steel pan can keep food from sticking.

What is the safest cookware to buy? ›

The safest cookware materials are cast iron, stainless steel, 100% non toxic ceramic, glass, and enamel-coated cast iron (cast iron with a glass coating). These nonstick and non-toxic cookware are not only clean and eco-friendly but also completely safe for our health.

What is better than non-stick cookware? ›

While both or their nonstick coatings will eventually wear off, teflon lasts significantly longer. But they're not the only options out there – other materials like cast iron (enamel), stainless steel, and carbon steel might be a better fit for your kitchen and cooking habits. Cast iron pans can last decades.

Why do chefs not use nonstick pans? ›

The fragility of nonstick pans is the reason that they're rarely found in professional kitchens. Some restaurants don't use any nonstick pans, while others keep a few carefully guarded nonstick pans for egg dishes and delicate fish.


1. Made In vs. All-Clad: My Unbiased Comparison After Testing Both for 3+ Years
(Prudent Reviews)
2. Stainless Steel VS. Cast Iron: Which Should You Buy?
(Home Insider)
3. Non Stick Vs. Stainless Steel
(Rachel Sherwood)
4. A TRICK EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW | How to make any stainless steel pan non-stick | THE MERCURY BALL TEST
(Blissfully Random)
5. Stainless Steel vs. Carbon Steel Pans: 10 Differences & How to Choose
(Prudent Reviews)
6. The SAFEST & BEST Non Stick Pans...And Why To Avoid Teflon!
(FlavCity with Bobby Parrish)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Greg Kuvalis

Last Updated: 03/11/2023

Views: 5934

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Greg Kuvalis

Birthday: 1996-12-20

Address: 53157 Trantow Inlet, Townemouth, FL 92564-0267

Phone: +68218650356656

Job: IT Representative

Hobby: Knitting, Amateur radio, Skiing, Running, Mountain biking, Slacklining, Electronics

Introduction: My name is Greg Kuvalis, I am a witty, spotless, beautiful, charming, delightful, thankful, beautiful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.