Are Aluminum Pans Safe to Cook With?

Learn more about whether these pans are safe to cook with.

Emily Borst|Sep 05, 2022
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When shopping for new pans, you’ll be faced with a variety of choices, from size to material to color. A popular material option is aluminum, due to its ability to retain high heat. Since aluminum is often used in industrial,  non-cookware settings, it's reasonable to ask if this material is safe to cook with—and it is, most of the time. Here’s what you need to know about aluminum’s safety as a cookware material.

What Is Aluminum?

The 13th element on the periodic table, aluminum is a metal characterized by its lightweight and malleable qualities. Because of this, it’s a popular material with a wide variety of uses in and outside of the kitchen. Since it’s a naturally-occurring element, exposure to small amounts of it is not hazardous or toxic.

Is Aluminum a Safe Cookware Material?

Aluminum is lightweight, has high heat capabilities, and is much cheaper to produce than

Stainless Steel

, all of which makes it a popular choice for cookware. It’s safe to cook with and eat from, though since it’s inexpensive to both make and purchase, it’s not very long-lasting, and is prone to warping over time. If you choose to purchase  aluminum pans, then you may need to replace them once every year or so. Even though aluminum pans as a whole are safe to cook with, there are certain ingredients that should be avoided when cooking with an aluminum pan.

When to Avoid Using Aluminum

Aluminum is considered a

reactive metal

, meaning that it has a chemical reaction to acidic ingredients like tomatoes, alcohol, or citrus. This can result in a  tinny or metallic taste in your food if you cook with an aluminum pan. Additionally, alkaline foods like egg whites can get discolored, turning an unappealing gray after being cooked on a reactive surface.

Over time, these reactions can cause the aluminum to leach into your food and can even lead to

pitting

in the surface of the pan. If your pan has pitted and your food has a consistent metallic taste, it’s time to replace it.

Aluminum Alternatives

If you don’t want to worry about cooking with specific ingredients or replacing your pan after just a few years, then you have a few options.

Stainless Steel

First, a suitable aluminum alternative would be Stainless Steel. High quality

Stainless Steel Frying Pans

, or other cookware in our

Stainless Clad

line, will feature an aluminum core surrounded by stainless steel—so you aren’t cooking on straight aluminum, but still get the excellent heating capabilities aluminum offers. Our Pans feature a nonreactive

18/10 Stainless Steel

, so you don’t have to be concerned about your cookware materials potentially leaching into your food.

Non Stick

If you’re looking for an aluminum alternative that’s easy to cook with and even easier to clean, then

Non Stick Cookware

may be your best option. High-quality Non Stick uses a non-toxic

PTFE coating

that will never leach into your food, leaving you with a perfectly slick cooking surface that doesn’t require oil or butter.

Ready to Shop?

If you already own aluminum pans, then cooking with them isn’t unsafe—you just need to be careful about what ingredients you use. If you’re looking for an upgrade to cookware that  you don’t have to worry about the safety of, then we’ve got you covered with our premium, 100% safe Cookware.