5 Reasons Why Stainless Steel Pans Beat Cast Iron

cast iron pan and stainless steel pan

If you love cast iron, have you heard about carbon steel?

Psssst. We're going to let you in on a secret. What if we told you that you could have the benefits of cast iron such as seasoning capabilities and heat retention, with none of the annoying weight and slow-to-heat issues? Meet Carbon Steel, a way better version of cast iron.

Okay - Now the Debate: Stainless Steel Versus Cast Iron

When you’re setting up your kitchen or upgrading your cookware, you end up getting a lot of advice. Family, friends, and coworkers are eager to share their opinions on everything from what kind of salt you buy to where your microwave should go (if they even think you should have one in the first place!). But nothing draws the line in the sand more than the stainless steel vs cast iron pan conversation.

We get it! There’s a lot to love about cast-iron. Between its rugged good looks and its presumed heat-retention capability, cast iron’s reputation definitely precedes it. But we gotta say, there are a few good reasons why stainless steel is the champion of our kitchens.

In this blog post we will cover questions like:

  • Which pan conducts heat better?
  • Does cast-iron react with your food?
  • Can you put stainless steel cookware in the oven? 
  • Can you season stainless steel? 
  • Which pan is harder to care for? How do you wash stainless steel cookware?
  • And more...

1. Stainless Steel Pans Are Easier To Clean & Care For

Cast iron may be ruggedly handsome, but it’s a little high maintenance. While you can buy cast iron pans pre-seasoned, you still need to make sure you clean it properly to maintain that seasoning with oil.

Our stainless steel pans are super easy to clean. For a full tutorial, visit our stainless steel care guide. All you need to do is let them cool and wash them with a gentle cleaning pad (skip the steel wool!) and our Make It New cleaner. You can also make your own paste with baking soda, we just thought we’d save you the trouble.

2. You’ll Only Taste Your Food In A Stainless Steel Pan

High acid foods can even break down the seasoning of an improperly seasoned cast iron pan. That means, if you haven’t spent a few good years frying bacon in your pan or if you’re not keeping up with seasoning it regularly, you might notice a weird taste when you cook things like tomato or wine sauces in your cast iron.

A Made In pan’s surgical grade stainless steel won’t impart any flavor to your food--except the flavors you add, of course.

3. Stainless Steel Pans Conduct Heat Better

There’s a myth out there that cast iron pans conduct heat better than stainless steel. But take a look at the heating patterns in this Instagram post from chef, author, and food science nerd J. Kenji López-Alt:

heating patterns of frying pans

source: Kenji Lopez Alt's Instagram

Notice how cast iron has an obvious spot in the middle while the 5-ply stainless steel pan has the evenest heating pattern? Cast iron pans will develop hot spots at the heat source. They also will take much longer to heat up than a stainless steel pan.

A Made In pan with our combination of 5 layers of thick stainless steel and aluminum provides the best surface for searing meats and evenly cooking things like pan sauces and risottos. Your pan will also be heated in less time and at a lower heat than if you were to stick with cast iron.

Bonus points: One of our most asked questions about cast iron vs stainless steel: can stainless steel go in the oven? The answer is simple: of course stainless steel pans can go in the oven. We even put ours in a wood-fired pizza oven to test it and it worked great.

4. Stainless Steel Pans Are Lighter Weight

Have you ever hoisted a cast iron pan full of a tasty small-batch stew or a freshly baked cornbread out of the oven? They’re pretty heavy! Save your work out for the gym and stick with pans that are easier to take in and out of the oven.

5. Stainless Steel Pans Are Sleek 

Cast iron may have an outdoorsy quality to them, but stainless steel pans are slick and they’ll match pretty much any kitchen style. Minimalist and modern? Stainless steel works! Country chic? Stainless still works. Are you and your partner finally moving in together? Don’t worry, your stainless steel set will go with all the random kitchen gadgets they’re bringing!

And yes, they’re absolutely made for the gram:

stainless steel pan with pasta

Shop Stainless Steel Frying Pans Here


About Made In cookware

Made In is a new cookware brand that produces premium 5-ply stainless steel cookware, a French-made Chef Knife, French-made Carbon Steel, and more.

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  • Steve

    AF means: As F@#$

  • B. Warren

    Diva, you’re probably need to check Urban Dictionary on that one. Let’s just say that it is quite sleek. :D

  • Kevin

    I think everything said in this article is true. I went a little overboard with cast iron and carbon steel. I am getting to know my stainless cookware better. I have an induction cooktop now so the cast iron holding heat doesn’t matter so much (induction is so fast).

  • diva

    You write: “5. Stainless Steel Pans Are Sleek AF.” I looked but could not find the abbreviation you used. What is “AF?”

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