Ceramic vs Stainless Steel Cookware: Which Is Better?

Read more to find out the differences between Ceramic Cookware and Stainless Steel Cookware.

  • Team Made In
  • Mar 4, 2021
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There are many types of cookware collections on the market. You have Stainless Steel, Carbon Steel, Cast Iron, Copper, Non Stick, and Ceramic Cookware. These pans have unique cooking applications tied to their material, size, and composition.

However, two of the most popular types of pans are Stainless Steel and Ceramic. Stainless Steel Cookware is the preferred choice of chefs, while Ceramic Coated Pans were made as an alternative to Teflon cookware, and while OK for home cooks, we don't recommend them at all.

While the difference between Ceramic vs Stainless Steel pans might not be obvious, you should know that they require entirely different uses and feature different cookware materials. The difference between Ceramic vs Stainless Steel lies in composition, cooking capabilities, and how long the cookware will last.

This blog post will discuss the differences between Stainless Steel and Ceramic Coated Cookware, and when you would use one or the other.

Is Ceramic Better Than Stainless Steel?

The answer to this particular question is entirely based on what you intend to cook in each pan. Let’s break this subject down into the following categories: pan composition, cooking applications, and appearance.

Pan Composition

Stainless Steel Cookware is made of cladded metal, most usually with stainless steel on the bottom and top, with aluminum in the middle for added conductivity. Stainless Steel Cookware that is cladded, like ours, is a much better conductor of heat than all-aluminum cookware. It will retain its heat more effectively and also respond to changes in temperature much quicker.

Thus, Stainless Steel pots are a lot more efficient for making sauces, as you can bring your liquid to a boil faster and maintain heat. 

Pots and pans within a Ceramic Cookware Set are most commonly made with an all-aluminum body. While it is possible to have a stainless cladded pan with a ceramic coating, it is not very common.

Aluminum cookware is excellent at conducting heat, but they are more prone to warping and heating unevenly without the stainless steel component. When it comes to performance materials, Stainless Cladded Cookware reigns supreme.

With the 5-layers of cladded cookware, Stainless Clad Cookware is more likely to be heavier than Ceramic Cookware. However, in this case, having more weight to a pan is more beneficial to its cooking capabilities.

Cooking Applications

is perfect for searing meat, sautéing vegetables, making sauces, and more. With the ability to go up to 800F, you don’t have to worry about overheating Stainless Cookware. This gives you a lot more freedom when cooking, as you can do anything from lightly sautéing asparagus to getting a beautiful crust on a steak.

Ceramic Cookware is a type of non stick cookware, which lends itself beautifully to delicate food items like eggs or fish. If you want to sear a steak or char vegetables, then Stainless Steel, Carbon Steel, or cast iron cookware is the much better and healthier option.

Ceramic Cookware will work beautifully initially, but once you start to use it, the coating will fade, and you will have to add more oil or butter to the pan to achieve the desired non stick components that were once there.

Ultimately, each of these types of pans has its own applications. Stainless Steel Pans are better all-around pans due to their ability to get hot and stay hot and are perfect for many different cooking methods.

Ceramic Cookware is great for making eggs, lightly cooking vegetables, and other delicate cooking methods. If you want an everlasting all-around pan to make sauces, sear proteins, and toss pasta, then Stainless Clad is the way to go. If you find yourself only cooking foods like eggs, sautéing vegetables, and not going from stovetop to oven, then ceramic would be the better choice.

Appearance and Style

Lastly, we have the appearance of the pans. The way pans are designed to look has become more prevalent because of Ceramic Cookware. Unlike Stainless Steel Pans, Ceramic Cookware can have a colored exterior.

Whether you want sage, navy, green, or any other color imaginable, Ceramic Cookware is the choice for you. Utilizing a Ceramic Pan has become more prevalent in small kitchens, as the color makes them pop on your countertop and are pretty to keep out due to a lack of storage space.

Stainless Steel Cookware has a more industrial and professional look to it. It is the backbone of every professional kitchen, so it is used to getting beat up and stained. Some may argue that the stains and the wear and tear look of the pan makes Stainless Steel Cookware so beautiful.

You can always clean up your Stainless Clad Cookware, too, with some stainless steel cleaner or Bar Keeper’s Friend.

In the end, the question of which is better will be entirely based on your preferences. If you like a pan that performs many tasks, is used by professionals worldwide, and oven-safe up to 800F, then a Stainless Steel Pan is the way to go.

If you find yourself caring about your cookware’s appearance, only cook delicate items like eggs, fish, or quesadillas, prefer a pan that can’t get hot and stay hot, then a Ceramic Pan is the better option. While we think it’s clear which is the better choice, it is entirely up to how you cook at home.

What Type of Cookware is Safest to Use?

When it comes to answering the question, is ceramic cookware safe compared to stainless steel? There is a clear and obvious answer. Stainless Clad Cookware is among the safest cookware options, while PTFE-coated cookware is one of the safest non stick cookware options available on the market. 

Ceramic Cookware’s Sol-Gel coating releases silicone oil each time the pan is heated. While this oil isn’t harmful, it is a foreign material added to the pan’s surface. It is also found in some home products, including hair conditioners and fabric softeners. Ceramic Cookware also has a maximum heating temperature of around 450-500F, which is a lot lower than Stainless Clad’s 800F.

With no coating and a perfectly safe surface to cook on, Stainless Clad cookware is the safer option.

People commonly associate health issues with non stick Teflon products. Check out more about the key differences between Teflon vs ceramic coated cookware.

How Long Do Ceramic Pans Last?

Ceramic Pans do not last that long. Ceramic Cookware is non stick due to a Sol-Gel coating bound to the pan’s surface. Each time the pan gets heated, a silicone oil gets released onto the pan’s surface, creating a slick surface that will make your pan non stick.

However, over time the pan will run out of this silicone oil, and its non stick capabilities will quickly diminish. This will require more oil and butter when cooking, which takes away from one of the most appealing characteristics of Ceramic Cookware: it is the most healthy option on the market.

Once Ceramic Cookware loses its non stick capabilities, all you’re left with is an aluminum pan, which will not conduct heat well.

For a safer, more durable option for non stick pans, look for PTFE coated cookware. Made In’s Non Stick Cookware features a double coating on 5-ply Stainless Clad Cookware, so you get the fantastic heating benefits of Stainless Clad combined with a non-stick surface that will last 70 times longer than Ceramic Coated Pans.

The PTFE coating, which is made without PFOA, does not deplete like a Ceramic Coating. As long as you practice proper care and maintenance, like washing by hand, avoiding metal utensils, and stacking your pans with a dishcloth in-between, your PTFE pans will last much longer than ceramic pans.

How Long Do Stainless Steel Pans Last?

Stainless Steel Pans can last forever with proper care and will perform the same way over a long time. However, to ensure these pans can be passed down to your kids or even grandkids, there are a few things you need to know.

Avoid shocking your pan, which is placing a hot pan in cold water. Washing your pan by hand will also make it last longer, and it is more gentile than putting it in the dishwasher.

And with no coating on the pan, nothing can be stripped or diminished from the pan’s surface. If you want to make sure your pan looks as good as brand new, you can use Bar Keeper’s Friend or Baking Soda, but we think a pan’s character shouldn’t be tarnished.

In the end, when choosing between Stainless Steel Cookware and Ceramic Cookware, we think Stainless Steel is a much better option. It gives you more flexibility in the kitchen, lasts longer, and doesn’t have a depleting surface. If you want non stick cookware, turn to a PTFE coating with a 5-ply stainless clad body, as it will last longer than ceramic and is a much better conductor of heat.

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