“What is the healthiest material for pots and pans?” This is one of the most frequently asked questions you would come across in cooking forums.
There are genuine safety concerns over some types of cookware, which could leach harmful chemicals into your food and bring forth a shedload of health complications.
Our in-depth analysis will help you weigh the pros and cons of the safest cookware materials, and help you choose the one that you feel has the most to offer in utility alongside non-toxicity.
We have listed 10 best healthiest material for pots and pans that you can consider buying.
What is the healthiest material for pots and pans? The Ultimate Guide-2020
It is imperative to ensure the cooking equipment you are buying for your kitchen meets the recommended safety standards.
Instead of solely focusing on their usefulness, we have also mentioned the inconveniences you would face while using each of these materials.
1. Stainless Steel :
You might have read some negative reviews about stainless steel cookware claiming they could expose your food to the likes of iron, nickel, and chromium. But, the reality is, high-quality stainless steel cookware has minimal health risks. Just don’t take our word for it, we provided scientific evidence against the question “Is Stainless Steel Cookware Safe ?“.
Stainless steel has iron, chromium, and nickel in its composition alongside a few other minerals. While our bodies naturally have these elements, taking these at excessive levels could lead to serious health complications. You wouldn’t want these materials to get into your food as silent killers.
Thankfully, studies have shown that stainless steel has a strong cohesion force, which prevents its fundamental elements from leaving its original structure. There are multiple stainless steel variants with a variety of element mix ratios. We recommend using 304 and 316-grade stainless steels, which have high melting points and are more resistant to salt and condiments.
Advantages Of Using Stainless Steel Cookware
- Stainless steel is incredibly durable. It can be used for a long time and is suitable for heavy-duty cooking and baking to some extent.
- The heat retention in stainless steel cookware is marvelous. It gets hot very fast and maintains favorably high temperatures to keep your food warm.
- If you don’t like to give much effort into cleaning your pots and pans, then stainless steel is a godsend for you. Stainless steel cookware is very easy to clean and is relatively compatible with dishwashers.
Disadvantages Of Using Stainless Steel Cookware
- Food grade stainless steel has very low levels of nickel. But, even that amount could cause symptoms in a person allergic to nickel. If you have nickel sensitivity, refrain from using stainless steel cookware and plates.
Best Stainless Steel Cookware: Calphalon 10-Piece Classic Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Calphalon brings you an irresistible combination of affordability and quality. This 10-piece stainless steel cookware collection is the ultimate arsenal to tackle any of your culinary challenges. The aluminum infused base with impact bonding technology makes these items more damage tolerant and also gives them a boost in heat conductivity.
Special Features :
- An 8″ and a 10″ fry pan.
- 1.5 qt saucepan with a lid.
- 2.5 qt saucepan with a lid.
- 3 qt sauté pan with lid.
- 6 qt stockpot with lid.
- See-through pot and pan covers.
- Ergonomic design.
- Quantity markings on each piece
- Lifetime warranty.
- Loose color soon.
Titanium has grown in popularity in recent years as one of the healthiest materials for pots and pans because of its non-toxic nature and premium appearance.
Cookware made of titanium is lightweight, good looking, and most importantly, safe to cook.
A handful of amenities have driven up its desirability as a cookware material.
Cookware manufacturers combine various metals to boost heat conductivity and durability of their products.
This technique pays dividends in enhancing efficiency, but it could also make the item susceptible to leaching.
Since titanium is difficult to penetrate, it proves quite useful in such combinations.
To be more precise, in multi-ply cookware, a titanium surface can safely enclose the core made of a different metal, like copper or aluminum. Titanium is an excellent conductor of heat.
So, you don’t need to grease the cookware with oil or butter before cooking. If you are looking for non-stick pans and pots, titanium cookware would be an ideal pick for you.
Advantages Of Using Titanium Cookware
- The non-porous property of titanium virtually guarantees that no undesired particles will sneak into your food. It barely reacts with other elements, so it does an excellent job of keeping the food separate from the other metal layer.
- As we have already mentioned, there aren’t a lot of elements that can trump titanium in heat conductivity. So, cooking in titanium is a breeze and permeates a rich flavor in your food.
- To date, there hasn’t been any documented case of titanium poisoning through cookware. In fact, titanium is relatively harmless to the human body even in case of high doses. Hence, it is very safe to cook in titanium cookware.
Disadvantages Of Using Titanium Cookware
- Titanium cookware items are expensive and quite delicate. So, you need to be extra careful while cleaning them. They require more maintenance work than most other cookware sets.
Best Aluminum Cookware: Woll Nowo Titanium Wok with Side Handles
Woll Nowo Titanium Wok is a titanium pan that excels in longevity and performance. For better heat distribution, the pan has an aluminum core that remains safely tucked away from the food with an additional coating of titanium. The handles on either side of the pan are filled with bass threads, making them easier to hold.
Special Features :
- Nonstick 4 layer titanium coating exterior with aluminum core. Measures 12.5 inches in diameter.
- Detachable side cast handles with bass threads.
- Oven safe to 480°F.
- Oven and dishwater safe.
- Detachable handles for storage convenience.
- PFOA free coating.
- Easy to clean.
3. Cast Iron
Cast iron might seem to be an odd entry in our healthiest material for pots and pans list. After all, it is common that cast iron pans leach iron to our food. So, why are we recommending it to be safe? That is a legit question, and no worries, we will address the issue going forward.
According to doctors, it is safe for an adult to take 40/45mg of iron a day. Iron is a crucial component of our blood. It is responsible for forming hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout our body. If the iron level in your body surpasses the recommended amount, you will be at the peril of health difficulties as severe as organ failure.
The quantity of iron that passes into your food from cast iron pans is minimal. To put it into perspective, frying an egg in a cast iron pan would release about 1-3mgs of iron into it. The leaching would be even less if you season the pan before use. So, if you don’t have an iron-rich diet, cast iron cooking could be a great source of supplemental iron.
Advantages Of Using Cast Iron Cookware
- Cast iron is the purest form of iron we use in household utensils. Since there are no other harmful chemicals involved, cast iron cookware could be a healthy choice.
- For centuries, cast iron has been the material of choice for cookware. The use of cast iron in cooking equipment dates back thousands of years. Cast iron is very durable, which made them the ultimate cookware material in the past.
- Heat spreads through cast-iron structures like wildfire. For that reason, you can expect to cook quicker using cast iron cookware. It also keeps the heat inside for a long time, so you feel like the food is just off the stove even after a couple of hours.
Disadvantages Of Using Cast Iron Cookware
- Cast iron cookware is heavier than other types of cookware. You would also need to lubricate the pan surface before coating to avoid the food from getting burnt.
Best Cast Iron Cookware: Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with Assist Handle Holder
A company can’t survive for a whopping 120 years without knowing its game, and this cast iron skillet by Lodge is a testament to that fact. The skillet comes pre-seasoned with natural vegetable oil for better protection against rust. It is perfect for searing. You can also bank on this skillet to deliver extraordinary results in sautéing, frying, grilling, and baking.
Special Features :
- 12-pan pre-seasoned with vegetable oil.
- Assist handle.
- Silicone handle holder.
- Induction friendly design.
- Great for induction cooking.
- Affordable price.
- Even heat distribution.
- The preheat time is a bit long.
4. Enameled Cast Iron
Do you love cooking in cast iron cookware, but are concerned about leaching? Then, enameled cast iron cookware brings the solution to your problem. It not only gives you the outstanding heating capacities of cast iron but also keeps you safe from leaking iron and corrosion. Not to mention, they also give you a more vibrant choice of shades.
Enameled cast iron cooking pots are also an upgrade over their cast iron counterparts considering stickiness. Cast iron pots and pans are sticky, and they pose a greater likelihood of burning your food. Besides, getting the burn marks off of them is also a nightmare. With enameled cast iron cookware, you don’t have to worry about any of that.
Acid and alkaline food can eat away the base of traditional cast iron cookware. Enameled cast iron is as impartial as Switzerland in this regard. It doesn’t discriminate between alkaline and acidic food. So, you can pour vinegar, citrus fruit juices, and wine into enamel cast iron cookware without giving it much or any thought.
Advantages Of Using Enameled Cast Iron
- Thanks to their non-stick surface, you would have no difficulties washing enameled cast iron cooking pots and pans. No matter how much oil you use in your cooking, you can stay assured that no food remnants will bother you while cleaning.
- There are some materials that heat up real fast but transmit the heat sporadically. It is not what you want when cooking delicacies like soups and stews. Enameled cast iron cookware provides stand-out performances in both heat distribution and retention.
- For stir-frying and searing, you would need cookware that can handle some outrageously high temperatures. Cast iron cookware does it very well, but so does enameled cast iron cookware minus the leaching threat.
Disadvantages Of Using Enameled Cast Iron
- Enameled cast iron utensils require more meticulous caring than cast iron ones. You should keep them away from dishwashers. They also get scratched easily, so use non-abrasive soft fabric to rinse them in water.
Best Enameled Cast Iron Cookware: Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
When it comes to cast iron and enamel cast iron cookware, there aren’t many alternatives to top the appeal of a Lodge product. The Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven comes in a variety of vivid colors. But, it is not the outer ambiance of this product that allures us. It is a remarkably high-performance cooking unit that has marvelous heating qualities.
Special Features :
- Porcelain enamel.
- 6 different capacities (1.5qt, 3qt, 4.5qt,6qt, 7.5qt).
- Good heat retention.
- Affordable price.
- Dishwasher compatible.
- Low maintenance.
- The design minimizes the cooking surface.
Copper cookware has this antiquated look that just fits in with almost kitchen settings. But, the glamour won’t help unless it can make a meaningful difference in your cooking experience. Ranking high in the list of heat conductors, copper is a functional pick for making cooking apparatus. However, how safe is it to use copper cookware?
It is safe to use copper cookware as long as you are using the right kind. There are two types of copper cookware-coated and uncoated. If you are using uncoated cookware, then you are playing Russian roulette with your health. Foods with low pH levels can cause copper leaching and put your health at risk.
You can nullify that threat by resorting to coated copper cookware. In these pieces, there are subsidiary layers of coating that keep the copper far from the food. Coated copper cookware is one of the healthiest cooking equipment you can buy. So, there is no need to deprive yourself of enjoying the conveniences offered by copper cookware.
Advantages Of Using Copper Cookware
- If you want the cookware to complement your kitchen design’s tone, then copper cookware is a universal option to turn. It is hard to envision a kitchen interior where copper utensils would look out of place.
- Copper is a fantastic conductor of heat. That’s why we see many multi-layer cooking pots to feature a copper center. If you use coated copper cookware, you can relish the utility offered by copper cookware without any health concerns.
- It feels disheartening to see hotspots ruining your cookware’s glaze, but that’s not a problem you would be facing while using copper cookware. Copper spreads the heat all across the surface with utmost consistency. So, there’s no chance of a hotspot.
Disadvantages Of Using Copper Cookware
- Copper cookware lies far from the economic end of the price spectrum. Plus, they are difficult to care.
Best Copper Cookware: Shinueri Nonstick Ceramic Copper Cookware Set (10 pieces)
With the use of RCS (Real Copper Stimulation) technology, Shinueri has brought out the best copper cooking. It is a seamless combination of copper and aluminum that results in an exquisite stage of heat conductivity. All items in this cookware set can achieve high temperatures within a blink of an eye. The preheat time is virtually non-existent.
Special Features :
- 1.5qt saucepan.
- 8″ fry pan.
- 2.5qt saucepan.
- 9.5″ fry pan.
- 6qt stockpot.
- Stainless steel steamer.
- Multiple color choices.
- Stainless steel handles for comfortable grip.
- Oven friendly.
- Non-stick coating free of hazardous chemicals.
- The pot handle is not ergonomic.
6. Carbon Steel
Carbon steel cookware is very similar to cast iron cookware, which we have already reviewed in our ten best healthiest material for pots and pans article. The difference between the two of them is very subtle. While cast iron is 100% carbon, carbon steel is an iron alloy with 1%-2% of carbon compared to 98%-99% iron.
How much difference does this fraction of carbon make? The presence of carbon makes carbon steel more stable than cast iron. More stability means less leaching tendency. However, carbon steel doesn’t completely stop the iron from leaching. The amount is significantly less than cast iron, which could be the dealbreaker for many health-conscious chefs.
Since the iron discharge ratio is smaller, carbon steel cookware has lower iron poisoning risks. In fact, the amount of iron that would get into your food will remain well within the healthy range of iron consumption. If you have been looking to fortify your diet with more iron, cooking in carbon steel pots and pans can be a smart move.
Advantages Of Using Carbon Steel Cookware
- Carbon steel cookware has a very controlled emission of iron into food. So, carbon steel cookware gives you a healthy dose of iron in your meals.
- If you need high retention for searing and grilling, carbon steel cookware can prove to be of great assistance. Carbon steel conveys the heat well and holds up well in high temperatures.
- Cooking pots and pans made of carbon steel are available at affordable price ranges.
Disadvantages Of Using Carbon Steel Cookware
- Alike cast iron cookware, carbon steel ones are heavy too. Moreover, they require seasoning before use even though they exhibit better resistance to corrosion than cast iron.
Best Carbon Steel Cookware: De Buyer Steel Fry Pan (Mineral Carbon)
Available in six different sizes, De Buyer Mineral Carbon Steel Fry Pan caters to a diverse range of customers with a diverse set of cooking goals. For maximizing safety, the product comes clean of PTFE and PFOA. De Buyer’s signature Bee Wax formula gives the pan a protective layer to fight off corrosion and reduces seasoning to a matter of preference.
Special Features :
- 99% iron and 1% carbon composition.
- Bee Wax anti-oxidation coating.
- PTFE and PFOA free.
- Oxidation resistant.
- No harmful chemicals.
- Ergonomic handles.
- Can’t be used in ovens.
Given the multitude of applications it has, aluminum has become an indispensable part of modern life. So, it’s not much of a surprise that aluminum has predominant use in kitchenware as well. The cost-effectiveness and heat conductivity that aluminum has to offer is enticing, but can it assure you of toxin-free food?
When aluminum comes in contact with acidic food like lemon juice or vinegar, it becomes reactive. There’s a catch, however. The smaller atomic radius of aluminum makes it more stable than the likes of copper and iron. So, the leaching should be very low, and studies have shown that it stays far below dangerous levels.
Therefore, aluminum seems quite appealing to us in terms of safety. If you want to play it even safer, there are options for you too. You can purchase anodized aluminum cookware, in which the aluminum loses its potency of participating in reactions. Or, you can choose a piece of cookware with an aluminum core lying underneath a non-reactant material.
Advantages Of Using Aluminum Cookware
- Aluminum is a common element in our environment. So, it is a cost-effective cookware material to take into consideration.
- If you need to move around your cookware frequently, then you would need it to be lightweight. Aluminum cookware is easy to lift because of its low weight so that it could be the best option for catering services.
- Fast heating capacity is a blessing in cooking as it cuts down cooking time to a considerable degree. Aluminum cookware heats up real fast and saves you some precious time.
Disadvantages Of Using Aluminum Cookware
- Aluminum doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to long lastingness. If you want cookware that would stay in tiptop shape for years with minimal maintenance, you should rule out aluminum cookware.
Best Aluminum Cookware: CUSINAID Nonstick Cookware Set
There are a lot of positives to talk about this CUSINAID cookware set, but the selling point of this collection has to be the versatility it presents. You can use these items stoves, induction cookers, and in infrared furnace stoves. Oven and dishwater compatibility add more to its charm.
Special Features :
- 1.5qt saucepan.
- 2qt saucepan.
- 2.5qt stockpot with lid.
- 4qt stockpot with lid.
- 8″ fry pan.
- 10″ fry pan.
- Oven compatible up to 500°F.
- 18/10 stainless steel base & handle.
- Anodized aluminum.
- Suitable for oven use.
- Toxin free.
- Anodized aluminum for rust resistance.
- Stainless steel base for better food safety.
- Handles get hot.
These seven materials are the most practical cookware choices you can make. Our 10 best healthiest material list for pots and pans includes lead-free ceramic, glass, and clay. Because of their ineffectiveness in high temperature and slow preheat period, we have found them to be rather inconvenient to cook. Therefore, we will explore these options on a more limited scale.
8. Lead-Free Ceramic
Beware of coated non-stick ceramic cookware, it might appear to be quite innocuous at first sight, but the coating can contaminate your food with lead. So, you have to use 100% ceramic cookware to avoid such health impediments.
But, what makes this an impotent cooking option to go for is its fragility to high temperature. You don’t want your cookware to break into pieces when it gets hot so that lead-free ceramic can be a realistic cookware alternative.
Food cooked in glass cookware is very safe for consumption. No evidence indicates it constitutes any harmful side effects to our health. Glass is also a material that you can find in abundance, so glass cookware comes at low prices too.
Up to this point, it seems like glass is the best cookware material there is. Unfortunately, it is not. Glass might shatter to pieces upon slight changes in temperature. Cookware made of glass is also susceptible to hideous burnt spots.
Clay is also a form of ceramic, but clay made cookware show better resilience to high temperature than natural ceramic. However, clay cookware has its own set of nuisances. For instance, clay is the exact opposite of a heat conductor.
It repels heat, which would make your cooking sessions excruciatingly long. The food might remain undercooked and have a smoked flavor, which is an acquired taste.
The material we use for cooking every day might be the culprit responsible for many of the health problems we go on to develop at the later stages of our lives. Hopefully, our 10 best healthiest material for pots and pans article will help you select the safest kitchenware.
If you have any further questions, ask us in the comment box below. We’ll get to it as soon as we can!