Can’t decide between cast iron, stainless steel, aluminium or non-stick? These are the more common materials used for cookware.
First, it’s most important to choose the best pan you can find within your budget. You should also consider things like functionality, design and ease of cleaning.
Should I get the cast iron pan? Cast iron is exceptionally good for browning and producing rich flavours as it is a near perfect heat conductor, heating evenly and consistently. As it can withstand very high temperature, it is ideal for searing and frying. Although a little less expensive than other cookware, they are normally more bulky and harder to clean. It has also been said that when exposed to acidic ingredients, there may be particles that are released into your food which may slightly change the taste.
Some may have a preference for stainless steel as they generally look more attractive with their shiny reflective surfaces. Although they cost more than their fellow peers, they are more durable, easier to clean and better at retaining flavours. However, they do not conduct heat as well.
Aluminium is used in most cookware manufactured today because of its excellent heat conduction and it is light weighted. However, because it is a soft metal, it may react with certain acidic food which is why it is generally made in between other metals. If you are buying an aluminium cookware, we recommended getting one that is anodized and has a non-stick coating so that it is scratch resistant and the metal will not come into contact with your food.
Non-stick pans are getting more popular these days. Not only are they easier to clean, you need less effort to keep food from getting burnt. You also require less fat when cooking. However, if rich flavours are important to you, the non-stick pan might not be suitable as they are not particularly versatile at high temperatures. Non-stick surface will eventually wear off and the pan will have to be replaced. There are various grades of non-stick cookware and some of the high quality ones have coating that can last a much longer time.
As you can see, each pan has its own good and bad. In fact, there is no single BEST pan, only the most suitable pan to suit your needs.