If you love to cook and are looking for your next kitchen tool, there are plenty of options available to choose from. However, if you’re deciding between cast iron and non-stick skillets, it can be difficult to decide which one will work best for you and your cooking style. In order to make this decision easier, keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of each material.
Cast iron pros & cons
- Have you ever wondered whether Teflon pots and pans are safe?
- Do non-stick surfaces release harmful fumes when heated?
- Are there other alternatives besides heavy aluminum pots that conduct heat well but stick horribly?
One alternative is to use cast iron pots. Although generally considered much more laborious to clean than other kinds of cookware, even seasoned cooks find them indispensable because they are naturally stick resistant and retain heat so well. Cast iron is a versatile, durable, inexpensive cooking surface that doesn’t require non-stick chemicals or Teflon to work. If you like preparing a variety of dishes or want something that will last for generations, cast iron might be your best choice. Before you buy new cookware set with cast iron, take a look at its pros and cons below
Cast iron pros:
- Over time, cast iron starts to give a smooth cooking surface and adds an organic taste to food cooked on it because when used over long periods of time, tiny amounts of fat get deposited into crevices on its body.
- In addition, there are many traditional recipes that call for flat bottomed pan (that only works with cast iron) such as tamales and paella so having one or two pieces may be useful in these cases.
- The coating on most non-stick pans wears off quickly, which means they’re more likely to stick than uncoated pans. Plus, many non-sticks have been shown to leach potentially toxic chemicals into food over time; if that happens too early in life, you may never even get to use them! You don’t have these concerns with cast iron—or any other uncoated pan for that matter.
- When treated correctly (more on that later), a properly seasoned non-sticking pan can rival anything on the market when it comes to easy cleanup and maintenance.
- Cast iron is a great choice for healthy cooking. The oil also makes it easier to create certain recipes that require an extremely hot surface.
- It also has a bit more versatility than some non-stick pans since you can use metal utensils with it, although you should avoid using forks or spoons that have very sharp edges.
- Additionally, cast iron withstands high heat well so you can use lower temperatures on its surface without losing flavor or texture.
- Well maintained cast iron can last for generations, offering excellent heat retention for searing meat, frying up eggs, baking quick breads and more. It has a healthy nonstick surface that you can achieve with just a little oiling before cooking.
Cast iron cons:
- Too much heat from high power burners or being mishandled could cause problems after extended use.
- Cleaning can be more difficult due to its porosity and roughness as compared to non-stick pans which require less effort for washing up and maintain their shine better than cast iron skillets.
- Other drawbacks include its quite heavy weight
- Some consumers also dislike using cast iron because they say it’s tough to clean up once food has stuck to its surface
- Cooking time takes longer and cleanup time (it’s a bit hard to scrape food off).
- Whether you choose non-stick or cast iron, both materials need proper care. To avoid breakage and rusting, it’s important to maintain them properly .
- Proper maintenance includes following all cooking directions; hand wash only; do not let water come in contact with hot handles or oven walls during cleaning; dry well immediately after washing.
Non-Stick Pros & Cons
Non stick refers to surfaces with a coating designed to make cookware easier to clean. Non stick coatings are typically polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is also known as Teflon. Coatings can be inorganic or organic compounds applied using methods like spraying or rolling/casting on a powder base. The most popular non stick coating is PTFE
- An advantage of non stick cookware is that it’s easy to use and cleanup is simple; nothing slides around on its own because there’s no friction between non stick pots and pans when you slide food around in them.
- Pans with a nonstick coating save time and energy.
- A nonstick coating also allows for less butter or oil to be used when cooking.
- These cookwares make cooking much easier, especially for sticky foods.
- First, most manufacturers have phased out some (if not all) PFOA from their non-stick coatings. While that’s great news for health concerns, it does mean that any non-stick you purchase will be more prone to scratches, dents, chipping or even cracking if it encounters something sharp like a knife edge or fingernail.
- Also non-stick loses its stickiness over time—literally. Over time, use can wear down those slippery properties until nothing is left but scratched and damaged cookware: Consider yourself warned!
- If you ever want to scratch off that coating that keeps food from sticking to your pots, remember: Never use metal utensils on a non-stick surface
- Another drawback is that non-stick cookware is also very susceptible to overheating—you’re supposed to be able to put them in water but will likely void your warranty by doing so—and they may melt if they’re exposed at high temperatures for too long, meaning they have less applications than cast iron.
- They also tend to be thinner and lighter than cast iron pots and pans (non-sticking requires less material).
- These characteristics make them great for stir fries but poor choices when cooking stews; they simply don’t retain heat as well as heavier/thicker materials like cast iron.
Choosing Between Cast Iron or Non Stick
It really comes down to your personal preferences. However, many people find non stick pans more convenient because they are easy to clean. Both types will work if properly taken care of, but a non stick pan is more forgiving if you forget to use oil or butter. Otherwise, cast iron is a better option since it’s naturally easier to cook in with very little oil necessary. While both cost similar amounts, cast iron lasts longer and can be passed down through generations if cared for properly. It also has healthier cooking properties since food won’t get overheated in certain areas due to uneven heating like what happens with non stick pans; that means not only less burnt food, but also less chemicals (like PFOA) used in manufacturing.