Metal surfaced cookware is always capable of doing more wonders then their plastic or Teflon-coated counterparts. Hence, they are more preferred by cooks and chefs who are looking for long-lasting and well-performing tools.
But, there are many options in this sector. The two most popular ones being stainless steel and copper, this might be confusing to many, which makes the task of choosing metal cookware even harder.
However, each of these options is great and suitable in their ways. They are both reliable and can be used for various cuisines and menus.
So, to help you figure which one would be better in general, we are providing sufficient information regarding them.
A Look at Stainless Steel and Copper Cookware
Both stainless steel and copper cookware are tools used to cook. However, both being metal cookware, have their set of differences that set them apart. These differences are what determine the kind of cooking they are suitable for.
So, let’s have a look at how they are distinct and what they are mostly known for.
When it comes to metal cooking sets, the stainless steel ones surely know how to win over hearts. They are loved by many for a lot of reasons. The first ones being that they always stand up to expectations and deliver top-notch performance.
For instance, even if you use them regularly, they will still last for a very long period. You will not witness them rusting or corroding, which makes them ideal as a long-term cooking companion.
The rusting is prevented by a chromium-steel alloy layer on top of the pan's surface. This prohibits the entrance of air moisture, which in turn protects the cookware for a long time.
Furthermore, they surely know how to preserve a meal's flavors. Whether we are talking about cheese here, or tomatoes, stainless steel cookware will not react with them and give them a metallic taste.
They come at a variety of price ranges. The ones available at the lower range are usually just made of stainless steel. However, the more expensive ones contain either a copper interior or exterior.
The purpose of this addition is to get more proper heat distribution across the pan. Along with that, this also increases the sturdiness of the product. Hence, they usually cost more.
Do you want to meet every chef's favorite cookware? Because that is exactly what copper cookware is. It will also be one of your favorites once you start using it.
Even heat distribution throughout cookware is often rare. Not every metal offers such conductivity of heat for that to happen. However, copper cookware knows how to make dreams come true, and that is what sets it apart from the rest.
They are known for their flawless heat spreading process. Every point of the pan will have the same temperature; it doesn't matter how far or close it is to the burner.
On the other hand, they usually come with tin or stainless steel lined on their surface. Since they are very reactive, acidic elements in food can easily cause a reaction, and the lining prevents it.
Stainless steel exterior makes them more durable. That is because the lining of this metal is scratch and rust-resistant. While tin is a popular option, it also needs to be relined every 4-5 years.
Unfortunately, you can only find copper cookware in a very expensive price range. They are usually treated as a luxury, which they should be, given their excellent traits and remarkable performance.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Stainless Steel Cookware
We have already dwelled into what makes stainless steel cookware special. But let’s take an elaborated look at the advantages and the disadvantages of using it. If you are new to them, then there are surely some features and flaws that you need to know of.
Here are some good features that make stainless steel appealing.
It’s an Iron Alloy
Whenever the need for making certain metals stronger rises, alloys are formed. That is why this one is an iron alloy that only adds more strength to it. Neither will the cookware crack, nor will it bend. Even if you use the pans carelessly, they will remain intact for a very long time.
What makes this cookware even better is that it remains shiny even after years of use. A lot of metals or alloys tend to lose or change color over time. However, to make sure you avoid the change of color in this one, you will need to take proper care of it. But, that is quite an easy task, so you are good to go.
You don't have to be careful when cleaning stainless steel pans because they are dish washable. Abrasive elements in certain cleaning products don’t harm this metal. As a result, you can use a variety of substances to keep them clean.
Reactive metals often need to be lined with other elements to avoid reactions with acidic elements in food. However, that will not be a matter of concern with stainless steel.
This iron alloy does not react much with acidic or alkaline ingredients. So, even if they are not layered with some other metal, they will remain safe for you.
Here are some flaws to look out for.
Uneven Heat Distribution
The biggest weakness of these pans is that they cannot distribute heat evenly. Especially the really thin ones are more prone to hot spots. This causes the food to either burn or cooks unevenly.
However, with added copper, this phenomenon can be avoided. But they are usually quite expensive.
When a pan is prone to hot spots, it becomes obvious that food will stick to it often. To get the stuck material off the surface, it will require a lot of scrubbing.
You can use soap, steel, wool, or detergent for the task. And you will have to do it regularly to keep your cookware shiny. That will be quite inconvenient unless you cook your meals on really low heat.
Requires Necessary Precautions to Prevent Rust
If moisture gets access to the pans quite a lot often, then they will start rusting. Although the rust can be scrubbed off, it can still significantly damage the cookware.
To avoid this, the pans are often layered with a chromium-steel alloy. However, that may be a little costly.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Copper Cookware
You already have a basic idea of what copper cookware is and what it does. Several factors make it one of a kind, which is why copper pans are bought by many, despite it being very expensive.
However, let's have a closer look at all of its features while weighing down on both its advantages and disadvantages.
We will start by discussing copper cookware's good features.
The biggest benefit of copper cookware is its ability to distribute heat evenly. Due to copper’s superior conductivity of heat, it never fails to keep an even temperature throughout the pan.
As a result, there are no hot spots at one point in the cookware, which prohibits meals from burning. This makes them ideal for making candies and sauces.
Protects Food from Bacteria
Copper is anti-bacterial, which keeps germs and bacteria away from it. So, your ingredients will always remain protected from microorganisms that can potentially harm your health. Ultimately, you will not have to worry about cleaning your copper pans all that much.
Even though copper is known to be a soft metal, its cookware is still durable. Yes, it might warp from time to time, but you will not see any signs of rust or crack.
The reason is simple. Copper cookware is always lined with some other metal. This not only prevents direct contact of copper with your meals but also enhances its durability.
Copper Non-Stick Pans Are Great
If you are tired of your Teflon coated non-stick cookware, then take a look at red copper pans.
The layer on the surface of this cookware will not come off. Furthermore, even if the food burns on the pan, it will slide right off without sticking to it. You can find out more about them in red copper cookware reviews.
Every good thing comes with flaws, and copper cookware is no different in this case.
Copper Is Very Reactive
If acidic ingredients, such as citrus, directly contact copper, then the metal will react to it. This will result in the meal getting infused with a very metallic taste. They can even leave grey streaks on dishes. To avoid this, copper pans are lined with tin or stainless steel, which increases their cost.
Copper cookware is not something you can be careless about. There is a lot to keep in mind when maintaining copper. Even the best copper cookware in the world can dent or turn grey if not taken care of properly.
These cooking sets cannot be dish-washed. You can never use detergents to clean them, and you will have to be very careful while you are at it. On the other hand, you have to wash them properly on a regular basis to keep their shine.
Cannot Be Used on a Ceramic Glass-Top Stove
If you don’t want your glass stove to have metal marks or scratches on top of it, then you should not use copper cookware on them.
Copper Cookware Is Expensive
You can never find them at a low price range unless you are getting some old ones. Copper is an expensive metal itself, which causes its cookware to be costly. Other than that, they are not even bought a lot often because of their high-priced tag.
Which Is Better?
If we compare copper and stainless steel, we will come across a lot of differences between them, which makes them almost incomparable. However, like cookware, they are both reliable and great.
In a lot of aspects, stainless steel would make better cookware. For instance, they do not react with acidic or alkaline ingredients. On the other hand, you can be careless with them as well.
However, copper cookware promises uniform heat distribution. So, they can be used to make meals that need crucial temperature management, or meals that are prone to burning quite easily, such as sugary desserts.
Hence, it depends on you and your cooking style as to which one is better for you. They are both great in their ways and surely work the best accordingly.
Both stainless steel and copper pans are popular cookware choices. If maintained properly, you can get the best out of them.
Therefore, it depends on your choices and preferred cuisines as to which one you should go for. However, copper cookware is not for regular use, and you can cook on stainless steel daily with minimal maintenance. Keeping all of this in mind, choose the better one for you!