A buyers guide to cookware

A BUYER'S
GUIDE

TO
COOK­WARE

A COMPREHENSIVE COMPARISON OF COOKWARE MATERIALS

ALUMINIUM

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  • SAFE FOR Stovetop, oven
  • GOOD FOR Frying eggs, searing fish, sautéing & baking
    PROS
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Excellent thermal conductivity
    CONS
  • Reactive
  • Food can stick
  • Scratches easily
  • Not good for sweet baked goods
  • Does not work on induction burners

CAST IRON

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  • SAFE FOR Stovetop, oven, broiler, grill & direct fire
  • GOOD FOR Searing, stove-to-oven recipes, baking, roasting & frying
    PROS
  • Inexpensive
  • Retains heat
  • Scratch resistant
  • Naturally non-stick
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Can be used on any medium
    CONS
  • Heavy
  • Reactive
  • Doesn't heat evenly
  • Can chip, rust and crack
  • Difficult to maintain and clean

CERAMIC

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  • SAFE FOR Oven
  • GOOD FOR Casseroles, pies & gratins
    PROS
  • Can cook, serve and store food in the same dish
  • Least reactive cookware available
  • Smooth glaze is almost non-stick
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Microwave safe
    CONS
  • Can break and chip easily
  • Heats slowly
  • Heavy

COPPER

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  • SAFE FOR Stovetop, oven, broiler
  • GOOD FOR Boiling, steaming, sauteing, braising & making sauces
    PROS
  • Non-Stick
  • Lightweight
  • Cooks food evenly
  • Best heat conductor available
    CONS
  • Very expensive
  • Scratch sensitive
  • Extremely reactive
  • Does not work on induction cooktops
  • Requires regular polishing to maintain shine

GLASS

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  • SAFE FOR Oven
  • GOOD FOR Casseroles, cobblers, bread puddings & pies
    PROS
  • Great heat conductor
  • Non-reactive
  • Inexpensive
    CONS
  • High temperatures may cause glass to shatter
  • Can over brown sweet items
  • Poor heat distribution
  • Difficult to clean
  • Food may stick
  • Heavy

STAINLESS
STEEL

BROWSE NOW
  • SAFE FOR Stovetop, oven, broiler
  • GOOD FOR Boiling, steaming, sauteing, braising & making sauces
    PROS
  • Inexpensive for basic models
  • Non-reactive
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Resistant to rust, corrosion, scratching and denting
    CONS
  • Heavy
  • Food can stick
  • Prone to water spots
  • Poor heat conductivity and distribution relative to other materials

NON-STICK

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  • SAFE FOR Stovetop. Some non-stick pans are also oven-safe up to a certain temperature; check with the manufacturer to be safe
  • GOOD FOR Frying eggs, delicate fish & crepes
    PROS
  • Great heat conductor
  • Lightweight
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Non-reactive
  • Allows for cooking with less fat
    CONS
  • Scratch sensitive
  • Short lifespan
  • Easy to clean
  • Non-stick coatings break down under high heat

CLAY

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  • SAFE FOR Stovetop & oven
  • GOOD FOR Frying, baking, braising, grilling, stews & tagines
    PROS
  • Great heat retaining capability
  • Cooks food evenly
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Non-reactive
  • Retains moisture, eliminating the need for adding extra fats or liquids
  • Can be seasoned to retain flavours
  • Microwave safe
    CONS
  • Heats slowly
  • Heavy and difficult to handle when hot
  • Breaks and chips easily
  • Sudden temperature extremes can cause cracks
  • Requires proper care (unglazed cookware should be soaked in water before use)

PORCELAIN

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  • SAFE FOR Oven
  • GOOD FOR Casseroles
    PROS
  • Easy to clean
  • Non-reactive
  • Retains heat
  • Non-stick
    CONS
  • Can chip and break easily
  • Can be expensive
  • Heats slowly
  • Heavy

TITANIUM

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  • SAFE FOR Stovetop, Oven
  • GOOD FOR Baking, braising, broiling, searing & poaching
    PROS
  • Heats evenly and quickly
  • Extraordinarily light
  • Non-reactive
  • Very strong and resistant to rust, corrosion, scratching and denting
  • Naturally non-stick
  • Very easy to clean
    CONS
  • Very expensive