What Is The Difference Between Stainless Steel and Nonstick Cookware

Updated October 13th, 2020

It’s not just about the food when it comes to cooking, but the cookware you use also matters greatly. Professional chefs will tell you that the cookware you use can either make or break your cooking experience. That said, there has been an endless debate about which one is better: between stainless steel or nonstick cookware. Let’s get it over with.

Here are the differences between nonstick and stainless-steel cookware.


The best stainless-steel cookware is made from stainless steel, which has no health risks. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes it as safe for use in cooking and serving provided it has a minimum of 16% chromium.

Even though it isn’t completely inert, it’s more stable and less reactive at high temperatures than aluminum and copper. This means you can comfortably use it to cook, grill, and bake your food at high temperatures without risking your health.

On the other hand, nonstick cookware is made with a Teflon layer that prevents food from sticking. Before the Environmental Protection Agency intervened, the nonstick coating used to contain high amounts of PFOA, a chemical that may cause cancer and other health issues.

Currently, the nonstick cookware in the market does not contain PFOA, and so, they are still safe. However, the nonstick coating can easily peel off and mix with your food, so you should get rid of it when you notice some scratches. Also, ensure you cook on low and medium heat only and avoid heating an empty pan – the Teflon can release harmful chemicals into the air when exposed to high temperatures.

Cooking Capability

Stainless-steel cookware can cook anything from soups to meats. The searing and browning effect from this cookware is what you will love most about it. The downside is that food can easily stick on a stainless-steel pan and give you a rough time. Even so, you can solve this by adding a little more oil and hitting it up to prevent sticking.

When using nonstick cookware, the worry of your food getting stuck on the pan is out of the picture. The nonstick layer gives you a fantastic cooking time as you can easily cook, mix, flip, and serve like a pro. It is advisable to use nonstick spoons too to prevent scratching of the Teflon layer.

Unfortunately, you won’t get a chance to enjoy the much-adored searing and browning effect on your meats.


Nonstick pans are way easier to clean than stainless steel ones. The Teflon coating on nonstick cookware prevents food from sticking and possibly burning. Therefore, you only need a soft sponge to clean your nonstick pans, unlike stainless-steel pans, which require thorough scrubbing with abrasive materials.


Stainless-steel cookware is obviously more durable than nonstick cookware. Here is why; they have no coating that can peel off no matter how much you scrub them. On the contrary, nonstick pans wear out much faster, with the Teflon coating peeling off after some time. Hence, go for stainless-steel cookware that works with a gas stove-top if you want something that will last nearly forever.

The bad news about stainless-steel is that you will need to be a little more focused when cooking to watch out for possible burning. You’ll also have to use more cooking oil to lower the chances of your food burning and sticking.

Final Words

Both stainless-steel and nonstick cookware have their good and bad sides. You can have both and use them for specific cooking needs. For example, you can use a nonstick pan for foods like pancakes and eggs, which require low heat and are probably chronic “stickers.” Stainless-steel cookware can come in handy on those evenings when you just feel like munching some seared meat for dinner. Otherwise, stainless-steel cookware is the safest and most durable.

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