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Stainless Steel vs Ceramic Cookware

Ceramic vs Stainless Steel Cookware

These days, you can’t scroll through Instagram or visit a home decor website without seeing lots of promotions for ceramic cookware. If you’re in the market for new pots and pans, you’ve probably considered ceramic cookware as an option, whether you’re tempted by their nonstick qualities or trendy new color choices. How do they measure up to stainless steel for your kitchen?


What is Ceramic Cookware?

ceramic vs stainless steel cookware

Ceramic cookware has an interior and exterior coating composed of silicon dioxide (silica), applied over an aluminum core and cured by exposure to high temperatures. This creates a glassy, slick surface that food won’t stick to. These pots and pans are available in a wide range of colors and sizes, which is a big part of their current appeal.


What is stainless steel?

stainless steel vs ceramic cookware


Quality stainless steel cookware is composed of three layers, with outer and inner layers of stainless steel encasing a middle layer of aluminum. There is no additional coating over the steel interior.


Pros and Cons of Ceramic and Stainless Steel

When you’re making a major purchase like new cookware, you want to make sure that you’re investing your money wisely. Otherwise, you may just end up spending more money down the road!  Let’s see how ceramic and stainless steel stack up against each other.



One of the major appeals of ceramic cookware is its looks. New colors tend to get released every season, often in limited editions to increase their desirability for consumers looking to coordinate their pots and pans with their kitchen décor. However, trends come and go, and what suits your fancy one year may not appeal, or last, a few seasons later.


Stainless steel, on the other hand, has a timeless look that can complement any décor, from modern to farmhouse. You won’t have to worry about last year’s viral color looking dated! 


Ease of Use

The coating on a ceramic pan starts out as a nonstick surface, but you have to take precautions to maintain it for as long as possible. You should only use it over low to medium heat, and stick to silicone or wooden utensils to prevent the coating from getting scratched or chipped. It’s also not recommended to put them in the oven at higher temperatures. Also, if you stack your pots and pans on top of each other, you should place a pad between each one to prevent them from scratching each other.

Stainless steel pans will perform well at higher temperatures, and can easily move from the stovetop to the oven. It’s best to avoid metal utensils to prevent scratches from dulling their surface, but overall stainless steel cookware is much more versatile and easier to maintain.



For washing ceramic pots and pans, avoid abrasive cleansers or rough scrubbers, and keep them out of the dishwasher, where detergents can wear down the nonstick finish. However, because of the glassy finish, cleaning them by hand usually involves no more than wiping them down with a soapy cloth. Never run tap water into a pan straight from the stove, as an abrupt change in temperature can warp the pan and crack the finish.


One of the great advantages of stainless steel is that pots and pans can be run through the dishwasher, as there’s no delicate coating that needs to be protected from high temperatures and detergents. While there is a chance of food getting crusted on during the cooking process, a brief soak in soapy water will loosen it for easy cleaning.


It’s a simple fact that ceramic cookware has a limited lifespan, no matter how careful you are. Even with normal use, the slick surface will start to wear down, and it will lose its non-stick qualities. The ceramic coating can also become stained over time. In the end, you will be lucky if your ceramic cookware lasts for three years, with five being the longest possible lifespan for these pots and pans.


When it comes to stainless steel, you can count on decades of use from the same set of cookware. With no coating to wear off, stainless steel pans can be counted on to deliver the same level of cooking performance for your lifetime!


Ceramic cookware is promoted as a safer alternative to traditional nonstick cookware, while still supplying a relatively nonstick surface. However, this does not mean that the ceramic coating does not present some safety issues as well. Firstly, since the formulas used by ceramic cookware manufacturers are not public knowledge, we don’t know exactly what compounds are used in addition to the silicon dioxide. And even though silicon dioxide itself is derived from sand, and so is chemically inert, over time the coating will flake and chip, running the risk of ceramic particles ending up in your food.


On the other hand, stainless steel pots and pans have no coating to wear down or flake off, meaning that you can count on them to provide a safe, non-toxic cooking surface for decades.



At first glance, a set of ceramic pots and pans may look like a better deal, as sometimes the price is lower than for good quality stainless steel cookware. However, that’s not necessarily the case. You may end up paying close to the same price for a single frying pan, whether it’s ceramic or stainless steel, but that’s not the only factor to keep in mind.


Remember, that ceramic pan may only last you a couple of years, or at most five. On the other hand, the stainless steel frying pan will stay good as new for decades. When you do the math, a one-time expense for a pan you’ll have for the rest of your life is easily a better investment than one you’ll have to replace again and again. That is why stainless steel cookware is often called Heirloom Quality.


Which to Choose?

All you have to do is look at the pots and pans in a professional kitchen to see whether ceramic or stainless steel is a better choice for your home kitchen. While the trendy colors and nonstick qualities of ceramic cookware may be tempting, over time you’re looking at spending more money for cookware that is less versatile, durable, and safe than a set of stainless steel pots and pans that will last you a lifetime of kitchen creativity!

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