Updated: Jan 26
Cooking with a cast iron pan can be a great experience. They are durable, naturally non-stick, and can even add a small amount of iron to your food. But, when it comes down to pros and cons, stainless steel pans are considered the superior choice for a number of reasons.
Stainless steel pans are made from a combination of metals, typically including iron and chromium, which helps to distribute heat evenly across the pan.
First and foremost, cast iron pans take a significant amount of time and maintenance to properly care for. They must be seasoned regularly and can rust if not dried thoroughly after each use. Stainless steel pans are more resistant to rust and do not require the same level of upkeep. This can be especially important for those who may not have the time or inclination to spend on proper cast iron care.
Another important consideration is heat distribution. Stainless steel pans are made from a combination of metals, including iron and chromium, which helps distribute heat evenly across the pan. Cast iron pans are highly conductive (not necessarily a good thing), so they tend to have hot spots and cook unevenly. This can make it difficult to achieve consistent results.
Stainless steel pans are also generally considered safer to use. Cast iron pans can be heavy and difficult to handle, especially hot ones. This can make them more prone to accidents, such as spills and burns. Stainless steel pans, on the other hand, are typically lighter in weight and have stay-cool handles, making them easier to handle and less prone to accidents.
cast iron is not as heat-tolerant as other materials, like stainless steel.
Stainless steel pans are also more versatile; they can be used on most stovetops, including induction and oven. Cast iron pans are not recommended for all stovetops and should not be used under a broiler because they can warp or crack due to the intense heat. Broilers produce intense, direct heat that is much hotter than the heat generated by a stovetop or oven, and cast iron is not as heat-tolerant as other materials, like stainless steel.
It's worth noting that cast iron pans have been a classic cookware choice for centuries, and they do have some benefits. They can add a small amount of iron to your food, which can benefit those with iron deficiencies.
While cast iron pans can be a great option for some cooks, they require a significant amount of maintenance and care. Stainless steel pans, on the other hand, are generally considered the more convenient and versatile option. They offer even heat distribution, better safety, and durability and require less maintenance. A stainless steel pan may be the better choice if you're looking for a cookware option that is easy to use and care for.
If you are looking for great stainless steel pans, check out our highly recommended ones on our Chef Recs page.
To recap, here are the pros of stainless steel cookware:
Resistant to rust and staining
Easy to clean and maintain
Even heat distribution
It can be used on most stovetops, including induction
Oven-safe and broiler safe
They are generally lighter in weight and have stay-cool handles, making them safer to handle and less prone to accidents.