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Your ultimate guide to cookware materials and how to care for them

When it comes to finding the right cookware for your specific needs, the best place to start is to consider what and how you’d like to cook, and then assess which cookware material is going to help you achieve the best results.

The cookware material that comes into direct contact with your food is key — it determines how quickly and evenly heat is distributed, how likely food is to stick to the surface, and how easy it will be to clean. For example, if you know you are looking to do some low to medium heat cooking, non-stick, coated cast iron and ceramic are good choices, but for high heat cooking, rather consider stainless steel, uncoated cast iron or carbon steel. Take a look at our guide to cookware materials to find the right surface for you.

1. Stainless steel cookware

Stainless steel is a good all round cookware material that can be used for a variety of purposes — we love it for:

  • Its ability to brown, sear, simmer, and sauté
  • Its high responsiveness to temperature changes
  • Being lightweight, durable and non-reactive
  • Being easy to clean and most often dishwasher safe

Now you know the basics...

...why not explore a bit more? Here is our guide to caring for your stainless steel cookware.

2. Coated cast iron cookware

Coated cast iron is easy to clean, doesn’t need to be seasoned or maintained, and doesn’t hold odours or flavours. We think it's great because:

  • It's ideal for low and slow cooking, like stewing, braising, and baking
  • It heats up slowly and evenly, and is the best material for retaining heat
  • It's very thick, sturdy, and durable
  • It's typically dishwasher safe, although hand washing is recommended

Time to find out more...

Here's is an in-depth look at coated cast iron cookware and how to take care of it.

3. Uncoated cast iron cookware

Uncoated cast iron can withstand very high heat and, once seasoned, is naturally non-stick — yes, please! Why do we think it's a winner?

  • It's ideal for hot, fast cooking as it can withstand very high temperatures
  • But it's also effective at lower temperatures as it holds heat well
  • It's durable and ultra-long-lasting, especially when seasoned regularly
  • Once it has developed its non-stick coating (or patina), it's super easy to clean and maintain

Curious to know more?

Discover a little more with our guide to getting the most out of your uncoated cast iron cookware.

4. Carbon steel cookware

Carbon steel heats up fast and handles high temperatures, making it super tough and adaptable. We’re fans of it because:

  • It’s ideal for high heat and fast cooking, as well as dry cooking, as it retains heat so well
  • It’s also highly responsive to changes in temperature, which means you can go from searing to sautéing almost instantly
  • It gets full marks for durability and can be used with any type of utensils
  • When seasoned, it develops a long-lasting, naturally non-stick surface that improves with use

Let’s take a closer look…

Here's our detailed guide to carbon steel cookware and how to keep it in good shape.

5. Ceramic-coated non-stick cookware

Ceramic-coated cookware is naturally non-stick, without any nasty checmicals releasing when it heats up, and cleaning it is a breeze (yes please)! It’s one of our favourites because:

  • Its non-stick surface is free of harmful chemicals and safe to use at most temperatures
  • Most food residue slides off effortlessly with a gentle wipe, making it easy to clean
  • It’s non-reactive and can handle ingredients of any kind
  • It’s usually excellent value for money and long-lasting

Keen to find out more?

Check out our guide on ceramic coated cookware and how to take care of it.

6. Non-stick coated cookware

Non-stick cookware's special coating prevents food from sticking (hello egg-cellent omelettes), ensures even heat for quick cooking, and makes cleaning a breeze. Why do we think it’s a top performer?

  • It’s the ultimate cookware for foods that ‘stick’ or break easily — your go-to for perfect sunny side up eggs and effortlessly flipping fluffy pancakes
  • It’s ideal for cooking on a low to medium heat while ensuring quick, even heat distribution
  • It’s super easy to clean — the easiest of all cookware materials
  • It cooks efficiently, saving both time and energy

Get the full scoop…

Here's our guide on non-stick cookware and keeping it in tip-top shape.

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