Aluminum vs stainless steel cookware: What is better for your health?

Aluminum-vs-stainless-steel-cookware_-What-is-better-for-your-health_

Not having the right cookware for what you want to cook can make cooking unpleasant and sometimes even a disaster. Don’t worry we have your back! In this article, we will be looking at the difference between aluminum and stainless steel cookware and the things that you should be thinking about before you buy so that you get the best cookware to suit your needs and cooking style.

The Pros and Cons of Aluminum and Stainless steel cookware

It is always important to understand that while both of these materials have their strengths and weaknesses it will be how and what you cook that will be the ultimate decider.

Stainless steel cookware

Better for cooking at high temperatures – If you cook a lot of steaks then having a skillet or a pan that is stainless steel is better as this type of cookware is less likely to buckle under high temperatures.
Holds more heat making it great for cooking foods for a long time – Iron takes longer to heat but will hold the heat for longer (
like cast iron cookware). This makes for a more even spread of heat in the base of the pan/skillet.
Versatile and extremely robust – you can cook anything with stainless steel cookware, and in fact, there are many people that have only stainless steel cookware in their house. we have some more information on choosing a full cookware set if this is something that interests you?
The surface of stainless steel is inert and will not be corroded or rusted- this means that you can cook anything from acidic foods like tomato to steaks, whatever you love to cook, this cookware will have your back.
There is no coating on stainless steel – this means that, unlike ceramic coated cookware or pots and pans that have a nonstick coating on them, you do not need to worry about scratching the surface when you are cooking. you can use any type of utensil and if and when food sticks to bottom ( yes we have all been there) you can simply use a scouring agent to get rid of the burnt food.
Can be used for any type of cooktop including induction – you can cook on any type of cooktop, whatever you have at home stainless steel is good to go (including the new induction cooker you have had your eye on)
Strong base makes the pan or skillet less likely to buckle – any decent stainless steel cookware will have a layered base ( aluminium and stainless steel layers), this helps to ensure that the base does not warp over time from high temperatures

Where Stainless steel is not so good

Poor heat conduction – stainless steel heats and cools slowly, for most people this is not a problem but if you are always in a rush this might be something to take into account.
Like cast iron cookware, it can be heavy – The better quality brands will have a thicker base, I have never had a problem with a bit of weight when I am cooking but there are others out there that this might be something to take into account.
Can be expensive – For some their budget might be the stumbling block to buying what they want. Stainless steel cookware is not cheap. If you find cheap cookware be wary they are very seldom any good.

Stainless steel vs aluminum cookware

Aluminium cookware

Very good at conducting heat It heats and cools very quickly – This is one of the more important things about this type of cookware. If you are looking to cook something quickly with no fuss as quickly as possible, then using aluminum based cookware is something that you might want to consider.

  • Lightweight
  • less expensive than Stainless steel

Where Aluminum is not so good

Exposed aluminum can leach chemicals into your food – especially when you are cooking acidic foods – things like tomatoes are very acidic.

  • Buckles easily
  • This buckling makes it hard to use this type of cookware on glass top cooktops
  • Is not induction ready

How safe are these types of cookware?

There are sometimes no clear boundaries with cookware and what is safe and what is not, Of course there are some types of cookware that are always going to be much better than others but there are other factors that will need to be taken into account when making a statement about how safe something is to use when you are cooking.
when reading these you should always take into account your circumstances and style of cooking, what you are cooking on and even things like who is in the kitchen when you cook.

Is Aluminium cookware safe

Most of the modern aluminum cookware that you find today will have some sort of coating on it, whatever form this coating takes it acts as a seal between food and the actual aluminum.
While this layer is intact there you are all good, it is when you expose the aluminum then you can start to get some of the metal being leached into your food.There are some people who might have medical issues that could be made worse by this exposure, so you should consult your doctor if you think that this might apply to you.
as with many things in life the middle ground is often the most sensible route to go. If you are using aluminum cookware you should be taking care not to scratch the coating, if this does happen then you should consider disposing of that pot or pan.

Is Stainless steel cookware safe?

The short answer to this is … Yes, it is safe. THere is no coating on this type of cookware, you are you are cooking on a surface that is inert and so will not chemically react.

There is a lot to write about what types of cookware are safe and what is not,  and in fact, I have written about  this before, here is a link to that article – The guide to healthy cookware

How well do these two types of cookware conduct heat

Each metal will have its own properties, this will, in turn, affect how they conduct heat. lighter metals like aluminium tend to be better conductors of heat and so when you are cooking with cookware made or containing aluminium then they are going to heat up very fast. This rapid heat transfer helps to spread out the heat from the base suer fast and the end result is that you get a more even heat. This also means that a skilled cook will have a lot better control over the temperature of the pan as the effects of the adjustments are super fast

This makes them great for cooking foods that cook quickly and are very temperature sensitive, for example, fish. Some chefs will us this type of cookware to get perfect results when they are working,

Stainless steel is not a great conductor of heat and so will take a lot longer heat up evenly then say aluminum will but because of the difference in weight, it will hold heat for longer. Aluminium actually has a higher heat capacity than steel but because it is so light it does not hold it.

So you have one metal that is super fast and conducting heat and the other that is way better at holding heat. If only there was a way to combine these two properties? It turns out there is! Read on to find out more…

The Best of Both worlds – 5-Ply Construction

One of the things that make stainless steel such a good option is that cookware manufacturers have managed to find a way around the weakness of both aluminium and stainless steel cookware.

Combining both in layers to get something even better

This is where the term tri-ply or 5-ply comes from. This is the layering of stainless steel with Aluminum comes from. You get a base that is both solid, sturdy and can be used on any cooking surface and very good at conducting heat fast and evenly. If you are looking at buying stainless steel cookware then this is the route that you should be taking.

Thinking of buying? Here are some good options

tainless steel PFOA free Non stick pan

5-ply nonstick stainless steel frying pan

Nonstick Frying Pans

Features and benefits

Here is the thing that I love the most about this pan: It has all the properties of nonstick cookware without being lightweight well a bit cheap. It is 5-ply stainless steel with a nonstick coating. These guys have done something a little different, added one of the most durable PFOA free coatings on the market not once but 3 times to an extremely well built 5-ply stainless steel pan.
Here are some of the features:

  • Heat resistant long handles – be confident that you will not easily burn your hand when taking this off the stovetop.
  • A comfortable and well-balanced weight – heavy enough to give you confidence in its robust quality but light enough to be easy to use in the kitchen.
  • Oven safe – so you can sear food on the stove top then cook them through in the oven
  • Dishwasher safe – You can add this in the dishwasher if you must, personally, we advocate washing by hand.
  • Induction Compatible – you can use this on any stovetop, its thick sturdy base means very little chance of warping like some of the aluminum pans we have used
  • Lifetime factory warranty – premium craftsmanship and careful consideration into the materials offering you peace of mind when you buy this

What we like

I am a clumsy cook and this pan has really helped me feel more relaxed when I am cooking. I don’t worry about the pan being damaged, I am confident that it will perform beautifully every time and look the same when it has been washed and put away.

What we don’t like

I tried hard with this one and to be fair this is not a fault with the desing and build but something that I have found with other pans I have used that has a handle that is riveted on. If you are not careful you will end up with food bits sticking where the rivet meats the pan. I have got around this by having an old toothbrush in the kitchen that I use to clean the rivets.

Rivets on a nonstick frying pan

Who is this for?

This is for anyone who likes cooking. this is not traditional nonstick cookware, if cooking is something that you do because you have to and you are just looking to get the job done there will be other options out there. If on the other hand cooking is something you like and you have any sort of passion for then this is totally for you. I use mine whenever I can and cooking with it is a pleasure – what more can I say


Our Rating: 

Calphalon Nonstick Aluminum 8-Inch and 10-Inch Omelette Pan set

Features and benefits


Ultra smooth lip allowing you to easily slide omelets off the pan.
Robust Nonstick layer that is PFOA free
Made from heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum, this promotes a very even heating across the pan
Specially designed handle that remains cool when you are cooking making this pan perfect for gas cooktops.
The pan and handle are held together with 4 rivets making this an extremely robust
There is an 8-inch and 10-inch set as well as 10-inch and 12-inch set

What we like

We have talked about this before in another review, it is such a reliable pan to look for and will make a great addition to any kitchen. If looked after well, you will get good use out of it and it makes for healthy cooking if that is your bag. We love cooking with butter, so we still use that even when we are using nonstick, but that is just because we can.
For what you are paying, you are getting something pretty darn decent

What we don’t like

There is nothing really that we can say we don’t like about this

Who is this for?

This is a great all-rounder and will suit most peoples needs. It is strong without being heavy so will suit those that don’t like heavy cookware. It is will not warp as easily as some of the other aluminum based cookware so will be fine glass cooktops as well as gas. because of the lack of steel in there, it will not be any good for those who have induction cooktops
Perfect for cooking Omelletes, fish, veggies poultry etc.
It still has a nonstick coating so you will need to take care of this as once that scratches or breaks down the pan will no longer really be usable as nonstick cookware


Our Rating: 
Buy Now from Amazon

Stainless steel frying pans

5-Ply Stainless steel Frying pan 8″, 10″ and 12″

Frying Pans

Features and benefits

This is straight up one of the best stainless steel pans that I have had the pleasure of cooking. It is well built and is so easy to use I cook with gas and this is perfect for my kitchen. You can use this on any cooktop and it will shine.

  • Heat resistant long handles – be confident that you will not easily burn your hand when taking this off the stovetop.
  • A comfortable and well-balanced weight – heavy enough to give you confidence in its robust quality but light enough to be easy to use in the kitchen.
  • Oven safe – so you can sear food on the stove top then cook them through in the oven
  • 5-Ply base makes for a robust base that will not bend or buckle easily
  • Dishwasher safe – You can add this in the dishwasher if you must, personally, we advocate washing by hand.
  • Induction Compatible – you can use this on any stovetop, its thick sturdy base means very little chance of warping like some of the aluminum pans we have used
  • Lifetime factory warranty – premium craftsmanship and careful consideration into the materials that make this cookware

What we like

Where to start: It is easy to use and the handle makes you feel confident that this pan is just going to the do the job. I like to have cookware that is a little heavy, I feel that this signifies quality. This is stainless steel pan delivers without being too heavy. When cooking at high temperatures I am not worrying that something might go wrong, I am just enjoying the art of cooking.

What we don’t like

Well, there is nothing really not to like about this pan, Again I would just make sure that you had something to clean around the rivets. Because this is stainless steel I would not worry about scratching the surface. Personally, I use an old toothbrush.

Who is this for?

This is for anyone who likes cooking. If cooking is something that you do because you have to and you are just looking to get the job done then maybe you should not be looking at stainless steel. If you are like me and cooking is something you like and you have any sort of passion for then this is totally for you. I use mine whenever I can and cooking with it is a pleasure – what more can I say

Stainless steel frying pans rivets on the handle


Our Rating: 

before you decide: Some things you should consider

What will you mainly be using the cookware for?

It is important to have an idea of what you are going to be cooking with the cookware. For example, my daughter likes cooking pasta sauces and so for this, we use a pan that actually has a nonstick surface and made from aluminum. When I have a chance I like a good steak and for this, I have a very trusty 5-ply stainless steel frying pan that does the trick very well.

Would you be looking for something that has a nonstick coating?

If you cook a lot of sauces or foods that cook quickly then you may want to consider using something that is aluminum and has a nonstick or ceramic coating.

What type of cooktop have you got?

If you have a gas stove you can use any type of cookware that you want to. the base is heated with a flame so if there is some warping from aluminum pans then this is not really an issue. If you have something like a glass top stove or an induction stove( or are thinking about something along these lines in the future) then you will be way better off getting stainless steel.

What will best go with what you already have in the kitchen?

This is another important factor in my opinion. There is always an argument that you should be getting the best that your money can buy and that you should be looking for something that is also practical. You should also be looking for something that will suit your kitchen, all things considered, for example, I have a stainless steel gas cooker and well stainless steel just looks cool on it

Aluminum cookware simply does not last as long

There is something else that you need to think about aluminum cookware just does not last that long especially when you compare it to good quality stainless steel. Yes it is much cheaper but will need to be replaced a lot more frequently

Stainless steel cookware on a gas cooker

Some final thoughts

Getting the right cookware and getting the best cookware is not always the same thing. You really need to make sure that you are buying something that will suit your needs and style of cooking.

I am a fan of stainless steel, I love the versatility and robustness I get from the cookware that I own. I am a little rough and on occasion clumsy so having something like this suits me. I like the weight of stainless steel, I feel more reassured with heavy cookware. But this is just what suits me.
think about what you actually want to be using the cookware for and how you cook. Aluminum cookware will need constant attention and while it is lighter, you will need to take care not to damage and expose the aluminium under the coating.

Think about what you need and how you will use it and you will have a better idea of what you actually need. There is nothing worse than buying something great and then realising that actually, it is the wrong thing