We Know the Best Non-Stick Cookware

Written by Peter Allen on . Posted in Cookware

Finding the best non-stick cookware should not be a part time job that takes up all of your time.

That’s where our crew comes into play. We went out and looked for the greatest of them all when it comes to the best non-stick cookware.

After all, l we are just like you-busy people with kids, activities, and other obligations. When your cookware inconveniences you, that’s no good. Nobody has time for standing at the sink, scrubbing away old food and debris! Just take a look at our top picks and get inspired. These pans look great.

Best Non-Stick Cookware Set: Comparison

If you’re in a hurry, check out our comparison table to get the quick scoop on what we liked!

Model


Pieces


Our rating (5*)


All-Clad E785SC64


17


5.0


Cuisinart 66-17N Chef’s Classic


17


4.9


T-Fal Anodized Cookware Set


10


4.9


Rachael Ray Hard-Anodized


14


4.8


Cook’s Standard


10


4.7


DuxTop 9 Piece Tri Ply Set


9


4.7


Farberware “Millennium”


10


4.6


WhereEver Cookware Set


10


4.6


Cookin’ Home Stainless


12


4.4


Farberware Classic 15


15


4.3


The Best Products Reviewed

* T-fal Hard Anodized Cookware Set, Nonstick Pots and Pans Set

Okay, I am so excited to get into this review. Why? Because it is a review unlike any other. We decided to do it a little differently around here. You see, I needed a new pot and pan set. My mom needed one. So did my college-age sister, who just moved in with her roommate and best friend as they start grad school.

And I had to get my dad a new cookware set too-he lives two states away from me and the last time I visited I felt like I was cooking on some pans from the stone ages.

Oh dear!

I figured this would be a golden opportunity to get some dishwasher safe non-stick cookware and get some testing underway. After all, my whole family needed it, so we could combine our efforts and write out some reviews, making it easier for curious or sometimes confused buyers to make a better decision. After all, it was a hard time deciding what to get, but we managed to figure it out!

My pick was this T-Fal Hard Anodized Cookware Set. You might be wondering, what in the heck does the term “anodized” even mean? It basically means the metal was treated to be hard as diamond and withstand even the toughest cooking conditions without losing its hardness or shape. We will talk more about the process later on, but let’s just talk about this great set for now.

Upon first unboxing this set, I first thought of a luxury car, like a black Mercedes Benz. That’s a little bit of a weird thing to think of, I know, but these things are sleek and cool as cookware can be.

They would look very nice in a kitchen that’s in a big mansion, all the way down to a nice little kitchen in a cottage somewhere. I think that these are able to be used anywhere and will look classy with no questions asked. Indeed, I was happy with how they looked.

As I sorted through the pan set, I noted that these were going to be all that I needed for the day to day cooking operations of my home. They even have this nice “Thermo-Spot” indicator that shows when the pan is ready to be used so that way the flavor of the food is perfectly preserved and tastes just how it should.

The exterior was that kind you just know is going to be easy to clean. (I will get into that a little more when I tell you about my test run).

These are also very durable in their construction. I also was pleased to see that the silicone handles on the pot were there, because that means it is a lot safer and easier to hold when i am using them at high temperatures.

Can’t argue with safety! Plus, they are ergonomically designed, too, and a real pleasure to hold without hurting your hand or making it cramp up. The handles are oven safe up to 400 degrees F.

I counted 17 pieces in this set, and you get an 8 inch fry pan, and 10 inch fry pan, an 11.5 inch fry pan with a lid, a 10.25 inch griddle in the shape of a square, a 1, 2 and 3 quart saucepan with lid, a 3.5 quart deep sauté pan, and a 5 quart Dutch oven with a lid, a 3 quart steamer insert with two side handles, as well as a One Egg Wonder.

And you know what else? These are metal utensil safe. Yeah, that means you can use metal utensils whereas normally they told us to never use those on our nonstick cookware.

This is serious stuff-nonstick hard anodized cookware set that features expertly crafted interior that can be used with metal spatulas, spoons, tongs and more. Hooray! These also go in the dishwasher, although I would advise always washing your cookware by hand if you can. I find that the finish stays on the pans longer when they are hand washed, but that’s just me.

I went ahead and made a few great things all week with the pots and pans included. For starters, on Monday night, I made some chicken breast strips in the 10-inch skillet. I then used the other 8-inch skillet to sauté up some peppers and onions, so we had fajitas. Everything worked out so well.

The thermostat told me just when it was time to put in the chicken strips, and they turned out nice and juicy on our fajitas.

The next night we decided to do breakfast for dinner, and I loved it. I made some eggs in the skillets and they did not even stick! It was super easy to cook up the scrambled eggs and I did not even need to add any butter or oil to make sure they did not stick.

The pancakes were a breeze on the griddle, too. I just dolloped the batter on there, flipped them when it was time, and they were all done. It was so convenient and easy to just put the cooking spray away for some time! And believe me, everything tasted good. Our family was pleased with how it turned out, and I think yours will be too if you get this non-stick pan set.

Here are a few guidelines to also follow: You can leave behind fats if your family used them at all for frying, and aerosol spray is not recommended for non-stick cookware. It is also advised that you only use your cookware on low to moderate heat. These pans will get nice and hot, so don’t worry about there not being enough heat.

These are just flat out awesome, but there is a few cons.

Pros:

  • Dishwasher safe for easy care
  • They can be used with metal utensils
  • They feature a special thermostat for easy cooking

Cons:

  • Bottom of pots melt on some stoves
  • Some users reported discoloration after heavy use
  • Handles tend to loosen up over time

* Cuisinart 66-17N Chef’s Classic Non-Stick Hard Anodized, 17 Piece Set

This was the cookware set that my mom ordered, and she was really happy. She and I got together for dinner and she told me all about her experiences as I typed away on my laptop, a cup of coffee steaming next to me. The results were good, and I simply cannot wait to tell you about the experience she had with this non-stick ceramic cookware.

She pulled out the set for me as I looked it over. Like the previous set, this one just seems to scream, “luxury.” If there can be such a thing as a luxury cookware set, I think we’ve found it! It looks so cool and smart in its jet-black color, and it will look oh so sophisticated in your kitchen.

Whether you want a cookware set that goes with everything or just want to match everything up and look timeless, this is the way to go.

You get lots of good stuff in this non-stick pots and pans set. There is a 1-quart saucepan with cover, a 2-quart saucepan with a cover, a 3-quart saucepan with a cover, a 3.5-quart sauté pan with a helper and a cover, and a 4-quart Dutch oven with a cover.

You will also like the 8-quart stockpot with a cover for those really big jobs, and also an 8-inch nonstick skillet, 10-inch fry pan, and a 12-inch skillet with a cover. Lastly, you will enjoy the steamer with cover, too!

Mom started off by telling me how she made homemade beef stew for the ladies in her Bible study group. The study that week was held at her house and would be followed by hearty bowls of beef stew and my mom’s homemade bread.

She mentioned preparing the veggies for the stew in the 12-inch skillet – she needed a lot as there would be six people plus her-and also liked that she could set the stew to simmer all day long while stirring it occasionally.

The stew sat on the stove all day long and gathered up the flavors until all the ladies came over, studied and chatted, and then sat down to a nice dinner afterward. Everybody was pleased and enjoyed dipping the homemade dinner rolls into the stew broth, so we can say that that test meal went off without a hitch.

My mom also enjoyed using the steamer, she stated. She’s recently been trying to follow a healthier diet, and as a method of making veggies more exciting, she steams them before adding some salt, pepper or other seasonings. She said it was a cinch to put a pot of water on the stove, add in the steamer, and then broccoli on top of the steamer and let it soften up.

This plus a nice grilled chicken breast made in her other 8-inch skillet made for a nice, healthy meal that was something to enjoy and feel good about. So, we know they work in that regard, but what actually makes these things great?

I think it is because Cuisinart is known for providing their customers with super value in just about everything they offer. Off topic, but worth mentioning is that I have a Cuisinart food processor and I absolutely love it. It’s served me well for a few years now and I think they make a great product, personally.

This set has all you need to outfit your kitchen plus a few good extras that will help you out when you need it most. The pots are made with that lovely hard anodized construction so you can be sure that it will heat up evenly and quick-which my mom said did happen! No hot spots will be found on these pans, only evenly heated surfaces.

Cuisinart uses a coating called “quantanium” to coat their pots and pans, making them non-stick. It’s reinforced with titanium, too-so you can enjoy lasting food release which is good for low fat diets and recipes. There are even measurements in each pan so it’s easier to count out the correct amount of seasonings and ingredients.

The hard-anodized steel exterior is not only tougher than stainless steel, but it is also dense, nonporous, and very resistant to wear and tear. You will enjoy the durability and the performance that rivals the stuff professional chefs use. And you don’t even really need any oil or butter when using these pots, as the titanium really makes this stuff smooth as can be.

Virtually nothing will stick!

And cleanup will be a breeze, says my mom-since nothing sticks, you can just wash these with hot soapy water in the sink and dry them, and it won’t take you very long at all. It is not recommended that you put these in the dishwasher-you will do better by making sure these are cared for by hand.

You will also love the handles here, too. I noted they were made of metal, but mom stated that they did stay nice and cool on the stove; there was no need to use a mitt while transporting them around. They are made of sturdy stainless steel and will give you a good grip.

My mom has a dog who is spoiled and eats people food sometimes, but she has been known to eat off the counter if you don’t watch her. So, my mom needed a cookware set that could go in the oven. These are safe up to 500 degrees F. The glass lids go to 350 degrees F.

And the lids, by the way, are resistant to breakage and are also clear, so it is easy to monitor food while it is cooking up. They fit on their nice and tight, so all the flavor gets locked in.

Pros:

  • Oven safe to 500 Degrees F
  • Heavy pots, good heat conductors
  • Includes a variety of different sizes with the set

Cons:

  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Cannot use metal utensils on this set
  • Some users wish it came with a 4 qt saucepan

* All-Clad E785SC64 Ha1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set

This was the set that my dad opted for. He lives far away, so I do not get to see him as often as I’d like. Thankfully we were able to connect via Skype to see each other and talk about this great pot and pan set. I already told you earlier I’d been over for a visit.

I had gone over last summer, ready to reconnect with my dad and spend a week fishing, going for walks, having barbecues and mostly laughing about when we me and my sister were kids.

I was also really excited to cook him up some of my exceptional beef stroganoff, but my mood changed when I pulled out his old pot and pan set. Yikes! Burn marks all over, no non-stick coating, and the handles were holding water. No thanks! I opted to grill burgers for my dad instead and vowed to get him a good set for Father’s Day.

I really love cooking, so I know that All-Clad is a really good brand. Plus, they are made right in Canonsburg, PA. We all know Pennsylvania is a great producer of steel; they even named their football team after the industry. I knew my dad would absolutely love these, as he is always proud to support a United States-made product.

This company always does their best to innovate and constantly evolve to meet the demands of those who want only the best quality products in their kitchen.

Indeed, All-Clad makes products for home cooks that love to put passion and love into what it is they do best-make delicious food their friends and family love to eat. This is for those serious cooks who are using Grandma’s recipes, preserving family secret recipes for the future, and making sure family traditions are followed.

Knowing what I know about them and that they make all their products with the finest attention to detail I happily pulled the trigger and bought these and had them delivered on Father’s Day for my pops. I called him later to make sure he got them and told him I’d follow up in one week to see how he liked them-I told him to make something good with the pots and pans so we could write this review!

First, let’s talk about the nuts and bolts of this product. You get a total of ten pieces in this great set, including an 8 inch and a 10-inch fry pan, a 2.5 quart and a 3.5-quart sauce pan with some lids also, a 4-quart sauté pan with a lid, and also an 8-quart stockpot with a lid.

This is hard anodized cookware, so you get to experience the extremely great quality of the brand and the amazing convenience of non-stick cookware.

You will get three layers of PFOA free nonstick coating to ensure food release is totally effortless and cleanup a walk in the park. What’s more, the hard-anodized nonstick cookware brings you the big convenience of being dishwasher safe, compatible with induction stoves, and being resistant to warping with their extreme strength.

When I Skyped my dad, he had them next to him on the counter. We exchanged pleasantries and then he went ahead and told me about the stuff he had made as well as what he liked about the cookware set.

For starters, he believes that these pots will probably outlive even him. I am not joking. He feels that they are of such good construction and material that they will last a long time. And secondly, he thinks that the cooking of food is absolutely brilliant. He mentioned making pancakes and letting them get really big because the heat distribution was on point!

He says pancakes made on his old pots and pans simply do not stand a chance against these great cookware pieces. Another small but important detail is the metal handles which are on the side of these pots. You would think they’d get hot and be uncomfortable to hold, but the handles stay cool and are designed for hands to hold.

He also mentioned how heavy they were and how much he liked them for being that way. He just loved how sturdy they felt when he held them in his hands. He thinks this is because there is better quality of material going into them and reminded him of cast iron cooking ware instead of regular old stainless-steel stuff. He said his old stuff felt like a child’s toy next to this great set!

And even though they were a gift, Dad was aware of the price and realized what an investment I had made. He is totally worth every penny! And remember this: What you do not spend today will be money you spend tomorrow replacing a lower quality item. It is better to just put in that extra money now and pocket the difference as the years go on.

Lastly, it really made me happy when Dad said how much fun cooking was with these things. He really enjoyed doing his test meals in them and was glad to report back to me.

He made pancakes one night, he stated, and was pleased with how well they heated up and how big he could make them. They were really a joy for him to use and he likes the look of them. I do too-they are so cool and sturdy in their design.

That rich jet-black exterior is set off by a nice silver bottom that I just think is so cool. You can put them in the oven for up to 500 degrees F, you can hand wash them in your sink which is the recommended method, and you can also take comfort in the limited lifetime warranty.

They are also dishwasher safe non-stick cookware!  If longevity and great quality is what you seek, then this is the set you want.

Pros:

  • Dishwasher safe, hand wash recommended
  • Oven safe up to 500 degrees F
  • Stainless steel handles do not get hot

Cons:

  • No Dutch oven included
  • Heavier pans are hard to hold
  • No lids to fry pans

* Rachael Ray Hard-Anodized Nonstick 14-Piece Cookware Set

This was something that my sister found as she moved into her new apartment with her best friend. They are going to grad school about four hours away, so they got an apartment and decided to work while attending school, opting to cook meals as a way of saving money while they go about their schooling.

To start off, they decided to get this great set of Rachael Ray cookware to use. I Skyped with my sister, like I had done with my dad, to get her take on this amazing cookware set.

This one brought one word to my mind as she brought it up on the screen before me: Halloween! I smiled a little thinking about the spooky time of year as I noted the black color with the orange handles.

There are a few other colors you can get, but this one happened to be her choice, and believe me, the quality is absolutely there. Don’t let a color scheme deter you from this great cookware set.

Photo by Quiet Hut / CC BY

Inside this non-stick induction cookware set, you get 14 great pieces that include 1-Quart, 2-Quart and 3-Quart Covered Saucepans. 4-Quart Covered Saucepot, 6-Quart Covered Stockpot, 3-Quart Covered Sauté, and 8.5-Inch and 10-Inch Skillets.

That’s a lot of great stuff! 

It is durable and heats up very quickly and evenly, which reduces those pesky hotspots that can burn up your food and make it inedible, yuck!

You also will enjoy the clear coat that’s around the surface of these pots and pans. They make it so easy to wipe them down after you’ve got done cooking with them, and they look shiny and modern sitting in your kitchen. My sister decided to hang hers up because their apartment has a rack like that, and they indeed look cool hanging up there.

Another great thing to note is that the handles on these pots are rubberized. So, when you are holding them in your hands, moving them around, or otherwise having to work with these pots, you don’t have to risk getting burned. It’s great especially if you have young teens who are looking to get into cooking, but you worry about their safety and the like.

The handles are oven safe up to 350 degrees F, so if you need to put the pans in the oven for whatever reason-dogs, pets, kids, whatever-you can absolutely do so at that temperature.

One thing Emily (that’s my sis) really liked about this was the fact that the lids just fit right onto the top of the pot without having to wiggle it around. Some lids just don’t seem to go on, but these lids just fit right on and kept the flavors where they should be-right inside the pot.

Also, it is worth noting that these pots are dishwasher safe, so just put them in there if you like-however, you know my golden rule-only hand wash these things if you can help it.

Emily also went ahead and told me about her test meals that she had made for herself and her roommate over the course of the weeks she’d had the safe non-stick cookware. The pots themselves had held up well for daily use and were still going strong. She had made rice and beans one night, boiling the instant rice on the stove in the 3-quart pan and making the beans in the other pan.

Now the important thing to remember is that she made these beans dry, so they had to sit in that pot for a few hours. I was glad to know that the pot did not warp or lose color even after sitting there for a long while, making sure those beans were cooked up properly. And we all know what happens when we cook pinto beans in a pot-they leave behind a little residue on there.

Well, these pots were a breeze to clean up, and Emily said it just took a little dish soap and some elbow grease to get that stuff right out of there.

Aside from this, she had also cooked up some French toast in the larger skillet for herself and her friend. It turned out well, and the pans did not need any sort of butter, oil or spray to make them the best French toast they’d had in a while.

This one is a definite GO if you need a gift for a beloved friend or family member!

Pros:

  • Grippy rubber handles to keep you safe
  • Photo by Quiet Hut / CC BY

    Variety of pots and pans included

  • Dishwasher safe for convenience

Cons:

  • Lightweight, not as heavy as some sets
  • Some users reported the coloring coming off.
  • Some users were disappointed about the lack of Dutch oven.

What to Know Before Buying the Best Non-Stick Cookware Set

You probably feel excited and ready to go out there and spend some of your hard-earned money on a great cookware set, I know I did once I learned about some of the great ones that are available to us consumers on the market today.

But there is actually no such thing as a set that fits all. You have to take a few things into consideration when you buy your set, and you should do this by considering your cooking style: Do you cook for just yourself, or do you cook for a crowd?

If you choose the first choice, you can probably get by on a smaller set of cookware – for example, the All-Clad was perfect for Dad because he just lives by himself. And the ten-piece was fine for Emily because she feeds only two people.

Meanwhile, my mom loves having people over, especially her Bible study group, so the large set is perfect for her. Plus, consider what it is you cook most often. Are you mostly making soups and sauces, or are you doing stir fries, scrambles, and pasta dishes? This will determine whether it behooves you to have a big selection of sauce pots or perhaps just one big skillet.

In our opinion, you should look for a set that provides you at least two small sauce pots, one large stockpot, a smaller egg pan, and a larger skillet or sauté pan. If you get anything extra, just count it as a bonus or freebie. Most of these sets come with lids for each of the sauce pots, sauté pan, and stockpots.

If you are worried about glass lids shattering-which, thankfully, none of us dealt with but other users did-then you should opt for metal pot lids. Look for a set that offers metal lids if you fear the lid shattering at any given moment. Besides, those lids always fog up anyways.

Some other factors to examine when you are buying cookware include the following:

Heat Conductivity: There are some metals out there that are just better at conducting heat than others. For example, copper is a lot better at conducting heat than say, stainless steel. What this means for you is that in terms of the cookware, the better the heat conductivity, the better the food will cook up.

It also means that when you turn the heat up, or even turn it down. The copper cookware will react a lot faster to the change in temperature than stainless steel.

Price is another factor when you shop around for this stuff. Remember, buying a cheap item now means that you will probably have to buy another one later on. It is best to choose the item that is good based on quality and reviews, not on the price. After all, it will be better for you in the long run to have a cookware set that just works without question.

Durability: Thankfully, the popular retail site we sourced our products from features consumers like you who rated the product based upon its durability. Some cookware looks good after years of use, while others do not. Stainless steel is one of the best as far as durability goes, along with aluminum.

Maintenance: If you would rather not have to wash up and shine your cookware each and every night just to make sure it looks good, consider the amount of maintenance you need to keep it looking its best. Some metals, like copper and cast iron, are the types of cookware that require a lot of work to keep it looking absolutely stunning.

Meanwhile, stainless steel non-stick cookware and aluminum tend to be easier when it comes to looking great. After all, you don’t want to spend all your time in the kitchen, just what is needed to prepare and execute the best meals for your friends and family.

Although it may be tempting to buy the first thing you see that catches your eye, it is important to focus on what you need and the best quality you can afford, as well as the metal that best suits your stove before you spend any money. This will ensure a great purchase and no buyer’s remorse once all is said and done.

Why Should I Care About Anodized Cookware?

In the process of being manufactured, many metals are weakened structurally by the process of oxidation, but not aluminum. Aluminum is actually stronger and more durable when it goes through the anodizing process.

This involves putting a sheet of aluminum into a chemical acid bath, which is often acetone. The sheet of aluminum then becomes the positive anode of a chemical batter; the acid bath becomes the negative.

An electric current then passes through the acid, which causes the surface of the aluminum to oxidize-in essence, to rust! The now oxidized aluminum forms a strong coating, replacing the original surface aluminum.

You now have a really hard substance called anodized aluminum on your side. This stuff is no joke-it can be as hard as diamond if done under the right process of anodizing.

A lot of newer buildings use anodized aluminum in areas where metal framework is out in the open, exposed to the elements. And of course, it is a very popular material in the making of high-quality cookware like frying pans, skillets and stockpots.

Heat gets distributed evenly across the anodized aluminum, and the process of this anodizing provides a finish that is naturally lovely and protective. Special dyes can also be used to make your pots and pans look more fun and decorative.

This material is so durable and strong, you can also find this stuff in a fair number of other household applications, too. You can find it in outer space for instance-satellites circling the Earth are kept safe from space junk and debris by way of anodized aluminum.

They are used in the making of cars, too. But most of all, it is very popular in the food service world because the oxidation process does not weaken the aluminum. The layer of “rust” is part of the original aluminum, and don’t worry- it will NOT transfer over to food or even flake off even under the most stressful conditions.

So, your quick science lesson for the day is over.  If you see that word “anodized” go for it, it is a very GOOD thing!

Caring for Your Non-Stick Cookware

Throughout the course of this article, I threw a lot of stories and anecdotes at you about these sets and mentioned a few times about how my family would care for their cookware sets. Now it’s time to lay down the law and show you how to care for these kitchen tools so they always look great!

Proper Care of Non-Stick Cookware

Here are the basics-consider copying them into a word doc and printing them out so you don’t forget.

  • Preheat your pan before you add any oils or other foods and do this on medium heat rather than high heat. Reason being is that steel always expands when it gets hot, and then contracts when the temp drops down very suddenly, and thus making the cooler factor (the newly added food) stick to its hot surface.
  • Do not every try to remove food by force from a pan while it is stuck to the bottom. Soak the pan. Use gentle non-abrasive sponges and baking soda to get it clean.
  • To get rid of pitting, you can boil up a mix of water and vinegar and this will get rid of discoloration.
  • Dry out your pan with paper towels after you wash it to avoid water stains or spots.
  • Do not use bleach when you clean the cookware. This will strip away the chromium oxide layer from the surface, and you run the risk of rust developing as a result.

If stains are very hard to get rid of, fill your pot or pan with some water. Now boil it up for 20 minutes until you are able to scratch away at it with a wooden spoon. You can also buy a cleaner like Bar Keeper’s Friend, drizzle it on the pot, and wash it gently with a soft sponge that is non-abrasive. If the burn still doesn’t go away, repeat the procedure with vinegar added to your water.

If you do get some rust on your pots and pans, do scrub it again with Bar Keeper’s Friend. Alternatively, you can create a paste of lemon juice and tartar cream, dry it out thoroughly, and wait for a few days until the protective chromium oxide layer forms up again.

Other Helpful Tips

Always be sure to clean and dry your non-stick pans after you use them. Although many of your popular brands indicate that you can put this right into the dishwasher to clean them, it is recommended that you hand wash them right after use.

Waiting too long to clean them or washing it inside the dishwasher increases the chance that leftover oils will bake into the coating and the outside of the pans. If you’ve ever seen a caramel-colored stain on the outside of your pan or a friend’s, it is because they are baked on grease and oil spots.

Another important tip is not to use aerosol cooking spray on your pan. This spray will ruin your pan faster than any other method. Why? Well, simply because the store-bought aerosol sprays build and build, and then coat a pan’s surface upon being heated. It happens after prolonged use- so just don’t do it!

And lastly, avoid making major water temperature changes when you use these pans. Taking a hot pan and then putting it into cold water can cause the frying pan to warp. This is more common in cheaper pans as opposed to top-quality or commercial brands.

We know you want to clean up immediately after eating, but just don’t do it! Let it cool off. After all, a warped pan means heat cannot distribute correctly, resulting in improperly cooked food.

FAQS about Non-Stick Cookware

Are Stainless Steel Cookware Sets Safe?

Yes. Thanks to modern manufacturing practices, it is certain that the heavy metals that make up steel like nickel and chromium never seep out during the cooking process. Also, the layer of aluminum is often compressed between stainless steel layers instead of bonded together. You will not have to worry about metals leaking at all.

Some of the pans we reviewed today had stainless steel handles, and some of you might choose stainless steel pans over aluminum.

Why Use Aluminum?

Aluminum is a great heat conductor. Therefore, it is a great choice for cookware. Aluminum actually has conductive properties that are 16 times greater than that of stainless steel.

So, if you are in a hurry, use the aluminum pot instead of a stainless steel one. Aluminum is also the third most common element found in nature. It is therefore cheap and abundant, making cookware made of it very affordable. No wonder many cooks and professional chefs alike enjoy it.

These product descriptions say “hard anodized” …what does that mean?

Anodized and Hard Anodized are NOT the same thing. They both imply that a layer of aluminum oxide is on the surface of the metal. But the difference is that hard anodized is an even thicker layer of aluminum oxide than the classic anodized. The result is that the hard has two times the strength of stainless steel, is durable, resistant to abrasion and corrosion, and non-reactive.

The layer of aluminum oxide contained within anodized aluminum is not the same as paint or a coating; instead it is fused completely to the base metal. That means it is a part of it and will NOT peel away or chip off.

In reading some of the reviews while researching our products, we found some consumers complaining of it chipping away. This should not happen. As a matter of fact, this substance is almost as hard as a diamond! This is why it does such a superb job of keeping scratches away.

Are Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookwares Non-Stick?

Yes! But there is a caveat. By nature, hard anodized aluminum is a non-stick surface, but not 100%. Therefore, companies apply a nonstick coating to make sure they are non-stick.

Is there a difference between hard anodized and non-stick?

Hard anodized cookware is made out of aluminum that has been treated to form a layer that is hard, durable and good quality. It may or may not be treated to be non-stick; many companies do opt to treat their cookware to be non-stick as it is more appealing to consumers. Anodized aluminum first burst onto the scene in 1968 when Calphalon developed it for use by professional chefs.

It was developed to respond to the needs of professional chefs who wanted an efficient and safe way to better prepared foods. It was later made available to the public in 1976 under the Calphalon Commercial Hard Anodized Line. This is no longer available, but there are plenty of great non-stick brands available to you.

On the other hand, non-stick aluminum cookware is aluminum cookware that has a non-stick coating applied to it. Some of these can be PTFE based (which many consumers prefer to avoid), or ceramic based.

Which is better: Non-stick coated pan with hard anodized aluminum, or non-anodized aluminum?

I would always choose the one that is made of the hard-anodized solution. Why? Well, hard-anodized aluminum does go through that special anodization process that we talked about a little bit earlier. This means that it is much more durable and scratch resistant than plain aluminum cookware. You get a sturdier pan due to the strength of the hard-anodized surface.

Also, a non-stick coating that is applied to a hard-anodized aluminum pan will last much longer than a regular old aluminum pan. According to one website, when an abrasion test was performed on a hard-anodized aluminum surface and a plain aluminum surface with the same level and quality of non-stick coat, the hard-anodized material turned out to be three times as tough.

How’s that for a deal-maker! Even if the non-stick coating wears off or even gets some scratches, your ingredients will not be exposed to bare aluminum. If you did not already know, aluminum reacts with some foods that are quite acidic and leeches the metal into the cooking. Hard anodized cookware, on the other hand, is not reactive.

Yikes! Is Aluminum Cookware Safe?

Okay, so let’s break it down into the two big questions that all of us have:

  • Does aluminum get into my food by way of cookware?
  • Is it safe for cooking use?

So, let’s take it one step at a time.

Does aluminum get into my food by way of the cookware?

Not a lot! Do keep in mind that most cookware made of aluminum is coated with non-stick, is hard anodized, or even crafted with stainless steel and clad in that material. In all of these examples, the food is not directly coming into contact with regular aluminum, so the chances of it leaching in is very low.

What’s the deal with plain aluminum pans? Most of us are not using plain aluminum pans nowadays. Cooking in aluminum containers results in small but non-harmful increases in food’s aluminum content, says the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information).

So, What’s the Bottom Line?

If nothing else, these are your two takeaways-

  • Aluminum does not get into your food by way of coated or anodized cookware made of aluminum.
  • The amount that does get into food from untreated aluminum cookware is not substantial enough to be harmful to your health.

Now we will move onto the next part of our question:

Is Aluminum Safe?

We already discussed that most aluminum cookware is clad, coated or anodized. This means your food is not directly touching the metal. If you are among the few that are using plain cookware crafted from aluminum, the amount of metal leaching appears to be minimal. This also is applicable to scratched ceramic or Teflon non-stick cookwares

Many of us are using some form of aluminum in our cookware. In doing so, a friend or family member that means well might tell us that doing so promotes Alzheimer’s disease.

This was a myth that emerged during the 60s and 70s when a patient with Alzheimer’s was found to have a high concentrate of aluminum in his brain. However it has been debunked many times, and you can read the facts here.

With that being said, I draw the conclusion that aluminum cookware is fine to use and safe.

Conclusion

Taking this journey has certainly been fun, and I had a great time learning about the best non-stick cookware. There are plenty of amazing and top-quality brands out there for you to choose from. If it’s durability that you seek, consider the All-Clad. Besides, that set is really geared for longevity.

And if it’s a big crowd you have to feed, consider the Cuisinart. The Rachael Ray combines style and function, and the T-Fal has that great thermostat feature that you just can’t do without. Enjoy selecting and using the best non-stick cookware with all of your friends and family.

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Peter Allen

Peter Allen

Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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