Safety is a big consideration when it comes to choosing cookware. There have been concerns about some types of cookware such as non-stick, so it’s no surprise that people are also asking is stainless steel cookware safe while considering their options.
Nowadays, people are much more aware of what they eat, staying away from preservatives, chemicals, and whatnot. But it’s not just food that we should be paying attention to, as what we use to cook food can also introduce things that may be harmful to us.
When looking at cookware options, they really do come in all shapes and sizes. Pots and pans are made of all sorts of material, and sometimes people get overwhelmed. Out of the different materials used to create cookware, stainless steel cookware is one of the most popular. But is stainless steel cookware safe? Let’s investigate.
What Sets Stainless Steel Apart?
What you have to remember with cookware is that not all of them are as harmless as they look. There are some chemicals and toxins that can leach into the food as you cook, and this could be dangerous.
Stainless steel cookware is often recommended by professionals, mainly because it’s relatively safe to use. Here are things that set it apart:
This can be contrasted with cookware made from cast iron, which is the most porous of all. Over time, the grease from the food can stay in the pores and even turn rancid. The more porous the material, the harder it is to clean.
Stainless steel is generally considered to be non-toxic, especially when compared to cookware made of more controversial material. Aluminum for instance can conduct heat quickly, but it is also a highly toxic metal. Using aluminum pots and pans to cook acidic food exposes you to higher levels of aluminum, but there are also those who say that levels are considered to be safe.
Stainless steel cookware is versatile, and you won’t risk damaging it even if you bring it from the stovetop to the oven to the sink and to the dishwasher. It’s not sensitive to high temperatures, like say silicone cookware (which will melt) and non-stick coatings (which will give off poisonous fumes).
Stainless Steel Grades
However, one should also be aware that there are many grades of stainless steel. What’s safe to use is cookware made from high-grade surgical stainless steel. If you go for low quality, nickel, chromium, and cobalt might leach into the food especially if what you’re cooking is acidic. While small doses are not harmful, it’s better to be safe and go for high quality ones.
Stainless Steel vs. Non-Stick Cookware
Non-stick cookware is also a popular option and alternative to stainless steel. This is especially because it addresses one of the minor issues that people have about stainless steel cookware: the fact that food sticks.
When you’re using stainless steel cookware, you usually have to add oil. Otherwise, whatever you’re cooking sticks to the pan. This is not the case with non-stick cookware, because there’s a protective film that allows you to cook without oil.
However, over time, this film eventually peels and when this happens you need to change your pans as this is dangerous for the food. One should also remember that non-stick coatings tend to be risky when they are heated in temperatures greater than 350 degrees Celsius.
There are ways to prevent the food from sticking to stainless steel cookware, but this requires you to be very particular about the temperature of your pots and pans. If it’s too cold or too hot, food will stick when you flip it.
Stainless steel cookware is also easier to clean, because you don’t have to worry about scrubbing off the protective coating accidentally. Stainless steel is also dishwasher safe, making clean-up easier.
Conclusion – Is Stainless Steel Cookware Safe?
So with our investigation the answer to the question “Is stainless steel cookware safe?” is that it is indeed generally safe. However, you still need to consider a few things before making your purchase. The best stainless steel cookware sets are built to a higher standard. These are the things you should consider:
Stainless steel by itself is a poor heat conductor. This is why oftentimes, stainless steel cookware is bonded with other materials like copper or aluminum. Usually, a sheet of copper or aluminum is sandwiched between stainless steel, which is what ‘tri-ply’ means. The Cuisinart MCP-12N is an example of cookware that uses tri-ply construction.
You’ll find the grade of your stainless steel stamped at the bottom of the cookware. Mostly you’ll find 18/10, which means that it’s made of 18% chromium and 10% nickel. Other options include 18/18 and 18/0, which is the nickel-free option.
If safety is a priority in picking your stainless steel cookware, it’s best to pick established brands that you can trust.