Non Stick, Stainless Steel, or Cast Iron Cookware???

I’ve used non stick pans ever since I got married 12 years ago. I think I might have had a metal pan at one time too, not sure if it was stainless steel or not. I’ve always had issues with the non stick coating eventually coming off and having to get new pans whether passed down from my mom, or whatever.

So a couple years ago my mom bought some non stick Pampered Chef cookware for me when I had a party. I think we got them with my half off reward or something. So I was ecstatic! I loved them….for awhile….. I tried to take good care of them, but after awhile one pan that I used quite often started going south. I had had things stick in it when cooking and couldn’t get the cooked on oil or food off very well even when using the baking soda method. So I tried lightly scrubbing with the scrubby side of my sponge (which I know is a no no).

Well anyhow it just kept slowly getting worse and so did my next pan as I started using it more often. Then this year I started using my largest, deeper pan that I hadn’t used much and so it was still in really good shape. But then that one started getting scratches and started sticking, and now it has some light brown patches in the bottom!

So I decided that I am done with non stick pans, no matter how expensive or the quality because I think I just cook too much and the fact that sometimes I fry bone in chicken or pork (which I think has a lot to do with the scratches).

I needed something I could scrub if need be. Like….Really….Scrub…..

So I started thinking about Stainless Steel cookware. But then I realized that they are going to take a lot of oil to cook with if I’m trying to fry things like eggs that stick easy. I don’t want that. I need something that is somewhat non stick and can stand up to hard use.

Then I thought about Cast Iron Cookware . I’ve thought about looking into cast iron before, but now I needed something quick because my 2 smaller pans are shot and my bigger one is slowly getting worse.
So I did my research to make sure that cast iron would be right for me.

Here’s my list of needs as far as cookware goes:

  • Somewhat non stick
  • Affordable
  • Can be scrubbed with steel wool if need be
  • Heats evenly
  • Heavy duty
  • Will last for many years

So, in my research I found that Cast Iron in fact sounded like just what I needed!

Cast Iron:

  • Can be scrubbed with steel wool if needed. Just needs to be re-seasoned afterwards (I can handle that)
  • Eventually becomes pretty non stick once it is seasoned well. (sounds good to me!)
  • Is very affordable. Much less expensive than stainless steel or high quality non-stick pans.
  • Does heat evenly
  • Is definitely heavy duty!
  • Can be used in the oven. (Not one of my needs, but very cool)
  • Can last a lifetime if taken care of! (That’s awesome!)

Now there are some things that you should not do with cast iron, but these pale in comparison to the benefits.

  • Do not soak in water as it will rust. Make sure after rinsing with hot water to dry it thoroughly before putting it away.
  • Do not wash in the dishwasher (high quality non stick pans are the same way)
  • Cooking tomato based sauces in it for too long can cause pitting.
  • Not good for boiling water (that’s fine with me, I have Pampered Chef non stick pots for that)
  • Use a pan that fits the size of the stove burner so it will heat evenly. Apparently using a large pan on a small burner may cause the pan to warp.

How does this compare to stainless steel?

Stainless steel pans:

  • Can be scrubbed with scotch brite or nylon net scouring pads, but not with metal scouring pads unless you want your nice shiny pan to get all scratched up.
  • Is great for searing, but definitely not non stick so you’ll need a good amount of oil when cooking anything you don’t want to stick to the pan.
  • Can last a lifetime if properly cared for.
  • Can wash with soap and possibly even in the dishwasher. (I’ve read there is some debate about the dishwasher.)

So I have to say that stainless steel definitely sounds better than going with non-stick pans, but the deal breaker for me is needing something non-stick, so I decided on Cast Iron.

Well, I told my mom about this and she said she thought my uncle might have some. Anyway, she ended up having 2 pans herself that were packed away and she hadn’t used them in years. A small pan and a medium sized pan. She brought them to me and I used the medium sized one as it already had a nice smooth cooking surface and I loved it! I cooked eggs in it right off and only used a little oil and they turned out great. Only stuck a little, but I think with more cooking and seasoning since it had been sitting for so long, it will be fine.

The other pan she thought had had a coating on it and I could see that it looked like it needed a good scrubbing, like the coating was coming off or something, so I am going to get a scouring pad and scrub it nice and clean and then re-season it.

I think me and Cast Iron are going to get along just fine!

The cast iron pans my mom gave me are pretty old and I couldn’t find the manufacturer when I googled it, but here is one company that I have heard many good things about in my research:

Lodge Cast Iron Cookware

I’d love to hear what your favorite type of cookware is and why…….

1 thought on “Non Stick, Stainless Steel, or Cast Iron Cookware???

  1. it may be because cast iron takes longer to fully heat than lighter weight pans do. If you’re only letting it heat as long as you would a stainless pan it may either not be getting warm enough through so food is sticking on the colder spots, or it may be getting warmed on too high heat. I usually put my cast iron on just under medium when I start measuring and mixing the batter, and then test the pan by dropping some butter in to melt before I put the pancake batter in. If it melts fairly quickly but doesn’t brown *right away* I start cooking. If it sizzles and browns right away it’s too hot for pancakes and will cook the surface before the middle gets done.

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