Not all cookware is created equal. Finding the best type can be a challenge simply because what one cook considers the best may not be the best option for another cook. While you should take your cooking style into consideration when purchasing cookware, understanding which materials perform better than others can help you make a smart purchasing decision.
Best Type of Cookware Overall
The absolute best cookware type overall would have to be copper. It’s pricey, but copper cookware provides unmatched heat distribution and temperature control. It responds almost immediately to temperature changes, so it’s ideal for cooking temperature-sensitive dishes and delicate sauces.
The biggest gripe with copper cookware, aside from the cost, is maintenance. Pure copper pans are reactive to food and can discolor if they are overheated. On top of this, regular polishing is necessary to keep the pan’s natural shine and to remove tarnish. To make matters worse, pure copper is not compatible with induction cooktop surfaces.
The good news is that most modern copper cookware sets are lined with stainless steel. This ensures that the pan is non-reactive while still preserving the beneficial qualities of copper. Polishing is still necessary in most cases, and some manufacturers also sell accessories that allow the cookware to be compatible with induction cooktops.
Copper is, hands down, the best type of cookware as far as performance is concerned, but its high price tag often puts it well out of reach of the everyday consumer. Unless you’re a professional or a very serious cook, copper cookware may not be the best option for you.
Best Type of Cookware for Everyday Use
For the everyday cook, stainless steel is often the best choice. Not only is stainless steel durable, it’s easy to care for and is often constructed with other metals to improve the pan’s heat distribution.
Today, you can find stainless steel cookware sets that feature copper or aluminum cores surrounded by layers of stainless steel. This combines the heat distribution properties of these two materials with the easy maintenance of stainless steel. Unlike other cookware materials, stainless steel is non-reactive and resistant to rust, corrosion and stains. You can even find pans with non-stick coatings for even easier maintenance. As an added bonus, most stainless steel cookware is compatible with induction cooktop surfaces.
Even serious cooks often prefer stainless steel. It gets the job done, and it does so with ease. Plus, stainless steel pots and pans are often far more affordable than copper. Even high-end stainless steel sets are much more affordable than professional copper cookware. With stainless steel, you’ll find cookware sets in every price range from under $100 to $500+. Stainless steel may not beat copper in performance, but it’s the preferred choice of cookware for the everyday consumer.
Remember, the best type of cookware is one that works well with your own cooking style. Copper is the best performance cookware, but if you don’t have the budget or time to maintain this type of cookware, it will not be the best option for you.