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Stainless Steel vs. Copper: Which Is the Better Material for Overall Cooking?

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Stainless Steel vs. Copper: Which Is the Better Material for Overall Cooking?

Stainless Steel vs. Copper: What's better for cooking? Which one is more likely to last years in your kitchen? These are essential questions to ask about either one. When you ask these questions, you'll discover how different they are.

Stainless steel is the cream of the crop when it comes to cookware. It's designed to last years, even a lifetime. The properties of stainless steel make it resistant to rusting. However, the only drawback to stainless steel is that it's not perfect for cooking. On the other hand, copper cookware is more conducive to heat and responds better to temperature changes. Each kind of metal has a unique benefit to it.

This guide covers everything you need about stainless steel and copper cookware. You'll discover what advantages they hold, what food is best for either one of them, and how to make either one of them last year.

Stainless Steel

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Your stainless steel cookware can last years when properly taken care of.


Stainless steel is made up of chromium, an element that prevents rusting. This is what makes it unique from other metals and cookware. It also has carbon, iron, and steel. When introduced in 1913, stainless steel quickly became a kitchen favorite. Over the years, stainless steel has been associated with durability.

The chromium in stainless steel allows it to withstand heat that exceeds 500 degrees. It's also great for washing dishes or cooking something on the stove. Stainless steel can stand the test of time even if you're not a great cook and are prone to burning something. However, some drawbacks make stainless steel less appealing.

One of those drawbacks includes not having nonstick properties. It usually requires more oil or butter to create a nonstick pattern on the pots and pans of stainless steel items. Since there aren't any nonstick properties associated with stainless steel, some food tends to stick to the bottom of the cookware. This can make it challenging to get off. You may soak the pot or pan in soapy water or use extra elbow grease to get it off.

To get the best use from your stainless steel cookware, here are the best methods for properly using it:

  • Preheat your cookware to a proper temperature before cooking.
  • Use oil or butter to prevent food from sticking to the bottom.
  • Avoid high heat to avoid damaging your cookware.

What Is Copper?

While stainless steel was invented in 1913, copper has existed for thousands of years. It's been one of the main ways to cook food for many cultures. This is because copper's advantage is that it's a great heat conductor.

Copper pots and pans are great at distributing heat when cooking foods. Additionally, copper also responds greatly to temperature changes and maintains thermal consistency. However, you also want to ensure your copper cookware isn't scratched or dented. Poor-quality copper cookware can leach copper toxins into your food.

Here are the best ways to properly use copper cookware and what to avoid.

  • Avoid preheating because it warms up quickly.
  • Avoid metal spatulas and other cookware to avoid scratching it.
  • Avoid acidic ingredients because they can leach into the food.

Additionally, whatever recipe you look at, you should consider if it can be cooked in copper cookware.

Stainless Steel vs. Copper: What's Better for Cooking?

Bone Broth Bouillon in Metal Pan.
There are subtle differences between stainless steel and copper.

©Alp Aksoy/Shutterstock.com

Cooking with either stainless steel or copper has its advantages and disadvantages. The key is knowing how to use them properly and what food is best prepared.

For example, here are the best foods to cook in stainless steel:

  • Different kinds of pasta include spaghetti and pesto.
  • Sauteed vegetables as a side dish.
  • Different varieties of steaks.

For example, here are the best foods to cook in copper:

  • Jams and jellies
  • Caramel and chocolate sauces
  • Eggs, egg whites, tomato sauce, and cheese-based sauces

Before cooking with stainless steel or copper, ensure you know what recipes work with either metal. Not knowing if certain foods collide with copper or stick to stainless steel can ensure you don't ruin the meal and know how to prepare a meal properly.

Stainless Steel vs. Copper: What's Better for the Kitchen?

Stainless steel and copper both have advantages when it comes to cooking. They are excellent when used properly on medium heat and are cooked with the proper foods. More importantly, knowing how to care for and clean either cookware can make it last years longer.

Overall, there's no perfect cookware. Choosing one over the other is about what you cook the most. It's about if you're looking for durability or specific sauce recipes. You'll find that stainless steel or copper are excellent food cooking methods.

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