Stainless Steel Cookware – Aluminum or Copper Base?

stainless-steel-cookware.JPGHave you ever thought about your stainless steel cookware? If you are like most people, probably not.

Not many people realize that stainless steel is not a particularly good conductor of heat. What this means is that hot spots can occur so if you are cooking a steak for instance you may find that part of the steak is cooked while other parts are undercooked. In other words your foods are cooked unevenly.

To overcome this problem, stainless steel pots and pans are often lined with aluminum or copper as both of these metals are quite good at conducting heat. However, because both of these metals are relatively soft and can react with certain foods, they are usually sandwiched between layers of stainless steel.

Although both copper and aluminum are good conductors of heat, copper is better because it reacts quickly to changes in temperature. This is why you often see professional chefs using copper cookware. It gives them greater control over their cooking.

The disadvantage of copper however is that it is more expensive than aluminum.

So if you are on the lookout for new stainless steel cookware then ensure that the base contains either aluminum or copper.



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  1. What foods in particular react to aluminum pans. i just picked up a couple of really hardy ones and realized that my dutch ove is also aluminum. Ive never tasted anything unusual when using it.

    Is aluminum unhealty? at that small of a level?

    Thank you.

  2. There is a bit of a debate when it comes to aluminum cookware. Some years ago they did a study on Alzheimer’s patients and found that they had high levels of aluminum in their brain. At that point, everyone threw out their aluminum cookware. Studies since then have indicated that Alzheimer’s patients probably have those high levels due to the illness itself and not because of ingesting it in some way.

    Your aluminum cookware sounds like it is anodized. Most aluminum cookware these days is anodized as it gives it a hard coating. Aluminum is quite a soft metal on its own so this makes it stronger and more durable.

    If you have hard anodized aluminum cookware then it is not likely you will have the problems of reactions with foods as they are generally considered safe for acidic foods.

  3. Debbie Parry says:

    My daughter keeps getting a stomach ache and sour burps and vomiting every time she comes to my house and eats something I have cooked in my stainless steel pans. I am throwing them out. It tooks us a couple of months to connect the dots but it turns out to be the pans. I am disappointed since I waiting years to get the pans I wanted. But my daughters health is more important.