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Aluminum vs. Steel Cookware: Which is harmful to your health, which one is best for cooking? - MyHealth


Aluminum vs. Steel Cookware: Which is harmful to your health, which one is best for cooking?


Medically Reviewed By
Dr Divya Rohra

Written By Prekshi Garg
on Apr 23, 2022

Last Edit Made By Prekshi Garg
on Mar 18, 2024

Aluminium vs Steel Cookware: Which is Harmful for Your Health, Which One is Best for Cooking?

Setting up a kitchen is never the easiest task. From the stoves to the cutlery, you have to plan it all. But, when it comes to cookware, which kind of material is considered safe? Should you opt for aluminum since it's lightweight, or should you go for steel cookware since it's rust-resistant and long-lasting?

What is Aluminum Cookware?

Aluminum cookware is very predominant and one of the cheapest options available. They are versatile and often compatible with most cooking mediums, including gas stoves, ovens, etc. However, is cooking in aluminum utensils safe? Most of the aluminum cookware available on the market features a dark color and is made with hard-anodized aluminum for prolonged usage. While some feature silicone handles, some come with a more durable steel handle. The aluminum cookware is treated with acids and electric currents to solidify and smoothen the cooking surface, making it non-stick. The thorough treatment also makes the aluminum cooking surface scratch-resistant and non-leaching. However, there is a cheaper variant of the high-quality aluminum cookware made from non-anodized aluminum. Unfortunately, they are a lot softer and less durable.

What are the Benefits of Using Aluminum Cookware?

Now that you have a basic idea about aluminum cookware and how they are made, let us walk you through the benefits. Amazing heat conductor – it has a better heat conduction rate than most other metals, including stainless steel. So not only does it heat up quickly, but aluminum cookware also heats up evenly, ensuring every part of the meal is cooked thoroughly and uniformly. Tough and durable – if you buy hard-anodized aluminum cookware, be assured that they will last you quite a while. It does have a hard exterior and is also scratch-resistant, ensuring prolonged usage without any hassle. Non-reactive – with most the cookware, especially metal ones, the most common issue is that the cheaper metal materials react to acidic foods. With hard-anodized aluminum cookware, you won’t have to worry about the cookware reacting to citrus or acidic foods, especially including tomatoes, lemons, etc. In addition, non-leaching keeps the food safe for consumption after cooking. Uniform heating – as we said before, aluminum is an amazing heat conductor. But, the best part is that it supports uniform heating of the cookware. So, every part of the food is cooked evenly without leaving any rawness. Affordable – compared to most the other cookware material, aluminum is a lot more reasonably priced.

Is Aluminum Cookware Safe for Health?

Buying high-quality and anodized aluminum cookware is considered safe for the health. However, we’d recommend avoiding purchasing the non-anodized options, especially the “cheaper” variants, without good branding. Although most branded aluminum cookware feature non-leaching feature, it is also true that they might react with acidic foods if used in excess. It ruins the taste of the food, but it also alters the nutritional value. Moreover, if you have kidney complications, avoid exposure to food cooked in aluminum since that can further deteriorate the condition.

What is Steel Cookware?

Steel cookware is mostly made with stainless steel. It contains chromium, which reacts with oxygen to create a non-stick and scratch-resistant oxidized layer on the cooking surface. Stainless steel cookware is one of the best in the market, offering rust and a scratch-resistant cooking surface. The metal is non-reactive too. Depending on the type of cookware, some steel cookware features a matte finish while the others come with a shiny and reflective surface. They are comparably more durable and compatible with any kind of cooking mode – gas, oven, microwave, grill, etc.

What are the Benefits of Using Steel Cookware?

Brushing aside, let us look into some of the benefits of using steel cookware. Durable and prolonged use – unlike most the other cookware material, stainless steel can last you years and decades. Not only is it scratch resistant, but the material also doesn’t chip and peel too. It can withstand almost every cooking experience you put it through. Oven safe – unlike aluminum cookware, which isn’t oven-safe, stainless-steel ones are. They can withstand up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and cook your meals without the hassle. Also, since they are non-stick, you won’t have to worry about transferring your meals after they are done cooking. Dishwasher safe – nobody enjoys washing pots and pans after a meal. With stainless steel cookware, you can rinse the dirt and put it in the dishwasher for further cleaning. Attractive design and look – you can’t deny that steel cookware takes the cake in terms of design and appearance. They are perfect for your modern-day aesthetic kitchens and add a chic appeal to the look of your kitchen. Non-reactive – like aluminum cookware, even stainless-steel cookware doesn’t react with acidic foods and features the non-leaching specification. This maintains the nutritional balance of the food and ensures its ideal for one’s health.

Is Steel Cookware Safe for Health?

Stainless steel cookware generally contains a blend of iron, chromium, and nickel. Contrary to what people say, stainless steel is safe for your health. The minimal amounts of chromium and iron that might leach out of the cookware don’t impose any kinds of health hazards. However, if you are allergic to nickel, you might want to steer clear of stainless steel since it can worsen your allergy. Stick to buying cookware from reliable and high-quality brands that don’t compromise the quality of their products.

Which is a better choice for health – Aluminum or Stainless Steel?

Both aluminum and stainless steel come with a set of health benefits. Since both have non-leaching properties, you can be assured of their safety after cooking your meals. However, if we had to pick one, we’d recommend choosing stainless steel since they are a lot more versatile in terms of the cooking experience. They are food-grade and safe for cooking, and they also add to the aesthetics of a modern kitchen. But is cooking in aluminum vessels harmful? The answer is no. It is safe to cook in hard-anodized aluminum cookware too. However, stainless steel is a superior choice of the two.

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  • Myhealth Team

    Sep 6, 2023 at 12:43 PM.

    I understand your concerns about aluminum utensils, and I appreciate your feedback. If you've experienced issues, it's wise to avoid them and consult a healthcare professional for guidance.

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