Are you thinking about buying a new frying pan for your home but can’t decide which type to go for?
Do you find yourself contemplating whether you should play it safe with the original cast iron pan or buy a non-stick pan for an enhanced cooking experience instead?
Well, the choice between the two can be difficult to make as both these frying pans come with their fair share of benefits.
And that’s exactly why we are here to help.
In this article, we are going to discuss the various advantages and disadvantages of using a cast iron pan and a non-stick pan. After reading about the pans in detail, you will be in a better position to compare the two to know which one is a safer bet for your kitchen. So, let’s get right to it!
All You Need to Know About Non-Stick Pans
We understand the urge you feel to buy a non-stick pan because of the utmost convenience they offer. However, we suggest you read up about them a little before you make a rushed decision to buy them.
This will help you know what you’re getting yourself into and also guide you on how to use them safely.
How Do Non-Stick Pans Prevent Food from Sticking to Them?
Food sticks to a regular frying pan whenever a pan is heated to high temperatures. The higher temperatures cause expansion of the metal on the surface and, as a result, its pores become enlarged. The enlarged pores then provide space for food to seep into and this causes stickiness.
On the other hand, non-stick pans have a coating of Teflon on their metal surfaces to prevent food from sticking to them.
Whenever a non-stick pan is heated, this coating of Teflon covers the metal surface and blocks the food from seeping into the enlarged pores of the metal. Therefore, you are able to avoid stickiness and cook food with ease on a smooth non-stick surface.
Are Non-Stick Pans Safe?
There has been a lot of debate about the safety of non-stick pans in the past and the rumors still remain. This is why we wanted to clarify on this topic to help you understand why the use of non-stick pans is safe today.
The safety concerns were mainly due to the use of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the production of Teflon for non-stick pans. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a dangerous chemical that was linked to various health problems such as kidney and liver disease.
This is why in 2006 the US Environmental Protection Agency launched a program to eliminate the use of PFOA in the production of Teflon products. As a result, all the Teflon coated non-stick pans today are completely free of PFOA and therefore safe to cook in.
Advantages of a Non-Stick Pan
Now that we have addressed your safety concerns about non-stick pans, we are going to discuss the various advantages of using them.
The first and most obvious advantage of using a non-stick pan is that the food doesn’t stick to it. This means you can cook your food more easily and don’t have to spend too much time stirring it to ensure it doesn’t get burned.
This makes non-stick pans the perfect cookware for beginners to cooking. The inexperienced cooks can conveniently make dishes on non-stick pans without worrying about burning it.
The second most important advantage of a non-stick pan is it requires less oil for cooking. Since the surface is already smooth and non-stick, you don’t have to fill the entire pan with cooking oil to prevent the sticking of food.
This is why non-stick pans are the perfect choice for healthy-eaters around the world who are conscious of their calorie intake and don’t want to use too much oil.
Another benefit of using a non-stick pan is that they are easy to wash and clean. As food doesn’t stick to them you don’t have to spend time aggressively scrubbing the pan to get the stuck bits of food out. Furthermore, non-stick pans are coated with a Teflon coating so you are not supposed to scrub them as that may cause damage to the protective layer.
Disadvantages of a Non-Stick Pan
We are sure you are fully convinced to buy a non-stick pan after reading the advantages above but let us paint you a complete picture by discussing its disadvantages as well.
The main disadvantage of a non-stick pan is that it cannot withstand higher temperatures.
The Teflon coating on non-stick pans starts to break down at higher temperatures of around 300°C. This also causes toxic chemicals to be released into the air which is harmful to the person cooking. This means you should never use a non-stick pan to cook food on extremely high temperatures as they are not designed for this.
Another important disadvantage of a non-stick pan is they are not very durable. The Teflon coating on a non-stick pan can easily start to scrape off if you use metal utensils or scouring pads on it.
Even when you take all precautionary measures, the non-stick coating will start to peel off after a few years of usage. This means buying a non-stick pan is not a long term investment as you will have to replace it after every couple of years.
The next disadvantage of non-stick pans is that they are not versatile in their use. This means you can only use your non-stick pan to cook on a stovetop.
Unlike a cast iron pan, you cannot use your non-stick pan in the oven or over a bonfire on a camping trip. Furthermore, non-stick pans are also not dishwasher-safe so remember to never load them inside a dishwashing machine.
Everything There is to Know about a Cast Iron Pan
Cast iron pans are the original frying pans that were excessively used for decades before newer models were invented. Everyone’s kitchen is usually equipped with a cast iron pan and there are plenty of reasons why it remains to be a highly recommended type of cookware.
Advantages of a Cast Iron Pan
Buying a cast iron pan is a smart decision and here are the reasons why. The best part about a cast iron pan is its high durability. A cast iron pan is made of iron so it is very strong.
It is a pan you can use roughly without worrying about damaging it. Even if you use metal utensils to stir on it or drop it accidentally, this pan will remain unharmed. This means a cast iron pan is the perfect pan for you to buy if you want to buy something you can use roughly.
The second most appealing quality of cast iron pans is their ability to withstand very high temperatures. They have a high volumetric heat capacity so they will retain heat for longer time periods.
Unlike non-stick pans, cast iron pans come with no temperature restrictions. This means you can safely use a cast iron pan to sear meat steaks on high temperatures without causing any damage to the pan.
Furthermore, cast iron pans are a good investment because they are very multipurpose as well. Since these pans can withstand higher temperatures, you can easily pop them in the oven to grill a pizza.
You can also use cast iron pans to cook on top of a campfire. This makes them a worthwhile investment as their use is not confined to a stove only.
Another important benefit of a cast iron pan is that it lasts for decades. Unlike a non-stick pan, a cast iron pan does not have a Teflon coating which deteriorates over time. A cast-iron pan is a long term investment and it will stay in working condition for many years to come.
The last but not least important advantage of cast iron pans is that they are highly affordable. Most modern frying pans from renowned companies tend to be heavy on the pocket but this is not the case with cast iron pans.
You can easily find a durable cast iron pan at a very low price from a yard sale. This is a perfect way to add new cookware in your kitchen without causing a dent in your pocket.
Disadvantages of a Cast Iron Pan
In this section, we are going to discuss the disadvantages of a cast iron pan to help you form an unbiased view about them. The main drawback that you need to watch out for in these pans is their weight.
They tend to be heavier than most other frying pans and this makes it difficult to stir fry in them. So if you decide to proceed with buying a cast iron pan, remember to lift it to get an idea of the weight before you purchase it.
Another disadvantage of a cast iron pan is that it takes a while to heat up. Since these pans are usually thicker than other pans, they require more time to heat up. This means you might have to invest a little more time into your cooking than you would have otherwise. However, once a cast iron pan heats up it is excellent at maintaining its hot temperature.
The final disadvantage of a cast iron pan we want to discuss is the need to season it. Seasoning a cast iron pan is very important as this prevents food from sticking to it.
There are plenty of websites where you can find a detailed guideline on how to season your cast iron pan properly. Seasoning your cast iron pan will not only make it easier for you to cook in it but it will also safeguard the pan against rust.
The Final Verdict
As you can see, non-stick pans and cast iron pans both come with different advantages and disadvantages.
Choosing the best frying pan for your kitchen involves identifying what qualities you are looking for in a pan.
If you are a beginner at cooking and are looking for cookware that is easy to cook in then a non-stick pan is the answer to your prayers.
Otherwise the benefits of high heat capacity, versatility, affordability, and durability surely make cast iron pans much more appealing for the majority of cooks.
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