Cast Iron vs Stainless Steel Cookware: Pros and Cons

When it comes to making the right choice on picking cast iron vs stainless steel cookware, there are many different options based on the material that is used. While some people prefer stainless steel, others would often pick the classic option of cast iron kitchenware. These materials have different pros and cons, and it really depends on what you prefer to cook with and how much you are willing to spend.

So, let’s take a deeper look at these two options.

Cast Iron vs Stainless Steel Cookware

Cast Iron Cookware:

Cast iron cookware is typically a heavier and denser type of material that’s been around for hundreds of years. It can be used on any stovetop, including electric ones, but isn’t recommended for induction ranges. It’s  also very durable, oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 Celsius), but will require seasoning before use unlike their stainless steel counterparts, which usually don’t need seasoning.

The main downside? Kitchenware made of cast iron is rather heavy even when empty, so you’ll need some strong arm muscles if you plan on cooking with them!

Stainless Steel Cookware:

Stainless steel cookware is relatively lighter than cast iron, which means it doesn’t take as much effort to lift and carry the pot or pan around.

It can be a bit expensive, but versatile cookware option. In general the best choice for those looking for durability, however this type of cookware requires some proper care and avoiding abrasive cleaners.

Unlike cast iron, most stainless steal pots/pans come with a nonstick coating on their interior surface but they do require careful use since some argue that food sticks just as much to these types of surfaces versus that cooked in cast iron.

What Is Cast Iron Cookware?

Cast Iron vs Stainless Steel

Cast iron has a long history and has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the past few years.

Such cookware is any type of cast iron metal-based pot, pan or griddle that has been cast from a sand mold and then heated to forge the metal. It’s made with very little carbon, so it can be used on an open flame without risk of melting into oblivion.

Cast Iron was first used in China as early as 500 BC, but didn’t become popular in the west until after 1850 AD when Abraham Darby III developed coke-fired furnaces capable of producing large quantities for export to England where they were called “British Ovens”.

This metal alloy is a very popular and versatile choice for the kitchen.

In general cast-iron cookware has a reputation of being the most durable and long lasting item in your kitchen. This is due to its ability to withstand high heat, which makes it perfect for cooking foods that require intense searing like steak or hamburgers on an outdoor grill. Cast iron can also be used for frying up some eggs or bacon in the morning with minimal effort because it conducts heat so well!

Pros and Cons of Cast Iron Cookware


Cast iron cookware is a great option for those looking mostly for durability and sustainability. Cast iron is a tough material and will last you for years to come. It can also be passed down through generations of your family, which makes it an excellent long lasting investment.

A few of the main benefits of using cast iron in your kitchen are:

  • It’s often referred to as “the workhorse of cookware”.
  • It can withstand years of daily use and still work properly.
  • It’s perfect for slow-cooking or making soups and stews.
  • It can also be used for grilling. However, it will not work well for searing or pan frying.
  • It’s naturally non-stick. This means that foods cooked in cast iron will usually not stick to the pan.
  • It’s also naturally oven safe. This means that it can be used in the oven. However, it should not be used on the stovetop or in a microwave.
  • It can be hand-washed, or you can use a dishwasher.
  • It can and should also be seasoned. This is a process of coating it with oil or fat and then seasoning it. This gives it a protection from rust.


One of the biggest disadvantages of cast iron is that it is heavier than other types of cookware. It can also be difficult to clean and keep oil from sticking to it.

You have to make sure you dry your cast iron cookware thoroughly after washing it, or it can rust.

  • Cast iron is heavy and bulky. This means that it’s not the best for smaller countertops and weak hands.
  • It can also be difficult to care and season cast iron. This can take some time, and some people may not have the patience for it. You also have to be careful not to overheat and burn your food due to its high heat conduction.
  • You have to be careful not to pour any cold liquid onto a heated cast iron. This can warp the pan or even cause it to discolor.
  • Finally, you have to properly season your pan. However, once seasoned, it’s very durable and will last for many years.

How To Season Cast Iron?

The most important thing with cast iron is to season it correctly. Seasoning is a process which involves coating the pan with oil and heating it on the stove until it becomes liquid, deglazing it with water, and then finally wiping it leaving a thin layer of vegetable oil. This will give your cast-iron cookware a natural non-stick protective coating.

Best Cast Iron Cookware

Top 3 options to choose from:

Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set 3-Piece

The Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set is a perfect addition for any self respecting chef in their kitchen. The skillets included are highly durable and reliable and they heat evenly so your food can cook up perfectly every time. This set features a 6 inch skillet, an 8 inch skillet and a 10 inch skillet, so you can cook whatever you like, no matter what size you may need.

The skillets are made of durable cast iron and have a pre-seasoned soy-based oil finish that makes them easy to use and resistant to sticking. The set is not dishwasher safe and is recommended that it’s washed with brush by hand.

The Utopia Cast Iron Skillet Set is a good choice for those who are looking for an affordable set of cast iron skillets.

Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron 5 Piece Set, Black

This Lodge pre-seasoned cast iron set is made for people who are just starting out with cast iron cooking. The set includes a skillet, a Dutch oven, a griddle, a fry pan, and a lid. The pieces are all pre-seasoned, so you can start cooking with them right away.

The Lodge cast iron set offers a great value at reasonable price. You can usually find it for under $100, which is much cheaper than buying each piece separately. The pieces are also exceptionally durable and will last for many years.

The Lodge pre-seasoned set comes with a 10.25 inch skillet, an 8 inch skillet, a 10.5-Inch Round Griddle, a 5-Quart Dutch oven with a lid, and a fry pan. The set is black, and comes with Silicone Pot Holder, Red Silicone Handle Mitt, Red Pan Scraper and Black Grill Pan Scraper.

The Set is pre-seasoned with vegetable shortening, so it is ready to use out of the box. The cast iron is oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and the skillets and Dutch oven have a silicone grip for safe handling. The silicone pot holder is safe for up to 250-degrees F (not for use in oven).

Cast Iron Cookware 11-Piece Set – Pre-Seasoned 

Cast iron cookware is a great investment for any kitchen. And the same applies for this handy cast iron set.

This 11-piece cast iron cookware set includes 6-, 8-, 10-, and 12-inch skillets, a grill pan, griddle, Dutch oven, pizza pan, and pan rack. The pre-seasoned cast iron is ready to be used right away and is easy to care for. The set also includes a silicone handle covers for extra heat protection.

With a classic design and natural non-stick surface, this cast iron cookware set is ideal for searing, browning, or slow cooking a variety of dishes. The sturdy construction distributes heat evenly for consistent results, and the silicone handle cover also comes handy and ensures a safe and steady grip.

This is one of the most complete sets you can find on the market which offers basically any size and type of cast iron cookware you may need.

After we’ve gone thru the cast iron cookware benefits and best products, lets take a look now at the advantages and top picks of stainless steel kitchenware too.

But first:

What Is Stainless Steel?

Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Stainless steel is a metal alloy that is composed of chromium, nickel, and iron. It’s naturally corrosion resistant and easy to maintain, but it can be quite expensive due to the elaborate production process of the material.

This metal alloy is the most commonly used in cookware and flatware. Stainless steel has a variety of features that make it worth its higher cost, like being durable, nonreactive with foods or beverages and not rusting. However stainless steel can deteriorate if not cared for properly over a prolonged periods of time.

Pros of Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless steel is one of the most popular cooking materials, because it’s very reliable in terms of resisting corrosion and rust.

Stainless steel cookware can last a lifetime if properly cared for and it can be a great option for those with less experience in cooking. Stainless steel is also dishwasher-safe which makes it easy to clean up after cooking.

It’s a recyclable and non reactive material. It needs little maintenance and is lightweight in addition to being shiny and polished giving your kitchen a modern look.

Cons of Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless steel is a more expensive material, so it is not the best option if you are looking to save some money. Additionally, stainless steel can get scratched easily. This isn’t much of an issue with cast iron cookware as it’s really tough material. It’s also relatively poor conductor of heat in comparison with cast iron.

Which Stainless Steel Cookware Is Best?

There are many different types of stainless steel cookware on the market, and it can be difficult to decide which one is best for you. Some of the most important factors to consider when choosing stainless steel cookware are the quality of the metal, the thickness of the material, the shape and design of the pots/pans and their size.

The quality of the metal is very important, because it affects the cooking performance of the cookware. The thickness of the material is also important, because it determines how durable the cookware is. The shape and design can affect your cooking experience, so you should also look for these features when shopping for stainless steel cookware for your kitchen.

Our top picks:

Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel Pots and Pans, 10-Piece Cookware Set

The Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set features high performance stainless steel, with a heavy gauge aluminum core that wraps around the pan’s exterior to provide fast and even heating.

The Calphalon classic cookware set comes with five pans in various sizes for every cooking need. The pots are covered by the Lifetime Limited Warranty, which includes any manufacturing defects and excludes normal use wear or utensils scratching surface. Riveted steel handles provide an easy grip, and even heat distribution across the bottom of the pan provides perfect searing results without sticking!

Whether you’re a traditionalist who loves the look and feel of vintage cookware or looking for contemporary options that are easy to clean and maintain, Calphalon has just what you need.

The Calphalon Stainless Steel pots and pans set is a top quality product that is perfect for the home cook. This 10-piece set includes an 8″ and 10″ skillet, 1.5 qt and 2.5 qt saucepan with lids, a 6 qt stockpot with lid, and a 3 qt sauté pan with lid. The pots and pans are made of high-quality stainless steel that is durable and will not warp easily. The set also has a nonstick surface that makes it easy to cook without using oil or butter. The pots and pans are also safe to use in the oven up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

The set is dishwasher-safe, which allows for easy cleanup. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty and that’s always a nice feature to have on any product you buy.

Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 11-Piece Cookware Set

The Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 11-Piece Cookware Set is a great investment for your home. This set includes all of the basics you need to get started in the kitchen, including a saucepan, stockpot, and skillets in different sizes. The pots and pans are made with high quality stainless steel construction for even heat distribution, while the brushed stainless steel exterior is durable and easy to clean.

The pots and pans are made of stainless steel and have aluminum cores for even heating. They are also dishwasher safe and oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

The set has a really nice sleek design and also a lifetime warranty provided by the manufacturer. It’s worth it to have this set in your kitchen and enjoy the wonderful culinary creations for many years to come.

Cook N Home 2410 Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set

The set includes an 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan with lid, 1.5-quart saucepan with lid1.5 and 2 qt casserole pans, 3 quart casserole pot, 5.5 quart stockpot and a 10 inch fry pan with lids. The cookware is made of high grade 18/10 stainless steel and has a nice mirror finish. It’s oven safe for up to 270 degrees F.

The pans have a long, comfortable handle that doesn’t get hot, even when the pan is on the stovetop. The lids fit snugly and the overall design is very sleek and modern.

Although this set is advertised as not being dishwasher safe, we found that it’s much easier to clean if you just hand wash it.

Overall, we were impressed with this cookware set. It’s definitely high quality and looks great in any kitchen. The only downside is that it’s a bit heavy and difficult to clean.

Cast Iron Vs Stainless Steel Cookware Health Effects

Cast iron and stainless steel cookware are two of the most popular types of cookware on the market. They both have their pros and cons, but which one is healthier and safer for you?

Stainless steel cookware is easier to clean, but there is a concern that it can leach into your food, because it’s made of alloy metal. Stainless steel cookware can be as thin as 3 mm or as thick as 18 mm, depending on the manufacturer and the type of use. The thicker the material, the better it will hold up over time. Lighter weight stainless steel cookware is prone to dents and scratches while heavier gauge stainless steel cookware is more durable and less likely to such damages.

Cast iron cookware is made from iron alloy that has been melted down and poured into a mold. It is then cooled and left to solidify. Cast iron cookware has been around for centuries, and is known for its heat retention properties. It is also a good choice for people who follow a paleo or gluten-free diet, as it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals or non-stick coatings.

Cast-iron cookware is often viewed as being more traditional and having better heat retention than stainless steel. The health effects of cooking with cast iron are not well understood, but it has been suggested that it can also leach iron into foods cooked in it, thus leading eventually to too much iron in your blood flow.

Though, the leaching of metals depend on various factors like acidity of food, temperature and period of exposure. Usually these amounts are negligible, but are something to think about. So, have that in mind when shopping around.

Final Words

In this article we have gone over the benefits and disadvantages of both cast iron and stainless steel cookware.

As you can see, there are many benefits to using cast iron cookware. It’s great for slow-cooking and making sauces and stews. It can also be used for outdoor grilling. However, it’s not ideal for searing or pan frying.

Stainless steel on the other hand, is quite rust resistant and can be used for years without wearing out. It’s also ideal for small countertops. The material is a bit less suitable for preparing casseroles or stews, though. That’s because it can easily be scratched. It’s also not the best for simmering or grilling. However, it can easily be used for searing or pan frying.

For people who love to cook and need a larger sturdier pot or pan, cast iron will be more suitable as it usually has a higher capacity and higher resistance to wear than stainless steel.

So, when you are deciding between cast iron vs stainless steel cookware, keep in mind your budget and the cooking materials you would need to fully unleash the creative juices and get wild in your kitchen.

Additional Questions

Which is preferable for cooking, cast iron or stainless steel?

In my years of experience cooking and working with various types of cookware, I have come to appreciate both stainless steel and cast iron for different reasons. In terms of durability and ease of use, stainless steel pans are fantastic. They can withstand high temperatures and are pretty straight-forward when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. Despite this, stainless steel pans may not hold onto heat as efficiently as their cast iron counterparts. Cast iron pans, on the other hand, are top performers when it comes to heat retention. They distribute heat evenly which makes for great cooking results. However, they are a bit more demanding in terms of cleaning and ongoing care.

What could be a potential drawback of using cast iron?

Throughout my culinary journey, I’ve had the chance to work with many cast iron pieces. Despite their superior cooking qualities, they do have some downsides. The principal disadvantage of cast iron is that it can be prone to rust if not cared for properly. Being composed mainly of iron, rust is an inevitable consequence of using and washing these pans. Frequent exposure to moisture can exacerbate this issue, gradually deteriorating the pan. Additionally, these pans are quite heavy which can make them challenging to handle during cooking.

Is cooking with stainless steel less hazardous than with cast iron?

As a cook who prioritizes not just the taste of food but also the health of those who consume it, I’m often asked about the safety of various cookware materials. When it comes to stainless steel and cast iron, the short answer is that both are safe. The steel used in stainless steel cookware is completely non-toxic, just like cast iron. However, there may be some health concerns related to the use of stainless steel, but these are not related to the material itself. In my experience, both stainless steel and cast iron are safe choices for cooking, with neither being more toxic than the other.

Recent Posts