Aluminum Vs. Stainless Steel Pots


While there are many types of cookware on the market, aluminum and stainless steel are two budget-friendly and popular options. Aluminum cookware can take a variety of coatings, while stainless steel is popular by itself. Both of these metal cookware options are available in a wide spectrum of prices and quality.

Stainless Steel Pots

  • Stainless steel pots are not only attractive, they are also durable and versatile in the kitchen. Although stainless steel tends to heat up slowly since it is an alloy, meaning that it is made of a variety of different metals, these pots retain their heat very well. Stainless steel wares are also relatively easy to clean and maintain.

Aluminum Pots

  • Aluminum pots conduct heat very well but are unable to maintain that heat because they are very lightweight. Aluminum cookware tends to be very affordable and can take different types of coatings. Perhaps the biggest downfall of aluminum pots is that aluminum is reactive. When the pot comes in contact with acidic foods, aluminum may leech into the food. While it may add to the cost of the cookware, hard-anodized aluminum is extremely durable and prevents any chemical reaction from occurring with acidic foods.

Price and Availability

  • Both aluminum and stainless steel pots are available in a wide range of prices. They are also readily available, found everywhere from many big-box discount stores to upscale kitchen boutiques. Stainless steel is usually more expensive than aluminum, but depending on the brand and quality, it may be a very small difference.

Safety Hazards

  • Since aluminum pots are reactive, it may be unsafe to cook acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus fruits in them. Stainless steel pots do not have this problem. Stainless steel does not react with any foods and is acceptable for all cooking applications.

Searing Foods

  • One of the best qualities of stainless steel pots is that they are excellent for searing meats. Since stainless steel retains heat well, cold meat placed on the cooking surface is cooked quickly, which creates a flavorful crust. Aluminum cookware is not as well suited for this due to its quick heat loss. When choosing between these two types of pots, this is often a deciding point for many cooks.

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  • "I'm Just Here for the Food"; Alton Brown; 2006
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