Here is the question almost everyone has at some point in the kitchen: is it safe to use stainless steel cookware? Stainless steel is a common choice for cookware products, as well as cast iron. Everyone has their preference. However, millions of consumers opt for stainless steel because of its durability and aesthetic appeal.
Even with all of the advantages, you should also want to know if it is safe cookware material. This is especially true if you’re using stainless steel cookware daily. So is it actually safe for cooking? Discover the answer here.
How Safe Is Stainless Steel Cookware?
Have you asked yourself, “Is stainless steel cookware safe?” The short answer is yes.
However, each kind of cookware comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. For example, you take care of cast iron cookware differently than the nonstick variety. In order to have safe stainless steel cookware, you should purchase high quality and take certain precautions.
For the most part, experts consider the product safe because it does not corrode, rust, or flake into pieces. Stainless steel does not also break off. It will not mix or mingle with food or contaminate it. This is very different from non-stick cookware because some components might leach into your food during high heat cooking.
What Is Stainless Steel?
This kind of metal is a combination of carbon, chromium, manganese, and/or nickel. For the most part, the quality of the product determines the ratio of different metals.
For example, some low quality cookware might leach some nickel into the food you cook. This is safe in small quantities because our bodies do a great job ridding themselves of toxins naturally.
However, this can be a much bigger issue to those who are sensitive to heavy metals. This is especially true if you are sensitive to nickel. To avoid this issue, you will need to buy high-quality stainless steel cookware. This kind contains very little filler metals like nickel so you will not have to worry.
The best stainless steel cookware of all is resistant to food reactivity and leaching. For example, you may want to opt for one made from 430-stainless steel. The higher the series number, the less nickel you will find, which makes it a much healthier choice.
Why Is Stainless Steel Cookware Safe and Healthy?
If you do not have a sensitivity to heavy metals like nickel, stainless steel cookware can be as safe as all the other top cookware types. This includes types like cast iron and copper. For one, stainless steel is less prone to leaching. Secondly, it does a great job cooking food evenly.
Once you know how this type of cookware can be healthy and safe, you can then learn how to cook with it properly.
Less prone to leaching and more stable
The material in this cookware creates a lovely cooking surface with fewer risky materials when compared to non-stick or aluminum cookware. Even if some studies have expressed concerns about the leaching of chromium from stainless steel, chromium is essential in every adult’s diet. In fact, many adults in the US are chromium deficient.
The health risk from stainless steel cookware is not as significant as that from copper leaching from a copper pan either. This shows that every kind of cookware can be dangerous, so you have to use it safely.
Cooks food evenly without undercooking or overcooking
Stainless steel pots and pans often have an inner core consisting of copper or aluminum, as well as a copper-clad bottom. All these materials make such cookware food safe.
These two metals are great heat conductors because the copper or aluminum lies between steel layers. Because of this, it cooks food evenly without undercooking or overcooking some areas or spots.
This is a common complaint with other types of pots and pans because they tend to be hotter toward the middle of the pan. This makes it so that food in the middle cooks faster than further away food. In terms of safety, this can be especially dangerous if you are cooking meat that you need to cook thoroughly.
The core and bottom also do not come in contact with food, making stainless steel cookware a safe and healthy choice.
If you’re looking for safe cookware, stainless steel is the way to go. Find those with cores or bottoms consisting of acceptable metal materials as mentioned.
Safety with Stainless Steel Cookware
Using this type of cookware is generally safe, as long as you use it properly. You can also use some tips and tricks to make them even more ideal in healthy and safe cooking. Before long, you can become a pro when it comes to cooking with stainless steel.
Using for the first time
Wash new stainless steel cookware thoroughly before using it. You should also put it through a number of cooking cycles with an acidic solution. One solution that you can use is 50 percent water and 50 percent white vinegar.
Why do you need to do it? This method can get rid of the outer layer metals and excess surface materials.
Once you have done this a number of times, you can start cooking alkaline and neutral foods in the cookware without much risk.
When eating out
Restaurants usually cook in stainless steel. While this is normally not a problem, some foods can pull trace amounts of those heavy metals out of the pan. Avoid ordering acidic or tomato-based dishes if you’re metal sensitive or a doctor has diagnosed you with such problem.
When consuming acidic foods
Nickel and chromium can continue to leach into your food from stainless steel, even after washing and cooking acidic solutions in them. This is especially true for acidic and tomato-based dishes. For these types of foods, you may want to use glass or ceramic-coated cast iron cookware instead of stainless steel. For other neutral and alkaline dishes, you can continue to use stainless steel pots and pans.
Opt for high quality stainless steel cookware
The quality of the stainless steel makes a huge difference when it comes to safety. The lower the quality, the more likely heavy metals are to leach into your food. Ideally, you would go for 430-grade stainless steel on its cladding. This way, you can be sure it contains a minute nickel amount, although there is still chromium.
Warning for metal sensitive users
If you have tested high for chromium or nickel, or even both, avoid using stainless steel cookware. That’s not all you should be cautious of though. You may also want to check on coffee makers and other kitchen appliances, which might have been exposing you to these leaching metals.
Is Stainless Steel Cookware Safe? Yes!
Stainless steel is safe, durable, and stable, but it is not ideal for everyone when it comes to acidic cooking. Even still, it is one of the most popular cookware types in North America. It can resist wear and tear, and it is easy to clean. On top of all of this, many people claim that it is very aesthetically pleasing.
Generally, it is a healthier choice than cheaper cookware materials. It also requires less maintenance. This is quite different from some other cookware types, like cast iron, which requires careful seasoning and cleaning.
Did you find this article interesting? What are your thoughts on the question, “Is stainless steel cookware safe to use?” Share your very own kitchen experience with us. Also, be sure to spread the word and let your friends know about stainless steel safety today!