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Non-stick cookware is one of the most sought-after pieces of cooking equipment in kitchens, and for good reasons too. They make cooking a breeze and clean up even easier. There is nothing quite like cooking eggs or pancakes and being able to flip it without the use of excessive oils and cleaning it without using abrasive scrubbers.
Unfortunately, many non-stick coatings are incredibly toxic. They can release chemicals into the air at certain heats and even leech them into your food. These chemicals can be extremely harmful and cause a host of medical problems.
What is Hard Anodized Cookware
Hard anodized cookware is considered the go-to-option for cooks that are looking for a non-toxic and durable non-stick option. The base of hard anodized cookware is soft aluminum. This is one of the most common elements from the earth. It is a natural product that is quite affordable due to its availability.
Hard anodized cookware consists of aluminum that has been hardened so that it becomes 30% harder than stainless steel, one of the most popular cooking materials. It is hardened using a chemical process. This consists of submerging the aluminum in an acid bath, then subjecting it to electrical charges. This process creates a chemical reaction.
This reaction will cause the surface of the aluminum to oxidize. This oxidized surface is quite important because it’s the reason that the cookware becomes smooth like glass. This creates a non-stick, non-toxic, scratch-resistant, and non-reacting cooking surface.
The Upsides of Hard Anodized Cookware
Hard anodized cookware is considered to be one of the best non-stick options available because it requires little to no oils. Additional oils, grease, and non-stick sprays can be quite harmful to your health when used over the long term.
If they can be avoided, they should be. Hard anodized cookware has a surface that has been compared to smooth glass, making it one of the best non-stick options on the market.
This type of cookware is incredibly versatile. While it cannot be used with induction cooktops, it can be used with the most popular types of cooktop such as electric and gas. It is almost always dishwasher safe, as long as you are using the proper type of detergent. Additionally, you can find this cookware in many different styles with different types of handles, lids, and grip materials.
One of the best aspects of hard anodized cookware is its ability to conduct heat. Aluminum is a fantastic heat conductor. It is often added to the center of copper, stainless steel, ceramic, and other non-stick cookware.
This is because it evenly distributes the heat better than any other type of material. This way, you can avoid hot spots that burn food. Hard anodized can withstand incredibly high temperatures and can be placed directly into the oven or broiler.
Additionally, it is one of the most durable pieces of cookware you can buy. Anodized aluminum has been used on grills, coolers, display cases, racing parts, and satellites in space to protect these items from the elements.
The durability of the hardened aluminum and the oxidized surface has been tested and proven to last three times longer than its competitors. It is able to withstand the test of time and resists scratches, chips, and peeling that is often found in other types of non-stick cookware.
Due to its durability, it is the top choice for professional chefs because they know they can bang it around and throw high heats at it without it damaging it or reducing its functionality.
The Downsides of Hard Anodized Cookware
There aren’t many downsides to this type of cookware, however, but there are some that could make this type of cookware less appealing to you and your personal needs.
For starters, hard anodized cookware is on the more expensive side. It isn’t quite as expensive as stainless steel, but it also isn’t as affordable as other cookware materials such as Teflon.
Aluminum itself is quite affordable, but the prices to anodize the surface of the cookware is a lengthily process that ends up being quite pricey in the end.
Hard anodized cookware is not as versatile as other options. While it works with many different types of cooktops, it won’t work with induction cooktops. This isn’t that big of a deal for most, but with induction cooktops becoming more and more popular, this could be a problem in the future.
For those who already use an induction cooktop, this clearly isn’t for you. It also doesn’t react that well with certain detergents which can be problematic for some. You will have to check with the manufacturer of the cookware you purchase, but some detergents can damage the coating on the cookware and reduce its lifespan.
Even though this coating is quite durable, it is often recommended that you use natural soaps and soft cleaning sponges to reduce damaging the cookware.
The final complaint about this type of cookware is the worry that aluminum is unsafe. There is a lot of worries that aluminum can be toxic and can cause headaches, and even Alzheimer’s.
It is important to note that there have been no studies done to prove that aluminum is harmful. Furthermore, hard anodized is not the same as cooking on raw aluminum. This is because the aluminum has been treated, hardened, and the surface has been oxidized.
This makes it incredibly durable so that there is little to no chance of the aluminum inside coming into contact with your food.
How Good is Hard Anodized Cookware Compared to Ceramic?
Hard anodized is one of the most popular cookware options on the market today, but its biggest rival is ceramic. There are many reasons why someone might choose ceramic, and also reasons why they might go with hard anodized.
It is a personal choice that depends on your personal needs and current situation. One of the main differences between the two is that hard anodized is aluminum that has been made stronger. It has a surface that has been oxidized.
There are no coatings or any additional materials in the cookware other than aluminum. Ceramic cookware, on the other hand, is often made with copper, steel, iron, or aluminum. It is coated with the ceramic to create a non-stick and non-toxic cooking surface.
In some cases, hard anodized might be able to withstand higher heats than ceramic. However, that entirely depends on the brand and the material that is under the ceramic coating.
When it comes down to it, the choice is up to you. Hard anodized is the go-to-option for professional level chefs who want something durable and something that won’t react with the food.
If you are concerned about cooking with aluminum and are looking for a healthier option, then ceramic might be better for you. Keep in mind that the heat conductors that are placed in certain ceramic cookware sets could contain aluminum or other materials such as copper.
Top Quality Hard Anodized Cookware Sets
Cuisinart 66-17N Chef’s Classic Non-Stick Hard Anodized, 17 Piece Set, Black
If you are in the market for a hard-anodized cookware set, the Cuisinart 17 piece set is a fantastic option that checks all the boxes. Cuisinart is an amazing manufacturer that makes various types of small appliances, cookware, and cooking utensils that never seem to let us down. This set is no exception.
This particular set is one of the most commonly purchased and highest rated cookware sets on the market. Not only does it come with every piece of cookware you could possibly want, but it is made with some of the best materials by an incredible brand, at an even better price point.
The 17-piece set comes with three saucepans, a sauté pan, dutch oven, stockpot, three non-stick skillets, a steamer insert, and glass lids for all. The lids are made out of tempered glass that can withstand high heats. The glass lids make cooking incredibly easy because you can check on your food without lifting the lid and releasing all of that heat.
Each pot comes with measurement markings. This way, you don’t have to worry about using measuring cups when boiling water or adding liquids during the process. Additionally, the nonstick cooking surface is reinforced with titanium to promote durability and allow for quicker food release.
This particular set can be placed in the oven up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The handles are made out of riveted cast stainless steel. It is designed to stay cool even when placed under high heats.
Buying new cookware is never easy. With so many options and opinions, the decision can be a hard one to overcome. When it comes to hard anodized vs. ceramic cookware, the choice becomes even more difficult. These are two incredible cooking materials that share a lot of the same properties. However, they are also quite different. The choice really comes down to your personal needs.
If you are in the market for something designed for professional use that you can put through the wringer, hard anodized is a clear winner. If you are looking for something to cook at home that you can pass down to your grandkids, ceramic never fails either.
We hope that this article made your decision a bit easier. We aimed to make the differences between ceramic and hard anodized clearer. Hard anodized is not a new material, but it’s only just starting to prove itself and make its way into home kitchens.
Hard anodized cookware is easy to use, clean, durable, and safe. This makes it the perfect option for the home cook or a professional chef.