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One of the greatest things about human advancements is the developments in not only the way we live and work, but the food we eat and the accessibility we now have to foods all over the world. On top of this, technology has allowed us to create the most efficient and suitable machinery and cookware to make our food taste, cook and look the best that it possibly can. This article is placing a particular focus on cookware. Not only has cookware become more suitable for particular foods and simpler to use and clean, but it now comes available in so many colours and materials and shapes and sizes. The materials we cook in can have a huge impact on the way our food cooks, and sometimes tastes, and so today I am going to focus on two of the most commonly used types of cookware and I am going to look at the difference between porcelain and ceramic cookware.
Table of Contents
- 1 Ceramic Cookware
- 2 Porcelain Cookware
- 3 Ceramic vs Porcelain Cookware: A Comparison
- 4 Final Words
Ceramic cookware is created by kiln-baking the clay to create the pots and pans. This means they are baked in a furnace, usually around temperatures of 1800F to 2400F. Ceramic pots and pans have an aluminum base that is also then coated with a natural ceramic glaze – often known as Thermolon. Unlike other non-stick coatings, Thermolon is a sand-based product and is the first of its kind to contain no plastic, alongside containing no lead. This base and glaze are ideal for everyday cooking as they are resistant to both breaking and sticking but can also tolerate heat and can be used to cook food at reasonably high temperatures.
Advantages of Ceramic Cookware
Safer to use
Ceramic cookware does not contain any lead and is therefore one of the safest options available for everyday cooking. Thermolon is also non-reactive to acidic ingredients, whereas the metal used in other cookware may eventually be impacted by this.
An Attractive Appearance
The smooth and shiny finish to ceramic cookware makes it extremely easy on the eye. Further to this, manufacturers often create their ceramic cookware in numerous colours and designs, and often ceramic pots can become a feature piece of the kitchen.
As mentioned, the finishing glaze on ceramic pots and pans leave the product with a non-stick coating. This means you don’t need to use oil when cooking with them, leaving your meals healthier, but also means you can you strong flavours or acidic ingredients without them leaving any trace in your future cooking. The ceramic glaze also has no impact on the flavour of your food, whereas other non-stick products may leave your food with a plastic or metallic flavour, particularly during the first few uses.
The natural non-stick finish to ceramic cookware means that you don’t need to worry about maintaining the non-stick surface. It also makes cleaning the cookware really easy as well.
Useful for Storage
Not only is ceramic cookware good for cooking but can also be used to store any leftover food. It won’t be stained by any sauces and can be stored inside the refrigerator. Most ceramic cookware comes with a lid for this exact purpose.
As ceramic pots are coated with a natural ceramic glaze, they are usually not as expensive to make and therefore more affordable to buy. Like anything, the better-quality versions will be more expensive, but still sit a price lower than other forms of cookware.
Disadvantages of Ceramic Cookware
Although the lack of maintenance can be a positive aspect, it also means that the natural, non-stick surface cannot be replaced or upheld, and so once it has worn down it makes the pot pretty useless. This can happen quicker if you use the pot more frequently, and if you buy cheaper cookware. To avoid this, it is better to stick to the more commonly known brands.
The natural non-stick is great, however, Thermolon is more prone to scratching. To avoid this, try not to use any metal utensils with your ceramic pots and pans, alongside avoiding using any harsh metal scrubbing brushes on them when cleaning.
More suitable for lower temperatures
Despite being able to cook food at high temperatures, ceramic pots cannot be used in temperatures that other forms of cookware can handle. Alongside harsh utensils, high temperatures can also damage the non-stick coating and your pots and pans will slowly become stickier.
Similarly, porcelain cookware is an ultra-smooth, non-stick, but also scratch-resistant type of cookware. It is a form of ceramic, however the clay used is a lot finer and more compact, and it is then baked at higher temperature – usually anything above 2372F. This means that porcelain cookware is also more durable at higher temperatures and can be used in a microwave, unlike ceramic. Porcelain pans are coated with a smooth and robust layer of glass, and then melted together with a stronger metal, like stainless steel, cast iron or aluminum. Just like ceramic cookware, porcelain can come in a variety of shapes and sizes and colours.
Advantages of Porcelain Cookware
Safer to use
Similar to ceramic, porcelain cookware is also non-reactive to acidic foods and gives off no toxicity when used, making it a safe option for household cooking. It also holds no flavours or traces from previously cooked foods which is a great advantage of both ceramic and porcelain pots.
Again, like ceramic, the porcelain coating is very easy to wash and clean, and even if you forget to soak those sticky meals and sauces that dry to the pot, they should still wipe off pretty easily when it comes to porcelain.
As mentioned, porcelain cookware is one of the only types that can also be used in the microwave. The porcelain coating makes it durable for high temperatures, but also can be used to store colder foods without absorbing any of the juices or flavours, and without staining.
Porcelain has that slightly more stable body than ceramic, due to the glass coating. Despite the sturdiness, it is also slightly lighter due to the more compact clay used for the production of porcelain cookware. The durability of porcelain means that it is the kind of kitchen item that would be passed on to your children, and often people have porcelain cookware that has stayed in the family.
The porcelain coating is a lot more protective than the natural ceramic coating, meaning it is less prone to scratch, and therefore may be more durable if you are using metal utensils or cooking with children who may not understand the delicacy that should come with stirring food.
Disadvantages of Porcelain Cookware
Whilst the glass coating acts as an advantage of porcelain products, it can also mean that, when handled incorrectly, porcelain cookware can be prone to breaking or chipping, like any glass item. Due to the glass, porcelain cookware requires more attention than other forms of cookware. When used at high temperatures, it may break, so you need to be sure of the temperatures your pot can be used in. similarly, when hot, you should never put it into cold water as this can cause the coating to crack.
Porcelain-coated cookware tends to be more expensive than other uncoated metal cookware, simply due to the fact it has the porcelain coating and is therefore more expensive to produce. As a result, people often opt for cheaper cookware, however it does not have the same lasting effects and, over time, the process of replacing uncoated goods may outweigh the extra cost of a porcelain pot.
Ceramic vs Porcelain Cookware: A Comparison
Although they look very similar, and both are primarily a product of clay, there are a lot of differences when comparing porcelain vs ceramic pans.
Porcelain refers to the porcelain coating on the metallic part of the cookware, whereas ceramic uses a natural ceramic coating. Both are baked in a furnace and combined with a form of metal, however porcelain cookware h as a glass coating to finish making it sturdier, but easier to crack and chip.
Whilst both cannot be used at extremely high temperatures, porcelain cookware is more versatile as it can be used in microwaves. Whilst both are safe to use with acidic products, can easily handle an oven and both do not hold on to flavours, porcelain cookware is often better designed to also be used on a hob, as it can manage the heat transfer better.
In terms of maintenance, both are very easy to clean and look after. They are both durable and if cared for correctly, they can last a very long time.
When it comes to cost, ceramic is the clear winner here. Whilst the better brands of ceramic cookware can become expensive, they still don’t compare to the higher prices you will find on porcelain products.
Whilst both are very similar, the versatility of porcelain does slightly take the lead. If you are willing to spend that little bit more, and sure to take extra care of its glass coating, then you will have a pot for life. If not, I wouldn’t worry too much, as ceramic dishes are just about as good, they are durable, they can come in just as many styles and colours, and they are that slightly more affordable!