How to… decide between non-stick and stainless steel cookware

For those of us who love to cook, making up our minds whether to fill our kitchen cupboards with non-stick cookware or stainless steel cookware can be a tough decision. If you’re stuck trying to work out what kind of cookware’s right for you, we’re here to help! We’ve come up with the ultimate guide to choosing the perfect cookware for your kitchen…

We’ll take you through the advantages of non-stick and stainless steel cookware, and introduce you to some of our favourite pots and pans along the way!

Non-Stick Cookware


The best thing about non-stick cookware? Food won’t stick to your frypan or saucepan while you cook, meaning your food’s less likely to burn, and you won’t have to spend ages doing the dishes after each meal. It’s a win-win scenario, really!

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to non-stick cookware is that no two brands are alike. Scanpan Classic cookware, for instance, has a non-stick surface that’s made from ceramic and titanium, while Circulon cookware has a distinctive pattern of concentric rings that raises food slightly from the cooking surface to prevent it from sticking. They’re both really effective non-stick surfaces – but they’re completely different.

If you’ve ever heard that non-stick cookware is bad for your health due to the presence of harsh chemicals that are released while cooking, there’s no need to worry. Modern non-stick cookware is completely free of PFOAs and PFOEs.

The advantages
  • Less time spent cleaning up! Because who likes doing the dishes? We certainly don’t…
  • It’s better for your health. You don’t need to add butter or oil to your cooking to prevent it from sticking, which is great news if you’re on a diet
Our tips…
  • We recommend washing your non-stick cookware by hand. Even though some brands say their non-stick surfaces are dishwasher safe, we find all non-stick cookware retains its non-stick properties much longer when it’s kept out of the dishwasher
  • The more careful you are with your non-stick cookware, the more use you’ll get out of it. Use silicone, nylon or wooden utensils rather than metal utensils when you’re cooking with your non-stick cookware to prevent scratching the non-stick surface
  • Turn the heat down a little. Non-stick surfaces transfer heat efficiently and evenly, so there’s no reason to have your stovetop on high all the time. Not only will it help your non-stick cookware last even longer, it’ll also save you money when your energy bill shows up

Stainless Steel Cookware


Despite the name, “stainless steel” cookware isn’t made purely from stainless steel. Scanpan’s popular Impact range, for instance, is made from layers of stainless steel with an impact-bonded aluminium base. Essteele’s Australis collection is made from stainless steel with a copper base.

Stainless steel, copper, aluminium…if you remember anything from your high school science classes, there’s one thing all these materials have in common. They’re all great conductors of heat! The idea behind stainless steel cookware is to suck up as much heat as possible for maximum efficiency, so your meals will be cooked quickly and evenly, every time.

The advantages
  • Over time, the surface of non-stick cookware will eventually begin to wear, reducing its effectiveness. That’s not the case with stainless steel cookware, which is designed for a longer life than non-stick cookware
  • Because you don’t have to worry about damaging the surface of your cookware, you’re free to use metal utensils to your heart’s content when you cook with stainless steel cookware
  • Food will stick to the surface of your pan when you cook with stainless steel cookware. It’s inevitable. But here’s the good news – most stainless steel cookware is dishwasher safe
Our tips…
  • Invest in a good oven mitt or two when you purchase stainless steel cookware. Most stainless steel cookware also has stainless steel handles, which can get pretty hot when you’re cooking at higher temperatures. Ouch.
  • When you cook with stainless steel cookware, you’ll need to add a little oil or butter to your pan if you don’t want food to stick, and you will need to keep a closer eye on your meal as it cooks to prevent it from burning
  • Like non-stick cookware, you can turn the temperature down a little when you cook with good quality stainless steel cookware. It’s so energy efficient, it’ll absorb heat and lock it away


So, what’s best? Non-stick or stainless steel cookware?

Who better to answer this age-old question than Melissa, the manager of our cookware department? With over ten years’ experience helping customers find the right cookware for their needs, it’s no wonder she’s our resident cookware expert. We caught up with Melissa to ask her what kind of cookware she prefers.

“It mostly comes down to the food and ingredients you intend on cooking in the pan,” Melissa told us. “Some cooking requires you to use easy food release surfaces, like eggs, crepes, fish and pancakes. However, food and ingredients that are mainly being cooked in water, like pasta, soup and vegetables don’t need an easy-release surface”.

Melissa’s advice? Ultimately, the cookware you choose for your kitchen comes down to you and the foods you enjoy. Why not mix things up and combine non-stick frypans and stainless steel saucepans to create your own, individual cookware set?

We asked Melissa if she could recommend a few of her favourite pieces of non-stick and stainless steel cookware. Here are her top picks…

Best non stick Fry pans


Scanpan CTX 28cm Frypan

Made in Denmark, Scanpan’s high-end CTX range has everything you need when it comes to cookware, combining non-stick surfaces with a five-ply stainless steel exterior and a pure aluminium core to create cookware that’s as sleek as it is practical.


Swiss Diamond Shallow Grill Pan

In case you’re wondering, Swiss Diamond cookware gets its name because it’s made in Switzerland, and its non-stick surface is made using real diamonds, finely crushed. This non-stick Grill Pan is a must for all those who love sizzling steaks…and hate cleaning up. Shine on!


Scanpan Impact Chef’s Pan

Deeper than a frypan, with two handles and a glass lid so you can keep an eye on what’s going on inside, a Chef’s Pan is the perfect meeting point between frying pan and saucepan. Scanpan Impact is one of Australia’s most popular ranges of cookware. Once you’ve used it, you’ll find out why.

Best Stock Pots


All-Clad Stainless Steel 7.6 Litre Stockpot

This huge stainless steel stockpot comes to you all the way from America. When it comes to cookware, All-Clad is one of the biggest names around. This premium cookware is a favourite of chefs everywhere.

Got any questions about cookware or kitchenware you’d like answered? We’re planning a series of “How to…” posts, designed to answer all your kitchen questions. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to know about cookware, knives, electrical appliances or even interior design, just let us know in the comments below and we’ll ask our experts!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is nonstick cookware safe?

Yes, today’s nonstick and Teflon cookware is completely safe for normal home cooking (No more than 300°C).

Are scratched Teflon pans dangerous?

Scratched pans can release toxic compounds, so we recommend you to AVOID using scratched pans.

5 Comments on “How to… decide between non-stick and stainless steel cookware

  1. Pingback: Peter’s Friday Favourites | Peter's of Kensington

  2. Great post! On my own experience, the nonstick cookware is the best for cooking, it is easy to cook for frying and the meat won’t stick which makes it easy to clean.

  3. Help ,I’m desperate.
    I’ve gone through 3 frypans in about 5 years.
    The first one was Circulon, I good at first but food stuck after a few years.I hand wash it after it cools down.
    I took it to the kitchen shop. The lady told me to pre heat pan before using it. I bought bacarat and it has suffered the same fate.
    I have SS Scanpan saucepans ,no trouble. 10 years old.
    I don’t like cooking with oil or butter on frypan. So what non stick pan do I buy and how do I use it

    • Hi Tony,

      I’ve passed this onto our Cookware department. They will reply via email to you.

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