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Ceramic Vs Stainless Steel Cookware Comparison (Pros & Cons)

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So, you’re considering ceramic vs stainless steel cookware but aren’t sure which to pick?

We’re often asked, “Is ceramic cookware safer than stainless steel?” and “Is stainless steel better than ceramic?”

The answer: It depends. Your decision depends on what and how you cook it. You don’t want to waste cash on the wrong type.

So, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of both ceramic and stainless steel cookware.

We’ll cover who each is best for, and later, I’ll share my recommendation after using both cookware types for years. This way, you can make the right choice… The first time!

Let’s get started.

Main Takeaways: Who Wins & Why


So, ceramic or stainless steel cookware… Who wins? It comes down to what you cook and your habits.

Before we dive deep into each material’s pros, cons, uses, and best practices, here are two simple bulleted lists to guide your choice:

Pick ceramic-coated if:

  • You want an easy-cleaning pan.
  • You cook a lot of eggs and other delicate foods at low to medium heat.
  • You want to avoid excess calories and use little to no cooking oil.
  • You want to cook meals faster, saving time and effort.
  • You want more color options to match your kitchen.

Pick stainless steel if:

  • You want to be able to check your pan in the dishwasher.
  • You cook a wide variety of foods and want the freedom to sear at high temperatures.
  • You want a pan that lasts forever, saving you money down the road.
  • You have an induction cooktop (although some ceramic pans are induction-compatible).
  • You don’t mind using oil or butter.

Next, let’s get into the details, starting first with general cookware features to consider. Understanding these factors will lay the foundation for your decision.

Then, we’ll look at each material to see how it meets your desired features.

Initial Considerations for Ceramic Vs. Stainless Steel

Nothing is worse than wasting your money on the wrong cookware.

Imagine buying a new set only to regret it a few weeks later, but it’s too late for a refund because you’ve already used it.

To avoid this, keep these factors in mind:

  • Safety: Teflon cookware can be hazardous when overheated or worn out. Both ceramic and stainless steel provide healthier alternatives, with stainless being the most natural.
  • Cooking Ease: Not everyone is Gordon Ramsay, so ceramic pans are great for beginners who want easy non-stick cooking.
  • Heat Tolerance & Retention: What do you cook? Non-stick ceramic is excellent for delicate foods like eggs but is poor for searing or oven-braising meats. It has a lower heat limit than stainless and lacks heat retention.
  • Care: Non-stick ceramic pans simplify cleanup, while stainless steel can be more challenging to clean but is dishwasher-safe.
  • Comfort: Consider cool-touch handles to avoid burns (available on any pan) and the weight of the cookware. Stainless steel and ceramic pans are relatively lightweight compared to cast iron, with ceramic being the lightest.
  • Durability: Stainless steel is best if you use metal utensils, as it’s more resistant to scratching. Metal tools will quickly ruin ceramic coatings.
  • Lifespan: Stainless steel pans last longer and offer better value, while ceramic cookware usually doesn’t last as long. We’ll touch on that soon.
  • Stovetop Freedom: Make sure the cookware is compatible with your stove. While some ceramic pans are suitable for induction cooktops, most aren’t. Stainless steel generally is induction-compatible. Plus, it’s better suited for oven use.
  • Price Constraints: Quality stainless steel cookware tends to be more expensive than ceramic-coated options.
  • Style: Stainless steel offers a classy look, but ceramic comes in various colors, allowing you to match your cookware to your kitchen.

Ceramic Cookware Pros and Cons


Now, let’s dive into ceramic pans’ pros and cons.

Then we’ll touch on the main benefits and give you some advice if you choose this type.

But keep this in mind: There are two different types of ceramic cookware. The most popular is ceramic-coated (non-stick). Less popular is pure ceramic.

For this post, we’re discussing ceramic non-stick, but we’ll also touch on pure.


  • Beginner-friendly: Ceramic-coated pans are slick and beginner-cook-friendly.
  • Fewer calories: Because you won’t need cooking oils, you’ll reduce calorie intake.
  • Easy to clean in seconds with a sponge.
  • Chemical-free: Non-stick coating free of those nasty PFAS/ Teflon chemicals.
  • Non-reactive with acidic or alkaline foods (No metallic tastes).
  • Safer under high heat: Unlike Teflon’s breakdown at 464℉, non-stick ceramic is safe up to 800℉.
  • Even & Efficient Heating: No cold spots, faster cooking, and less heat are required to get the job done.
  • A large variety of colors and patterns for a more personalized approach.
  • Relatively affordable


  • Not metal utensil safe.
  • Not-dishwasher-safe. (Harms the non-stick finish).
  • A shorter lifespan than stainless steel or cast iron. At best, you’ll get 3-5 years of non-stick cooking.
  • Low-medium heat only: Although safe under high heat, it can decrease the non-stick surface’s lifespan.

Ceramic Overview

Here’s the difference between pure ceramic and ceramic-coated cookware:

  • Pure Ceramic: This type is more expensive, made entirely of ceramic, and baked in a kiln, like pottery. It’s scratch-proof, microwave, refrigerator, and dishwasher-safe, and can withstand up to 2500℉. But it’s fragile, heats slowly, and requires practice to prevent sticking.
  • Ceramic-Coated: This type consists of aluminum or steel coated with a ceramic mixture for a smooth, non-stick finish. However, the non-stick coating isn’t safe for metal utensils or dishwashers. Opt for silicone, wood, or bamboo utensils to extend the coating’s lifespan.

Generally, you should hand wash non-stick ceramic pans rather than use a dishwasher.

Some options, like GreenPan, are oven-safe—just ensure the lids and handles can take the heat too.

Lastly, with proper care and using only for delicate foods (eggs, pancakes), ceramic pans can last around 3-5 years.

Advice & Care for Ceramic Pans

  • Make sure any colored ceramic is lead & cadmium-free. (This should be in the company’s FAQ section)
  • Can you use non-stick spray in a ceramic pan? It’s better not to. It’ll build a hard-to-remove film, reducing the pan’s non-stick ability. Instead, use a dab of high smoke point oil if needed.
  • Do not plunge your hot pan into cold water. Let it cool down before cleaning, or it’ll warp the pan and damage the coating.
  • Use only warm, soapy water and a soft sponge or cloth for cleaning (no steel wool).
  • Use baking soda to release extra stuck-on foods and stains.
  • If the coating starts to crack or chip, or you see metal peeking through, it’s time to replace the pan.

Stainless Steel Cookware Pros and Cons


Now, it’s time to touch on the pros and cons of stainless steel pots and pans.

Then, a summary of its benefits and some tips.


  • Coating-free, non-toxic surface that won’t chip or peel.
  • Non-reactive with acidic or alkaline foods.
  • Ridiculously durable: Steel pans are hard to ruin and can last decades with proper care.
  • Dishwasher-safe, perfect for those lazy evenings (or maybe that’s just me).
  • Versatile: You can do anything with stainless, from stir-frying to scorching hot steak searing. You can also cook delicate foods like eggs with proper heating and oil use.
  • No special attention: You can clean any way you like without worrying about the seasoning (like cast iron).
  • Heats faster than cast iron.
  • Metal utensil-safe (remember, no coating).
  • Oven-safe: But make sure the handle and lid are oven-safe as well.
  • Creates unique flavors due to the stuck-on, browned food bits.
  • Recyclable.


  • Trial and error: Food sticks, so it’s less beginner-friendly. But, there’s a way to make steel “act” non-stick – covered below).
  • Extra calories: You’ll need plenty of cooking oil to reduce sticking.
  • Doesn’t conduct heat as well as ceramic. (Although fully-clad pans with aluminum or copper cores can solve that problem).
  • It can stain or darken if you overheat your pan or burn cooking oil.
  • It’s not allergy-friendly due to the nickel content.
  • It’s pricey for a quality set.

Stainless Steel Overview


Stainless steel combines iron and carbon with chromium and nickel to resist rust and corrosion.

Cookware labeled “18/10” contains 18% chromium with 10% nickel and is considered the best. For those with nickel allergies, consider a 21/0 set that’s nickel-free and has extra chromium to ensure rust resistance.

Stainless steel cookware may cause sticking, but the culinary benefits make it worthwhile. The flavorful caramelized bits left behind during cooking create a depth of flavor that’s hard to match with non-stick pans.

Though it takes some practice to master, stainless steel allows for versatile and impressive cooking.

Additionally, there are no coatings to worry about, allowing you to use any utensil and cook at higher temperatures. Seared steaks, anyone?

Lastly, steel shares many benefits with cast iron but is lighter, rust-resistant, and easier to clean.

Advice & Care for Stainless Steel Cookware

  • To prevent sticking: Preheat the (empty) pan for several minutes over medium heat. Then, add a thin layer of oil. When the oil starts to smoke a little, THEN add the food. Voila — you have a non-stick pan!
  • Don’t force stuck-on food. It’ll release when it’s ready. Let eggs sit for a minute or so before moving them.
  • Don’t submerge a hot steel pan in water, or it’ll warp. Let it cool first.
  • For stubborn food bits, pour a thin layer of water in the pan and bring to a boil. The food should scrape off easily.
  • Avoid steel wool. It can damage the surface and cause pitting. Instead, use a Scotch Brite Pad or something similar.
  • If you notice dark spots (from overheating) or white calcium build-up, use vinegar or Bar Keeper’s Friend to rub out the stain.
  • If you notice copper or aluminum peeking through deep scratches, it’s time for a replacement.

My Recommendation & Recap

If I could pick only one, I would prefer stainless steel for its versatility. But investing in a complete cookware set of either material isn’t always best, so consider building your collection piece by piece.

Testing a pan for a while is crucial to determine if it suits your cooking style before fully committing.

The best move (in my opinion) is to start with an affordable yet quality ceramic pan. Think GreenPan’s Lima or Valencia Pro. Use that for delicate foods only.

Then, add a quality, fully-clad stainless steel pan, such as Cuisinart’s MultiClad Pro, and use that for everything else. This combo will cover virtually any cooking need.

Finally, build out the rest of your collection with your favorite.

There you have it: everything you need to know about ceramic vs stainless steel cookware!

P.S. Steel and ceramic are just two of the many healthy cookware options mentioned in our Ultimate Guide to Safe Cooking, so check them out here!

Picture of Adam Heck
Adam Heck

Hi there! I'm Adam, author and founder of TGL. Since 2016, I've produced and sold non-toxic kitchenware throughout the US. Today, I'm using my passion and experience in sustainable product manufacturing to help families avoid unsafe reusable foodware. When I'm not writing, you'll find me hiking or camping throughout Appalachia!

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