Stainless steel kitchenware became popular right after its introduction in the early 1900s. The shiny appearances, variety of shapes and sizes, and easy handleability made stainless steel kitchenware a consumer favorite for over a century. According to recent reports, the global stainless-steel market is worth USD 8553.9 million. This figure is expected to increase in the coming decade significantly.
Silicone kitchenware took the cookware industry by storm after its international food-grade approval in the late 1900s. The vibrant colored silicone spoons, spatulas, and bakeware are now seen being used everywhere. From simple households to international culinary media, silicone kitchenware has dominated the cookware industry. They are loved for their lightweight structures, flexible bodies, and convenient usability.
The question regarding which kitchenware material is superior has been a topic of debate for some time. Both stainless steel and silicone have some advantageous and disadvantageous qualities; however, one material’s advantages overshadow the other material’s qualities.
Continue reading below to learn if Silicone cookware is better than stainless steel or vice versa.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Stainless-Steel Kitchenware?
Stainless steel has been mainstream in the cookware industry for several decades. It is made from a steel alloy containing chromium, magnesium, copper, and aluminum traces. Chromium atoms help prevent corrosion while offering minor heat resistance. Aluminum traces give stainless steel their softness and help spread the heat evenly, while the magnesium atoms increase the stainless-steel utensil’s strength.
Stainless steel cookware is commonly found in the form of pots and pans. The pots and pans come in different sizes and shapes, have shiny surfaces, and have long handles that tend to stay cool.
Advantages of Stainless-Steel Kitchenware
Wide Variety and Global Abundance
One can find stainless steel pots and pans in different shapes and sizes to fit all kinds of culinary needs. You can also find large, thick, and heavy stainless-steel pots for large-scale cooking or can find thin, lightweight frying pans for everyday uses.
Moreover, stainless steel has dominated the kitchenware industry for more than a century and hence can be found everywhere around the world. With billions of kitchenware items sold annually, one can find their ideal sized stainless-steel cookware regardless of where they live.
High-quality stainless-steel pots and pans will last for many decades. Their tough bodies and strong molecular structures make them unbreakable and hard-wearing. The chromium atoms increase the cookware’s resistance to oxidation and prevent corrosion. Moreover, the magnesium atoms increase the cookware’s strength by improving its heat resistance.
Unlike non-stick cooking pans that get chipped and worn out after repeated use, stainless-steel cookware will retain its quality and shape regardless of the frequency of its usage.
Ideal For Cooking
Stainless steel cookware is perfectly designed to ensure that heat spreads evenly across the pan’s surface. The aluminum atoms in the stainless-steel molecules work as great heat conductors and heat the food evenly.
Moreover, less aluminum is added to a stainless-steel cookware’s handle to keep the handle insulated and cool. The great cooking abilities and convenient handleability massively contribute to the cookware’s global demand.
Furthermore, stainless-steel cookware is well coated and has an innermost magnetic core of aluminum and copper. The magnetic core allows stainless-steel cookware to remain undamaged upon heating. Moreover, the core’s stainless-steel coating prevents reactions between the cookware’s surface and the food.
Unlike cast-iron or non-stick kitchen utensils, maintaining stainless-steel kitchenware does not require extensive care measures. Cast-iron cannot cook all kinds of food and will rust if left wet. Moreover, non-stick pans get their non-stick layers easily peeled off from excessive usage and stiff spatulas. Whereas all kinds of food can be cooked in a stainless-steel pot, and leaving it wet will not rust its surface.
Furthermore, the impermeable stainless-steel surfaces are clean effortlessly and are dishwasher friendly.
Non-stick pans can leach into the food contents when highly acidic food is cooked in them. At the same time, stainless steel’s non-porous and well-coated surfaces ensure zero leaching and prevent reactions. As a result, the cooked food is contamination-free and is non-toxic to human health.
Disadvantages of Stainless-Steel Kitchenware
Food Sticks to the Surface
Stainless-steel cookware is great for boiling, frying, and browning onions; however, many food items can get stuck to their surface over high temperatures. Foods like lean meat, eggs, sugar, and fish almost always get stuck to the cookware’s surface. As a result, cleaning becomes inconvenient, and food gets wasted.
Poor Heat Conductor
High traces of aluminum may spread the heat evenly; however, certain acidic foods can cause some aluminum to leach into the food contents. High levels of aluminum contamination may cause breast cancer, bone disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease. Hence, many stainless-steel kitchenware manufacturers try to reduce or avoid aluminum additions.
The stainless-steel cookware becomes a poor heat conductor without aluminum additions and prevents food from cooking properly.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Silicone Kitchenware?
Silicone is an inert synthetic rubber made from silica sand atoms, oxygen, and carbon. The solid molecular structure makes silicone cookware strong while giving it its rubber-like flexibility.
Silicone kitchenware is used by homeowners, top chefs, and well-reputed culinary experts worldwide. Their colorful appearances attract massive number of buyers, contributing to the industry’s impressive worth.
Advantages of Silicone Kitchenware
Wide Variety and Global Abundance
One can buy silicone kitchenware almost everywhere in the world. Each year, their popularity attracts hundreds of manufacturing companies, contributing to its global abundance.
Silicone spoons, whisks, spatulas, and bakeware often come in a set of different sizes and thicknesses. The variation in size and shape makes silicone utensils ideal for all culinary tasks. For example, a mini-whisk could be perfect for beating coffee in a cup, while a long thin spatula would be ideal for applying frosting onto a cake.
Silicone kitchenware has rubber-like flexible bodies. The flexibility makes it convenient to whisk or stir a silicone utensil in different shaped pots. The silicone utensils can bend and reach every corner and turn without breaking or damaging the food container. The silicone spatulas’ pliable bodies ensure that every piece or drop of food is scooped out without starching the container’s inner body. As a result, cleaning becomes convenient, and food wastage is minimized. Moreover, the user-friendly designs allow novice cooks, children, and older people to practice easy cooking.
Silicone cookware’s silica, oxygen, and carbon molecular structure allow it to remain unaffected at extreme temperatures. Silicone bakeware and cooking molds retain their shape and qualities at 220 Celsius or 428 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, freezing a silicone ice-cream mold will not crack it.
Silicone kitchen utensils can retain their color, shape, and quality regardless of their usage frequency. Unlike stainless steel that decolorizes with time, silicone utensils will look as good as new even after continuous usage. This quality makes investing in silicone cookware extremely cost-effective.
Furthermore, the synthetic rubber bodies of silicone utensils are excellent heat insulators. This quality improves their convenient handleability and makes silicone great for heat-resistant gloves.
Prevent Damage to Food Containers
Stainless steel spoons and spatulas can scratch and damage a food container’s inner surface. After sufficient damage, a cooking pot or food container has to be replaced.
The silicone cookware’s soft bodies ensure zero damage to the cooking container’s body. As a result, the cost of investing in new pots and pans is saved.
Lightweight and Reusable
Silicone cooking utensils are lighter than stainless steel, metallic, ceramic, or wooden. This quality allows people of all ages and physical health to practice cooking with ease and comfort. The low weights aid in convenient transportability and easy storage, allowing the kitchen owner to hang the utensils on wall hangers easily.
Moreover, using silicone utensils saves repurchase costs and controls pollution. Conventional paper cupcake liners are recyclable and biodegradable; however, they need to be discarded after use. At the same time, silicone bakeware and cupcake molds will sustain no damage due to frequent reuse.
Non-toxic and Eco-Friendly
Food-grade silicone kitchenware has FDA approval for being safe and non-toxic for human use. Silicone kitchenware’s inert and impermeable molecular structure prevents reactions at any cooking temperature. As a result, the silicone does not bind with the food particles, preventing food contamination. This quality makes silicone utensils ideal for high-temperature cooking and baking. The FDA and other food safety global agencies have confirmed that no hazardous fumes are released when a silicone utensil is heated.
Moreover, silicone cookware has high-temperature resistance qualities. As a result, no silicone is melted into the food at high temperatures, preventing food contamination. This quality also allows silicone cookware to retain its color and shape regardless of the frequency of its use.
Furthermore, the non-porous nature of silicone prevents water from seeping into its surface. Without any moisture retention, fungal and microbial growth are minimized. As a result, the sanitary conditions of the food, the refrigerator, and the utensils drawer are maintained.
Apart from being safe for human health, silicone utensils are also eco-friendly. Manufacturing silicone requires no mining or deforestation to be carried out. Although silicone is non-biodegradable, one can efficiently recycle it. Moreover, unlike plastic, silicone does not disintegrate into smaller plastic compounds. As a result, it does not threaten animals and aquatic life.
Disadvantages of Silicone Kitchenware
The advantages of silicone kitchenware greatly overshadow its few disadvantages.
Pure Silicone is Hard to Find
With the rapid growth of the silicone industry, many new manufacturers emerge annually. To sell silicone kitchenware at a competitive market price, many manufacturers add plastic fillers during the manufacturing process. The impure silicone becomes less resistant to high temperatures and can melt into the food contents. Toxic food can harm human health in multiple ways.
Unlike wood and paper, silicone utensils need costly recycling centers to be built. Without such centers, silicone utensils will harm the environment by contributing to land pollution.
Silicone or Stainless Steel: Which Is Better?
Although both types of kitchenware material have commendable qualities, the many advantages of silicone kitchenware overpower the positive characteristics of stainless steel kitchenware.
- Silicone kitchen utensils are far more durable than stainless steel. The soft, malleable stainless-steel structures can cause them to bend and deform after falling. In contrast, the elastic and flexible nature of silicone allows it to retain its shape at all times.
- Silicone kitchen utensils are reusable for extended periods due to their strong structures. Although stainless-steel pans and pots also last long, they can break and get deformed over excessive usage. Hence, silicone cookware is a wiser and more cost-effective long-term investment.
- Silicone kitchen utensils have higher temperature resistance when compared to stainless-steel kitchenware. At extremely high temperatures, stainless-steel utensils get decolorized, cause food to develop a metallic taste, and may even rust. In comparison, silicone utensils remain unaffected and do not melt at high temperatures. Silicone utensils can remain undamaged up to 600℉ and down to -40℉.
- Silicone cookware is made from synthetic plastic and is an excellent heat insulator. This quality aids to their convenient handleability and lasting quality. At the same time, stainless-steel pans and utensils can conduct heat and require a heat-resistant glove for prolonged handling.
- Cooking highly acidic foods in stainless-steel pots can cause it to leach aluminum traces into the food. Aluminum contamination can cause serious health hazards. On the contrary, the impermeable and strong silicone structure ensures no silica gets leached into the food.
- Silicone cookware is lighter, easier to transport, and convenient to store than hard and heavy stainless-steel cookware.
When presented with a choice, one should prefer silicon cookware over stainless-steel cookware options. Doing so would help the person save money, protect their loved one’s health, and practice cooking with ease and comfort. Hence, with the availability of 100% pure food-grade silicone, purity testing standards, and recycling centers, silicone kitchenware is far better than stainless steel and all its other market competitors.