An Overview Of The Different Nonstick Coatings On Cookware

Would you like to know more about what types of nonstick cookware coatings you get?

In this article we will go over what these different coatings are and how they differ from each other.

To get a good understanding of what your options are, just keep on reading!

In this article I will discuss:

Introduction

In one of our previous articles we explained how nonstick coatings on cookware actually works.

For a coating to be effectively nonstick, it has to be really slippery.

The reason for this is that the more slippery a surface, the less likely that something is going stick to it. That in turn makes it less likely for something to get burned.

The original nonstick coating was the Polytetrafluoroethylene coating, or just PTFE in short.

It was marketed under the name Teflon and we have covered that in our article here as well.

In this specific article, we will go over the other six main types of nonstick coatings you get.

Ceramic coatings

These coatings have been around for a fair while now, becoming more popular in the 60’s. This was due to a search for an alternative to PTFE.

A big selling point for them is that they are more natural being made from non-toxic organic materials including silica.

Lead and cadmium were used in these coatings but most reputable companies don’t use these chemicals anymore due to their toxicity.

Another advantage of ceramic coatings is that they are non-porous. Food colors and dyes would therefore not be absorbed that easily and your cookware won’t get tainted as quickly. 

Ceramic coatings scratch more easily, though, and you should take care to use the correct utensils made from non-scratch materials like wood and silicone.

Do not use metal utensils, that’s a sure way to damage the coating surface and reduce its effectivity and lifespan.

Take care when you wash these coating and don’t use abrasive cleaning tools.

Ceramic coatings, just like PTFE (Teflon) cannot withstand extremely high temperatures. Take care to not heat up an empty pan with one of these two coatings, it will most likely get damaged.

Hybrid coatings

These coatings are not as common.

It is a hybrid combination of PTFE and ceramic coatings.

These coatings are produced by infusing PTFE into the silica substrate to form a coating that has the desired properties of both the PTFE and ceramic coatings.

Enamel coatings

These coatings are found mostly on cast iron cookware.

It is made by melting powdered glass onto the inner surface of the cookware.

The end result is a thin glass layer acting as a coating.

These coatings can last for years with proper care. 

They have the added benefit of never exposing iron to the food as it would have been the case with a non-coated cast iron pot or pan.

Because it is glass, it can chip easily. You can also scratch it easily when using metal utensils. Instead use wooden or silicone utensils and never cut food on these coatings.

Be careful not to cause rapid temperature changes on the surface.

As with glass, sudden application of heat to one part of the coating can cause that part to expand too quickly and you could cause cracks.

These types of cookware are usually very heavy compared to other cookware sets. That is because it’s made from cast iron whereas other cookware sets are made from lighter materials like aluminum.

Silicone coatings

We all know silicone as the soft squishy material.

Silicone, however, is used in cookware coatings as well.

It is more commonly used in the baking industry where bread and muffin pans are sometimes coated with silicone. You do, however, get pots and pans with silicone coatings as well.

The upside of these coating is that they can withstand extreme heat.

Unfortunately they are not as slippery and nonstick as PTFE, for example, and you will need a little oil.

Because it is a soft rubbery coating, it can be cut easily. Avoid any utensils that has sharp edges when cooking.

Anodized aluminum

Aluminum is one of the cheapest metals to manufacture cookware with. Unfortunately, aluminum has been said to cause Alzheimer’s disease.

Before you get worried, aluminum can only leach into food if the aluminum is reactive and not treated.

Aluminum cookware is treated with a process called anodisation.

In this process aluminum is exposed to an acid and an electrical current.

This causes oxidation and the end result is a nonstick non-reactive smooth surface.

These nonstick surfaces are more durable compared to others.

It differs from the other coatings in that it’s not technically a coating, like the others are, but more a treated surface.

That, along with the affordability of aluminum, makes this option the cheapest amongst the lot.

It does come with its cons, though.

These surfaces aren’t as smooth and nonstick as ceramics, for example.

Also, you need to be careful not to scratch the surface and expose untreated reactive aluminum.

That is why, as with the others coatings, you should use soft silicon or wooden utensils.

Seasoned cast iron

This is one of the older methods to obtain smooth cooking surfaces.

As with anodised aluminum, this is technically not so much a coating as it is a surface treatment.

You season cast iron by heating oil on its surface to a point where the oil polymerizes.

That causes a smooth surface without applying any chemicals like PTFE.

Unfortunately, these surfaces have to be seasoned very often.

If it’s not, the polymerized oil can be rubbed off, exposing raw metal to the food.

That is undesirable because iron can be taken up by food you are cooking.

Conclusion

There are several different kinds of nonstick coatings to choose from.

There are also more new nonstick technologies being developed, like the superhydrophobic coatings.

All have their pros and cons, and usually there is a compromise to be made.

Ask yourself what you will be doing with the cookware, how often you are going to use it and to what extent you will care for your cookware in terms of using the right utensils and cleaning them the right way.

This will give you an indication as to what you should be willing to spend on one of these sets.

To help you decide, we will be compiling our list of the best sellers, so stay tuned!