Cooking and Recipes

Hard Anodized Aluminum Pans vs. Non-stick coated Aluminum Pans

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I have been using the Anolon Nouvelle Copper hard anodized cookware for about 3 years now and I have grown up on and still continue to use some non-stick coated aluminum pans . Generally speaking I always want to reach for my stainless steel pans, which I also have in the Anolon Nouvelle Copper and some other random brands, but stainless steel pans just aren’t always the best fit for everything I need to cook.

During my time selling housewares for a large retail store I spent a lot of time reading the packaging and taking in all the customer reviews of the products, on top of formal training provided to associates. Let alone the 15+ years that I have been cooking daily in my own kitchen with various sorts of cookware. One thing that I was often asked was, should I use hard anodized or non-stick coated aluminum pans? Honestly, the answer to that is not so cut and dry as one might think. Especially, since everyone has a different way of preparing their meals and a different stove top.

What type of stove top do you have?

The first thing to consider, when you are making a cookware purchase is the stove you are using to cook your food. If you are using an induction stove top, which are fantastic especially if you have children, then you will not be reaching for any non-stick coated aluminum pans, because it works through a magnet and you will not be able to operate your stove top with the traditional non-stick pans or the hard anodized aluminum without an added magnetic metal base. That is the great thing about the Anolon Nouvelle Copper pans; they are hard anodized and they have the added metal base for any kind of cooking surface.

Anolon Advanced Home Straining Saucepan with Pasta - Onyx
Hard Anodized strainer pans are awesome! Save some space and speed up meals!

If you are using an open flame stove top then you may want to consider the hard anodized, because they are more sturdy and less likely to warp from the higher temperatures. Plus, the hard anodized heat slower and more evenly than the traditional non-stick pans allowing for more time to prepare your meal, without accidental burning.

How much money do you want to pay for cookware?

The second thing to consider, is the cost of the pan and how often you want to replace your pans. Typically, non-stick coated aluminum pans are cheap to purchase, but only have about a 1-2 year life expectancy and if you happen to forget that you are using such a fragile pan and touch it with the metal spatula then that pan is done for. The hard anodized pans have about 3 times the life expectancy, so you can plan to keep them almost 10 years! They also have a thick surface, so you can actually use your metal utensils without having a mini heart attach if you accidentally touch the pan. I do however highly recommend that you use utensils that are not metal on all of your non-stick surfaces to extend the life of the pan.

What foods do you cook on your cookware?

The third thing to consider, is the meal you are preparing. Some meals need the quick heavy heat provided by the traditional non-stick pans; like most things that you want crispy, so if you are a burrito frying champ you will probably want the speedy, crispy pan. However, if you want a nicely cooked rice from steady heating that disperses more evenly through the dish then you will want to reach for the hard anodized cookware.

Do you have the cookware you need?

Generally speaking a well rounded kitchen needs both the traditional non-stick pans and the hard anodized pans, but if I could only choose to have one I would go with the hard anodized, because they can do everything the non-stick can do and they last so much longer. Yes, they are slow to heat-up, but they will get the job done if you are patient.

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