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Cookware 10

Comparing Cookware Materials - A non-scientific test study

JTPhilly | Feb 13, 2014 10:51 AM

A very non-scientific study of cookware materials and their performance

I have accumulated too much cookware to keep in the kitchen – On deciding it was time to cull the (horde) herd I decided to conduct an some experiments to confirm/deny some of my assumptions about which ones were better.*

*note. Yes I am snowed in and going slowly insane.

The cookware is an odd assortment of mid-quality stuff – nothing fancy – some newer some old. In particular I was curious to see how the skillets and saute pans stacked up because I definitely have redundancy. My base set of cookware is a Cuisinart SS with a fairly thin copper disk bottom and a rack of old Griswold Iron everything else is mis match that has been acquired over time/handed down or left behind.

10” skillets

SS Fully Clad Aluminum (Cuisinart )
vs
Copper Disk SS (Cuisinart)
vs
Granny's Revereware (old logo)
vs
Great Granny's Griswold Cast Iron (small block #7)
vs
Funky Aunt's Copco (Enameled CI)
vs
Pop's Raw Aluminum (WearEver)

Method =Lightly oil, sift flour over pan, heat on low flame, brown, deglaze with ¾ cup water, hold simmer.

Copper Disk SS heated 2x faster than others – fairly even browning– deglaze held simmer no boil

SS Fully Clad heated slower – less even distribution – deglaze well – boil quickly visibly at heat source

Reverware – heat VERY slow but evenly

Cast Iron - Burned flower at center while pan edges remain raw

Raw Aluminum – slower than copper disk but even

Winner - Copper Disk SS. By a long shot and surprisingly to me I always thought the clad was the better pan.

12 1/2” Fry Pans

Mom's Anodized Aluminum (Commercial Anodized Toledo)
vs
Weird Uncles SS Multiclad “Waterless” w aluminum disk (Americraft-West Bend)
vs
Granny's Revereware (old logo)
vs
Great Granny's Griswold – Cast Iron (Small Block #10)

Method=Same as above

Anodized skillet – VERY uneven browning flour burn at heat source raw at edges – quick boil at deglaze – visible hot spots

Multiclad “Waterless” - Even browning- Simmer held on deglaze – bubbles form evenly across pan surface

Cast Iron - Uneven browning burning at heat source while flour at outer pan remains raw – boil from center only visible on deglaze

Revere Ware – Slowest to heat but fairly even distribution on browning – I had to turn up the heat to get a boil at all once simmering held even
Winner – Multiclad “Waterless” (surprisingly)

11” saute/chef pan

SS Fully Clad (Calphalon)
vs
SS W/ Heavy Disk Bottom (Emrilware w/ copper band – not sure if there is any actual copper in the base, guessing not much)

Method=Same as above

both pans fairly even – clad approx 2x faster to heat than disk bottom otherwise performance equal

6 Quart SS Dutch Ovens

Granny's Farberware
vs
SS Disk Base (Farberware Millennium)
vs
Copper Disk SS (Cuisinart)
vs
Weird Uncles SS Multiclad “Waterless” (Prudential Ware)

Method=

9 cups room temp water in each pot
medium heat to simmer
raise heat to boil lower and return to simmer

Fairly even performance across the boards speed and responsiveness varied a bit with the Copper Disk SS fastest and the Farberware slowest.

Winner

Copper Disk SS was most responsive but overall pretty equal

I also pitted a 9qt Copper Disk SS stock pot vs A 9qt thick raw aluminum one (Mirro Masterbilt)– the aluminum one came to a boil faster and responded almost immediately to a reduction in heat – returning instantly to a simmer.

Conclusions –

My base Cuisinart SS performed well – it seems that the copper clad base (even though it is fairly thin) outperformed the aluminum clad or thick aluminum base every time. It tends to get scorch marks on the outsides of the pan though which is frustrating. The raw aluminum stock pot though was superior and should probably be my go to pasta pot (hopefully its safe)

I was surprised that the silly-looking West Bend skillet was so even and steady and disappointed with the professional-style Calphalon Commercial Anodized Skillet. I will probably keep both on hand because the West Bend one is super heavy and more suited to say meatballs while the Aluminum one is light and better for a stir fry or something I would want to toss around in the pan. The cast iron did terribly across the boards but it was tested in a way it is not intended to be used – its not going anywhere I love the stuff.

The Farberware and Revereware seem to have the main purpose of creating a barrier between fire and food and do this quite well – it seemed to take forever to get them to heat up but once they did they were fine.

Overall any of it can get the job done - Its more about who's cooking than what they are cooking with

What Stays

Copper disk SS stock pots and 10” skillet
Fully clad SS saute
Heavy SS “waterless” 12 ½:” skillet & anodized 12 ½ too
Both stockpots (as long as my pasta does not taste like aluminum)
All the Iron (even though it fail this test it does other things wonderfully)

What I need
A really good copper skillet and sauce pan (I have some copper sauce pans but they are not great quality)
Spring to come because clearly I am going nuts inside.

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