Cookware Guide 104: Material Types



Ceramic cookware is a good insulator, so it won't react quickly to heat. It's usually found in casseroles or other shapes suitable for slow cooking at a constant temperature. It is lighter than cast iron, but also more fragile.


Porcelain is fired to become very hard. While porcelain is generally considered delicate, it can actually be quite durable. It can also usually be used in stoves, ovens, and microwaves. Porcelain is typically white because it helps show more prominence.

Types of Porcelain

  • Stoneware

Stoneware is also fired to a hardness similar to porcelain. The main difference between the two is that the stoneware uses a different type of clay and come in other colors besides white. Stoneware can also be available in a variety of finishes.

  • Earthenware

Earthenware is less strong and prone to chipping and scratching. This type is often used as cutlery rather than cookware.


Clad cookware is developed by using both types of cookware materials together to obtain all the benefits of both materials. Most of the time, stainless steel is clad with aluminum. Aluminum gives you thickness and excellent heat conductivity, and stainless steel prevents it from corroding and is easy to maintain. This type of cookware will last a lifetime and is usually heavy and very expensive. If money isn't an issue and you want the best, we definitely recommend clad cookware.


Copper is the best conductor of heat. It's best if you cook on a stove that has to control the temperature. However, copper can react with food and can be poisonous. Therefore, copper pots and pans are usually lined with another material, usually stainless steel. The biggest disadvantage of using copper is maintenance. Copper can discolor, so occasionally polishing is required to remove discoloration. Additionally, copper tends to dent and scratch easily.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a very good all around general-purpose cookware. It's lightweight, durable and easy to clean. It is, however, poor conductor of heat so usually many stainless steel pieces are made of the copper or aluminum disc in the bottom to help distribute heat more evenly. Because of its smooth surface, stainless steel is easy to clean and it's dishwasher safe. If you notice some kind of discoloration, you can use stainless steel cleanser that restores natural luster. Metal utensil can be used on stainless steel or aluminum surface.


Nonstick cookware has a coating on the inside of the pan that makes it difficult for food to stick. This makes it super easy to cook healthy fat-free foods. Because the food is not sticky, it is easy to clean. It can be used in combination with many metals used in the production of cookware. The downside of this cooker is that it can be easily scratched. Stainless steel or other utensils can scratch the pan, so nylon silicone utensils are strongly recommended.