Hard Anodized Cookware vs. Non-stick cookware

Hard Anodized Cookware vs. Non-stick Cookware: What is the Best Non-Stick Cookware?



The debate over hard anodized cookware vs. non-stick cookware has been raging since hard anodized cookware entered the market, and de-throned non stick cookware as the go-to cookware for home cooks looking for cookware that was easy to use, and easy to clean.

Non-stick cookware has been the most popular cookware in millions of home kitchens around the world, since the slippery coating that prevents food from sticking was developed in the 1940’s, and marketed to the public in the 1950’s by DuPont as Teflon® coated non-stick cookware.

There are now several types of non-stick cookware on the market today, some made with and without the potentially dangerous Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).  A popular type of cookware, which was developed by leading cookware manufacturer Calphalon, in 1968 to prevent food from sticking to the pan and withstand the daily beating of a professional kitchen is hard anodized cookware,  This type of non stick cookware is popular with professional chefs and home cooks who want a non-stick cookware, but that is 100% PFOA-free.




Problems with Non-stick Cookware for Professional Chefs

Non Stick Pan

While Teflon coated non stick cookware was an immediate hit with home cooks when it was introduced in the early 50s, and to this day remains a popular type of cookware for daily use in home kitchens, even though most non stick cookware is now made with a natural PFOA-free non-stick coating, professional chefs quickly found that Teflon coating was unsuitable for the rigors of metal utensils and high temperatures of an industrial kitchen.

The Teflon coating can scratch or chip easily, if used with metal utensils, thus rendering the cookware useless and even dangerous.  In addition, high stove top and oven temperatures that are often above 450 degrees Fahrenheit in professional kitchens can actually cause Teflon to liquefy and give off toxic fumes. Some studies show that toxic particles of PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) or PTFE  (Polytetrafluoroethylene) can be transferred to the food, where these odorless particulates can contaminate food and lead to potentially dangerous health risks.



Searching for a Alternative to Teflon coated Non-Stick Cookware

hard anodized cookware

The desire of professional chefs to find a safe alternative to Teflon coated non-stick pans that offers the same non stick capabilities as Teflon, without dangers of exposure to PTFE  (Polytetrafluoroethylene) and PFOA  (Perfluorooctanoic acid),  that was as sturdy as stainless steel yet prevented food from sticking, lead several cookware manufacturers to search a new revolutionary cookware surface.

Calphalon hit the mark in 1968 with it’s invention of the first hard anodized aluminum cookware, that eliminated the risks of non-stick cookware and yet was sturdy enough to withstand the punishing conditions of an industrial kitchen.

What resulted from this dilemma was a new type of cookware called Hard Anodized Cookware, which offered the best features of each type of cookware in one:

  • light weight like aluminum pans
  • heats up quickly and evenly
  • sturdy like stainless steel cookware that can handle high temperatures common in a professional kitchen
  • can handle metal utensils without scratching, cracking or chipping
  • has a superior non-stick surface like Teflon coated pans, but without the risk of Teflon

Several companies now make hard aluminum cookware for home and professional kitchens.  For instance, Rachael Ray Cookware produces a popular and affordable hard anodized cookware line as does famed TV chef Emeril Lagasse with his Emerilware Hard Anodized Cookware made by All-Clad.

 What is Hard Anodized Cookware?

81lPDarfETL. SL1500

Hard Anodized Cookware

In 1968, Calphalon invented hard anodized aluminum cookware, which encompasses the best featured of non-stick cookware, stainless steel skillets and durability of cast iron cookware.

Hard aluminum cookware is basically aluminum cookware that has been hydroelectrically treated to harden the aluminum to the strength of stainless steel cookware, and has a layer of oxidization that gives the cookware the non-stick consistency of Teflon-coated pans.

I am sure you are wondering about the benefits of hard anodized cookware?  This light weight professional quality cookware has been shown to be extremely durable, resists scratches  and is non-porous, meaning it won’t absorb smells from the food that has been cooked in it.

This is important for high volume professional kitchens, where the pan may be used to cook fish in one dish, cleaned and then used to cook a pasta dish without transferring smells or flavors from between dishes.


Benefits of Hard Anodized Cookware

  • Made from light or medium weight aluminum
  • Pans are as hard as stainless steel cookware
  • PFOA Free non-stick cookware
  • Made with reveted on ergonomic handles
  • Oxidization process creates a non-stick surface
  • Cookware can withstand high oven temps up to 400° Fahrenheit
  • Doesn’t scratch or chip
  • Nonporous to resist absorbing food smells

Is Non-stick Cookware Safe?

For the average home cook, who uses non-stick cookware regularly at medium or lower stove top temperatures at 350° Fahrenheit, and uses wooden or silicone utensils to prevent scratching, non stick cookware is generally safe.

The best non-stick cookware you may never have heard of is PFOA-free non stick STONELINE Cookware.  This cookware is made with a natural micro-stone coating that is 100% PFOA and PTFE Free, is reported to be 10 times harder than other types of non-stick cookware, and no oil is required for healthy cooking. You can read our STONELINE COOKWARE review here.


The dangers of using PFOA or PTFE coated cookware are only a concern for people who:

  • use their cookware heavily and the Teflon coating can be chipped or scratched by using metal utensils
  • if you often cook food at high stove top or oven temperatures above 350°
  • if you are prone to burning food
  • if you wash your cookware in the dishwasher and not by hand

In Conclusion

If you are in the market for new home cookware for yourself, as a house warming gift or as a wedding gift and you are trying to decide on hard anodized cookware vs. non-stick cookware, follow the tips in this article to help you decide which is the best non stick cookware to get.  If this is for your use, determine the amount of cooking you will be doing on a daily or weekly basis; will the cookware be used frequently or infrequently; and finally what is your budget?   If this is wedding or house warming gift, hard anodized cookware will definitely be a step up from most non-stick cookware, and the recipient will enjoy years of use.

What is the Cost of Hard Anodized Cookware?

A good high quality 14 piece Hard Anodized Cookware set is approximately $200 – $300 at a department store.  You may pay less at online stores, such as Amazon.com.

You can read our Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Cookware Review here, to determine if this type of professional quality home cookware is the right choice for your cooking needs.
Happy Cooking!



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