Hard-Anodized Cookware – Things You Should Know
Hard anodized cookware is a type of non-stick cookware that doesn’t contain POFA (Perfluorooctanoic acid). Although it looks similar to your regular non-stick cookware, it serves a different purpose. It is more durable and possesses a harder surface than the non-stick pan.
Mastering the art of cooking involves learning basic knowledge about cookware. So read on, as, in this article, we will discuss the things you need to know about hard anodized cookware, including its safety profile, comparison with non-stick cookware, and pros & cons.
What is Hard Anodized Cookware?
Whenever we talk about hard anodized cookware, it refers to the hard-anodized aluminium cookware. It is prepared by oxidized aluminium whose surface doesn’t remain reactive. However, anodized aluminium cookware still shows excellent heat conductivity.
The presence of processed aluminium imparts enhanced hardness and durability to the hard-anodized cookware. This is achieved by immersing aluminium in a chemical bath and exposing it to a strong electrical current. This process results in the production of oxide.
The oxide formed by treating aluminium makes a hardened layer over its surface. This makes the aluminium corrosion-resistant and much stronger.
Generally, people tend to confuse the hard-anodized cookware as a separate category than non-stick cookware. However, the fact of the matter is that nowadays, almost all hard-anodized cookware are also non-stick cookware.
Earlier, when the hard-anodized cookware was invented, it didn’t feature a non-stick coating. It’s only later during the 1990s that the cookware manufacturers began to add non-stick coating over the surfaces of hard-anodized cookware.
Thus, hard-anodized cookware features a non-stick surface coating and base made of hard-anodized aluminium.
Is Hard Anodized Cookware Safe to Use?
The safety of hard anodized cookware is the primary concern while buying this cookware. While it is a great kitchen tool packed with features that provide pleasurable cooking experiences, is it safe enough for cooking? Let’s find out.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average adult intakes approximately 7-9 mg of aluminium in food. The excess aluminium in the body can result in harmful diseases like poor kidney and liver function, memory loss, anaemia, bone defects, etc.
Cooking with hard anodized cookware may involve some probable health risks. This is because it contains aluminium that makes most of the metal components of the soil, water, and air.
However, as per manufacturers, anodized aluminium used in pans and pots are safe for humans. The hard anodized cookware contains a small amount of aluminium that does not pose any severe health risks to the human body.
Moreover, there isn’t any scientific research that suggests that anodized aluminium is harmful to humans. Thus, higher grade anodized aluminium cookware is safe and suitable for cooking your dishes. In addition, it works great for any new cook as it is very easy to maintain.
The coating of hard-anodized aluminium prevents the aluminium from leaching into the foods. Thus, your food does not come in direct contact with aluminium. The hard-anodized aluminium cookware provides a healthier and safest way for cooking your meals.
On the contrary, cookware without hard-anodized aluminium can react with acidic foods and harm your health.
Another concern regarding hard-anodized cookware is related to its non-stick coating. When this non-stick coating surface is scratched or exposed to heat, it could be harmful. To avoid this, use your hard-anodized cookware at low to medium temperatures.
Which is Better: Hard Anodized or Non-Stick?
While comparing hard-anodized and non-stick cookware, it is worth remembering that usually, all hard-anodized aluminium cookwares are also non-stick cookware. It is because anodized cookware is coated with a non-stick coating of either PTFE or ceramic.
Thus, non-stick cookware comprises a broad category of cookware, including all pots and pans with non-stick coating, irrespective of the base material.
The hard-anodized aluminium cookware with non-stick coating is more durable than regular aluminium cookware and possesses more heat conductivity than stainless steel cookware.
Let’s compare hard anodized cookware and non-stick cookware on the following parameters.
Non-stick cookware is coated with a non-stick material that prevents food from sticking on its surface. Thus, it is easy and convenient to clean non-stick cookware. On the other hand, it is a bit tedious and time-consuming to clean hard anodized cookware.
Both the kitchen tools are dishwasher safe and should be washed with soap, mild-warm water, and a soft sponge.
Avoid broiling or searing meats on non-stick cookware as this process requires high-temperature heating. This may damage the coating and makes the cooked meat unhealthy for consumption.
However, most hard-anodized cookware can be used safely for broiler or oven use. Thus, you can broil meat on your hard anodized cookware.
The non-stick cookware is safe for cooking as long as it is not overheated. The non-stick coating may break down on overheating and releases gas and toxic particles.
Ensure to avoid overheating beyond 260° while using non-stick coating cookware. Thus, you should avoid using non-stick cookware for cooking food with high protein content like chicken thighs, salmon, steak, burgers, etc. All these food items require high heat.
On the other hand, hard anodized cookware is designed for enhanced endurance, and it saves more energy while cooking than non-stick tools. Therefore, you can use hard anodized cookware for cooking food containing higher protein content.
If you prefer budget-friendly cookware, then non-stick cookware is a great choice as these tools are quite inexpensive.
However, if the price is not a constraint, you should go for hard anodized cookware that is a little bit expensive as compared to normal non-stick cookware.
You can use non-stick cookware safely by following certain precautions and manufacturer’s guidelines. Generally, you can use non-stick tools safely for cooking food that requires low or medium heat.
While using non-stick cookware, don’t preheat an empty pan and avoid cooking on high heat. While cooking, switch on the exhaust fan and ventilate your kitchen. Prefer a heavy weighted non-stick cookware that takes time for heating and causes less damage.
On the other hand, hard anodized cookware is stronger and durable cookware that undergoes hydro-electrical treatment resulting in hardening of the aluminium. Thus, its endurable aluminium coating provides a long-lasting lifespan and shows resistance against scratches.
The harder and more durable base of hard anodized cookware makes it suitable for working with metal utensils like spoons, spatulas, or whisks. However, you should avoid using sharp objects like hand mixers, blenders, or knives that could damage its surface.
Allow your refrigerated food to come to room temperature before cooking it on hard anodized cookware. This ensures even and better cooking. Don’t keep your cooked food for long on your hard anodized cookware, as highly acidic foods may damage their surface.
Pros and Cons of Hard Anodized Cookware
Pros of Hard-Anodized Cookware
Hard-anodized aluminium is covered by a layer of oxide created during the anodizing process. This process strengthens the cookware, makes it corrosion-resistant, and imparts durability against warping.
Unlike standard aluminium, hard-anodized cookware doesn’t rust, and it is strong enough to encounter damage.
Hard-anodized cookware features high thermal conductivity that provides even and quick heating. Thus, it saves your cooking time while boiling water and ensures even and tender cooking of delicate items like eggs, pancakes, flaky fish, etc.
Its high thermal conductivity imparts high responsiveness so that you can quickly heat or cool hard-anodized aluminium cookware. It reacts quickly in a few seconds to changes in the stove’s temperature. Thus, it is ideally suited for cooking one-pot meals.
The durability of hard-anodized aluminium makes it resistant to scratches. Moreover, it protects the cookware’s surface against wear and tear due to the rough usage of kitchen utensils like metallic forks, spatulas or spoons.
With hard-anodized cookware, you can avoid irritating dings and scratches and maintain a smooth and even cookware surface over time.
You can easily store hard-anodized cookware due to its scratch-resistant nature. It is easy to stack your anodized cookware without any hassles or worries about damage. Thus, it helps in saving kitchen storage space, especially in a small apartment with space constraints.
Safe to use
The hard-anodized aluminium cookware undergoes an anodizing process that makes it resistant to corrosion. As a result, it doesn’t leach metals like aluminium into the food with or without non-stick coating.
Therefore, hard-anodized cookware is non-reactive cookware that is safe to use and prevents damage against acidic ingredients like lemon or vinegar.
Versatile and healthier cooking
Due to its non-stick coating, the hard-anodized aluminium cookware serves as versatile and all-purpose cookware for cooking a wide variety of food items. It works great for health-conscious people as it doesn’t require much butter or oil in the pan.
Easy cleaning and high heat cooking
You can use hard-anodized aluminium cookware for cooking food items that require high heat. Moreover, it provides easy cleaning as it does not stick food on its surface.
Hard-anodized cookware requires low maintenance, and it doesn’t require seasoning. As a result, it provides long-lasting usage if you take proper sanitary precautions and clean your cookware regularly.
Cons of Hard-Anodized Cookware
Dark and dull appearance
As far as appearance is concerned, hard-anodized pots and pans come in limited colours and shine as compared to ceramic and enamelled cookware. Due to the anodizing process, the hard anodized cookware appears dark-coloured and dull-textured.
Thus, if you are looking to improve your kitchen décor, you can’t use hard-anodized cookware as serving plates.
Over time, ingredients may get spilt over the sides and stain the exterior surface of hard-anodized aluminium cookware during cooking. These are permanent stains that are tough to remove.
Hard-anodized aluminium is not compatible with induction cooktops. So if you have an induction cooktop in your kitchen, you need to look for alternatives to hard-anodized aluminium cookware.