The material you employ as cookware is a critical factor in cooking. Some cookware materials will get your food cooked faster and more efficiently than others, while others are unhealthy for use and may cause your food to get burnt in no time, wasting resources in the process.
Ceramic and glass are among the most commonly used non-metallic cookware in contemporary kitchens. Both types of cookware have their peculiarities, including areas where they’re efficient and aspects where they aren’t ideal cookware choices. Accordingly, we’ll extensively compare both types of cookware from various angles and cite the aspects where they outmatch each other.
At the end of this guide, you should be able to distinguish between ceramic and glass cookware and discern when you should use each of them.
Differences Between Ceramic and Glass Cookware
Most people can’t distinguish between ceramic and glass cookware, and some individuals often use both terms interchangeably. Although both types of cookware have similar uses and appearance when viewed superficially, one will notice their uniqueness on a more intimate look. Thus, before going into the main topic, it’s critical to stress the distinction between ceramic and glass cookware.
What Are Ceramic Cookware?
Technically, ceramic cookware aren’t made up of ceramics; contrary to their name, they aren’t made from clay. Rather, they comprise a metallic core featuring a sol-gel coating bonded to the rest of the cookware’s structure.
Sol-gel is a silicone oil constituting the characteristic non-stick surface of ceramic cookware, and it’s released when the cookware is in use.
What Are Glass Cookware?
Glass cookware, on the other hand, comprises glass, a non-crystalline material derived from subjecting silicon dioxide (or sand) to extremely high temperatures, such as lava or lightning. Unlike ceramic cookware, glass is translucent, permitting light to pass. Still, glass can be made opaque by painting it or employing other techniques.
Ceramic Cookware Pros and Cons
Recently, ceramic cookware has become a popular choice for pots and pans. There are several windfalls and downsides to ceramic cookware. This section evaluates the positive and negative aspects of ceramic cookware to enable you to decide your next cookware purchase.
Advantages of Ceramic Cookware
Ceramic cookware comes with several benefits. In this section, we present some reasons people use ceramic cookware.
1. Ceramic cookware possess a healthy and easy-to-clean nonstick surface.
Ceramic cookware are designed to require little or no oil for cooking to reduce calorie and cholesterol intake. This feature is beneficial to individuals intending to lose weight or wanting a low-fat diet. Their nonstick surfaces are also relatively convenient to clean, requiring just a quick swipe. Thus, less time is spent on maintaining ceramic cookware.
2. They are lightweight.
Ceramic cookware are lighter to handle than metallic cookware, such as cast iron and stainless steel, because they have a typically light aluminum base. This property makes them easy to use and permits less strain when moving the pan from the cooktop to the bench.
3. Ceramic cookware is an eco-friendly alternative to Teflon.
Ceramic cookware is thought to be eco-friendly because it’s free of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or Teflon coating. PFOA and PTFE are toxic chemicals that can pollute the waterways and cause severe health concerns when present in drinking water.
Since 2012, the use of these chemicals in Teflon products has been generally frowned upon due to their potential hazard. Meanwhile, ceramic cookware excels in using a non-toxic form of the nonstick surface.
Moreover, the sol-gel coating in ceramic cookware is derived from sand, a natural material, making it eco-friendly.
4. Ceramic cooking surface is non-reactive to acids.
The cooking surfaces of ceramic cookware are non-reactive to the acids from fruits like tomatoes and lemons. So, acidic foods won’t react with ceramic cookware to release harmful metals and other contaminants into your food.
In contrast, reactive cookware leave a metallic taste in your meal and sometimes changes the food’s color. You may simply avoid these problems by employing ceramic cookware.
5. Ceramic cookware are relatively affordable.
Given their appearance and quality, ceramic cookware is relatively cost-effective. A high-quality ceramic pot or pan can sell for less than $100 at various retailers. Better still, if you feel you can manage ceramic cookware from a generic manufacturer, you may get an entire set for as low as $50.
6. You don’t have to season ceramic cookware before use.
Using ceramic cookware saves you the effort and time you’ll otherwise spend to season your pots and pans before use. Any food item you prepare with ceramic cookware will leave the surface once you wash the cookware.
Similarly, any product cooked with ceramic readily slides out when you’re done cooking, thanks to the nonsticky surface. Therefore, you don’t need to coat ceramic pots and pans with butter, fat, and oil during the cooking process.
7. It comes in an assortment of colors.
For those that seek cookware that will match your kitchen’s decor, ceramic is the ideal choice. Ceramic cookware comes in various colors, ranging from red to yellow to blue, unlike other cookware materials, such as stainless steel, that only come in metallic color. This characteristic of ceramic cookware has contributed to its popularity in contemporary kitchens.
Downsides of Ceramic Cookware
No cookware comes without imperfections, and ceramic cookware definitely has its shortcomings. Here are some prominent ones:
1. Low durability of ceramic coating.
Although you can enjoy the non-sticky property of your ceramic pots and pans during the early months of use, this benefit is short-lived as the surface soon wears off. Once the nonsticky surface is off, the pot or pan becomes sticky for most foods.
Sadly, you can’t fix this inconvenience by coating the surface with oil, as in the case of stainless steel cookware. The only plausible solution is to get a new pan or pot when faced with such a situation.
2. They require handwashing.
Even though several manufacturers claim that you can easily maintain ceramic pans and pots with a dishwasher, handwashing is the only suitable way to clean this cookware. Cleaning them by hand, rather than a dishwasher, will enable them to last longer.
Ceramic cookware coating can’t tolerate continuous subjection to a dishwasher’s internal environment. Hence, you’ll have to wash them with your hand, which may turn out burdensome in the long run, even though it’s relatively easy to clean.
3. Metallic utensils can easily scratch the surface of ceramic cookware.
Ceramic cookware possess a care-intensive surface that can easily be scratched and dented by metallic utensils. So, you’ll have to switch to wood or nylon products when using this sort of cookware.
Metallic utensils can also cause the scraping of some ceramic coating into your food. The consequence of transitioning to ceramic is that it may be inconvenient and more expensive to purchase non-metallic cooking utensils.
4. Ceramic cookware don’t work with high heat settings.
Ceramic cookware are designed to operate on low or medium heat. Due to their surface delicacy, you can’t subject ceramic pots and pans to high heat settings. Namely, excessively high temperatures can cause damage to the surfaces of ceramic cookware. Thus, they aren’t ideal for cooking methods or processes that require high heat.
5. They have less efficient heat distribution.
Ceramic pots and pans have considerable heat distribution irregularity since their non-stick surfaces are made from sand and nanoparticles. Because of these uneven surfaces, your foods will cook at varying rates when using ceramic cookware. Consequently, it may be difficult to achieve an even finish at times.
Pros and Cons of Glass Cookware
Glass cookware also has areas where they excel and aspects where they don’t measure up to other cookware. Here, we treat the advantages and disadvantages of glass cookware.
Advantages of Glass Cookware
Glass cookware share several similar advantages with their ceramic counterparts. This section presents the comparable benefits of using glass cookware and some unique reasons why people utilize glass pots and pans.
1. Glass cookware is transparent.
The transparent nature of glass cookware allows the chef to see through the content of the pot or pan while preparing food without removing the lid. This property is valuable for the convenient monitoring of food. On the contrary, someone using ceramic cookware lacks this privilege as ceramic cookware are opaque.
2. They can keep food warm for a considerable amount of time.
Many chefs using glass pots and pans testify to their heat-retention abilities. This type of cookware can keep food warm for a significant period making them suitable for households that eat at different times.
3. Glass pots and pans are non-toxic.
Like ceramic, glass cookware are free of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), and other toxic chemicals. This aspect makes them a healthy and eco-friendly choice.
4. They maintain a proper temperature.
Glass cookware maintain a proper temperature to an extent. Therefore, they help ensure the intended preparation time and enable the cook to yield the desired outcome.
5. They are lightweight.
Like ceramic, glass cookware don’t usually weigh much. Their lightweight makes it easy to carry and move them about.
6. You can use stove-top glass cookware in the oven.
Generally, you can use a stove-top glass pan in an oven without difficulty. This feature permits continuous heating of prepared food. It also makes it easy to start preparing dishes on the stovetop and complete them by baking in the oven.
7. They don’t react with acidic foods.
One property that glass and ceramic cookware have in common is their tendency to be non-reactive with acidic foods like tomatoes and lemons. In particular, glass cookware don’t release harmful contaminants into your food as a metal pan might.
8. Glass cookware are relatively durable if properly maintained.
As long as you don’t drop or crack them, glass pots and pans can last longer than ceramic cookware. They’ve been known to last up to a decade or even more in the right hands.
Downsides of Glass Cookware
Although glass and ceramic cookware outclass each other in certain areas, they present some drawbacks. Here are some common disadvantages of using glass cookware:
1. Glass cookware can easily crack or break.
Due to the delicacy of glass, glass cookware can break or crack if dropped or exposed to a sudden temperature change. Thus, they aren’t the ideal option in an accident-prone environment, as broken glass increases the risk of someone getting hurt.
2. They aren’t suitable for equal heat distribution while cooking.
Like ceramic cookware, glass pots and pans are ineffective for even heat distribution while cooking as glass is a poor heat conductor. This drawback may present a problem when preparing heat-demanding dishes.
3. Cleaning glass cookware by hand isn’t quite easy.
Glass cookware is best cleaned by handwashing, even though it can tolerate dishwashing. Still, they aren’t as easy to clean by hand as ceramic cookware, especially after using them for deep frying. Notably, getting off burnt food from glass pots and pans is often a challenge compared to the relative ease of cleaning other cookware, such as ceramic.
4. They aren’t ideal for high heat settings.
Glass cookware can’t withstand extremely high temperatures like ceramic. Using them for cooking processes and methods involving high heat, such as broiling, can cause them to shatter. You may also want to think twice before using unspecified glass pots and pans in direct high heat cooking conditions, such as on the stovetop.
5. Glass cookware are typically more expensive than ceramic.
Generally, you’ll spend more when purchasing glass cookware than you would for ceramic pots and pans. As expected, the price of glass cookware increases with the quality.
6. You can’t use them on an induction stovetop
As glass doesn’t conduct electricity, you can’t use glass cookware on an induction stovetop. Meanwhile, ceramic cookware work just fine with induction stovetops. Most glass cookware aren’t also suitable for use on an electric stovetop, except for some tempered glass cookware.
Similarities Between Ceramic and Glass Cookware
As previously stated, ceramic and glass cookware have some similar properties. Here’s a summary of the similarities between these cookware:
- They are both lightweight.
- They are both eco-friendly and nontoxic.
- Ceramic and glass cookware are non-reactive to acidic foods.
- They both require handwashing.
- Ceramic and glass cookware don’t work with high heat settings.
- They aren’t efficient in distributing heat.
- Glass cookware are as delicate as the nonstick coating of ceramic cookware.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing Ceramic or Glass Cookware
You must evaluate certain crucial elements before choosing between ceramic and glass cookware. These critical factors include the following:
Ceramic and glass cookware are free of PFOA and PTFE and are thus considered safe and healthy. But what about the quality?
Ceramic cookware possess a quite solid metallic framework. However, glass cookware feature a completely or almost completely delicate structure increasing its tendency to break or crack. If you’re interested in purchasing more quality cookware, it’s advisable to go for ceramic.
Although the price of a cookware product depends primarily on the brand, ceramic cookware tend to be more affordable than the glass counterpart. One reason for this is that glass cookware is often seen to be more attractive, modern, and futuristic, causing its market value to be considerably higher than ceramic’s. Regarding these realities, your choice should be based on your available finance.
Generally, ceramic and glass cookware are best for low- to medium-heat foods. Examples of such foods include casseroles, lasagna, bread, and baked pasta.
Due to the delicate surface of ceramic cookware, it’s the least suitable cookware for variable storage options. Although glass cookware aren’t as excellent as metal cookware in storage terms due to their fragility, it can accommodate a fair volume of food.
Glass cookware composed of tempered glass will do better than normal glass in holding food. On the plus side, the heat-retention ability of glass cookware will retain food warmth for a considerable period.
Both ceramic and glass cookware are best cleaned by handwashing. On closer observation, ceramic cookware is substantially easier to clean than glass by handwashing. Again, foods don’t usually stick to the surface of ceramic cookware.
However, you can clean glass cookware more effectively than ceramic cookware in a dishwasher. Therefore, you should make an informed choice based on these factors.
Are ceramic pans good for baking?
Yes, ceramic pans are beneficial in baking several pastries like casseroles, bread, and cobblers.
Are glass cookware better than ceramic?
Glass and ceramic cookware have their unique properties. While the glass variants have a better heat-retention ability, you have the luxury of using ceramic cookware on induction stovetops.
Can you bake cakes in a ceramic dish?
Yes, you can bake a cake in a ceramic pan. However, ceramic isn’t an ideal option as the cake will take longer to bake and may not rise as much as it would in a metal pan.
If you’re ready to put up with the conditions in which ceramic and glass cookware work best, you won’t have significant challenges using them. People mostly experience problems with a particular type of cookware due to ignorance of its operation mechanism and negligence.
Concerning these realities, it’s best to study both cookware options and choose what best suits you. In addition, endeavor to choose a reliable cookware brand.