Finding the right cookware, especially if you’re a new cook, can be a difficult and time-consuming process. There are so many types available, all with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Hard anodized cookware is one of the best options out there. Its durability and versatility make it stand out amongst all other types of cookware. It's also relatively cheap compared to other materials.
It’s great at conducting heat, resulting in food that’s cooked quickly, evenly and to your liking.
This article will dig deep into what exactly hard anodized cookware is and what all its benefits are.
What Does Anodized Mean In Cookware?
This is something that’s important to understand, as it’ll show you why even though hard anodized cookware is made of aluminum, it’s safe for cooking.
Anodization is a process in which a material is subjected to an electrochemical process which results in it becoming harder and less reactive.
To definine anodized in a simple way: It means the pots and pans have a strong and durable coating that allows for easy, even cooking and also prevents aluminum leaching into your food and contaminating it.
This anodization process will make your cookware safe for cooking all kinds of foods. It'll also make your cookware last much longer.
How Is Hard Anodized Cookware Made?
Hard anodized cookware is made of aluminum. Some people worry about this, since aluminum is thought to be unhealthy if consumed in large amounts (although the research is still not conclusive on this).
However, hard anodized cookware is made in such a way that it seals the aluminum and stops metal from leaching into your food or reacting with acidic items such as tomatoes.
To make hard-anodized cookware, the pan is immersed in a chemical bath, after which an electric current is applied. This action produces oxide, which acts as a hardened layer on the surface.
This tough layer of oxide acts as a protective layer, ensuring that no aluminum seeps into your food when you’re cooking. The high voltage used during this process results in an even harder surface that's resistant to rust and scratches.
With all this in mind, hard anodized cookware is a good investment, as it takes a very cheap and abundant material (that is, aluminum) and through a simple process, makes it super resistant and easy to cook with.
Main Benefits Of Hard Anodized Cookware
There are countless benefits to hard anodized cookware, making it the ideal option.
The first benefit is durability. As a direct result of the anodization process, the metal is strengthened and made more durable. Thus, hard anodized cookware is long-lasting and won’t produce harmful rust.
It’s also resistant to scratches, which normal cookware isn't. Because of this, you can use different kinds of kitchen utensils with this cookware and not worry about the wear and tear. The anodized surface will remain hard and smooth for a very long time!
Another huge benefit of using hard anodized cookware is the way it makes your cooking experience easier and quicker. Hard anodized aluminum has high thermal conductivity, meaning it's able to take up heat quickly and spread it over its whole surface.
This results in food that cooks faster and more evenly, while also using less energy. You won’t have to worry about one side being hotter than the other, and won’t have to constantly check your food to make sure it’s cooking evenly!
Another benefit of the material being highly responsive to heat is that it both heats and cools quickly, saving you time in the kitchen.
When buying cookware, one of the main concerns is whether it will be easy to store and maintain. Because of its strong and durable surface, you can easily stack the cookware on top of each other without worrying about getting any scratches or dents.
Other than this, hard anodized cookware is also low maintenance, since it's easy to clean and a simple wash with regular dish soap will make it as good as new.
However, it’s important to emphasise that harsh cleaning products (especially cleaning in a dishwasher) should be avoided as this might break down the anodized layer and completely ruin your cookware.
Check out our full list of the pros and cons of hard-anodized cookware.
Is Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware Right For Me?
Before buying cookware, one of the things you need to carefully consider is what kind of food you’d mostly be cooking. Hard anodized cookware might be the right option for you if you’re someone who likes to eat healthy and not consume excess fat from oils.
This is because the surface of the cookware is naturally non-stick, so you only need a very small amount of oil or butter to make sure food doesn't stick.
It's not as nonstick as something like a Teflon-coated pan, however. But if we're comparing hard anodized vs Teflon, you need to remember that hard-anodized cookware doesn't have the associated health risks of Teflon-coated cookware.
It's also more nonstick than something like stainless steel.
Other than this, hard anodized aluminum cookware will be a good option if you’re new to cooking and want to experiment more. Hard-anodized cookware is all-purpose, so you can cook a wide variety of food without worrying about spending more.
It’s also much easier to clean and maintain, which is a big plus, especially for new cooks.
If you’re someone who doesn’t cook a lot or you’re always on the move, hard anodized cookware again might be the best investment. It doesn’t require a lot of skill to use this type of cookware, as it heats up fairly quickly and the even heat distribution makes the process easy.
The cookware itself is lightweight, and thus easy to store and move around.
Caring for Anodized Cookware
When it comes to taking care of anodized cookware, there are two things you need to pay attention to.
One is how you’re storing it, and the other is how you’re cleaning it. If both these things are done right, then rest assured, your anodized cookware will last you a very long time!
Hard anodized pots and pans are strong enough to be stacked on top of each other without worry of potential dents or scratches. You should just be careful when pulling the cookware out or putting it in, making sure there are no unnecessary points of impact.
Other than this, it's highly recommended to not stack hard anodized cookware with cookware that's made of other materials (for example, regular aluminum pans). Doing this can result in the strong surface of anodized cookware denting or damaging other materials - an avoidable loss!
When cleaning anodized cookware, the most important thing to remember is that you cannot wash them in a dishwasher. They should only be hand washed with dish soap and hot or lukewarm water.
Avoid harsh scrubbers, as they can damage the anodized layer. You should use a soft sponge or any other gentle material to clean away the food residue or any discoloration on the surface.
Follow these rules, and your anodized cookware will be as good as new every time!
Is hard anodized nonstick?
Contrary to what people might think, hard anodized cookware has the added benefit of being non-stick, and it’s probably the safest non-stick cookware out there.
This is because the non-stick element of hard anodized cookware comes from the electro-chemical anodization process which makes the surface smooth and prevents food from sticking.
In the case of other non-stick cookware, chemicals like PFOA or Teflon are often used in production, which many people avoid.
Thus, if you’re going for a non-stick pan, then hard anodized cookware is likely the safest option, in addition to a host of other benefits.
What’s the difference between hard anodized and hard enamel cookware?
One of the main differences between hard anodized and hard enamel cookware is their weight.
Anodized cookware is made of aluminum that's relatively thin, which makes them portable and easy to carry around. Hard enamel cookware is made of metal with a porcelain coating, which makes it quite heavy and also problematic to store because of the space it takes.
Other than this, there aren’t many differences, with both types having durable cooking surfaces that are easy to clean and distribute heat evenly.
Does hard anodized cookware work on induction cooktops?
Most hard anodized pots and pans don’t work on induction tops, as an induction stove requires your cookware to have a ferromagnetic material at the bottom.
However, we do have some good news for you. There are certain hard anodized pots and pans that have a special base made of iron or steel, which allows the cookware to work on induction.
To check if your pot or pan is induction-ready, look for an induction symbol on the box or at the base of your cookware.
Conclusion: What is anodized cookware?
Hard anodized cookware is made of aluminum which goes through a series of chemical and electrical processes, making the surface smooth and durable.
Unlike normal aluminum cookware, this also makes your pots and pans safe, ensuring that no aluminum leaches into your food while you're cooking.
Anodized cookware is without a doubt one of the best purchases you can make! If you’re a new cook, you'll find it easy to cook on and even easier to clean.
The surface distributes heat evenly, ensuring that your food doesn’t stick while allowing you to cook anything and everything.
If you're thinking of buying hard-anodized cookware, feel free to check out our list of the best hard-anodized cookware options.