Cookware materials

Cookware buying guide

Embrace the joy of cooking and entertaining with the right cookware for the job. At Kitchen Warehouse, we're passionate about matching every chef, from home cooks to professionals, with their ideal cookware type. Whether you're sautéing, simmering or searing, our curated selection includes top-notch brands and diverse styles, tailored to fit every kitchen and culinary aspiration.

Our cookware collection boasts a wide range of different materials from the biggest brands, meticulously crafted to enhance your cooking experience. With so many different brands, ranges and cookware types on offer, be sure to explore all of the information to find the right cookware for your lifestyle, family size and entertaining style.

Let’s take an in depth look at some of the different materials so you can make the right choice.

Hard anodised Aluminium

Hard anodised aluminium cookware is made from aluminium that has undergone an anodising process to increase its hardness and durability. This process involves electrochemically treating the aluminium to create a thick, oxidised layer on its surface. This layer is much harder than regular aluminium and resists scratching and corrosion, making the cookware more durable and long-lasting. Additionally, it provides excellent heat conductivity, allowing for even cooking without hot spots. The non-porous surface of hard anodised aluminium is non-reactive, meaning it won't alter the flavours of your food. It's also typically coated with a non-stick material, making it easy to clean and convenient for cooking with less oil. However, it's important to use non-metal utensils to avoid scratching the surface, and it's generally not dishwasher safe.

At a glance

  • Rust, scratch and corrosion resistant
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Non-porous and non-reactive
  • Usually non-stick

Use it for

  • High heat cooking: It's excellent for cooking methods that require high heat, like searing meats and frying, due to its ability to withstand high temperatures without warping.
  • Even heat distribution: The cookware provides even heat distribution, making it ideal for cooking dishes that need consistent heat, such as stir fries and sautés.
  • Non-stick cooking: Many hard anodised cookware pieces come with a non-stick coating, making them suitable for cooking foods that tend to stick, like eggs, pancakes, or fish, with less oil.
  • Acidic foods: Unlike traditional aluminium pots and pans, hard anodised cookware does not react with acidic foods, so it's safe for cooking tomato based dishes or recipes with lemon juice or vinegar.

Shop hard anodised aluminium cookware
Anolon Endurance+
Jamie Oliver by Tefal

Cast Aluminium

Cast aluminium cookware is made by pouring molten aluminium into moulds, creating a seamless, one-piece construction. This method results in a thicker, sturdier cookware compared to other aluminium pots and pans. Cast aluminium is known for its excellent heat conductivity and distribution, ensuring even cooking without hot spots. It's lighter than cast iron, making it easier to handle, yet still durable and resistant to warping. The surface of cast aluminium cookware is typically either non-stick coated or seasoned to prevent food from sticking, making it user friendly and easy to clean. While it's suitable for most cooking methods, it's important to use it within recommended temperature limits to maintain its integrity. Additionally, cast aluminium cookware is generally suitable for all stovetops, including induction (when it includes a magnetic base layer). It's a versatile option for those who appreciate the benefits of cast iron but prefer something lighter.

At a glance

  • Several layers of non-stick
  • Introduction of minerals to create extra hard surface (diamonds, sapphires, titanium)
  • Even heat distribution
  • Metal utensil safe
  • Withstands high temperatures

Use it for

  • Even and quick heating: Cast aluminium heats up quickly and evenly, making it great for recipes that require a consistent temperature, such as sauces and gravies.
  • Frying and sautéing: It's ideal for frying and sautéing due to its excellent heat response, allowing for quick changes in temperature as needed.
  • Baking: Cast aluminium's heat properties make it suitable for baking, as it ensures even cooking throughout.
  • Braising and stewing: It can be used for slow-cooking methods like braising and stewing, as the material retains heat well.
  • Grilling and roasting: Some cast aluminium cookware is suitable for grilling or roasting, particularly if it's coated with a non-stick layer.

Shop Cast aluminium cookware
Tefal Ultimate
Swiss Diamond Classic XD

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel cookware is a popular, practical and elegant choice in both home and commercial kitchens for its durability, resistance to rust, and sleek appearance. Made primarily from an alloy of iron, carbon, and at least 10.5% chromium, it often includes other metals like nickel and molybdenum for added strength and corrosion resistance. Stainless steel doesn't react with acidic or alkaline foods, so it won't alter flavours or discolour over time. While it's not naturally non-stick, its smooth surface is easy to clean and maintains its shine with minimal care.

One of the key advantages of stainless steel cookware is its versatility; it's suitable for almost any type of cooking on all stovetops and in the oven. However, it doesn't conduct heat as well as other metals, so many stainless steel pots and pans have a core or base of aluminium or copper to improve heat distribution and efficiency.

At a glance

  • Rapid heating
  • Durable and tough
  • Metal utensil safe
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Suitable for all stovetops
  • Oven safe

Use it for

  • Searing and browning: Stainless steel is excellent for searing meats and fish, achieving a perfect browning due to its ability to withstand high heat.
  • Sautéing and stir frying: It provides a good surface for sautéing vegetables, meats, and stir frying, offering even heat distribution.
  • Boiling and simmering: Ideal for boiling pasta, grains, and simmering soups and sauces, especially since it doesn’t react with acidic ingredients.
  • Deglazing and making pan sauces: The fond (browned bits) that forms on stainless steel pans is perfect for deglazing to make flavourful pan sauces.
  • General cooking and frying: Its non-reactive nature makes it suitable for a wide range of cooking tasks, including frying.
  • Oven cooking: Many stainless steel cookware items are oven safe, making them suitable for recipes that start on the stove and finish in the oven.
  • Cooking acidic foods: Unlike cast iron or aluminium, stainless steel doesn’t react with acidic or alkaline foods, so it's safe for cooking tomatoes, vinegar based sauces or citrusy dishes.

Shop Stainless steel cookware
Scanpan Impact
Scanpan STS
Scanpan HaptIQ

Enamelled Stainless Steel

Enamelled stainless steel cookware combines the strength and durability of stainless steel with a hard, glossy enamel coating. This coating, typically made of a type of glass, is applied to the surface of the cookware and fired at high temperatures to bond it to the metal. The enamel coating provides a non-reactive surface, preventing the metal from interacting with acidic or alkaline foods, thus preserving flavours and preventing discoloration. It also adds a layer of protection against rust and scratches, while offering a variety of vibrant colours and designs that can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your cookware.

Though not naturally non-stick like some other coatings, the enamelled surface is relatively easy to clean and maintain. Enamelled stainless steel cookware is suitable for most types of cooking and is often oven safe, but it's important to check the manufacturer's guidelines for temperature limits and care instructions. This type of cookware works well on all stovetops, including induction, making it a versatile and decorative choice for many kitchens.

At a glance

  • Non-stick
  • Rapid heating
  • Durable and tough

Use it for

  • Simmering and boiling: It's excellent for simmering sauces, soups, and stews, as well as for boiling pasta and vegetables. The enamel coating prevents reactions with acidic foods.
  • General sautéing: Great for sautéing vegetables, meats, and other ingredients, especially when you want to avoid the sticking that can occur with regular stainless steel.
  • Slow cooking and braising: The enamel coating can provide a somewhat non-stick surface, making these pots and pans good for slow cooked dishes and braises.
  • Baking and roasting: Enamelled stainless steel can typically be used in the oven, making it suitable for baking or roasting.
  • Cooking acidic foods: The non-reactive nature of the enamel makes it safe for cooking acidic dishes like tomato sauce.
  • Serving and storing food: The enamel coating makes it a visually appealing option for serving food at the table, and it's also safe for storing leftovers in the refrigerator.
Carbon Steel

Carbon steel cookware is highly valued by professional chefs and home cooks for its exceptional heat responsiveness and durability. Made primarily from a blend of iron and a higher carbon content compared to stainless steel, carbon steel pans are lighter than cast iron but share similar qualities. They heat up quickly and evenly, providing superior temperature control, which is essential for searing, frying and sautéing.

Over time, carbon steel cookware develops a natural non-stick patina, known as seasoning, which improves with use. This seasoning also makes the cookware naturally non-stick, reducing the need for excess oil and making cleanup easier. However, maintaining this patina requires careful cleaning and occasional re-seasoning to preserve its non-stick properties.

Carbon steel cookware is compatible with all heat sources, including induction, and can withstand very high temperatures, making it ideal for oven use as well. It's a great choice for those who appreciate the qualities of cast iron but prefer a lighter, more responsive alternative.

At a glance

  • Pre-seasoning required
  • Withstands high temperatures
  • Develops a non-stick patina over time when seasoned
  • Durable
  • Lightweight

Use it for

  • High temperature searing: Ideal for searing meats due to its ability to withstand and maintain very high temperatures, creating a perfect browning or crust.
  • Stir frying: Its rapid heat response and high heat tolerance make it perfect for stir frying, where quick, high temperature cooking is needed.
  • Sautéing: The material's lightweight nature combined with good heat conduction makes it great for sautéing vegetables and meats.
  • Frying and blackening: Excellent for frying due to its even heat distribution. It's also great for blackening dishes, commonly used in Cajun cuisine.
  • Grilling and broiling: Can be used for grilling or broiling in the oven, as it can handle high oven temperatures without damage.
  • Making crepes or pancakes: Carbon steel pans are often used for making crepes and pancakes because they heat up quickly and evenly.
  • Omelettes and eggs: A well seasoned carbon steel skillet can have non-stick qualities that are perfect for cooking eggs and omelettes.

Shop carbon steel cookware
Garcima carbon steel
Ken Hom carbon steel
D.Line carbon steel

Copper

Copper cookware is renowned for its superior heat conductivity and precise temperature control, making it a favourite among culinary enthusiasts and professional chefs. Copper heats up quickly and cools down rapidly, providing unmatched responsiveness to temperature changes, essential for delicate sauces and precise cooking techniques.

Typically, copper pots and pans have a lining of another metal, such as stainless steel or tin, since copper can react with acidic foods, altering their taste and colour. These linings offer a non-reactive surface while maintaining the thermal benefits of copper.

The cookware's distinctive, warm glow adds elegance to kitchen decor, but it requires regular polishing to maintain its shine, as copper can tarnish over time. Copper cookware is usually heavier and more expensive than other materials, but its durability and performance justify the investment for serious cooks.

While excellent for simmering and precise cooking, copper cookware is only suitable for induction stovetops if it includes a magnetic layer on the base or if the copper layer is sandwiched between aluminium or stainless steel like the Scanpan Coppernox range.

At a glance

  • Rapid heating
  • Even heat distribution
  • Heat retentive
  • Combined with other metals for strength
  • Metal utensil safe

Use it for

  • Sauces and chocolates: The precise temperature control offered by copper is ideal for making delicate sauces, chocolates, and custards, where maintaining a specific temperature is crucial to avoid scorching or separation.
  • Candies and sugar syrups: Copper is a preferred choice for confectionery, like candy making and sugar syrups, due to its superior heat distribution. It helps in preventing crystallisation, ensuring smooth textures.
  • Jams and preserves: The even heat distribution is excellent for cooking jams, jellies, and preserves, reducing the risk of burning while achieving the right consistency.
  • Searing and browning meat: While copper can handle high heat, it's particularly good for controlled searing and browning of meats, allowing for an even crust without overheating.
  • Simmering and reductions: Copper pots and pans are great for dishes that require simmering over a period, such as reductions, where the even heat aids in a consistent simmer and efficient evaporation.
  • Delicate proteins: Cooking delicate proteins like fish and seafood, which require precise temperature control, is another area where copper shines.
  • Risottos and grains: The even heat also makes copper cookware suitable for cooking risottos and grains, ensuring they cook uniformly without sticking or burning.

Shop Copper cookware
Scanpan Coppernox
Scanpan Axis
Essteele Per Vita

Coated tri-ply/polished Stainless Steel

Coated tri-ply stainless steel cookware is a fusion of functionality and durability, combining multiple layers of metal to enhance cooking performance. Typically, it consists of three layers: a core of highly conductive aluminium sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel. The inner stainless steel layer provides a durable, non-reactive surface that's safe for all types of food, while the aluminium core ensures quick and even heat distribution, eliminating hot spots.

The outer layer is often polished stainless steel, offering a sleek, mirror-like finish that's both stylish and easy to clean. Some versions of tri-ply cookware have an additional coating, like a non-stick layer, on the interior stainless steel surface, combining the benefits of stainless steel with the convenience of non-stick.

This cookware is suitable for all heat sources, including induction stoves, and is oven safe. It strikes a balance between the heat responsiveness of aluminium and the strength and durability of stainless steel, making it a versatile choice for both home cooks and professional chefs.

At a glance

  • Non-stick
  • Rapid heating
  • Durable and tough
  • Metal utensil safe

Use it for

  • Even heat distribution: The aluminium or copper core provides excellent heat conduction, ensuring even cooking without hot spots. This makes it great for tasks where consistent heat is key, like making sauces or cooking grains.
  • Searing and browning: The stainless steel surface is ideal for searing meats, poultry, and fish, as it can withstand high heat and promotes even browning.
  • Deglazing and making pan sauces: The smooth surface allows for effective deglazing, using liquids to lift the flavorful bits left from searing, crucial for making pan sauces.
  • Versatility in cooking methods: Suitable for a wide range of cooking methods, including boiling, steaming, sautéing, and frying.

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Stanley Rogers SR-Matrix
Wolstead Superior Steel
Essteele Per Amore
Le Creuset 3-ply

Seasoned/traditional cast iron

Seasoned cast iron cookware is a favourite for its remarkable durability and excellent heat retention. The term ‘seasoned’ refers to the process of baking oil onto the cast iron, creating a natural, easy release cooking surface. This seasoning improves over time with use, developing a non-stick patina that enhances both the cooking and cleaning process.

Cast iron distributes heat evenly and retains it for a long time, making it ideal for searing, frying, baking, and slow cooking. It's compatible with all heat sources, including induction and open flame, and can go from stovetop to oven without issue as well as the campfire and barbeque.

While cast iron is heavy and requires some muscle to handle, its cooking benefits are substantial. It's essential to maintain the seasoning by avoiding soap and abrasive scrubbers in cleaning, and regularly oiling it after use. Properly cared for, seasoned cast iron cookware can last generations, often becoming a cherished kitchen heirloom.

At a glance

  • Highly heat retentive
  • Develops a non-stick patina over time when seasoned properly
  • Durable
  • Designed to last a lifetime
  • Use it on all stovetops, in the ove, over the campfire and on the barbeque

Use it for

  • High temperature cooking: Ideal for searing meats and frying due to its ability to withstand and maintain high temperatures.
  • Baking: Excellent for baking bread, pies, and pizzas, offering even heat distribution and a crisp crust.
  • Grilling and broiling: Suitable for grilling steaks, burgers, or vegetables, either on the stovetop or in the oven.
  • Slow cooking and stewing: Great for slow cooking stews and soups, as it retains heat over a long period.
  • Sautéing and stir frying: Works well for sautéing and stir frying vegetables, meats, and other ingredients.

Shop seasoned/traditional cast iron cookware
Victoria Seasoned cast iron
Lodge Logic cast iron
Pyrolux Pyrocast cast iron

Enamelled cast iron

Enamelled cast iron cookware combines the excellent heat retention and even distribution of traditional cast iron with a smooth, durable enamel coating. This enamel surface eliminates the need for the seasoning process required by seasoned/traditional cast iron and provides a naturally non-stick, rust resistant finish. It's ideal for cooking acidic foods that can strip the seasoning off regular cast iron, as the enamel is non-reactive.

Enamelled cast iron is renowned for its versatility, suitable for slow cooking, braising, baking, and frying. It retains heat exceptionally well, allowing for lower cooking temperatures and energy efficiency. The enamel coating also makes for an easy cleaning experience and adds aesthetic appeal to your kitchen, stove or table, with various colours and finishes.

While enamelled cast iron is often more expensive than traditional cast iron, it doesn't require the same level of maintenance as it doesn’t require ongoing seasoning, however it should be handled with care to avoid chipping the enamel. This cookware works on all stovetops, including induction, and is generally oven safe, though we recommend you check the manufacturer's guidelines for temperature limits.

At a glance

  • Durable
  • Highly heat retentive
  • Designed to last generations

Use it for:

  • Slow cooking and braising: The heavy lid and even heat distribution make enamelled cast iron ideal for slow cooking, stewing, and braising.
  • Baking: It's great for baking bread or casseroles, as it maintains a steady temperature.
  • Searing and frying: It heats up slowly but retains heat well, making it suitable for searing meat at high temperatures.
  • Simmering or boiling: Good for making soups, sauces, and boiling water, though the heat should be increased gradually to avoid damaging the enamel.
  • General sauteing: Useful for sautéing vegetables and other ingredients.
  • Oven-to-table dishes: Aesthetically pleasing and functional for serving food straight from the oven or stove to the table.

Shop Enamelled cast iron cookware
Victoria Enameled cast iron
Le Creuset cast iron
Chasseur cast iron
Wolstead Endure cast iron

Ceramic non-stick

Ceramic non-stick cookware is known for its eco-friendly and health conscious design, featuring a natural ceramic coating that provides a non-stick surface without the use of potentially harmful chemicals like PFOA and PTFE, found in some traditional non-stick coatings. This ceramic layer is often applied over a metal core, such as aluminium, for improved heat distribution.

Ceramic non-stick pans are appreciated for their easy-to-clean surfaces and efficient cooking with less oil, benefiting health conscious cooks. They come in a variety of vibrant colours, adding a stylish touch to the kitchen. While they heat up quickly and evenly, it's important to use them at lower to medium heat settings to preserve the integrity of the ceramic coating.

However, ceramic coatings can be less durable than traditional non-stick coatings, prone to chipping or wearing over time, especially if used with metal utensils or abrasive cleaners. They're generally suitable for most stovetops but may not be compatible with induction cooktops unless designed with a magnetic base.

At a glance

  • Non-toxic, free from PFOA
  • Available in a range of colours
  • A healthier alternative to traditional non-stick

Use it for

  • Low and medium-heat cooking: Perfect for cooking eggs, pancakes, or any food that requires a non-stick surface. The ceramic coating performs best at lower temperatures.
  • Sautéing vegetables: Great for cooking vegetables without needing much oil, preserving their natural flavours and nutrients.
  • Cooking delicate fish and poultry: The non-stick surface is ideal for delicate foods like fish fillets or chicken breasts that might otherwise stick and break apart.
  • Reheating food: Useful for warming leftovers without sticking.

Ceramic non-stick cookware
Tefal Renew Black
Wolstead Mineral

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RECOMMENDED RETAIL PRICE

RRP

The RRP (Recommended Retail Price) of a product is the price at which the manufacturer or wholesaler recommends that the retailer sells the product and is not necessarily the price at which it has been offered for sale in the market.