Why cook with ceramic cookware?
If you want to roast, bake, reheat, microwave or even freeze your meals, I’ll bet you’ll reach for your nearest ceramic baking dish. However, why would you use ceramic dishes over other materials such as glass or stainless steel? Well, in this article you can learn the benefits of ceramic cookware.
Table of contents
- quick summary of benefits
- uses of ceramic cookware
- pottery vs ceramics
- pros and cons of ceramic cookware
Here’s a few quick benefits of ceramic cookware. See the table below.
Multiple cooking methods
|You can use ceramic cookware for dry and wet cooking.|
Baking and roasting are two popular uses for ceramics
Even heat distribution
|This prevents hot spots and food burning|
|Sure, some ceramics brands are expensive but |
most ceramic cookware is relatively inexpensive
Safe cooking surface
|Your meals are cooked in a natural material|
Easy to clean
You can use most scrubbers on ceramic dishes and even
burned on food can easily be removed after a little soak in warm water
Everyone knows ceramic cookware is good so why should I read the article?
I’m going to cover both the benefits and disadvantages of using ceramics in your kitchen. I think it is an important question to ask before rushing out purchasing new cookware, especially if you’re considering a high-end brand such as Le Creuset. Or you could be deciding between ceramics and another material.
What is ceramic cookware used for?
Ceramic cookware is also called ceramic bakeware. Yes, ceramic baking dishes are great for baking because the material evenly distributes heat evenly. This prevents hot spots and food from burning on the outside while undercooked in the center.
However, you can use also ceramic hollowware for other cooking methods such as slow cooking and roasting. Below is a simple infographic on the different cooking methods for ceramic cookware.
Humans have used pottery as cooking utensils for thousands of years
Firstly, let’s look at the use of ceramics though-out history. It’s pretty safe to assume ceramics have been used for a long time.
In fact, pottery is one of the oldest cooking and food storage surfaces in human history. Some of the oldest artifacts to store food and liquid have been found in China and Japan and were made of ceramic pottery.
It is thought that many technological discoveries and early pottery techniques came out of Asia and moved west, to India, Mesopotamia, and then into Europe.
The earliest known examples of pottery date back to 18000 BCE in the Jiangxi province in China. You may find our article on the “Evolution of cookware” interesting if you what to learn more about the history of early pottery.
Pottery vs ceramics what’s the difference?
People use pottery and ceramics interchangeably, some may refer to “ceramics” as something glazed, while others may call a small glazed vase “pottery”. Although the word ceramics is used more widely, for example, ceramic tiles, sinks and used in a variety of industries such as aerospace.
Generally speaking, pottery is the earliest form, when clay was fired at a lower temperature or not fired at all. On the other hand, ceramic pottery is fired at a much higher temperature. Ceramic cookware and bakeware are the most commonly used terms to describe clay glazed cookware and bakeware.
Even in cookware, we can divide clay based cookware into three categories because of the temperature of the firing process:
What are the disadvantages of ceramic cookware?
With so many choices of cookware available, what are the pros and cons of using ceramic cookware? We would like to finish on a positive note, so lets start on us of the disadvantages of ceramic cookware.
Main disadvantages of ceramic cookware
Both your bakeware and ceramic kitchen tiles are in danger of cracking if you drop your ceramic cookware from a height. However, some brands are more shock resistant than others.
Poor thermal conductivity
Most ceramic cookware are unsuitable for direct heat. Cookware will simply not work on an induction element and if placed on a gas or electric hob your ceramic cookware may crack.
Ceramic dishes are everywhere and the quality and price can be quite varied between brands. If buying at a store ask to open the box and inspect the product for any defects. Or if buying online make sure of retailers return or replacement policy.
Ceramics are non-toxic and food safe. However, it’s best to mention some ceramic glazes may contain lead and cadmium. Today regulating bodies should prevent the importation of this cookware. However, if in doubt check with your food and drug regulation authority.
Many brands may advertise their product as lead and cadmium free. “Heres (link leaves the site)” why we prefer trusted brands.
The Main benefits of ceramic cookware:
If you want bakeware that can handle high temperatures in the oven without exploding then opt for ceramic dishes. Also because of the ceramic glaze which forms a non-porous layer, dishes can be used to store food in the fridge or freezer.
Then reheated in the oven again when needed and to answer one of our earlier questions. Can ceramic cookware be used in the microwave? Yes, it sure can. However, Nana’s gold-rimmed plates are a no-go. Yes, I tried as a youngster.
Quality and heat distribution
Ceramic baking dishes have very good thermal density, especially the higher quality products which are usually thicker. Thermal density usually means a dish takes longer to reach the desired temperature. However, once at temperature, heat spreads more evenly. I’m really impressed with my Emile Henry ceramic dishes, they really seem to hold heat well.
Ceramic covered clay is one of the sturdiest materials available on the market today. It also maintains its luster and requires very little maintenance. Ceramic dishes can last for many years and still look great.
As you know ceramic dishes are easy to clean. If food ends up sticking to the surface using scouring pads or washing liquid should not damage the surface. Plus it shouldn’t leave scratches or marks on the bottom of the cookware.
Ceramic cookware can look like a piece of artwork. You can display it on shelves or as decorative pieces. And of course you meals take center stage on the family dinner table.
If you are looking for the best non-reactive cookware then it’s hard to look past ceramic cookware. It’s totally non-reactive to food. You can cook as much tomato based dishes as you want. It won’t leave a nasty stain either.
Let’s summarize. So, what are benefits of ceramic cookware?
There are so many benefits of ceramic cookware including: it’s trendy, modern and traditional at the same time. So no matter what style kitchen you have, ceramic cookware will look right at home. While other cookware has gone in and out of fashion, ceramic dishes have always remained popular and one of the most used items in the kitchen.
From the oven the to the fridge or freezer then back in the oven again you ceramic bakeware can do it all. Ceramic dishes also make wonderful gifts for many occasions such as: birthdays, weddings, Christmas presents, you name it. If you are looking for ceramics we really don’t think you can look past Le Creuset, Staub and Emile Henry. They combine beauty with durability and would make a perfect gift for any loved one.
- Questions and Answers on Lead-Glazed Traditional Pottery https://www.fda.gov
- Glazed clay pottery and lead exposure in Mexico https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
- What’s the safest cookware? https://www.mnn.com
- Safe and Healthy Cookware: What You Need To Know When Choosing Non-Toxic Pots & Pans https://foodrevolution.org