High-heat cooking is essential in many delicious dishes for coloration and added flavor. Browning, sauteing, pan frying, stir-frying and searing – these are all techniques that require high heat. This brings us to the question: what cookware can be safely used for high-temperature cooking?
There are several types of cookware that are safe for high-heat cooking. Cast iron, enameled cast iron, stainless steel, and cobalt steel cookware can all withstand high temperature but they aren’t nonstick. Fortunately, you can repeatedly season cast iron and cobalt steel until food can glide with ease.
When it comes to nonstick cookware, did you know that Teflon or nonstick-coated cookware should never be used for high-heat cooking? This is because the nonstick coating will deteriorate when exposed to high temperatures. Your nonstick pan will no longer be able to prevent food from sticking during cooking.
Even worse, once the coating starts to deteriorate on most nonstick cookware, it releases harmful chemicals into the air which you can breathe in. It will also seep into your food. Exposure to these toxic chemicals can lead to serious health conditions, so it’s best to only use nonstick-coated pans for low to medium heat cooking.
Thankfully, you have a lot of options when it comes to good cookware that are safe for high-temperature cooking, and ones that can be made non stick to boot through seasoning.
Types of Cookware That Can Withstand High-Heat Cooking
Not all cookware are created equal. Some can handle cooking with high heat while some simply can’t stand the heat, so to speak. If you use the wrong type of cookware with high-temperature cooking, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up destroying your pans or ruining your food. The key lies in knowing which type of cookware you can use to cook using high heat.
If there is one type of cookware that can be called a tank, it’s cast iron. Well-known for its extreme durability and outstanding heat conductivity, cast iron is the perfect choice for high-heat cooking.
Plus, cast iron cookware is affordable and flexible. Be it over an open fire, grill, oven or stovetop, you can use your cast iron pan.
However, in order to make your cast iron cookware somewhat nonstick and to prevent rusting, you’ll have to season it regularly. Later, we’ll go into the details of how you can season your cast iron pan.
Enameled Cast Iron
One of the reasons why cast iron needs to be seasoned is because it is reactive to acidic ingredients. With enameled cast iron, this need is eliminated thanks to the ceramic coating. The enamel also allows for even heating while the cast iron base ensures outstanding heat retention and safe high-heat cooking.
The downside is that Enamel Coated Cast Iron Cookware is generally more expensive than cast iron. Plus, both cast iron and enameled cast iron are heavy so people with a weak wrist or arthritis may have a hard time lifting it. This brings us to the next type of cookware.
Stainless steel is the ideal choice if you have a weak wrist or suffer from arthritis and still want to cook using high heat. Lightweight, inexpensive and durable, stainless steel is also non-reactive so you can use tomatoes and lemons without any worries. Not to mention that it’s dishwasher-safe, making clean up a piece of cake.
The only problem with stainless steel is that it doesn’t conduct heat well. To make sure that your pan doesn’t take too long to heat up and to ensure thorough cooking, it’s best to get stainless steel cookware that has an aluminum or copper core. These materials work really well with stainless steel since they are extremely good conductors of heat.
If you can’t decide between cast iron and stainless steel, why not get the best of both worlds by getting a carbon steel pan? Heavier than stainless steel but lighter than cast iron, this type of cookware can also withstand high-temperature cooking. It’s also the middle ground in terms of heat conductivity.
But just like cast iron, carbon steel requires seasoning. Also, you can’t use a dishwasher on carbon steel cookware.
Best Cookware for High-Temperature Heat Cooking
For cast iron cookware that doesn’t disappoint when it comes to high-heat cooking, check out this highly popular skillet by Lodge. It has thousands of raving reviews that testify to its outstanding performance, durability, and flexibility. Not to mention that it’s a great bang for your buck since you can get all this at a budget price.
To start with, this US-made cookware boasts of superior heat retention and even cooking that enables you to cook without having to worry that your food won’t be evenly cooked. It even comes pre-seasoned so you can start cooking your favorites dishes right away.
Another thing that makes this cast iron pan so good is its durability. Be it cooking using high heat or cooking on a stove top, grill, oven or campfire, this tough pan can surely handle it. In fact, with proper care, you can expect decades of service from this cookware.
Now, let’s talk about its versatility. Available in various sizes ranging from 3.5” to 15”, you can use this skillet for searing, sauteing, simmering, braising, and frying. You can even use it for baking and roasting. In fact, it’s so useful that one customer mentioned that she doesn’t even store it anymore after washing. She just leaves it on her stovetop after drying since there isn’t a day that she doesn’t use it.
But just like any product, this cookware isn’t without any disadvantage. You’ll have to regularly season it to keep food from sticking when you use this. The good news is that this shouldn’t be a problem as long as you follow the short guide that I’ve included below.
Overall, I highly recommend getting this cast-iron skillet for people looking for cookware that performs well and can stand the test of time. Since nonstick pans can’t be used for high-heat cooking, this cookware is the ideal option if you want a multi-purpose pan that prevents food from sticking.
- Extremely durable
- Can be used for a variety of cooking methods
- Handles designed for a secure grip
- Superb heat retention
- Available in several sizes
- Becomes nonstick after seasoning for a few times
- Affordable, a 10” skillet goes for under $30
- Heavy, a 10” cast iron skillet weighs 4.15 pounds
- High maintenance
- Poor factory seasoning
A well-known brand when it comes to kitchenware, Cuisinart does it again with their enameled cast iron round fry pan. Available in a 10” size, you can use this durable pan for a multitude of cooking tasks without worrying about changes in flavors.
The porcelain coating of this cookware gives you the freedom to cook however and whatever you want. Acidic sauces? No problem. The enamel makes it non-reactive. Food with a strong odor? This frying pan has your back. The coating prevents any odor from sticking to the pan so it doesn’t affect the taste of your next dish.
This product from Cuisinart also has a long-lasting build that retains and evenly distributes heat well. This means that you can use it to sear your steaks without it breaking a sweat from the high heat. It’s so sturdy that one user even said that it will probably last so long and become a family heirloom.
What’s more, it has a timeless look that feels right at home in any kitchen. This frying pan is low maintenance as well. It doesn’t require seasoning and you can use your dishwasher to clean it, saving you time and energy.
The only issue with this enameled cast iron pan is its 5.8-pound weight. It’s quite heavy like all cookware of this type. To help with this issue, the manufacturer used wide handles. For me, this is a splendid idea since you can still get a secure grip on the handles even if you’re wearing thick oven mitts.
Altogether, this heavy-duty and nonreactive enameled cast iron cookware is a great choice if you don’t want the added hassle of seasoning your pan but still want to take advantage of the best that cast iron has to offer.
- Has excellent heat retention and distribution
- Doesn’t absorb odor
- Has a classic, no-frills design
- Low maintenance
- Has wide, easy-grip handles
- Affordable, a 10” pan is available for under $40
- Heavy, the 10” pan weighs 5.8 pounds
- Requires gentle care since the enamel might chip
Add some sparkle and shine to your kitchen with the T-fal Ultimate Stainless Steel Cookware Set. Stainless steel, aluminum, and copper come together to bring you 13 pieces of lightweight and heavy-duty cookware that will cover all of your cooking needs.
By itself, stainless steel takes a long time to heat up. But thanks to its aluminum core and copper disc, this cookware can deliver optimal heating and prevent warping. This way your food will get cooked evenly and won’t change its shape even with high heat.
Aside from excellent performance, you can expect a long lifespan from this product too. It’s even sturdy enough that you can use it in the oven as long as the temperature doesn’t exceed 500°F. In fact, according to several buyers, its ability to go from stovetop to oven is the main reason why they got this set.
This T-fal set also doesn’t disappoint when it comes to aesthetics. It has a beautiful polished exterior that will look marvelous in a contemporary kitchen. It has riveted handles as well that is both pleasing to the eyes and easy-to-grip.
However, its stainless steel handles can be considered a double-edged sword. Indeed, it is ergonomically designed and beautiful to look at but it can get really hot while cooking. But as long as you don’t forget to use an oven mitt to handle it, it shouldn’t be any problem.
Taking everything into account, I think this 13-piece set is quite a steal for its price. It does justice to its thousands of positive reviews with its outstanding performance, durability, and aesthetics.
- Has a contemporary, polished look
- Heats really well
- Good value for your money
- Can go from stovetop to oven
- Handles are hot to touch when in use
- Using a dishwasher causes discoloration
- Not nonstick
Last but certainly not the least, we have the Lodge Seasoned Carbon Steel Skillet, an amazing piece of cookware that can take the heat of high-temperature cooking with ease. Lighter than cast iron at 4.2 pounds but still extremely tough, this is a reasonably-priced pre-seasoned skillet that can go straight from stovetop to oven.
First of all, this carbon steel cookware heats up quickly. It also does an excellent job of maintaining the heat and evenly cooking the food no matter if you’re cooking using low or high heat.
Available in 4 sizes, this American-made skillet is built to last too. Not only can you use it for outdoor cooking, it also works well for baking and oven roasting. In fact, except for microwave ovens, you can use this product with all heat sources.
And check this out, once properly seasoned, this cookware can pass the fried egg test. One buyer even said that its nonstick capability is better than nonstick-coated pans.
It already comes pre-seasoned but most customers find it lacking. To really become nonstick, you still need to season it a few more times and maintain it.
To round it all up, this carbon steel skillet from Lodge is a must buy if you’re tired of replacing your nonstick pans. This is even better since you can use it for high-heat cooking. Not to mention that it’s lighter than cast iron.
- Extremely tough
- Not as heavy as cast iron, the 12” skillet weighs 4.1 pounds
- Affordable, the 12” skillet costs just under $40
- Comes in different sizes
- Can be used with most heat resources
- Becomes nonstick after seasoning several times
- Heats up quickly
- Poor factory seasoning
- Surface is slightly rough but this goes away after several uses
How to Season Your Cast Iron and Carbon Steel Cookware
There are several reasons why you need to season your cast iron and carbon steel pans.
- It prevents rusting.
- Regular seasoning makes it nonstick.
- Once nonstick, it will be easier to clean.
- Seasoned cast iron and carbon steel become less reactive to acidic sauces. Once properly seasoned, you can cook acidic ingredients in the pan without it affecting the flavor as long as you don’t let it sit in the pan for a long time.
- Seasoning prevents odor from sticking to the pan.
So how can you season your pans? Well, basically, it’s just a matter of applying a thin layer of oil then heating it up for a couple of minutes. Once it cools down, you wash it with water without scrubbing before repeating the steps until your pan is black and shiny.
You can either use an oven or a stovetop to season your cast iron or carbon steel cookware. For a better idea of how this is done, check out the videos below. You should also check out this seasoning guide for the detailed steps and tips on how to properly care for your seasoned cookware.