Some of the most delicious cooking methods require high heat. If you expect to use high heat cooking methods, it’s important that you select cookware that can withstand high heat without releasing any toxins in the process.
The best high heat cookware is cast iron, but there are several other cookware materials to consider as well. Stainless steel, for example, is another high-heat safe cookware that is more convenient than cast iron but suited for slightly lower temperatures.
To learn about the top high heat cookware and why cast iron is the best, keep reading.
Top High Heat Cookware
Today, there are four types of cookware that are great for high heat cooking: cast iron, stainless steel, carbon steel, and enameled cast iron. Even though each one of these materials is suitable for high heat, they aren’t equal in terms of convenience, price, and other factors.
Let’s take a look at each one of these high-heat cookware materials.
The best cookware for high heat cooking is cast iron. Shockingly, cast iron can handle temperatures up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. This is so high that no food will need temperatures above this limit. More so, it is incredibly durable and strong enough to withstand all heat sources, making it suitable for all forms of high heat. Its conductivity even makes it great on open fires or in ovens.
The difficulty of cooking with cast iron is that the material is incredibly heavy and must be seasoned. After proper seasoning, you cannot put it in the dishwasher, and you must continue to season it. As a result, cast iron is more difficult to care for than the other materials on this list.
A must-read is my article about how hot cast iron can get
Stainless steel is one of the most versatile materials. When used in cookware, it can tolerate temperatures of up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Technically, some of the strongest stainless steel can handle temperatures of up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, but cookware is not made from this sort of stainless steel.
Consequently, stainless steel cookware isn’t quite as tolerant of high temperatures as cast iron, but it is still very impressive. It also is much more convenient in that it is lighter and easier to care for than cast iron. You can even toss it in the dishwasher after every use.
Related read: find out what Stainless Steel Cookware is Made in the USA in my in-depth article.
Carbon steel can handle temperatures up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for high heat cooking. At the same time, it is incredibly lightweight and affordable. Many people who want to save money and don’t want an arm workout every time they cook prefer carbon steel over cast iron and stainless steel for this reason.
Better yet, carbon steel is machine washable. Even though it needs to be seasoned before cooking, it doesn’t have to be seasoned in the same way that cast iron is seasoned. So, carbon steel is more convenient than cast iron, but it doesn’t handle as high of temperatures.
Related read: my article deep-dives into the differences between Cast Iron vs Carbon Steel: Cookware Comparison
Enameled Cast Iron
Enameled cast iron has many of the same benefits as cast iron without some of the drawbacks. Just like traditional cast iron, it can handle extreme temperatures and conducts heat evenly for perfect-tasting food. That being said, it can only handle about 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
What makes enameled cast iron different is that it has a ceramic coating. This coating means you don’t have to season the dish and it is much easier to care for. If you aren’t prepared to properly care for cast iron or want a nonstick option, enameled cast iron is a good alternative.
Related read: my deep dive into What is the Best Enamel Cast Iron Cookware
The Winner: Cast Iron
So, which one of these cookware materials is best for high heat cooking? Based on temperature limits alone, cast iron is the best. It is suitable for nearly all cooking types and can tolerate the highest temperature. However, its high temp capabilities make it less convenient in terms of weight and cleaning.
If you want something a bit more convenient than cast iron, stainless steel is a close second. Most stainless steel cookware can tolerate temperatures of up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet, stainless steel is slightly lighter and super easy to clean.
Related read find out what Cast Iron Cookware is Made in the USA
Should Any Cookware Be Avoided For High Heat Cooking?
Just as there are some materials that are suited for high cooking, there are some that are not suited for high cooking at all. Most importantly, try to avoid artificial nonstick cookware and Teflon cookware when cooking at high heat.
Both of these materials can result in toxic substances soaking into your food from high temperatures. The only nonstick surface you should use at high temperatures is enameled cast iron since it uses high-heat-safe materials.
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Final Thoughts on What High Heat Cookware is Best?
Ultimately, opt for cast iron if you need the best cookware for high-temperature cooking. Even though it is heavy and a bit difficult to care for, it is hands down the best material for cooking high-temperature foods that are tasty and safe for human consumption. If you need something more convenient, get stainless steel.
Answers from some commonly asked questions about cookware and high heat.
What is the best cookware for high heat cooking?
Cast iron is the best cookware for high heat cooking. It can handle temperatures of up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit and conducts heat evenly, making it perfect for cooking high-temperature foods.
What is the second-best cookware for high heat cooking?
Stainless steel is the second-best cookware for high heat cooking. It can handle temperatures of up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and is much lighter and easier to care for than cast iron.
What cookware should be avoided for high heat cooking?
Artificial nonstick cookware and Teflon cookware should be avoided for high heat cooking as they can release toxic substances when heated to high temperatures.
Can you use Calphalon on high heat?
Calphalon is not recommended for high heat cooking as it can release toxins when heated to high temperatures. Use recommended temperatures of 400 to 500°F. Stick with cast iron or stainless steel for the healthiest cooking.
Can you use high heat on all clad?
Yes, All-Clad stainless steel cookware can be used on high heat. All-Clad recommends using medium-high to high heat on their cookware. No toxins will leach into your food and it is also safe for use in the oven.
Can you use copper cookware on high heat?
No, copper cookware should not be used on high heat as it can leach into food. Copper is an essential mineral but it is also toxic in large amounts. Use low or moderate heat when cooking with copper cookware.
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