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What Is Aluminum Cookware?

Aluminum cookware consists of pots and pans used for cooking.
Pressed aluminum cookware is thinner and more fragile than cast aluminum.
Most aluminum cookware can be used with either gas or electric burners.
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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2014
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Aluminum cookware consists of pots and pans commonly used for stovetop food preparation and baking. It's generally suitable for use on electric or gas-powered cooktops or conventional ovens. It's also a popular choice for camping due to its light weight and good heat conduction properties.

Based on its affordability and excellent heat transmission traits, aluminum cookware is a popular type of cookware. Other popular materials for cookware include stainless steel, cast iron, and teflon.

There are three common types of aluminum cookware: pressed, cast and anodized. All three share the advantage of conducting heat with speed and uniformity. They differ, however, in several other qualities including cost, damage-resistance, and heat-retention.

Pressed aluminum was the first type of aluminum cookware that was mass-produced. Based on its affordability, it is still a popular choice among many cooks. Its disadvantages include its reaction to acidic and salty foods, which create pits in the cookware surface and permits small amounts of aluminum to leach into the food being cooked. Another drawback to this type of cookware is its somewhat weak construction. This frequently includes less than secure handles as well as a proneness to dents and scratches. The fragility of pressed aluminum may also result in a bottom that becomes uneven and no longer sits flat on a stove’s burners.

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Cast aluminum cookware is generally considered to be of higher quality than pressed aluminum cookware. It's much thicker than pressed aluminum, which makes it more resistant to warping or damage. Cast aluminum is also better at retaining heat than pressed aluminum because it is thicker.

Anodized or hard-anodized aluminum cookware is customarily considered the highest quality of the three common types of aluminum cookware. It's also usually the most expensive. It is treated by an electro-chemical process that boosts the aluminum surface’s natural oxide film and makes it harder than steel. This treatment also makes it nonreactive to acids or salts and virtually impervious to scratches or dents. It is normally lightly seasoned with a light coating of oil rubbed into the surface, much like cast iron cookware, which gives it a natural, non-stick cooking interior.

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