Non-Stick Pan Vs. Cast Iron: Which One is Better for You?

While the debate of whether or not non-stick pans are better than cast iron pans is ongoing, the two types of pans still have their own pros and cons. If you are on the hunt for a new pan for your kitchen, then your quest ends here.

Non-stick pans are great for some recipes, but they can be a little finicky when it comes to cooking with them. Many people choose to go with cast iron because of its durability, even though non-stick pans are often less expensive. So, which type of pan is best for you? Let’s find out!

What is a Non-Stick Pan?

A non-stick pan is a type of frying pan that does not use any metal or ceramic to conduct heat. Instead, it uses a coating of Teflon, ceramic, or another material that is non-reactive with food and water. This makes it easier for you to cook your food without having to worry about burning it.

Non-stick pans are usually made from aluminum but can also be made from other metals. The non-stick surface on the pan allows you to cook foods such as eggs and vegetables without having to use more oil or butter than you would normally need because they won’t stick together while they’re cooking.

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What is a Cast Iron Pan?

A cast iron pan is a type of cooking utensil that has been around for centuries. Cast iron pans are different from non-stick pans as they do not use any type of coating. Cast iron pans are considered a healthy option as they can retain heat very well.

Additionally, because cast iron pans can withstand extremely high temperatures, they are excellent heat conductors and can cook food evenly. This makes them particularly useful when cooking food at higher temperatures.

Cast iron pans can be used to cook any type of food, although more oil or butter will be needed because the food will stick to the pan’s surface otherwise.

Difference Between Non-Stick Pan Vs. Cast Iron

To choose between a non-stick pan and a cast iron pan, you need to find out the differences. Below, we have listed some of the significant differences between a non-stick and cast iron pan.

Non-Stick PanCast Iron Pan
DurabilityAbout 5 Years50 years or more
PricingLow to HighLow to High
Dishwasher SafeYes (Not recommended)No
Heat RetentionGoodExcellent
High Flame CookingNot suitableSuitable
Induction CompatibleYes (Not All)Yes
Suitable for Water SoakingYesNo
Heat Tolerance500°F (260°C)1200°F (648°C)

Heat Distribution

Cooking with non-stick pans is great, but they don’t distribute heat evenly as cast iron does. They’re also prone to scratching and warping and can be difficult to clean.

The reason why non-stick pans don’t have great heat distribution is that they are made up of a variety of materials like Teflon and PTFE that don’t conduct heat very well.

Apart from the coating and material, the shape of the pan can also make a big difference in even heat distribution.

Cast iron skillets have long, narrow bases to maximize surface area and create more even cooking over time. That means they’re able to distribute heat better than all other types of pans, including non-stick ones.

Heat Retention

A major difference between the non-stick and cast iron pan is heat retention. Cast iron pans are an excellent choice as they have great heat retention. They are especially good if you want to cook food at high temperatures. With a cast iron pan, you can sear and saute Chinese food, which requires high heat.

On the other hand, non-stick pans are ideal for cooking food at medium heat. Non-stick pans have a coating on them that will start deteriorating if you cook food at a very high temperature. Moreover, the coating can also release toxic and harmful chemicals, especially if you use a cheap quality non-stick pan.

Maintenance & Cleaning

Non-stick pans are easy to clean and maintain, but they do have a few drawbacks. They can be difficult to remove burnt food debris, and they are more prone to scratches than cast iron pans. You should avoid using metal utensils on your non-stick pan because it can damage the surface.

On the other hand, cast iron pans will last for generations if properly cared for. However, you may need to season your new pan before use if you haven’t used one before.

During seasoning, you heat the pan to a temperature that allows the oil inside to become fluid enough to coat the surface evenly and form a protective layer.

Life Expectancy

Non-stick pans have a life expectancy of 5-10 years or more. Non-stick pans are great for quick and easy meals, but they don’t last as long as cast iron pans.

On the flip side, a cast iron pan can last a lifetime if you properly take care of the skillet. To make sure that the cast iron pan lasts long, you need to season the pan before you use it. Moreover, make sure to dry and wipe it with oil before you put it in place.

Oven Safe

Cast iron and non-stick cookware can both be used in a microwave without risk. So basically, this is not a difference between the two pans, but it is a similarity that both pans share.


Non-stick pans are made of aluminium or other metals, which are often dense and heavy. They’re lightweight and easy to use, but they can be a little flimsy.

Cast iron pans are made from heavy metals like iron and steel, which makes them durable but heavier than non-stick pans. They’re also more expensive than non-stick pans, but they won’t warp as non-stick pans do over time.


Both pans are safe to use when it comes to safety, up until you use them properly. However, occasionally we need to cook at very high temperatures, which is risky.

When used at high temperatures, non-stick pans are more likely to release toxins and chemicals. Additionally, if you unintentionally pre-heat a non-stick pan, the coating will quickly peel off.

However, using cast iron pans when cooking at a high temperature carries no such risk. Even at high temperatures, they are completely safe to use.


So, there is everything to know about Non-Stick Pan Vs. Cast Iron Pan. Hopefully, you will now be able to figure out which one is best for you.

You can use a cast iron pan or a non-stick pan to prepare the majority of foods and recipes. In contrast to a cast iron pan, it would be advisable to learn how to utilize a non-stick pan because cast iron pans can be used safely in any circumstance.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can a non-stick pan retain nutrition in the food?

Yes, as long as you use non-stick cookware in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, food can easily retain nutrition.

When should a non-stick pan be replaced?

A non-stick pan should ideally be replaced when you see that the coating starts to flake off.

Can we cook acidic food on the cast iron pan?

You can cook acidic food on a cast iron pan, for sure. However, avoid preparing acidic foods right away. Instead, season the pan thoroughly before preparing acidic foods.

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