Kitchen utensils are tools that we use for prep, cooking, and serving food. Commonly used cooking tools include spatulas, tongs, whisks, ladles, and spoons. Kitchen utensils are made of metal, wood, silicone, or plastic to match different types of cookware.
Some people prefer metal utensils due to their durability and ease of cleaning. Metal kitchen utensils are mostly made of steel. Stainless steel utensils have an attractive appearance and unlike wooden utensils, you can safely clean them in the dishwasher.
The downside of metal utensils is that they are not suitable for use with all types of cookware. Metal can scratch or chip the interior coating. Non-stick cookware is particularly susceptible to damage from metal cooking tools. Metal utensils can ruin the non-stick layer that prevents food from sticking and reduce the lifespan of your pans. If you are in the market for a new cookware set and prefer using metal utensils, you need to learn what cookware you can safely use with metal kitchen tools.
Let’s start with cookware materials that are safe for use with metal utensils.
Adonized aluminum cookware is made of aluminum that has undergone an electrochemical process in which the cooking surface is oxidized to make the cookware stronger, corrosion-resistant, and more stick-resistant.
The main qualities of this cookware material are its low weight and exceptional thermal conductivity. Some of the most popular brands that produce adonized aluminum cookware are Calphalon and Anolon.
Since this oxidized layer is a part of metal, it cannot be peeled off as it may happen when the base metal and coating are different materials. Therefore, you can use metal utensils with hard adonized cookware without the fear of damaging the cooking surface.
However, if a non-stick coating of another material is applied to an adonized aluminum pan, you will need to check the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure what cooking utensils are compatible with your cookware.
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Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron is an extremely durable material. When seasoned with vegetable oil cast iron cookware becomes corrosion-resistant and fairly non-stick. The non-stick properties continually improve over time with use.
For many chefs, a cast iron pan is a favorite item due to its durability and ability to hold heat. Well-known brands are Lodge and Staub.
You don’t have to worry about the type of utensils you are supposed to use with a cast iron pan. You can use literally any type of utensils. The durable cast iron has the ability to resist scratching. So, you can use a sturdy and sharp metal spatula for scraping. If the protective layer from seasoning gets scratched by a sharp utensil, it will heal itself thanks to oiling and future cooking actions. Stainless steel utensils are a good choice for cast iron cookware.
Carbon Steel Cookware
Carbon steel cookware is appreciated for its exceptional thermal conductivity and ability to withstand very high temperatures. Being lighter than cast iron, a carbon steel pan is easy to handle. This is a favorite pan for cooking recipes such as Spanish paella where you need to have more control over the cooking process. Another widely known piece of carbon steel cookware is a wok. A carbon steel wok allows for a continuous circulation of heat needed for stir-frying and is widely used in cooking Asian food.
If you are looking for compatible utensils for your carbon steel pan, any material will fit. You just need to ensure that your utensils can withstand the high temperature needed for stir-frying. The scratches from the metal spatula will heal themselves over time with cooking.
For quality carbon steel cookware check Made In and De Buyer websites.
Utensils for Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel cookware is extremely popular due to its durability, attractive appearance, and easy maintenance. The best stainless steel cookware brands are Viking, All-Clad, Cuisinart, and Calphalon.
Stainless steel can tolerate the use of any type of utensils. Stainless steel utensils might be a good choice because they fit nicely with stainless steel cookware and are very easy to clean.
To prevent starches, don’t press too hard when using metal utensils use, and avoid cutting food right in the pan.
However, prolonged use of metal utensils will leave visible scratches on the pan surface. This won’t affect the cooking performance. However, if you want to keep your stainless-steel pans scratch-free, it would be better to use non-metal cooking tools.
If the cooking surface of the steel cookware is coated with a layer of another material, be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for use and care.
Silicone utensils with a steel inner core are a great choice for stainless-steel cookware. Such tools have a non-bendable handle and are very easy to keep clean.
What about Diamond Coated Cookware?
The diamond-infused coating is advertised to last several times longer than traditional non-stick coatings. Diamond crystals infused into non-stick coating enhance durability and scratch resistance. The most known brands are Swiss Diamond, Blue Diamond, and Granite Stone.
Instruction that comes with Blue Diamond cookware say that you can use metal utensil, but non-metal tools will prolong the lifespan of the non-stick coating.
On the other hand, Granite stone cookware with the diamond reinforced coating is claimed to be durable enough to withstand metal utensils. However, some customers reported problems with the chipped coating when using metal tools.
Swiss Diamond company suggest avoiding metal utensils or any tool with sharp point or edges. They recommend using silicone and wooden tools with Swiss Diamond cookware.
My conclusion is that it’s best if you don’t use metal tools with diamond-coated cookware.
Is There Metal Utensil Safe Non-Stick Cookware
The quality of non-stick coating has been improving over the years by implementing new technologies. Today’s non-stick cookware performs better and lasts longer than older pieces. The cooking surface has become more resistant to scratches and some manufacturers claim that their non-stick pots and pans are metal utensils safe.
Although today’s nonstick pans are more durable, the use of metal utensils will leave scratches that may affect the functionality of the non-stick cooking surface. To keep the nonstick coating intact and prolong the lifespan of your pans, you should avoid using metal utensils on them. Kitchen utensils made of wood, bamboo, nylon, or silicone are non-stick friendly and won’t damage the non-stick layer of your cookware with normal use.