Which pan is better: cast iron or aluminum

In the kitchen, you cannot do without a frying pan, because it is used to prepare almost every dish. Experienced and novice chefs pay attention to the huge range of products on the market. Manufacturers offer cast iron and aluminum pans that differ in physical properties and technical characteristics. The products affect the preparation of the dish and the final result. We have reviewed the main advantages of cast iron and aluminum pans to simplify the selection.

Cast iron and aluminum pans belong to the budget kitchenware category. The first type of products is considered a classic, because grandmothers and mothers used such pans. Today, they still attract merit. Aluminum products are a kind of opposite, so the choice causes difficulties for people. This issue should be considered more closely.

which pan is better

Cast-iron pan

Cast-iron pan

Cast iron is a heavy and dense metal. Cast-iron pans are distinguished by thick walls and a bottom, so food is fried on them well and retains heat for 1-2 hours under a lid. The main feature lies in the structure of the cast iron. Abundant frying oil fills the pores and creates a non-stick film. Thanks to this, the cookware is not inferior to the current models with a Teflon or ceramic coating, although oil consumption increases significantly.

Cooking in a cast iron pan has a number of distinctive features. The metal is easily calcined and is not afraid of high temperatures. It is good to stew or fry food in such a dish for 20-30 minutes. These pans may not be the best choice for steaks or pancakes, but potatoes and cabbage stews or stews are excellent. On cast iron, the hostesses make dishes like from a Russian oven.

The main problem for the hostess will be a lot of weight. 3-kilogram dishes are difficult to drag from place to place. But otherwise there are no problems – the pan is not damaged, it lasts for 5-10 years, and to damage it, you will have to try hard.

However, cast iron cookware is recommended for stewing, roasting and prolonged cooking. It is not suitable for fast frying of meat or vegetables, because the metal heats up for a long time. Housewives with experience cope with cooking any meals for the family.

Cast-iron pans are not whimsical in leaving. An oily film forms on their surface, so they are washed with warm water and common detergents. But it is important to wipe it dry with a cloth, as cast iron is susceptible to corrosion. Remember that the porous structure absorbs oil and odors, which is why such dishes are usually used only for certain types of food.


  • durability, resistance to scratches and mechanical damage;

  • ease of maintenance;

  • compatibility with metal blades;

  • absence of harmful substances and toxicity of fumes;

  • resistance to deformation even when cooking for more than 20-30 minutes;

  • resistance to temperatures over 350-400 ° C;


  • heavy weight – over 2-3 kg;

  • unattractive appearance.

Aluminum frying pans

Aluminum frying pans

Aluminum pans differ from cast iron products, and to some extent are their opposites – lightness, attractive appearance, quick heating. The budget pricing tier makes these products affordable and popular with chefs. The thermal conductivity of aluminum causes food to heat up quickly. But this metal is not very strong and prolonged heating above 350 ° C leads to deformation, especially when used for more than 30-40 minutes.

Although associated with environmental friendliness, aluminum is not safe for cooking. It is not recommended to use 100% aluminum, because toxic substances are released when heated. Look for specially coated aluminum pans. But along with this, there will be restrictions on metal spatulas and on baking in the oven.

In an aluminum frying pan, quick dishes are obtained – vegetables, scrambled eggs, small pieces of simple meat. Aluminum heats up literally in 1-2 minutes, so you don't have to waste precious time in the morning. This is one of the main differences from cast iron pans. Housewives like lightness and instant warm-up when there is no time to waste.

Our experts recommend choosing cast pans rather than stamped aluminum pans – they are stronger and more durable. It is important to remember that thin metal products deform quickly. Thin-bottomed pans cannot be used on electric cookers.

Due to the non-stick coating, aluminum pans cannot be washed with abrasive products and hard brushes. Lemon and vinegar are not used during cooking because they leave dark spots and damage the top layer. If you follow the care instructions, the product will last 4-5 years.


  • lightness – the product weighs no more than 1.5-2 kg;

  • instant warming up to the desired temperature;

  • ease of use;


  • deformation during prolonged heating;

  • food burns due to rapid heating;

  • the need for a protective coating that is prone to mechanical damage;


A cast iron skillet is a reliable and durable solution. It is suitable even for a beginner; almost any dish is excellent on it. The best options are roasts, stews, potatoes, or pancakes. If you want to cook solid dishes like from a Russian oven for the whole family, then choose this option.

An aluminum skillet is ideal for a quick meal. Lightweight dishes, not demanding to care for. It makes good breakfasts – scrambled eggs, a small amount of pancakes, vegetables. But remember the problems: deformation during prolonged heating, damage to the non-stick layer.

In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose a pan for pancakes, with which coating to choose a pan – Teflon or ceramic, the secrets of choosing a high-quality pan, an analysis of the best manufacturers of pans.

Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a purchase guide.

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