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Is stainless steel cookware safe

Is Stainless Steel Cookware Safe? What’s the Reason To Prefer it in 2023?

Stainless steel cookware is the best option if you’re looking to upgrade your current cookware set. Stainless steel, an iron-chromium alloy, is highly corrosion- and tarnish-resistant. It is widely used in commercial kitchens because it is durable and easy to clean, making it a popular material for cookware, utensils, cutlery, and other appliances. Do these properties make stainless steel cookware a safe option? Yes, Stainless steel is the safest material to use around the house as it doesn’t give off any toxic fumes and won’t react with anything you put in it. Furthermore, using high-end stainless steel cookware means you can forego oil or butter in preparation for cooking.

Helping you make a decision is my goal; this guide explains how safe stainless steel cookware is. You’ll find out what the most recent research shows and how to reduce any risks.

So, if you are worried about how safe stainless steel cookware is, keep reading to learn more.

What’s Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is an alloy that is made of more than one type of metal. It has both chromium and nickel in it. The human body needs chromium, but only in small amounts.

“[Chromium] is what makes steel harder and tougher and makes it less likely to rust, especially at high temperatures,” says the USGS.

Iron, chrome, and nickel are the most common metals in an alloy. Stainless Clad cookware also has aluminum, which helps heat move through the pots and pans. It can have other metals added to it to get the desired effects.

When referring to steel alloys, “stainless” means that the alloy contains at least 10% chromium by weight. The chromium in this material prevents corrosion and makes it last much longer.

Some cookware made from this material is safer, more eco-friendly, and more long-lasting than others, so it’s important to research before purchasing.

Whether or not stainless steel cookware is safe for your health depends on several factors, the most important of which is the specific type of stainless steel used and how it was made.

Is Stainless Steel Cookware Safe? What Is The Safety Concern?

Even though stainless steel is one of the safest options for kitchenware in the USA, if you are allergic to chromium, nickel, or other metals used to make stainless steel, stay away from the material.

Stainless steel alloys typically include chromium at a minimum of 10.5% and nickel at a much lower percentage. Stainless steel’s resistance to rust and corrosion comes from the chromium and nickel it contains. These factors also contribute to a high gloss.

How about the safety of stainless steel pots and pans? Is it safe for use? What are the safety concerns?

As long as it has 16% chromium or more, the NSF considers stainless steel safe for food use. The typical percentage of chromium in stainless steel, the metal used to make cookware, is 18%. , the cooking surface prevents the growth of bacteria and the interaction of food with potentially toxic levels of metals being hard and nonreactive

Then why Is there anything to worry about? Is there a risk of metals contaminating your food?

Research published on the NIH website indicates that stainless steel cookware releases low levels of chromium and nickel into food. But even if you are highly allergic to these elements, the amounts are so small that they are unlikely to cause you any harm.

The study evaluated the leaching of metals using acidic foods (tomato sauce and lemon marmalade) and liquid solutions. Results showed that the detected levels were well below those found to cause metal allergy symptoms.

Another study highlighted nickel content as a major cause for alarm. The studies showed that nickel in trace amounts was safe.

However, those who are allergic to nickel (which manifests as a rash) should stay away from any stainless steel cookware that contains nickel.

What Are The Findings From The Studies?

As I mentioned, cooking with stainless steel can cause trace amounts of chromium and nickel to seep into your food. How much is variable based on factors such as the type of stainless steel used, the length of cooking time, and the number of times the pan has been used?

This question was investigated by scientists at Oregon State University’s Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology.

The researchers looked at the chromium and nickel content of food prepared in stainless steel cookware. The quality of the stainless steel, the time in the oven, and the number of cycles were all tested. When using a pan for the first time versus the tenth time, for instance.

They put tomato sauce through its paces by cooking it in stainless steel and then checking for traces of chromium and nickel. As a result of its acidity and potential to react with metals, the tomato sauce was selected.

This investigation into the potential health effects of chromium and nickel leached into foods from 18/10 stainless steel cookware used tomato sauce and lemon marmalade as test subjects.

Foods high in acid were cooked for an hour in stainless steel pots that had previously held other foods or were brand new. Both ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and heat were used to prepare the meals. The chemical EDTA is used to bind metal ions together.

In the same ovens where the tomato paste and lemon preserves were prepared, scientists cooked aqueous (water-based) solutions with pH values of 2.3, 7.7, and 9.

Researchers found that nickel and chromium levels changed manufacturers frequently, heightened during cooking, or when boiled for longer and were grown in acidic or EDTA-treated unused containers.

Because they haven’t had time to form a layer of oxidation (seasoning), new pans are more likely to release metals into food. Used pots and pans have an oxidation layer that acts as a barrier, reducing the steel leached into the food.

Allergen-triggering levels of metal release (leaching) were not reached in any of the cases studied.

Health Impact of Using Stainless Steel Cookware

Most people with nickel or chromium allergies can use an 18/10 stainless steel pot without risk. Our bodies do need some nickel, but only in trace amounts. You can get it from nuts, dried beans, and other plant-based foods.

But those with extreme sensitivities may have an adverse reaction.

If you have an allergy to chromium or nickel, both studies agree that you should stay away from stainless steel pots and pans. There is no need for an alarm unless you have an extremely low tolerance for these substances.

Those sensitive to nickel may experience a recurrence of allergic contact dermatitis (a form of eczema triggered by contact with a specific substance) after ingesting as little as 67 g (micrograms) of nickel in a single oral dose, according to the results of the study discussed above.

Chromium is a vital mineral, but excessive consumption can be harmful. Even a single oral dose of 2500 g can trigger dermatitis if you are sensitive to chromium.

In general, the results of this study indicate that meals prepared in stainless steel cookware will be more heavily contaminated with the metals chromium and nickel than those prepared in non-stainless steel cookware.

If you have an allergy to chromium or nickel, switch to a different brand of cookware. Those who aren’t allergic can feel safe using stainless steel pans in the kitchen.

Cooking with Stainless Steel: Some Safety Tips

You can safely use stainless steel cookware only if you take the necessary precautions.

Some suggestions for action are as follows.

  • When it comes to stainless steel cookware, it’s important to ensure you get the best quality to ensure it’s safe and lasts a long time.
  • You can reduce your exposure to heavy metals by removing any broken stainless steel cookware.
  • You should avoid using scratched stainless steel cookware because of the increased release of harmful nickel and chromium. If your cookware is severely pitted or damaged, you should replace it. There is a risk that core materials will leach into your food. Although trace amounts of aluminum or copper are harmless, avoiding damaged cookware is best.
  • Although trace amounts of aluminum or copper are harmless, avoiding damaged cookware is best.
  • Use high-quality, surgical-grade stainless steel cookware; even better if it is nickel-free because the amount of heavy metal leaching will vary depending on the stainless steel grade, cooking time, cookware use, and cookware care.
  • Since the copper surface of the cookware is not in contact with the food, it is safe to use. Similarly, if you want your stainless steel cookware to last long without showing signs of wear and tear, you need to give it the TLC it deserves.
  • To avoid triggering your allergy, look for 18/0 stainless steel cookware from Cuisinart.
  • If you’re looking for a cheaper option with low nickel content, consider grade 430 stainless steel by Cook N Home. Bear in mind, though, that they rust more easily.
  • To avoid warping, only use your pan up to the maximum temperature recommended by the manufacturer. It’s dangerous to cook with a warped pan because it might slip off the stove.
  • Make sure the pots and pans are always spotless. Smoke from cooking with heavily tarnished pans can be irritating to the respiratory system.
  • Always wear oven mitts when handling hot stainless steel cookware, and use two hands to carry heavy loads.
  • Check the handles’ stability before picking up a heavy pot or pan.
  • Keep stainless steel cookware away from countertops, as it can melt under intense heat. On the other hand, a cold countertop could cause the pan to warp due to thermal shock.
  • Avoid keeping food in stainless steel cookware, especially for extended periods. Metals leach into food from stainless steel the longer it is in contact with the material.
  • Don’t heat stainless steel cookware with nonstick coating above 500°F or the manufacturer’s maximum temperature (some can only handle 350°F or less). It will accelerate the breakdown of the nonstick coating, leading to the emission of toxic byproducts.


Is it possible for chromium or nickel to leach into my food?

Small amounts of chromium and nickel leach into food using stainless steel pots and pans. While the amount varies depending on what you cook (acidic versus non-acidic foods), the length of cooking time, whether the pan is used or unused, and other factors, no levels of chromium or nickel were deemed dangerous for most people.

Are nonstick stainless steel pans safe?

Yes, as long as you follow the manufacturer’s maximum oven temperature guidelines. When the temperature is exceeded, the nonstick coating can break down and emit harmful fumes. Also, avoid using abrasive kitchen tools or cleansers that will scratch the surface.

Is stainless steel better than nonstick?

Stainless steel pans and surfaces are ideal for browning ingredients. Because they are usually uncoated, as opposed to nonstick varieties, they are more durable and resistant to kitchen slip-ups.

Why is stainless steel non-toxic?

Please remember that stainless steel contains no hexavalent chromium (VI), a highly toxic carcinogen. Manganese is a trace nutrient that is required by all living things. Manganese used in industrial applications is toxic at levels greater than 500 micrograms.


Using stainless steel cookware, you can prepare healthy meals without worrying about losing any healthy vitamins, flavors, or textures that were originally present in the food. More so, nothing can stick to the surface of these cookware items, making cleanup a breeze.

Stainless steel cookware is completely safe. It’s one of the most common cookware materials, and it’s been used safely for decades. The amount of nickel in your food is insignificant and not harmful. However, if you are allergic to nickel, you should choose a nickel-free option or choose a different cookware.

I hope this article helped get your answer about; nonstick cookware being safe to use if you have any queries feel free to ask in the comment section.

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