When buying a new piece of kitchenware, sometimes it is very important to consider the materials used to make it.
What your kitchenware is made out of will have a huge effect on its utility, durability as well as the kind of things you can cook with it.
Iron is a popular choice for all kinds of different kitchenware, including pots, pans, and utensils! But what is the best kind of iron you can pick? Perhaps you’ve heard that cast iron is the best one?
So you’re wondering about the difference between cast iron and enameled cast iron. Which one is which? How can I tell the difference?
Which one should I choose for my kitchenware? If all of these questions are currently running through your mind – then don’t worry! We are here to help you and you have come to the right place.
Below is a total guide that will explain the difference between cast iron and enameled cast iron. We’re going to be looking at their properties, common uses, and comparing them to one another.
In the end, we’re going to be trying to make a judgment about which one is better, and which one you should pick for your new piece of kitchenware!
We have also included a short Frequently Asked Questions section, to help you if you have any additional questions about this issue! So without further ado, let’s take a look into the world of cast iron kitchenware!
Why Is Iron Used In Kitchenware?
Before we explain the nuances between cast iron and enameled cast iron – let’s first take a look at the reason why iron is used in kitchenware.
Iron has been used for cooking since ancient times. It was used by people to cook food over a fire or even using boiling water.
The thing is that iron is an excellent conductor of heat. So when you use it to cook something, it heats up really fast. This makes it perfect for cooking food quickly.
So then, what does ‘cast iron’ mean? You may have seen it written or heard it spoken about countless times before, but what exactly is it?
When we say “cast iron”, we mean a type of metal that is generally formed by pouring molten metal into a mold. Once cooled, the metal solidifies and becomes a permanent part of the mold. The resulting product is called cast iron.
There are many different types of cast iron. Some are more suitable for specific purposes while others are ideal for multiple applications. For example, some types of cast iron are good conductors of heat (like carbon steel), but they are not very durable.
Other types of cast iron are much harder and therefore less likely to break. These are often referred to as “hardened” cast irons. They are commonly used in stovetops and ovens.
The most common type of cast iron is carbon steel. Carbon steel is relatively soft compared to hardened cast irons.
However, it is still quite hard and strong. It is also fairly easy to work with. And because it is so versatile, it is widely used in kitchenware.
How Does Cast Iron Work?
Now that we know what cast iron is, how does it work? Let’s start by taking a look at the basic properties of cast iron.
When you put cast iron on the stovetop, it starts to get hot. But unlike other metals like aluminum and copper, cast iron doesn’t melt easily.
Instead, it gets superheated until it reaches its melting point. At this point, the cast iron begins to flow. Once it cools down, it forms into whatever shape you placed it in the mold.
This means that cast iron can be shaped into almost anything. You can use it to create bowls, plates, pots, pans, spatulas, tongs, etc. Anything you need from a kitchen utensil.
Because cast iron is so versatile, it can be used for a wide variety of purposes. For example, you can use it to make stoves, griddles, skillets, baking sheets, pizza stones, etc. There are hundreds of ways to use cast iron.
Is Cast Iron Safe To Use?
Yes! Although cast iron is extremely heavy, it is safe to use. Unlike other materials such as stainless steel, cast iron won’t react with acidic foods. It will also last forever. If you’re looking for a long-lasting material, cast iron is your best bet.
However, there are certain precautions you should follow when handling cast iron. First of all, never leave cast-iron unattended on the stovetop.
Make sure that you always keep an eye on it. Also, don’t ever try to clean cast iron with soap or detergent. Doing so could cause it to rust. Instead, use a non-abrasive cleaner.
If you do want to clean your cast iron, make sure you use a dry cloth. Never rub against cast iron with a wet rag. This can damage the surface.
Finally, if you want to maintain the shine on your cast iron, avoid washing it too frequently. Washing it too often can remove the protective layer of oil. As a result, the cast iron might begin to rust.
Enameled Cast Iron
But what if you want to cook something slowly? Or maybe you just want to add a bit of color to your cast iron? Then enameled cast iron may be exactly what you’re looking for.
Enameled cast iron is made using a special process where the cast iron is coated with a thin layer of paint. The coating makes the cast iron easier to handle and gives it a nice shiny finish.
Enameled cast iron means that food can be cooked safely in cast iron without any risk of burning yourself. Because of this, enameled cast iron is perfect for people who have sensitive skin. It also works well for those who prefer to cook low heat meals.
Enameled Cast Iron Benefits
There are many benefits to cooking with enameled cast iron.
First of all, enameled cast iron is safer than regular cast iron. It is completely safe to eat food prepared in enameled cast iron even though it has been heated up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Regular cast iron cannot withstand these temperatures.
Secondly, enameled cast iron lasts much longer than regular cast iron. After being properly cared for, enameled cast irons can last for decades. On top of that, they can be cleaned very easily. Just wipe them down with a damp cloth.
Finally, enameled cast iron is more durable than regular cast iron. It can take high amounts of wear and tear before becoming damaged. Therefore, it can be used over and over again.
Enameled cast iron comes in two different types: Hardened and Softened. These terms refer to the way the enamel was applied to the cast iron. They both perform differently when it comes to cooking. So let’s talk about each one separately.
Hardened Enameled Cast Iron
This type of enameled cast iron has a hard exterior. It is ideal for people who like their food hot. When you cook with hardened enameled cast iron, you’ll need to preheat it first. Once it reaches its optimal temperature, you can start cooking.
The downside to hardened enameled cast iron is that it doesn’t work well at lower temperatures. That’s because the enamel layer prevents the cast iron from absorbing heat.
Softened Enameled Cast Irons
On the other hand, softened enameled cast iron does not have a hard exterior. It allows the cast iron to absorb heat better. However, it is harder to clean compared to hardened enameled iron.
If you don’t mind cleaning your cast iron regularly, then softened enameled cast iron is the best option for you. You will still need to preheat it before cooking. But once it has reached its optimal temperature, you won’t need to worry about it overheating.
Cast Iron Vs. Enameled Cast Iron
Now we’ve come to the section of the article where we will directly compare the two. Picture this – you’re standing in a kitchenware store with lots of different pots and pans before you.
You see cast iron, you see enameled, and you’re trying to figure out which one is the right choice. Well, we’re going to do all of that comparison for you right now!
Both enameled cast iron and cast iron require some amount of maintenance. If you want to keep your enameled cast iron looking new, then you should use soap and water daily.
For cast iron, make sure to wash it thoroughly after every meal. This will help prevent rust from forming.
The durability of enameled cast iron is superior to cast iron. This is mainly because enameled cast iron doesn’t rust. As long as you maintain it correctly, you shouldn’t have any problems with it lasting for years.
3. Heat Retention
Since enameled cast iron retains heat better, it is great for cooking food that needs to be kept warm.
4. Preheating Time
To get the most out of your enameled cast iron, you must preheat it. This takes time. However, if you are using an oven or stovetop, then you don’t need to preheat it.
One thing that makes cast iron so special is its weight. It feels good in your hands and it heats up quickly. Enameled cast iron is lighter than cast iron, but it isn’t as heavy as aluminum.
Enameled cast iron often costs more, but there are ways around that. First off, you can buy enameled cast iron sets online.
Second, you can find used enameled cast iron pieces at thrift stores. Finally, you can also purchase enameled cast iron individually.
Cast iron is very durable. It can last for decades without much care. On the other hand, enameled cast iron tends to crack over time.
Therefore, you may want to consider storing your enameled cast irons in airtight containers.
Which Is Better?
This is a difficult question to answer because there are individual reasons why you might want to buy each.
In truth, cast iron and enameled cast iron are more similar than they are different, and which one you pick may end up coming down to what you value as a person.
If you’re looking for something easy to clean, then you’ll probably prefer enameled cast iron. If you want something light and fast to heat up, then you’ll love cast iron.
The bottom line is that both enameled cast iron (and cast iron) are fantastic options for anyone who wants to cook. So, which one is right for you?
That depends entirely on what you value most. We would recommend that you take all of the time you can in carefully considering which will be right for your kitchen.
To do this, consider the kinds of meals that you like to cook! Do you need something that will heat up as fast as it can? Does the size matter?
Is the price important to you? What about ease of cleaning? These questions are all things that you need to think about when deciding between cast iron and enamel-coated cast iron.
So there you have it! It can be difficult to choose between the two, but we hope that you now have a total understanding of the difference between each kind of material, and the situations where you might favor one over the other! If you still have more questions, check below for our Frequently Asked Questions section
We wish you the best of luck in choosing the perfect piece of kitchenware for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Get your last-minute questions answered below!
Is Cast Iron Good For Hot Water?
Yes! Cast iron is excellent for heating water for tea, coffee, etc. The reason for this is that cast iron conducts heat well.
You should never use cast iron to heat liquids that contain salt, sugar, or other additives. Enameled cast iron is also good, though it may take longer to warm water.
What Iron Do Professional Chefs Use?
Professional chefs tend to use stainless steel because it doesn’t react with food. However, many chefs recommend using carbon steel, because it has a lower melting point than stainless steel, making it easier to work with.
How Long Does Cast Iron Last?
Cast iron lasts forever if you treat it properly. For example, don’t put it into the dishwasher. Use soap and hot water instead.
Don’t store it near any acidic foods such as tomatoes. And, of course, keep it away from moisture. This will help ensure that it stays in great condition for years to come.
Can I Use Cast Iron Pans For Baking?
You certainly can! Cast iron is an ideal material for baking. It retains heat very well, so you won’t have to worry about burning your bread or cake.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure that you follow proper baking instructions.
Does Cast Iron Get Scratched Easily?
No! Cast iron is extremely durable, and will not scratch easily. Just remember to protect it by storing it in a dry place and only using non-abrasive utensils.
Should I Wash My Cast Iron Pan Before Cooking?
You absolutely should! Cast iron gets dirty quickly, so you shouldn’t leave it sitting around without washing it first.
Make sure that you thoroughly rinse out the pan after every single use. This will prevent rusting and staining.
Do I Need To Grease My Cast Iron?
You don’t need to grease your cast iron. Greasing your cast iron could cause problems. Grease attracts dirt and makes it harder to remove stains.
Instead, just wipe down the inside of your pan with a paper towel. This will remove any residue left behind from previous uses.
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