Perhaps the easiest way to bring a touch of the professional kitchen into your home is by using hard anodized cookware. Not only does this cookware offer a professional looking finish, but it is durable and hard wearing - perfect for your everyday cooking needs.In this article we will look at some of the hard anodized sets available and see what design features make these a worthy addition to any kitchen. We also take an in-depth look into what hard anodized cookware actually is and some of the concerns surrounding its safe use in the home. We hope that the information we have put together will help you when deciding which cookware will be the best hard anodized cookware for you and your kitchen.
Our choice of best buy is the Calphalon Contemporary Non-Stick 11-Piece Set for offering non-stick durability with a lifetime warranty.
The T-fal E817SC Endura Hard Anodized Titanium Non-stick Cookware Set with Thermo-spot technology is spot on for our budget pick.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 11 Best Hard Anodized Cookware
- 1. Calphalon Contemporary Non-Stick 11-Piece Cookware Set
- 2. T-fal E817SC Endura Hard Anodized Titanium Non-stick Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set
- 3. Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Non-stick 10-Piece Gray with Orange Cookware Set
- 4. Rachael Ray Cucina Hard Anodized Aluminum Non-stick Cookware Set
- 5. Circulon Symmetry Hard Anodized Non-stick Chocolate Cookware Set
- 6. Cook N Home 02597 Non-stick Hard Anodized Cookware Set
- 7. Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Non-Stick Cookware Set
- 8. Circulon Premier Professional Hard Anodized Cookware Set with Stainless Steel Base
- 9. Emeril Lagasse Non-stick Hard Anodized Gray Cookware Set
- 10. All-Clad E785SC64 Hard Anodized Non-stick Cookware Set
- 11. Cuisinart DSA-11 Dishwasher Safe Hard Anodized Cookware Set
- Things to Consider Before Buying The Hard Anodized Cookware
- Why Anodized Cookware Is Popular
- Using Hard Anodized Cookware
- Cooking with Hard Anodized Cookware at High Temperatures
- How Aluminum is Anodized or Hard Anodized
- Cleaning Hard Anodized Cookware
- Storing Hard Anodized Cookware
- Non-stick Coatings, PTFE, PFOA and Cancer Risk
- Aluminum, Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Health Concerns
- Suitability of Hard Anodized Cookware for Induction Cooking
Quick Comparison: Top 11 Best Hard Anodized Cookware
1. Calphalon Contemporary Non-Stick 11-Piece Cookware Set
The Calphalon contemporary non-stick set is made from a hard anodized aluminum and contains a triple layer non-stick coating that is free from PFOA. The 11-piece set contains two fry pans, three different sized quart pans with lids, an 8-quart stock pot and cover and a 3-quart sauté pan. The handles are cool touch brushed stainless steel.These pans and covers are also oven safe and come with a full lifetime warranty. Like similar hard anodized pans, cooking at a medium temperature or lower is recommended to prolong the life of the pans.
2. T-fal E817SC Endura Hard Anodized Titanium Non-stick Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set
The dishwasher safe T-fal E817SC Endura hard anodized titanium non-stick 12-piece cookware set is a smaller cookware set, comprising of two fry pans, three different sized quart pans and a Dutch oven. The bases of these are anti-warp and their handles are cool touch. This T-fal set is completed with two nylon utensils.When these pans are preheated, their Thermo-Spot indicator changes to show that the pan is hot enough to seal food flavors.
3. Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Non-stick 10-Piece Gray with Orange Cookware Set
This gray and orange durable Rachael Ray hard anodized non-stick aluminum cookware set comes with rubberized colored oven safe handles which are designed for comfortable gripping. Oven safe up to 350°F, these pans heat quickly and evenly and have tempered glass lids with a seal to keep in heat and moisture when cooking.
Some users may find that these are lighter weight pans compared with similar products. Non-metal utensils are recommended to minimize damage to the PTFE non-stick coating - which is PFOA-free. These pans are also dishwasher safe and come with a lifetime limited warranty.
4. Rachael Ray Cucina Hard Anodized Aluminum Non-stick Cookware Set
This 12-piece set of Rachael Ray Cucina gray hard anodized cookware set also contains an espresso-colored non-stick that is PFOA-free. The cranberry colored handles are silicone covered riveted steel, designed for a comfortable and sturdy grip. These Cucina pans are quite lightweight which may mean on some stoves they may be a little less sturdy than similar pans when cooking a low quantity of food or liquid.There is a lifetime limited warranty and these pans are safe for dishwasher cleaning. Oven safe to 400°F, the set comprises two covered sauce pans, two skillets and covered sauté pan and stockpot. The lids are shatter-resistant and the rims are designed to minimize heat and moisture loss when cooking. There is also a cranberry colored Prestige slotted spoon and slotted turner with the set.
5. Circulon Symmetry Hard Anodized Non-stick Chocolate Cookware Set
The chocolate-colored and tulip-shaped Circulon Symmetry hard anodized non-stick set comprises of 11 pieces. With two glass covered saucepans, a covered sauté pan, covered stockpot and two skillets, the set also comes with two utensils. The outer covering of these pans may be more prone to scratches than other types of covering so it can be helpful to take extra care when stacking or placing the pans in the dishwasher.
Circulon cookware has its own PFOA-free system of grooves in the base of its pans to resist staining and scratching and promote flavor release. The stainless steel handles are also covered in rubber for better gripping. There is a warranty on this cookware.Suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher, these pans are also suitable for use on all stove tops, including induction as the bases are fitted with stainless steel.
6. Cook N Home 02597 Non-stick Hard Anodized Cookware Set
This 12-piece black Cook N Home non-stick hard anodized cookware set is durable and allows quick and even heating during cooking. Although this cookware is dishwasher safe, the manufacturer recommends handwashing. The set contains two quart sauce pans, a sauté pan, stockpot, two fry pans and two nylon utensils.
Four of the pans come with tempered glass lids and two of these lids fit the fry pans. The handles are cool grip and riveted and are suitable for use on all stove tops except for induction and they are oven safe to 350°F.
7. Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Non-Stick Cookware Set
The Anolon Advanced hard anodized non-stick set is an 11-piece set available in gray. Offering more durability than similar pans, they are designed to minimize hot spots during cooking. This cookware is oven safe to 400°F and suitable for all types of stove except for induction.
Non-stick allows easy cleaning after use, although these pans are not dishwasher-safe. The set contains a glass covered sauté pan, covered stockpot, two quart covered saucepans, two skillets and a shallow grill pan, all with SureGrip dual riveted and silicone rubber coated handles. There is a lifetime limited warranty on the set.The non-stick coating is a triple layer surface and the lids are made from tempered glass. Metal utensils are suitable for used in these pans, but some may prefer to use non-metal to help reduce the risk of damaging the non-stick.
8. Circulon Premier Professional Hard Anodized Cookware Set with Stainless Steel Base
The 13-piece Circulon Premier Professional set is non-stick and hard anodized with stainless steel bases. The bases contain grooves that are designed to promote the release of flavor while being resistant to scratching or staining. Known as the Total Nonstick System, the non-stick coating is free from PFOA.
These chocolate-bronze colored pans are suitable for all types of stove, including induction, although users may want to confirm this cookware is fully compatible with their model of induction stove. The set can be used in the oven up to 400°F. Dishwasher safe, they also come with a lifetime limited warranty.With three different sized straining quart saucepans, an 8-quart stockpot and a 5-quart sauté pan, these all come with tempered glass lids. There are also three French skillets in the set.
9. Emeril Lagasse Non-stick Hard Anodized Gray Cookware Set
The Emeril Lagasse 12-piece hard anodized cookware set in dark gray is made from a heavy gauge aluminum for even and fast heat distribution. This cookware set comes with a lifetime warranty, is dishwasher safe and its triple layer non-stick is suitable for metal utensils.The tempered glass lids are suitable for cooking up to 450°F and oven safe to 350°F. The set comprises two fry pans, two sauce pans, a 6-quart stockpot and deep sauté pan and all are suitable for glass and gas stove tops.
10. All-Clad E785SC64 Hard Anodized Non-stick Cookware Set
The All-Clad E785SC64 Ha1 hard anodized non-stick 10-piece cookware set is designed for durability and non-warping. Their non-stick surface allows lower fat cooking and easy cleaning after use. Although the manufacturer states that these are dishwasher safe, it is recommended that you do hand wash them.
The non-stick layer is free from PFOA and with stainless steel riveted handles and a stainless steel bonded base, this All-Clad black set is suitable for all types of stove top, including induction. The lids are secure fitting to retain heat and moisture during cooking and the lids are to fit the two saucepans, 4-quart sauté pan and 8-quart stockpot.
There are also two fry pans in the set and all the pans (without their lids) are oven safe up to 500°F. There is a limited lifetime warranty on the set.
11. Cuisinart DSA-11 Dishwasher Safe Hard Anodized Cookware Set
Containing 11 pieces, the Cuisinart DSA-11 hard anodized cookware set utilizes exclusive ArmourGuard technology and Eterna non-stick coating to offer durability and optimal cooking performance. Manufactured in Canada, it is metal utensil and dishwasher safe.The set comprises three saucepans, a saucepot and pasta insert, two skillets and a sauté pan. The stay cool handles are ergonomic although some users may find these pans are a lighter weight design when compared with some other hard anodized cookware.
Things to Consider Before Buying The Hard Anodized Cookware
Why Anodized Cookware Is Popular
Not only does anodized cookware provide a professional and heavy duty look to your kitchen, but anodized aluminum is also twice as hard as stainless steel. The surface of the cookware is also tougher, which makes it durable and resistant to chipping, corrosion or peeling. Being anodized or hard anodized may also help extend the lifetime of pots and pans.
Cookware that has been anodized or hard anodized is safe in the oven as well as on the stove top and as it is almost non-porous, it cannot react with acidic foods. It is lightweight and its aluminum core allows even and fast heat distributing when cooking.
Strictly speaking, anodized or hard anodized is a low stick rather than a non-stick and unlike some of the more traditional forms of non-stick coating, a hard anodized coating does not use PFOA in its manufacture. Some hard anodized ranges are also available with a PTFE non-stick coating and these are usually advertised as non-stick.
Using Hard Anodized Cookware
Cookware manufacturers may provide specific instructions on cleaning before first use, but if they do not, you may want to consider the following:
Once any labels are scraped off with a soft utensil, the pans can be washed in warm soapy water with a soft cloth or cleaning pad. Saucepans can be filled to about three-quarters with water and boiled for 20 minutes or so and then drained and washed again.
Similarly, for fry pans and sauté pans, they can be washed and then after some oil has been heated for a few minutes over a low heat they can be drained and re-washed.
Although some cookware is metal utensil safe, it is up to you whether you choose to use them. Many of us will stick to silicone, nylon or wooden utensils to prevent any damage to non-stick coatings, especially as using metal utensils could cause problems if a claim needs to be made under the cookware warranties.
You should also avoid chopping anything directly in the pan and cook on low to medium heat only.
Cooking with Hard Anodized Cookware at High Temperatures
Although hard anodized products are often suitable for using in the oven, there is a maximum recommended temperature set by each manufacturer. Many hard anodized pans have been coated with a non-stick lining and when used at high temperatures, the non-stick can begin to break down and mix in with the food.
PTFE or similar non-stick surfaces can also give off fumes when overheated. Known as polymer fume fever, this has similar and temporary symptoms of flu. Pet birds are also susceptible to fumes given off from PTFE. It’s worth noting that most cases of polymer fume fever or ‘Teflon flu’ occurred when cooking had been left unattended or non-stick pans had been left empty and the stove was still on.
If you do sometimes cook at a high heat, then you may want to consider purchasing a steel or cast iron pan that you can keep just for stir-frying or searing.
How Aluminum is Anodized or Hard Anodized
Anodized aluminum was first developed for professional kitchens by Calphalon back in 1968. It was then made available to the public in 1976 and since then continued to evolve into the products available today.
The electrochemical process of anodization prevents metal – usually aluminum in cookware – from reacting with acidic foods and then leaching into the food. Anodized aluminum is used in many industrial and consumer products, not just cookware.
Anodization occurs through a process of oxidation. Aluminum is immersed in an acid electrolyte bath and an electrical current is passed over it. This causes oxygen to be released from the electrolyte bath which combines with aluminum molecules on the surface of the part of the aluminum that is being anodized. This layer hardens the aluminum and makes it corrosion-resistant.
To make aluminum hard anodized, the same process apart from a lower temperature and higher voltage, is used to produce a product that has more durability and is harder than an anodized product.
Titanium and other metals are anodized or hard anodized in the same way that aluminum is.
Cleaning Hard Anodized Cookware
It is usually easy to clean anodized or hard anodized cookware. Hot soapy water is fine – avoiding any steel wool or harsh abrasives. If your pan is cold when washing then it should be washed in cooler water and likewise hot water when the pan is hot as this can help prevent the pan from warping.
Some hard anodized cookware may be dishwasher safe, but you should only put your pans in the dishwasher if the manufacturer explicitly states that they are dishwasher-safe. This is because hard anodized cookware can react with the caustic soda and phosphorous found in many dishwasher detergents causing the coating to wear down, discoloration or even the appearance of a chalky film on the pans.
When cleaning, as well as avoiding harsh chemicals or cleaning pads, it is also good to stay away from bleach, very acidic or oven cleaning products as these may damage the cookware. A baking soda paste can be useful to remove stains from the outer cookware and if stained or burnt on the inside then soaking in hot soapy water will often remove the stain before normal washing.
Storing Hard Anodized Cookware
Although this type of cookware is durable, it should still be stored carefully to stop it from being scratched or dented. You should also avoid storing hard anodized items inside, or on top of other items of kitchenware or cookware as they may end up being damaged from the hard finish on the anodized cookware.
Non-stick Coatings, PTFE, PFOA and Cancer Risk
PTFE or polytetrafluoroethylene has been in use commercially since the 1940s. As a stable man-made chemical, it offers a surface that is almost totally friction-free and doesn’t react with other chemicals. This makes it ideal for not just cookware but also for many other uses in the home and industry.
PTFE is often known as Teflon. This is a brand name for PTFE owned by the company DuPont.
PTFE or Teflon are not suspected of causing cancer.
C8 or PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) is another man-made chemical used to make PTFE and similar chemicals. PFOA burns off when PTFE is made, which means there is very little, if any, left in the finished products.
Many of us can be exposed to low levels of PFOA in our drinking water, some foods and even dust in the home. Carpets and fabrics that are treated to be stain resistant are also a source of PFOA. The American Cancer Society say that ‘Non-stick cookware is not a significant source of PFOA exposure’.
Some concerns arose around PFOA because it can stay in the body and the environment for a long time. Researchers have found some links between PFOA and certain types of tumors in animals and some links between specific cancers in people living near to or working in industry where there are higher levels of PFOA.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO) and IARC has categorized PFOA as being ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ based on the limited evidence available.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies have yet to categorize PFOA and their research continues. There has been a large reduction in the use of PFOA since 2006, when the EPA and manufacturers agreed to goals of reducing PFOA production and emissions.
There are also provisional health advisories for levels of PFOA in drinking water and if levels exceed these advisories then action should be taken to resolve. Advisories are not statutory and may change if more information on the risk from PFOA becomes available.
Aluminum, Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Health Concerns
When traces of aluminum were found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s, much research was undertaken as to whether the two were linked. Some studies showed a link but others could not confirm a link which means that today, there is still controversy over how much aluminum may or may not contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
Aluminum is common in the environment and is in consumer products such as antacids, antiperspirants and cosmetics, as well as in foods. The World Health Organization estimates that adults can consume 50 milligrams or more of aluminum on a daily basis without harm and that Canadians take in about 10 milligrams of aluminum per day – mostly from food.
Those working with aluminum may develop lung problems from excessive aluminum dust and some individuals with kidney disease may store more aluminum in the body as it cannot be removed easily in urine. Researchers think that these individuals may sometimes develop a brain or bone disease that could be linked to the excess aluminum in their bodies.
There are federal limits set for levels of aluminum in drinking and bottled water, workplace air and the FDA says that aluminum used in medicines such as antacids and as food additives are generally safe.
Buying anodized or hard anodized cookware means that if the surface of the cookware remains in good condition, the chance of any aluminum leaching into our food is minimal, if any, as the process of anodization has created a heavy duty lining between the aluminum and our food.
Suitability of Hard Anodized Cookware for Induction Cooking
Induction stove tops transfer magnetic energy to cook food. Induction cooking offers very fast cooking, yet the temperature is easy to control. As the cooking surface and pans tend to stay cool during cooking this usually means we need to spend a lot less time spent cleaning up.
Unlike other methods of cooking, induction uses more of the energy produced, introduces less heat into the kitchen and according to the non-profit SmarterHouse, uses 30% less energy than a standard electric coil.
Because induction requires magnetism, the cookware used must be flat bottomed and more importantly, be magnetic. Typical cookware for induction is stainless steel or cast iron but some hard anodized cookware will work if it has a magnetic bottom, such as those available with a stainless steel bonded based.
Manufacturers usually state whether their cookware is suitable for induction but if you do have an induction top, it can be worth double checking that the cookware you’re looking to purchase will be suitable for the model of induction stove that you have.
Hard anodized cookware is designed for strength and durability, as well as allowing food to be heated quickly and evenly. Although there has been some debate around the suitability of aluminum and non-stick coatings in cooking; this type of cookware remains popular as when used as directed by the manufacturer, hard anodized cookware offers easy cooking with minimal cleaning up afterwards.We hope that what we have offered in this article has not only been useful in helping you to choose the best hard anodized cookware but has also provided some information about this type of cookware and why it will continue to be the cookware of choice for many of us for the foreseeable future.