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What's the Difference Between Glass and Metal Cookware?

Friday, August 9, 2013 - 4:15pm

glass vs metal cookware

When cooking or baking, you might have wondered “what's the difference between glass and metal cookware?” Can the materials you cook in make that much of a difference to the final product?

The answer is yes, and we have your definitive guide to glass, and metal cookware.

Glass Cookware

Clear glass take a little longer than metal pans to heat up, but once they are heated, they are great heat conductors, and they can maintain a stable temperature. Unfortunately, glass pans can be a little too good at conducting heat, and recipes that contain a lot of sugar (like brownies) can start to burn around the edges before being cooked through all the way. To get around this, you can cook your sweet baked goods at a lower temperature (about 25 degrees less) than you would with a metal pan.

One disadvantage glass cookware has is its intolerance to quick temperature changes. When glass cookware experiences extreme temperature shifts, it can break – and not just break, but shatter violently! This is not common, but it's best to use caution when baking with glass cookware. Here's how:

  1. Never heat your glass bakeware directly on a stove burner or under a broiler

  2. Always preheat your oven before putting your glass pan in it.

  3. Before cooking meat or vegetables, be sure to cover the bottom of your pan with cooking liquid.

  4. When you remove the glassware from the oven, place it on a dry cloth pot holder or towel; not directly on the counter top, in a sink, or on the stove top.

Clear glass cookware is best for casseroles, cobblers, and pies, but leave the cookies and roasting to the metal cookware.

Metal Bakeware

Metal bakeware can withstand higher temperatures than glass, and, unlike glass, it often has a non-stick surface. There's a reason cookie sheets are called cookie sheets. Metal is a great material for baking things like cookies and biscuits – foods that bake at a relatively high temperature for a short period of time. Shiny metal will help your food brown evenly, because it doesn't absorb heat as well as dull, darker metal. However, if you want a good, brown crust on a homemade loaf of bread, dark metal is a great material to use.

One downside to using aluminum pans is that aluminum can react with certain kinds of food like tomatoes, lemons, eggs, and acidic vegetables. The food can discolor the pan and the pan can make the food taste slightly metallic. Even if you aren't cooking these foods, be sure to store your food in a non-reactive container, rather than a metal one.

Metal pans are best for roasting, broiling, and cooking baked goods like breads, muffins, cakes, and cookies.