How to Recognize Stainless Steel Vs. Aluminum Pots

Written by adam smith
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How to Recognize Stainless Steel Vs. Aluminum Pots
How quickly a pot heats up can help determine if it's aluminium or stainless steel. (stove - kitchen interiors image by Gina Smith from

Although they may look similar, stainless steel and aluminium pots are drastically different from each other. Aluminium pots tend to be cheaper and thinner while stainless steel pots are more substantial and can take a fair amount of abuse in the kitchen. When cooking, it is helpful to know what type of pot is being used. Aluminium pots do a poor job of searing meats unlike stainless steel pots. Searing capability and other cooking techniques can vary depending on what type of cookware is used.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Stainless steel or aluminium pot
  • Stovetop

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  1. 1

    Look at the cooking surface of the pot. Stainless steel cookware will be shiny on the inside, the same as the outside of the pot. Aluminium pots typically, but not always, have some sort of coating on the inside. These coatings are usually a dark grey or black colour.

  2. 2

    Pick up the pot. If it is lighter than it looks, it is most likely an aluminium pot. Aluminium pots are some of the lightest pots manufactured. Stainless steel pots are much heavier.

  3. 3

    Heat up the pot on a stovetop. If the surface of the pan heats up rapidly, it is probably an aluminium pot. The light weight of aluminium pots combined with aluminium conductivity allows it to heat up very quickly. Stainless steel pots take much longer to heat because they are composed of an alloy.

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