Updated: November 2017

Best Hard Anodized Cookware:

It is hard to say what is the most important component in making delicious dishes. The ingredients, sure. The knives, the cooking surface, and, of course, the cookware. The freshest ingredients, sliced paper-thin by the best knives, can still turn into an inedible mess if your pots and pans stick or cook unevenly. When you want reliable cookware that is non-stick - and that will stay non-stick - hard anodized cookware is an excellent choice. What is it? Why not just use stainless steel? Is anodized aluminum cookware safe for you and your family? This guide will answer your questions so that no matter if you're preparing haute cuisine for an elegant dinner party or you're filling the role of short order cook for your kids, you'll have nothing but the best.
hard anodized cookware

What is Hard Anodized Cookware? - This type of cookware is made of aluminum that has been through the anodization process: a piece of aluminum is submerged in a bath of sulfuric acid and then exposed to low electrical charges. Aluminum oxide is produced from the combination of aluminum and oxygen. The sulfuric acid is cooled to 32 degrees F or 0 degrees C. The electric charge is amped up, and the end result is hard anodized aluminum. Quite a process for a pot or pan! Why go through this extensive process? Hard anodization provides the aluminum cookware with several key benefits for any chef:

*The surface is virtually non-porous, which means your food is far more resistant to sticking (which also makes clean up much, much easier!).
*The surface of anodized aluminum cookware is twice as hard as stainless steel. It is the strongest cookware available today.
*This cookware is very resistant to corrosion and scratching - you can even use metal spoons, spatulas, and whisks without damaging the pans.
*Hard anodized aluminum won't chip or peel like other non-stick coatings.
*They offer quick and uniform heating, which can make or break a dish.
*Most anodized aluminum cookware is safe for the oven and broiler.

One of the most common concerns is whether anodized aluminum cookware is safe: aluminum is a heavy metal, and when used for storing food (like canned vegetables) or for cooking food, it can leach into the food. This creates a safety risk for those eating that food. Aluminum is found in everything from foil and cookware to antacids, table salt, and baking powder. Today, you will notice that aluminum cans, such as those used for soda, have a layer of plastic on the inside so the beverage or food does not come into contact with the aluminum. Only a very small amount of the aluminum you come into contact with enters your bloodstream, and at these levels it is not harmful. Some people do store more aluminum in their bodies (particularly those with constant exposure or those with kidney disease), and this can pose a serious health risk. So what about anodized aluminum cookware? About.Environment says that anodized cookware is actually safer for you and your family than stainless steel. Stainless steel combines several metals, including molybdenum, chromium, and nickel, which can leach into your food. If your stainless steel cookware becomes pitted, this would be a concern. Anodized aluminum cookware provides a safer alternative because the electro-chemical process locks the aluminum in so it cannot get into your food. In addition, they do not react with acidic food. The aluminum is locked away and poses no threat to you. In fact, this is very probably the safest form in which you can utilize aluminum. Hard Anodized cookware reviews - We found plenty of research done on this type of cookware. Consumer Reports does testing on various cookware sets and rates them all - including hard anodized sets. Only-cookware.com, Epinions, and Amazon all offer up reviews - mostly done by actual owners of the cookware - so you get to hear pros and cons for many of the brands before making a decision. Top brands are KitchenAid, Calphalon, Rachel Ray, Earth Pan, Cuisinart Chef's, and Anolon. You can browse the best selling hard anodized cookware sets here.

Best Anodized Aluminum Cookware:

Who better to have in the kitchen with you than Emeril Lagasse? Emerilware Hard Anodized Cookware was named by ConsumerSearch as the Best Budget Non-Stick Cookware, and ConsumerReports rated it on durability, ease of use, design, and cooking performance, and found it an excellent choice as well. The Emerilware 10-Piece Set is a great place to start, and it offers superior nonstick surfaces, very easy cleaning (just a wipe with a damp cloth and you're done), ergonomically designed handle, oven-safe to 450 degrees F, and tempered glass lids oven-safe to 350F. The set includes 8- and 10-inch fry pans, 2- and 3-quart sauce pans with lids, 3-quart saute pan with lid, and 6-quart Dutch oven/stock pot with lid. For extra ease and convenience, the sauce pans feature straining lids and pouring spouts with flared rims - which makes clean up on your stovetop much easier as well. Emeril's 10-Piece Set is a bit under $200, a great value for top quality cookware. When searching for a great hard anodized cookware set, you can't help but encounter Calphalon. 3Luxe, a site which reviews endless products and creates a short list of the 3 best, named Calphalon anodized cookware as one of their luxe picks. Calphalon One Infused-Anodized 8-Piece Cookware Set combines, according to 3Luxe, the best of traditional pots and pans with the ease and performance of nonstick cookware. This beautiful Calphalon set features a 3-quart chef's pan, 4.5-quart sauce pan, 8-quart stock pot (each of which have lids), and 10- and 12-inch fry pans. Calphalon uses an "exclusive, breakthrough anodization process" to allow the nonstick coating to penetrate deep below the surface for exceptional nonstick cooking and performance. The stainless steel handles are long and ergonomically designed, the stainless steel lids trap heat and nutrients, and the cookware is safe to use with metal and plastic utensils. All are oven- and broiler-safe to 450F, and the set carries a lifetime warranty. The one drawback to the Calphalon set is the price: it lists for an incredible $875 (they'd better be the only pans you'll ever need!). Luckily, you can find them on Amazon for about $400. If you want the quality and beauty of Calphalon, this is the place to get it. ConsumerSearch also chose the EarthPan Hard-Anodized Cookware as the Best Alternative Cookware. The Earth Pan 10 Piece Cookware Set falls under the category of "green cookware": EarthPan is PTFE and PFOA free, and the nonstick coating is made from sand. These pans need 33 percent less energy to cure than other nonstick pans. The pans are oven-safe up to 600F and work on all cooking surfaces, excluding only induction cookers. They are safe for the dishwasher, but hand-washing is recommended to ensure durability. The set, which includes 1.5-quart sauce pan with lid, 2-quart sauce pan with lid, 8- and 10-inch skillets, 3-quart saute pan with lid, and 8-quart stockpot with lid, is packaged from at least 50 percent recycled (and 100 percent recyclable) fiber with lid. In addition to being well reviewed by ConsumerSearch, ConsumerReports, and Amazon users, the EarthPan set's price also recommends it: the set lists for $200, but you can find it for $130. There is a large variety of excellent, safe, anodized aluminum cookware available. View the top rated hard anodized cookware sets here, and rest assured that you are cooking safely for you, your friends, and your family.