I recently bought a new cast-iron pan and I am enjoying very much the upgrade in the quality of my food.

As I understand it, the reason why food cooked in an cast-iron pan tastes better is that the pan heats the food more evenly (due to its thickness). On the other hand a main downside is that cast-iron cookware requires significant maintanance and care.

Is there a substitute that achieves the same effects as an cast-iron pan but does not rust? If the iron in an cast-iron pan was just replaced with another metal that does not rust so easily (but has a similar conductivity to iron) would the results not be the same?

  • 4
    Once seasoned correctly, I find my cast iron to be easy to clean and fairly maintenance-free. I have no rusting. Have you seasoned your pan? If not, check here: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/641/…
    – moscafj
    Dec 26, 2017 at 13:19
  • What if they make cast stainless steel? Wouldn't it be in every way better? Dec 26, 2017 at 16:48
  • @user3528438 That's exactly what I was thinking.
    – Ovi
    Dec 26, 2017 at 17:30
  • Cast iron also adds a bit of iron flavour -more so with acidic or liquid items
    – Pat Sommer
    Jan 3, 2018 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


It does exist, is the best of both worlds and what I use and it's called Enameled Cast Iron and I use Le Creuset...

  • It's cast iron below the enamel finish
  • Doesn't stick as much as real old-fashioned cast iron
  • lasts forever as long as you don't drop them. (Your kitchen tiles will break too)
  • once every 2-3 months boil them out with bleach for 5 minutes to keep them looking like brand new for >20 years...
  • 2
    - Well seasoned cast iron sticks less than enamel, - Enameled costs 3 times as much, - You can't heat enameled empty or it will crack. So no searing which is what I use my cast iron for the most. Dec 27, 2017 at 23:12
  • I'm happy for you: I did buy my last non-enameled cast iron pan about 5 years ago and it's sitting on the bottom of my bottom drawer (well-seasoned, still gets its yearly maintenance) but I haven't used it for 2? 3? years now... Which reminds me: I need to go season it again! :-)
    – Fabby
    Dec 28, 2017 at 11:22

The seasoning it makes it non stick - not the iron itself. In theory a heavy enough stainless steel pan would have roughly the same heat capacity but stuff would still stick.

There's a few modern non stick coatings - ceramic based ones that might work with a sufficiently heavy base. Essentially though, you want something I've not seen on the market yet.

On the other hand, babying your cast iron is both a modern thing and "modern" seasoning methods are meant to make it easy/consistant once you know what you're doing. As long as you use it oftenish, and don't completely strip out the existing seasoning without redoing it you should be fine.

In India, there was also a habit of simply coating cast iron in fairly heavy edible oil (I remember mom mentioning castor oil) and wrapping it in leaves (but we live in the modern age! Greaseproof or parchment paper would likely serve the same purpose), so much like with anything nice, it needs a bit of care and maintenance.

Also, cast stainless steel isn't a thing. Cast iron is a specific product and a specific alloy. You're likely better off forging steel, just to the same dimensions, and there's likely no magic in the fact that its cast. It just has very good characteristics and a good amount of heft

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.