Hard-anodized cookware are metal pots and pans made of aluminum that has been significantly hardened in an electrochemical process. This type of cookware is available from many companies. Although it is more expensive than traditional non-stick cookware, it has several advantages.
Hard anodizing is performed by placing the cookware into an electrolytic acid bath and applying electrical current to form an oxide coating. This oxide coating provides excellent abrasion resistance, according to aluminum finisher Duralectra, and can be very durable.
The treated surface of hard anodized cookware gives it a nearly non-porous finish, so the pots and pans are non-stick without an added non-stick coating that can lead to toxic fumes.
Aluminum provides a very even heating surface compared to other metals, but some people are concerned about the metal leaching into food. The hard-anodized surface prevents this from happening.
Hard-anodized cookware is resistant to chips, cracks, scratches and stains. Unlike coated non-stick surfaces, the hard-anodized surface stands up to metal utensils such as spatulas and spoons, although use of sharp utensils is not advised.
Most hard-anodized cookware is safe for use in the oven, but buyers should check the cooking guides included with the products to be sure. Manufacturers recommend washing the cookware by hand to prevent discoloration.