wagner ware magnalite safety

Is Magnalite Cookware Safe to Use?

In Cookware February 23rd, 20214 Comments

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Magnalite is an aluminum cookware product that was brought into the market in the 1930s by the Wagner Ware. The product was a huge hit because it functioned better than the cast iron products in regards to heat retention and distribution.

This product saved the Wagner Company in the Great Depression. Although this product was a huge hit, it was also the downfall of the company after researchers decided to research the effects of aluminum on humans. In this post, we highlight some of the major findings of the company and help answer the question, “are Magnalite pots safe to use?”


Magnalite Cookware Material

Magnalite 1040819 Classic 5-Quart Dutch Oven with Rack, Silver

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The Magnalite cookware was designed by the Wagner Company in 1934. What is Magnalite cookware made of? The cookware is made of an alloy of magnesium and aluminum. The main idea behind the cookware is to have a different base and side thickness. The difference will improve the cookware’s heat conductivity. The product is oven-safe in temperatures below 350 degrees.

The product’s manufacture involves the pouring of aluminum in molds. The aluminum element is a good conductor of heat and has a quick reaction to changes in temperature, which is why it is used in the creation of Magnalite cookware. Its reaction to temperature changes allows you to cook with precise heat control.

You can find Magnalite cookware in form of pans, oval roasters, Dutch ovens, as well as stockpots.

Research Findings

Researchers, in 1965, aimed to identify the effect of aluminum on humans. To get their findings, they used rabbits, which were exposed to aluminum. The metal resulted in neurofibrillary tangling inside the brains of the animals. The researchers concluded that the ingestion of aluminum salts resulted in Alzheimer’s disease.

After more experiments on animals, researchers found that the animals that did not have aluminum in their systems were in better physical conditions and therefore did better when physical tests were carried out. Also, the offspring of animals that had aluminum were weaker.

Further research led the researchers to believe that aluminum played a huge role in kidney failure. The finding was because people who experienced kidney failure had higher aluminum levels than healthy people. Later on, the researchers discovered that the aluminum deposits were a result of kidney failure because the kidney has the purpose of removing toxins from your body.

The scientists in the modern-day, however, believe that Alzheimer’s disease is not associated with aluminum levels in the human body. The reason behind this is that the neurofibrillary changes resulting from aluminum do not match Alzheimer’s disease.

The World Health Organisation states that a human can take in 50 milligrams of aluminum daily. Foods that have the highest aluminum quantities are acidic foods, which include citrus fruits and tomatoes. A study was carried out to make tomato source in an aluminum pot for a period of two hours and proved that the quantity of aluminum was 0.0024 mg per cup.

Aluminum Effects on your Health

Research states that ingesting large amounts of aluminum will result in damages to the liver, respiration, as well as kidneys. These problems will then risk Alzheimer’s disease. The aluminum ingested in large amounts will turn into a dangerous toxin.

You will find aluminum in certain natural foods in small quantities. Aluminum is present in water and soil naturally. Therefore, the plants will absorb the element. You will find that foods such as vegetables, milk, meat, and grains have low levels of aluminum. Certain plants such as spinach, mushrooms, and tea, have the ability to absorb the element from soil. These plants will, therefore, have higher levels of aluminum.

Your body is likely to be exposed to aluminum with ease. However, it does not always symbolize danger. The body has the ability to remove aluminum. The liver should be able to remove the aluminum content in your body fluids and blood, releasing it out of the body through urine. The liver’s capabilities, however, are limited. If you ingest the element in large quantities, some of the body organs will be at risk of corrosion and other problems.

Effects of Aluminium Cookware on the Food

Aluminum is used in different ways including foil wrappers, pans, and pots. What is the effect of aluminum on the safety and quality of the food that is produced?

Research states that using aluminum in cooking food will result in the absorption of some quantities of aluminum in the food. Cooking with aluminum foil is more dangerous compared to cooking using other cookware made with aluminum. When you prepare baked meat that is wrapped in aluminum foil, the aluminum content in the meat will increase to levels higher than 80%.

Using Magnalite cookware in preparing your food will also lead to the absorption of aluminum microparticles. The aluminum levels are therefore increased even though it is by a smaller percentage.

The temperature and the type of food being prepared will affect the absorption rate. Some of the food components, including salts and acids, will increase the food’s oxidation power and aluminum will, therefore, be absorbed with ease. High temperatures also make it easier for food to absorb the element.

Is it safe to use Magnalite Cookware?

High levels of aluminum will be absorbed in your food if it comes in direct contact with untreated aluminum. If you leave the aluminum foil on salty or acid foods, it will be pitted after a few hours.

However, Magnalite cookware will not result in the absorption of aluminum in your body. Here is the reason why.

Most of the cooking utensils made using aluminum are anodized. That process will change the structure preventing the aluminum from being absorbed by foods, even salty and acidic foods. Most of the medical authorities and communities concluded that you can use anodized pots and other utensils without worrying.

Research shows that the body takes in the highest levels of aluminum through the skin and not the digestion system.

So you can be sure that Magnalite cookware is completely safe to use. Using the cookware will not result in the ingestion of aluminum through the food.

How to Decide on the Best Cookware for your Kitchen

One major way of ensuring Wagner ware Magnalite safety is by purchasing cookware made with anodized aluminum. Anodized aluminum is aluminum that goes through a process that increases the oxide layer’s size. The layer creates a boundary or barrier between the food you are cooking and the aluminum that is hidden within. It also helps increase the cookware’s durability.

In case you use cookware that does not have anodized aluminum, you risk ingesting higher levels of aluminum. To avoid that, you should prepare foods that are low on acid and salt such as potatoes.

If you have an anodized cookware set, avoid using utensils made of metal because they scratch the layer and might expose the aluminum encased inside.

In addition, be careful when washing your aluminum set. It should cool well before you wash it. The sudden temperature changes will deform the bases and will compromise the oxidized layer.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I put my Magnalite in the oven?

Magnalite cookware is made using aluminum coupled with a magnesium alloy that makes it a great heat conductor. Magnalite cookware can react well to temperature changes and will cook food from all sides, not just the bottom side. You can take your Magnalite cookware from the refrigerator straight to the oven without any chances of damaging the cookware.

The cookware has lids and vessels that are constructed from cast aluminum. The cookware is oven safe and the lids and handles are oven-safe to temperatures reaching 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  1. Where can I buy Magnalite cookware?

Magnalite cookware is becoming very popular in the market, which means that it is more and more available. If you want to purchase Magnalite cookware, you can find a wide range of options in different online markets, which includes Amazon. There are different options. Make sure to make the best choice.

  1. How do you season a Magnalite pan?

Seasoning a Magnalite pan is quite easy. You should do it each time you purchase Magnalite cookware or when the older seasoning wears off.

You need to preheat the oven to around 250 degrees, after which you should pour some vegetables or olive on some paper towel. Use the towel to spread the oil on the interior surface of the pan. Make sure you get every inch.

After that, put the cookware inside the preheated oven for at least one hour. After using a seasoned Magnalite pan, clean it immediately using some warm or hot water and wipe it dry.

  1. How to tell if Magnalite is anodized.

There are three main steps to help identify an anodized Magnalite cookware

First, check the metal’s texture. The anodized aluminum should have a matte finish. However, it does not necessarily mean it is anodized just because of that finish.

The second thing you should do is check the color. Try scraping a piece of the paint. If there is no paint coming off, it has been dyed. Anodized aluminum will allow the dye to seep into the finish.

Finally, try scraping it with a penny. Anodized aluminum is harder than the copper used to make a penny. If the penny leaves a copper streak on the cookware, then it is anodized.


Is Magnalite cookware still made? Yes, it is. It is much safer due to the extensive research that has been carried out over the years on aluminum. The companies that manufacture the cookware are careful to eradicate any chances of aluminum ingestion through food that has absorbed the element. You should be careful to ensure that the set you are using has an oxidized layer that will keep your food from absorbing aluminum.

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  1. My magnalite pots were a wedding gift in 1958. When I use them now they leave a black residue on the towel I dry them with. Are they safe? They are very discolored and how do I clean them? I am really concerned if I should be using them now. I need so guidance. Thank you for any help you can give me.

    1. Hi, Patricia
      The black residue is an oxide layer. Oxidation can be caused by acidic foods such as tomato-based food or washing the pots in the dishwasher.
      To clean any discoloration fill the pots with water, plus a few tablespoons of lemon juice, white vinegar, or cream of tartar. Boil for 10 minutes and drain. This should lift the dark coating, then you can sponge off with soap and water.
      Are they safe? Yes, they are safe to use as long as you keep them clean and well seasoned.

  2. My Magnilite pans were purchased in 1976. Were they anodized? Seems like this didn’t happen until later in.

    1. Hi Jill, No, they weren’t.
      Wagner Manufacturing developed and introduced the first hard-anodized cast cookware in 1979.

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