All the best ceramic cookware sets have one thing in common. They're all made using non-toxic materials that are better for your health— and better for the environment too.
In this guide to non-toxic cookware, we'll explain the difference between different nonstick cookware materials and highlight a few of the best ceramic cookware sets and brands on the market today.
Which cookware is better: ceramic or nonstick?
If you're shopping for a new cookware set, you're probably wondering what material to choose. First things first, you'll want to select a cookware set made with a nonstick finish. Not only does the nonstick surface cut down on clean-up time, but it also helps protect foods from sticking, ripping, and burning. Though each material offers its own advantages and disadvantages, most chefs and health experts agree that non-toxic ceramic coatings are the best option on the market. To understand why, let's examine a few common coatings:
Teflon or PTFE
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)— better known as Teflon— is a common coating for budget nonstick cookware sets. Though they're great at preventing food from sticking during cooking, mounting evidence suggests that the material may be hazardous to your health. Over the past decade, Teflon cookware has dropped dramatically in popularity thanks to a number of lawsuits and eyebrow-raising studies.
When heated over 500 degrees, nonstick pans made with PTFE-based coating begin to release harmful fumes. Studies have linked the chemical to several serious health conditions, including thyroid disorders, kidney and liver disease, testicular cancer, and infertility.
Even worse than PTFE, Teflon is made with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). In fact, all Teflon products on the market today are PFOA-free. Though you won't need to worry about it when purchasing a new ceramic nonstick cookware set, it's important to be aware of the dangers of PFOA when purchasing cheap nonstick cookware or used cookware made before 2013.
Alarmingly, 98% of participants in a 2003 CDC study tested positive for PFOA in their blood. The chemical has been linked to several adverse health effects, including autoimmune disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and reproductive health problems like miscarriage, low birth weight, and birth defects. It's best to avoid PFOA-laced nonstick cookware altogether if possible.
Ceramic coated pots and pans offer a safer, non-toxic alternative to Teflon that's still just as effective at preventing food from sticking to the pan. While some ceramic coated cookware is made of pure ceramic, most are made of aluminum with a nonstick ceramic coating. Unlike a traditional nonstick coating, it doesn't contain chemicals or releases harmful fumes when heated to high temperatures.
The only downside of ceramic cookware is that it's less durable than its chemical-filled alternatives. In general, ceramic coatings are more brittle and can wear off faster. But with proper care, your ceramic cookware set should last for years and years to come.
Hard-anodized aluminum is another Teflon alternative that's quickly growing in popularity. Though technically not a nonstick coating, it makes the pan harder and more durable. Unlike uncoated aluminum, it won't react with acidic foods or leave behind a lingering metallic flavor.
The Best Ceramic Cookware Set
Caraway's best-selling clean cookware— like this Ceramic Cookware Set— is free of PFOA, heavy metals, hard anodization, and PTFE like Teflon. Instead, it's made with an aluminum core, a non-toxic ceramic coating, and a lightweight stainless steel handle. All of Caraway's ceramic pots and pans are oven-safe up to 550 degrees and can be used on any induction, gas, or electric stovetop.
This Caraway cookware set is a cult favorite, and it includes a 10.5-inch frying pan, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 4.5-inch saute pan with lid, and a 6.5-quart dutch oven with lid. This is the perfect ceramic nonstick pan set for healthy cooking. The best part is, the set comes complete with a practical pan and lid storage solution to keep your kitchen cabinets nice and tidy.
If there's one ceramic cookware set worth splurging on, it's this Home Cook Duo from Our Place. The two-piece set includes the eco-friendly cookware brand's best-selling Perfect Pot and Always Pan. Together, they can boil, crisp, bake, roast, steam, strain, and more! Both pieces are made of ceramic-coated aluminum that's free from potentially toxic materials like PFOA, PTFE, and other PFAs. Plus, the sturdy aluminum body heats quickly and evenly on all cooktops (including induction).
The Perfect Pot is a family-sized pot that can be used as a stockpot, saucepot, dutch oven, steamer, strainer, and more. It comes equipped with a wide pour spout, a multi-functional straining lid, and a roasting rack that doubles as a steamer. The other piece in the set is the Always Pan, a stylish pan that can replace everything from a frying pan to a steamer to a skillet. It also comes with a stainless steel steamer basket, modular lid, and generous pour spout. The Beechwood Spoons included were custom-designed to nest perfectly on top of your pots and pans while you cook.
When it comes to pots and pans, you want something that's versatile, practical, and built to last. This 12-Piece Versa Pot Cookware Set from Xtrema can do it all. The ceramic cookware set is made from 100% pure ceramic that's scratch-proof, chip-resistant, and completely non-toxic. All of Xtrema's cookware is triple-fired and ultra-purified at 2,500 degrees to ensure even heating and thermal retention. Unlike most other nonstick cookware, the durable ceramic material can go from the stovetop to the oven to the dishwasher to the fridge or even to the BBQ. The set includes 1.5-quart, 2.5-quart, and 3.5-quart pots with lids and a 10-inch skillet with a lid. Each piece comes with silicone handles to protect your hands during cooking.
The Better Ceramic Cookware Set
We categorized the below cookware to be "better" but not the "best." They are better than traditional Teflon but should be bought with caution because they are coated with Thermolon, which some believe to contain toxins.
Thermolon is a trade-marked healthy ceramic nonstick that is made by a Sol-Gel process in forming a coating layer. It is plastic-free nonstick and the first nonstick coating made without PFAS, PFOA, lead, or cadmium cooking surface. However, the full composition of Thermolon is unknown.
This Green Life Classic Pro Ceramic Cookware Set is a great option for budget-conscious shoppers who aren't ready to splurge on high-end ceramic cookware just yet. Each 12-piece set includes 7-inch and 9-inch frying pans, 1-quart and 2-quart saucepans with lids, a 2.2-quart saute pan with lid, a 5-quart stockpot with lid, and two versatile kitchen utensils. The scratch-resistant pans are made with a recycled aluminum body, healthy ceramic nonstick coating, and lightweight stainless steel handles. They're safe to put in the oven, wash in the dishwasher, and cook with metal utensils.
If you are seeking a ceramic skillet, Green Life offers a healthy power electric skillet.
Greenspan is one of the biggest names in nonstick cookware. Its innovative Thermolon ceramic coating is made without plastics, PFAs, PFOA, lead, or cadmium, so you can rest easy knowing you're cooking in something that's safe for your health and better for the planet. The eco-friendly cookware brand's Padova Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set includes everything you need to whip up a delicious feast: a 2-quart and 3-quart saucepan, a 5-quart casserole dish, a 3.3-quart sauté pan, an 8-inch fry pan, an 11-inch fry pan, and four coordinating tempered glass lids. Each piece is made with a thick, forged base, stay-cool handle, and an armored aluminum body with a durable ceramic finish.
Check out this pink set!
Williams Sonoma partnered with the clean ceramic cookware brand Greenpan to create their Open Kitchen cookware line. The durable hard-anodized aluminum pans are coated with Greenpan's signature Thermolon nonstick finish that's free from PFOA, PTFE, heavy metals, and plastic-based materials.
The ten-piece set includes 8-inch and 10-inch fry pans, 1-qt and 2-quart saucepans with lids, a 3-quart saute pan with lid, and a 5-quart casserole dish with a lid. Each piece is made with an extra-thick body, stainless steel handle, and tempered glass. They're heat-resistant up to 600 degrees and are safe to use with metal utensils.
If you are seeking the best ceramic nonstick pan, then you must check out this Premiere Pan Set by GreenPan. The versatile fry pan can be used for everything from searing and frying to browning and sauteing.
Each piece features the company's Diamond Advanced nonstick ceramic finish. The diamond-infused ceramic coating offers exceptional unparalleled heat transfer and durability that is metal utensil safe. Nontoxic and free of PFOA, PFAS, lead, and cadmium. The Evershine finish keeps the stainless-steel exterior vibrant.
Caring for Nonstick Ceramic Cookware
These useful tips will help your ceramic cookware stay looking its best for longer:
- Ditch metal cooking utensils— While a growing number of nonstick pans are safe to use with metal spatulas and spoons, it's still best to stick with wooden and silicone cooking utensils. These gentle materials won't scratch the delicate ceramic coating.
- Avoid steel wool and scouring pads— Similar to metal utensils, steel wool and scouring pads can damage the pan's ceramic coating. A long soak in the sink and a bit of elbow grease should do the trick.
- Replace old cookware— All ceramic nonstick cookware will need to be replaced eventually. No matter how well you care for your cookware set, the nonstick coating will eventually wear off over time. Pans that are peeling, flaking, or chipping are ready to be replaced with something fresh.
- Avoid temperature shock— Though your pans may be oven-, dishwasher-, and fridge-safe, you'll still want to avoid rapid temperature changes. Taking your pan straight from the oven to a freezing cold tap can cause warping and shorten product life.
- Never heat an empty pan— You should always add a bit of oil, butter, or food to the pan before heating. Empty pans can quickly overheat.
- Dishwasher safe or not- Most ceramic pans are dishwasher safe, but not all. Be sure to check the brand's care instructions before sticking it in the dishwasher.