You’ve probably seen ceramic cookware marketed as a healthier, nonreactive cooking surface with enhanced durability and safety compared to other non-stick pans. But not all ceramic cookware is created equally, and it's still important to do your research before you buy.
In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at what ceramic cookware is, the versatile benefits it offers, and the best options for outfitting your kitchen.
What Exactly is Ceramic Cookware?
We hear the term “ceramic cookware” a lot, but it’s not often explained, and this can lead to uninformed purchases.
“There are two kinds of ceramic cookware—pure ceramic and ceramic coated,” explained Jordan Nathan, Founder and CEO of Caraway. “Ceramic coated cookware, like Caraway, has a metal core and a mineral-based ceramic coated interior. The metal core allows for better heat conductivity and allows the cookware to be much lighter than if it was built with 100% ceramic.”
One-hundred percent ceramic cookware is generally made from natural minerals like quartz sand or clay—and is usually finished in a kiln and may come with a special glaze. Whereas ceramic-coated cookware — which is what we’ll be talking about in the article — usually features a metal core (aluminum is most common) with a nonstick ceramic coating made from sand-derived silicon.
Though it's made from sand-derived silicon, the coating on ceramic-coated cookware is termed "ceramic" due to its glossy, slick appearance and texture. And it is often labeled toxin-free because it does not contain PFAS, PTFE, PFOA, cadmium, or lead, all of which have been used in traditional non-stick cooking options. Because ceramic cookware does not contain these harmful materials, there is no risk of releasing dangerous fumes if the cookware is overheated.
Our Top Six Places to Buy the Ceramic Cookware
Caraway designs products that make life easier and healthier, with thoughtful designs and high standards. “Our cookware has a mineral-based ceramic coating that’s entirely free of any PTFE, PFOA, lead, cadmium, and other harmful chemicals, giving you peace of mind while cooking,” said Nathan. In addition, Caraway's cookware is non-toxic with a naturally slick surface and a design that can complement any home.
All pieces in the Caraway Cookware Set feature a ceramic-coated aluminum core. They’re free of PTFE, lead, cadmium, and other toxic materials that you don’t want in your food. Caraway cookware is also eco-friendly, ethically manufactured, and packaged in sustainable materials with no single-use plastics. It's also oven safe up to 550°F and each piece is designed with riveted stainless steel handles to indicate where the pan's "hot zone" starts.
The Caraway Cookware Set includes:
- 10.5 inch Fry pan
- 3 qts Sauce pan
- 4.5 qts Sauté pan
- 6.5 qts Dutch oven
“When looking at the larger cookware market, Caraway stands out by being a high-quality, 100% non-toxic, non-stick ceramic cookware option made for the modern home,” said Nathan. “When looking at the more niche market of non-toxic, non-stick ceramic cookware, Caraway stands out through its unique and thoughtful design:”
"Caraway stands out by being a high-quality, 100% non-toxic, non-stick ceramic cookware option made for the modern home."
Caraway's cookware is offered in an array of modern, design-forward colors, fit for any home: Cream, Gray, Navy, Perracotta (Terracotta mixed with Pink), Sage, and Marigold. "[It's designed] to double as home decor—we encourage our community to show off their Caraway on the stove, countertop, dinner table, and more,” adds Nathan.
Its signature storage solutions, including a modular magnetic pan rack and canvas lid holder, are also included with the purchase of every set at no extra cost.
2. Our Place
Our Place is a people-centric company based in Los Angeles, California, and they believe home-cooked meals are a foundation to connection. Our Place invests in ethical production, responsible materials, and telling stories about real people in the vast, diverse communities that make up the United States. They’ve also partnered with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council to make good food more accessible for everyone.
Read more: I Tried the Cult-Favorite Always Pan and I'm Officially a Convert
The Always Pan from Our Place is a bit of a cult favorite and best-seller. It’s designed to replace several traditional pieces of cookware, including:
- Fry pan
- Sauté pan
- Non-stick pan
- Spoon rest
The Always Pan features a non-toxic, non-stick ceramic coating made without toxic chemicals and materials. In addition, it features a sturdy aluminum body for even heat distribution with lightweight (3 lb.) construction and a modular lid to let off steam. It also boasts pour spouts, a custom stainless steel steamer basket, a nesting beechwood spatula with integrated spoon rest, and a 2.6 quart capacity.
→ Shop now at fromourplace.com
3. Great Jones
Great Jones has been on a mission to empower home cooks since 2018. They believe in the power and pleasure of making a homecooked meal, and their products are designed to help you cook more confidently. They've developed their collection with some of the top leaders in the American food culture, and each piece is studied, custom-built, and thoroughly tested before it reaches the customer.
The Fry Family is one of many high-quality options from Great Jones. The Fry Family includes the company's best-selling non-stick skillets, the 10 ¼” Large Fry and the 8 ¼” Small Fry. Both frying pans feature a stainless-steel exterior with a ceramic non-stick interior, and they're oven-safe up to 500°F.
Read more: An Honest, In-Depth Review of Great Jones Cookware
The Fry Family is also non-toxic, dishwasher friendly, scratch-resistant, and induction safe. In addition, they feature a German ceramic coating that's healthy for you and the Earth, as well as an ergonomic handle and a rivet-free interior.
→ Shop now at greatjonesgoods.com
GreenPan™ revolutionized home cooking in 2007 when they became the pioneers behind PFOA-free ceramic non-stick cookware. Offering the first and best non-toxic alternative to traditional non-stick cookware, GreenPan's products are award-winning with many 5-star rated favorites that have thousands of rave reviews.
The GreenPan™ Revolution Ceramic Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set was recommended by Jessica Randhawa, head chef, recipe creator, and writer behind The Forked Spoon. This lovely set features a pure ceramic non-stick coating that's highly durable and safe for use with metal utensils. Each piece also uses DuraCore technology to provide an extra layer of hard-anodized material underneath non-stick coating for serious durability. In addition, the GreenPan 10-Piece Set includes:
- 8" and 10" fry pans
- 2-qt. and 3-qt. saucepans with lids
- 3-qt. sauté pan with lid
- 5-qt. casserole with lid
This set of non-stick pans is also designed to look new after years of regular use, and they're heat-resistant up to 600°F. With an Induction Plus magnetic base, the pans evenly transfer heat and resist warping on all stovetops, including induction.
GreenLife™ is dedicated to bringing healthy cooking within everyone’s reach. They have designed health ceramic non-stick cookware, time-saving appliances, and a range of other eye-catching products that'll bring a pop of color into your kitchen.
The GreenLife Soft Grip 16-Piece Cookware Set comes in six expressive colors with ergonomic, stay-cool handles that make everyday cooking more manageable. The pans are coated in sand-derived silicon that’s free from harmful chemicals with a quick-heating, recycled aluminum core. Clear glass lids allow you to see what’s cooking, and they’re designed for all stovetops except induction.
“Under $100, this 16-piece cookware set comes in 8 different colors and features cool-touch handles. As a bonus, the cookware is made with recycled aluminum and is lead-free and cadmium-free,” said Carrie Forrest, creator of Clean Eating Kitchen.
→ Shop now at greenlife-cookware.com
Cuisinart was introduced to America in 1973 by its late founder Carl Sontheimer, and it has been a universally recognized brand ever since. Cuisinart is built around a focus on culinary education and design innovation. Their commitment to innovative, high-quality products has won the brand numerous awards over the years.
The Ceramica XT Nonstick Cookware 11 Piece Set was recommended to us by Carrie Forrest. “Everyday cooks need convenient and reliable cookware,” says Forrest. “This set offers a variety of sizes along with neat features like tapered rims and tempered glass lids.” The set includes:
- 1.5 Quart Saucepan with cover
- 2.5 Quart Saucepan with cover
- 3 Quart Sauté Pan with cover
- 6 Quart Stockpot with cover
- 8" Skillet
- 10" Skillet
- 18cm Steamer Insert
You’ll have everything you need to sauté, simmer, braise, and boil delicious meals for every occasion. Each piece uses an aluminum core for quick and even heating with ergonomic silicone handles, tempered glass lids, and a chemical-free stain-resistant coating. They’re oven safe to 350°F and freezer safe for easy storage, and the set comes with a lifetime warranty.
What to Look for in High-Quality Ceramic Cookware
High-quality ceramic cookware is non-toxic, non-stick, and long-lasting. It doesn’t have to break the bank, but you’ll want to avoid lower-end ceramic cookware when possible.
“Not all ceramic cookware is non-toxic,” Nathan told Living Cozy. “In fact, many lower-end ceramic coatings are marketed as non-toxic yet contain trace amounts of toxins such as PTFE, lead, and cadmium after conducting third-party testing. When shopping for ceramic cookware, you should ensure you’re only considering high-quality and verified non-toxic options.”
So what else should you look for in the best ceramic cookware sets?
“To ensure you're purchasing quality cookware, you should seek out companies with sustainable and ethical manufacturing processes," advised Nathan. "Pay attention to whether they support certified manufacturing facilities and what their environmental footprint looks like.”
“Whether it be through unique colors or a sleek aesthetic, you should select cookware that you’re excited to show off in your kitchen."
Nathan also believes that much like a quality piece of furniture or work of art hanging on your wall, your cookware should play a part in your home’s overall design aesthetic and doesn’t need to be items you hide away until it comes time to cook. “Whether it be through unique colors or a sleek aesthetic, you should select cookware that you’re excited to show off in your kitchen," he added.
You should also pay attention to the construction of ceramic cookware before buying. “Look out for cookware that's thoughtfully designed with the user in mind," Nathan said. "Small details such as a steam vent or a bump on the underside of the handle to indicate where it’s too hot to touch can elevate the cooking experience.”
Why Use Ceramic Over Regular Nonstick Cookware?
“Most regular non-stick cookware is coated with a material called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon®. When heated to high temperatures, left on the burner for too long, or if the surface is scratched or chipped, a Teflon coating can release toxic chemicals into the air and into your food. These harmful additives can ultimately lead to a variety of health impediments,” Nathan told Living Cozy.
It's hard to top the convenience of cooking with non-stick cookware—what cook enjoys scrubbing burnt-on gunk out of a pan? Until ceramic-coated cookware hit the market, though, non-stick cookware came with some downsides, such as:
- Fluoropolymer coatings are often applied to give traditional non-stick cookware a non-stick surface. And PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) is the main chemical in these coatings, and it can break down with high heat and release toxic fumes that can harm humans and pets (especially birds).
- Until 2013, Teflon and many other regular non-stick pans were produced using PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), which has been linked to several health conditions.
- While dangerous chemicals like PFOA and PFOS have been largely phased out in the United States, they’re only two of many PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances). And these PFAS still used in many consumer goods and cookware.
High-quality ceramic cookware is free from PTFE, PFOA, PFOS, and PFAS, protecting you from this chemical nightmare cooking up on regular non-stick cookware. Instead of worrying about accidentally adding toxins to your food if you overheat or scratch your pan, ceramic cookware gives you peace of mind.
Plus, it offers enhanced durability and sustainability, making it a better choice for today’s homes. And, as Nathan mentioned, “ceramic has better heat retention compared to traditional non-stick cookware, allowing the pans to heat up quickly and cook food more evenly.”
“Ceramic cookware is great when changing cooking modes in a single recipe, as you can easily go from searing meat on the stovetop to placing the ceramic cookware directly in the oven to finish," said Jessica Randhawa, head chef, recipe creator, and writer behind The Forked Spoon.
"Ceramic cookware also tends to be denser, like cast iron. That density helps the heat radiate more evenly, avoiding hotspots that can happen with thinner non-stick or stainless-steel cookware,” adds Randhawa.
Ceramic Cookware Tips and Recommendations
Try to Avoid Metal Utensils
Some ceramic cookware is safe for use with metal utensils, but it’s best to use wood or silicone to make it last longer and avoid scratches — the last thing you want to do is ruin your lovely new nonstick frying pan by using the wrong type of utensils.
For those making the switch to non-stick, GIR from Pattern Brands has a great range of silicone cooking utensils that'll couple perfectly with your nonstick cookware set.
Check the Number of Pieces in a Set
What's the best nonstick cookware set for you? Well, it all depends on your needs...
Do you need an 11-piece set, or if you only need a few ceramic pans, would a smaller set like Caraway's 4-piece set suit you better? Consider the number of pieces (and which pieces in particular) you're looking to add to your collection to avoid cupboards filled with a 5-quart dutch oven or 3-quart saucepan you never use.
Check Induction Compatibility
Ensure the ceramic cookware you buy is compatible with your stovetop, especially if you have an induction cooktop. Most brands will have FAQs on their site to confirm whether their cookware is induction-compatible.
Ceramic Cookware FAQs
Is Ceramic Cookware Safe?
High-quality ceramic cookware is made from safe and toxin-free materials. However, low-end options may still include dangerous chemicals, so shop with quality and your health in mind.
How Long Does Ceramic Cookware Last?
“With proper care and usage, ceramic cookware can last for years,” said Jordan Nathan of Caraway. However, every brand has a different average lifespan, so check the FAQs before you buy to be sure.
Is It Dishwasher Safe?
Dishwashers can damage the ceramic interior/surface of your cookware, so try hand washing with soap and a non-abrasive sponge when possible. Most brand websites will share details about whether products are dishwasher safe. The best option for the longevity of your ceramic pots and pans is usually always to hand wash though.