You’re ready to upgrade your cookware from hand-me-down sets, or maybe you are outfitting a kitchen for the first time. You love the idea of copper, but it’s expensive. Stainless steel is durable, but it’s terrible with food sticking. Nonstick coatings may be toxic and bad for your health.
One greener option for nonstick cookware could be ceramic cookware. It provides a better surface for handling nonstick, and it comes in affordable choices designed for a variety of cooking levels. Let’s take a look at a few sets that could be right for you.
Best Ceramic Cookware Sets – The Top Picks
Here are some excellent new cookware sets. They are durable, offer exceptional variety, and help cover lots of different kitchen tasks. If you don’t know much about ceramic cookware, these are the sets to help you get started on a healthier, more eco-friendly path.
The Winner: GreenPan Valencia Pro
- Set Includes: 8'', 9. 5'', 11'' frypans; 2QT & 3QT saucepans with lids; 3QT skillet with lid; 5QT casserole with lid
- Magneto Induction Base: Incredible searing and browning on all stovetops, including induction
- GreenPan’s healthy ceramic nonstick coating is free of PFAS, PFOA, lead and cadmium, so it will never release toxic fumes even if it’s...
GreenPan Valencia Pro is a reliable set of ceramic cookware with a greener footprint and durable construction. It’s easy to use, accessible, and has a traditional look. Here’s what you need to know.
Materials and Construction
The cookware pieces in this collection use hard-anodized aluminum for their structure, which is durable and scratch-resistant. The base is induction capable thanks to ferromagnetic particles infused with copper. The structure is more reliable than traditional aluminum and cooks on all types of cooktops.
The interior uses a ceramic-based nonstick coating, Thermolon, which helps prevent food from sticking and can withstand a variety of cooking utensils, including metal ones. While you should always use gentle cooking utensils, it won’t ruin the surface if someone accidentally uses metal.
The handles are stainless steel, which doesn’t conduct heat as quickly, helping them stay cooler during cooking. The lids are glass with stainless handles, so you can keep an eye on your food without breaking the moisture seal.
The dark color of the exterior helps prevent scratches from showing and doesn’t stain with high heat. The pieces have straight sides in a very classic design with long handles that are comfortable to hold.
The interior is light gray, helping you keep an eye on browning and hiding any reactive stains from acidic or salty foods. They’re easy to clean, dishwasher and oven safe, and they go from the kitchen to the table with ease.
The nonstick coating stands up to a variety of food types and cooking tasks. It’s longer-lasting than some ceramic nonstick coatings, but be sure to allow the pans to cool and hand wash them to preserve the coating for as long as possible. Ceramic coatings don’t last as long as traditional coatings if you’re hard on your pans.
They withstand high heat without warping and can go in the oven safely. Although they’re technically dishwasher safe, the best thing you can do to make them last is hand wash carefully.
Temperatures are evenly distributed, and scorching is unlikely even with minimal stirring. Temperatures up the sides of the pot may not be quite as high, but if you stir soups and stews, the difference isn’t noticeable.
- durable ceramic nonstick surface
- induction capable
- minimal staining
- technically dishwasher safe but should be hand washed
Runner-up: Scanpan CTX
- Premium 5-ply construction optimized for professional-grade heat distribution. Ideal for all cooking surfaces, including induction.
- Satin-finished and stainless steel exterior
- Nonstick cookware that browns, braises, sears and deglazes.
Scanpan may not be a household name yet, but the Danish company has created a strong contender for eco-friendly nonstick cookware that hits the mark for many kitchens. Let’s take a look at this newcomer.
Materials and Construction
Scanpan also uses a safer nonstick alternative made of ceramic that helps prevent food from sticking while avoiding the toxic chemicals of traditional nonstick. The pots use brushed stainless steel for the exterior, which helps to hold even temperatures and avoids warping.
Handles are stainless as well and riveted to the sides of the pots for durability. Lids mix stainless with a glass piece to give you a look at your food without having to remove the lid. The interior is black, which avoids staining, and uses multiple layers of nonstick material melded into one for a durable finish.
Scanpan uses a modern design with a mix of stainless and glass. The exterior uses brushed stainless to hold off scratches and staining, while the dark interior helps keep the look and feel of the modern design.
The pots use straight sides for easy stirring, but the frying pans have quite a bit of curve to them, which might take some getting used to. The mixture of stainless and glass on the lid helps hold in the heat and allows you a peek of your food without having to disturb the cover.
The handles vary but are well balanced overall with wide grips. It’s easy to move the pot around even when wearing oven mitts.
The sets offer excellent performance with a durable nonstick surface, but it’s best to hand wash after allowing them to cool down. The curved edges make it easier to get food scraped from the sides if you’re using a spoon, but that can be difficult with a flat tool.
The lids will be a matter of preference. The design is unique and modern and may be something you either love or hate. They fit tightly and help prevent moisture from escaping while allowing pressure to release at the right time.
- modern design with stain resistance
- brushed metal finish goes well from kitchen to table
- comfortable handles
- a design you either love or hate
Budget Alternative: Cuisinart GreenGourmet
- 12-piece hard-anodized aluminum cookware set featuring scratch-resistant nonstick ceramic-based surface
- Water-based Ceramica nonstick surface won't peel off, free of PTFE and PFOA
- Superior heat conductivity resulting in less energy use; oven- and broiler-safe
Cuisinart offers a greener line of nonstick cookware that stems from their years of experience bringing quality cookware to kitchens everywhere. Here’s what you should keep in mind about their GreenGourmet pieces.
Construction and Materials
The pots and pans use hard-anodized aluminum for durability and better heat control. Traditional aluminum heats and cools very quickly with a high chance of warping, but the hard-anodizing process helps prevent heat damage and control heat better.
The handles are stainless steel to stay cool during the cooking process and are riveted to the sides for better durability. They use 70 percent recycled materials for a smaller environmental footprint.
The nonstick surface uses Cuisinart’s Ceramica material, designed to help food slide off, but it is a little more delicate than some other types of ceramic coatings. These will need to be hand washed for the best results.
Cuisinart’s design is traditional with dark brushed metal exteriors and dark interiors for a dramatic look. Stainless lids provide a nice contrast and look great when transferring from the kitchen to the table for presentation.
The sides are straight, giving you maximum space for stirring or for holding liquid-heavy dishes like soups. Frying pans are a traditional design as well, maximizing the amount of available cooking surface. Handles are well balanced but may dig into your hands with heavy dishes if you aren’t wearing mitts.
Cuisinart’s eco-friendly line offers plenty of chances to go greener, but the materials may end up being a little more delicate than some other options. They can go in the dishwasher, technically, but it’s hard on the nonstick surface. It’s best to let the pieces cool completely, then hand wash.
Overall, they provide even heating and few scorched spots as long as you watch how high the burners are set. Stirring frequently can help keep temperatures even. Make sure to use nonmetal kitchen utensils so you don’t scrape the nonstick coating.
- a greener alternative to traditional cookware
- easy to find in a variety of online and retail locations
- materials, especially the nonstick lining, aren’t as durable
Budget Alternative: T-Fal Initiatives
- SET INCLUDES: 8.5" Fry Pan, 10.5" Fry Pan, 11" Covered Fry Pan, 1qt Covered Saucepan, 2qt Covered Saucepan, 5qt Covered Dutch Oven, 4 Nylon...
- CERAMIC NONSTICK INTERIOR - Ceramic non-stick interior that resists scratching and staining
- DISHWASHER SAFE - Exceptionally durable dishwasher safe cookware for easy clean up
T-Fal is another budget alternative to higher-end nonstick cookware. The classic design and household name make this option suitable for beginners and those on a stricter budget. Let’s go over the Initiatives line.
Construction and Materials
T-Fal uses a heavy-duty aluminum for the body of the Initiatives line, making the pots lighter than the average stainless but still resistant to warping from heat. They have an even heat base for durability and better temperature control.
The interior uses T-Fal’s ceramic nonstick interior lining, free of traditional nonstick toxic materials. It uses heat resistant handles and glass lids to finish off the set.
The dark exterior resists staining and provides an excellent finish for going from the kitchen to the table for presentation. Straight sides give you plenty of room for stirring or frying, while the tempered glass lids allow you to look at your food without disturbing the seal.
The interior is a lighter gray, making it easier to check if food is done, but offering a forgiving surface for staining or scratching. Make sure to use nonmetal utensils to help preserve the interior finish. The design is overall traditional and a little dramatic.
T-Fal’s pots and pans offer good heat response with temperature control and few scorch marks. It’s technically dishwasher safe, but it will need hand washing to ensure the finish lasts as long as possible.
This is a good beginner set with plenty of capability for basic kitchen tasks, but it may prove to be untrustworthy for complicated kitchen tasks requiring high, precise heat. However, the handles are comfortable, and the finish is good enough for beginners with a little bit of care. Plus, the system is suitable for the oven up to 575 degrees.
- affordable and diverse set
- traditional design
- tempered glass lids
- may not handle precise cooking as well
Best for Small Kitchens: GreenPan Stackable Cookware
- Cookware Set Includes: 1. 6QT and 3. 2QT saucepans with glass straining lids, 6QT stockpot with glass straining lid, 10" frypan, 11" forged...
- Infused with diamonds, GreenPan’s Thermolon Diamond Advanced healthy ceramic nonstick coating is free of PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium, so...
- Metal utensil safe, our most advanced ceramic nonstick coating is diamond-infused for extreme durability, fast heating, and effortless...
The GreenPan stackable set provides small kitchens the chance to have a reliable cookware set without sacrificing too much space. It’s easy to store and features excellent materials. Let’s take a look.
Materials and Construction
The GreenPan set features a hard-anodized aluminum material that provides excellent heat distribution without as much risk from warping at higher heats. The interior materials use a diamond-infused ceramic nonstick coating to ensure durability and better performance.
Handles are a stay-cool material and provide excellent grip even with oven mitts on. They’re riveted to the sides for durability. Glass and metal lids offer durability as well while allowing you to check on your food without disturbing the seal.
The design is a good blend of traditional and modern, with straight sides and a dark color scheme but an innovative stacking capability. The lids use both glass and steel so you can stack without worrying about your lids cracking.
The overall look is traditional, and the finish helps prevent staining from reactive foods. The lids fit tightly to provide excellent moisture control while ensuring that the overall texture of the dishes is well done. It’s a great blend of old and new design with a crowd-pleasing overall look and feel.
GreenPan’s pieces fare a little better in the dishwasher than others, but you should still consider cleaning your pots after they’ve cooled with gentle soap and water. The handles are durable, and the exterior doesn’t stain or discolor with a variety of heat. Plus, they’re oven safe, providing versatility.
The lining is durable enough for a variety of cooking utensil types, but again, you’ll want to use something gentle to guarantee a long life out of your cookware. Each piece provides even temperatures with few scorched places and excellent performance for all-around cooking tasks.
- good blend of traditional and modern design
- durable nonstick interior
- hand washing recommended
When researching nonstick options, there are a few things to keep in mind about these green materials. Here’s what you need to know about how to choose the right set for your kitchen, and answers to a few questions you might have along the way.
What’s Wrong with Traditional Nonstick?
Nonstick, when it first arrived, was a miracle of modern ingenuity. It featured materials that practically lifted food from the surface without scraping or heavy use of oils. Unfortunately, we now know a little more about the chemicals used in these linings.
One of the most significant issues with traditional nonstick pans is that the lining begins to leach chemicals into your food when scrapes and scratches appear. The materials could potentially lead to health problems, because some of the chemicals used, like PFOAs (perfluorooctanoic acid), are carcinogenic.
The other issues have to do with manufacturing and disposal. The manufacture of these linings takes a heavy toll on the environment. Once you decide to replace those same pots and pans, the damage to the environment is even greater. Now your old pots and pans are in a landfill.
Now, nonstick coatings are still desirable, but the public would like to see more sustainable materials with other options for nonstick that don’t have such a significant impact on health and the environment. While these coatings may not be quite as magical as traditional nonstick, they are loads better for the environment and potentially for your health as well.
What Are Nonstick Alternatives?
Nonstick ceramic coatings aren’t actually ceramic. They use a silicon base made from sand, which is how the coating came to be known as ceramic. It creates a slick surface across the metal interior of the pan to help lift food from the surface with less oil.
The mechanics of this ceramic nonstick allow you to use less oil, but you need to be aware of what you’re getting. The durability of this surface isn’t as reliable as the traditional nonstick options, but they can last quite a while if you’re willing to care for them.
They have the potential to handle higher heat and don’t have the same chemical runoff that traditional nonstick does. However, the debate about whether these are truly good for the environment and your health isn’t always so cut and dry. If you want to be sure to avoid those materials, ceramic linings are the best choice.
How Do I Choose the Right Nonstick Set?
Choosing your nonstick set will depend a lot on your kitchen ability and budgetary needs. The good news for ceramic nonstick is that even though it’s a relatively new process, there are quite a few options out there that can fit any budget. Keep these factors in mind while shopping:
- Budget – Whether you need a highly affordable set or you can expand to something higher end, it’s possible to find a good nonstick set. It’s always better to get fewer, better-made pieces than to go for quantity only. But for outfitting a kitchen, most of the sets on our list are pretty affordable.
- Pieces – Your needs will depend on what kind of cooking you do, but a good goal should be at least one traditional frying pan and one traditional sauté pan with straight sides. Two sizes of saucepans and one stock pot can cover a wide variety of cooking tasks and needs. If you have particular cooking tasks, you can look for niche pieces like a griddle or odd-size pot.
- Design – Whether you love traditional or modern design, you’ll be able to find something you like. The conventional options for ceramic nonstick include stainless finishes and dark interiors, while other sets have modern lid designs and curved sizes. Plus, the colors and finishes will depend on your own preference and kitchen design.
- Space – Space-saving sets are excellent for small kitchens, but you don’t need more pieces than you’ll actually cook with. For most kitchens, five or six good pieces can cover everything you need for cooking, while more advanced cooking tasks may benefit from one or two extra pieces. If there is cookware you never use taking up cupboard space, it could be a good idea to get rid of it to make room for something you love.
How Do I Care for My Nonstick Pieces?
The best way to care for ceramic nonstick cookware is to wait for the pots and pans to cool down after cooking and gently wash by hand. Most will say that they’re dishwasher safe, but the surface will wear down more quickly with regular dishwasher use. Deglazing a pan with nylon or wooden kitchen utensils can be beneficial to hand washing later.
Watch how high you choose to heat your pan. Ceramic linings can heat up to 800 degrees without putting out fumes, but if you consistently scorch your pan, you’ll degrade the lining. It’s best to cook on as low of a temperature as possible, using high heat only when necessary.
Store pieces in a cool place, preferably with padding between the stacked pieces. Again, the easier you are on your pieces when cleaning and storing, the longer the ceramic lining should last.
If you understand that ceramic nonstick linings won’t last a super long time the way stainless steel will last, you’ll be able to find pieces that help you get your cooking tasks done with minimal sticking. Even traditional nonstick pans are not as durable as those without that lining, so you need to have realistic expectations.
If you want pieces that last, it might be best to opt for stainless steel and take care during the cooking process. If you want a budget set, or if the thought of cooking with stainless fills you with dread, ceramic nonstick pans offer a blend of traditional with new technology to make cooking easier.
Be gentle on the surface and commit to washing pots and pans by hand so that you get the most life and usage out of your pans. It’s essential to baby these linings as much as possible so that they have the best chance of lasting for a few years with peak performance and reliability. They are convenient for various cooking tasks while blending better performance with eco-friendliness. Your health might thank you.
Last update on 2020-07-05 / This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API