As if toxins and chemicals in foods weren’t enough to deal with, now consumers are faced with a new question – is there toxic stuff lurking in your cookware? Some prominent healthy lifestyle gurus certainly seem to think so.
Classic cookware, like stainless steel and non-stick, are now being accused of leaching toxic chemicals and hazardous amounts of heavy metals into food. The best ceramic cookware offers a solution to this. It’s totally non-toxic, but it also cooks evenly and quickly.
Let’s take a look at Xtrema, a popular ceramic cookware brand, and their 10-piece set and 28-piece cookware sets to see if it truly is a better way to cook.
What Is Xtrema Ceramic Cookware?
Xtrema cookware is a type of cooking and baking ware that is made from 100% ceramic material.
This makes it unique because it claims to be the healthiest cookware on the planet. Dr. Mercola, a healthy lifestyle guru, is one of the biggest proponents for using ceramic cookware (he’s got an extremely similar line of ceramic cookware, so keep that in mind).
These products are completely non-toxic, and contain no perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) coating, produce no chemical gas or odors upon heating, and contain no heavy metals to leach into food, like lead, cadmium, or aluminum. We’ve covered this in more detail in our guide “is ceramic cookware safe?”
Beyond being a healthy cookware option, it’s also supposed to cook your food better. It resists harboring past flavors from previously cooked foods. It also has a more even heating process and can cook your food from both the inside and the outside at the same time due to the heat conduction and retention.
As a bonus, you can use it on the stove top, in the oven, in the microwave, and even on the grill.
A company called Ceramcor makes Xtrema cookware.
It started back in 2007, and today it makes a wide variety of ceramic products. This brand prides itself on making cookware that is totally pure. They passed the required heavy metal leaching test required by the government for the past 14 years and have tested 100% metal free. All results have been published on their website.
The product itself is green, but the process of making Xtrema cookware is also green. They produce far less industrial waste and pollution than metal manufacturing.
Although Ceramcor is an American company, these products are produced in China. This works well for the company, as they explain that Chinese artisans have been making ceramic products for over 5000 years, and as such is a good resource for highly qualified and skilled ceramic workers.
28-Piece Xtrema Ceramacor Cookware Set
What’s included? The 28-piece Versa Cookware Set by Xtrema has some of the most popular pieces of ceramic cookware, and a few accessories. You get five saucepans, one skillet, 4 handle covers, 4 pot holders, a 6 piece nylon utensil set, and a silicone steamer with cover.
The first three saucepans are 16 oz, 1 quart, and 1.5 quarts. These are honestly quite small and are only good for heating up very small amounts of food. You can use the 1.5-quart pot to cook some grains or pasta in small servings. All three sauce pots have short handles and a lid for heating, simmering and storing food.
Next is the 2.5 quart and 3.5-quart saucepans. These have a larger capacity and work well for making larger dishes. You can make soups, cook vegetables, simmer sauces, and cook almost any other dish.
The 3.5-quart is the most versatile because it has so much space for cooking. The lid makes it a great choice for steaming, simmering, and storage.
Considered a medium-sized skillet, this 10-inch braiser/skillet with cover is a great multitasker. It’s supposed to be an all-in-one pot that can be used as a brasier when slow cooking meats, or used as a skillet for sauteing dishes on the stove top.
You can even use this dish as a casserole dish for baking, as it has a 2.5-quart capacity. The high sides also mean that juices or sauces won’t spill out over the sides. The ceramic glaze is naturally non-stick and makes browning meats or making omelets much easier.
Of course it’s not all great. The following is a great comparison with a cast iron skillet.
The short handles make the pot handles necessary because they get so hot. The silicone pot handles work well for cooking a dish where you need to steady the pan for the whole time. The cotton pot holders work great for grabbing the lids, setting the pots on the counter, or transferring them to the oven.
The nylon utensils are nothing special. They are included because they are recommended over wooden and metal utensils to help avoid scratching the surface of the pots. The steamer works wonders and veggies and fits in both the 2.5-quart saucepan and the 10-inch skillet.
This set would be great for someone who is just starting out and needs to get cookware from scratch, like a newlywed couple or a college-age student moving out on their own. It’s also a good place to start if you have decided to ditch all of your old cookware and are opting for healthier choices. Because of the sizes, it’s made more for a singleton or a couple versus a large family.
Ceramic cookware works well, but it’s more high maintenance than some other options. You have to use it correctly to make it last. If you aren’t careful, you can scratch the glaze or crack or break the whole pot.
There’s a good selection of saucepans, but most are very small.
Since larger saucepans and stock pots are kitchen cookware essentials, you’ll have to purchase them separately. There’s only one covered skillet, and it’s not very large. If you cook for many people at a time, such as a large family, you’ll certainly want to buy another large skillet or wok.
Xtrema 10 Piece Set
The Versa 10 piece set from Xtrema is a great place to start if you want to give ceramic cookware a try. It includes 1.5-quart saucepan, a 7-inch skillet, a lid to fit both, and few accessories.
The 1.5-quart saucepan is useful, but it is small. You can cook some sauces and some rice or pasta, but not much of it. It won’t get used much if you make mostly large dishes. The 7-inch open skillet is wonderful for cooking and frying foods, like amazing eggs, but again, it can’t cook very much food at one time.
The lid works on either dish and gives some extra versatility since you can store the dishes in the fridge.
The accessories are good to have if you’ve never used ceramic dishes before. The pot handles are a lifesaver if you have to steady a pan to stir something. The cotton pot holders are great for touching the lid or holding the skillet’s long handle. You’ll want the pot holders for just moving the dishes in general.
The nylon tools are okay. They’re good to get if you don’t have any non-scratching kitchen utensils already.
This is a fantastic starter set for any chef. If you were to buy this and love it, then it would be easy to purchase a larger skillet, a larger saucepan, and the Dutch oven pot and create a complete cookware system capable of handling nearly any dish.
Xtrema Cookware FAQ
1. How do you clean Xtrema cookware?
You can place it in the dishwasher with no problems. However, handwashing will cleaning ceramic cookware last longer. You can use any cleaner, including metal scrubbers and sponges.
2. How long does Xtrema cookware last?
Ceramic cookware generally lasts around 5 years, but Xtrema pans should last longer. Proper care (and not dropping them!) will extend their life to around 10 years.
3. Does Xtrema cookware have a non-stick surface?
Yes and no. The ceramic glaze has the natural tendency to repel foods, creating a sort of pseudo non-stick surface, but it’s not exactly Teflon (see ceramic vs Teflon). You should still use plenty of oil or fat when cooking your food to ensure it doesn’t stick.
4. Can you use Xtrema pans on a glass stove top or in the oven?
You can use these pans almost anywhere: gas or electric stove top, glass top stoves, gas, convection, or electric oven, broiler oven, microwave, toaster oven, grill, and dishwasher. You can’t use them on an induction stovetop because they don’t contain any iron.
5. What is the warranty on Xtrema cookware?
There’s a 10 year warranty on this cookware. That’s for normal wear and tear (scratching) or breakage caused by thermal problems (i.e., you went from cold to hot too fast, and it broke).
This doesn’t cover you dropping it or damaging it on your own. And be warned: it’s fairly easy to chip or break.
Ceramic cookware has some great health benefits. It’s a bit fussier than metal or non-stick, but with proper care, it works and cooks fantastically.
My favorite piece is the 10-inch lidded skillet. You can easily roast meat, boil and dress a pasta dish, or cook a casserole for my family with just that pan!
The Xtrema Versa 28-piece set contains a lot of things I just don’t need when cooking for many people; the small pans are wasted on me. The 10-piece set, however, may be a great trial run for any cook and can be a great basis for a ceramic cookware set.