Looking for a healthy and safe cookware alternative? Ceramic cookware fits the bill as being both nonstick and non-toxic (PTFE and PFOA free).
Our Top Pick: GreenLife Cookware
In guide we will be covering what makes ceramic a good choice and how you can go about choosing the best ceramic cookware that will fit your needs through our top picks and ceramic cookware reviews.
Kitchen Sanity’s Top Pick: GreenLife Ceramic Cookware Set
Our top pick is the 14 piece GreenLife nonstick ceramic cookware set with soft grip handles.There are 3 color options for you to choose from that might fit in with your kitchen’s décor.
As you’ll find out in this guide, it’s better to hang ceramic cookware instead of stacking which could scratch or chip the inside coating.
This set is quite light in weight and easy to handle due to its aluminum body. To prevent your food from coming in contact with the aluminum, GreenLife uses a Thermolon ceramic coating which is the key to help prevent food from sticking inside your cookware.
Now the manufacturer claims that the set is oven safe up to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, the handles don’t appear to hold up in the oven. So if you’re expecting to toss this set in the oven, we don’t recommend it.
Check out Kendra’s unboxing video and review. She has some great tips that we totally agree with when working with ceramic cookware.
So why did we choose this set as our top pick over the others?
The price is really hard to beat. If taken care of, the set should last quite a while. We recommend replacing after a year or two unless you notice the pots and pans deteriorating beforehand.
At first glance the quality may appear to be lacking because of how thin and light the cookware is. However, when used correctly and handled with care it shouldn’t be a problem.
The final thing that really stood out to us was that the lids also fit the frying pans!
14 Piece Set Includes:
- 2x Frying pans (6”, 8”)
- 1x Sauté pan with lid (10”)
- 3x Pots with lids(2qt, 6qt, 8qt)
- Bakelite BPA Free cooking utensils
SEE OUR FULL REVIEW: GreenLife Cookware Reviews
Types Of Ceramic Cookware
1. Ceramic Coated Cookware Sets
The following ceramic coated cookware set is by Bialetti, an Italian brand, but the cookware itself is not made in Italy.
While it didn’t make our top pick, it comes in a close second to GreenLife. Price and overall value affected our decision. Here is what the set includes:
- 2x Frying pans (8”, 10.25”)
- 2x Sauce Pans with lids (2qt, 2.5qt)
- 1x Stock pot with lid (5qt)
- 1x Deep Saute pan with lid (11”)
As far as we are concerned, they are pretty similar in quality to GreenLife, but offering less items for more money. The handles and styles are slightly different which might be worth it if you need larger holes to hang your pots and pans with.
Ceramic coated cookware comes in a few styles as well. The interior, exterior, or both can be coated with ceramic. In this guide we will cover interior coated ceramic cookware since this will have the most impact on your cooking.
The reputable brand T-fal introduced a 14 piece a ceramic cookware set that is budget friendly for almost any kitchen that is in need. They also offer a 16 piece set that brings our rating close to that of our top pick.
This set has everything you need to get started and includes: cooking utensils, 3 pots with lids, 2 skillets and 1 Egg Wonder frying pan. Yes, a small frying pan dedicated for eggs is included.
Ceramics are known for being nonstick, so perhaps this was their way of saying “yes it’s possible to cook an egg without sticking and we have the perfect pan for you!”
To top things off they include a limited lifetime warranty. Most brands offer 1 year because that’s typically around the average time when ceramic coated pots and pans start to fail.
Again, if you’re on a tight budget and need some pots and pans, the 14 piece T-fal cookware set is worth a look.
What are the differences between porcelain enamel and ceramic?
The difference between the two, since they both fall under the category of ceramics, is the temperature in which they were created. This temperature affects the ceramics ability to retain heat.
Ramekins and cake pans are often made with porcelain enamel because they don’t hold on to heat once removed from the oven. If they did, your baking would over cook while resting on the counter.
2. 100% Ceramic - Dutch Ovens & Casserole Dishes
100% ceramic pieces are usually baking dishes and Dutch ovens. Ceramic is durable but creating a frying pan with a ceramic handle just won’t work, there needs to some underlying structure to prevent it from breaking.
The Emile Henry ceramic Dutch oven, or stewpot, is made in France. Being completely made of ceramic, it can be used to cook food by virtually any method aside from induction. This includes microwaving, BBQ, and gas stoves.
The unique quality of this Dutch oven allows you to go from one temperature extreme to the next without fear of cracking the pot. For example, if you prepared a stew the week before and froze it inside the pot, you could take it out straight from the freezer and in to a hot oven.
It can be left roasting on an open flame with nothing inside and not succumb to cracking. This is great for those stewed dishes where you would want to sear meat before adding other ingredients.
These types of pots are able to retain heat very well. Imagine cooking soup and presenting this dish on the table. Even when your guests go back for seconds, the soup will still quite hot.
SEE ALSO: Staub vs Le Creuset
We love this pot but it comes at a price. The cost of creating these types of stewing pots is not cheap and the well-known branding doesn’t help our wallets either.
On the other hand, if taken care of it should last years rather than months.
Rachael Ray offers a casserole dish with a unique handle design and comes in 5 different colors.
You can use this casserole dish for pretty much anything from stews and pasta to soups and bread.
Unlike the Emile Henry Dutch oven, this dish doesn’t do well on the stop top or with extreme temperature changes. It’s more of a standard “oven” only piece that’s good up to 500F.
We like this Rachael Rays dish because the price is in the affordable range, and well, it’s just so pretty.
Ceramic Pros & Cons
- Use it for almost any type of cooking
- 100% ceramic can be heated to extreme temperatures but also retains strength in dramatic temperature differences
- Easy cleanup
- Lightweight - other cookware materials, notably cast iron, can be quite hefty
- Newer ceramic cookware is free of toxic chemicals
- Can’t use metal utensils with ceramic cookware otherwise it will likely get scratched
- Can be chipped, cracked or broken
- Using "high" cooking settings will likely damage ceramic pots and pans
- Ceramic coated cookware doesn't last forever
Is Ceramic Non-stick?
The coatings used on today’s ceramic cookware lead to incredibly nonstick surfaces. In fact, the reason why you’re considering buying ceramic is probably because you’re familiar with that.
The nonstick nature of this type of cookware not only prevents messes in the pan but makes cleanup that much easier. Another example of non-stick ceramic cookware is the CeraStone ceramic skillet / frying pan.
Ceramic Frying Pan
This ceramic skillet has an induction bottom which means you can use it on your induction cooktop which is unlike many ceramic frying pans that are included in sets.
Because there are no silicone or rubber parts on this frying pan you will be able use it in an oven as well. The manufacturer claims that it is safe to use up to 450F, we of course don’t recommend anything over 350 as with all ceramic cookware.
The pan is PFOA and PTFE free and coated with CeraStone’s Stone coat 2020 coating. So not only is it non-stick, it’s free of chemicals that could cause health concerns.
Overall, we like this pan because it’s one of few ceramics that is induction compatible and light weight using 2.88mm aluminum.
CeraStone also offers an 11” ceramic wok that is induction compatible. It has similar features to the above mentioned frying pan, but the wok has a silicone coated handle to help prevent your hands from burning while stir-frying.
Typically, cooking with a wok involves extremely high heat. The food doesn’t burn because you are constantly moving it around.
With a ceramic wok you can achieve the same effects as a steel wok with lower temperatures. In fact, you need to use a lower temperature or risk damaging the wok.
Versatility Of Ceramic
Ceramic cookware can be used on electric and gas ranges. If you have an induction stove, you will need to check with the manufacturer if their cookware is compatible. Some are and some aren’t.
100% ceramic baking dishes can even be used in microwaves, unlike metal cookware.
100% Ceramic has a strong resistance to thermal shock, so they can literally take the abuse of going straight from the freezer to cooking at high heat in your oven.
Forget store bought frozen meals, this makes it easy to spend an afternoon preparing meals and heating them during the week as needed.
Don’t try doing that with ceramic coated cookware as it could cause problems to the metal underneath and eventually the coating itself.
Ceramic Cookware Is Durable
A lot of people think of fragile clay pottery when ceramics come to mind. However, ceramic cookware is more closely related to brick, which is also ceramic - they’re both kiln-fired ceramics.
Ceramics are breakable and can crack and chip when placed under too much strain, but they certainly are not brittle.
Is Ceramic Cookware Safe?
Concerns about PFOA and PTFE in ceramics were a big deal a few years back and rightly so. Studies found traces of these chemicals in the Teflon coating. The chemicals would break down or cause toxic fumes at high temperatures.
Today we can find cadmium, PFOA, and PTFE free labels on most ceramic pots and pans because they use non-toxic coatings. The downside of these safer coatings is that they aren’t as durable or long lasting.
While ceramic coated cookware may be cheap to purchase, you’ll have to replace them once the coatings are wearing off. With some brands this can happen in as little as 1 year.
If you have older ceramic cookware you might consider replacing it. At the end of the day, it’s your health you should worry about and it makes sense to choose cookware that won’t affect you or your family in a negative way.
Heat Retention and High Heat Cooking
Ceramics retain heat better than other options so that you don’t have to use as much energy to cook with them - you can put your appliances on lower heat levels than you would have to with other types of cookware. This is also great for when you go back for seconds - even after turning off your stove, your food will be kept warm for some time.
On a related note, being able to pan sear meats is important for many home chefs. With 100% ceramic cookware you can cook your food at high temperatures without worry.
Ceramic coated cookware is a little different and usually should not be heated in excess of 350F degrees.
Read the manufacturer’s information to find out what a specific cookware can handle.
Ceramic cookware does a really good job of spreading heat evenly throughout so that there are no significant hot spots where one portion of your food gets cooked more than others.
Cleaning And Maintaining Ceramic Cookware
Ceramic cookware has fairly resilient cooking surfaces, but they still need to be cared for in order to get the most longevity out of them. Damage to their surfaces can greatly reduce their usability.
The best way to keep them non-stick is to keep them clean.
A great thing about ceramics is that ceramic glaze is resistant to bacteria and stains that are caused by acidic foods, like tomatoes.
Tips To Keeping Your Ceramics In Great Shape:
- Do not use metal utensils with ceramics. They can chip or crack your cookware. Wood, plastic or rubber utensils should be used. Be sure to read any information that comes with your cookware set, as some companies produce ceramic cookware that can be cleaned with steel wool, but many cannot.
- Handwash ceramic cookware. This will ensure that they last long and their non-stick properties are not stripped away.
- Do not scrape anything off the surface of your ceramic cookware. This can remove the coating that makes them non-stick. It rarely happens with non-stick ceramic cookware, but if stubborn food or residue won’t come off, after soaking in hot water any food particles should come off rather easily.
- Make sure to nest your ceramic cookware carefully. i.e. don’t stack them among heavy cookware or cookware with sharp edges.
- Use lower temperatures than you're used to to prevent ruining the ceramic coating.
- Season your cookware according to the manufacturers instructions. This sometimes involves heating the piece with just oil or milk for an extended period of time.
Not only are ceramics versatile, they are also durable and long lasting when taken care of. The non-stick properties of the ceramic and its coating are often prized over potentially hazardous Teflon which is prone to scratching.
The even heat spread of ceramic cookware helps tremendously in avoiding burning and under-cooking food. While ceramic coated pots and pans aren’t able to go to extreme temperatures, they still have the heat retention benefits as 100% ceramic.
Ceramic coated cookware is within reach of most budgets. Of course you could pay more if you prefer specific brands, higher quality, or the latest tech in metal and ceramic combinations.
Did you enjoy this ceramic cookware guide? Do you have experience cooking with ceramic? Let us know in the comment section below.