In a hurry? My pick for the best ceramic pans and cookware set is the Cuisinart Advantage Ceramica Set.
Nowadays, there are legitimate concerns about certain chemicals that can find its way into our food through cookware. Common non-stick coatings contain chemicals such as PTFE, PTFA, and PFOA.
While they might yet prove to be fully safe, these coatings release gases and chemicals when overheated. The result? Potentially mild to severe toxicity.
This is where ceramic cookware comes into play — the glazed interior of ceramic cookware provides a non-stick surface that’s free of the above chemicals.
But how can you find the best ceramic pans? This is where my own experience and research can help you. In this post, I reveal the key criteria I look for in ceramic pans.
When people first hear the word ceramic in relation to cookware or pans, some immediately think of clay pots. Fine, but – clay is fragile and breaks easily. However, ceramic cookware is formed and shaped, then baked in a kiln at high temperatures.
This process creates a long-lasting, durable, and robust material that’s less prone to damage. After being baked in a kiln, the cookware is covered in a glaze that provides the non-stick surface. Furthermore, the glaze also provides stain resistance.
For non-stick cookware, many chefs and cooks grab a ceramic pan — here are a few reasons why:
Although ceramic cookware doesn’t contain chemicals such as those found in other non-stick coatings, there are still a few things to watch.
Depending on where cookware is made, the quality of the clay and glaze used can be questionable. In some colored glazes, traces of heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, have been found.
As you’re cooking, these compounds can leach into the food as the glaze heats up. Furthermore, if the ceramic cookware gets chipped or cracked, there could be flakes of ceramic or glaze in your food!
When buying ceramic cookware, it’s important to look for a mention that it’s lead and cadmium-free.
When it comes to cookware, the term “ceramic” is quite vague — does it mean solid ceramic cookware or merely the coating? The tricky thing is, not many manufacturers disclose which ceramic type the cookware is.
The first difference you’ll notice between the two is the price — solid ceramic cookware is significantly more expensive. But is it necessary to spend those extra bucks?
Although ceramic-coated cookware is trending, it isn’t fully ceramic. This type of cookware is generally constructed of aluminum, then dipped in a synthetic ceramic coating that provides the non-stick surface.
Although the base is synthetic, it’s made of silicon and other inorganic compounds. These bases don't contain potentially harmful chemicals.
Solid ceramics, on the other hand, are made using a simple clay and water mixture. This is then poured into stainless steel molds to produce a solid ceramic pot or pan.
The cookware is then hardened in a kiln and left to rest where it hardens using several rounds of heating. Manufacturing solid ceramic cookware can take anywhere from 14 to 25 days.
Ceramic-coated cookware is generally lighter due to the aluminum base. A word of caution, though — aluminum can pose a health risk if not coated. Ingesting large amounts (for example, due to a damaged coating) of aluminum can cause issues such as muscle weakness, pain in bones, and even seizures.
The ceramic coating is soft, which means it might be easily scratched. It’s important to use soft utensils, such as silicon or wood.
Solid ceramic cookware is heavier and gives a good “feel” when you’re cooking. Furthermore, it doesn’t contain any metals such as aluminum, so it is probably safer to use. However, it’s prone to cracking and chipping if not cared for properly.
So, which is better? I would say that’s a question of personal preference. I prefer solid ceramics due to the heavy-duty feel and natural materials. In saying that, ceramic-coated cookware is an excellent budget option if you don’t want to spend several hundred on cookware.
Furthermore, ceramic-coated pans are more durable and less prone to chipping and cracks. It’s also an excellent option compared to other non-stick cookware that might contain PFOA or PTFE.
Now that you know a little more about the basics of ceramic cookware, here are the points I use when looking for good ceramic pans and cookware:
First, decide whether you’ll use it mainly on the stovetop, or do you need cookware that can also be used in the oven?
If you want to be able to transfer your meal from the stovetop to the oven easily, the cookware needs to be oven-safe. Ideally, it should also be able to handle temperatures between 400 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
This will give you versatility in the dishes you’re able to cook — maybe you can even bake a pie or biscuits.
If you prefer the easy way, go for a dishwasher-safe ceramic pan. This will save you time and effort — ideal for busy parents.
In saying that, ceramic cookware, in general, is meant to be hand-washed due to risks of chipping or other damage. Luckily, due to the non-stick surface, ceramic pans are relatively easy to clean with warm, soapy water and a sponge. In some cases, you can merely wipe a pan using a paper towel.
Although I get it – I'm a parent – it's better if you always hand wash your dishes — even the dishwasher safe ones.
We all want the best value for our money; however, that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on the right cookware. Good-quality ceramic cookware will have a “heavy” feeling when you’re cooking — as we discussed above.
Furthermore, the lid should be tight-fitting to prevent it from sliding around. This will also help keep heat and moisture in the pan. The handles should also be firmly attached to provide you with a secure grip as you’re handling the cookware.
More high-end solid ceramic cookware is also more durable, meaning you can use metal utensils without causing damage to the surface. However, this is mostly a feature of more expensive pieces.
The benefits of full sets are that you get matching pieces, and in some cases, it’s more cost-effective to buy sets versus individuals. Furthermore, many sets include utensils as well.
However, before setting your eyes on a 15-piece set, consider the storage space you have in your kitchen.
Ceramic cookware can be more fragile compared to other types of cookware, such as stainless steel — however, when cared for properly, ceramic can last you a long time. Here are a few handy tips on cleaning and maintaining your ceramic cookware.
Caring for your ceramic cookware starts before the first use.
There are many dishwasher-safe options on the market today; however, hand-washing is best. The dishwasher uses harsh detergents that can, potentially, damage the non-stick surface.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when cleaning:
The best way to store your ceramic cookware is by placing a paper napkin or pan protector between each pan or pot. This is especially important if you stack cookware in your cabinet.
Ceramic-coated cookware works best at a low to medium heat. The aluminum base is an excellent heat conductor, meaning it distributes the heat quickly and evenly. Due to the quick heating, there’s no need to turn the heat up to full blast all the time.
Furthermore, it’s important to use soft utensils when cooking. This includes nylon, silicone, and wooden materials. Metal will scratch the non-stick ceramic coating for many sets.
On the other hand, solid ceramic can be used at high temperatures because of its manufacturing process. Because it’s hardened in a kiln through a long process, the material can withstand extreme temperatures.
Some ceramic cookware will require you to season it before use. Do this by applying a small amount of oil, then heat it until the oil settles into the pores of the ceramic. The seasoning enhances the non-stick coating as well as helps to protect it from damage.
The manufacturer will let you know whether or not your cookware requires seasoning and how to do so if needed. However, avoid using cooking sprays since these will leave a residue that will build up over time.
Virgin olive oil is another no-no if you’re cooking on high heat. Olive oil can’t withstand high temperatures and will leave a small carbonized layer.
The Cuisinart Advantage ceramic set includes:
The entire set is highly durable and made with an aluminum base and titanium-reinforced ceramic non-stick interior. It’s entirely free of PTFE, PFOA, and PFOS.
Furthermore, the aluminum base provides an optimal heat distribution while eliminating hot spots that will cook your food unevenly. It’s also oven-safe in temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
The handles are comfortable to hold and remain cool even while on the stove, thanks to the contoured silicon. Additionally, the handles are riveted, which makes them durable and sturdy.
Pouring pasta water from a pot can end in a mess; however, this cookware features tapered rims that make pouring much easier.
The tempered glass lids enable you to see everything that’s going on inside the pot or pan. Moreover, the lids are resistant to breakage and fit tightly on the cookware to keep heat and moisture inside.
A lifetime warranty covers the entire set.
The GreenPan Valencia Pro Ceramic set includes:
The cookware is made of hard-anodized aluminum that provides maximum durability against wear and scratches. The Magneto base provides an ideal heat distribution and retention while preventing hot spots.
GreenPan has designed a unique Thermalon Minerals Pro ceramic non-stick coating that’s free of PFAS, PFOA, cadmium, and lead. This means you can safely use the cookware on high heat without having to worry about the coating releasing harmful fumes.
Furthermore, the coating is highly durable compared to other ceramic and non-stick coatings. You can even use metal utensils when cooking — searing, braising, and deglazing is also easier on the GreenPan surface.
The riveted handles are made of polished stainless steel and feature an ergonomic design that’s comfortable to hold.
It’s safe to use the cookware in the oven at temperatures of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit — or 425 degrees with the lid. Also, it’s dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.
This GreenPan Lima set includes:
The Lima collection is an excellent choice for passionate home cooks due to its high-quality and durable construction. You get 12 pieces in the set — all constructed from hard-anodized aluminum, which provides excellent heat retention and distribution.
This set features GreenPan’s signature ceramic coating, which provides a non-stick surface free of chemicals and metals. It’s safe to cook a variety of dishes and won’t cause toxic fumes to form.
The riveted stainless steel handles are ergonomically designed to provide you with a secure and comfortable grip. Also, they can withstand oven use in temperatures of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit without a lid. Note that the lids are oven-safe in temperatures of up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
The drip-free edges make it easy to pour water or soups from the pots without leaving a hot mess. Additionally, the cookware set is backed by a limited lifetime warranty that covers damage and breakage.
This T-Fal Initiatives set includes:
This T-Fal ceramic cookware set is made of durable aluminum with a ceramic non-stick coating. Each piece features a heat base that provides even heat distribution for optimal results.
Thermo-Spot technology lets you know when the pan or pot is at the right temperature by changing color. In addition, the cookware is safe to use in ovens at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
The non-stick ceramic coating is resistant to stains and scratches—it can, further, withstand high heat at temperatures up to 570 degrees Fahrenheit on the stove. Additionally, the cookware is free of potential toxins, such as PFOA, cadmium, and lead.
When dinner is over, and it’s time to clean, simply place the cookware in the dishwasher and enjoy a rest.
Here’s what you’ll receive with the WearEver 15-Piece set:
This cookware set from WearEver is made of heavy-gauge aluminum with a ceramic coating. The manufacturer indicates that this set is highly resistant to scratching and stains, and is free of toxins such as PTFE and PFOA.
A stand-out feature for me is the aluminum base, which distributes heat evenly and quickly — even on low to medium heat. Also, it’s safe to use in the oven at temperatures of up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The non-stick ceramic surface is safe to use at 700 degrees Fahrenheit without it forming fumes.
The riveted handles provide a sturdy grip, and the silicon makes it resistant to heat and more comfortable to hold.
This Calphalon 11-Piece ceramic set includes:
This cookware is made of durable hard-anodized aluminum with a ceramic non-stick coating. The aluminum base provides excellent heat distribution and retention.
Each pot and pan is equipped with a few handy features, such as measuring marks, pour spouts, ands integrated straining holes in the lids. The lids fit tightly to keep moisture and heat inside and are made of tempered glass.
You can safely transfer your cooking from the stovetop to the oven with this set — the cookware is safe to use in temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
A full 10-year warranty covers the entire set. Calphalon claims it’ll replace any broken or defective items if cared for properly.
This T-Fal Initiatives ceramic set includes:
This heavy-gauge aluminum cookware provides an optimal heat distribution and retention. The ceramic non-stick interior makes cooking and cleaning a breeze — you also won’t have to use as much oil or butter.
Additionally, the coating can withstand temperatures of up to 570 degrees Fahrenheit and won’t emit harmful fumes. You can also safely use the cookware in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
A limited lifetime warranty backs the set.
Ceramic cookware offers durability as well as an alternative approach to non-stick coatings on pots and pans.
In my opinion, the best ceramic pans and cookware set is the Cuisinart Advantage Ceramica Set. It’s made with a durable aluminum core and coated with a titanium-reinforced ceramic non-stick coat. It provides an optimal heat distribution, is safe to use on any stovetop (as well as the oven), and it's easy to clean.