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New technologies and manufacturing techniques are fantastic until they’re not. Sadly, this is the case with many early non-stick pans. Most early non-stick pans used a Teflon coating that was slick and non-porous to create that non-stick cooking surface.
Manufacturers and consumers were unaware that pots and pans with a chemical coating could release those chemicals during the cooking process. As the chemical coatings are heated to high temperatures, they are more likely to release harmful chemicals.
Newer cookware is both non-toxic and non-stick. What is the best non-toxic, non-stick pan? We are so glad you asked.
Top 5 Non-Toxic, Non-Stick Pans
While the old guard and cooking conglomerates are finally coming around, many new brands focus on non-toxic cookware materials. Did you know that even stainless steel pans can leachnickel and chromium into foods?
It’s surprising but true. Many of the leading non-toxic cookware options rely on non-toxic coating options. A great example is a ceramic-coated cookware, which is generally considered much safer than toxic metals or Teflon-coated cookware.
1 - Caraway
One thing that can feel overwhelming about traditional brands is that a complete set is 16-pieces. That many pieces of cookware take up a whole bunch of space and can be prohibitively expensive.
Caraway cookware is beautifully designed so that you can feature it as home decor if your space is limited. It is beautiful and functional.
Caraway is one of our favorite non-toxic cookware brands because they’ve designed their cookware set to include the essential pots and pans you need. Those four Caraway pieces include:
- Fry Pan (10.5 inches)
- Sauté Pan (4.5 quarts)
- Sauce Pan (3 quarts)
- Dutch Oven (6.5 quarts)
For most people, this is all you might ever need. Caraway cookware is made from a stainless steel base and handles, which feature a naturally nonstick, mineral-based ceramic coating.
While many cookware sets leach harmful chemicals, Caraway’s intelligent construction avoids this. Caraway is non-toxic cookware free from harmful chemicals, such as lead, cadmium, PTFE, and PFOA.
Many ceramic cookware makers use aluminum core materials rather than stainless steel. In contrast, Caraway is durable stainless steel cookware that evenly distributes heat. The stainless steel core is then coated with a multi-ply layer of ceramic, which further enhances the product’s longevity.
It’s oven-safe up to 550 degrees and compatible with all stovetops. If you think that is an odd statement, some nonstick cookware doesn’t work with induction stovetops, so versatility is critical here.
Smart, Purpose-Made Accessories
Beyond the beautifully designed and functional non-toxic cookware, Caraway makes innovative accessories too. The Caraway Magnetic Pan Rack enables you to stack your Caraway pots and pans upright on their sides. The rack works as well inside a cabinet as it does on a countertop.
Storing pots and pans horizontally rather than stacking vertically will help you avoid scratches and chips.
This helps you avoid unsightly cabinets featuring piles of pots, pans, and lids. While the Magnetic Pan Rack isn’t designed to hold the lids, Caraway’s Canvas Lid Holder works perfectly for this purpose. The Canvas Lid Holder fits perfectly on the back of a pantry door, inside a cabinet door, or even on the side of a fridge.
If there is one downside to Caraway, it’s that the cookware isn’t dishwasher safe. Bummer. Still, if you are looking for a nonstick pan that is also nontoxic, Caraway is a serious contender worthy of consideration.
Caraway Pros & Cons
Sometimes it takes a modern brand to jump into the scene in an age-old industry to fill a missing gap. That feels like what Caraway has done with cookware. Caraway streamlined the traditional 16-piece cookware set down to an essential 4-piece set.
They designed those four pieces with bold colors and beautiful styling. Each piece in the set includes a ceramic, non-toxic coating, which makes it one of the safest cookware brands on the market. Then consider that they also offer pan and lid storage solutions, and you start to realize how much value Caraway offers.SUMMARY PROS
- Beautiful colors and styling
- Not scratch-resistant
- Full set is non-stick
- 4-pieces is all you need
- Pan rack and lid holder available
2 - GreenPan
Someone needs to be the pioneer, and in the case of healthy ceramic nonstick cookware, GreenPan was the first-mover back in 2007. This is underselling the movement, even.
Original nonstick coatings were derived from plastics, and chemicals were utilized to create the non-stick sheen. Some of these chemicals are now known as “forever chemicals.” GreenPan changed the game by introducing a nonstick coating derived from ceramic, which the company dubbedThermolon.
All of the GreenPan cookware is PFAS- and PFOA-free. None of the GreenPan pots and pans are made with lead or cadmium.
The GreenPan corporate operations include a dedicated research and development team to analyze every component of the cooking experience. You won’t need to worry about potentially toxic fumes with GreenPan.
There are other unique features too. Some GreenPan collections feature silhouette rivets. While rivets provide strength and durability to cookware, food snags on the rivets, and they are a pain to clean. The silhouette rivets allow for a flat surface in alignment with the rest of the pot or pan’s interior.
GreenPan is all about innovation and quality. The tempered glass lids are oven-safe up to 425 degrees for most collections.
Some brands look at sustainability as something obtained once, at the creation of a product. GreenPan, on the other hand, realizes sustainability requires consistent self-reflection and innovation.
So, GreenPan considers every facet of their production process as they assess the brand’s sustainability practices.
The factory is 30% solar-powered, the water is filtered through an in-house filtration system, and the manufacturing process produces 60% less CO2 during curing. Recycled aluminum materials are used as a raw material for the pans.
These are hard decisions that many companies avoid as much as possible. GreenPan owns these decisions and acts as a leader in the space.
GreenPan Pros & Cons
GreenPan is the brand responsible for creating a healthy ceramic nonstick pan in 2007. My favorite thing about GreenPan is they set out to create a new pan and company because they wanted to make the world a better place. The founders created GreenPan when they found out how toxic conventional nonstick pans are.
Thermolon is the original healthy ceramic nonstick technology avoiding PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium. It doesn’t have any “forever chemicals” found in traditional nonstick pans, making GreenPan one of the original non-toxic cookware brands on the market.
GreenPan strives for sustainable practices, including a factory that runs on 30% solar energy and their own wastewater treatment plant.SUMMARY PROS
- Original ceramic nonstick pan
- Too many choices for some
- Sustainable focus
- Expansive portfolio
- Pan rack and lid holder available
3 - Our Place
If you are looking for THE non-toxic, non-stick pan with a cult-like following, the Our Place Always Pan must be at the top of the list. If you think I am exaggerating, the Always Pan has over 25,000 reviews (averaging a 4.6 rating).
The Our Place Always Pan is designed as a do-it-all pan that is versatile enough to replace your fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, nonstick pan, spatula, and spoon rest. Wait. Spatula and spoon rest? Yes, indeed.
The Always pan comes with a nesting beechwood spatula with integrated spoon rest.
The pan is made with a nontoxic ceramic coating that avoids bad-news materials, such as PFOAs, PTFEs, lead, cadmium, or toxic metals. The body is made from sturdy aluminum, which facilitates even heat distribution, while the ceramic coating does the rest.
If you like the Always Pan, you will love the Perfect Pot. We thought it was impressive that Caraway consolidated the traditional cookware set down from 16 pieces to four pieces, but with the Our Place Always Pan and Perfect Pot, you have nearly everything you might need.
Interesting Extensions and Accessories
The Always Pan comes with a nesting steamer basket and colander, but it is significantly more functional than that. You can add a handwoven Spruce Steamer, which is perfect for making dumplings. Delicious.
And if you want to get the “Dinner for 4” set, Our Place offers four hand-painted porcelain plates, and four handmade stackable glasses in a set with the Always pan. That’s not all. It comes with beautiful bowls, too, creating a true one-of-a-kind and beautiful set.
Often, simplicity is better than complexity, which is the case with nonstick pans. Cast iron may be functional and beautiful, and pure ceramic cookware may be the cream of the crop, but a brand like Our Place rethinks what cookware should be. As a result, they’ve created just what you need—nothing more, and nothing less.
There is no reason to sacrifice quality and function for a synthetic chemical like PFAS. Our Place makes safe non-stick pans with a cult-like following that you just might find yourself following.
Our Place Pros & Cons
While Caraway took the liberty to streamline the traditional 16-piece cookware set down to only four pieces, Our Place went even further. The Our Place team designed one do-everything pan and one perfect pot, and that might be all that you need on most occasions.
The Our Place Always Pan has a near cult-like following. Don’t believe us? The original Always Pan has more than 25,000 reviews (and is rated at 4.6 stars). The Always Pan replaces as many as eight traditional cookware pieces, including a built-in spoon rest for the beechwood spatula.SUMMARY PROS
- Very versatile pan
- Some may like a larger size
- Built-in spoon rest
- Stay cool handle
- Nesting steamer basket & colander
4 - Bialetti Ceramic Pro
While this list of non-toxic cookware is driven by newer brands or start-ups created solely to deliver non-toxic, non-stick cookware, Bialetti is different. Bialetti was established back in 1919 and might be best known as a cornerstone of Italian coffee culture.
Bialetti expanded beyond coffee, and they now have a broad spectrum of cookware choices. Bialetti also features aluminum interior options, so read carefully before buying. Still, the bright side to their hard-anodized aluminum pans is that they are safe for metal utensils and much more scratch-resistant than most ceramic nonstick coated cookware.
Since we are focused on identifying the absolute safest cookware materials, we will highlight the hard anodized Ceramic Pro cookware set. It is a 10-piece set, which is much more expansive than the 2-piece Home Cook Duo offered by Our Place but still more streamlined than a traditional 16-piece set.
The riveted stainless steel handles are comfortable to hold and offer a secure feel as you work your stovetop magic.
PFOA-Free Nonstick Ceramic Surface
The Bialetti Ceramic Pro cookware is safe for gas and electric stovetops and oven safe up to 400 degrees. This versatile and oven-safe cookware allows you to confidently sauté, sear, simmer, roast, and bake. Like the other options on this list, the Ceramic Pro series includes non-stick pots and a versatile pan.
The PFOA-free nonstick ceramic coated cookware provides excellent release, which is healthy in more ways than one. The most obvious is that you don’t have to deal with toxic fumes since there is no PTFE coating, and the ceramic is PFOA-free.
The second significant health benefit is that when you cook with nonstick-coated pans, you don’t need as much cooking oil. While a bit of cooking oil will add some flavor, you don’t have to add too much cooking oil since the food should easily slide and release.
Bialetti Pros & Cons
The Bialetti name is iconic in Italian coffee, but you may not have known that they make cookware too. The Bialetti team isn’t solely focused on ceramic-coated cookware. If you need some stainless steel cookware that is dishwasher safe, Bialetti has you covered.
Bialetti cookware is very affordable compared to some of the alternatives, but if you want to settle for nothing less than the best non-toxic cookware brands, you should start with Caraway or GreenPan, that are almost solely focused on becoming the best non-toxic cookware brands. Bialetti is known for coffee, after all.SUMMARY PROS
- Less focused than other brands
- Available through Amazon
- Oven safe to 400 degrees
- Set includes 10 pieces
5 - Great Jones
Last but not least, you have to consider Great Jones cookware. Great Jones was inspired by Judith Jones, who was a cookbook author influenced by the likes of Julia Child and James Beard. The cookware and bakeware lineups are designed to bring great cooking products to the masses.
Great Jones doesn’t exclusively use ceramic-coated pots and pans, but the Large Fry, and large frying pan, is a 10+ inch nonstick frying pan made with ceramic coating. You should avoid using metal utensils to prevent scratches or chips, but the Large Fry is oven-safe up to 500 degrees.
While the Large Fry is not metal utensil safe, it is dishwasher friendly. Still, hand washing will prolong the use of your non-stick, non-toxic pan, as the dishwasher can weaken the ceramic coating.
For best results, Great Jones recommends adding some low-moke point oil or butter to the pan and allowing it to simmer over medium heat before you add any food.
Great Jones is perhaps best known for their Family Style set, which includes The Dutchess (dutch oven), Big Deal (8-quart stock pot), Deep Cut (sauté pan), Saucy (saucepan), and Small Fry (frying pan). Most of the set is made from food-grade stainless steel, while the Dutchess is cast iron and the frying pan is ceramic coated.
Pots and Pans With No Rivets or Screws
Great Jones is the only cookware listed that avoids rivets! The handles are welded to the body of the pots and pans. As a result, there are no screws, rivets, or seams to trap food scraps (and bacteria).
The welded handle is a smart and safe design that reflects the founder team’s time in professional kitchens. Great Jones set out to build better cookware, and small details like the welded handle add up to make a big difference.
Owning a frying pan without rivets is a luxury you didn’t even know that you needed, but it makes cleaning easier than even the other nonstick cookware listed above.
Great Jones Pros & Cons
There is much to love about Great Jones. It is a modern brand paying homage to some all-time great chefs. We love that there are no rivets on the interior of the pots and pans, but the dutch oven is cast iron, and only the frying pan is non-stick. The other items are part of a stainless steel cookware set.SUMMARY PROS
- Sophisticated design
- Not all products are non-stick
- No Rivets
- Laser-etched markers
- Restrained product line-up
Types of Non-Toxic Cookware
You might never imagine that your stainless steel pots leach nickel, but they do. Choosing ceramic-coated stainless steel cookware like Caraway solves this problem. Still, there are several other options featuring differing construction techniques.
But before we dive into products, you may want to consider, let’s mention which products you should avoid. Avoid Teflon-coated nonstick cookware, copper cookware, and non-coated aluminum cookware. Any cookware that is scratched or chipped should be discarded. Even stainless steel cookware that is badly nicked can leach chromium and nickel.
The best non-toxic cookware is made with a mineral-based ceramic coating or carbon steel, and both surfaces are largely non-stick. Ceramic nonstick coated cookware has grown in popularity, one of our favorite choices.
There are pros and cons to utilizing ceramic cookware. On the bright side, it might be the safest cookware you can buy. The cooking surface is usually free of metals, polymers, and chemical-derived coatings. Plus, the ceramic nonstick coating is usually dishwasher safe.
On the downside, a ceramic coating may not be scratch resistant. Unfortunately, the most durable and scratch-resistant surfaces are heavy metal surfaces like stainless steel and aluminum. Of course, glass cookware can damage or fully break as well.
Since the ceramic coating is usually added on top of a stainless steel or aluminum core, it is at least less susceptible to damage than glass cookware.
The reality is that the safest cookware brands utilize ceramic coatings on their cookware at this point, so the key is to understand how to care for them properly. While many brands are dishwasher safe, the dishwasher may weaken the coating over time. Your best bet is to avoid metal utensils, and hand wash your cookware.
Carbon Steel Cookware
Carbon steel cookware acts as a middle ground of sorts. It is exceedingly durable, but it isn’t the non-stick surface you might hope for in your frying pans. Chances are you will need to use oil, butter, or lard, which impacts how healthy your meals might be.
Still, carbon steel is derived from iron and carbon, neither of which is considered toxic. In that sense, Carbon steel is non-toxic, and when adequately seasoned it can be more naturally nonstick than some traditional cast iron surfaces.
While carbon steel is trendy, it isn’t a perfect solution for those seeking a nonstick cooking surface.
Enameled Cast Iron
Enameled cast iron is an interesting case study. We love Le Creuset cookware. The enameled cast iron skillets and other pots and pans are beautiful. The only trouble is that some people don’t consider enameled cast iron as non-stick.
Beyond that, the exterior of the enameled cast iron may include lead. We were hard-pressed to leave Le Creuset off the list, but ceramic nonstick coated cookware fits the bill better.
Enameled cast iron cookware is worth considering for your kitchen, but there are non-toxic cookware brands more specifically focused on any potential leaching to toxin release.
An ever-popular Lodge cast iron skillet might release iron. This may be beneficial if you are anemic, but enameled cast iron cookware at least solves this concern. Still, if you are genuinely focused on finding non-toxic cookware, it is probably worth considering one of these other brands.
Finding The Safest Cookware Brands
While old-school nonstick cookware was potentially harmful and shown to release toxic chemicals, newer nonstick coatings are much safer. Nonstick pots and pans can make your life much easier, so researching which options might be best is worth your time.
Generally speaking, ceramic-coated pots and pans is a great place to start. Enamel-coated cast iron pans, like those made from Le Creuset, are also very popular.
Are Any Non-Stick Pans Safe?
Nonstick pans can make life much easier. There may be no worse kitchen duty than scraping scrambled egg remnants from a pan. There is no debating that the nonstick surface is a game-changer. The only question is whether these nonstick frying pans are safe.
Fortunately, most ceramic cookware is truly safe and nontoxic. Cast iron retains heat, but it will be up to you to determine whether that cast iron pan is genuinely worth it when ceramic pans offer a viable alternative.
Best Non-Toxic Cookware
If you are looking for affordable non-toxic cookware, Bialetti, or some other brand you can find on Amazon, it might be your best option. Still, the ceramic-coated cookware built and sold by Caraway, GreenPan, and Our Place are all fantastic options.
If you are on a budget, Caraway has trimmed the traditional 16-piece cookware set down to a 4-piece cookware set, which saves you both space and money. Our Place takes this a step further by trimming its portfolio down to one very versatile pan and one do-everything pot. This approach also saves space and money.
Great Jones could be your best option if you want a non-toxic, non-stick pan but still appreciate some versatility. Great Jones’ primary cookware set features a non-stick frying pan, and a cast iron dutch oven, and the remaining pieces are made from durable stainless steel.
Our Favorite Non-Toxic, Non-Stick Cookware
While cast iron skillets are fantastic, they aren’t quite up to snuff when picking the best non-stick, non-toxic cookware. Carbon steel pans are popular, but ceramic-coated pans provide the most natural nonstick surface, eliminating the need for excessive oil when cooking.
Our favorite cookware brand isCaraway. Their non-stick cookware is also non-stick, and the overall product portfolio includes smart solutions like the Magnetic Pan Stand and Canvas Lid Holder. We also think the colors and styling are beautiful.
Many non-toxic cookware brands have emerged in recent years, and all have drawbacks. Most aren’t dishwasher-safe or safe for metal utensils. Still, as long as you know how to care for ceramic coating properly, these are the safest cookware brands.
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