Health care

The 6 Best Ceramic Cookware Sets Tested and Reviewed 2023

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Everyone wants a ceramic nonstick pan you can slide your eggs off of easily and onto your breakfast plate. Here’s the best ceramic cookware sets tested. 

We’ve all heard about the dangers of traditional PTFE nonstick, from contamination of waterways to possible toxic fumes. But ceramic nonstick is different. Relying on the time-tested benefits of earthenware pottery, the world of ceramic nonstick is as varied as it is eco-friendly. 

Some companies rely on slick ceramic surfaces as a stand-in for traditional nonstick, coating a metal core with a layer derived from natural substances like sand or earth. Other companies forego the metal entirely, for pans crafted entirely from clay. 

No matter which one you choose, you can be sure your ceramic pan is a whole lot healthier for both your family and the environment (if you really want to nerd out, read our guides to the best, safe, non-toxic cookware, and healthy, non-toxic bakeware for your kitchen all tested by our very own founder and editor-in-chief, Laura Klein).

What is Ceramic Cookware?

The category of ceramic cookware includes a range of offerings, including pure ceramic pans like Xtrema, and metal pans coated in a ceramic, such as Caraway or GreenPan. GreenPan’s proprietary coating is made with Thermolon, while Caraway uses Sol Gel, an inorganic, sand-based composition.

Of course, not all ceramic cookware is created alike. Some pans lose their slickness quickly or have poor heat conduction, and others, despite eco claims, aren’t much better than traditional nonstick made with a host of toxic chemicals that are detrimental to the environment.

As avid home cooks who like to nerd out, the Organic Authority team has done our due diligence and tested a wide array of non toxic cookware and non toxic bakeware (read our guides linked above). We fried eggs in these pans daily and tested their resistance to metal utensils, using them over the course of at least six months and, in some cases, several years. Drumroll, please… based on our testing, this is our list of top picks from GreenPan, Caraway, and Xtrema.

We do our best to update this guide regularly to shout-out any seasonal sales where Organic Authority readers can save big on non-toxic cookware brands. Sign up for the newsletter here to never miss an exclusive sale. 

Labor Day Cookware Sales are happening! Xtrema and Caraway Home are running Labor Day sales. To learn more about their sales, read on! 

Here are the 6 Best Ceramic Cookware Sets We’ve Tested

We’ve been testing ceramic cookware sets for over 10 years. Really! We stay away from the cheap stuff and one hit wonders. We’ve tested them all. Both end up in landfills within three months. It’s a waste of your time and money, and it’s bad for the environment. 

1. Most Innovative: GreenPan’s GP5

Ceramic cookware has improved by leaps and bounds since it first emerged on the marketplace, and there are many companies worthy of accolades for their continued innovation and commitment to excellence. No company impresses us more than GreenPan, whose new GP5 line takes full advantage of 15 years of innovation and development to deliver the most advanced ceramic nonstick collection yet. You can read more about GreenPan in our deep dive of the brand and our favorite GreenPan sets reviewed.   

Boasting the company’s proprietary Infinite8 ceramic nonstick coating, GP5 is notably twice as thick as many other pans on the market, which does give it a little more weight. That said, we appreciate a pan with some heft because the thick material is great for heat retention. We love the Balance Pro base, which flexes when heated so that oil stays where you put it.

Go for the 11-piece set for everything you need: a 3-quart saucepan with opaque lids, plus 9.5- and 11-inch frypans, a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and a 5-quart stockpot. It also includes dividers, three silicone utensils, and pan protectors. The collection also boasts a grill pan and additional frypan sizes.

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Best Modern Design: Caraway

If you want pans as pretty as they are high-functioning, Caraway is the brand for you. These sleek pans boast a vintage appeal and are available in nine different colors, so you can choose the one that perfectly suits your kitchen aesthetic. Classics include cream, blue, sage green, coral, and bright marigold, while the “Iconics” collection is available in black, white and silt green, each of which boasts a gold-hued handle.

Of course, these pans aren’t just about looks, with a non-toxic ceramic coating that’s built to last. So what if they’re a little bit heavier than other pans? They have fantastic heat conduction, and they’re induction compatible. To learn more about their ethos, read our deep dive into Caraway cookware sets and our brand review and interview here.

Caraway’s ceramic coated cookware sets come with a 10.5-inch fry pan as well as 3- and 4.5-quart saucepans, and a 6.5 quart Dutch oven, complete with opaque lids. Magnetic pan racks and a canvas lid holder allow for easy storage. If the set feels like too big of a commitment, you could also opt for the Mini Duo, featuring two of Caraway’s most requested products: the Mini Fry Pan and the Mini Sauce Pan. Designed for smaller portions, these lighter-weight pans are a phenomenal addition to any kitchen.

Exclusive Summer Savings! Save an extra 10% on Caraway Home Cookware when you shop our links through July 31st. Shop today before the sale ends and give your kitchen the summer refresh it deserves! Discount applied at checkout. 

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Best Pure Ceramic: Xtrema

As opposed to other brands on this list, Xtrema pans don’t have a metal core. Instead, this brand takes full advantage of thousands of years of ceramic cookware traditions, offering a proprietary clay collection boasting the beauty of pottery, the durability of porcelain, and the heat conduction of stoneware. You can read more about Xtrema cookware sets and the founder’s journey and why he made it his mission to create the cleanest cookware possible.  

The new redesigned signature skillet line from Xtrema boasts shallow side walls and a smooth cooking surface. Organic Authority EIC Laura Klein loves it for its even heat conduction and prefers it for low, slow cooking: it’s great for her shakshuka, spinach artichoke dip and more. The 9-piece traditions set, meanwhile, comes complete with 1-quart, 1.5 quart, 2.5 quart saucepans with lids and a 10-inch saute pan with lid. This ceramic cookware set also comes with a red pot holder to complete the set.  

Xtrema Labor Day Sale: Save 30% off site-wide, or more, + Extra 15% off orders over $275. Free tote bag and free shipping included on all orders. Use code OA15 to save an extra 15% off your order at checkout. Sale starts August 25th and runs through August 29th. Shop Now!

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Best for Searing: GreenPan SearSmart

You’ve probably heard that you’re not meant to sear in your nonstick, but that’s far from the case when you opt from top-of-the-line, non-toxic technology. Case in point: GreenPan’s SearSmart collection, which features a specially textured surface to better facilitate browning—key for flavor! Plus, these pans boast 40% more room than other pans from the brand. They’re not induction-compatible, but if you’re searing over gas or electric, they’ll do the trick. 

The 5-piece ceramic nonstick set comes with a 9.5-inch frying pan, a 2-quart saucepan, and a 3-quart saucepan. The saucepans both come with accompanying glass lids, making it easy to watch your favorite dishes simmer away. There’s also a 12-inch frypan available with a clear glass lid.

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Best Minimalist Aesthetic: GreenPan Venice Pro Noir

If you want a pan that blends effortlessly into your minimalist kitchen, then reach for GreenPan’s Venice Pro Noir. This sleek, designer-approved collection boasts matte black handles and stay-stainless steel exteriors for an oh-so-sophisticated finish, and glass lids mean you can watch your favorite dishes come together before your very eyes.

Of course, like the rest of GreenPan’s products, Venice is far from just a pretty face. These pans are total workhorses, with three-ply stainless cores and diamond-infused ceramic coating for a durable surface with maximum release, so you can flip the perfect pancake every time.

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Most Versatile: Green Pan’s Valencia Pro

The Valencia Pro is a bestseller and recent winner of the Good Housekeeping Sustainable Innovation Award. The judges were impressed with GreenPan’s sustainability efforts and product efficacy. “GreenPan makes cookware with strict quality assurance procedures to ensure the absence of heavy metals such as lead and cadmium and endocrine-disrupting fluorinated compounds from its ceramic nonstick coating.”

Valencia Pro is GreenPan’s best-selling set for a reason. Crafted from hard anodized aluminum, it boasts maximum strength and scratch resistance. Plus, unlike many other pans of its ilk, it works on induction surfaces.

The 19-piece set includes 8-, 9.5-, and 11-inch fry pans as well as 2- and 3.25-quart saucepans, a 3-quart sauté pan, 5- and 8-quart stockpots, an 11-inch everyday pan, 11-in griddle and an 11-inch grill pan. And with the exception of the frying pans, every item comes with its own glass lid. Add some pan protectors, and it’s everything you need. There’s also a 13-piece set which is a great place to start if you don’t need the whole shebang.

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Is Ceramic Cookware Healthy?

Given its construction, ceramic cookware is devoid of problematic PTFE and PFOAs, which can be dangerous for the environment. Not only has production of these substances been linked to polluted waterways, but PTFE may not be safe for humans and pets like birds if it heats up beyond 500 degrees Fahrenheit, as it is known to offgas. Safe at temperatures exceeding 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit for pure ceramic, or the still-very-hot 600ºF for ceramic-coated, this nonstick cookware is a healthier choice both for the home cook and for the planet.

What are the Disadvantages of Ceramic Cookware?

There are some downsides to choosing ceramic nonstick, notably durability. Ceramic cookware simply doesn’t last as long as traditional PTFE nonstick. You’ll need to be judicious about your use and care of your pans to keep them from wearing out too quickly.

How does Ceramic Cookware Stand Up to PTFE?

For some, this disadvantage is so pronounced that they opt, instead, for a solution that offers the best of both worlds: a modern PTFE nonstick skillet that does not contain PFOAs and will outperform ceramics in terms of longevity (which we’ve tested and is true, but the high quality ceramics on our list come close to longevity when properly cared for and maintained). MadeIn is a good option, with pans that are oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and that last around six to seven times as long as ceramic.

Made In nonstick cookware is a modern version of PTFE and is not ceramic. 

While MadeIn is a good option, it’s far from perfect. The PTFE supply chain is still problematic, and there’s still an outstanding question of how modern brands dispose of the PFAS chemicals used to make PTFE. If you’re interested in learning more, we’ve covered the issue of PTFE cookware safety in depth.

How to Care for Ceramic Coated Non-Stick Pans

Caring for ceramic-coated nonstick pans is similar to caring for any nonstick. Wash by hand and stay away from abrasive cleaning pads and metal utensils. Trust us: Even if the manufacturer says it’s OK to put them in the dishwasher or use with metal, steer clear to make them last longer and keep from scratching. We also recommend keeping them away from extremely high heat as well. Thoughtful care and attention really works!

Brands We Don’t Recommend and Why

There are loads of other green nonstick brands on the market today, so why didn’t they make it onto our list?

In a word: longevity. We’ve tried PTFE-free nonstick pans from Ecolution’s Bliss Line, Ozeri Green Earth, GreenLife Soft Grip, Cuisinart’s Green Gourmet 12-piece set, and Scanpan. In our tests, the coating deteriorated too quickly for us to give them a recommendation — and that’s even with hand-washing and wood or silicone utensils. You will be replacing them in 3 months, and you’ll be mad that you wasted your time and money. 

Consider a high-quality ceramic pan an investment — in your cooking, your health, and the environment! If you can’t buy a whole set, buy one or two pans that you think you will use the most often to start, and then build out your collection from there as needed.

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