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The best ceramic cookware: Our review of some of the better products out there.

What is Ceramic cookware?

When you think of ceramic cookware, you usually think of vessels made of clay that is kiln-fired and glazed. For the purpose of this article on the best ceramic cookware, we are referring to the “new” ceramic cookware… pots and pans made of metal and then coated with a nonstick ceramic enamel. The last part of this article will provide some ceramic cookware reviews. Ceramic coated cookware is the newest generation of nonstick cookware, often touted as “green” cookware. This kind of nonstick cookware is resistant to scratches and chips.

The history of nonstick cookware

The history of nonstick cookware goes back to the 1960s with the invention of Teflon, developed by the 3M company. This was a true innovation, and at the time, a costly one. The first pans of this kind were manufactured by T-Fal. One of the reasons for the high expense was that the pans themselves were manufactured in the United States, then shipped to France for their nonstick coating, and then shipped back across the Atlantic for the American market!

Teflon based Cookware

The main benefit of teflon coated cookware was that it was nonstick and required the use of very little (if any) fat. Although teflon is stable and inert at relatively low temperatures, the gases that it gives off at higher heats can kill birds. Birds are notoriously susceptible to toxic gases (think about the proverbial canary in a coal mine), and while these gases most likely won’t kill humans, inhaling them can’t be good!

Ceramic “green” Nonstick cookware

The newest generation of nonstick cookware is touted as “green” because in addition to being nonstick (and requiring very little fat for cooking), ceramic coatings are truly inert and far less toxic than older nonstick coatings. The best ceramic cookware has a hard, durable ceramic surface that is very dense, so there are no microscopic pores for food to get caught in. Ceramic nonstick surfaces are made of silica (a.k.a. sand), the same material from which glass is made, and not PTFE (teflon).

PFOA & PTFE Chenicals in cookware

PFOA – stands for perfluorooctanoic acid. The chemical was developed by the 3M Corporation and sold to DuPont for use in manufacturing a nonstick coating for cookware. PFOA is also known as C8. Although Teflon products may contain only trace amounts of PFOA, but the chemical is persistent in the environment and has been found in low levels in the bloodstream of a sample of the U.S. population.

PTFE – Developed in the early 1960s, PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) is a fluoropolymer. PFOA is used in the manufacture of PTFE. PTFE is the nonstick coating itself, also known as teflon.

The Food and Drug Administration affirms that Teflon is safe for use provided it is used as intended. The main danger is overheating the pans, which causes the release of potentially carcinogenic gasses. The FDA recommends never preheating a pan, never leaving an empty pan on the stove or in the oven, using only low to moderate heat, using plastic or wooden utensils, and immediately discarding chipped or damaged pans, and (I LOVE this one), keeping birds out of the kitchen.

Although there is no direct evidence that PFOA causes health problems in humans, in 2006, the EPA launched a PFOA stewardship program. Eight major manufacturers agreed to participate in the elimination of PFOA use by 2015.

Ceramic Cookware versus Metal cookware

I’ll keep this section brief, as it could be its own (very long and detailed) article! Cookware can be made of many materials. Stainless steel, aluminum, copper, cast iron, enamelled cast iron, cast aluminum, and anodized aluminum are the most popular materials. Cookware can even be made of silver!

Next comes cladding. Many manufacturers layer different metals to enhance heat performance (stainless steel with a copper core is the most popular). Then we have the coatings. Copper lined with either stainless steel or tin is a classic example.

That said, every material has its benefits. Stainless steel is, well, stainless. But it isn’t a great conductor of heat. Copper is wonderful. If you have a gas stove. And a lot of time to polish it. Uncoated aluminum was the cookware of choice for your grandmother. And cooking in untreated aluminum has been (tenuously) linked with dementia. And of course there is cast iron, which needs to be seasoned. And enamelled cast iron, the best (and only) choice for a dutch oven…

The main benefits of the best ceramic cookware over metal is that they are very easy to clean, and they require very little fat.

Case in point… It is very easy to make sunny side up eggs in a stainless steel omelette pan. BUT, you have to remember to preheat the pan and then add cold butter (or olive oil, as the Spanish do) to the pan, lower the heat, wait for the butter to stop foaming, and then add your eggs. Pretty easy if you know how to do it, but it requires a lot of oil. Not so with ceramic pans. Although I have found that before I use my ceramic omelette pan, I do add a bit of oil and then completely wipe out the pan with a paper towel. This “priming” the pan seems to work wonders!

How to Choose the Best Ceramic Cookware?

There is a lot to consider when purchasing the best ceramic cookware. Some of the main considerations are:

  • Do I want a full set, or only certain pieces?
  • What is the pan made out of (besides the ceramic nonstick coating)?
  • What is my heat source?
  • What is my style of cooking?
  • What is the cost?
  • How do I care for my ceramic cookware?

Do I Need a Full Set of Pans, or Just Certain Pieces

There are many different shapes of pots and pans. If you are just starting out, you may want to consider an entire set. Here are the most common types of pots and pans:

  • Saucepans – for cooking rice, sauces, and reheating foods
  • Saute pans – For sauteing and browning foods
  • Stockpot – For cooking sauces and soups. Also good for boiling pasta
  • Dutch Oven – Great for long simmering stews and braising
  • Omelette Pan – Great for omelettes, pancakes, and crepes

There are also lots of specialty cookware including woks, griddles, and grill pans.

What is the Pan Made Out Of?

Materials are a great consideration. All nonstick pans are made of some kind of metal – aluminum, stainless steel, or anodized aluminum) with some a heat conducting core (copper is best here, but certainly more expensive). Always look for pans that have thick bases. If a pan has a thin base, it will not heat evenly and will most likely burn your food. Regardless of the price, don’t even consider cookware with thin bases.

Next, consider the lids. Are they solid, or tempered glass? Glass lids make it very easy for you to check on your food without lifting the lid and dissipating the heat in the pan. If you opt for glass lids, make sure they are vented so that the lid doesn’t rattle while you are cooking.

More important than the lids are the handles. What are they made out of? If they are metal, they are likely to get hot (and you will need a potholder to manoeuver the pan). Metal handles are great for a pan that you plan on making frittatas in, or a pot that you will use to braise foods. If the handles are plastic, are they non-slip, and what is their heat rating? This will determine whether or not you can put them under the broiler or in the oven. Also look at how the handles are attached to the body of the pan. Double (or triple) riveted handles are safest, especially on larger, heavy pieces of cookware.

Also look at the handle design. Large loop handles are great (and safe) if you are putting a heavy pot or roaster in the oven. Large saute pans should have a long handle and a loop (often called a helper handle) on the opposite side.

The outside of the pan can have an impact as well. Some pans (such as stainless steel, anodized aluminum, or copper) are just the bare, polished metal. Some pans have enamelled exteriors some with design embellishments. Others have painted exteriors. Although exterior finishes may complement your kitchen decor, look for pan exteriors that are more durable so that they don’t easily scratch. As well, never stack your pots and pans, as this can damage both the interior AND exterior.

What is My Heat Source?

If you have a ceramic surface electric stove, it is imperative that your cookware has completely flat, rigid bottoms and that they will not warp. If the bottoms warp, you will get uneven (if any) heating in your pan, and that tends to burn food.

If you have an induction range, make sure that any cookware that you purchase is rated for induction ranges. This means that they have to have a cast iron (or some other magnetic metal) core. If the cookware doesn’t say “induction ready,” but a magnet will stick to the bottom of the pan, then it will work.

If you have a natural gas or propane stove, any cookware should work. Anything with a copper core will excel in performance. Just note that propane (also known as liquid propane or LP) does not burn as hot as natural gas.

Whether you have a gas or electric oven, any cookware will work, just make sure that the handles are heat tolerant and won’t melt (or ignite) in the oven.

What is My Style of Cooking?

This should be the most important question that you ask yourself. If your cooking style involves a lot of braising and sauteing, nonstick cookware may not be your best choice. Anything that involves a pan sauce requires a certain amount of food sticking to the bottom of the pot. This is called a fond. Once the meat is browned, wine (or stock) is added to the pan to create a pan sauce. This removes the food from the bottom, makes a superior sauce, and makes clean up much easier. Also look for pots and pans with rolled rims (or pouring spouts), as this makes pouring food out of the pan easier, less messy, and much safer.

If you boil a lot of pasta, a ceramic coated pan is nice, but doesn’t make much difference in terms of cleaning up, as nothing sticks to the pan. Stovetop rice, on the other hand, makes a notorious mess out of the cooking pot, so ceramic nonstick makes a world of difference here!

If you make lots of omelettes, the best ceramic cookware is definitely for you! I love, and I mean LOVE my ceramic omelette pan. My eggs never stick, and although I am fanatically clean and washmy pan after every use, I could really just wipe it out with a paper towel and put it away!

Another consideration for what the best ceramic cookware set is for you is how much do you cook? How large is your household, how often do you cook for guests, and how many people are you likely to entertain at a single party?

What is the Cost?

Like all other kinds of cookware (as well as kitchenware), you get what you pay for! The best ceramic cookware sets can be inexpensive, or very expensive, depending on the brand, the materials, and the number of pieces included in the set.

How to Care for Your Ceramic Cookware

Although ceramic coatings are durable (ceramic cookware that is used daily and properly cared for should be good for about three years), they are still made of glass. Manufacturers recommend that you do not drop your cookware. As well, hand-washing is recommended, plastic or wooden utensils should be used, and pans should be cooled before washing to prevent thermal shock (remember, we are talking about what is essentially a glass coating).

In addition, always “prime” your cookware before use. I take about a teaspoon of olive oil, add it to the cold pan, and wipe it out with a clean paper towel, making sure to rub it over the entire nonstick surface of the pan.

Ceramic Cookware Reviewsware

Now that you know what to look for when choosing ceramic cookware, let’s give you a hand in picking your new cookware set with the best ceramic cookware reviews!

How do I know this ceramic set is for me?

It may be ideal to purchase your cookware by piece. Many times sets contain too many pieces, including some that you’ll never use. The bare necessities when talking ceramic cookware are a 3-quart saucepan, 10-12-inch skillet, and a 6-quart stockpot here’s why:

  • A 10-12 inch skillet is great for frying foods like chicken breast, eggs, fish, and other things that often stick to the pan. It will help cook them evenly so you won’t have to worry about avoiding hotspots. Ceramic skillets will brown these foods quite quickly and are extremely easy to clean.
  • A 3-6-quart stock pot works great for those who like to make soups, sauces, and stews. If you want a dish that won’t burn your grandma’s famous spaghetti sauce, try one of these. Since most ceramic cookware is chemical free so you may steam, boil, and deep-fry any food of your choice.

You may also be able to purchase more quality cookware if you buy by the piece. Sure you can buy an entire set of cookware, but if you take the money and purchase the parts you need you may be able to afford some of the best rated ceramic cookware; made with more layers and fewer chemicals.

How do I know this ceramic set is for me?

Things to think about when buying ceramic cookware

When searching for the best ceramic cookware you must first consider your needs. Take a walk through your kitchen and make note of the pieces you need. Doing this will help you decide if a set is worth your money. If you only need a saucepan and a skillet, it wouldn’t be smart to purchase a 12 piece set just because it looks like a bargain. Instead, use the money to purchase a high-quality piece.

When searching for the best ceramic cookware you must first consider your needs. Take a walk through your kitchen and make note of the pieces you need. Doing this will help you decide if a set is worth your money. If you only need a saucepan and a skillet, it wouldn’t be smart to purchase a 12 piece set just because it looks like a bargain. Instead, use the money to purchase a high-quality piece.

Other questions you should ask yourself include:

  • How many people are you cooking for?
  • What foods do you like to cook?
  • Do you like to wash dishes?
  • What type of stove do you own?
  • Can you stand heavy dishes?

Be sure that your cookware can conduct heat efficiently. Copper is the best material, but it can be quite expensive. If you don’t have enough disposable income to invest in copper pieces, then opt for aluminum.

Don’t be afraid to purchase pieces that come with glass lids. Most companies make sure their covers won’t break even if they are dropped from the countertop.

Those who hate heavy cookware should only view moderately priced items. Generally the more you pay the better the metal, or it will be equipped with more layers. Stainless steel and cast iron are quite heavy so be sure to steer clear from these items.

On the other hand, never purchase a ceramic piece that is too lightweight; your food could burn, or your dish may fall from the stove. Pick up the piece to get an idea of how it feels in your hand and never sacrifice weight for durability; you’ll be sorry!

Look for pots with metal handles so they don’t melt under high heat. Silicone handles are excellent because they repel heat, but if temperatures get too high, they may melt. If handles are screwed on they may not last as long as ones that are welded.

We have also dotn a review on other non stick frying pans

Select features of Ceramic cookware to look out for

Some companies create special features to make your cooking experience easier. Here are a few unique features to look out for when shopping for ceramic cookware sets:

  • Heat indicator- If you have a hard time knowing when your pot is hot enough, look for those who have a heat indicator. There is a spot in the center that will either glow or change colors once the piece reaches the right temperature.
  • Stay-cool handles- The handles on your cookware can become scalding as time passes, so companies have created the stay-cool handle. Many times the material used to create them is silicone, and as discussed earlier, they may melt if the heat gets too hot.
  • Chemical free coating- If you are into non-stick cookware you must know that some coatings contain harmful chemicals. Look for brands that are PTFE and PFOA free.

Check out our take on Ceramic vs Teflon

Our Reviews on popular ceramic cookware

WearEver 2100087606 15 Piece Ceramic PTFE PFOA & Cadmium Free Nonstick Cookware Set, Red


What’s Included:

  • 1 qt saucepan with lid
  • 2 qt saucepan with lid
  • 3 qt saucepan with lid
  • 5 qt dutch oven with lid
  • 3.5 qt deep saute pan with lid
  • 8” fry pan
  • 10” fry pan
  • 12” fry pan with lid
  • Steamer insert

What We Like:

  • Scratch resistant
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Oven safe
  • Heavy-gauge aluminum core
  • PTFE, PFOE, Cadmium, and lead-free nonstick coating
  • Cookware can achieve 570 degrees F
  • Oven safe to 350 degrees F
  • Rigid flat bases that will not warp
  • Riveted silicone handles
  • Vented tempered glass lids
  • Stain and scratch resistant interiors

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not induction ready
  • Lightweight

This cookware set is stamped “engineered in the USA.” We’re not sure where it was actually manufactured. The consensus on this cookware set is that if well taken care of, they will last for several years. That includes “seasoning” the pans before use, making sure that they are not overheated, and that they cool down properly before washing. This particular set is versatile, based on the size of the set, with a pan the shape and size to perform almost any kitchen task (with the possible exception of deep frying your Thanksgiving turkey!).

Vremi 8 Piece Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set- PTFE PFOA Free – Yellow


What’s Included:

  • 1 2.85 quart dutch oven with lid
  • 1 5 quart dutch oven with lid
  • 1 4 quart shallow casserole with lid
  • 1 9.4” frying pan
  • 1 10.1” frying pan

What We Like:

  • Die cast aluminum body for even heating
  • Ceramic nonstick interiors
  • Curved frying pans for easier flipping
  • Heat resistant enamel color
  • Choice of three beautiful colors
  • Very attractive cookware
  • Wood grain bakelite handles and knobs
  • Dishwasher safe
  • For use on induction, gas, electric, and halogen stovetops
  • Vented lids (the vent is a gap between the lid and the pot)

What We Don’t Like:

  • Handles and knobs can become very hot
  • Not for use in ovens
  • The frying pan handles are attached with a screw


This is an absolutely gorgeous looking set of cookware that will look wonderful on your table! The pieces are made for entertaining, and the nonstick coating is easy to clean. The only real drawback for this set is that it is not oven-safe. Anything made in these pans must be done entirely on top of the stove

GreenLife Soft Grip 16pc Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware Set, Turquoise



Similar to the NC-00359 this set comes PTFE and PFOA free and the coating is scratch resistant.

In this set you will get:

  • 4” mini fry pan
  • 7” open frypan
  • 9.5” open frypan
  • 1 qt saucepan with lid
  • 2 qt saucepan with lid
  • 5 qt stockpot with lid
  • 2.5 qt saute pan with lid
  • 7” stainless steel steamer
  • 4 plastic kitchen utensils


What we like

  • Thermalon ceramic nonstick coating
  • Ergonomic stay-cool soft-grip handle
  • Oven safe to 350 degrees F
  • Aluminum reinforced body
  • Glass lids
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Glass lids
  • Beautiful turquoise exteriors and matching handles

What we don’t like

  • Not induction ready
  • The handles of the frypans are not riveted


This is a versatile set, with enough pieces to satisfy almost any cook’s needs. The color and design of the pans is beautiful, and the soft-grip handles are a nice feature.

Rachael Ray Cucina Hard/Porcelain Enamel Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set

This set has gone for a mixture of rustic and modern with a typical Rachael Ray feel and flavor in terms of design. It is oven safe to 400 deg F this is makes this set very versatile both on the stove and in the oven.




Set consists of:
  • 1 Qt saucepan with lid
  • 3 Qt saucepan with lid
  • 3 Qt saute pan with lid
  • 6 Qt stockpot with lid
  • 8.5-inch skillet
  • 10-inch skillet
  • Slotted turner
  • Spoon

What we like

  • Very attractive cookware set
  • This set is a good selection for the kitchen
  • The pots and pans are light making it easy to use

What we don’t like

  • on the flip side the thinness of the pots and pans will make it a little easier to warp and so special care should be taken
  • the utensils that come with the set are not particularly great quality
  • We feel that there are other choices that you would do better with


Cook N Home NC-00358 Non-stick Ceramic Coating 10-piece Cookware Set



Similar to the NC-00359 this set comes PTFE and PFOA free and the coating is scratch resistant.

In this set you will get:

  • 5 Qt Dutch oven with lid
  • 3 Qt casserole with lid
  • 1 Qt sauce pan with lid
  • 2 Qt sauce pan with lid
  • 8 inch, frying pan
  • 9.5 inch frying Pan


What we like

  • It has a chemical free ceramic coating
  • Nice modern design for your kitchen
  • The thicker aluminum  base gives you better heat distribution
  • You have a full set that covers all of the basics for your cooking.
  • There are a lot of positive reviews on Amazon.

What we don’t like

  • Paint and coating may not hold well under high heat.
  • It has been noted that the colours will fade over time
  • Will not be good for cooking foods like steaks.
  • Not induction ready


Scanpan CTX 10-Piece deluxe set


While this is a pricey set it is also a very high-quality set that goes above and beyond on what it offers you. It has has a 5 layer clad aluminum-stainless steel construction with a PFOA free coating that is so tough you can pretty much use any utensil on it. The coating is robust enough for you to be to brown, sear and deglaze foods


This set comes with :
  • 8-Inch frying pan
  • 10-1/4-Inch frying pan
  • 2-Qt saucepan with lid
  • 2-3/4-Quart saucepan with lid
  • 10-1/4-Inch Sauté with Lid
  • 7-1/2-Quart Dutch Oven with Lid


What we like

  • The ultra high quality of this set
  • The fact that you can cook pretty much anything in it.
  • Super durable coating and design for long lasting
  • Suitable for induction cooking
  • Can use any utensils when cooking with this set
  • High grade stainless steel handles

What we don’t like

There is very little about this set that we don’t like really, I guess the price is it

WearEver C943SF Pure Living 15 Piece Nonstick Ceramic Coating set

This is a midrange cookware set and so comes with a few little extras that have resulted in this set has a lot of very good reviews. As you would expect from WearEver it comes PTFE-Free, PFOA-Free, Cadmium-Free and recyclable making this an environmentally friendly investment. This set will need to be seasoned ( instructions included) to make sure that you get the most out of the ceramic surface.




The 15-Piece Set includes:
  • 1Quart Sauce Pan with lid
  • 2 Quart Sauce Pan with lid
  • 3Quart Sauce Pan with lid
  • 5-Quart Dutch Oven with lid
  • 3.5-Quart Deep Saute Pan with lid
  • 8-Inch frying Pan
  • 10-Inch frying Pan
  • 12-Inch Covered Fry Pan and Steamer Insert

What we like

  • You have everything here that you would need to get going in the kitchen
  • Heat resistant up to 750 deg F
  • Well designed handles for ease of use
  • Chemical free and environmentally friendly
  • Scratch resistant and stain resistant
  • Dishwasher safe

What we don’t like

  • Not induction ready
  • Made in China


Is ceramic cookware safe?

A lot has been written about this elsewhere on the site, in short the answer is yes. If you would like to find out more about what this you can read our article is ceramic cookware safe

If you have not found what you like here then we suggest that you take a look at our other non stick cookware

Is ceramic cookware really dishwasher safe?

Although many manufacturers claim that their ceramic nonstick cookware is dishwasher safe, no cookware should be put in the dishwasher (ditto for knives, by the way). Cookware, will last longer and perform better if it is allowed to cool to room temperature, then washed in hot soapy water. If something is really stuck on, try soaking it in hot water. If that doesn’t work, a plastic scrubber can be used. As well, only plastic, nylon, or wooden utensils should be used. And never cook on high heat. Always use a medium to low flame.

Conclusion

 

All of the best ceramic cookware is non toxic, PFOE, PTFA, lead and cadmium free, but there is still a lot to consider when choosing a set. Materials, what pieces are included, and price are key choices. One thing is clear. How you care for your ceramic cookware is the key to its performance and how long it lasts in your kitchen!

Regardless of the care and use instructions, you should always wipe out the best ceramic cookware with oil before every use. When done properly, this will only add a trace amount of fat to your recipe, so your cooking can still be fat free. A well, aerosol nonstick spray should never be used on nonstick cookware. It doesn’t wash off, and will eventually build up and become tacky, thus ruining the surface of the pan.

Also, please note that in addition to the Vremi set that we reviewed, there are lots of other ceramic cookware sets that are induction range compatible. When cooking on an induction surface, make sure that the burner is not larger than the diameter of the base of the pan. If the pan is smaller than the burner, the induction sensors could be off resulting in improper heating and maintenance of proper temperature.

About the author

Sebastian Beaton

Understanding the science behind cooking helps me to understand what are the best tools for a particular job.

I like to help people better understand exactly what it is that they need when it comes to buying for the kitchen.

Making the right choice is easier when you know what it is you need to get.

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