You probably have a good idea of what ingredients are in the food you feed yourself and your family. But what about the cookware you’re using to dish up those tasty family feasts? At least as important as the quality and ingredients of the food you buy are the cookware you purchase for your culinary adventures.
In 1938, a scientist named Roy Plunkett accidentally discovered a substance called polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE for short. This substance was found to be slippery and was patented and later trademarked as what we know today to be Teflon. A number of years later, a French engineer named Marc Gregoire bonded PTFE to aluminum and the first non stick cookware was born. These original pans were coated with compounds like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA or C8) or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). These substances have been linked to cancer, liver disease, and thyroid issues, among other diseases.
In addition to Teflon coated pans, pure aluminum as well as copper cookware can also be problematic. Pure aluminum cookware is made from toxic chemicals that can leach their substances and cause health issues, such as central nervous system problems. Copper cookware can lead to copper poisoning because of leaching copper that could exceed the daily recommended dose intake for adult of 900 micrograms.
With this information in mind, you want to be an informed consumer armed with the most up-to-date information about the best non-toxic cookware alternatives for you and your family. Read on to find out about the different non-toxic cookware brands and products we recommend so you can be relaxed knowing that you are feeding your family healthy, delicious meals made in safe pots and pans.
What Should I Look for When Buying Non-Toxic Cookware?
There are plenty of nontoxic cookware brands on the market, so you will have your pick of material, type, and aesthetic. You want to look for cookware made from the safest materials, like pure ceramic, stainless steel, cast iron, carbon steel, porcelain enamel and glass.
With each material comes pros and cons. For example, cast iron cookware is durable and has great heat retention, but can be heavy and high maintenance to care for. Glass is inexpensive and won’t release any chemicals into your food but can also be heavy and fragile. Depending upon your family’s specific needs, you will be able to determine what material is best for you.
Aside from non-toxic material, you will want to consider the durability of your non toxic cookware because you don’t want to have to replace them every few months due to chipping, breaking, or wearing out.
Another factor you might want to think about when searching for the best non-toxic cookware is how easily the pots and pans can move from the stovetop to the oven and back again, which makes the items versatile and can help you dirty fewer dishes in the cooking process.
The most important thing other than safety is what your personal cooking needs are. For example, if cooking is an occasional activity in your home, you might be happy to invest in a few higher end pieces as opposed to a brand new 16-piece set non toxic cookware set.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Non-Toxic Cookware
In determining which is the best cookware, we factored in the pros and cons of the various non toxic materials, durability, versatility, efficiency of heat conduction, ability of the product to withstand high temperatures, ease of cleaning the product, and of course, price.
Each non toxic cookware brand has its strengths and weaknesses and there are varying price points for every budget. We also took into account both positive and negative reviews from trusted customers to back up the claims made by the companies and offer real-life assessments of the various non toxic products to determine which cookware is best.
#1: GreenPan Lima Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware (Best Value – All-Purpose)
GreenPan is a Belgian brand created by two friends who set out to create an alternative to the all-too-common nonstick pans that release toxins. Their products use a ceramic, non-stick coating called Thermolon which is made from a sand derivative that does not use toxic chemicals like PFOA of PFAS. Thermolon is a great heat conductor, meaning that you can cook at a lower heat and save energy. These products benefit from scratch guard technology for maximum scratch resistance as well as durable, oven-safe handles.
GreenPan’s Lima Ceramic 8-piece Cookware Set is a great place to start if you’re looking to replace your old, worn-out, or unsafe kitchen tools. This set is the best value because for the price you’re paying because it’s durable, scratch resistant, lightweight, and versatile. It comes with a sauce pan, egg pan, skillet with lid, frying pan, and bamboo utensils. The vessels are oven and broiler safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit and the glass lids are oven safe up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Customers love that this nonstick cookware set is super easy to clean and sturdy but not too heavy. One customer said that washing them is “an actual delight” because the surfaces can handle anything. Some customers noted that the frying pans were smaller than they would have liked and are best for cooking for 2 to 3 people.
#2: The Sous Chef by Made In (Best Splurge)
If you are open to splurging on your nontoxic cookware, consider the best selling 11-piece ‘sous chef’ set by Made In. This stainless steel and carbon steel set includes multiple sized frying pans, saucepans, a sauté pan, and stock pot. The stay-cool handles don’t get hot, even when on the stove top, and the stainless clad cookware is oven safe up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit, with the non-stick cookware safe up to 500 Fahrenheit.
This Made In set boasts a number of awards, including Consumer Reports Best Cookware Set of 2020 and Best Products’ Best Non-Stick After Cooking 100 Meals, so you know that you’re getting a durable, long-lasting product. Their products are both functional and versatile. Each pan can be used for a variety of recipes, meaning once you purchase a set, you should be set for a long time. Their stainless steel cookware conducts heat efficiently with even distribution and are easy to maintain.
There were an overwhelming amount of positive reviews on Made In’s Sous Chef set. Customers feel that Made In’s nonstick cookware are slick and well constructed, love that the handles stay cool while cooking, and look like new after cleaning. They noted that these products are worth the investment, especially after experiencing lower quality, cheap non-stick pans that don’t do the trick. Some customers noted that the handles do start to get warm if in use for a long time and that they are heavy.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product
You have a higher budget and want professional grade cookware. Made In values using premium materials. They purchase all of the raw materials that go into their products, which allows them to hold their materials to the highest standards and know exactly where they’re coming from.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product
You are specifically interested in purchasing stainless steel and/or carbon steel products. Stainless steel cookware is particularly suitable for high heat, which works great for searing and browning proteins to get that perfect crispy texture on the outside.
Because stainless steel pans can withstand high temperatures, they are more versatile as they can be put into the oven. Carbon steel also accommodates high heat and is incredibly versatile. A carbon steel frying pan can be used for various cooking methods, including stovetop cooking, braising, searing, stir frying, oven broiling, and baking.
#3: Xtrema 100% Pure Ceramic Cookware (Best Non-Toxic Ceramic Cookware)
Xtrema is a revolutionary brand of ceramic cookware that is made of 100% pure ceramic and can go from stove-top to oven to grill. The fact that Xtrema is made from pure ceramic means that the walls of the cookware retains heat well, and your meals will stay hot long after you turn off the oven. This is different from ceramic coated cookware brands, which cannot retain heat after the oven is turned off.
From the glaze to the core, Xtrema cookware contains no PFOA, PTFE, glues, polymers, coatings, or dyes. There is no possibility that these products can leach chemicals into your food, and they are also dishwasher safe for easy, no hassle clean up.
Xtrema is an eco-friendly product. Their cookware is crafted from renewable, raw materials using earth-friendly manufacturing methods, so you can feel good about contributing to our planet in addition to putting safe dinners on the table. Xtrema products are inspected and tested for heavy metals before leaving the factory and are FDA approved, so they are proven free from hundreds of chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive issues, and other health problems.
Customers love they they can trust Xtrema’s cookware to be safe and healthy for their families, as they are completely free from harmful toxins. One customer noted that she bought Xtrema’s skillet and steamer because she has a metal allergy, and she was very pleased with her purchases. They also like that these products heat and cook evenly and are aesthetically pleasing.
Some customers noted that Xtrema products are not completely non-stick, but letting them soak in hot, soapy water will do the trick. Others noted that these items are fragile and can crack or break easily because of the ceramic, so you should be mindful of that when cooking with them and storing them.
#4: GreenLife Soft Grip Cookware (Best Low Cost)
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This GreenLife Soft Grip Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware Set is the best low cost option. It gives you varying sized saucepans and frying pans, a sauté pan, stainless steel steamer, and kitchen utensils. The Thermolon ceramic coating on this set is long-lasting and easy to clean, free of PFOA, PFAS, lead, and cadmium. Even if you accidentally overheated your pan, toxic fumes would not be released.
GreenLife’s products are oven-safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, are lightweight, and conduct heat well, allowing you to use less energy when cooking. They are also dishwasher safe and come in a variety of 9 colors so you can add a splash of color to your kitchen or match your current scheme.
Customers love that GreenLife’s nonstick cookware heats up quickly and evenly, therefore allowing you to cook on a lower heat (medium-high instead of high, for example). A number of customers noted that these pans truly are easy to clean with dried-on food seeming “to almost slide off.” They love that these pans are gorgeous and come in a variety of sizes and color options.
Some customers noted that they wished the pans were a bit bigger and the utensils that come along with the set are low quality. One customer noted to be careful with the rubber handles because if your gas is on too high, they can burn and give off a bad smell.
#5: GreenLife Non-Toxic Bakeware (Best Non-Toxic Bakeware)
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In addition to a breakfast, lunch, and dinner, many days are not complete without something sweet. If you’re the type of person who is regularly putting muffins, cookies, and cakes into your oven, you want to make sure that the pans you’re using for those delicious treats are safe for you and your family. GreenLife, a healthy, non-toxic cookware brand we’ve already mentioned in our roundup, makes cake, muffin, and loaf pans as well as cookie sheets that are free of PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium.
GreenLife’s oven-to-table bakeware products are oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, constructed with heavy duty steel for fast and even heat distribution, and come in vibrant turquoise. Thanks to their non-stick ceramic coating, though, these items are not dishwasher safe, but they are easy to wash by hand.
Customers love that GreenLife’s non toxic bakeware is sturdy and durable, and that the ceramic coasting does not chip off. A few customers noted that they gave or received these as holiday or bridal shower gifts, and that the turquoise color is gorgeous and adds a nice touch to their kitchens. Some customers noted that the coating on the products scratches easily, so be careful sliding them in and out of the oven.
On a Budget? Try These:
You may not be in the market for an entirely new cookware set, and would rather venture slowly and with less monetary output toward replacing your current pots and pans with safer, healthier options. If that’s the case, look no further to find a few trusted products that, at less than $25, are light on the wallet.
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This Lodge 10.25-inch cast iron deep skillet is multi-functional and great for searing, sautéing, simmering, braising, baking, roasting, and frying. Cast iron is a type of cookware that has been around for hundreds of years and provides exceptionally even heating and cooking. Cast iron pots and pans can withstand high heat, making them ideal for searing protein and locking in the flavor.
One side effect of using cast iron pots to cook is that they may add iron to your food, which is an essential mineral and can therefore benefit people who are iron deficient by boosting the iron content in certain foods. If you’re someone who has an abundance of iron in your diet already, you might choose to stay away from cast iron products.
An important thing to know if you decide to go with cast iron is that to ensure you have a nice, non-stick finish, you need to season the pan with oil rich in polyunsaturated fats.
This cast iron Lodge skillet can be used on a variety of heat sources, including gas, electric, induction, and ceramic-glass top stoves, and ovens. Seasoned cast iron pans can also be used on the grill or outdoor fire.
Lodge Cast Iron prides itself on being an environmentally friendly company. In 2008, they replaced foam packing inserts with paper, and in 2018, their company-wide recycling program saved more than 3 tons of paper and more than 100 tons of mixed metals.
Customers love that cast iron cookware is a healthy, well-constructed option that can be used on virtually any heat source. They like this cast iron skillet specifically because its higher sides prevent food spillage. Some customers noted that the pre-seasoning that the cast iron pan comes with comes off easily and you should therefore make sure you season it well yourself.
GreenGourmet is Cuisinart’s line of safe, eco-friendly products. Cuisinart uses a non-stick technology called Cuisinart Ceramica which is ceramic based instead of petroleum based, meaning that reliance on oil is reduced and production of the pan is made more environmentally friendly. Their GreenGourmet products are completely free of PTFE and PFOA, and the hard anodized construction means that these products have high heat conductivity, requiring less energy to reach desired cooking temperatures.
For just under $20, this 8-inch skillet boasts the above-mentioned benefits, as well as a 70% recycled stainless steel handle designed to stay cool when cooking. This pan is also oven and broiler-safe.
Customers love that this pan is a great value for the money and “[performs] beautifully every single time.” They like that it is quick to heat and distributes heat well, therefore cooking evenly and thoroughly. Some customers noted that it’s convenient to be able to brown a dish like salmon on top of the stove in a bit of oil, and then put the pan in the oven for a few minutes to fully cook it through.
#3 Budget: Anchor Hocking 79033 Mini Pie Plate
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Let’s talk about glass. Glass is a great, budget-friendly, accessible non toxic cookware option for those who want to start detoxing their cookware. Glass is non-reactive, meaning it does not release chemicals into your food. Anchor Hocking is a glassware brand whose products are lead, cadmium, and heavy metal free, and their plastic lids are BPA free.
This Anchor Hocking 6-inch mini pie plate is dishwasher safe, as well as microwave and oven safe and perfect for small pies and desserts. This pie plate has a ton of 5-star reviews, with customers loving that it’s easy to clean, store, and is durable. One customer wrote that “this darling dish is perfect if you’re making a pie for two.” A number of customers wrote that they wished it was a little deeper.
Verdict: Your Best Non-Toxic Cookware
If you want the best value for money, pick GreenPan’s Lima Ceramic 8-piece Cookware Set.
If you prefer pure ceramic, pick Xtrema’s 100$ pure ceramic cookware.
If you want to keep the spend under $100 for a full set, pick GreenLife’s Soft Grip 16-piece Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware Set.
When looking for the what cookware is best for your family, there are a plethora of brands selling wonderful, non-toxic, and beautiful products. Take a few moments to assess the needs of your family and what you value most before choosing the product that is right for you. And remember to feel great about taking this step in the right direction toward a healthier life.