Ceramic pots and pans are the latest in the wave of nonstick cookware, growing in popularity as home cooks strive for tools that will allow them the opportunity to prepare healthy home-cooked meals that are easier to clean up.
The movement towards nonstick cookery is driven by the desire to eliminate the need for excess cooking sprays, oils, or fats that add unwanted calories. This type of cookware has been around for a long time. Grabbing the attention of concerned consumers who caught wind of the fact that versions of these nonstick pans can potentially release harmful compounds, many people began to avoid the use of older nonstick options like Teflon. Alternatives like ceramic cookware are now taking the stage.
By providing a surface that more easily releases food, ceramic pots and pans are treated with a surface that functions similar to other non-stick cookware, though with a nanoparticle-sized, silicone-based coating that isn’t really ceramic at all. In effect, it is a surface applied to a metal pan that is made of sand-like particles and silicone to help prevent sticking.
Introducing this type of ceramic coated cookware to consumers is driven by the desire to offer something more environmentally friendly. Ceramic coating is considered safer than many other nonstick coating because it does not contain toxic chemicals or release harmful fumes when heated to higher temperatures. The truth is, however, that ceramic cookware may prove to be less durable than some of the other nonstick options.
This article will help you sort out the qualities of the best ceramic cookware that are available today. I will guide you in making a well-informed decision based on a number of factors and answer a number of questions that will help you to better understand the basics. In the end, my goal is to help you make a quick decision so that you can get into your kitchen and begin your non-stick ceramic cookware journey.
What Should I Look For When Buying Ceramic Cookware?
Just like any investment into household basics, it is best to gather as much information as possible before heading out to make a purchase. After all, you want something that will match your cooking tools to the type of food preparation you are aiming for. I want to take some of the guesswork out of that process, so I have taken the following into consideration when putting this list together.
Criteria #1: Budget
I will have a look at a number of options at a wide range of price points so that you can choose the best ceramic cookware for your budget.
Criteria #2: Durability
How well do these pans hold up over time? I have sorted through the reviews of users who can attest to how well these pans perform after repeated use.
Criteria #3: Maintenance
How easy are these pans to clean and care for, and how does this affect their performance? I will focus primarily on how easy they are to clean and the best tools for this type of cooking.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Ceramic Cookware
There are a great number of ceramic options on the market these days, and I know that can be a bit overwhelming, especially if this is your first experience. In this article, I will focus on the claims of these pots and pans and how users felt they performed in their own home kitchens. After all, the best testament to quality is how well something works when it is out of the box and on your stovetop.
#1: Bialetti 10 Piece Hard Anodized, Ceramic Pro Cookware Set (Best Value All-Purpose Ceramic Set)
My first choice for the best value in an all-purpose ceramic cookware set is the Bialetti 10-Piece Hard Anodized, Ceramic Pro Cookware Set. I chose this set because it is reasonably priced for the number of pieces but more importantly because it offers a great deal of flexibility.
Because it is made of hard-anodized aluminum, it heats up relatively quickly and provides a good distribution of heat. Beyond that, it offers a lot of durability and toughness in a good weight that feels substantial without being too heavy or cumbersome to handle when moving on or off of the stovetop.
Equipped with riveted stainless steel handles, you can feel confident that these pans will feel secure in your hand, giving you a comfortable grip. The clearance on the lids makes it easy to grasp in order to prevent burning your hand, even when using oven mitts, which is a big perk in terms of safety.
Because the handles are stainless, these pans can easily go from stovetop to oven. It is worth noting, however, that they are only heat-safe up to 400 degrees, which is pretty standard for this type of ceramic cookware. Cooking at temperatures in excess of 400 degrees will likely affect the ceramic finish, which is something you want to pay attention to, as it will extend the life of your cookware.
These pans are safe for gas, electric, and glass stovetops. They are not designed for induction burners, limiting their use to some degree.
According to many reviewers, the non-stick ceramic works really well. The instructions say to still use a little butter or oil when cooking, so don’t expect to have stellar results in a dry pan. The point here is that a small amount of fat will properly lubricate the pan so that your food releases easily. In turn, cleanup will be a lot easier than cooking in a pan without a non-stick finish.
Speaking of cleanup, hand washing is recommended. I don’t necessarily see this as a drawback, to be honest. I would much rather take a few minutes to was my non-stick pans by hand to ensure that they are getting clean without the possibility of damaging the finish than to harm them in a dishwasher. Most reviews indicated that they clean up really easily without the need for scrubbing which could potentially scratch the finish. A bit of soapy water and a soft cloth will be your best bet.
As with any non-stick cookware, metal utensils should never be used. Plastic or silicon will preserve the non-stick coating and, with so many options available, you are sure to find some tools to suit your needs.
Included in this set are the following.
- 8″ Sauté pan
- 10″ Sauté pan
- 1.5 qt. Sauce pan with lid
- 3 qt. Sauce pan with lid
- 3 qt. Deep sauté with lid
- 6 qt. Dutch oven with lid
#2: GreenPan SearSmart Hard Anodized Healthy Ceramic Nonstick, Cookware Pots and Pans Set, 10-Piece (Best Splurge)
My choice for the best splurge is the GreenPan SearSmart Hard Anodized Healthy Ceramic Nonstick, Cookware 10-piece Pots and Pans set. Priced at over 30% higher than my choice for the best value set, I had to consider whether the price was justified. Turns out, if you are in the market for a set that offers a bit more flexibility and can afford the price tag, this set is a really nice option. Here are a few of the reasons this ceramic cookware set is just a step or two above the others.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: Oven Safe up to 600 Degrees
The first reason I really like this set of ceramic pots and pans is that it is equipped to handle hotter oven temperatures without causing harm to the ceramic nonstick surface. I know that when I’m in my own home kitchen, sometimes it makes sense to finish certain dishes off in the oven, and in particular, the broiler. I feel a lot more confident knowing these pans are designed to handle that kind of heat. It is worth noting that the tempered glass lids are also oven safe, but just up to 425 degrees.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: Dishwasher Safe
I am more of a wash-by-hand nonstick cookware user, but that is not to say that I wouldn’t like the choice to wash up my pans from time to time in my dishwasher. With that said, I can imagine there are a lot of home cooks who would choose this option and with the Greenpan SearSmart line you can expect to do just that, making this a nice feature for this ceramic cookware.
Reason #3 to Choose this Product: Optimal Shape
The third reason that sets this cookware apart from the rest is the shape of the pans, notably, the fry pans. With a wider base and slightly steeper sides, you can expect to get between 25-40% more cooking space than traditional collections. Better pan design means greater surface area and more efficiency which is a good thing in the kitchen.
This cookware set includes these items.
- 8” Frypan
- 10” Frypan
- 1.5 qt. Saucepan with lid
- 2.25 qt. Saucepan with lid
- 5 qt. Casserole with lid
- 3 qt. Sauté pan with lid
#3: Kyocera Nonstick Fry Pan 2 Piece Set, 10-inch and 12-inch (Best Ceramic Frypan Set)
My choice for the best ceramic frypan set is the 2-piece set by Kyocera. This includes a 10-inch and a 12-inch pan which I feel are really useful pieces to have in just about any kitchen – the smaller pan for cooking for one or two people and the larger pan for cooking for a family.
These pans are made with durability in mind, constructed of stainless with Kyocera’s proprietary ceramic coating which is PTFE-free, PFOA-free, and cadmium-free. They are equipped with stainless steel riveted handles that are designed to stay cool while in use. They do not come with lids, however. Many reviews indicated that they do accommodate lids from other pans of similar sizes.
I think the depth of these pans sets them apart from their competitors. At 2.5 inches deep, these can double as a shallow saucepan and can accommodate a greater depth of ingredients for simmering or reducing, giving them a bit more flexibility over a shallow fry pan.
These work well over gas, electric, and induction burners and are best with plastic, silicone, or wooden cooking utensils. They do caution against metal, but suggest that they can be used carefully so as to not scratch the ceramic surface. I would debunk this suggestion for any sort of nonstick pan. In the end, it is never worth the risk, given that there is an abundance of options of safe cooking utensils that are widely available these days. It is always best to be safe when the goal is to extend the life of your cookware.
In terms of caring for these pans, the people at Kyocera are very clear about how to wash these pans, taking care to properly condition them by rubbing the surface with a layer of cooking oil, removing the excess oil with a paper towel.It is further recommended to use cooking oil, avoiding cooking sprays that may build up over time and hinder the nonstick qualities of this cookware.
These ceramic frypans are not recommended for high heat. In fact, 400 degrees is the suggested limit. I would not plan to use these to get a good sear on a steak, for example, because that would require higher temperature cooking. Reviewers who heeded this advice seemed to have the best results. Others who attempted to cook in a dry pan or over high heat seemed to have less desirable outcomes.
#4: T-fal G919SE64 Initiatives Ceramic Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Toxic Free 14-Piece Cookware Set (Best Low Cost Set)
My choice for the best low-cost ceramic cookware set is from the well-known maker of nonstick cookware, T-fal. The Initiatives Ceramic Nonstick 14-piece set is a nicely priced option for those who want to get their feet wet without making a big investment. Priced at less than half the price of my choice for best splurge, this set delivers a nice range of sizes and options along with utensils for safe cooking.
These rather lightweight aluminum pans deliver even heat distribution for reliable cooking results. They are compatible with gas, electric, ceramic, and halogen stovetops. They will not work with induction stovetops, however.
This ceramic cookware set is designed to handle relatively high heat up to 570 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they are oven safe up to just 350 degrees due to the plastic handles.
Four nylon tools come with these pots and pans, which is a smart move on the part of the company. The idea here is to preserve the integrity of the ceramic nonstick surface in order to extend the life of your cookware. Avoiding metal spatulas and tongs is always in your best interest.
Some reviewers suggested that they ran into issues with these pans over repeated use while others reported no problem whatsoever. I suspect that those who actually use a small amount of oil in their cooking had fewer problems.
Cleanup is quite simple. They are reported to be dishwasher safe, though washing them in warm soapy water with a soft cloth is always a safe bet when it comes to nonstick cookware.
The set includes the following.
- 8.5 inch Fry Pan
- 10.5 inch Fry Pan
- 11 inch Covered Fry Pan
- 1 quart Covered Saucepan
- 2 quart Covered Saucepan
- 5 quart Covered Dutch Oven
- 4 Nylon Tools
#5: GreenPan Valencia Pro Hard-Anodized Induction Safe Healthy Ceramic Nonstick (Best Skillet Overall)
My choice for best skillet overall is the GreenPan Valencia Pro Hard-Anodized Induction Safe Healthy Ceramic Nonstick frypan. This 12-inch pan is a great investment if you are looking for a versatile piece of ceramic cookware to add to your kitchen arsenal.
This generously sized skillet features a hard-anodized aluminum body that is unbelievably durable and scratch-resistant while offering a pan that heats up relatively quickly. I like this for its functionality and good looks.
Unlike much of the other ceramic cookware that is widely available, this skillet is oven and broiler safe up to 600 degrees. This is a nice feature for those dishes that start on the stovetop and finish under the broiler – a function that is not always possible with many of the other ceramic skillets.
Another nice feature is the v-shaped stainless steel handle design that stays cool by transferring less heat. It is conducive to gas, electric, and induction use.
As far as maintenance of this pan goes, GreenPan claims that this ceramic non stick skillet is dishwasher safe, though I would caution against it. Hand washing is likely the best option. With proper care, this pan is rather easy to clean, provided you follow the recommendations provided by GreenPan.
In this next section, I will show you a few options that are more reasonably priced. After all, with the number of ceramic cookware options that are available, there is, no doubt something that is suited to every budget. Below are my choices for best budget options for ceramic non-stick frying pans.
#1 Best Budget: MICHELANGELO Frying Pan with Lid, Nonstick 10 Inch Frying Pan with Ceramic Titanium Coating
My first budget selection for ceramic nonstick frying pans is the MICHELANGELO Frying Pan with Lid, Nonstick 10 Inch Frying Pan with Ceramic Titanium Coating. The reviews of this German-made frying pan are quite universally very positive which is a testament to the quality of this cookware, especially given the price. At about half of the cost of my choice for best skillet overall, this is a solid contender and one that has a lot to offer given its modest price tag.
This frying pan is constructed of durable die-cast aluminum which is a great conductor of heat. It is worth mentioning that this pan is intended for low to medium heat, but even within that range, you can expect to have good control with limited hot spots.
Other nice features include a long, stainless steel handle that is comfortable and easy to grip and a tempered glass lid that lets you keep an eye on things as you cook preventing overcooking while keeping in moisture.
This 10-inch nonstick skillet with lid has an induction-compatible spiral bottom to work on gas, electric, or halogen stove top. The pan itself is ovensafe up to 450 degrees, while the lid is designed only for stovetop use.
As far as cleanup goes, while dishwashing is an option, handwashing is recommended. As I have mentioned many times in this article, the best way to extend the life of your nonstick ceramic cookware is to handle it with care and washing with hot soapy water and a soft cloth.
#2 Best Budget: Tramontina 80110/043DS Style Ceramica 01 Fry Pan, 12-Inch
Next in my budget options is the Italian-made Tramontina 80110/043DS Style Ceramica 01 Fry Pan. With a durable porcelain enamel exterior, this cookware is strong and easy to clean. Priced just slightly below the number one budget option, this pan has features that distinguish it from the others.
This pan comes without a lid, like many frying pans do. Many reviews indicated that it is compatible with other 12-inch pans, so you can expect to find a lid that will fit if you so desire.
The handle on this pan is ergonomically designed with a stay-cool, soft silicone grip that makes it comfortable to handle. Those cooks who struggle with the thin handles of many pots and pans may find this to be a nice option.
Compatible with gas, electric, and ceramic glass cook tops, induction stovetop users should take note that this will not be the ceramic nonstick pan for you.
Unlike some of the other ceramic pans that can withstand higher oven temperatures, this one is safe only up to 350 degrees. If you hoped to use this pan to finish under a broiler, you may want to reconsider. Those who are wanting to just saute over medium heat on the stovetop will find this adequate.
It claims to be dishwasher safe like so many of these pans, but I suspect that doing so may diminish the nonstick characteristics of the the ceramic coating. Hand washing is never a bad idea, making sure to use warm water and a non-abrasive cloth.
#3 Best Budget: GreenLife Soft Grip Healthy Ceramic Nonstick, Frying Pan, 12″
My final budget option is the GreenLife Soft Grip Healthy Ceramic Nonstick, 12-inch Frying Pan. At less than half the price of my choice for best skillet, I think this is a nice entry-level ceramic nonstick pan.
Uniquely made from recycled aluminum, this frypan with ceramic coating delivers great heat distribution. With its reinforced base you can expect it to feel sturdy and strong.
Soft Grip’s Bakelite handles are designed for comfort while cooking and are attached without rivets. Some cooks may see this as a design flaw, while others felt that the absence of rivets make for a pan that is easier to clean and maintain as food does not get stuck in any grooves. It comes down to personal preference. This pan is one that many reviewers felt pretty strongly in favor of.
Crafted for all stovetops except for induction, it is worth noting that they are oven safe only up to 350 degrees. In my book, I would recommend skipping the oven option all together. Seems to me that they do best on the stovetop, so I would probably keep it at that.
While a lid is not included, a standard 12-inch lid would certainly work. Given the small price tag, I don’t think this is out of the question. For under $25, I think this is a budget option that would not disappoint.
Reviewers who loved this pan really emphasized the importance of proper maintenance. While they are technically dishwasher safe, they can be very easily wahsed by hand. Using nonstick safe utensils is a given, as it is with any of these types of ceramic nonstick pans.
This line of cookware is really rather cute with bright exteriors that bring some fun to your cooking. Perhaps not so much for the more serious-minded home cook, but if you are looking for a gateway into the world of ceramic cookware, this frypan from GreenLife is a great way to get your feet wet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Ceramic Cookware Safe? What Happens If It Is Scratched?
The jury is still out regarding the safety of ceramic cookware, mostly because it is rather new to the world of cookware, and it lacks the data necessary over long-term use. With that said, I do feel that there is a lot to be said about the lack of harmful chemicals and fumes that have been linked to materials such as Teflon. Ceramic seems to be a step in the right direction, without a doubt. Users will have to decide for themselves whether or not it is the best option for their needs.
Is Ceramic Cookware Non-Stick?
Ceramic cookware is designed to be non-stick, though this does not necessarily mean you can expect to cook in the absence of oil with good results. With proper care and maintenance you can expect to get reasonable results that will clean up easily.
Can You Use Metal Utensils on Ceramic Cookware?
I never recommend metal utensils on ceramic cookware, regardless of what the manufacturer suggests. Your best bet is always plastic, silicone, or wood. Honestly, with so many nonstick-safe tools available today, I can’t imagine why it would be worth even taking a chance. The bottom line is that if you want to extend the life of your nonstick cookware, just go the extra mile and invest in a few safe tools.
Can Ceramic Pots Go in the Oven?
Ceramic pots can sometimes go in the oven, but the range of temperatures tends to vary widely. The best thing to do is to carefully follow the recommendations provided by the company. Keep in mind that these pans are generally not designed to sustain high cooking temperatures, so for high heat you will likely want to use alternate cookware.
Is Ceramic Cookware Dishwasher Safe?
This is a bit of a trick question because so many of the ceramic cookware companies suggest that dishwashers are safe for their pans, but in just about every case I would caution against that. Handwashing nonstick cookware is the better option, but if you insist on using a dishwasher, I encourage you to exercise extreme care. After all, if you do happen to scratch that ceramic surface you can’t go back.
How Long Does Ceramic Cookware Last?
This question is a bit subjective, and the answer is based largely on how well you maintain your cookware. The bottom line is that this type of cookware is prone to scratches and other issues with the ceramic coated finish, and that will shorten the lifespan of your cookware. My recommendation is to do you research prior to making your purchase so that you can determine if this type of cookware is a fit for you.
Is Ceramic Cookware Better Than Other Kinds?
My short answer to this question is that ceramic cookware is not better than other kinds of cookware, but that will always boil down to the type of cooking you tend to do in your house. Personally, I have a wide range of pots and pans that I go to, each for a particular task.
I love cast iron for its ability to maintain heat and get a nice sear on a steak while a multiply stainless steel pan is my go-to choice for sauteed vegetables. I love my carbon-steel pan for making crepes, while a ceramic coated non-stick frypan is a good option for a fried egg.
It is all very specific to what I am cooking and the result I am trying to achieve. In the end, having some nonstick ceramic pans in your arsenal make a nice choice for certain tasks.
How Do I Cook with Ceramic Cookware?
The best way to cook with ceramic cookware is to use low to medium heat, a small amount of oil, and safe nonstick utensils. Seems simple, but straying from these guidelines will almost assuredly lead to a damaged ceramic coating. Unfortunately, with a damaged surface, you can expect your food to stick, which is always a disappointment.
Verdict: Your Best Ceramic Cookware
I do hope this article has helped to sort our some of the many options in ceramic cookware. Here is my breakdown of the best findings in a number of categories.
If you want the best value set for your money, pick the Bialetti 10-Piece Hard Anodized, Ceramic Pro Cookware Set.
If you are looking for the best ceramic frypan set, pick the 2-piece set by Kyocera.
If you want to keep the spend under $130, pick the T-fal Initiatives Ceramic Nonstick 14-piece set.
If you are looking for the best ceramic nonstick skillet, check out the GreenPan Valencia Pro Hard-Anodized Induction Safe Healthy Ceramic Nonstick Skillet.
The quest for the best cookware in any one category can be a bit daunting. Add to that the fact that ceramic cookware is relatively new and you can feel downright overwhelmed. No matter which pans you happen to go with, the best way to get the optimal results is to take the best care of your investment. In the end, the goal should be nonstick cookware with a healthy environmental impact that you can keep in your kitchen and out of the landfill for as long as possible.