Non-stick pans have long been a staple in kitchens around the world, making cooking and cleanup a breeze. However, concerns have arisen regarding the use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) in traditional non-stick coatings (Teflon), which can release harmful chemicals when heated.
To address these concerns, a new generation of non-stick pans has emerged, with PFOA and PTFE-free surfaces. We have reviewed seven such non-stick pans that not only offer exceptional performance but also prioritize your health and the environment.
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Table of Contents
What Is The Safest Material For Non-Stick Pans?
Teflon Pans: Warning
- Teflon non-stick pans are known for their excellent performance and longer-lasting non-stick coating.
- Traditional nonstick pans use a substance called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is known for its strength and slipperiness. However, it can release dangerous fumes when exposed to high temperatures. While some PTFE pans don’t use perfluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA), which is harmful, it’s essential to be cautious with high temperatures.
- Concerns about health risks are associated with superheating Teflon pans above 500 degrees and scratching the non-stick surface.
- Ceramic pans have a non-stick coating derived from sand, making them free from toxic chemicals. Ceramic nonstick pans do not contain PFOA, and instead of PTFE, they are coated with a liquid material that hardens into a ceramic surface when heated. The key advantage here is that there’s no risk of toxic fumes, even at high temperatures.
- They are less durable than Teflon pans and more prone to developing microscopic surface cracks, affecting non-stick properties.
- Ceramic pans tend to run hot, so lower heat settings are recommended for cooking.
Cast Iron Pans
- Cast iron pans are praised for their versatility but may not be as non-stick as desired.
- Enameled cast iron pans have a non-stick enamel surface.
- These pans are recommended for various cooking needs, but not for highly sticky foods like eggs or salmon filets.
Carbon Steel Pans
- Carbon steel pans become naturally non-stick after seasoning.
- They require specific steps for initial seasoning and maintenance, making them high maintenance.
- Carbon steel pans are heavy and may not be suitable for all home cooks.
Stainless Steel Pans
- Stainless steel pans are known for their excellent heat distribution.
- They are recommended for cooking that doesn’t involve highly sticky foods.
- Stainless steel pans may not be suitable for cooking eggs or salmon without ample oil.
Ceramic Pans: 7 Tested For Their Non-Stick Properties
Ceramic nonstick pans have gained popularity as safer and healthier alternatives, but my previous experiences with them left me wondering. Most of the ceramic pans I’ve tested in the past failed to release food cleanly, even when they were brand new. And unfortunately, their performance deteriorated quickly with use.
Is there a ceramic nonstick pan on the market that has lasting non-stick properties?
- Seven ceramic non-stick pans, all 12 inches and priced between $20 and $80, were tested.
- The first test involved frying eggs consecutively in each pan without any fat and seeing if they were sticking.
- More tests included making various recipes typically cooked in a non-stick pan.
To find out, I acquired seven different ceramic nonstick pans, all 12 inches in size, with prices ranging from around $20 to $80, and put them to the test.
My first test involved frying numerous eggs in each pan, without using any fat. This test was crucial to assess how well the non-stick properties of the pans held up. I conducted this test both at the beginning and end of my evaluation to gauge the longevity of the coatings.
In addition to the egg test, I prepared several recipes commonly cooked in nonstick pans, such as steaks, omelets and pan-fried salmon. These tests not only allowed me to assess the nonstick performance but also evaluate other factors, including capacity, browning ability, comfort, and maneuverability.
RESULTS OF THE TEST
- Only two out of the seven ceramic pans passed the egg tests.
So, how did these ceramic pans fare in my testing? Unfortunately, most of them did not maintain their non-stick properties over the long term. In my initial dry egg test, only one pan managed to release 28 eggs before sticking. Four more pans failed this test when repeated at the end of the evaluation, with one of them failing after just 9 eggs. Others failed between 15 and 32 eggs.
Since the primary reason for choosing a nonstick pan is its non-stick properties, any pan that failed the egg test was automatically disqualified. This left me with only two out of the seven pans.
I did find some positive insights. The two top-performing ceramic pans had generous interior cooking surfaces, measuring 9.5 and 10 inches across, providing ample space for browning and cooking. Although food cooked slightly faster in these pans compared to a regular nonstick pan, the results were consistently good, with no food sticking to the pan’s surface.
One of these pans had steep sides, but the other had gently sloped walls, making it easier to flip or remove food. Both pans had comfortable handles, although they felt a tad heavier than ideal. The steep-sided pan was oven safe up to 400 degrees, while the one with sloped walls could handle up to 600 degrees, even broiling.
I also conducted cooking tests with steaks, omelets, and pan-seared salmon. These tests revealed that the ceramic pan ran hotter, resulting in faster cooking times and a slightly higher tendency to stick. For instance, omelets turned a bit too dark, and the skin of the salmon also stuck, albeit with easy cleanup using a quick soak in hot water.
Recommendations for Ceramic Non-Stick Pans
Here are the 2 ceramic non-stick pans that passed my tests
1. The Green Pan – Valencia Pro hard-anodized non-stick pan
Top choice for its performance and design
2. The KYOCERA – Ceramic Coated 12-Inch Non-Stick Pan
Best buy for its affordability and durable non-stick surface.
5 Other Non-Stick Pans Tested And Reviewed
1. Tramontina – Professional Nonstick Pan Review
The Tramontina Professional Nonstick Restaurant Frypan offers exceptional value and performance. It’s a robust pan that feels right at home in both professional and home kitchens.
Unique Insights: With its utilitarian style, this pan resembles those used in professional kitchens. It boasts a sturdy build, including a longer handle for added control. Despite its affordable price, it’s PFOA-free, oven-safe, and compatible with various cooktops, including gas, electric, and ceramic glass. The silicone handle guard provides extra grip and comfort.
User Experience: Cooking with this frypan is a breeze, and it holds up well to various cooking tasks. Its durability is evident, making it suitable for everyday use. The silicone handle guard is a thoughtful touch, enhancing user comfort. Cleanup is easy, and it’s an excellent value for its price.
Specific Situations: For those who appreciate the blend of professional-grade durability and affordability, the Tramontina Professional Nonstick Restaurant Frypan is an excellent choice. It’s perfect for those who want a reliable workhorse in their kitchen without breaking the bank.
2. GreenPan – Infinite Ceramic Nonstick Pan Review
GreenPan has earned its reputation for quality ceramic nonstick cookware, and the Infinite 8 pan lives up to the brand’s standards. It’s made out of ceramic and free from PFAS, PFOA, lead, or cadmium.
Unique Insights: Ceramic nonstick pans are known for their durability, and the GreenPan Infinite 8 is no exception. It can withstand temperatures of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, making it ideal for tasks like crisping salmon skin. While high heat isn’t recommended, this pan can handle more than your average ceramic nonstick. It’s a versatile tool in the kitchen.
User Experience: Cooking with the GreenPan Infinite 8 is a joy, especially for those who appreciate the benefits of ceramic nonstick. It’s durable and can handle various cooking methods. Oven safety is a plus, allowing for versatile cooking techniques. While it may not replace all your cookware, it’s an excellent addition to your collection.
Specific Situations: If you’re a fan of ceramic nonstick cookware and need a versatile pan that can handle higher temperatures, the GreenPan Infinite 8 is a solid choice. It’s perfect for those who enjoy the benefits of ceramic nonstick and want a reliable pan for their kitchen.
3. T-FAL – Ultimate Non-Stick Pan & Cookware Set Review
- Composition: 17 pieces, hard anodized aluminum. Cadmium-Free
- Heat Control: Heat mastery system and thermal spot technology for even heat distribution.
- Non-Stick: Hard titanium reinforced, scratch-resistant, and non-stick.
- Cleaning: Dishwasher safe.
- Handles: Riveted silicon handles for comfort and safety.
- Lids: Tempered glass lids with vents.
- Oven Safe: Up to 400 degrees.
Unique Insights: The T-FAL Ultimate Non-stick Cookware Set is a culinary powerhouse. Crafted from hard-anodized aluminum, it boasts even heat distribution, ensuring your meals are cooked to perfection. T-FAL’s heat mastery system and thermal spot technology make hotspots a thing of the past, a real win when cooking proteins. Plus, it’s hard titanium-reinforced and cadmium-free, making everything non-stick and resistant to scratches.
User Experience: One of the standout features is the ease of cleaning; food simply doesn’t stick, and everything is dishwasher safe. Even the handles are designed with comfort and safety in mind, perfect for those with hand issues like carpal tunnel. The tempered glass lids with vents are a thoughtful touch, allowing you to monitor your culinary creations. Oven-safe up to 400 degrees, this set is versatile and built to last.
Specific Situations: For those seeking a professional-quality cookware set that excels in even cooking and easy maintenance, the T-FAL Ultimate Non-stick Pan and Cookware Set is a fantastic choice. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or just starting out, this set will elevate your cooking experience.
4. Cuisinart – Stainless Steel Pan & Cookware Set Review
- Composition: 10 pieces, premium tri-ply stainless steel. BPA-Free
- Even Cooking: Heats evenly without altering food taste.
- Durability: Sturdy and durable, suitable for all oven cooktops.
- Handle: Cool to the touch and ergonomically contoured.
- Lids: Tempered glass lids that seal in moisture and nutrients.
- Oven Safe: Up to 500 degrees.
- Pouring: Tapered rim for mess-free pouring.
Unique Insights: With 10 pieces, this set may seem modest, but it packs a punch. Crafted from premium tri-ply stainless steel, it guarantees even cooking without affecting the taste of your dishes. The cookware is safe for all oven cooktops and can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees. The ergonomic handles and tempered glass lids with vents add to its appeal.
User Experience: Cooking with this set is a breeze. The even heat distribution ensures consistent results, and the sturdy, durable construction ensures longevity. The tapered rim allows mess-free pouring, a small but handy detail. Cleanup is effortless, thanks to its dishwasher-safe components.
Specific Situations: If you appreciate classic aesthetics, reliable performance, and durability in your cookware, the Cuisinart 10-P Stainless Steel Pan and Cookware Set is your ideal choice. It’s perfect for those who need a versatile set for everyday cooking.
5. Amazon Basics – Non-Stick Kitchen Pan & Cookware Set Review
- Composition: 15 pieces with a spiral bottom.
- Non-Stick: No need for butter or oil, lightweight aluminum body. BPA-Free
- Handle: Soft and ergonomic handles for easy and safe cooking.
- Lids: Vented glass lids for steam control.
- Versatility: Suitable for most cooktops except induction.
- Utensils: Comes with a five-piece utensil set.
- Cleaning: Dishwasher safe.
- Pouring: Pour directly from pans to plates without food adherence.
Unique Insights: This set, with its 15 pieces, offers excellent value. The spiral bottom ensures even heating, and the aluminum body keeps it lightweight and ergonomic. The cookware is compatible with most stovetops, except induction. The vented glass lids aid in flavor-rich cooking, and the non-stick surface eliminates the need for added oils.
User Experience: Cooking with this set is a breeze. The soft, easy-to-grip handles enhance safety. Cleanup is effortless, as food doesn’t stick to the non-stick surface, and everything transitions seamlessly from pan to plate. The inclusion of a five-piece utensil set adds to the convenience.
Specific Situations: For health-conscious individuals and those on a budget, the Amazon Basics 15-Piece Non-Stick Kitchen Pan and Cookware Set is a fantastic choice. It’s perfect for those who want a user-friendly, non-stick cookware set that delivers great results without added fats.
All photos credits belong to respective brands.