Remember those ads about how convenient is non-stick cookware? Finally, no eggs stuck onto your frying pan, and no more scratching them out while cleaning your stainless steel pan? Cooking made easy, right?
The “non-stick magic” was repeatedly announced for many cooking appliances including frying pans, woks, pots, casseroles etc. you name it.
We were all told that as long as you’re using a wooden spoon or spatula and you’re not scratching the surface coating of this cookware, you’d be fine. Well, that’s easier said than done. Haven’t you noticed how your nonstick cookware wears thin over time?
Over time that surface is not as thick, shiny, and non-stick any longer, and sooner or later, you end up using your stainless steel fork, knife, spoon or any other metal tool and the results are scratches on the surface.
A late 2022 study titled “Raman imaging for the identification of Teflon microplastics and nanoplastics released from non-stick cookware” by the Australian Newcastle and Flinders University and published in the Science of The Total Environment Journal found that even one surface crack on a Teflon-coated pan could release approximately 9,100 microplastic particles. Furthermore, through their Raman imaging and algorithm models, they found that broken coating on your non stick cookware may lead to the release of 2,3 million microplastics and nanoplastics, that leach into your food and contaminate it in the form of PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) / PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) “forever chemicals”. These groups of chemicals also called PFCs (Perfluorochemicals) and are used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water.
Teflon is the brand name behind the most famous PTFE non-stick coating and the petrochemical giant DuPont is the inventor of this synthetic chemical. However, over the years other chemical manufacturers have made similar coatings without using that branded product. Also, because PFOA and PFTE have received such a bad reputation, companies have started replacing those chemicals with other for ever chemicals of the same family like Gen X. Overall, there are thousands and thousands of for ever chemicals. Don’t be fooled by PFOA – PFTE free claims – the safest non stick pan doesn’t exist!
Cooking is an essential part of our daily lives, but the type of cookware we use can significantly impact our health. We just discovered that many traditional pieces of cookware release harmful chemicals and even release toxic fumes when exposed to high temperatures. To make informed choices for your kitchen, you need to know which cookware isn’t toxic and is safe, as this is the best for your health and for the environment. Opt for coating-free, and therefore plastic-free cookware.
Cheap syntethic-coated non-stick cookware brands offer the best budget option but that’s only a short-term view as they want you to buy a new pan every couple of years, right? Once scratched you have a toxic cocktail of chemicals leaching into your food and one of the safest things to do is to dispose of these.
However, one of the many problems with these non-stick pans is that they are extremely difficult to recycle as they are often made of multiple materials (steel, Teflon coating, plastic handles etc.) These products aren’t designed for disassembly and repair, but just for landfill according to the principles of a linear economy (take – make – waste). Most recycling companies won’t accept them, so they simply get thrown out with the household waste destined for landfills by the millions every year. That is an environmental disaster as the PFAS coating remains in the soil for centuries.
For example, according to Kitchen Warehouse a staggering 72% of Australians toss their old cookware in general waste bins, which equates to a massive 2.7 million pieces of cookware ending up in landfill each year. That’s 7,000 pieces per day. To counteract this Kitchen Warehouse has launched The Great Exchange Pan a cookware recycling initiative.
This article will help you find the best eco-friendly cookware picks, as most of them can be recycled at the end of their life.
To identify non-toxic cookware, we’d like to point out the safest cookware materials on the market, the ones that have existed for centuries and despite not being the most convenient or budget, they are some of the safest and healthiest avalable on the market:
These materials are not advertised as non-stick and with reason! They require a bit more care in handling and use but at least they have no synthetic coating. Avoid also copper or aluminum cookware as these materials migrate into food, particularly acidic one.
We haven’t included ceramic-coated cookware like Caraway cookware, Bialetti, GreenLife, GreenPan etc. in our list because, in our opinion, every coating triggers some health concerns. Ceramic coating, like Teflon cookware coating, wears out over a short time (usually one year) and it can be damaged easily. This can expose heavy metals like lead, cadmium, neurotoxic aluminum (which is often used as a base) in direct contact with food and be potentially harmful. Have you asked yourself why?
Ceramic non-stick cookware is not made of ceramic! The apparently non-toxic ceramic coating is made from silicone dioxide which is a byproduct of sand. During manufacturing a process called sol-gel transforms the material into a gel that gives its non-stick properties. Because of its smooth and glossy “look and feel” it’s labeled as ceramic as this word gives people a perception of an “artisanal product”, but in reality, it’s another synthetic-based polymer coating that is softer than metal, so the surface degrades with normal use. The coating releases some silicone oil that once heated prevents the food from sticking onto the pan, but once that’s finished your food will start sticking. This usually happens after only one year … and yet… another frying pan going to landfill adding to the millions already there, right? Not, that’s not what we mean with zero waste cooking.
Plus, scientists have reported on the possible release of titanium dioxide nanoparticles from non-stick coatings into food. If the manufacturers are not transparent about the coating material they use, what else are they also not transparent about?
This video is a great explainer about the difference between ceramic cookware and ceramic coating cookware.
Finding the safest non-toxic cookware for your kitchen is more critical than ever. We all want to enjoy delicious meals prepared in the safest and healthiest way possible. That’s why in this article we have researched and scouted the best cookware without plastic coatings so that you can enjoy cooking without concerns for your health. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the world of cookware sets and find the top-rated cookware brands that prioritize your health and well-being.
We’ll share the best non-toxic cookware, exploring the best materials available in 2023 as non-toxic alternatives to disposable non-stick pans. We’ll answer important questions about cookware safety and provide detailed insights into the top options on the market. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge you need to make your kitchen a healthier place.
This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. This helps us continue the hard work we put into researching products and solutions.
Lodge has been making some of the best cast iron cookware since 1896 in the USA with non-toxic, PFOA & PTFE free materials. They operate two foundries in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. They have been manufacturing cookware for over 125 years, creating solid, durable pieces that will last for generations. Lodge’s pots and pans are pre-seasoned at the foundry by using 100% only vegetable oil, no synthetic coatings or chemicals for a natural, easy-release finish that improves with use. The more you use the cast iron pots the better the seasoning will get. The unparalleled distribution and retention of heat ensures rapid and efficient cooking.
Le Creuset is a French-Belgian maker of one of the best non toxic cookware companies. They are best known for producing enameled cast-iron cookware and they have been manufacturing their products in the town of Fresnoy-le-Grand in France since 1925 and offer a lifetime warranty on them. One of their most famous pot designs is the iconic Le Creuset Dutch Oven which is an indispensable tool in the kitchen of master chefs as well as home cooks. Nowadays, the company makes many other types of healthiest cookware options like bakeware, fondue sets, tagines etc. also made of different materials.
The benefits of their enameled cast iron product range are that they deliver superior heat distribution and retention, they are ready to use, they require no seasoning, they are easy to clean and that durable enamel resists dulling, staining, chipping and cracking. One of the disadvantages is that since they require no seasoning, a decent amount of fat is needed each time you cook.
Solidteknics was founded in 2014 by a mechanical engineer and keen cook who was tired of the disposable, synthetic-coated pans piling up in our landfills. Over two decades of R&D he was able to invent a world-first seamless one-piece pan, wrought from a single sheet of iron. This sustainable cookware is made of a single material steel or cast iron, and it is free from toxins, heavy metals, synthetic coatings, and durable enough to last for centuries so it can be passed from generation to generation. Their range of non-toxic pans are now used in thousands of professional kitchens and happy homes, all over the world.
The AUS-ION™ product range is wrought from clean Australian iron, it’s perfect for all of your everyday oil/fat-based frying, grilling, searing and baking needs. It can be seasoned to build and maintain a healthy natural non-stick surface.
nöni™ is their ferritic, non-nickel stainless steel range, it’s best for slow cooking and cooking wet and acidic foods, though it’s conductive enough to sear a steak. They use ferritic stainless steel because it is non-nickel and nearly twice as conductive as commonly used 18-10 Austenitic stainless steels (18-10 stainless steel means 18% Chromium and 10% Nickel). It is magnetic and therefore compatible with induction cooktops, it requires very low maintenance, it’s easy to clean and it’s even dishwasher safe.
Visit the Solidteknics Australia online store
360 cookware is manufactured in West Bend, Wisconsin, United States and it is made of three primary metals and is thicker than most cookware on the market. The inside layer of these plastic free pots and pans (what primarily touches your food) is T-304 Surgical Grade Stainless Steel and the range is 18/8 to 18/10. 18/8 and 18/10 refers to the percentage amount of chromium and nickel in the metal. In the case of 360, it’s 18% chromium and 8% to 10% nickel. The outside layer (what touches the heat) is T-400 Series Stainless Steel which has a lower nickel content and high carbon steel content to better interact on induction cooktops. These two layers of stainless steel surround a core layer of aluminum, which ensures superior heat conduction and heat distribution. It is oven safe up to 500 degrees F. and works on every type of stove.
They are so sure about their quality that they offer a lifetime warranty. They have been recognized by the EPA as their manufacturing process includes no harsh chemicals, but instead uses a dry sanding process to produce a smoother finish and a nicer final product.
All-Clad is an American cookware company that has been around since 1971 and is best known for its fully clad cookware. The founder is a metallurgist who discovered this technique by accident, as he was trying to build a better pan, a pan built with several bonded layers, also called “plys”. If you are looking for all-cladded stainless steel pots and pans, All-Clad will satisfy your needs. They have a 3-ply, a 5-ply range with aluminum as a core, and another range with copper as a core, plus a small cast-iron product range All products are bonded, engineered, and assembled in Canonsburg, PA.
Their products are compatible with any stovetop including induction. To keep your All-Clad looking brand new, wash your cookware with soap and sponge, using non scratching utensils.
HOMICHEF has been in business since 1998 and make its products in South Korea and China. They offer stainless steel cookware sets that are nickel-free, non-allergic and are great non-toxic cookware options. Stainless steel cookware generally includes nickel because it’s more corrosion-resistant, however nickel leaches under cooking conditions and it is high up on the ATSDR list of priority toxins. Nickel is a known reproductive toxin and is a carcinogen in higher amounts. One of the best stainless steel for pans and pots is stainless steel (21/0), which means 21% added chromium and no nickel. This has extremely good corrosion resistance, but is characterized by high thermal conductivity and magnetism.
De Buyer has been making steel frying pans since 1830 in a small French village in Val d’Ajol from metals mined locally. Now they work with culinary professionals around the world to develop and produce innovative kitchen utensils. One of their iconic products is the MINERAL B steel frying pan, the essential utensil for searing, grilling, browning for healthy and tasty cooking. It is lighter than cast iron & more heat-conductive than stainless steel. It is finished with French beeswax for an all-natural protection against oxidation and to facilitate the seasoning and therefore the non-stick properties of the pan.
A part from the carbon steel line of cookware, they offer also a range of plastic free cooking utensils in stainless steel, iron, and copper.
Fourneau has brought a new carbon steel frying pan on the market that is lighter than regular carbon steel & cast iron pans. It weighs just over 3 pounds. The Fourneau Carbon Steel pan is pre-seasoned with grapeseed oil and over time will develop a better, nearly non-stick surface. Unlike traditional carbon steel pans with a stamped steel handle, this pan has a removable cork handle that doesn’t heat up and is comfortable to hold. This new design also doesn’t use rivets to secure the handle to the pan but it features a welded handle and uninterrupted cooking surface. This ensures that food and debris cannot get stuck in the rivets. It is not dishwasher safe.
Last but not least, as it is made of just steel and renewable cork, it’s fully recyclable at the end of its life.
Visions is a brand of innovative glass-ceramic cookware which was originally created by French multinational Corning in the late 1970s, and later became popular also in the USA and sold worldwide by Instant Brands. Their products are made of a material that belongs to the Pyroceram family of vitroceramics (glass-ceramics). This material is transparent like glass (mostly available in an amber or cranberry tint), non-porous, and features thermal characteristics similar to Corningware, but has improved resistance to staining and the detrimental effects of acids and detergents. It is tested for heavy metals (cadmium, mercury, arsenic, etc.) and does not contain lead.
It is not to be confused with borosilicate glass, it is more resistant that that and capable of withstanding extreme thermal changes and heat of up to 1,560+ °F / 850°C, meaning that it could go from the freezer to the oven without risk of shattering. Therefore, it is dishwasher, freezer, microwave, preheated-oven, broiler and stove-top safe (gas & electric). For safer non-toxic cooking though, you should never use pieces that are scratched or split as these may shutter, particularly as vintage Visions products are becoming more popular. Finally, it is a very healthy choice due to its non-porous nature, Visions will never stain, harbor odors, or leach anything into your meals.
Find Vintage Visions products on Etsy
Eringogo cookware is made in China of heat and cold proof borosilicate glass (up to 400°F and down to -0°F ). The manufacturer states their product description that the customers doesn’t need to worry about it cracking or exploding. This type of cookware is suitable for dishwasher, microwave, stovetop, induction cooker, open flame, refrigerator, making it very versatile in the kitchen for cooking and storing the leftovers in the fridge after. The surface is non-porous, therfore it doesn’t absorb food, flavors or oils. The lid has been designed with an air hole, to quickly release steam and maintain the normal pressure in the pot.
The pot is available in 45 oz, 50 oz, 65oz.
Since 1955, Silit has been manufacturing some of the best ceramic cookware sets exclusively in Riedlingen in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and now belongs to the WFM group. The label “Made in Germany” is a promise of quality. They are the inventor of Silargan® – an innovative functional, safe ceramic cookware material that has a non-porous, tasteless surface, it’s easy to clean with your plastic-free dish soap or in the dishwasher, and it’s nickel-free.
Silargan has been produced since 1989 and has been continuously improved over the years. It is inseparably fused to the steel body of the cookware at very high temperatures, making it shock and scratch-resistant. Silit Silargan is therefore considerably more stable than most enamel cookware.
Xtrema is another brand of 100% non-toxic pure ceramic pots and pans. The products are made in China, where over seventy percent of the world’s ceramic products are cultivated and where this material has been invented first. They produce skillets, frying pans, woks, bakeware and even teaware of safe ceramic. Xtrema cookware is perfect when you’re looking for the best cooking tools with no metals that can leach into foods, and provide even heating and excellent thermal retention.
Visit the Xtrema store
The ultimate reality is that we pay a price for the “convenience” and that price is our health in the long run. As we wrap up our exploration of the best non-toxic pans and pots and materials for 2023, it’s essential to recap the key takeaways:
By following the guidance in this article, you can make informed choices and create a kitchen that promotes the well-being of you and your loved ones. Remember, investing in the safest non-toxic cookware brands is an investment in your health and the delicious meals you’ll prepare in the years to come. We hope that this top non-toxic cookware guide was helpful for you to build a safe and healthy kitchen!