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A perfect fried egg inside a nonstick pan, with a nonstick pot behind it, both sitting on a stovetop. Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Best Nonstick Cookware Sets of 2022

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A perfect fried egg inside a nonstick pan, with a nonstick pot behind it, both sitting on a stovetop. Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

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Editor's Choice Product image of All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Set
Best Overall

All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Set

This hard-anodized nonstick cookware set contains everything you need to cook a fantastic meal. Read More

Pros

  • Lids fit tightly
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable build

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Hard to store
2
Editor's Choice Product image of T-Fal C561SC Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set
Best Value

T-Fal C561SC Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set

During tests, this set cooked eggs perfectly with no extra oil and simmered sauces and cooked rice without scorching. Read More

Pros

  • Cooked eggs and simmered sauces perfectly
  • Fast water-boiling speed
  • Comfortable, padded handles

Cons

  • Can't sear meat as well as a stainless set
3
Product image of GreenPan Premiere Ceramic Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set

GreenPan Premiere Ceramic Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set

These ceramic pans are a little on the heavy side, but we think they’re worth it for their superior nonstick abilities. Read More

Pros

  • Great nonstick properties
  • Offers a variety of pots and pans
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Doesn't heat evenly
4
Product image of Anolon Advanced Home 11-Piece Cookware Set

Anolon Advanced Home 11-Piece Cookware Set

The Anolon Advanced Home has an improved nonstick finish, and we love that the soft, ergonomic handles don’t get hot—even after extended use. Read More

Pros

  • Food doesn’t stick
  • Easy to clean
  • Comfortable handles

Cons

  • Doesn’t heat evenly
  • Doesn’t sear as well as stainless
5
Product image of Caraway Cookware Set

Caraway Cookware Set

This gorgeous ceramic nonstick cookware set doesn’t come with a full set of pots and pans, but it performed admirably and it’s worth it if you’re looking to buy a Dutch oven. Read More

Pros

  • Beautiful appearance
  • Easy to store
  • Includes a Dutch oven

Cons

  • Doesn't offer a variety of cookware sizes

Nonstick cookware can bring a lot of joy to your culinary life. Foods that can bake onto stainless steel slide effortlessly out of these pots and pans without the use of any cooking oil or butter. The nonstick coating is not only attractive to health-conscious cooks but to anyone who wants easy-to-clean cookware.

Some pans boast nonstick properties after a seasoning process, like cast iron, carbon steel, or hybrid cookware like HexClad—our favorite cookware set. Building up the seasoning layer takes time, though, and some of them can’t be cleaned with soap.

That’s why we love the nonstick cookware sets in this guide, made with anodized aluminum, PTFE (or Teflon) coating, or ceramic finishes that are nonstick right out of the box. To make sure we found the best nonstick cookware, we tested the pots and pans in each set to see how they performed while cooking, how durable they were, and how easy they were to use. We looked for options that provided a good value for the price and performed well enough as stand-alone items.

After extensive testing, the best nonstick cookware set is the All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set (available at Amazon for $489.95). We still love our former top pick, the T-Fal C561SC Titanium Advanced Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set (available at Amazon), which we've awarded our Best Value pick thanks to its low price.

Here are the best nonstick cookware sets we tested ranked, in order:

  1. All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set
  2. T-fal C561SC Titanium Advanced Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set
  3. GreenPan Premiere Ceramic Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
  4. Anolon Advanced Home 11-Piece Cookware Set
  5. Caraway Cookware Set
  6. Circulon Symmetry Black 11-Piece Cookware Set
  7. Cuisinart Green Gourmet Hard-Anodized 12-piece Set
  8. Ninja Foodi NeverStick™ Ultimate Cookware Collection
  9. T-Fal Endurance Platinum Nonstick 14-piece Set
  10. Anolon Advanced Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
  11. OXO Non-Stick 10 Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set
  12. Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set
All-Clad HA1 nonstick cookware set displayed on kitchen counter.
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Our favorite nonstick cookware is the All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set.

Best Overall
All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Set
  • Set includes: 8 and 10-inch frying pans, 2.5 and 3.5-quart sauce pans, a 4-quart sauté pan, and an 8-quart stockpot
  • Material: Anodized aluminum
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Oven use: Safe up to 500˚F
  • Cooktop: Compatible with gas, electric, and induction

The All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set was our top pick after testing dozens of cookware sets, and it’s our top pick for nonstick cookware. It not only aced our tests but each pan is beautifully designed with a sleek, black finish and shiny metal handles. The handles are long enough to create a perfect balance with each pan, and they feature All-Clad’s signature concave shape that’s super comfortable to hold. While the pans are a little on the heavy side, they’re well-built with heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum that should make them more durable. All-Clad also coats the pans with three layers of PFOA-free nonstick material, creating a slick finish that helps the food release easily.

As for performance, we had absolutely no complaints. The eggs slid easily around the pan, even without using any cooking oil, and the lid fit tightly onto the saucepots, trapping steam inside the pan to create some of the best rice in the testing group. We were also impressed at how crispy our chicken skin became, as most nonstick pans don’t excel at creating a hard sear. Put it all together, and this set became the clear choice for our Best Nonstick Cookware Set. Our only major complaint was the pans don’t nest very well, making storage more difficult.

The hard anodized nonstick set certainly seems expensive at first glance, but it comes with a wide variety of pots and pans that make it worth every penny.

Pros

  • Lids fit tightly

  • Easy to clean

  • Durable build

Cons

  • Heavy

  • Hard to store

t-fal cookware set
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The T-fal C561SC set combines great performance, it's easy to clean, and is available at a low price, making it our choice for best value nonstick cookware set.

Best Value
T-Fal C561SC Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set
  • Set includes: 1 and 2-quart saucepans, a 5-quart stockpot, a large 5-quart sauté pan, an 8 and 9-inch skillet, a spatula, and a slotted spoon
  • Material: Available in titanium or anodized aluminum
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Oven use: Safe up to 350˚F for titanium and 400˚F for aluminum
  • Cooktop: Not suitable for induction stovetops

If you’re looking for an inexpensive, easy-to-clean nonstick cookware set, look no further than the T-Fal C561SC Titanium Advanced Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set. It’s our pick for best value because of its budget-friendly price and fantastic performance.

During our tests, this set cooked eggs perfectly without requiring any extra oil and the saucepots simmered sauces and cooked rice without scorching. To top it all off, this set’s stockpot boiled water faster than any others in our test group,the comfortable, padded handles stayed cool, and the pans heated quickly and evenly. The riveted handles are ergonomically designed for a comfortable and safe grip, and they’re oven-safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, so they can handle relatively high temperatures. This high quality set of cookware is also easy to clean, allowing you to save some time from scrubbing pans after cooking.

In addition to the basics any kitchen should have to get cooking, this nonstick set includes a few bonus items: two saucepans (1- and 2-quart), a 5-quart stockpot, a large 5-quart sauté pan, two skillets (8- and 9-inch), a spatula, and a slotted spoon.

Pros

  • Cooked eggs and simmered sauces perfectly

  • Fast water-boiling speed

  • Comfortable, padded handles

Cons

  • Can't sear meat as well as a stainless set


Other Nonstick Cookware Sets We Tested

Product image of GreenPan Premiere Ceramic Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
GreenPan Premiere Ceramic Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
  • Set includes: 9.5 and 12-inch frying pans, 1.5 and 3-quart saucepans, a 3-quart sauté pan, a 6-quart stockpot, and a stainless steel steamer insert
  • Material: Ceramic-coated stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Oven use: Safe up to 600°F and lids are safe up to 425°F
  • Cooktop: Compatible with all stovetops, including induction

GreenPan was the first company to produce ceramic nonstick pans, and they have dozens of cookware sets to choose from. We tested the GreenPan Premiere Ceramic Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set because of its stainless-steel construction, which is heavier than aluminum but more durable.

Some of the premium nonstick sets we tested were a little skimpy on the contents, but you’ll get six well-built pots and pans with this set, plus lids and a steamer basket. The nonstick properties on this pan were top-notch, and the pans included small details that we appreciated (like rounded handles that stayed cool as you cooked and recessed handle rivets that we appreciated when cleaning the pans).

On the flip side, these pans didn’t heat as evenly as some of the other cookware sets we tested, and it was a little hard to stir into the corners of the saucepans. They were also a little on the heavy side, but that’s well worth it for a well-built pan.

Pros

  • Great nonstick properties

  • Offers a variety of pots and pans

  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Heavy

  • Doesn't heat evenly

Product image of Anolon Advanced Home 11-Piece Cookware Set
Anolon Advanced Home 11-Piece Cookware Set
  • Set includes: two saucepots (1.5 and 3-quart), an 8.5-quart stockpot, a medium-sized 3-quart sauté pan, a small and a large skillet (8.5 and 12-inch)
  • Material: Anodized aluminum
  • Dishwasher safe: No
  • Oven use: Safe up to 400°F
  • Cooktop: Not suitable for induction stovetops

At first glance, the Anolon Advanced Home 11-Piece Cookware Set doesn’t seem very different from the Anolon Advanced set. When it came to performance, though, it blew its predecessor out of the water. This more recent upgraded version has an enhanced nonstick finish, so it performed much better on our egg tests. The eggs flipped with ease, and the rice simmered perfectly without browning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. We also loved the soft, ergonomic handles, and were thrilled when they didn’t get hot after extended use.

On the flip side, the pans didn’t heat as evenly as multi-clad stainless steel, and they couldn’t produce a hard sear on the chicken thighs, either. That said, if you’re specifically looking for a nonstick pan set, this one won’t disappoint.

Pros

  • Food doesn’t stick

  • Easy to clean

  • Comfortable handles

Cons

  • Doesn’t heat evenly

  • Doesn’t sear as well as stainless

Product image of Caraway Cookware Set
Caraway Cookware Set
  • Set includes: 10.5-inch frying pan, a 3-quart sauce pan, a 4.5-quart sauté pan, and a 6.5-inch Dutch oven
  • Material: Ceramic-coated aluminum
  • Dishwasher safe: No
  • Oven use: Safe up to 550°F
  • Cooktop: Compatible with electric, gas, and induction

If the gorgeous appearance of the Caraway Cookware Set isn’t enough to make you want to buy it, the extra attention to detail will definitely push you over the edge. The set comes with four pans, three lids, and two specially designed storage pieces. The modular racks house the pans on their side so they’ll easily fit inside a cabinet, and the genius canvas lid holder can hang on the inside of the door.

When it came to performance, these pans absolutely met our expectations. The lid features a small hole to allow steam to escape, producing some of the better rice in the group. And the nonstick properties didn’t fail in any of the tests, allowing eggs to slide around without any cooking oil. That said, the set lost some points because it's hand-wash only and doesn’t contain a full set of pots and pans, despite the high price tag.

Pros

  • Beautiful appearance

  • Easy to store

  • Includes a Dutch oven

Cons

  • Doesn't offer a variety of cookware sizes

Product image of Circulon Symmetry Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
Circulon Symmetry Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
  • Set includes: Three saucepots (1, 2, and 3-quart), an 8-quart stockpot, a medium-sized 3-quart sauté pan, and two skillets/fry pans (8.5 and 10-inch)
  • Material: Anodized aluminum
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Oven use: Safe up to 400°F
  • Cooktop: Compatible with all stovetops, including induction

Each pan in the Circulon Symmetry Black 11-Piece Cookware Set has raised, concentric circles on the nonstick surface. While I couldn’t tell you the history of these ridges or how they became a Circulon signature trait, I can tell you that they definitely work to keep food from sticking to the pan! In addition to acing the nonstick tests, the high-quality Circulon pans performed well (except that the tall-and-skinny stockpot design took the longest in the group to boil water).

Overall, these were some of the more comfortable pans we used, with well-thought-out, sleek cast stainless steel handles and nicely-balanced weight. The hard anodized material, used for bodies of the pans, are twice as hard as stainless steel. They're built to last, with scratch-resistant material throughout the design of the pots and pans.

Pros

  • Food doesn't stick

  • Comfortable handles

Cons

  • Boils water slowly

Product image of Cuisinart GG-12 GreenGourmet 12 Piece Set
Cuisinart GG-12 GreenGourmet 12 Piece Set
  • Set includes: 8 and 10-inch frying pans, 1.5 and 2.5-inch saucepans, a 3-quart sauté pan, a 6-quart Dutch oven, and a steamer basket
  • Material: Anodized aluminum
  • Dishwasher safe: No
  • Oven use: Safe up to 400°F
  • Cooktop: Not induction compatible

Overall, we were really happy with the cookware set from Cuisinart’s new eco-friendly line, the Cuisinart Green Gourmet Hard Anodized 12-piece set. According to Cuisinart, their ceramic nonstick coating is PTFE and PFOA free, so it helps conserve existing oil supplies compared to petroleum-based coatings. The pans all heated evenly, and the widely-spaced handle rivets made the pans easy to clean. We had no issues with the nonstick properties, and this set scored well on most of our performance tests.

Unfortunately, this set falls a little short when compared to the other sets we tested. It's hand-wash only and the two saucepans don’t stack well for storage, plus the small saucepan kept getting stuck inside the larger skillet, leading to scratched edges. While the set includes a lot of value for the price tag, the sauté pan is smaller than we’d like, so we felt this set missed out by not providing a 12-inch nonstick skillet.

On the plus side, it’s one of the few sets we tested that comes with metal lids, which we appreciate since they’re more durable and easier to store.

Pros

  • Heats evenly

  • Great value

  • Comes with metal lids

Cons

  • Doesn’t stack well for storage

  • Doesn’t include a large skillet

Product image of Ninja Foodi NeverStick Premium Ultimate Cookware Collection
Ninja Foodi NeverStick Premium Ultimate Cookware Collection
  • Set includes: 8 and 10.25-inch frying pans, 1.5 and 2.5-quart saucepans, a 3-quart sauté pan, and a 6.5-quart stock pot
  • Material: Anodized aluminum
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Oven use: Safe up to 500°F
  • Cooktop: Compatible with gas, electric, glass-ceramic, and induction stoves

Overall, the Ninja Foodi NeverStick Ultimate Cookware Collection impressed us. The surface of these pans were rougher than traditional nonstick pans, but that somehow worked to keep food from sticking better than most of the sets in the test group.

Our egg slid around the pan with ease (even without using any cooking oil), and the rice released easily from the bottom of the pan. These pans struggled a little bit with even heating, but they certainly weren’t the worst in the group. We also loved how lightweight these pans were and how quickly they heated up.

Some small features caused these pans to lose points, though. The rivets that hold the handles to the pan were spaced very closely together, making them harder to clean. The saucepan design also made it difficult to get to the edges with a spoon, so we had some uneven burnt sections when we cooked rice.

Pros

  • Lightweight

  • Great nonstick properties

  • Quick to heat

Cons

  • Hard to clean

  • Difficult to stir

Product image of T-Fal Endurance Collection Platinum Nonstick 14pc Cookware Set
T-Fal Endurance Collection Platinum Nonstick 14-Piece Cookware Set
  • Set includes: 8 and 10-inch frying pans, 1 and 3-quart saucepans, a 3-quart deep sauté pan, a 5-quart stockpot, a spatula, a stirring spoon, and a pasta spoon
  • Material: Platinum
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Oven use: Safe up to 500°F
  • Cooktop: Not compatible with induction stovetops

It’s hard to beat the price on the T-Fal Endurance Platinum Nonstick 14-piece set, but when it came to performance, we preferred the Titanium Advanced set. This set was a little heavier, and we didn’t love the tall buttons on top of the glass lids, which made them hard to store.

As far as performance goes, this set met our expectations, but they did tend to get hotter faster than some of the other sets. That means you’ll need to be careful when using them over medium-high heat. The handles will get hotter, too, so be sure to have a set of oven mitts ready.

It’s an added bonus that this nonstick set comes with three metal utensils, although we generally don’t recommend using metal on nonstick, as it can wear down the coating (even on pans rated for use with metal utensils).

Pros

  • Inexpensive

  • Comes with bonus utensils

  • Heats up quickly

Cons

  • Handles get hot

  • Difficult to store

Product image of Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
  • Set includes: two saucepots (1.5 and 3-quart), an 8.5-quart stockpot, a medium-sized 3-quart sauté pan, a small and a large skillet (8.5 and 12-inch)
  • Material: Anodized aluminum
  • Dishwasher safe: No
  • Oven use: Safe up to 400°F
  • Cooktop: Not suitable for induction stovetops

While we preferred the upgraded Anolon Advanced Home set, the Anolon Advanced Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set is not a bad runner-up. The pan’s soft, padded handles made these anodized aluminum pots and pans a joy to work with. It was one of the few sets that didn’t have blazing-hot stockpot handles after boiling water for 30 minutes! The hard anodized nonstick coating is even utensil safe (although, it was one of our least favorite nonstick surfaces to use without added oil).

Pros

  • Comfortable, padded handles

  • Bonus of a second, larger skillet

  • Nonstick coating is utensil safe

Cons

  • Nonstick surface needs added oil

Product image of OXO Good Grips Non-Stick 10 Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set
OXO Good Grips Non-Stick 10 Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set
  • Set includes: 8 and 9.5-inch frying pans, a 2-quart saucepan, a 3-quart sauté pan, a 3-quart sauce pan, and a 6-quart stock pot
  • Material: Anodized aluminum
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Oven use: Safe up to 390°F
  • Cooktop: Not suitable for induction stovetops

The OXO Non-Stick 10 Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set excelled when it came to nonstick abilities. In fact, we named the 10-inch egg pan as our best overall nonstick pan for its ability to cook eggs and pancakes without sticking—even when we didn’t use any cooking oil! The rest of the pans in this set proved to have the same superior nonstick abilities, and we loved the ergonomic, silicone-coated handles.

That said, the pans didn’t heat as evenly as the other cookware sets in our testing group, causing some of our vegetables to burn before the rest cooked through. The handle rivets are placed too closely together, too, making these pans harder to clean.

Finally, the set comes with a great variety of pots and pans, but we wish the 3-quart sauté pan was wider, satisfying our desire to have a 12-inch pan in the set. However, the pans do stack very nicely for storage, which is an asset to anyone with a small kitchen.

Pros

  • Easy to store

  • Good variety of pots and pans

  • Great nonstick performance

Cons

  • Doesn't heat evenly

  • Difficult to clean

Product image of Calphalon Premier Space Saving Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set
Calphalon Premier Space Saving Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set
  • Set includes: two saucepots (2.5 and 3.5-quart), a smaller 6-quart stockpot, a medium-sized 3-quart sauté pan, and two skillets (8 and 10-inch)
  • Material: Anodized aluminum
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Oven use: Safe up to 450°F
  • Cooktop: Not suitable for induction stovetops

Those with very small kitchens will love how easy it is to store the Calphalon Premier Space Saving Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set. The lids are a bit strange looking, but they store flat and all of the pots and pans are designed to fit into two, neat stacks. While the pans themselves are a bit heavy, the stainless steel handle design helps balance things out and the extra weight worked hard to retain heat as we cooked, thanks to the hard-anodized aluminum build.

Pros

  • Compact to fit into small spaces

  • Handle design helps with balance

Cons

  • Heavy pans

How We Tested Nonstick Cookware Sets

A white plate is filled with rice,  a perfectly cooked chicken breast, and asparagus spears.
Credit: Reviewed /Lindsay D. Mattison

We cooked a complete meal using multiple pots pans to help determine each set's performance.

After researching some of the best nonstick cookware sets on the market, we decided to cook a multi-component meal using each set. To function for everyday life, the pots and pans sets had to be sized appropriately to cook dinner for one, but we also wanted to know if you could easily cook a larger dinner (like Thanksgiving) using the set. To earn our seal of approval, at least two saucepans, one sauté pan, and a stockpot had to fit on a standard cooktop range at the same time.

Keeping that in mind, we designed the tests to evaluate performance, ease of use, and value. We seared chicken thighs in the sauté pan, tossed vegetables in the nonstick pans, simmered sauces and cooked rice in the saucepots, and blanched vegetables in the stockpot. We also fried a few eggs without oil to see how well the coating worked.

Finally, we measured any noticeable hotspots and maybe did a little taste testing to see if one set made a tastier meal than the others. In the end, none of the sets completely failed but we did have a few favorites. We also compared how easy it was to clean each pot and pan and found out whether they were dishwasher-safe.

What to Consider When Buying a Cookware Set

How Many Pots and Pans are Included?

Cookware sets try to anticipate your needs by providing small, medium, and large pots and pans. Before you jump into a set, consider your cooking style: Do you usually cook for one or for a crowd? The former means you can opt for smaller cookware. Do you cook mostly soups and sauces, or are you a fan of scrambles, stir-fries, and pasta? The answer determines whether you want a selection of saucepots or if having a large skillet is more important in your set.

In the end, it’s best to look for a set that has at least two small saucepots, one large stockpot or Dutch oven, a small fry pan, and a larger skillet or fry pan. Anything extra is considered a bonus!

Weight and Durability

When looking at nonstick, keep in mind there are two material types: The hard-anodized aluminum pans are Teflon-free and tend to be heavier (and more durable) than the coated varieties.

What should a good nonstick pan do well? It not only has to release your food without sticking, but should also be properly balanced and weighted. If it's too heavy, it'll feel cumbersome and hard to clean. It’s also important that the heat distribution on your nonstick pan is even, otherwise there’s no chance your fried egg will look Instagram-worthy.

Lids

Most sets come with a lid for every saucepan, stockpot, and sauté pan. Sets count these lids as extra pieces to increase the count—for example, a set with five pots and pans will be called an 8-piece set to account for the three additional lids.

Try to look for stainless-steel metal lids. Yes, that means you can’t see what’s going on inside the pot, but those glass lids always fog up anyway! The metal lids will never drop and shatter, giving them a longer lifespan than the glass variety.

Dishwasher and Oven Safety

Many nonstick cookware sets are dishwasher safe these days, which can be an added benefit if you want to expedite the clean-up process after cooking a meal. This is an important feature to consider if you truly aren’t a fan of washing your pots and pans by hand (even though it will likely extend the life of your nonstick cookware).

The heat resistance of a cookware set is also good to consider before purchasing, especially if you tend to broil foods or use high temperatures frequently, you’ll want a set that is oven safe up to 500°F.

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

How Safe is Nonstick Cookware?

The chemical coating previously used in nonstick pans (containing the "forever chemicals" PFOAs) that was responsible for health concerns isn't used anymore. In fact, you’ll find the words “PFOA-free” on nearly every nonstick pan on the market. Today, there are two types of coating choices for nonstick pans: PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) and ceramic.

PTFE (commonly known as Teflon) is a synthetic chemical with friction-resistant properties. Over time, the Teflon coating can scratch or wear off, and it will no longer retain its nonstick properties. High heat also degrades PTFE, and the chemical breaks down at high temperatures exceeding 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ceramic nonstick pans have gained popularity because of their “green” status and safety concerns of chemical coatings. When the pan is heated, the ceramic coating releases a silicon oil (different from synthetic silicone) that resists sticking. Like PTFE, the silicon layer degrades over time (especially when in contact with high heat), so the pan has a limited nonstick lifetime.

Caring for Your Nonstick Pans

When we tested nonstick pans, we picked a few pans with PTFE and ceramic coatings to perform destructive tests designed to test the pan’s ability to hold up over time. We used steel wool and metal cutlery (which you should never use on a nonstick pan unless the manufacturer states otherwise) to get a sense of each pan’s durability.

Almost all of the pans scratched when we hacked at them with steel wool, and some did better than others when used with metal utensils. Many warped when we exposed them to thermal shock, dunking the pan in cold water after heating it on high heat. The destructive tests taught us that almost all of these pans can be damaged with little effort, so it’s important to take care when using nonstick cookware!

When Cooking

To avoid damaging your nonstick pots and pans, choose wooden, silicon, rubber, or nylon utensils instead of metal ones to help prevent scratching. When cooking, use low or medium heat settings instead of high heat, and it’s best to avoid using these pans in the oven (especially if they have plastic handles).

When Cleaning

Never use stainless-steel scrubbing brushes when cleaning your nonstick pans. Always use gentle detergents, and you’ll prolong the life of your pans if you avoid the dishwasher—even if they say they’re dishwasher safe.

When Storing

Finally, take care when storing nonstick pans. Stacking them on top of each other can damage the coating on the edges of the pan. If stacking is your only option, place a towel or cork trivet in between the pans for protection.

Meet the tester

Lindsay D. Mattison

Lindsay D. Mattison

Professional Chef

@zestandtang

Lindsay D. Mattison is a professional chef, food writer, and amateur gardener. She is currently writing a cookbook that aims to teach home cooks how to write without a recipe.

See all of Lindsay D. Mattison's reviews

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