This colorful cookware will brighten your kitchen—but does it work well?
We put the new Caraway ceramic-coated cookware to the test.
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Caraway’s mission is to produce “healthy cookware,” meaning it’s making sure to leave out the harsh, hard-to-spell chemicals used by other brands. They promise their non-toxic ceramic cookware is easy to use, ease to clean, and easy on the eyes. We’ve tested our fair share of nonstick pots and pans, so we had to find out if Caraway truly created the ultimate cookware set.
What is Caraway?
Founded in 2019, this direct-to-consumer cookware brand got its start after founder and CEO Jordan Nathan decided to dig a little deeper into the potential dangers of certain nonstick cookware coatings. (According to our experts, as long as you’re not heating your nonstick cookware too high, you’re in the clear.)
What’s in a Caraway cookware set?
Packed in a highly Instagram-able box, this $395 set contains a 10.5-inch frypan and a 3-quart saucepan, 4.5-quart sauté pan, and 6.5 -quart Dutch oven with lids. In addition, your box will include storage racks and a canvas holder for the 3 lids, meant to be installed inside a cabinet door.
As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also find two small cork trivets packaged along with the use and care booklet. Each piece of cookware can also be purchased individually, but the set yields a $100 savings—definitely worth considering.
This is a great buy if you are comparing it to high-end stainless steel cookware like Le Creuset, for which a single piece can start at $249.95 on Amazon. However, it’s definitely expensive for aluminum cookware with a colorful enamel exterior and a nonstick finish, like Great Jones.
What’s the Caraway cookware made of?
Caraway pots and pans are made of aluminum with stainless-steel bases and handles. The exteriors have a matte enamel finish that comes in your choice of white, pale gray, navy blue, sage green, a shade of pink called Perracotta (a clever combo of pink + terracotta, or limited edition marigold).
Inside, all of the pieces are coated with a ceramic nonstick coating. This finish is different from a traditional “Teflon” type nonstick finish in that it’s made from silicon and doesn’t contain a chemical called PTFE. (This is the basis of Caraway’s claim of making its cookware “healthy” and non-toxic.)
Caraway cookware’s ceramic nonstick finish can be heated to temps as high as 800°F before it begins to release fumes, so you’ll likely never reach the possible fume zone. However, the trade-off is that ceramic finishes are generally not as nonstick as traditional finishes.
How does the cookware look and feel?
From the way it’s packaged, Caraway gives you an immediate high-quality impression, much like the one you get when you open a new iPhone. The pieces themselves are heavyweight, sleek, and attractive with beautiful gleaming stainless-steel handles. The handles on the pots are affixed with rivets to give a professional-looking touch, which means it's unlikely they'll ever fall off.
The handles are very comfortable to hold and the helper handle on the sauté pan makes it easy to lift and carry. All of the pans are curved where the side meets the bottom and the lids are perfectly flat.
How does it perform?
When we floured and then heated the skillet, it conducted heat across the bottom particularly evenly, even extending the browning up onto the wall of the skillet. A large pancake came out uniformly browned and all of the chicken parts we seared for chicken cacciatore were golden brown and ready to be turned at the same time.
When we simmered in the saucepan, it held a very steady temperature and tomato sauce didn’t scorch. What this means is that you don’t have to vigilant about stirring or rearranging when you cook in these pots.
There is a small vent hole in the saucepan which lets some steam escape as we observed when steaming rice. However, the rice still turned out moist and fluffy and because of the nonstick finish didn’t stick at all to the bottom. After cooking pancakes, we could virtually wipe the pan clean and the first side of easy-over eggs lifted right off the skillet—but we got a bit of sticking on the second side of the eggs. (Note: When we tested the very best traditional nonstick pots and pans we got no sticking at all from either side.)
In spite of the belief that you can’t brown in a nonstick pan, we got beautiful searing on both sides of a New York strip steak.
Is it easy to use and clean?
When you cook on the stovetop, the pot handles (but not the lid handles) remain cool enough to be used without a pot holder as long as you don’t hold them too close to the body of the pot. You can safely place any of the pieces in the oven to 450°F, which means you can finish off a frittata in the oven. Sadly, you can’t place one of these pans under the broiler to very quickly crisp up a topping, let’s say on a skillet mac ‘n cheese.
If you own an induction cooktop, your Caraway cookware is compatible; however as the bottoms are not absolutely perfectly flat, you may get less than optimal results. Caraway recommends hand washing only and the nonstick finish makes it a fairly easy chore, although you may have to use a nonabrasive scrubbing pad occasionally. We did get some cooked-on gunk on the rivets and on the exterior, which required a bit of detail work with a Dobie pad and a cookware cleaner.
The use and care instructions come in a little booklet that’s written in a conversational tone and are easy to read and understand—a big improvement over most cookware user manuals—but a few details like the maximum oven temperature are missing. The racks that come with the cookware are a nice bonus if you have ample cabinet space. And while they’ll keep the pots and pans organized, they do take up a lot of room. Likewise, the canvas lid storage holder will make it easy to find a lid when you need it but you have to have ample cabinet or closet space with a large door in order to hang it.
What we like
- It includes a good assortment of useful pieces, including a large pot for big batch soups or boiling pasta.
- All of the pieces have a ceramic nonstick finish.
- It distributes heat exceptionally evenly.
- The handles are comfortable to hold and there’s a helper handle on the sauté pan.
- The pot handles stay cool enough to touch during stovetop cooking.
What we don’t like
- There are rivets to make cleaning difficult.
- Instructions booklet is missing a few key details, like maximum cooking temperature.
What owners say
On the company website there’s a 4.8-star rating with over 4,000 reviews. Many reviewers call out the cookware for its beauty. While there are few negative reviews, the ones exist cite chipping and stains, complain about the nonstick properties, and comment that in spite of the manufacturer’s claim that the cookware is induction safe, it doesn’t heat up well on induction burners.
Caraway offers a 30-day return and refund policy. All returns must be shipped in their original packaging within 45 days of asking for a refund.
Is Caraway cookware worth it?
If the convenience of nonstick is more important to you than a chef-approved shiny finish, you’ll love this good-looking cookware. It’s a bit pricey, but it delivers the kind of performance you’d expect from the very best cookware with the benefits of stick resistance. The set includes a good selection of basic pieces that should be able to satisfy most typical cooking needs.
While this cookware’s major selling points are that it’s healthy, clean, and gorgeous to boot, keep in mind that you’ve got options when it comes to ceramic nonstick cookware! And while we don’t believe that traditional nonstick cookware is unsafe, we respect that you may feel otherwise. (If you worry about the safety of nonstick cookware but love the release and easy cleanup it provides, you can increase your comfort level by using ceramic nonstick cookware—just be aware that you may sacrifice a bit on the effectiveness of the nonstick properties.)
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.