Ceramic cookware pros and cons to know before you buy
Tips on treating and keeping ceramic cookware.
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If you’re a regular on social media there’s a high chance you’ve seen a pastel-colored ceramic pan in the corner of your friend’s Instagram photos or used in a cooking TikTok video. Ceramic cookware brands like Our Place have taken over our social media feeds for their trendy, gorgeous, and fully functional products, like the Always Pan and Perfect Pot.
But, if you find yourself scratching your head as to why these pans have become so popular, or are wondering what exactly makes them different from other types of kitchen cookware, don’t worry–you’re not alone.
Read on for an explainer on the pros and cons of cooking with ceramic cookware, and how these pans differ from the nonstick and stainless steel varieties that may already be in your kitchen.
What makes ceramic cookware different?
Ceramic quite literally translates to “clay that has been fire hardened.” When it comes to ceramic cookware, you can find it in two forms, either 100% ceramic or ceramic-coated.
The latter is usually made with an aluminum and/or stainless steel base and topped with a ceramic nonstick material. They’ve taken over the cookware market as a lightweight, nontoxic alternative to traditional Teflon nonstick pans. In recent years, studies have shown Telflon and other nonstick pans can release toxins, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a possible carcinogen in humans, when overheated.
While we don’t know everything about associated risks of using Teflon pans yet, ceramic cookware has emerged as an affordable alternative. And, brands such as the aforementioned Our Place and Caraway offer brightly-colored, ceramic nonstick pots and pans and are in a race to create the ultimate cookware set.
The pros of ceramic cookware
It makes cooking more accessible
The biggest question everyone seems to have when it comes to cooking with ceramics is, well, does it cook well? In short, the answer is yes—if you take care of it!
One of the best perks of ceramic cookware is its ability to make cooking more accessible to new home chefs. Unlike cast iron, ceramic pans don’t require a seasoning process to get started and they are far more lightweight and easy to maneuver.
Plus, its nonstick coating does away with the need for any elbow grease to get food off its surface.
They’re easy to clean
Speaking of nonstick surfaces, ceramic material makes the cookware super easy to clean. Handwashing is recommended for longevity with a bit of mild dishwashing soap, warm water, and a paper towel or cloth.
Ceramic cookware is affordable
Anyone who’s moved into a new kitchen knows the growing pains of the high costs of good-looking, high quality cookware.
Ceramic cookware sets are considerably cheaper than stainless steel, and a huge perk of a pan like Always is its multifunctionality, including add-on accessories like the Fry Deck for even more cooking potential.
The cons of ceramic cookware
Temperature control is tough to decipher
As our reviewers have noted while testing the Always Pan and Perfect Pot, you need to ensure you’re wearing heat-safe oven mitts while handling them on a stovetop or in an oven. Not doing so can lead to serious burns.
Cookware that is 100% ceramic is completely oven-safe up to seriously high temperatures—800°F! For example, The Original Green Pan pans can handle heat up to 842°F, and Blue Diamond can handle up to 850°F. This may sound like a boon—and it is, if you’re cooking naan or pizza and you have an oven that even rises to that temperature. But, most people don’t, so it’s a moot point.
On the other hand, when it comes to ceramic pots and pans with aluminum or stainless steel bases, oven safety varies. Caraway cookware can handle up to 550°F. The Always Pan cannot handle high oven temperatures, and it is designed for stovetop use only. On the stovetop, Our Place recommends you keep temperatures set to low to medium-low to preserve the nonstick coating, which should be OK for cooking most things, since ceramic heats quickly and evenly.
Always make sure to check the bottom of your cookware for an oven safe label.
Cleaning ceramic cookware
Depending on how you clean and what is more important to you, cleaning ceramic cookware could be a pro or a con.
Do you want the ability to toss a pan in the dishwasher and call it a day without worry? Do you prefer to stick with a careful cleaning to ensure the pan stays pristine?
While it's inevitable that you may need to bust out a scrub pad to clean up after an extra-stubborn recipe once in a while, mindful care of ceramic cookware is critical to preventing chips and discoloration.
In addition, the harsher you cook with and clean the pans, the faster its nonstick coating will wear off. Be careful to avoid scraping the pan with sharp surfaces like metal utensils. This, in combination with harsh scrubbing, weakens the cookware’s nonstick layer, resulting in food and stains sticking more and the eventual risk of cracking.
If you’re a fan of the paler pastel-colored pans, keep in mind you will see eventual discoloration on the bottoms of the cookware.
If you like the sounds of ceramic cookware, here’s where to buy it
- Get the Perfect Pot at Our Place for $165
- Get the Always Pan from Our Place for $145
- Get the Caraway Cookware Set for $395
- Get the Reserve Ceramic Nonstick 10-piece Cookware Set at The Original Green Pan for $579.99
- Get the Blue Diamond 14-piece Diamond-infused Ceramic Cookware Set for $129.99
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.