In the never ending quest for the perfect non stick cookware, today we come to ceramic coated pots and pans. But what are the ceramic cookware pros and cons? Do they actually live up to the hype as the best alternative to the dreaded Teflon coating? Our research tells us it’s a mixed bag. We think ceramic coated cookware is a poor investment. If you’re looking to learn more about non stick cookware be sure to check out our article on “What is the best non stick cookware?” Continue reading to determine if the pros outweigh the cons for you and your needs.
Ceramic Cookware Pros
Teflon and its propensity to create toxic fumes at higher temperatures has most people justifiably concerned. Ceramic non stick coatings are perfectly safe for you and your family. High heat will not generate off gassing of fumes like Teflon and the chemicals used in its production.
The ceramic surface is very non stick. Not quite as non stick as teflon but it is quite impressive. It benefits from applying a bit of oil, butter, or similar cooking lubricant although it’s not necessary. Ceramic coated cookware is generally considered to be the safest non stick cookware on the market.
Easy To Clean
The ceramic coating being so non stick makes for an easy to clean surface. Even if you burned on food having forgotten to remove the pan from heat, cleanup would be a cinch.
While there are some expensive ceramic coated cookware options out there you by no means need to spend a lot to get a very good set. The coatings are not expensive and aluminum is typically used for their construction which is a very economical option and very effective at distributing heat. There are multi ply metal options that aim to improve heat distribution. While they likely achieve that goal they come at a substantial cost premium.
Most ceramic cookware being made primarily with an aluminum core means that it’s not very heavy, although still very good and cooking evenly. Light weight isn’t a huge benefit for some, but for others with arthritis and similar issues it can make a big difference. Not all ceramic coated cookware will be ultralight but you’re not going to find anything nearly as heavy as cast iron cookware.
Ceramic Cookware Cons
Short non stick lifespan
The non stick abilities fade with use. This is true of Teflon non stick surfaces too. It’s tough to find a good non stick surface that can stand the test of time. Our research at multiple online shops proved many users report the coating fading within months. This seemed to be true with cheap as well as expensive options. This is in sharp contrast to Teflon which typically will last a couple years. Do your research and read reviews by professional reviewers as well as customer feedback before pulling the trigger. Also, we suggest not buying a large and expensive ceramic coated cookware set to start. Once you’ve completed your research try buying just one piece that will get heavily used, such as a good skillet. Try it out for 6 months or so and if it seems to be holding up then it may be worth going all in on an expensive set.
Not dishwasher safe
Whether or not the packaging claims it’s dishwasher safe, the bottom line is that it really isn’t if you want to maximize the longevity of the non stick surface. Plan on hand washing only when it comes to ceramic coated cookware. You’ll begin to see a theme as we run through the cons. Protecting the non stick coating is the root of most of the downsides of ceramic coated cookware.
Can’t cope with high heat
Just like Teflon non stick coatings, high heat tends to breakdown the surface. You’ll need to stick to medium to low settings to maximize the non stick lifespan. The good news is it’s safe for you to use on high heat however.
Not metal utensil friendly
Again, the non stick coating needs to be cared for and metal is just too abrasive to the non stick surface. Stick to wood or silicone for the best results.
Since the majority of ceramic cookware is made with aluminum as the core, the cookware is far more susceptible to dents and dings since aluminum is a soft metal. This doesn’t react well with the ceramic coating. If you’re rough on your pots and pans you may want to research manufacturers that produce ceramic coated cookware with different metals or multi ply metals to enhance durability.
Other Non Stick Cookware Options
Teflon is far superior to ceramic coatings in non stick properties. Ceramic isn’t as non stick and its non stick lifespan is usually very short. It gets dinged pretty hard for emitting toxic fumes at high temperatures. Teflon is stable to 500 degrees which is pretty darn high for a cooktop. This means there isn’t much cause for alarm. If you have a pet bird however you may want to take the precaution of keeping them away from the kitchen. Birds are very susceptible to the fumes emitted by Teflon and temperatures above 500 degrees.
The other issue that Teflon had but no longer has is that the chemical PFOA was used in the manufacturing process. PFOA is a carcinogen and has been mandated by the EPA to be phased out of production. No Teflon coated cookware sold today has PFOAs involved in the production.
Seasoned Cast Iron
Cast iron cookware has been used for hundreds of years and has many great benefits, not the least of which is its natural non stick coating. While not quite as non stick as Teflon, it does perform very well but it isn’t as user friendly. Cast iron must be seasoned to get a good non stick surface and care must be taken to ensure that coating is properly maintained. It’s not too terrible of a task but many home cooks simply can’t be bothered.
Cast iron is also quite heavy which is good for cooking because it cooks very evenly and maintains heat very well, but may not be a good choice for those with arthritis or elderly cooks.
The Pros & Cons Of Ceramic Coated Cookware
Having reviewed all of the ceramic cookware pros and cons we’re left feeling a little disappointed but not necessarily turned off. A good quality set of ceramic coated cookware can definitely perform very well and likely for a reasonable length of time given the low cost. If you’re a light cook and are prepared for the short lifespan then ceramic coated cookware may be a good choice for you. As scary as Teflon may be, it certainly does perform well and it is safe as long as cooking temperatures are below 500 degrees. Cast iron is a great natural non stick alternative if you’re up for dealing with the extra care and maintenance involved. If safety is your primary concern and ease of use is high on your list as well then ceramic is a good way to go. Go with your gut on your decision but be sure and do your research on the specific brand you purchase. Good luck!