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Ceramic Cookware 101

Everything to know when considering adding ceramic cookware to your kitchen.



Ceramic cookware is an increasingly popular non-stick alternative to Teflon-coated pots and pans. Most commonly, ceramic cookware is made from a metal, like aluminum, which is then coated in ceramic, lending it a pleasing slickness that makes for easier cooking and cleaning.

Why cook with ceramic cookware?

It’s no secret that non-stick cookware is an incredible convenience, making sticky jobs like frying eggs and flipping pancakes a breeze. But over the last decade, health and environmental concerns about the chemicals in Teflon have prompted home cooks to look for alternatives. Ceramic cookware allows you to enjoy the ease of cooking with Teflon, without any harmful chemicals.

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The pros of ceramic cookware

Ceramic cookware takes the hassle out of cooking, letting you turn out any dish—even the stickiest—with ease. But it’s also not perfect. Let’s break it down:

1. It’s easy to clean

It’s fast and easy to clean a ceramic nonstick pan. No matter what you cook, there’s no need to soak and scrub off excess food afterwards.

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2. It’s healthier

The naturally slick surface means you can use significantly less oil or butter, and enjoy delicious, healthy meals without compromising on flavor.

3. It’s durable. Depending on the quality of the cookware you purchase, it has the potential to be extremely durable, while also being lighter to handle than stainless steel.

4. It’s budget-friendly Stocking your kitchen with ceramic cookware means you’ll be much more likely to cook instead of ordering takeout. It's great for your bank account (and your health).

The cons of ceramic cookware:

1. It may wear down The non-stick properties of ceramic have been known to wear down faster than other types of cookware. So it’s important to go with a reputable brand that makes high quality pieces, and to avoid using harsh metal utensils.

2. It sometimes needs to be washed by hand While ceramic cookware is often dishwasher safe, it may be worth handwashing it from time to time to help preserve the glaze (luckily as we’ve just learned, hand-washing ceramic is a quick and easy job).

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Ceramic cookware versus Teflon and stainless steel cookware

As mentioned above, stainless steel cookware tends to be more durable and can withstand more wear and tear than its ceramic and Teflon counterparts. However, it doesn’t have the same nonstick powers as ceramic or Teflon, so it’s harder to cook with and takes much longer to clean (ever tried to get burnt food off a stainless steel pan? It’s no joke). Nonstick cookware also tends to be lighter than stainless steel, and is therefore easier to maneuver around the kitchen, or to take it from the stovetop to the table.

The key difference between Teflon and ceramic cookware is that when heated to a temperature greater than 570 degrees Fahrenheit, Teflon emits toxic fumes that can make both humans and animals temporarily ill. There are no such safety concerns when it comes to cooking with ceramic cookware, as long as it’s been crafted from natural materials.

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Restaurant cooking versus home cooking

Chefs at restaurants tend to use a lot more butter and oil than home cooks. They also have the training and experience to know the exact flame intensity with which to pan sear a delicate filet of fish or scramble the perfect egg (and they have a team of professionals to deal with the cleanup afterward), so using stainless steel, cast iron, or copper is no big deal.

However, for home chefs to whom cooking is simply a way to eat healthier and enjoy daily life, ceramic non-stick cookware makes the most sense. In a world that’s increasingly plugged-in, preparing meals at home is a small way to reclaim your time, be present, and get creative. The ease of ceramic cookware lets you do just that, preparing fresh, healthy meals to enjoy with friends and family, rather than having to worry about overdoing it with the butter or burning the fish or hunching over a sink full of dirty dishes at the end of the night.

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Ceramic pots and pans buying tips

To make sure you get the most bang for your buck, here’s what to look for when purchasing ceramic pots and pans:

1. Quality and durability Make sure you’re buying from a reputable brand that uses high-quality, long-lasting materials.

2. Ease of use Features like quick-heat technology and ergonomic handles will save you time and effort, whether you’re a beginner or a well-seasoned cook.

3. Chemical-free composition Look for cookware made from natural materials, like aluminum, with a ceramic coating bonded with minerals from the earth, like quartz. Cookware that’s totally non toxic and free of chemicals is safe to use every day.

4. Storage solutions Cookware collections that are designed to nest or that feature an otherwise streamlined design will save you space—and will look great in your kitchen.

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