STAINLESS STEEL NON-TOXIC COOKWARE
Stainless steel is PFAS-free and is generally considered safe to cook and bake on. If you’re cooking or baking acidic foods (like tomato sauce) or heavily salted foods for extended periods, this can cause leaching of nickel, chromium, and iron into your food, within levels that are safe to consume. Iron and chromium won’t pose a risk in the small amounts that they may leach, and nickel only poses a problem if you have a nickel allergy. If you have a nickel allergy, look for nickel-free 21/0 or 18/0 stainless steel or use a different type of cookware.
We got a stainless steel cookware set, similar to this All Clad 5-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set, when we were first married, and it’s still going strong after almost 20 years. I use the pots and pans to boil pasta, make soup, fry chicken and cook just about any other food you can think of.
PROS: You can use metal utensils and the surface won’t scratch. You’ll never have to worry about rust or corrosion. Stainless steel can handle high temperatures and can go in the oven, although you’ll have to check that the handles are oven-safe.
CONS: Stainless steel is not non-stick (simply soak and scrub to tackle any mess).
SHOP STAINLESS STEEL COOKWARE: All Clad 5-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set
CERAMIC COATED COOKWARE
Ceramic coated cookware is made without Teflon and is PFAS-free. This type of cookware (I love this Caraway Cookware Set) features a ceramic non-stick coating that is made from inorganic natural ingredients that are 100% safe to use in contact with all foods (FDA approved). The main ingredient in the coating is silicon dioxide (silicon and oxygen), which is what sand is made of. I have a Caraway Fry Pan and it’s incredible for cooking eggs- they literally slide right out of the pan! If you’re looking for the best, safest, healthiest non-stick cookware, this Caraway Cookware Set is the way to go!
PROS: This cookware is lightweight and easy on the wrists. It has a very non-stick surface that wipes clean in seconds. The interior coating is non-reactive with acidic foods and little to no oil is required to cook your food.
CONS: You can’t use metal utensils with this type of cookware. I use this Silicone Mixing Spoon and this Silicone Slotted Spatula with my Caraway Fry Pan. I also take care not to scratch the surface by using a protective bag when storing my pan- at the very least don’t pile other pans on top of ceramic coated ones.
SHOP CERAMIC COATED COOKWARE: Caraway Cookware Set
100% CERAMIC COOKWARE
Pure ceramic cookware from reputable companies is PFAS-free and non-toxic, and contains no glues, polymers, coatings or dyes. Pure ceramic cookware does not leach metal, cadmium or lead. You can’t go wrong with this high quality Xtrema Ceramic Cookware Set.
PROS: This type of cookware can handle any level of heat, is compatible with metal utensils and works just as well on the stovetop and as it does in the oven.
CONS: Breakable if dropped. Not totally non-stick. We have an Xtrema Loaf Pan and we line it with parchment paper before baking.
SHOP 100% CERAMIC COOKWARE: Xtrema Ceramic Cookware Set
PORCELAIN ENAMEL COOKWARE
Porcelain enamel cookware is simply cast iron coated in porcelain enamel. This creates a glass-like surface. We have a Le Creuset Oval Dutch Oven, and it’s perfect for both browning meat on the stovetop as well as roasting and stewing in the oven. It makes the best pot roast around! Le Creuset is a well-known French company that makes porcelain enamel cookware and bakeware. Lab testing has revealed no lead or cadmium on the inside of the cookware and only a trace amounts on the outside of some products. According to Le Creuset, the Dune and Palm colors do not contain cadmium. The cookware is in compliance with California Proposition 65 limits for accessible lead and cadmium. A Le Creuset Cookware set is well worth the investment!
PROS: Safe with metal utensils, and it performs well a very high heat. It’s non-reactive with acidic foods and can go right in the dishwasher.
CONS: Porcelain enamel cookware is pretty heavy and the enamel can chip if you aren’t careful, although this has never happened to ours.
SHOP PORCELAIN ENAMEL COOKWARE: Le Creuset Cookware
Glass is a non-toxic, PFAS-free, inert material that can be used for cooking and baking. I used to have a Visions glass pot and loved it, but it disappeared in one of my moves. I currently use a Pyrex Glass Rectangular Baking Dish for both cooking and baking, and it is an essential in my kitchen.
PROS: Glass is non-reactive with acidic foods and is oven, microwave and dishwasher safe.
CONS: One downfall is that glass can break, especially if dropped or exposed to freezing temps followed quickly by high heat, or vice versa.
SHOP GLASS COOKWARE: Visions Glass Cookware Set and Pyrex Glass Rectangular Baking Dish
CAST IRON COOKWARE
Cast iron is generally safe to cook and bake with. It may leach iron into your food, which is a good thing if you’re low in iron like I am, but if you have hemochromatosis, you may want to avoid this type of cookware. I have a high-quality Field Cast Iron Skillet and it is so worth the price for this non-stick, well-seasoned pan. I love how well cast iron sears meat like pork chops, steak and chicken, and you can put the pan from the stovetop straight into the oven.
PROS: Cast iron will last more than a lifetime, and you can use metal utensils without scratching the surface.
CONS: Cast iron is heavy and you also have to season cast iron after every use. Cast iron reacts with acidic foods like tomato sauce, so you’ll want to avoid cooking acidic foods in cast iron.
SHOP CAST IRON COOKWARE: Field Cast Iron Skillet and Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven
CARBON STEEL COOKWARE
Carbon steel cookware is similar in makeup to cast iron, but much lighter. It consists of approximately 99% iron and 1% carbon
PROS: Works on the stovetop as well as in the oven, and even on the grill or campfire. It’s thinner, lighter and smoother than cast iron.
CONS: Just like cast iron, it needs to be seasoned after each use, and it’s also reactive to acidic foods like tomato sauce.
SHOP CARBON STEEL COOKWARE: Lodge Carbon Steel Skillet and Craft Wok Carbon Steel Wok
MORE HEALTHY HOME INSPIRATION
1// Exley, Christopher. ‘Aluminum Should Now Be Considered a Primary Etiological Factor in Alzheimer’s Disease’. 1 Jan. 2017 : 23 – 25.
2// Canaries in the Kitchen: EWG finds heated Teflon pans can turn toxic faster than DuPont claims. Environmental Working Group. May 15, 2003.
3// Betty Gold and Amanda Schaffer. Is Nonstick Cookware Safe? Here’s Everything You Need to Know, According to Experts. Good Housekeeping Institute, May 20, 2019.
4// The PFAS Project
5// Conley JM, Lambright CS, Evans N, Strynar MJ, McCord J, McIntyre BS, Travlos GS, Cardon MC, Medlock-Kakaley E, Hartig PC, Wilson VS, Gray LE Jr. Adverse Maternal, Fetal, and Postnatal Effects of Hexafluoropropylene Oxide Dimer Acid (GenX) from Oral Gestational Exposure in Sprague-Dawley Rats. Environ Health Perspect. 2019 Mar;127(3):37008.
6// U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Fact Sheet: Draft Toxicity Assessments for GenX Chemicals and PFBS. https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2018-11/documents/factsheet_pfbs-genx-toxicity_values_11.14.2018.pdf