Many consumers love non-stick cookware for how easy it is to use and clean… but studies show that it’s not the best choice for our health. So we’re sharing our choice for the best non-toxic cookware to help you have a healthier home.
But first, we want to share a few facts for those who are on the fence about ditching their non-stick cookware for a safer and healthier alternative.
Why Are Non-Stick Pans Toxic?
According to findings from three FDA studies, non-stick cookware contains toxic chemicals known as PFAS (perfluoroalkoxy alkanes, including PFOA and PTFE), which can affect growth and development, reproduction, thyroid function, immune system, liver function, and more.
These chemicals are present in about 98% of people in the U.S., and we are getting these chemicals predominantly through our cooked food.
According to the CDC, these chemicals do not break down in the environment and can move through our soil and water into our food supply. As a result, they have been deemed “forever chemicals.”
As non-stick cookware begins to break down, these chemicals further infiltrate the food we consume.
While some of these chemicals have been banned, the replacements may only be marginally better.
What is Non-Toxic Cookware?
Non-toxic cookware is supposed to be free from harmful ingredients - like PFOAs, PTFEs, lead, and more. Healthier cookware choices you may be familiar with include cast iron, stainless steel, ceramic, glass, and enamel-coated cast iron.
But even these may not be as healthy as you might imagine. Some non-toxic cookware is third-party tested to ensure it is free from these “forever chemicals,” lead, and other harmful ingredients. However, greenwashing is present in this industry as well, meaning cookware manufacturers market their products as healthier options when really they’re not.
Consumer Reports tested three top brands that claim their cookware is non-toxic. They took precautions to prevent cross-contamination. And as a result of their findings, they caution consumers, “You Can’t Always Trust Claims on ‘Non-Toxic’ Cookware” because they found that the Swiss Diamond brand contained “measurable amounts of PFOA and several other PFAs,” even though the manufacturer maintains that their cookware is non-toxic.
Top Non-Toxic Cookware Brands We Have Tested
Many love cast iron, while others are hesitant because of the upkeep. Cast iron cookware requires special care. It must be “seasoned” (a process of oiling and heating the cookware) before use to prevent rusting and food from sticking.
We find ourselves in the latter category. That extra bit of work to maintain with cleaning and seasoning just doesn’t work well for our family. And cast iron can rust when not cared for well.
Cast iron holds heat well, cooks evenly, and is oven safe, but it’s also heavy. And some have concerns that it can leach iron into the food.
GreenPan is widely available through a number of retailers. We had these for a time, and we were unhappy with how they wore out over time. They seemed to do better on an electric stove top, but the handles and pan bottoms burned up when we to a gas range.
GreenPan settled a lawsuit in 2020 when they were confronted with claims that greenwashing had occurred and a customer was misled by their non-toxic claims.
Caraway cookware is ceramic cookware that is produced without the use of toxic chemicals.
They do recommend handwashing, but I haven’t had cookware that is easier to clean. It takes seconds and I’m done, so I have not found this to be a deterrent. They don’t say that you CAN’T use a dishwasher, but your pans will last longer when washed by hand.
I love that it’s oven safe. And the way it conducts heat, I am able to cook at a lower stovetop temperature.
Caraway is also third-party tested, but it’s on the pricey side. So be sure to follow the care instructions for long-term use.
How to Choose Non-Toxic Cookware
- Look for 3rd party testing
- Read reviews
- Test a few brands to find which you like best
OR… you can take the easy route and go with our trusted recommendations, so you don’t have to spend hours researching and blow your budget testing to find the best choice.
What is the Safest Non-Toxic Cookware?
Cast Iron, stainless steel, ceramic, or ceramic-coated cast iron can all be good options, but they have to be from reputable sources and third-party tested for safety.
Our Pick for #1 Best Non-Toxic Cookware For A Healthier Home
Caraway. They are pricey but provide easy usage and are tested and proven to be free of contaminants and harmful ingredients. They are also very pretty and come in a variety of colors if that is of interest to you. We got the navy blue and haven’t looked back.