Best Non-Toxic Cookware of 2024

Non-Toxic Cookware

Material: While non-toxic cookware can be made from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, ceramic, and cast iron, they generally aren’t marketed as non-stick cookware.

According to the CDC, “The per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water.” There are thousands of different chemicals that fall into the category of PFAS and they react differently for various materials and applications. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PFOA) is a PFA and is better known as Teflon, which was synonymous with non-stick cooking for decades. Studies have shown that exposure to PFAS may lead to high cholesterol levels, decreased vaccination response, liver changes, and risk of certain cancers. Today’s cookware has phased out this PFOA, so it is no longer allowed. A different chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFTE), is now used instead in many non-stick coatings and is considered safer.

PFAA can still be found in cookware as some have been deemed acceptable by the FDA. It’s worth noting that PFAs are found in dozens of other daily products besides cookware as well, though the CDC believes that exposure and risk is low.

Cleaning and Care: For many people, the ease of cleaning is one of the key factors to consider when buying cookware. Nonstick cookware is often easier to clean, which can be a big consideration when looking at non-toxic cookware that isn’t quite so easy. But there are still some materials that are simpler to care for than others.

Ceramic is often referred to as a “natural non-stick surface,” which does make it easier to wipe off and hand wash than other materials. Some, like stainless steel, may be labeled as dishwasher-safe by the manufacturer. While hand-washing is still preferred to maintain the integrity of the pieces, having the ability to throw a set into the dishwasher on occasion can be a huge help.

Keep in mind that some non-toxic materials such as cast iron cannot be put in the dishwasher or left to soak in a sink and will require some extra care and attention to keep in top shape. If that’s not a good fit for you, it may be worth considering a different material that is easier to maintain.

Versatility: As you consider a non-toxic cookware set, it’s important to think about how the pieces can support different types of meals and your daily cooking style. “When it comes to sets, variety is key,” says Peter McQuaid, Executive Chef of Cala Scottsdale. “Give me a 10-inch saute pan, a cute 6-inch sauté pan, a big stockpot, a small saucepan, and have the rest to play around with. The more sizes and shapes, the more fun and versatility you can have in the kitchen.”

Additionally, if you often cook meals that require steps on both the stove and the oven, make sure your non-toxic cookware set is able to withstand high oven and broiler temps. Not all pieces are safe for the oven and those that are can vary in the temperature they are able to withstand. It’s also worth noting that while a pan may be oven-safe, its corresponding lid may not be or may not be safe up to the same temperature as the pan.

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