Ceramic coating is becoming a popular alternative to Teflon nonstick coating. Similar to Teflon, the ceramic coating offers a nonstick surface to help keep food from sticking to the pots and pans. However, there are other benefits of ceramic cookware.
When buying new pots and pans, it is important to evaluate all your options and get answers to any questions that you have.
Is ceramic cookware safe? Does it clean up easily? Does it last long?
Get answers to these questions with our detailed look at ceramic cookware sets.
- What Is Ceramic Cookware?
- Comparing Ceramic Cookware Pros and Cons
- Alternatives to Ceramic Cookware
What Is Ceramic Cookware?
Is ceramic cookware nonstick? Yes, the ceramic coating on pans provides a nonstick surface.
The ceramic coating is applied to the interior of the pots and pans. It starts as a sand-like substance that is sprayed inside the cookware, which is then placed in an oven to cure and harden.
It is made without chemicals or metals, which makes it non-toxic and non-reactive. What does this mean for you? You do not have to risk exposure to toxins.
When the ceramic cookware is heated to high temperatures, it does not release any gases or odors. Nothing transfers from the cookware to the food and the food does not stain or leach into the surface of the cookware.
There is also 100% ceramic cookware. This cookware is often used for casserole dishes and other large baking dishes as they take a long time to heat. Due to the thick ceramic material, these dishes retain heat better than most other materials.
Most ceramic cookware sets are made with the ceramic coating instead of being made completely from the ceramic material. The most commonly used base material is aluminum as it is lightweight, cheap, and an excellent heat conductor.
Aluminum helps to counter some of the potential drawbacks of cooking with ceramic. The ceramic coating is relatively heavy and takes longer to heat while aluminum is lightweight and heats faster.
Ceramic Cookware is Healthier
While there are many benefits of ceramic cookware, the health benefits are the most widely promoted. Companies that manufacture ceramic pots and pans are quick to point out that the ceramic coating does not contain any chemicals or metals.
The sand that is used to create the ceramic coating is 100% safe. Besides not containing any chemicals, it does not release any chemicals.
Many people are concerned about the health and safety of cooking with nonstick cookware. Most of these concerns are due to the issues related to Teflon nonstick cookware.
Teflon cookware has a few health risks, including exposure to toxic chemicals. Teflon products were first introduced in the 1930s. By the early 2000s, researchers determined that Teflon-coated pots and pans retain chemicals after the manufacturing process.
PFOA is a chemical that was used in the production of Teflon. While most of the chemical was burnt off during manufacturing, trace amounts remained in the pots and pans.
Companies stopped using PFOA in 2012. However, older Teflon-coated pots and pans may still contain this harmful chemical.
While there is less risk of exposure to PFOA when you buy a new nonstick cookware set, there is still another health concern. When Teflon-coated pots and pans achieve high temperatures, the nonstick coating starts to break down, releasing potentially toxic chemicals into your kitchen.
Exposure to these toxic chemicals may cause headaches, body aches, fever, and chills. Constant exposure may even lead to lung damage.
Ceramic cookware has a higher heat threshold. While Teflon-coated cookware should never be used at temperatures above 570 degrees Fahrenheit, ceramic cookware can safely be used at temperatures up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ceramic Cookware Retains Heat Better
Is ceramic cookware good for cooking? It offers several advantages when cooking with ceramic-coated pots and pans, including heat retention. Ceramic cookware holds heat longer, which may help conserve energy and keep you from overheating the pot or pan.
Another benefit of cooking with ceramic is that it does not absorb food flavors. Teflon coating can slowly absorb some of the food particles, adding the flavor to the pot or pan.
Over time, your pots and pans may start to give off some of this flavor during cooking. If you constantly cook spaghetti sauce in the same pot, other foods may start to taste of spaghetti sauce.
The non-porous surface of the ceramic cookware also helps to promote better circulation of flavors and aromas. As the flavors cannot penetrate the ceramic coating, they permeate throughout the pot or pan, helping to bring out all the distinct flavors of the meal.
The only complaint about cooking with ceramic is that the pots and pans take a little longer to heat. While it is not a significant drawback, ceramic cookware may not be the best option when you want to boil water quickly.
Ceramic Cookware Is Easier to Clean
Compared to most cooking surfaces, ceramic cookware is easier to clean. The material is nonstick, allowing you to simply wipe the pots and pans clean after each use.
Most of these pots and pans are also dishwasher safe. However, due to the risk of chipping, hand-washing is still the recommended option.
There are many steps that you can take to protect your ceramic cookware. Besides hand-washing, you should avoid using metal or plastic utensils. You should also add a small amount of butter or oil to the pan before each use.
Never use cooking spray as the spray may allow a residue to build up. As this residue grows, the pan starts to lose some of its nonstick properties.
Despite the long list of maintenance tasks, ceramic cookware is still easier to clean compared to most materials, including Teflon-coated cookware. The non-porous surface ensures that food particles do not cling to the pot or pan.
Comparing Ceramic Cookware Pros and Cons
The benefits of ceramic pots and pans include heat retention and the ability to not absorb flavors. The coating is also easy to clean, does not contain chemicals, and may last for many years with proper care.
Unlike Teflon coating, there are no ceramic cookware dangers but there are a couple of concerns. Here are the drawbacks to ceramic:
- Ceramic cookware takes longer to heat.
- Ceramic cookware chips and scratches easily.
- Ceramic cookware tends to weigh more.
Ceramic Cookware Takes Longer To Heat
One issue with ceramic cookware is that it takes longer to heat so you may need to wait a few extra minutes when boiling water or frying eggs. Just remember that it also holds heat better, allowing you to turn down the heat and maintain a steady temperature.
Ceramic Cookware Chips And Scratches Easily
The coating may chip or scratch when used with metal utensils. Even plastic utensils may eventually damage the ceramic material. I recommend that you only use wood utensils with ceramic cookware, preferably bamboo forks and spoons.
It can also chip when the pots and pans get stacked or placed in the dishwasher. To avoid this problem, always wash the cookware by hand.
In fact, I suggest that you wash them immediately after each use to prevent food from sticking to the surface. Attempting to scratch away dried food may chip or wear the ceramic surface.
Ceramic Cookware Tends To Weigh More
The ceramic coating adds more weight to the pots and pans. Compared to Teflon-coated cookware, ceramic cookware will often weigh more.
Luckily, ceramic-coated pots and pans are typically made with an aluminum base, which is a lightweight material. While ceramic cookware weighs more than Teflon cookware, it tends to weigh less than copper, stainless steel, or cast iron.
Alternatives to Ceramic Cookware
If you want a nonstick surface, there is another option. Teflon coating is also commonly used to create nonstick pots and pans. In fact, it is the most used nonstick material.
Teflon coating is made from synthetic and organic materials. In the past, researchers determined that the Teflon coating increases the risk of exposure to toxic chemicals, especially when the coating starts to wear off.
Manufacturers now claim that the Teflon coating is free of any health hazards. However, some people prefer to avoid risk.
Despite the potential for exposure to chemicals, Teflon coating is still a popular choice due to its price. Teflon cookware is typically cheaper compared to ceramic cookware.
As Teflon is cheaper, it is also less durable. The Teflon material often starts to wear when you use the pots and pans frequently while a ceramic coating can last much longer when used correctly.
After reviewing the benefits of ceramic cookware, should you buy a new set of pots and pans? Compared to other nonstick cookware, ceramic pots and pans provide several advantages.
Teflon nonstick coatings peel and wear easily. They also absorb food flavors and may get scratched when cleaned with a rough sponge. You do not need to worry about these issues with ceramic cookware.
When weighing the ceramic cookware pros and cons, the advantages win. You get a smooth nonstick surface without the risk of chemicals and these cookware sets are often affordable. You just need to use a little extra care when cooking and storing ceramic cookware.