Is Ceramic Cookware Safe?

a man lifting the ceramic pot in safety way with towel

Can Ceramic Cookware Withstand Current Scrutiny To Champion Over Teflon Toxicity?

Ceramic surfaced cookware has gained high popularity among home chefs as a so-called "healthy replacement" for non-stick Teflon pots and pans.

According to Jennifer Flores in her article, "Top 10 Best Nonstick Cookware Reviews" in Cookware Judge, although it is true that cooking vessels coated in ceramic are usually free of Teflon (Polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE), ceramic-surfaced cookware may present their own health risks for use in meal preparation.

ceramic pots on table

It is wise to check out their potential hazards before investing in the latest chic designer cookware styles in bright, ceramic-coated plendor for fast-and-easy home cooking.

When cookware styles such as ceramic pans were first gaining in popularity, they were promoted as non-toxic cookware. This attractive, easily used and cleaned style of cooking vessels was thought to be totally safe for use in daily food preparation and environmentally friendly.

Cookware manufacturers in the U.S. were required to sell their merchandise with warnings of any potentially hazardous substances used in cookware production. Subsequently, ceramic vessels won out in popularity over other styles for this reason as well as for their easy use and upkeep.

Early research studies concluded that ceramic pots and pans were the safest types of non-stick cookware on the consumer market since they were free of PFOA and PTFE.

Since then, however, more research has made many savvy home chefs wary about continuing their regular use of convenient, efficient and attractive ceramic-covered pots and pans.

If free of PFOA and PTFE, what other potentially risky or even downright dangerous materials might they contain? Could these as yet unidentified substances pose health hazards equal to those of these other unhealthy components?

In her article entitled, "8 Non-Toxic Cookware Brands to Keep Chemicals Out of Your Food," Emily Monaco from Organic Authority gives excellent suggestions about today's safe cookware.

Magnetic Magic And Stable Structure Of Ceramic-Coated Cookware

The construction of ceramic-coated utensils is much like that of Teflon pots and pans. Hard-anodized aluminum is frequently used as the base for the production of ceramic cookware for good levels of stable heat and for quality heat transference. Magnetic elements like steel are included in the base to ensure excellent usage of ceramic cookware on induction cook-tops.

cooking chicken in Ducth oven

The vessel is coated with a blend of ceramic ingredients with stabilizers to create the non-stick cooking surface. This manufacturing process for ceramic-coated pots and pans is designed to promote even, non-stick cooking of foods.

In addition, the ceramic surface does not absorb oils used in frying and sautéing foods. Due to the smooth, non-stick pan surface, food will not generally adhere to the surface, even when cooked over very high heat.

Does Ceramic Cookware Pass The Lead-Free Test?

Any ceramic cookware that you purchase today in the U.S. in all probability does not contain lead. However, the glazes of older ceramic vessels may contain some amounts of lead.

If the glazed surfaces of these items have become crazed or are chipping, there is some danger that a toxic ingredient of the glaze could contaminate any food cooked or stored in this aging cookware.

When exposed regularly to acidic foods and the heat of stove-top cooking or oven baking and roasting, these older items of cookware may pose some danger from leaching of lead into vessel contents during even fast cooking or short-term storage in the fridge.

ceramic pots placed on table

When you shop for new pots and pans, read labels carefully to ensure that products are lead-free. Editors Sienna Livermore and Betty Gold offer expert advice in their Good Housekeeping article, "5 Best Ceramic Cookware Sets That'll Make You A Master Chef."

If the label fails to convince you that a specific pan or set of ceramic cookware is free of lead, you can consult the FDA's import alert listing of products that do contain lead.

Proposition 65 requires the state of California to issue a published listing of chemicals that have been proven to be harmful to humans. In the future, is seems likely that more states in the U.S. may follow this example of published warnings as a health safety precaution.

Will Your Ceramic Cooking Containers Test Negative For PFOA, PTFE And Cadmium?

Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) is a chemical substance that is applied to the surfaces of carpets, drapery and other fabrics and to cookware to protect these surfaces from dirt accumulation and absorption.

This chemical typically burns off during the cookware manufacturing process. However, it is frequently detected in small amounts in water and household dust or grime.

orange and blue pots on gas stove

The main reason that manufacturers of ceramic-coated cooking vessels use cadmium in producing this popular cookware it for stabilizing the dyes used to give these cookware design their characteristic bright, vibrant colors.

Luckily, these cookware manufacturers are required to include cadmium content of the labels of these products. Consumers who read the label before buying these items will be on the safe side.

Pure Ceramic Compared With Ceramic Coated Cookware

Cookware that is 100 percent ceramic has no metal content. it is a forged combination of clay, sand and minerals, and after it is formed, each ceramic item is fired in a kiln at temperatures greater than 1900 degrees F (1038 degrees C).

The majority of these items are cooking pots, and some are skillets or grilling plates. This cookware is suitable for use in the oven or microwave.

You can use metal utensils on their surfaces since they are scratch-proof with a base of aluminum and a ceramic-sprayed surface. In terms of use, cooking vessels that are 100 percent ceramic are much heavier those that are ceramic-surfaced.

Pure ceramic pots and pans are dishwasher-compatible. However, ceramic-coated cooking vessels should be hand-washed to avoid any surface weakening or damage.

The Myriad Varieties Of Contemporary Ceramic-Surfaced Cookware

Contrary to popular opinion, a non-stick ceramic cooking pot or pan may not be free of PTFE, or Teflon. When present in cookware, PTFE can emit potentially hazardous gas when used for cooking foods on high heat over time.

According to research study results from the American Cancer Society, PTFE and PFOA are not proven to be carcinogens. However, when used for cooking over high heat, gases emitted that may be harmful to small children and pets.

Good advice on the ideal cookware selection today are discussed in the article, "Best Cookware Sets of 2019" by Kimberly Janeway in Consumer Reports. Popular types of contemporary cookware with ceramic coatings include the following brands and styles:

• Thermolon™. This type of ceramic pots and pans are produced from very stable aluminum that is hard-anodized. It offers an energy-efficient induction base that makes it suitable for cooking on any stove-top.

Thermolon cooking vessels can withstand high temperatures. Many of these utensils are equipped with metal handles on pots, pans and lids that are completely safe for oven cooking. Your can locate Thermolon ceramic cookware under the labels of Original GreenPan or GreenLife ceramic cookware.

GreenPan vs GreenLife

Greblon c3+ (Weilburger Greblon). This brand and model of cookware has a very sturdy and long-lasting base composed of hard-anodized aluminum. It is exceptionally tolerant of high cooking heats. However, this variety of cooking containers is not recommended for use by anyone who has concerns about emissions of Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, or Teflon) during high-heat cooking.

• Aeternum's Nonstick Coating. This surface is in popular use today on Bialetti cookware from Italy. This type of cookware is not intended for oven cooking. However, this brand also offers their line of attractive bakeware. Bialetti pans are designed to include silicone grips on lids and handle covers to lower heat tolerance. This style of cooking vessels is not dishwasher-compatible.

making food in frying pan

• Pfluon (CERAMICAL™). The main polymer component of this type of pots and pans is Polyetheretherketone (PEEK), which provides heat tolerance to extremely high heat. It also offers more stability as a base for bright, vital ceramic colors. The primary polymer in this cookware is Polyetheretherketone, or PEEK. Pfluon is stated by the manufacturer certified as a PFOA-free product, and it is often described as a marble coating.

• Cerami-tech. This long-lasting, non-stick surface provides top-quality heat conduction. Ceramic pans with this non-stick surface that are copper-colored are usually made of Cerami-Tech. Although this surface is often termed "copper-infused, no copper comes in contact with foods during the cooking process.

A man is cooking food

• Hydro-Ceramic. This non-stick coating is present of the Ecolution line of cookware and is free of lead, PFOA and PTFE. These pans are often equipped with handles coated in silicon.These protected handles decrease the risk of burns to home chefs. However, they also limit the use of this cookware for oven cooking.

• Duralon®2. This coating is often present in Nuwave ceramic cooking containers. Acceptable for use on induction cook-tops, this cookware provides extra convenience to home chefs who use these common cook-tops. However, this coating offers only low or moderate heat tolerance for cooking.

Ducth oven placed on table

• Ti-Cerama.  For sale under the Gotham Steel cookware brand name, this style of pots and pans is copper-colored. However, this lightweight cookware contains no copper or steel. Instead, the coating on Gotham Steel pans composed of aluminum and titanium with a ceramic surface, and it is free of both PFOA and PTFE.

• Initiatives Nonstick Ceramic. This cookware is from T-Fal, a primary Teflon pots and pans distributor. When shopping, be sure to read labels since the Initiatives cookware collection is offered in both Teflon and non-stick ceramic styles. There are also visual differences. The Teflon pans are normally dark gray in color, and the ceramic cookware usually has a white coating. Non-stick styles are free of PTFE, PFOA and cadmium.

ceramic pots on table

• Calphalon Ceramic. This type of cookware has been used for a number of years, and Calphalon was one of the early producers of Teflon surfaced pots and pans. This company included detailed information about safe use and upkeep of their products with each item sold.

• Nano-Ceramic. This relatively new line of cookware offers a sturdy, lasting finish for long-term use. It is designed for use over low to moderate heat settings and should not be used to oven cooking or for fast-moving from cook-top to oven for the final stage of cooking foods.

Important Points For The Ultimate Safe And Savvy Cookware Shopping

Excellent advice on best choices of modern ceramic cookware for today are available in the article, "The Best Nonstick Pan for Everyday Cooking" from Epicurious by Katherine Sacks and collaborators.

Major points of importance for you to remember when shopping for cookware today include the following valuable tips:

  • If you buy aluminum-based pots and pans with ceramic surfaced today, the coating must be affixed to the cookware in order to ensure safe use.
  • When purchasing brightly colored or all-white cookware, be aware that the finish may contain dyes that may be potentially harmful if not stabilized with other substances. Be sure to read labels carefully.
  • If you like to cook using non-stick pans, ceramic is most often more effective and safe than Teflon non-stick cookware.
  • Avoid using your ceramic-coated pans over intense heat, and refrain from moving them from your cook-top to dishwater while still hot, as this can weaken and damage their surfaces.
  • If any of your ceramic-coated cookware chips or cracks with use over time, discard it and buy new cooking vessels to ensure safe cooking.


Shopping for healthy cookware today is important for ensuring the safety of you, your family and friends who may enjoy your delicious recipes, snacks and meals.

These shopping sprees, both online and off, can be confusing with the large variety of brands and products currently on the consumer market. In previous years, Teflon coated products were generally accepted as safe.

However, research has since proven that Teflon (PTFE) itself can pose health hazards when this substance leaches into foods during cooking or storage. Ceramic-coated pots and pans are safe for use in cooking today. However, you should always take care of your ceramic cookware by cooking only over low and moderate heats.

Duch baby pancake in skillet

Many brands of ceramic cookware are sold with instructions cautioning against moving these pots and pans from your cook-top into the oven for the final stages of food preparation or from using these cooking vessels for oven roasting, baking, and broiling of foods.

It is also important to refrain from plunging your ceramic cookware into dishwater directly from your cook-top while cooing vessels are still hot in order to prevent surface damage to pans.

Although it is difficult to remember all important precautions and tips when shopping for new cookware, just keep a listing of these major points on your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Then you can easily refer to them when shopping to ensure that the attractive new cookware you purchase is safe and healthy for your use as an innovative home chef today.

Take Healthy Action When Cookware Shopping Today

Enjoy shopping for your new cookware today. By doing some research ahead of shopping, you will be prepared to select only safe, durable and attractive products. You will choose your new cooking vessels according to your own style of cooking.

making food in Ducth oven

When you understand what cookware components are safe and healthy of use and which ones pose health hazards due to their components, you will be way ahead in the shopping arena and game. Only buy the top-tier, totally safe product—remember, you and your family or friends deserve the very best.

Tammy Kennedy
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