Ceramic cookware is an excellent choice for non-toxic cookware. Long-lasting and easy to use, ceramic cookware comes in all shapes and sizes. Some ceramic cookware is made of pure ceramic and some features a metal such as hard anodized aluminum coated with fire-hardened clay. The type of ceramic cookware that’s right for you will depend on what you like to cook and how you like to cook it, i.e. in the oven, on the stovetop, as well as the kind of stove you have (pure ceramic won’t work on an induction stovetop, for example).
To help you find ceramic cookware that’s right for your circumstances, here are our picks for the best ceramic cookware sets. Curious about how we rate products? Click here to view our methodology, which at its core, is about voting with our dollars to fight climate change.
If you’re looking for the best, most eco-friendly, non-toxic ceramic cookware range, check out Xtrema®. This American-made line of eco-friendly, non-toxic cookware is ceramic through and through, with no metal, cadmium, lead, PFOA, PTFE, glues, polymers, coatings or dyes.
Every shipment is inspected and tested for heavy metals, and Xtrema® cookware is FDA-approved and meets California Prop 65 standards, meaning that it is certified free from over 800 problematic compounds. Xtrema® cookware is also environmentally friendly as it is created using renewable raw materials and green manufacturing practices. The reason this gets three leaves is because ceramic cookware in general is not recyclable.
With Xtrema® ceramic cookware, you can cook food easily on a low heat, because pure ceramic retains heat better than other cookware and helps food to cook evenly, inside and out. Just be sure to warm pans slowly and keep temperatures low to moderate (and add you oil after the pan is warmed).
While Xtrema® cookware is not non-stick, the smooth, non-porous, ceramic glaze makes for easy cooking, once you’re used to cooking on a low to moderate heat. Xtrema® is dishwasher safe, oven safe, stove-safe, and fridge/freezer safe. It is also super easy to clean. If food does stick, it’s safe to use abrasive cleaners such as steel wool, baking soda, and even Ajax without risk of scratching the surface.
Check out the Xtrema® skillet/frying pan (View Price on Xtrema®), sauce pan (View Price on Xtrema®), and (my favorite) tea pot (View Price on Xtrema®). Or, splurge on the full set (View Price on Xtrema®).
Corning Ware (now CorningWare®) was the original ceramic cookware and was accidentally invented by Donald Stookey in 1953. Called Pyroceram, this white glass-ceramic material was capable of withstanding a thermal shock (sudden temperature change) of up to 450 °C (840 °F). It’s also non-reactive to acidic foods, doesn’t leach metal or any other substance into foods, is non-porous, and is easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher. Pyroceram is excellent for cooking tomato sauces and white wine reductions and does not alter the flavor of food, unlike metal pots and pans.
Pyroceram was marketed as Corning Ware from 1958 onwards, with the most recognizable piece a classic white ceramic casserole dish with the blue cornflower logo. Sadly, the original Corning Ware is no longer in production (see below). So, if you are looking for pure ceramic cookware to use on a stovetop, find some yard sale Corning Ware (made prior to 2000), or choose CorningWare®’s stovetop range made after 2008. (Or look at Emile Henry’s new Flame range.)
All in all, CorningWare® is one of the most eco-friendly, safe, non-toxic types of cookware around. It was made in the USA and remains a great choice for eco-friendly, non-toxic cooking. It’s all but guaranteed that if you buy any CorningWare® it’s already been used and hasn’t required additional energy or resources to create.
Our top picks:
Pyroceram Blue Cornflower 4-piece Glass Ceramic Cookware Set (View Price on Amazon)
StoveTop Pyroceram 4-piece Casserole Set (View Price on Amazon)
If you like Le Creuset, you’ll love Emile Henry. This French company makes high-quality, stylish ceramic cookware. I particularly like the Emile Henry Flame range of stovetop-suitable ceramics. These offer a fantastic alternative to hard-to-track-down classic CorningWare®. Emile Henry dishes are designed to resist oven heat up to 480 F (250 C) but are not intended for use over direct flame or hot plates. Emile Henry’s new range of HR cookware is resistant to thermal shock, so it can be put in the oven directly from the freezer. These pots are also dishwasher safe and microwave safe.
The classic Emile Henry dish is their ruffled tart dish, the unique design of which makes it easy to turn out an excellent pie without needing to grease the dish before baking. The company now makes six main types of cookware, including:
- Ruffled Tart Dish (View Price on Amazon)
- Bread Cloche (View Price on Amazon)
- Tagine (View Price on Amazon)
- Pizza Stone (View Price on Amazon)
- Oven Dish (View Price on Amazon)
- Stewpot (View Price on Amazon)
The attractive glazed pots are available in a variety of colors and designs, including the Potato Pot, which can be used to cook potatoes, chestnuts, and various other delights right on the stovetop. It is suitable for induction hobs, if used with an induction disk, and can also be used in the oven.
The glaze is highly resistant to scratching, so it’s fine to use metal utensils with these pots. Some cracks may form in the glaze with use, but this isn’t a design flaw and doesn’t affect performance. As the inside coating is ceramic and non-reactive, these pots are ideal for more acidic foods, including sauces and vinegar reductions that would discolor stainless steel or leach metal from cast iron and carbon steel and affect the flavor of food.
With knowledge, care, and a little luck, Emile Henry cookware could last a lifetime, but do be careful about thermal shock with some items. Classic CorningWare® is a better option in terms of durability and strength, but the Emile Henry range, while traditionally made, has a more modern design, similar in some ways to Le Creuset.
GreenPan offer one of the best examples of a newer green non-stick cookware range. Released in the U.S. in 2007, their cookware features Thermolon, a ceramic non-stick coating marketed as safe and non-toxic. It is mostly comprised of silicon and oxygen, with some pigments and other food-safe ingredients and it is one of my top picks for this type of cookware.
GreenPan were the first company to offer non-toxic, eco-friendly, ceramic non-stick cookware and they now offer a range of modern non-toxic, non-stick, Thermolon ceramic-coated pieces. The Paris Pro series is my top pick. This cookware set features hard-anodized aluminum and ceramic Thermolon coating, with tempered glass lids and stainless-steel handles.
What is Thermolon? It’s a proprietary finish made by spraying silicon dioxide (the same composition as glass or sand) onto pans and then baking the pans at high heat to form a smooth coating. Thermolon is PFOA-, lead- and cadmium-free and makes GreenPan cookware very durable and resistant to scratching. It doesn’t peel, blister, or release toxic fumes.
GreenPan’s Paris Pro series offers excellent heat conduction and the pots and pans heat up quickly (and cool down quickly). They can be used for high-heat browning and searing, unlike other ceramic pans like Le Creuset or Emile Henry.
I like the Paris Pro line because both the handles and lids are stainless steel, which means they are oven-safe up to 600 F (the other lines are only oven safe to 350 or 420 F). The GreenPan Paris line is also more robust and versatile, featuring Thermolon Marathon coating that is thicker, longer-lasting, and resistant to scratching and chipping. These are still ceramic coated pans, though, so avoid using metal utensils that might scratch the coating.
GreenPan offer a limited lifetime warranty for defects in material and workmanship, and a two-year warranty for the non-stick coating. The 11-piece GreenPan Paris set (the lids are counted as separate pieces) includes:
- 8-inch frypan
- 9.5-inch frypan
- 11-inch frypan
- 1.5-quart saucepan with lid
- 3-quart saucepan with lid
- 3-quart sauté pan with lid
- 5.5-quart stockpot with lid
These pots and pans are oven-safe, broiler- and grill-safe. They feature stay-cool brushed stainless-steel handles riveted to the pan for extra strength. GreenPan is a great cookware choice for anyone who wants to replace their PTFE-coated non-stick cookware with a healthier, non-toxic option. And, happily, GreenPan seem genuinely committed to being eco-friendly, including avoiding toxic coatings across their product range.
Cuisinart offer several ceramic cookware ranges featuring their ceramica green non-stick coating. First used in the company’s Green Gourmet line in 2008, this coating does not contain PTFE or PFOA and is non-toxic and a dream to cook with.
The Cuisinart GG-12 GreenGourmet 12-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set includes:
- 8-inch skillet
- 10-inch lidded deep fry
- 1/2-quart lidded saucepan
- (2) 1/2-quart lidded saucepans
- 3-quart lidded everyday pan
- 6-quart lidded Dutch oven
- Steamer insert
These pieces are made of hard-anodized aluminum with the ceramic non-stick coating. They have glass lids to make it easy to monitor food without letting heat escape, and handles that are robustly attached and ergonomic.
Easy to clean, with great heat conduction, these pots and pans are oven-safe and broiler-safe, but not dishwasher-safe. It’s best to handwash these pots and pans and avoid metal scourers and metal utensils that can damage the ceramic coating and ruin the non-stick properties of the cookware. This is why the Cuisinart sets only get 3 leaves as they can be damaged quite easily without proper care and attention.
The Cuisinart 54C-11BK Advantage Ceramica XT Cookware Set is another good choice (View Price on Amazon). This one is a bit more affordable but is durably built with aluminum and titanium as well as that ceramic non-stick coating. This range also has glass lids as well as drip-free pouring thanks to tapered rims. These pieces have ergonomic silicone handles, meaning they are oven-safe up to 350 F. The set includes 11 pieces:
- 1.5-quart saucepan w/cover
- 2.5-quart saucepan w/cover
- 3-quart sauté pan w/cover
- 6-quart stockpot w/cover
- 8-inch skillet
- 10-inch skillet
- 18 cm steamer insert
Final Thoughts on Ceramic Cookware
You might be wondering why I haven’t included one of the most popular brands for metal-ceramic cookware, Le Creuset. This company offers that classic French farmhouse kitchen look in a gorgeous array of colors to suit any kitchen aesthetic. But there are some potential downsides to Le Creuset, such as cadmium contamination in certain models, as discussed in my review here.
All in all, ceramic cookware is a great choice for the non-toxic, eco-friendly kitchen. Not all ‘green’ non-stick coatings are actually eco-friendly or safe, however, so be sure to do your research or ask a question in the comments if you’re unsure.