- #1. GreenPan Valencia Pro Ceramic Nonstick Frypan
- #2. Xtrema 10-inch Traditions Skillet with Lid
- #3. De Buyer Mineral B Fry Pan
- #4. Zwilling Madura Plus Non-stick Frying Pan
- #5. Caraway Fry Pan
- Bonus: The Best in “Nearly Nonstick”—Cast Iron and Porcelain Enamel Cookware
- Nonstick Pans: What To Toss
- What To Look For in a Nonstick Pan
Is your cookware compromising your health? While your favorite nonstick pan might save you the calories involved with using cooking oil, the reality is that the pan’s cooking surface may expose you to toxic compounds as you use it.
According to the FDA, a group of thousands of synthetic compounds known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are widely used in many home products, including nonstick cookware. In that, they are so prevalent that traces of these chemicals are estimated to be found within the blood of 98% of the U.S. population. According to the CDC, this can bode disaster for your health. PFAS are linked to a number of bad health outcomes, and are especially bad for the workers who produce these products.
In light of these dangers, many PFAS are now banned from production, and the Biden administration plans to ban them from drinking water. Yet, this doesn’t mean you won’t still come into contact with them through older products.
One way to limit your PFAS exposure is to avoid most types of nonstick cookware. The coating on these pans can break down at high heat, potentially leeching toxic compounds into your meal. You’re in luck if you’ve come to rely on the convenience of nonstick surfaces—plenty of nontoxic, nonstick pans exist today.
Below, we’ve highlighted the best nontoxic, nonstick pans available today. Each has its advantages, but every product mentioned here will give you the security of knowing you are cooking on a safe surface that won’t release toxic fumes at high heat.
GreenPan at a glance:
- Price: $79.99 (10-inch) $99.99 (12-inch)
- Materials: Thermolon / Ceramic
- Specs: 12-inch: 3.2lbs. 10-inch: 2.3lbs
- Country of origin: Belgium
This Belgian brand is taking over the eco-friendly cooking sphere with a nonstick frying pan that’s as durable as it is versatile. It’s made from scratch-resistant anodized aluminum and contains a ceramic nonstick coating called Thermolon that’s manufactured without PFAS and PFOA.
Thermolon is a silicon-based, sprayable solution—essentially sand—that is cured onto the pan and reinforced with diamonds for extra durability. It’s 100% safe to use in contact with food and can withstand temperatures above 850°F without issue. Even better, the company claims the manufacturing process produces 60% less CO2 emissions than traditional nonstick.
You can use this pan on any stovetop cooking surface, and the ergonomic stainless-steel handle won’t heat up, so you have a secure way to hold it. The pan’s coating is purportedly a great heat conductor, which means you can keep the stove at lower temperatures and use energy as you cook. It’s also rated safe for oven use up to 600°F and can be loaded into the dishwasher once it’s time for cleanup.
While this pan delivers from a health standpoint, some customer reviews show it may come up short with its nonstick claims. You might need to use slightly more oil with this pan than traditional nonstick cookware to get the same effects; otherwise, expect to do some scrubbing after the meal.
Xtrema at a glance:
- Price: $169.99
- Materials: Ceramic
- Specs: 10lbs, 10.5 inches, 2.5 qt capacity
- Country of Origin: China
Xtrema is one of the few brands that sells 100% ceramic cookware. The pure ceramic build means the skillet won’t leach any toxins into your food, but you might sacrifice some performance because of it. For example, it can’t be used on induction stovetops, and fragile foods like eggs tend to stick to it. The ceramic material is also very fragile at high temperatures, and the pan itself doesn’t tend to heat evenly.
Still, this skillet is scratch-resistant and straightforward to clean, even if you get some sticking. It’s also oven and microwave safe, and Xtrema provides silicone handles for use with the skillet to protect your hands.
Suffice to say; if you’re committed to cooking with pure ceramic cookware, this is one of the best brands you’ll find.
De Buyer at a glance:
- Price: $49.95 to $109.95
- Materials: 99% iron / 1% carbon
- Specs: 8-inch model: 5.5-inch cooking surface, 2.2 lbs. 14-inch model: 10.25-inch cooking surface, 7.8 lbs
- Country of origin: France
This French-made pan is lighter than cast iron but handles high heat just as well. You can move it from the stovetop to the oven with ease, and each pan works for baking, browning, sauteing, and even searing meat. (Note: it’s only rated for ten minutes of oven cooking at 400F).
The cooking surface is made from 99% pure iron and includes a signature beeswax finish to help the seasoning and reduce oxidation. This naturally nonstick surface requires regular seasoning, but with the right care, you should expect your pan to last for decades.
It’s a smart choice for anyone who likes cooking with woks, and the pan improves the more you use it. Just make sure you can commit to handwashing it, so you don’t ruin the seasoning.
Zwilling at a glance:
- Price: $49.99 (8-inch) – $69.99 (11-inch)
- Materials: Forged aluminum
- Specs: 8-inch: 1.65lbs. 11-inch: 3.1lbs
- Country of origin: Italy
Combining Italian design with German engineering, Zwilling cookware never compromises on form or function. This nonstick pan is made from forged aluminum that offers stellar heat distribution and retention for even cooking on any stovetop.
The nonstick surface is PFOA-free and utilizes the company’s ‘three-layer DuraSlide granite coating.’ Note: ‘granite’ is in reference to its durability, not its composition. Instead, the pan has a forged aluminum core and a hard-wearing, nontoxic cooking surface.
As the company claims this pan is up to 40 times more durable than traditional nonstick coatings, you can use metal utensils within the pan without worry. It also includes an ergonomic, stay-cool handle design and a dripless pouring rim for streamlined work in the kitchen—and it’s safe for the dishwasher, too.
However, note that this pan is only rated oven safe up to 300°F, making it less versatile than many options on this list. There are also customer complaints that the nonstick coating comes off after use.
Caraway at a glance:
- Price: $95
- Materials: Ceramic coated
- Specs: 2.8lbs, 10.5 inches, 2.7 qt capacity
- Country of origin: China
This nontoxic fry pan offers a Teflon-free cooking space that’s coated instead in a durable ceramic interior. It boasts a nonstick interior that will stand up to high temperatures while letting you cook with less oil. The pan’s relatively thin design means it will heat up fast, and the ceramic coating should withstand heavy use without damage.
Unfortunately, this pan won’t stand up to induction cooking surfaces, and it loses effectiveness at high heat. You also can’t put it in the oven, which limits its versatility for those who want one pan that can do it all.
Another drawback—Caraway doesn’t sell a compatible lid.
Bonus: The Best in “Nearly Nonstick”—Cast Iron and Porcelain Enamel Cookware
Though these two materials don’t fit the technical definition of what most of us consider nonstick cookware, we think they deserve a second look. Both offer a nontoxic cooking surface that, when properly maintained, cooks beautifully and couldn’t be easier to clean.
Here’s a summary of these materials and a closer look at two of the best options available.
- Cast iron: As the original ‘nonstick pan,’ cast iron takes some getting used to, but it offers an ultra-durable, versatile cooking surface. Their seasoning layer makes for a naturally nonstick surface, and you can use the same pan to do everything from searing, sautéing, baking, broiling, frying, grilling, and even cooking over a campfire. Cooks love how well cast iron retains heat, but these pans are heavy, tricky to clean, and may rust if you let them dry wet.
- Porcelain Enamel: This cookware is typically made from cast iron that is coated with enamel. This gives you the even-heating benefits of this traditional material without having to worry about rust or keeping the pan seasoned. Porcelain enamel wins points for ease of use and simple cleaning, but the pans tend to some of the priciest available. You can also damage the pan’s surface if you use metal utensils within it.
Lodge at a glance:
- Price range: $24.95 – $49.95
- Materials: Cast iron
- Specs: 8-inch model: 8.75-inch, 3.17lbs, 0.14 qt. 12-inch model: 12.79-inch, 6.55 lbs, .39 qt.
- Country of origin: USA
Lodge has long been the leading name in cast iron skillets, and for a good reason. The company has sold affordable, long-lasting cookware made in the United States for decades, and with the right care, you can expect each piece to last for generations.
Every Lodge cast iron pan comes pre-seasoned, so it’s ready to use right out of the package. Its cooking surface is naturally nonstick, though you’ll still want to use some cooking oil for most dishes.
The Chef Collection skillet beats out the brand’s standard model with extra features designed to make kitchen work easier. This includes an ergonomic handle, pour spouts on the sides for better handling sauces and gravies, and sloped sidewalls to ease stirring with a spatula. As with all cast iron, you can use this pan just about anywhere—from your induction stovetop to a campfire.
Keep in mind that this pan requires gentle handling as you clean it to prevent rust and maintain the seasoning layer. Never leave it wet, and never put it in the dishwasher.
Le Creuset at a glance:
- Price range: $120 – $205
- Materials: Enameled cast iron
- Specs: 6 1/3 inch model: 10.24 inches, 2.82lbs. 11 ¾ inch model: 13 ½ inches, 6.5lbs
- Country of origin: France
As one of the premier names in gourmet kitchen cookware, Le Creuset’s Signature Skillet doesn’t disappoint. It boasts a nonstick surface of enameled cast iron that eliminates any need for the material’s traditional seasoning and maintenance. In fact, this enamel is formulated for high-temperature cooking (it’s oven-safe to 500F) and develops a natural patina over time that keeps it easy to clean.
Cooks love this skillet’s ergonomic design and heat retention abilities, as well as its durable porcelain enamel that rarely chips and is dishwasher safe. It’s relatively light for cast iron, which makes it more maneuverable around the kitchen.
If you’re serious about your nontoxic cookware, this is a pan worth considering, despite the high price. Just keep in mind that it’s not 100% nonstick and that you will need to use small amounts of cooking oil for delicate foods like eggs and fish.
Nonstick Pans: What To Toss
Many nonstick pans contain more than you bargained for. Avoid using any pan made from the following materials.
Teflon, the trademarked version of polytetrafluoroethylene, was considered a game-changing cooking agent when it entered the market 80 years ago. Until 2013 this nonstick coating often contained PFAS and other compounds like PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), which is also linked to serious health problems like cancer, organ failure, reproductive issues, and hormonal imbalances.
Teflon coatings break down at high heat (anything over 464℉), potentially releasing toxic fumes that can accumulate in your body over time.
Newer Teflon pans claim to be PFOA-free, but they still contain other compounds, such as a PTFE coating, which is considered a carcinogen. Avoid older Teflon pans at all costs, and consider staying away from newer ones as well.
This common cooking material is controversial from a health standpoint. Uncoated aluminum is highly reactive to acidic foods like tomatoes or vinegar, and cooking with them can make aluminum particles leach into your food.
Research shows that elevated aluminum levels are linked to blood disorders, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and neurological issues like ALS and Parkinson’s disease. A better option? Look for aluminum coated with stainless steel, ceramics, or other non-reactive materials.
What To Look For in a Nonstick Pan
Nontoxic, nonstick pans come in a variety of styles. Here’s a look at the top nontoxic materials used today.
This natural material is free of heavy metals, coatings, dyes, and polymers and consequently won’t leach harmful toxins at high heat. Cooks love ceramic cookware because it is safe for the stovetop, oven, freezer, dishwasher, and even the microwave. Ceramic is considered the safest cookware for high heat (up to 2500℉), though the pans tend to be fragile at these temperatures.
Get the benefits of ceramic cookware without the heft or price with ceramic coated pieces. They are non-reactive, can handle high heat (up to 600℉), are dishwasher safe, and offer an even heating surface. However, most aren’t compatible with the microwave, and the ceramic surface will scratch and eventually wear out.
Like your favorite cast iron skillet, carbon steel has a seasoning layer that naturally makes it nonstick. It’s thinner, lighter, and heats more quickly than cast iron, making it an excellent choice for frying pans and woks.
Though carbon steel tends to be affordable, it’s incredibly durable and simple to clean. Just note it’s not microwave or dishwasher safe.