6 Best Nontoxic Cookware of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

These health-conscious cookware picks don't skimp on performance.

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Updated on July 17, 2024

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Tested by Lauren Seib and Laura Denby

You've sworn only to buy organic, non-GMO food, put the kibosh on all things plastic and even swapped chemical-laden cleaners for safer alternatives — so what’s the story with your cookware? Depending on the age and wear-and-tear on your pots and pans, those go-to nonstick options could be undoing all your health-conscious habits. And three of our top picks are on sale for Prime Day on July 16 and 17.

What to Know About Nonstick Cookware and PFAS

Since the 1940s, companies have been using chemicals known as perfluoroalky and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to create cookware that can repel oil and water — what we now call nonstick cookware. The material we're most familiar with in terms of nonstick pans is polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) — better known as Teflon. Since 2006, certain known toxins found in Teflon including two types of PFAS have been phased out of the Teflon manufacturing process: PFOA and PFOS. Most nonstick cookware sold in the United States today is PFOA- and PFOS-free. If you own nonstick cookware that pre-dates 2006, you may want to seriously consider replacing it.

In addition to concerns about these chemicals creeping into your scrambled eggs, cranking up the temperature on your stove can cause older cookware to release toxic gases into the air including PFOA. What’s even more concerning: These "forever chemicals" do not break down easily (for hundreds, potentially thousands of years!) and have been linked to a lengthy list of conditions including cancer, liver damage, thyroid disease and developmental issues to fetuses/breastfed babies of exposed women.

It's also worth noting that any nonstick cookware sporting scratches from years of use should be replaced immediately. For one thing, it's not safe for your health as it could potentially release toxic chemicals. And, it just won't live up to its nonstick promise when damaged.

Enough said? It’s time to toss your old trusty, inherited from who-knows-where cookware and start thinking about safer, healthier alternatives for your kitchen. We tested fan-favorite brands made of ceramic and stainless steel (free from PFOA, PFOS, PTFE, heavy metals, and more) to serve up our six stovetop winners.

Photo by: Lauren Seib

Lauren Seib

How We Tested

After researching reputable consumer buying guides, we put our top cookware picks to the test by cooking pancakes, eggs, a frittata (for those oven-safe models) and timing how long it took to boil two cups of water. Those that flipped and slipped easily with a speedy bubble received a gold star. Cleaning was another big part of the evaluation with the difficulty of hand washing and whether or not it was dishwasher-safe being considered. The good news: Every single item tested was a breeze to wipe down with a dime-sized dollop of soap needed (at most) for even the sauciest of messes. The manual/instructions, measurements/weight and overall use and care were the driving forces behind the decision in each category’s winner. We also considered pricing, performance and design (lots of pretty colors!) when ranking.

What We Like
  1. Ceramic-coated surface is extremely nonstick, even without oil
  2. Comfortable-to-heavy weight that feels sturdy and high-quality
  3. Oven-safe up to 550 degrees F
  4. Beautiful design and color options
  5. Storage organizers included
  6. Very easy to wipe down
What We Don't Like
  1. Not dishwasher-safe

Finding a solid cookware set can be tough, but this direct-to-consumer ceramic line is a triple threat in design, durability and efficacy. No wonder the set (and its gorgeous muted hues) frequent your Instagram feed! The 10.5-inch frying pan, 4.5-quart saute pan, 3-quart saucepan and 6.5-quart Dutch oven (with three mix-and-match low-profile lids) cover your cooking needs, while the bonus canvas lid holder and magnetic holding rack keep your cabinets organized. These pots and pans are oven-safe up to 550 degrees F. Even heat distribution, quick boil and breezy cleanup make Caraway your dinner-in-a-pinch partner-in-crime. We recommend their star-studded collection for newlyweds, first-time homeowners and anyone looking to reset their stovetop needs. For anyone looking for more color options, Crate & Barrel carries four exlusive Caraway cookware colors with gold hardware.

  1. Number of Pieces 9
  2. What's Included 10.5" fry pan, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 4.5-quart sauté pan with lid, 6.5-quart Dutch oven with lid, magnetic pan rack, canvas lid holder
  3. Material Aluminum with stainless steel base
  4. Finish Type Ceramic nonstick interior, matte enamel exterior
  5. Dishwasher Safe No
  6. Induction Compatible Yes
Photo By: Laura Denby
What We Like
  1. Extremely versatile, functioning as 10 pieces of cookware and kitchen accessories
  2. In testing, no foods stuck to ceramic-coated surface, even without oil
  3. Easy to wipe down and clean
  4. Stylish colors available
  5. Space-saving
What We Don't Like
  1. Not metal utensil- or dishwasher-safe
  2. Only oven-safe up to 450 degrees F, which is lower than many of our other picks

Are you limited on space? The 10.5-inch Always Pan is the ultimate sous chef, replacing ten traditional pieces of cookware and accessories (fry pan, saute pan, steamer, roasting dish, baking dish, skillet, saucier, nonstick pan, spatula and spoon rest). We've tested both the original Always Pan and the updated and improved Always Pan 2.0. One of the main complaints of our testers and customers was that the original pan was not oven-safe, but the Always Pan 2.0 is oven-safe up to 450 degrees F. In testing, we found that the updated version had a slicker nonstick surface that held up over time compared to the original. Our testers were able to cook eggs and bake cookies without any oil and without any food sticking to the ceramic-coated pan. The Jack of all trades was designed to fit the needs of the "modern, multiethnic American kitchen" and comes with a slippery two-spout pan, modular lid, metal steamer basket/colander and nesting beechwood spatula, which stays put on the stay-cool handle. The on-trend pallet of terracotta, blue salt, sage, (with new colors added frequently) adds a purposeful splash of color to your kitchen that you won’t want to put away.

  1. Number of Pieces 4
  2. What's Included Always Pan 2.0; modular, steam-release lid; nesting beechwood spatula; steamer basket and colander
  3. Material Aluminum body
  4. Finish Type Ceramic coating
  5. Dishwasher Safe No
  6. Induction Compatible Yes
What We Like
  1. Great value
  2. Heats evenly
  3. Easy to clean
What We Don't Like
  1. Nothing

For those looking to truly overhaul their cookware cabinet, look no further. This GreenPan set includes 8-, 9.5- and 11-inch frypans, 2- and 3-quart saucepans with lids, a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, a 5-quart stockpot with lid and three pan protectors. Transitioning from stovetop to oven is a breeze with even-heating pots and pans being oven/broiler safe up to 600 degrees F. While hand washing is recommended, they are dishwasher-safe (and metal utensil-safe) for speedy cleanup.

  1. Number of Pieces 12
  2. What's Included 8", 9,5” and 11” fry pans, 2- and 3-quart saucepans with lids, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, 5-quart stockpot with lid, set of 3 pan protectors
  3. Material Hard anodized aluminum
  4. Finish Type Ceramic nonstick interior, matte enamel exterior
  5. Dishwasher Safe No
  6. Induction Compatible Yes
What We Like
  1. In testing, food didn't stick, even without using any oil
  2. Dishwasher-safe but also easy to clean by hand
  3. Affordable
What We Don't Like
  1. In testing, water took a very long time to boil (more than 8 minutes)
  2. Only oven-safe up to 350 degrees F, which meant baking a frittata took longer and cooked unevenly in testing
  3. Pots gave off weird smell when boiling water

"Healthy" doesn’t have to break the bank. For less than $100 (ideal for college kids moving into their first off-campus apartment!), you can cook everything with this 16-piece set from pancakes to perfectly seared seafood without a single frustrated scrape. Lightweight — thanks to being crafted from recycled aluminum — these punchy-colored, ceramic-coated nonstick pots and pans are made from sand and claim to emit 60 percent fewer CO2 emissions versus traditional nonstick competitors. Also noteworthy: The four clear lids help you keep tabs on meal prep progress. Mhm, no need to let your fire alarm alert you that dinner is ready!

  1. Number of Pieces 12
  2. What's Included 4” mini frying pan, 7” and 9.5” frying pans, 1-quart and 2-quart saucepans with lids, 5-quart stock pot with lid, 2.5-quart sauté pan with lid, 7” stainless steel steamer, and 4 kitchen utensils
  3. Material Aluminum
  4. Finish Type Ceramic coating
  5. Dishwasher Safe Yes
  6. Induction Compatible No
What We Like
  1. Most versatile option we tested; microwave-, oven-, BBQ-, freezer- and dishwasher-safe
  2. Ceramic to the core (not just ceramic coated)
  3. 10-year limited warranty
What We Don't Like
  1. Brand recommends taking extra care to store separately to avoid chipping
  2. Heavier than other options

Pure ceramic to the core, Xtrema’s pots and pans are handmade with durability at the forefront of their design. "Versatility" is seemingly the company’s middle name, as you can take everything from cooktop to oven to BBQ to microwave to fridge/freeze to dishwasher without a sweat. Xtrema’s Versa Skillet took first prize for the best frittata out of all the frittatas we tested in other oven-safe nontoxic cookware options and was a favorite when it came to fork-tender meat on the grill. Looking to wow your mother-in-law when she’s in town? Try our guaranteed crowd pleaser, Skillet Rosemary Chicken.

  1. Number of Pieces 2
  2. What's Included 8" inch pan and lid
  3. Material Ceramic
  4. Finish Type Ceramic
  5. Dishwasher Safe Yes
  6. Induction Compatible No
What We Like
  1. Professional-feeling weight with sturdy handles
  2. Oven- and dishwasher-safe
What We Don't Like
  1. Food stuck to pans, requiring more oil than other pans tested
  2. Required more elbow grease to get clean

There’s a reason why most brides have this cookware trio (plus two lids!) on their registry: It’s a reliable classic made in the USA with a lifetime warranty. All-Clad’s timeless D3 set is for the home cook and pro alike, compatible with all cooktops and oven/broiler-safe up to 600 degrees F. The stainless steel 10-inch fry pan, 3-quart saucepan and 3-quart sauté pan are tri-ply bonded with an aluminum core for even heating when it comes to whipping up your favorite dishes. We found that a quick coat of oil before tossing ingredients in best supported whatever was on the menu.

  1. Number of Pieces 7
  2. What's Included 10" fry pan, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and 6-quart stockpot with lid
  3. Material Stainless steel
  4. Finish Type Stainless steel
  5. Dishwasher Safe Yes, but hand-wash recommended
  6. Induction Compatible Yes
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Frequently Asked Questions

Is nonstick cookware safe?

The most common concern around toxic cookware is in the nonstick category. The FDA has authorized the use of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in consumer goods since the 1960s, including in nonstick cookware, paper used for fast-food packaging and microwave popcorn bags, and in non-food applications such as stain-resistant fabrics and firefighting foams. One of the most well-known PFAS used in cookware is Teflon, made with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE); or, before 2013, with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Both are types of PFAS, but there are thousands of others.

“There could be labels on your cookware that say PFOA free, but the problem is that the companies still could use other, similar types of chemicals, and there could still be PFAS in the cookware,” says Tasha Stoiber, PhD, senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group.

However, according to the FDA, the manufacturing process of nonstick cookware lessens exposure to these chemicals. “This [manufacturing] process vaporizes off virtually all the smaller PFAS molecules,” Dr. Honigfort says. “The result is a highly polymerized coating bound to the surface of the cookware. Studies show that these coatings contain a negligible amount of PFAS capable of migrating to food.”

Still, there are other issues with PFAS. The manufacturing process used to make products containing PFAS, including cookware, causes these chemicals to enter the environment. Once they do, research show they stay in the environment and may enter our bodies via drinking water and other exposures. If you're concerned about PFAS in your drinking water, there are household filtration systems that can remove them.

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What is nontoxic cookware?

Though the FDA regulates the finishes that go on cookware (like Teflon), the agency doesn’t have an official definition for the term “nontoxic” in the context of cookware, says Paul Honigfort, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Division of Food Contact Substances in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Rather than calling certain materials “toxic,” the FDA considers materials’ toxicity based on how they’re used and how much exposure consumers get through using the cookware.

Since "nontoxic" is not a regulated term, when brands use the term to market cookware products it can refer to many things. Generally, "nontoxic" cookware refers to products made without PFAS associated with many nonstick cookware options. Nontoxic cookware could refer to cookware made from ceramic (whether fully ceramic to the core or as a ceramic coating on an aluminum or stainless steel pan), stainless steel, carbon steel or cast iron.

What are the safest materials for pots and pans?

Whether you’ve given up on nonstick altogether or just want to expand your home cooking horizons, it’s a good idea to consider other materials. “The most nontoxic cookware that you can buy is stainless steel, cast iron or carbon steel; things that don’t have a coating on them,” says Alexis Pisciotta, culinary purchasing and events manager and cookware consultant for Food Network. While stainless steel, cast iron and carbon steel are all considered nontoxic cookware, some can require a bit more oil before cooking, low-medium heat and, in the case of carbon steel, avoiding extremely acidic foods like tomato sauce. Ceramic cookware, whether that's fully ceramic options like the Xtrema Versa Skillet, or ceramic-coated cookware like cookware from Caraway and Our Place, has become one of the most popular nontoxic alternatives to nonstick cookware, thanks to the extra-slick surfaces that generally don't require oil when cooking.

This article has been reviewed since its original publish date for accuracy, pricing and availability. We stand by our list of top non-toxic cookware picks.

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