The long quest of looking for the perfect non-stick pan doesn’t seem to be ending soon. From Teflon to silicone, all the way to ceramic. Each one has its pros and cons, which makes the choice process overwhelming. It’s not just about our comfort, but also our loved ones’ health! Today we’ll be exploring the benefits and drawbacks of ceramic cookware to help you make an informed buying decision.
In the last decade, ceramic cookware has been gaining traction. However the use of ceramic in cooking isn’t new. Its roots can be traced back to the ancient Greek and Chinese. It’s a ‘green’ choice that’s good for both you and the environment.
But how safe is it? Is it durable? And what about chemical toxicity?
Read on as we’ll be answering these questions and helping you decide whether ceramic cookware is the right choice for you.
What Is Ceramic Cookware?
Is Ceramic cookware really made of ceramic? Is it different from ‘Ceramic-Coated’ cookware?
Before we dive in, let’s get you acquainted with some terms so that you don’t fall victim to marketing hype.
If breakable clay pottery is what comes to your mind when you hear of ceramic cookware, then you’re wrong. Surprisingly, ceramic cookware isn’t actually made of ceramic. The majority of what’s advertised as ‘Ceramic’ cookware is, in fact, ceramic-coated.
They’re made of regular metals like Aluminum or stainless steel and have one or more layers of non-stick coating, mostly silicone.
On the other hand, there is a category of ceramic cookware that’s entirely made of natural clay with zero chemicals included. It’s then kiln-baked.
Benefits of Ceramic Cookware
Now, let’s take a look at the detailed benefits you’ll get when you use ceramic cookware.
Efficient Heat Transfer
In most cases, the bases of ceramic pans are made of Aluminum. This enables efficient and quick heat transfer. In the long term, this means heating more food whilst consuming less energy.
Besides, ceramic pots have excellent heat retention. This means they conserve heat for a longer time and subsequently, they’re rarely prone to overheating.
This is especially true when it comes to 100% ceramic cookware, as it retains heat in its walls. Thus, keeping the food warm even after turning off the heat.
Ceramic cookware is free of 2 chemical components present in most non-stick cookware, these are PTFE and PFOA. Those in fact, come from fossil fuel, you can imagine how harmful they can be to you and your environment.
On the other hand, the ceramic coating is made of sand. So, it’s both chemical-free and safe. After an average of 3 to 5 years, the ceramic -normally will start degradation gradually.
Make sure not to leave acidic food in your ceramic cookware, because this increases the risk of leaching. Hence, exposing to lead, which is harmful to your health.
Metals like Aluminum and copper are reactive. Meaning, if you’re cooking in a pot made of them, they’ll react with your food leading to a metallic taste and/or color.
One of the most significant perks of ceramic cookware is that it’s non-reactive. This translates into healthier and ‘cleaner’ food, as it won’t interfere with your food’s taste nor smell. This is especially important when your food is of acidic or alkaline nature.
Moreover, ceramic cookware keeps the non-reactivity property in both high and low temperatures. No need to worry when you overheat your food or when you put a ceramic pan in the fridge.
The only downside is that non-reactive cookware is a bit pricier.
Thanks to its non-stick glazed surface, ceramic cookware requires minimal oil to cook with. This, in itself, translates into overall healthier meals.
Besides, ceramic resists the growth of bacteria, which adds up to its score over other traditional non-stick pans.
Easy to Clean
Because of their non-stick properties, ceramic pots and pans are a breeze to clean after use. To clean them properly, remove all the remaining food from the compartment, then use warm water to clean it. Avoid the use of strong chemical detergents.
Steel wool, scouring pads, and oil sprays work well to tackle any especially tough stains.
Ceramic pots and pans are a versatile bunch. You can put them in the oven without much fuss. They’ll do well, and withstand high heat pressure thanks to their enamel base. That being said, we always advise checking manufacturer’s instructions as all pots and pans are different.
Pure ceramic (NOT ceramic coated) cookware, can be safely used in the microwave as long as there are no metals present in the handle or other components.
This one might be trivial to some, but who doesn’t like good-looking utensils in their kitchen?
Ceramic cookware is a part of your kitchen’s decor nowadays. Its enameled attractive surfaces come in handy when serving your guests. They’re available in a wide array of colors and -sometimes- textures too!
The Downsides of Ceramic Cookware
With all the perks of ceramic cookware in mind, does it mean that it has no disadvantages?
Like anything, ceramic cookware has its disadvantages, but in our opinion, the benefits outweigh them. However, we’ve listed the pitfalls below so that you have the full picture.
- Not ‘completely’ dishwasher safe
- Relatively expensive
- Has a shorter lifespan than Teflon
- Can be a bit heavy
Make the Best Use of Ceramic Cookware
Here are some tips and tricks that’ll help you get the best out of your ceramic cookware in terms of its longevity and food quality.
- Wash your ceramic pan ‘before’ the first use.
- Stay away from using metal utensils to prevent scratches.
- Start with a relatively low heat level, then increase it gradually. Take your time.
- Use regular oil instead of oil spray to prevent an oil build-up.
- Allow the pan to cool down before washing. Abrupt heat changes aren’t good.
- Don’t leave leftover food in the pan to avoid stains.
What Do People Say?
We believe in practical experience when it comes to kitchenware. That’s why we decided to search the market for people’s reviews of ceramic cookware.
There was a consensus around their non-stick properties. Most people reported that using ceramic helped to significantly reduce the fats and oil used in cooking. Another desirable feature was how effortless it is to clean them, even coconut spray can do the job!
Is ceramic cookware 100% PTFE free?
Whether it’s made of ceramic or just ceramic coated, make sure that ceramic cookware has no traces of PTFE or PFOA.
Can I use ceramic cookware in the oven?
First, check for the ‘oven-friendly’ label to double-check. How long it’ll stay in the oven depends on the handles. If they’re made of stainless steel they can stand up to 500 F, while if they’re silicone, they only can stand up to 350 F.
What type of utensils should I use with ceramic cookware?
Wood is the best!
You can use silicone and plastic as well. Anything that won’t scratch the pot’s surface would work.
Can I put ceramic cookware in the microwave?
It depends on its type. If it’s 100% made of ceramic, then yes, it’s safe to put it in the microwave.
However, if you’re asking about ceramic glazed cookware, you shouldn’t put it in the microwave.