If you can’t remember the last time you bought cookware, it’s time for something new. Invest in nontoxic cookware brands for the best and healthiest cooking experience.
Many people don’t think about it, but your cooking gear is just as important if not more important than what you’re cooking—but we tend to focus on the yummy food and not our old scratched up pans. If you’re opting for nonstick cookware, which is super convenient and easy to clean, you should be aware of what it’s made with.
For a long time, brands used Teflon (AKA PTFE) for nonstick pots and pans—until research emerged that certain chemicals used in manufacturing Teflon are toxic to both the environment and our health and can build up in your body over time. Toxic fumes can be released when they’re overheated, and these processing methods have been linked to polluted water supplies, different kinds of cancer, liver damage, and more.
While these chemicals have slowly been phased out, you should always still make sure to read the label of your nonstick cookware. You’ll want to avoid things like PTFE, PFOA, PFOS, Teflon, and GenX, which are traditionally used in nonstick cookware and aren’t considered nontoxic.
So, what should you look for instead? Opt for classic options like stainless steel, ceramic, glass, and cast-iron, which have been around forever and don’t come with the risks of toxic fumes. For nonstick convenience, many brands have adapted and delivered products that are nonstick and nontoxic.
Here are the best nontoxic cookware brands out there right now:
Best for Small Spaces: Our Place Always Pan
If this Our Place Always Pan looks familiar, it’s because you’ve likely seen it in a social media ad or on an influencer’s Instagram story. This pan lives up to all of the hype, though: it’s aesthetically pleasing, nontoxic, high quality, and incredibly useful.
It’s called the “Always” pan because it’s meant to replace a huge collection of cookware. It comes with an attached steamer basket that enables you to use this to braise, sear, steam, strain, saute, fry, and boil. It’s large enough to boil water for noodles, but not so large it’s obnoxious. It comes with a beechwood spoon that won’t scratch it, along with a spoon rest along the handle (which never gets hot) that makes it easy to keep close by.
It’s also made of an exclusive nontoxic, nonstick ceramic coating that excludes toxic materials like the ones mentioned above as well as heavy metals. I have this pan, and I love how it cooks: The sturdy aluminum body heats quickly and evenly and nothing ever sticks to it. It’s also super lightweight and doesn’t feel too bulky, and it has a convenient pour spout. And, on top of all of that, cleaning it couldn’t be easier.
If you’re looking for just one new pan, this is the one to go for.
Best All-in-One Set: Caraway Cookware
If you’re looking for a set rather than just one pan, Caraway Cookware is an excellent option. It comes in a range of muted colors and is very nice to look at, but more importantly, it’s a high-quality nontoxic nonstick cookware set. (The brand was created after the founder experienced Teflon toxicity firsthand.)
The set comes with a frying pan, saucepan, saute pan, and Dutch oven, and as a bonus, also comes with a magnetic pan rack and canvas lid holder to make your life easier. If you’re looking for a one-stop shopping purchase that gets you quality pans and quality organizers for those pans and lids, this is it. The pans are nonstick and are made of a nontoxic mineral coating, and they’re better for the environment—they release up to 60% less CO2 when produced compared to traditional nonstick coatings.
The aluminum core means they are durable and heat evenly for easy cooking, they’re super easy to clean, and they’re even oven-safe. Overall, this is a great set whether you’re a beginner or advanced cook, and considering everything it comes with, it’s worth the money.
Classic Styling with Modern Nonstick: GreenPan
GreenPan was one of the first brands to make nontoxic nonstick cookware, and they do it really well. This is thanks to their signature Thermolon ceramic nonstick coating that doesn’t include any of the bad stuff and eliminates toxic chemicals from scraping off into your food or releasing toxic fumes. The diamond-reinforced cooking lasts, even if you use metal utensils (for most nonstick pans, you’re not supposed to use metal).
It has an aluminum core that allows for fast and even cooking and it cleans very easily. It’s also dishwasher safe, which is a big plus because a lot of nonstick pans aren’t. It’s oven- and broiler-safe as well, making it really versatile.
A nice touch is that the stainless steel handles are ergonomic and contoured for a comfortable grip, and the glass lids let you look at your food. Plus, GreenPan is more environmentally friendly than some other brands: It emits 60 percent less CO2 during the curing phase than traditional nonstick, and they use upcycled stainless steel and aluminum whenever possible.
This particular set comes with 8″, 9.5″, and 11″ frying pans, 2 and 3-quart saucepans with lids, a 3-quart skillet with lid, and a 5-quart casserole with lid. There are other options as well.
GreenPan Valencia Pro Hard Anodized Induction Safe Healthy Ceramic Nonstick, Cookware Pots and Pans Set, 11 Piece, Gray
Environmentally friendly and conveniently nonstick.
The Best Porcelain Enamel: Le Creuset
The fancy French brand Le Creuset is a big splurge, but it’s also quality cookware that will last years and is nontoxic.
It’s made of cast iron that has been coated with high-gloss vitreous enamel. The cast iron and coating combined gives Le Creuset some advantages over a cast iron pan: It is easier to wash (you can use soap), some of the pieces are dishwasher safe, you can use metal utensils, it’s scratch and chip-resistant, and it comes in a variety of nice colors. It also has all the positives of a cast iron pan, like being durable, sturdy, and great at holding heat.
The downside? Again, it’s more expensive than most of the cookware here. (One pan can cost more than an entire set from another brand.) If you’re shopping for a Dutch oven on a budget, be sure to check out our roundup of Dutch ovens for every price point.
Le Creuset is not nonstick, but it’s still easy to use. It heats very evenly and has great heat retention, and it can go from the stovetop to the oven. The tight-fitting lids are designed to circulate steam and return moisture back to the food, and large ergonomic knobs and handles make it easy to lift these.
The Le Creuset Dutch Oven is a really popular pick because of how versatile it is. If you’re really into cooking and you want something attractive that is also functional, Le Creuset is a good option.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven, 5.5 qt., Cerise
Nontoxic, durable, and sturdy---this one will last forever.
The Best Cast Iron: Lodge Cast Iron
Cast iron is an excellent nontoxic cookware option, because not only is it safe and durable, but it’s also inexpensive and lasts forever.
Lodge Cast Iron pans might require a little extra love than the rest of the cookware on this list, but it delivers superior quality and versatility for an incredible price. Cast iron retains heat better than pretty much anything else out there, and when cared for properly, can actually develop a naturally nonstick coating.
Lodge seasons its cookware with 100% vegetable oil and no synthetic coatings or chemicals, making it much easier to handwash (and the more you use it, the better the seasoning gets). Caring for your Lodge cast iron pan (or any cast iron pan) means handwashing only and no soap.
The Lodge Cast Iron Skillet is very versatile and can be used for pretty much everything, easily going from stovetop to oven. (The brand also makes other cookware and even bakeware.)
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, Pre-Seasoned with Silicone Hot Handle Holder , 10.25 Inch Dia, Black/Red Silicone (L8SK3ASHH41B)
Cast iron holds heat better than anything else out there.
The Best Ceramic Option: Xtrema
Xtrema is one of the only cookware brands out there making pure ceramic pieces. Ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic material that has a surface free of nonstick chemicals, won’t leach, is very versatile, has a non-scratch surface even with metal utensils, retains heat well, and is safe for the microwave, refrigerator, freezer, and dishwasher.
There are some downsides to ceramic cookware like this—it heats up slowly, it’s more delicate and breaks easily, and it’s pricey. Still, if you take care of it properly, it will last years.
The 9-piece Xtrema set comes with a 1-quart saucepan, 1.5-quart saucepan, 2.5-quart saucepan, a skillet, lids, and a silicone handle potholder. They heat evenly and work best when you start slow, but can retain heat and can hold heat up to really high temperatures. The fact that they can be used on the stove, oven, or in the microwaves makes these easy to use for pretty much anything you’re making.
The Best Stainless Steel: All-Clad
Stainless steel is nontoxic and contains nickel and chromium, which prevents rust, pitting, and reaction with foods. It’s durable and easy to use, there are no chemical coatings, and it’s dishwasher safe. It’s not nonstick, however.
There are less expensive stainless steel options on the market, but All-Clad is probably the best high-quality option out there. All-Clad cookware is extremely durable and strong, meaning it’s an investment that will last years.
The All-Clad Essential Pan is a versatile favorite that features five alternating layers of responsive aluminum and durable heat-diffusing stainless steel to heat evenly and slowly. It has a wide surface area with high, rounded sides that make it easy to saute, and the lid locks in moisture and hat. It’s oven and broiler safe as well, and it’s super easy to clean since it can be thrown in the dishwasher.