Are you shopping for new cookware and considering Ballarini?
Ballarini is made in Italy and features a unique stone-inspired coating. The company claims the coating provides superior durability and food release.
But are these claims true? Is Ballarini cookware any good?
In this Ballarini cookware review, I’ll explore all aspects of the brand, address pros and cons, and answer the most frequently asked questions.
After testing it for several months, I’m here to tell you the good, bad, and everything in between.
Use the links below to navigate the review:
- Ballarini vs. The Competition
- Cookware Collections
- FAQs About Ballarini Cookware
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy Ballarini Cookware?
Ballarini offers over a dozen cookware collections. Many feature the brand’s signature stone-inspired speckled design, but some options include traditional finishes, such as copper, carbon steel, and brushed aluminum.
I break down each option later in the review, but in this section, let’s focus on Parma Plus, Ballarini’s most popular collection.
I’ll also draw a few parallels to other Ballarini collections to give you a feel for the brand as a whole.
Parma Plus cookware is coated inside and out with three layers of Granitium, a speckled gray finish that blends well into any kitchen style from rustic to modern.
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The Ballarini-manufactured coating is infused with ceramic particles and speckles. These elements give the coating its stone-like appearance and improve its scratch resistance and durability.
Despite its slightly textured feel (it’s not completely smooth), it boasts easy food release and quick cleanups.
Ballarini claims the coating is scratch-resistant and metal utensil safe.
The interior is completely rivet-less, so there are no hiding places for food bits or grease to get stuck. That keeps the interiors clean without much effort.
I’ve reviewed cookware, like Hestan, that features flat rivets, but even those trap some grease and food bits. But with Ballarini’s unique design, the cooking surface is uninterrupted.
Ballarini cookware features steep sides, keeping ingredients contained and maximizing the flat cooking surface. Cookware with more sloped sides makes it easier to slide food and pour liquid but limits the amount of flat cooking space.
The walls are relatively thick, especially for non-stick cookware.
As I mentioned, the speckled Granitium coating is present on the interior and exterior, giving this cookware a truly unique look.
The rock-like appearance stands out from your standard stainless steel and dark non-stick pots and pans. Although I prefer more traditional-looking cookware, some people love Ballarini’s uniqueness.
Not all Ballarini collections feature Granitium coating. If you’re looking for something more classic, consider ServInTavola. You’ll get a choice of brushed aluminum or mirror-polished copper.
The handles on fry pans, saucepans, and saute pans are light gray with a subtle curved upward angle.
When you look at pictures online, it appears that the handles are hard plastic. But they’re actually a soft grippy texture, which provides a stable grip, even when your hand is wet.
The base of the handle is welded to the body of the cookware rather than riveted. Ballarini does this to create the rivet-less cooking surface I mentioned before.
The longer part of the handle is then screwed on that base. You can remove the handle with a screwdriver if you need to make room for storage.
The handles offer a distinct design feature: a dot that turns red when the pan is hot and green when cool. This technology is called Thermopoint.
Thermopoint reminds me of T-Fal’s Thermo-Spot technology — a dot in the middle of the cooking surface that turns red when the cookware is hot.
Honestly, I think these features are a bit gimmicky since most cooks can easily tell when the pan is hot, but some people appreciate the reminder.
The handles on Parma Plus cookware are similar in style to other non-stick Ballarini collections such as Parma, Pisa, and Como.
If you are looking for different handle styles, the professional series collections ( 2800, 4000, and 4500) sport stainless steel handles. Series 3000 has long, angled steel handles.
The ServInTavola collections features large brass handles.
Parma Plus lids are made of tempered glass. The lids are trimmed in stainless steel and recessed into the pot for maximum moisture retention during cooking.
If you want something different, Series 2800 features stainless steel lids, and Ballarini offers individual aluminum lids of all sizes, some with stainless handles and others with brass. ServInTavola has copper lids on some pieces.
Every cookware brand I review gets put through a series of tests. I like to see how it performs in various situations and cooking techniques, including searing, browning, frying, sautéing, boiling, and more.
After cooking with Ballarini for several months, here are my thoughts.
Right from the beginning, I was incredibly impressed with the non-stick coating. Eggs slide around with easy, flaky white fish stays intact, and pancakes flip with ease.
Since the Granitium non-stick coating is not as smooth as traditional non-stick, I didn’t expect food release to be a strength, but I was wrong.
Its slickness compares to top non-stick cookware brands, including Made In, Scanpan, and Calphalon.
Typically, the non-stick abilities start to wane after several months, but I haven’t noticed any decline in performance.
Another aspect I like about Ballarini is the handles. They’re thick, comfortable, and the grippy texture keeps them cool and provides you with complete control.
Lastly, I love the rivet-less cooking surface. Since the cooking surface is completely uniform, Ballarini is one of the easiest cookware brands I’ve ever cleaned.
Rivets collect grease and are notoriously difficult to clean. With Ballarini, you avoid that issue.
Now that you know the good stuff, let’s review what I don’t like.
First, the cooking surface is not completely flat, and after several months it starts to warp slightly.
When you pour oil in the center, it immediately flows to one side. I confirmed that the issue is due to the pan’s construction by testing it on different burners and a flat counter.
I’m not the only one that noticed that issue; warping is a common complaint about Ballarini.
When you crack an egg and drop it in the middle of the pan, portions of the egg will slide to the side. You can keep the egg intact with a spatula, but that’s an extra, unnecessary step.
Ballarini cookware takes much longer to heat up than most non-stick cookware due to its thick walls. That’s not always a bad thing, but it can be an issue if you’re in a rush and need to whip up a quick meal.
Due to the soft-grip handles made of a polymer that can melt, Ballarini’s oven-safe temperature is below average.
Most non-stick cookware is oven-safe around 450°F, and some can handle up to 500°F. The Parma Plus, Parma, Matera can only handle up to 300°F.
Overall, Ballarini cookware performs well. Although it heats up slowly, it distributes heat evenly and delivers consistent results. The non-stick coating is as slick as any I’ve used and holds up even if you regularly use metal utensils.
Ballarini vs. The Competition
I mentioned Ballarini performs well, but how does it compare to the competition?
To find out, I conducted two quick tests.
The goal of the first test is to measure heat conduction. In other words, how quickly the cookware heats up and how evenly it distributes the heat.
First, I poured two cups of cold water into a Ballarini pan and set it on the stove. After turning the burner to the highest setting, I set a stopwatch to see how long it took for the water to boil.
After two minutes and 15 seconds, the water began to bubble. The water came to a full boil after three minutes and twelve seconds.
I conducted the same test with several other cookware brands. Here’s how Ballarini stacks up:
|Pan||Time to First Bubbles||Time to Boil|
|Made In fry pan||1 minute and 40 seconds||2 minutes and 21 seconds|
|Misen fry pan||1 minute and 50 seconds||2 minutes and 25 seconds|
|Anolon fry pan||1 minute and 55 seconds||2 minutes and 27 seconds|
|Rachael Ray fry pan||1 minute and 47 seconds||2 minutes and 36 seconds|
|Hestan fry pan||1 minute and 52 seconds||2 minutes and 47 seconds|
|Circulon fry pan||2 minutes and 7 seconds||2 minutes and 55 seconds|
|Calphalon fry pan||1 minute and 45 seconds||2 minutes and 40 seconds|
|All-Clad skillet||1 minute and 55 seconds||2 minutes and 55 seconds|
|Ballarini fry pan||2 minutes and 15 seconds||3 minutes and 12 seconds|
I was a bit surprised that Ballarini took the longest of nine brands to boil the water since aluminum (the base material of Ballarini pans) conducts heat quickly. I assume the overall thickness of the pan and the three layers of non-stick coating impacted the results.
That said, Ballarini wasn’t too far behind All-Clad and Calphalon, two of the top-performing cookware brands on the market.
During the test, I observed how evenly the bubbles were dispersed across the cooking surface. When the bubbles are concentrated in one area, it’s usually a sign of uneven heat distribution.
Fortunately, the bubbles were distributed uniformly. With Ballarini, you shouldn’t experience any hot or cold spots.
The second test measures heat retention. You want cookware that stays hot as you add ingredients. If a pan loses heat too quickly, you’ll get inconsistent results.
Heat retention is especially important for searing meat. You need the pan to maintain its temperature when placing a cold steak on it. Otherwise, you won’t be able to seal in the juices.
To determine how Ballarini compares to the competition, I removed the pan from the stove and placed it on the counter.
After five minutes, the water temperature was 120°F.
After another five minutes, the water measured 99.9°F.
I repeated this test with the other eight pans to see how Ballarini stacked up. Here are the results:
|Pan||Temperature After 5 Minutes||Temperature After 10 Minutes|
|Made In fry pan||121.1°F||106.6°F|
|Misen fry pan||118.6°F||103.4°F|
|Rachael Ray fry pan||126.3°F||102.7°F|
|Circulon fry pan||133.3°F||102.0°F|
|Calphalon fry pan||112.8°F||101.1°F|
|Ballarini fry pan||120°F||99.9°F|
|Hestan fry pan||114°F||98°F|
|Anolon fry pan||112.7°F||90.9°F|
Ballarini came in 3rd to last, based on the reading at the 10-minute mark. Although this test showed inferior heat retention, it was only a few degrees from second place.
Overall, my tests proved that Ballarini heats up evenly but slower than the competition, and its heat retention is average.
Ballarini features over a dozen cookware collections. Parma, Parma Plus, and Modena are the most popular.
Most Ballarini cookware is constructed from cold-forged aluminum. It’s sturdy but not as durable as fully-clad stainless steel or hard-anodized aluminum construction. Yet, it enhances the cookware’s ability to distribute and retain heat.
Let’s explore each collection.
Parma (view on Amazon): A collection with cold-forged aluminum body and Granitium PTFE-based non-stick coating. The coating features a speckled look inspired by ancient techniques of cooking on stone. It features black handles and glass lids.
Parma Plus (view on Zwilling.com): This collection boasts the same cold-forged aluminum construction as Parma, except it has three layers of non-stick Granitium. The handles are gray, and the knobs differ in shape and color from Parma — they are round and gray.
Modena (view on Zwilling.com): This collection features a cold-forged aluminum body and a triple-layer coating of Granitium. It boasts a monochromatic design with a light gray speckled interior and exterior, glass lids, and gray handles and knobs.
Modena Induction (view on Zwilling): This collection has an extra-thick aluminum body and Granitium non-stick coating. The bottom of the pans features a radiant technology designed for induction cooking, but you can also use it on gas and electric cooktops.
ServInTavola (view on Amazon): This collection features a mix of aluminum and copper construction with aluminum lids. The riveted handles are thick, ornate, and made of brass. Exteriors are either brushed aluminum or mirror-polished copper.
Como (view on Amazon): This limited collection offers a thick, cold-forged aluminum body and a triple-layer, non-stick coating called Keravis Plus. It features the heat efficiency of cast iron but is lightweight and has an exposed aluminum rim. The black coating is reinforced with ceramic for longevity and superior scratch resistance.
Pisa (view on Amazon): A limited collection with a cold-forged aluminum body and Keravis PTFE non-stick coating. Interiors are black with an exposed aluminum rim. The design is similar to the Como collection, with black handles and aluminum accents.
Matera (view on Zwilling.com): This collection boasts a triple-layer Granitium non-stick coating. The exterior is dark, providing a good contrast with the speckled, slightly lighter-colored interior. Glass lids with aluminum rims and black knobs complete the classy simplicity of the look.
Cookin’ Italy (view on Zwilling.com): This cast aluminum collection pays homage to Italian cooking techniques. It features cookware for making pizza, pasta, cakes, and grilled foods. The cookware boasts a black interior and exterior and exposed aluminum rims. Ballarini’s multi-layer Cortan non-stick coats the interior.
La Patisserie (view on Zwilling.com): This steel-constructed collection is for those who have a sweet tooth or enjoy baking for others. It’s a collection of bakeware that can create everything from cheesecake to flan. The collection is coated in Cortan multi-layer non-stick coating and offers a stately black matte finish.
Series 2800 (view on Zwilling.com): This collection offers a stunning contrast of brushed aluminum and a speckled gray non-stick coating known as Kerastone Profi Granite. This pro-level coating is restaurant-tested and formed from cold-forged aluminum construction. The hollow stainless steel handles are designed to stay cool. Recessed stainless steel lids help seal in moisture while cooking.
Series 3000 (view on Zwilling.com): A limited collection of induction-compatible, thick-gauge carbon steel cookware. Its lightweight construction, angled handles, and sloped sidewalls make it ideal for quick, high-heat cooking.
Series 4000 (view on Zwilling.com): The all-aluminum collection is designed for exceptional heat conduction. It has a thick aluminum base with a flat bottom for stability and warp resistance. It features a brushed aluminum exterior giving it a clean, professional look.
Series 4500 (view on Zwilling.com): The professional collection offers the beautiful contrast of brushed aluminum exteriors with a dark non-stick Kerastone coating. The aluminum body is 5 mm thick to provide even heat distribution and enviable heat retention.
Every cookware brand has its downsides. Here are some issues to consider before you decide to buy Ballarini cookware.
Non-stick Coating Breakdown
Despite Ballarini’s claims about its non-stick coatings being metal utensil safe, the most common complaint from customers is the non-stick coating breaks down easily.
In fact, most people claim the opposite — the non-stick coating does NOT hold up well if you use metal utensils.
Metal is abrasive and will eventually break down even the toughest non-stick cookware. For best results, use non-metal cooking utensils such as silicone or wood.
Avoid the dishwasher as the high water temperatures and harsh detergents degrade the coating. Plus, non-stick cookware like Ballarini is designed for easy cleanup; washing it by hand should only take a few seconds.
The bottoms of the pans get easily stained or discolored. Some people complain of dark marks that are difficult to remove. That is a repeated complaint about the Parma collection.
The handles on the ServInTavola collection are made of brass and get extremely hot. Even more concerning, they contain trace amounts of lead, a known toxic element that can impact your health if ingested.
Within the product description on Zwilling.com, it says, “WARNING: The brass handle of this product contains lead, a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.”
Some people complain that the recessed lids don’t fit tightly on the pots and pans, allowing steam to escape.
Although the aluminum is thick, it can warp. Fully-clad stainless steel and hard-anodized aluminum are less likely to warp. With Ballarini, take extra care not to expose the cookware to extreme temperature shifts.
Slow to Heat Up
Based on my tests, Ballarini cookware heats up much slower than other brands. If you’re always in a rush or get impatient waiting for water to boil, you might want to consider other brands.
The speckled design on some collections is unique, but it does not translate into sleek cookware. It’s made to resemble granite and may clash with your existing cookware or kitchen decor.
Lack of Induction-Compatibility Across the Brand
Ballarini has over a dozen cookware collections, but only three are induction-compatible: Modena Induction, Series 3000, and Avola.
Low Oven-Safe Temperatures
Some collections have low oven-safe temperatures — as low as 300°F, which is too low for most recipes that utilize the oven. A few are not oven-safe at all.
Zwilling, the company that owns Ballarini, offers both high-end, expensive cookware and mid-tier, more affordable cookware.
Their high-end brands include Zwilling, Demeyere, and Staub. Ballarini and Henckels are the more affordable, mid-tier options.
Ballarini is comparably priced to Cuisinart, T-Fal, and Farberware and cheaper than All-Clad, Calphalon, or Made In.
Pricing will vary by collection. For example, Parma is slightly cheaper than Parma Plus, and Como is one of the most expensive collections. Still, Ballarini pricing across collections is relatively affordable.
The chart below shows the current prices on Amazon for Ballarini’s most popular pots, pans, and cookware sets:
|Ballarini Parma 11-Inch Fry Pan||Amazon|
|Ballarini Pisa 12-Inch Fry Pan||Amazon|
|Ballarini Series 4500 11-Inch Fry Pan||Amazon|
|Ballarini Pisa 2-Piece Fry Pan Set||Amazon|
|Ballarini Series 3000 11-Inch Fry Pan||Amazon|
|Ballarini Como 3.8-Quart Sauté Pan||Amazon|
|Ballarini ServInTavola 2-Piece Fry Pan Set||Amazon|
|Ballarini Parma 3-Piece Fry Pan Set||Amazon|
|Ballarini Matera 8-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Ballarini Parma 10-Piece Set||Amazon|
FAQs About Ballarini Cookware
Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about Ballarini.
Ballarini has three induction-compatible collections: Modena Induction, Series 3000, and Avola.
It depends on the collection. Modena, Como, Pisa, Modena Induction, ServInTavola aluminum, and some Cookin’ Italy pieces are not oven-safe.
All other collections are oven-safe: Parma Plus, Parma, Matera (300°F); ServInTavola copper, Series 2800, and Series 4500 (500°F); La Patisserie (450°F); and Series 3000, Series 4000 (600°F)
Yes, you can use Ballarini cookware on a glass stovetop. Just be careful not to slam heavy pots down or drag them across the glass.
Only ServInTavola, Series 3000, and 4500 collections are broiler-safe. Never put cookware with a non-stick coating under the broiler. Direct exposure to such high temperatures will degrade the coating and release harmful fumes.
Parma Plus, La Patisserie, Modena Induction, and some Cookin’ Italy pieces are dishwasher-safe. The rest must be hand washed.
No, all Ballarini non-stick coating is PTFE-based. PTFE (short for polytetrafluoroethylene) is a synthetic polymer used in non-stick coatings. It makes food release and cleanup easier and is safe to use as long as it is not overheated or scratched off.
Yes, all Ballarini non-stick coating is PFOA-free. PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, is a chemical known to impact health negatively. In the past, manufacturers used it to create non-stick coatings, but that’s no longer the case.
Ballarini cookware is made in Rivarolo Mantovano, Italy. The exact location of the Ballarini factory is Vicolo Chiodo, 46017 Rivarolo Mantovano MN, Italy. You can find it here on Google Maps.
The lifespan of non-stick cookware depends on how frequently you use it and how well you treat it. In general, PTFE-based non-stick cookware, like Ballarini, will last around three years.
Ballarini pans might last longer due to the durable multi-layer Granitium coating, but don’t expect them to last longer than five years if you use them regularly.
The best way to prolong the lifespan of Ballarini cookware is to avoid metal utensils, hand wash, use pan protectors if you stack it, and avoid high heat (and broiling).
Zwilling (Ballarini’s parent company) offers a limited lifetime warranty covering defects in materials and craftsmanship for life. However, like most warranties on cookware, it doesn’t cover the breakdown of the coating, which is the main reason you need to replace non-stick cookware.
Bottom Line: Should You Buy Ballarini Cookware?
Now that you know what Ballarini looks like, how it performs, its downsides, and how it compares to the competition, it’s time to decide if it’s right for your kitchen.
Here’s my recommendation.
You should buy Ballarini cookware if:
- You’re on a budget and want affordable yet good-quality non-stick cookware.
- You like the granite-inspired look.
- You want cookware with safe and comfortable soft-grip handles.
- You want rivetless cookware that releases food and cleans up easily.
- You want a brand with a long track record; Ballarini was founded in 1889.
You should not buy Ballarini cookware if:
- You want cookware with a more traditional look (without the speckled coating).
- You prefer fully-clad stainless steel or hard-anodized aluminum construction.
- You want cookware that heats up fast.
- You want cookware that can tolerate high heat in the oven.
- You want a choice of colors or finishes.
- You want cookware that is less prone to warping.
- You prefer cookware that’s made in the USA.
Bottom line — Ballarini cookware offers a unique look, durable non-stick coating, and even heat distribution. It’s made in Italy, and the brand offers over a dozen unique collections. If you’re looking for good quality, affordable cookware that’s not made in China, Ballarini is an excellent option.
Is it the number one brand I’d recommend? No. But for the price, it’s a solid value.
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