In this review, I break down the pros and cons of Caraway cookware.
- What it’s made of and why it matters
- How it looks and feels (with lots of pictures)
- How it performs in the kitchen (including an update after one year)
- What I like and dislike about it
- And much more
Unlike most Caraway reviews, I’m not evaluating it a month after taking it out of the box. I’ve been using it almost daily for over two years.
So, if you’re shopping for new ceramic-coated cookware and considering Caraway, keep reading.
Use the links below to navigate the review:
- Caraway’s Story
- Product Offerings
- Is Caraway Cookware Safe?
- Heat Test Results
- Cooking Performance
- Downsides of Caraway Cookware
- FAQs About Caraway Cookware
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy Caraway Cookware?
Founded in 2018 by CEO Jordan Nathan, New York-based Caraway is a direct-to-consumer cookware startup that’s already gaining recognition from trusted consumer reviewers such as Good Housekeeping and CNET.
Jordan’s idea for Caraway came from an accident. He forgot a Teflon pan on a burner for about 45 minutes, which filled his apartment with fumes and made him feel lightheaded. He wanted to create a safer alternative to traditional non-stick cookware. But he also wanted it to look stunning.
The brand’s core message is “quality cookware, without chemicals.” They try to live up to that message by using eco-friendly ceramic rather than polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE, like the widely known Teflon, to make their pots and pans.
However, in 2021 Caraway became available at Crate and Barrel, West Elm, and several other retailers.
The brand’s name is inspired by the caraway seed, a versatile and distinct spice used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Now that you know a bit about Caraway, let’s get into their cookware.
Caraway’s product offerings are simplified. Unlike other brands that have dozens of cookware collections, Caraway only has one. You can save by purchasing their cookware as a complete set, or get exactly what you need by purchasing individual pieces.
The company also offers an array of contemporary kitchen linens such as tea towels, aprons, and potholders, but I’m focusing solely on the cookware in this review.
The Cookware Set
The complete cookware set includes (click the links to see the price of each piece individually):
You have a choice of five colors: navy, sage, perracotta (a trend-setting blend of terracotta and pink), gray, or cream. These color options will continue to change and expand as the brand grows.
As a bonus when you buy the complete set, you get a storage solution, including four magnetic racks. The racks can be stacked horizontally or vertically.
You’ll also receive a durable hanging lid holder made from hand-washable canvas. You can mount it to any sturdy surface in your kitchen, such as a wall or interior cabinet door, which helps if you have limited storage.
Next up, let’s talk about materials and safety.
Is Caraway Cookware Safe?
Caraway’s main value proposition is that its products are “Better for you, and better for the planet.” But that message can be a bit deceiving. Let me explain.
Caraway cookware is made with a heavy-gauge aluminum core free of lead, cadmium, and other toxic metals.
Its interior and exterior are coated in a proprietary, mineral-based ceramic and features a stainless steel plate on the bottom, making it compatible with induction cooking. The cookware gets its non-stick quality from the multi-layer, mineral-based ceramic.
There are two types of ceramic cookware: 100% ceramic and ceramic coated. Caraway cookware is ceramic coated, meaning it has a metal (in this case, aluminum) core. Ceramic cookware is made from naturally occurring minerals such as clay minerals and quartz sand.
Ceramic is a more earth-friendly option than PTFE (Teflon) and doesn’t use the man-made chemicals associated with PTFE non-stick cookware. Another benefit to ceramic non-stick is the lack of harmful gasses PTFE can give off when overheated.
This doesn’t mean you should throw out your PTFE cookware.
Ceramic non-stick cookware, like Caraway, became popular in the early 2000s due to fears over toxic chemicals such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) being used in the manufacturing process of traditional non-stick coatings.
While valid at the time, these fears are no longer relevant. Long story short, in 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and the biggest manufacturers of non-stick coating worked together to eliminate the use of harmful chemicals in the material. And by 2013, they accomplished that goal.
So, all non-stick cookware manufactured since 2013 is PFOA-free and considered safe.
The one risk with traditional non-stick cookware is overheating. If you expose the coating to temperatures over 500°F for more than a minute or two, the material will release fumes that can give you temporary flu-like symptoms.
That said, authorities, including the American Cancer Society, clearly state, “there are no proven risks to humans from using cookware coated with Teflon (or other non-stick surfaces).”
So, Caraway’s claims that their non-stick coating is safer are valid, but only if you misuse PTFE-coated cookware and severely overheat it for two minutes or longer.
Here’s the key takeaway: PTFE non-stick is definitely safe for cooking temperatures under 500 degrees Fahrenheit, but if you want to guarantee your safety from toxic fumes, ceramic non-stick is a better choice.
Here are a few tips when using PTFE non-stick cookware:
- Discard cookware produced before 2013 if you’re unsure if PFOA was used in the manufacturing process.
- Don’t overheat your non-stick pan and follow the manufacturer’s heat rating guidance.
- Avoid cheaply made PTFE non-stick and opt for well made, multi-layer non-stick pots and pans such as All-Clad or Calphalon.
- Use nylon, silicone, or plastic utensils to avoid scratching the non-stick surface.
Next, I’ll discuss how Caraway’s ceramic non-stick cookware is designed.
Let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of Caraway’s design. I’ll use the Navy, 10.5-inch Fry Pan to help tell the story.
As seen in the picture below, the cookware interior is a multi-layer, mineral-based ceramic coating with a naturally non-stick surface. The interior is smooth to the touch and has a noticeable luster to it that adds to its non-stick appeal.
The rims are not flared, which helps prevent spills and makes flipping eggs a breeze, but it’s not the greatest for neatly pouring liquids.
The interior is light gray, making it easy to see what you’re cooking or when browning in the pan.
The exterior is also coated in a mineral-based ceramic with a steel base, making it induction compatible. You have a choice of five attractive colors, including navy, sage, perracotta, gray, or cream.
After about a week of testing this pan, I noticed a small chip in the exterior ceramic.
As you can see, the mark is tiny and not a big deal. If you have a gas stove with rough metal grates, be careful when you rotate and lean the pan.
The steel plate should be the only part of the pan that comes in contact with the grates. If the ceramic scrapes against the grates, there’s a good chance it will chip.
The handles are made with mirrored stainless steel and are hollow to disperse heat. They provide a beautiful, sleek contrast with the pan’s color but are susceptible to fingerprints, so keep a buffing cloth nearby when having guests over.
As seen in the picture below, the handle is attached to the pan in a Y-shaped with two rivets to secure it.
They are comfortable in hand, but they do get hot closer to the cooking surface. Fortunately, there’s a small bump on the underside to warn you to keep your hands away.
Lids are cast aluminum and feature mirrored stainless steel, low-profile handles that nearly run the length of the lid. The Dutch Oven lid can also fit the frying pan, so all pots and pans have the option of lidded cooking.
Overall, the cookware has heft. It’s sturdy and well-built but with delicate design features and stunning color choices.
Heat Test Results
I tested the Caraway non-stick ceramic fry pan against a Calphalon Contemporary non-stick pan of equal size to determine the speed and evenness of heating.
I poured two cups of room-temperature water in each pan, placed them on the same sized burner, and set the heat to high. The performance indicators were how fast the water boiled and how evenly the bubbles dispersed.
Here’s what happened:
The Caraway pan boiled water a touch faster than its Calphalon counterpart — about a 25-second difference. It took 2 minutes and 26 seconds to boil water in the Caraway Cookware pan, while the Calphalon took 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Bubbles were evenly dispersed in both pans.
The verdict? For a fraction of the price of a high-end brand like Calphalon, you can get excellent heat distribution with Caraway.
I repeated the same test with several other pans to see how Caraway stacks up against the broader competition.
I tested a T-fal pan:
An Anolon pan:
And many more…
As you’ll see in the results below, Caraway was one of the fastest pans to boil the water, which indicates excellent heat conduction.
|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|
|Caraway fry pan||1 minute and 53 seconds||2 minutes and 26 seconds|
|Anolon fry pan||1 minute and 55 seconds||2 minutes and 27 seconds|
|T-fal fry pan||1 minute and 50 seconds||2 minutes and 32 seconds|
|Gotham Steel fry pan||1 minute and 58 seconds||2 minutes and 32 seconds|
|Rachael Ray fry pan||1 minute and 47 seconds||2 minutes and 36 seconds|
|Calphalon fry pan||1 minute and 45 seconds||2 minutes and 40 seconds|
|Hestan fry pan||1 minute and 52 seconds||2 minutes and 47 seconds|
|GreenLife pan||2 minutes and 11 seconds||2 minutes and 47 seconds|
|Circulon fry pan||2 minutes and 7 seconds||2 minutes and 55 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|
You will appreciate how easy it is to cook with these pans. Let me run down a few pros and cons:
Cooking Performance Pros
- Non-toxic coating is safe
- You don’t need much oil; eggs slide around the pan effortlessly (at first)
- Heats fast and evenly
- Walls are tall to prevent spills
- Oven safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit
- Compatible with all cooktops, including induction
- Handles are comfortable and designed to disperse heat
- Simple cleanup with warm soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge or dishcloth
Cooking Performance Cons
- Not the best option for browning or searing because of the slippery surface (opt for cast iron, carbon steel, or stainless steel instead)
- No flared rims for pouring and sliding delicate food to the plate
- Not broiler safe
- When oil or food spills over the sides, it sticks to the exterior and pulls the paint off when you clean
I’ve tested this pan by cooking eggs, chicken, peppers, onions, and grilled cheese, among many other meals. And, the heat test results don’t lie—this cookware heats up fast and evenly. Food never sticks to the surface, and it’s super easy to clean.
Other than the fact that it won’t sear a steak as good as a cast iron pan (which is the case for all non-stick cookware), I have zero complaints about the cooking performance. Overall, Caraway cookware is reliable, versatile, and incredibly easy to use and clean.
ONE-YEAR UPDATE: After about a year of cooking with Caraway, the non-stick coating is starting to show signs of wear.
The surface has several scratches, and eggs no longer slide around and release as easily as they did initially.
I need to add a significant amount of oil or butter and cook on medium to prevent sticking. Using this pan for delicate foods has become much more challenging because the non-stick coating is degrading.
Unfortunately, ceramic-coated non-stick pans don’t last as long as traditional non-stick pans, and food sticking is expected after several months of use.
Downsides of Caraway Cookware
There’s a lot to like about Caraway, but there are some downsides. Here’s what I don’t like.
My biggest complaint about Caraway, and ceramic-coated cookware in general, is that it performs great at first, but it loses its non-stick properties much sooner than traditional non-stick cookware.
After about five months, I noticed eggs and other delicate foods starting to stick, and it’s gotten worse and worse since then.
My second biggest complaint is that the exterior paint comes off very easily. The pan looks amazing when you first get it, but after about a month, you’ll notice small chips in the paint, which get worse over time.
These could come from utensils, accidentally scraping the pan across cast iron stove grates or any other contact with hard objects.
Also, when oil or food spills over the sides, it sticks to the exterior and pulls the paint off when you clean. So, as good as Caraway looks online or when you first get it, don’t expect that to last very long.
On a similar note, the interior also gets scratched and damaged relatively easily. You need to be really careful to avoid scratches. Avoid overheating, cooking with metal utensils, and cleaning in the dishwasher.
The sides of the pans are straight, which helps contain ingredients, but without flared rims, it’s harder to pour liquids or slide food from the pan to a plate. This could be a pro or a con, depending on how you plan to use the pan most often.
If you plan on broiling, you’ll have to use another type of pan because Caraway doesn’t offer any broiler-safe pots or pans.
Ceramic cookware brands, including Caraway, use outdated information and fear-mongering marketing tactics to pitch their cookware as healthier and safer.
The truth is that since 2013, all reputable non-stick cookware brands follow FDA and Consumer Health protocols, manufacturing their pans without toxins or PFOA.
So, yes, Caraway cookware is safe, but it’s not safer than any other non-stick pan unless you severely overheat the pan.
Not More Environmentally Friendly Than Other Non-Stick
Caraway’s manufacturing process releases up to 60% less CO2 into the environment compared to traditional non-stick coatings.
However, given these pans lose their non-stick properties quickly and have shorter lifespans than traditional non-stick surfaces, you have to replace them much more often, which leads to more production and more waste.
Made In China
Caraway cookware is made in China, which is not inherently bad. But if you’re looking for cookware made locally, it’s important to know. Check out my guide to the best cookware NOT made in China to find alternatives.
FAQs About Caraway Cookware
Here are some quick answers to questions you may have about Caraway Cookware.
Yes, up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yes, it can also be used on all types of cooktops.
No, make sure to hand wash only. Cleaning in a dishwasher could degrade the coating over time.
Caraway Cookware is designed in New York and made in China and India at factories that adhere to strict ethical manufacturing practices and meet standards for BSCI, SMETA, and Fair Trade.
Caraway Cookware is sold on CarawayHome.com, Crate and Barrel, West Elm, and several other retailers.
Yes. You can buy each pan individually, but you can save 14% by purchasing the entire set. Go to CarawayHome.com to view the current prices.
Warping is unlikely but possible if you expose it to sudden temperature changes such as placing a hot pan into a sink filled with cold water. If your pan ever warps, refer to my warping guide for help.
To maintain the integrity of the non-stick surface, use nylon, silicone, wooden, plastic, or any other non-abrasive utensil.
Caraway offers a one-year warranty that covers defects in craftsmanship and materials. If you have any issues in the first year after buying the cookware, Caraway will repair or replace it for free. The warranty does not cover damage from commercial use, misuse, minor cosmetic damage, or scratches to the non-stick coating. Read the full details on CarawayHome.com.
Caraway offers a 30-day, no-hassle return and refund policy for their products. You can read the full policy here.
No non-stick cookware will last forever, and Caraway is no exception. On average, Caraway cookware will last one to three years, at which point the ceramic non-stick coating breaks down and loses its effectiveness. You can prolong the lifespan of Caraway cookware by using soft utensils, cooking on low to medium heat, and handwashing it after each use. Check out this guide to learn more about how long non-stick pans (like Caraway) last and how to know when it’s time to replace them.
Yes, if you meet a specific dollar amount, your order is shipped for free. To see the current offers, go to CarawayHome.com.
Caraway is not the cheapest ceramic cookware on the market, but it’s affordable given the high quality. The reason they can offer relatively low prices for quality cookware is that they sell primarily on their website with no retail markups. For up-to-date pricing, visit CarawayHome.com.
Please visit the Caraway FAQ page.
Bottom Line: Should You Buy Caraway Cookware?
Caraway is an emerging cookware brand that already boasts a growing fan base. But is it the right cookware for you?
You should buy Caraway cookware if you are looking for these features:
- Included storage features
- Made from quality materials
- Simple options (one set and four pots and pans to choose from)
- Modern, fun, yet sophisticated design
- Even heating and cooktop/oven versatile
- Steady cooking performance
- Broad choice of colors
Here are some cons of buying Caraway cookware:
- New to the market and unproven (founded in 2018)
- Exterior is susceptible to chipping when used on rough cooking surfaces
- When oil or food spills over the sides, it sticks and pulls the paint off when you clean the pan
- Limited choices (only ceramic non-stick and one collection to choose from)
- Non-stick ceramic is known to break down faster than traditional non-stick (PTFE)
- Not the best cookware for searing or browning meat
If you’re set on buying ceramic non-stick cookware, Caraway is one of the best brands to buy. It’s got a modern design, thick and sturdy aluminum base, high heat tolerance, and heats quickly and evenly.
However, the claims that it’s safer and more environmentally friendly are only partially true, despite their prominence in the brand’s advertising.
Personally, I am not a huge fan of ceramic non-stick and, therefore, wouldn’t recommend investing money in Caraway.
Traditional Teflon-coating non-stick cookware lasts longer, performs better, and is just as safe. Plus, most traditional non-stick cookware is cheaper than Caraway.
If you want to learn more about Caraway, check it out on CarawayHome.com.
If you found this review helpful, you should also check out:
- Caraway vs. Le Creuset: Which Cookware Is Better?
- Caraway vs. Great Jones: Which Cookware Is Better?
- GreenPan vs. Caraway: Which Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware Is Better?
- Caraway vs. All-Clad: Which Cookware Is Better?
- Ceramic Cookware Pros and Cons: 21 Things You Need to Know
- Hard-Anodized vs. Ceramic Cookware: What’s the Difference?
- The Definitive Guide to the Best Cookware NOT Made in China
- All-Clad vs. Made In: The Ultimate Cookware Comparison
- Made In Carbon Steel Cookware (In-Depth Review)
- Is Made In Cookware Any Good? An In-Depth and Unbiased Review
- 5 Cheaper Alternatives to All-Clad Cookware
- Made In vs. Misen: Which Cookware and Kitchen Knives Are Better?
- Misen Cookware In-Depth Review (With Pictures)