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What to Know Before Buying “Ceramic” Cookware

Buyers are generally attracted to “ceramic” cookware because of its pastel-colored non-stick surface and manufacturers’ claims that it’s healthy and eco-friendly.

It’s often promoted by paid Instagram influencers showing off their new, pretty pans.

Despite all the new players in the market, “ceramic” cookware has been around since GreenPan debuted it in 2007.

Given the seemingly recent resurgence of “ceramic” cookware, we put together a quick guide on what we think consumers should know before pressing the buy button.

Use the links below to navigate the guide:

What Is “Ceramic” Cookware?

We are putting “ceramic” in quotes because “ceramic” non-stick coatings are made using a sand-based gel that mimics the glossy appearance of ceramic but doesn’t have any actual connection to real ceramic.

Also, most brands use an aluminum substrate beneath their surface. Aluminum is used in cheap pans as it can heat up quickly but has poor durability and heat retention characteristics, making searing and even heating of your pan very difficult.

Before you buy cookware for its pretty look, make sure to really understand the material beneath that pastel color.

How Does “Ceramic” Cookware Work and Will It Last?

The “ceramic” silicon oxide coating releases every time you cook. This results in excellent food-release initially, but since the surface is “self-sacrificial,” the cookware’s effectiveness degrades upon every use.

Within one month to one year, the non-stick coating loses its effectiveness completely.

Food sticking to a ceramic non-stick pan
Food sticking to a ceramic non-stick pan

In terms of durability, “ceramic” coating has been shown to degrade 30-70 times faster than other non-stick coatings.

Need proof? Just read the Instagram comments and online reviews of the leading “ceramic” cookware brands.

Is “Ceramic” Cookware Healthier?

Generally, “ceramic” brands rely on a storyline around a fear of PFOA and other toxic chemicals.

However, the truth is that all reputable non-stick cookware brands follow FDA and Consumer Health protocols, manufacturing their pans without toxins or PFOA.

The reality is that “ceramic” cookware brands use outdated information and fear-mongering marketing tactics to pitch inferior cookware.   

Is “Ceramic” Cookware Environmentally Friendly?

“Ceramic” cookware companies tout environmentally-friendly production; however, this claim is up for debate.

Given these pans have some of the shortest effective shelf-lives of any non-stick surface and you have to replace them frequently, they are actually some of the least environmentally-friendly cookware options.

Will the Prettiness Last?

The reason why most of the high-end brands stick to dark-colored non-stick is not that they don’t love pretty pastel colors. The truth is that most of the light and pastel-colored “ceramic” non-stick coatings will quickly stain, discolor, and develop dark spots.

Dark spots on the cooking surface of the Blue Diamond Pan
Dark spots on the cooking surface of a ceramic non-stick pan

Also, consumers often report that ceramic coatings quickly chip — another reason why you should be wary of buying cookware for the colorful look.

Ceramic non-stick pan paint chipping

Can I Sear a Steak or Fish With “Ceramic” Cookware?

“Ceramic” cookware also has limitations on the heat it can handle, making high-heat searing nearly impossible.

The surface will breakdown under high temperatures, so most manufacturers recommend low to medium-low heat to protect the surface.

If you’re looking for a crisp sear, you’re better off with a surface like Carbon Steel.

Our Conclusion and Recommendations

While “ceramic” pans can be devastatingly pretty, they have some of the shortest lifespans of any non-stick surface we tested, cannot heat up to high temperatures, and won’t maintain their beauty.

For those reasons, we do not recommend this type of cookware for most people. 

If you want a true non-stick surface that will last, we recommend pans with a solid, multi-clad base and durable multi-layer PTFE coating.

For this type of cookware, the best option is Made In Performance Non Stick Cookware.

Made In Non-Stick Frying Pan_2
Made In Non-Stick Frying Pan

Made In uses a premium 5-ply composition underneath a double-coating of performance non-stick. While the coating is made of PTFE, it is FDA-approved, non-toxic, and made without PFOA.

You can buy individual frying pans or a 7-piece set that includes a frying pan, sauce pan with lid, stock pot with lid, and sauté pan with lid.

Made In non-stick set
Made In non-stick set

This is the cookware that professional cooks trust for delicate fish or eggs. The All-Clad d5 non-stick collection offers similar construction, but it’s much more expensive than Made In, without providing more value.

Check out Made In non-stick cookware on MadeInCookware.com.

If you’re looking for a stick-resistant pan that can handle extremely high heat and will last forever, our preference is a well-seasoned carbon steel pan. My top recommendation is the Made In Carbon Steel Pan.

Made In Carbon Steel Pan
Made In Carbon Steel Pan

It can withstand temperatures up to 1200F, and it’s so durable that you will be able to hand it down to your children.

The downside is that, like cast iron, the non-stick surface will need to build up over time through a seasoning process.

Check out Made In carbon steel cookware on MadeInCookware.com.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He began his career in marketing, managing campaigns for dozens of Fortune 500 brands. In 2018, Andrew founded Prudent Reviews and has since reviewed 600+ products. When he’s not testing the latest cookware, kitchen knives, and appliances, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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2 thoughts on “What to Know Before Buying “Ceramic” Cookware”

  1. Good Evening, I am needing to purchase a 12″ frying pan that is not cheap, but not real expensive also. I guess I’m looking for a medium price one. On the Bed Bath & beyond website I was looking at a stainless steel pan by “Our Table”. I have been using my old frying pan mainly for pancakes and scramble eggs. My question is what you think of the stainless steel one at Bed Bath & Beyond, or if you have other suggestions for me.
    Thank you!


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