We’ve all become more aware of the horror stories surrounding Teflon-coated cookware.
While a lot of this can seem like scare-mongering, there is a genuine concern when it comes to certain types of cookware, particularly the non-stick variety, as some traditional non-stick pots and pans can release toxic fumes when overheated.
There are also environmental concerns when it comes to the processing method used during production, as this is known to pollute our water supply and has been linked to testicular and kidney cancer, infertility, liver damage, and thyroid disease.
Thankfully, more modern brands are creating cookware that is just as effective as the traditional varieties, but a whole lot safer.
Many are also factoring in the environment, too, and using more eco-friendly means of manufacturing.
However, with so many different brands on the market, it can be difficult to identify the ones that are genuinely safe and approved by the appropriate agencies.
It can also be tricky to find cookware that matches your lifestyle choices, budget, and even your design preferences.
Fear not, though, as that’s where we come in. We’ve compiled a list of the best non-toxic cookware available on the market, and have also put together a handy Buyer’s Guide containing a breakdown of all of the things you should consider before buying, as well as the scientific jargon, and the most frequently asked questions.
What to Avoid
Before we take a look at the best non-toxic cookware out there, it seems wise to first of all consider what you need to avoid when purchasing cookware that is safe for both your family and the environment.
You may have heard of Teflon®, the brand name of a group of man-made chemicals, the most common of which is polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).
PTFE has been used commercially since the 1940s and it doesn’t react with other chemicals, meaning it can provide an almost frictionless and extremely stable surface.
Because of this, it’s most commonly used as a non-stick coating surface for pans and other cookware, but can also be found in products such as fabric protectors.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is another man-made chemical and is sometimes known as C8. It can be used in the manufacturing process of Teflon and similar chemicals (known as fluorotelomers), however, it is not present in significant amounts in the final product, as it is burned off during processing.
That said, PFOA has still caused health and environmental concerns due to its ability to remain in the environment and in the human body for long periods. Shockingly, it is present worldwide in just about everyone’s blood, albeit at very low levels.
However, higher levels of the chemical have been found in community residents where local water supplies have been contaminated by PFOA, and workers who are exposed to PFOA can have far higher blood levels than the general public.
PFOA has been gradually phased out since the dangers of the chemical became widely known, so as a minimum pretty much all cookware should be PFOA-free.
PFOA and some similar compounds are all around us and can be found at low levels in some foods, drinking water, and in household dust.
PFOA levels in drinking water are usually very low, however in areas near chemical plants that use PFOA they can be far higher.
Non-stick cookware is not a significant source of PFOA exposure, however, IARC has classified PFOA as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based on limited evidence in humans and lab animals that it can cause testicular and kidney cancer.
We understand that this all sounds pretty scary, so to put your mind at ease we've done the hard work for you and have sourced the best non-toxic cookware on the market.
OUR TOP PICK
This Healthy Ceramic Cookware set from GreenLife includes a 4” mini frying pan, 7” and 9.5” frying pans, 1-quart and 2-quart saucepans with lids, 5-quart stockpot with lid, 2.5-quart saute pan with lid, 7” stainless steel steamer, and 4 kitchen utensils, providing you with significant bang for your buck.
These pots and pans are coated with an easy-to-clean ceramic nonstick coating that is derived from sand and is free of PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium, so you can rest assured that your family isn’t consuming toxins, while still reaping the benefits of non-stick cooking.
Not only this, but the curing phase of the coating creates 60% less CO2 than the curing phase for traditional coatings, so you can reduce your carbon footprint (or cookprint), too.
GreenLife’s Soft Grip Bakelite handles are designed to stay cool on the stovetop for maximum comfort, while the wobble-free base provides more even heat distribution and extra stability.
This cookware set is made from recycled aluminum and has a rivetless interior to prevent snags and food build-up.
This means most messes can simply be wiped away, but if you need to, GreenLife cookware can also be safely cleaned in a dishwasher.
Above all, these pots and pans are affordable, safe, and environmentally friendly. They also come in a range of fun colors, so you can add a pop of color to your kitchen.
- Affordable: great bang for your buck
- Ceramic non-stick coating is derived from sand and free from PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium
- Made from recycled aluminum
- 60% less CO2 than the curing phase for traditional coatings
- Soft Grip Bakelite handles stay cool on the stovetop
- Reinforced with a wobble-free base for extra strength and even heating
- Dishwasher safe, but most messes wipe away
- Rivetless interior to prevent snags and food buildup
- Durable glass lids for a good look at any meal in progress
- Using spray oils on these damages the non-stick coating
If you’re looking for a cookware set that provides you with a lot of bang for your buck, this could be the set for you, as it contains 11 pieces of non-stick cookware including a 1. 7qt saucepan pot with lid, 3.6qt dutch oven pot with lid, 2.1qt cooking pot with lid, an 11” large frying pan, 8” small frying pan, soup ladle, pasta fork, and a spatula.
The durable, nonstick coating means clean up is effortless, while the blue diamond ceramic exterior provides superior heat transfer for more even results.
Nutrichef cookware is non-toxic and free from PTFE, PFOA, and PFOS, and also produces 60% less cO2 during the manufacturing process compared to other non-stick coatings.
The silicone handle grips are cool to the touch and ergonomic for easy handling and optimal safety and comfort, while the sleek, diamond exterior adds modern sophistication to any kitchen.
The set also comes equipped with tempered glass lids with vent holes that allow steam to escape and enable you to monitor your cooking.
The cookware is also versatile and can be used on gas, electric, ceramic, and induction stovetops, and is backed by a 10-year limited warranty.
- Great value for money
- Free from PTFE, PFOA, and PFOS
- produces 60% less cO2 during the manufacturing process
- Durable, non-stick coating
- The blue diamond ceramic exterior provides superior heat transfer
- Cool-touch silicone handle grips
- Can be used on any stovetop
- 10 year limited warranty
- tempered glass lids with vent holes
- Non-stick coating can wear down quickly
This 11-piece cookware set from GreenPan has everything you need to start a-fresh in the kitchen, including 8'', 9. 5'', and 11'' frypans; 2-quart and 3-quart saucepans with lids; 3-quart skillet with lid, and a 5-quart casserole with lid.
GreenPan’s cookware is infused with diamonds for durability, and their Thermolon Minerals Pro healthy ceramic nonstick coating is free of PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium, so it will never release toxic fumes, even if it’s accidentally overheated.
Another great thing about this non-stick cookware is that GreenPan’s original diamond-infused nonstick coating offers remarkable durability and can be used with metal utensils without running the risk of scratching the surface of your pans.
It also provides balanced heating that cooks your food more thoroughly and evenly, as well as an effortless cleanup.
The Valencia Pro Magneto Induction Bases are perfect for searing and browning and can be used on all stovetops, including induction stovetops.
They’re also oven and broiler safe up to 600°F, can be put in the dishwasher, and are incredibly durable and scratch-resistant thanks to the hard-anodized aluminum bodies.
- Impressive durability thanks to the hard, anodized bodies and diamond-infused coating
- Thermolon Minerals Pro coating is free of PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium
- Metal utensils safe
- Can be used on all stovetops, including induction
- Oven and broiler safe up to 600°F
- Dishwasher safe for easy cleanup
- Durable glass lids for easy food monitoring, oven safe up to 425°F
- They’re pretty expensive, so are more of an investment.
If you want to steer clear of non-stick coatings entirely, you could go for this stainless steel set from HOMI CHEF.
This 14-piece cookware set is crafted from nickel-free, mirror-polished stainless steel and includes a 1.5QT covered saucepan, 2.5QT covered saucepan, 8QT covered stock pot, 8" fry pan, 9.5" covered saute pan, and 5 cooking utensils.
While nickel is high up on the ATSDR list of priority toxins, you can rest easy knowing these pots and pans are nickel-free.
You could also save money on your energy bills, as tests have shown that nickel-free stainless steel is more heat-conductive, resulting in 12-15% of energy savings.
HOMI CHEF’s heat surround technology and 3-ply construction provide an even and consistent heat distribution which eliminates hot spots and allows you to achieve more thorough cooking results.
Less hot spots also provide a more natural stick resistance which is not only safer but is more durable, too.
The riveted handle stays cool on the cooktop, while the flared rims ensure drip-free pouring and the see-through tempered glass lids circulate heat and moisture.
This cookware set is also highly versatile and is compatible with gas, electric, induction, ceramic, glass, and halogen stovetops, as well as being oven and dishwasher safe.
- Great bang for your buck
- Nickel-free stainless steel and no non-stick coating
- Energy-efficient - save up to 12-15% in energy
heat surround technology and 3-ply construction eliminates hot spots
- The riveted handle stays cool
- Drip-free pouring
- Tempered glass lids circulate heat and moisture
- Compatible with all stovetops and oven-safe
- Dishwasher safe
- 1-Month Free Trial and 6-Year Warranty plus free Life Time Customer Service
- Some users experienced a “metallic” taste
Best Non Toxic Cookware Buying Guide
We understand that the jargon around toxic chemicals associated with nonstick cookware can be pretty confusing. Ultimately, you want to avoid PTFE and PFAS altogether.
PTFE is basically Teflon, as we explained earlier in the article, while PFAS is a class of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, and GenX.
However, be wary of brands that claim only to be PFOA-free, as PFOA has been phased out for years, so this should be a bare minimum.
Instead, some brands use the PFOA-free label while still using other toxins in their non-stick coatings.
One thing to consider when shopping for cookware is durability, and this often links in with the price tag and how much you’re willing to invest in a cookware set.
While spending more doesn’t always equate with better quality products, it’s pretty standard for cheaper cookware sets to chip or scratch easier than more expensive varieties.
This is particularly true of those with non-stick coatings, as often this can peel away if you use the cookware on high heat or fail to care for it properly.
Alternatively, you could go for a stainless steel cookware set, which means you eliminate the non-stick coatings all together.
Otherwise, we’d suggest ensuring you use silicone or wooden utensils with your non-stick pans, and avoid spray oils and high heat, as these can damage the coatings.
Another reason why you may be replacing your cookware is to find more energy-efficient alternatives.
A lot of modern cookware claims to have better heat conduction, which provides more even cooking and reduces hot spots.
This should provide a natural non-stick effect, but will also heat your food more efficiently, as you can usually use lower heat settings.
As a result, you could save money on your energy bills.
When it comes to non-toxic cookware, it’s likely that you’ll be considering the environment, too.
If you are looking for a set from an environmentally-conscious brand, the good news is that there are plenty to choose from.
Look for a set that is derived from natural or recycled materials, and that has a reduced carbon footprint during their manufacturing process.
Some nonstick coatings don’t fare well in the dishwasher and need to be hand-washed instead.
Consider this if you want your cookware to be dishwasher safe.
Another factor to consider is whether or not you can use your cookware on different types of stovetops.
For example, some cookware can’t be used on induction stoves, however, more brands are increasing the versatility of their products to cater to a range of stove types.
To be on the safe side, it’s best to check the cookware is compatible with yours before using it. It’s also worth checking if it’s oven and dishwasher safe too.
We understand that not everyone has five hundred dollars to spend on cookware, but thankfully, there’s a wide range of brands out there that cater to different budgets.
The main thing to consider is how much you are willing to spend, as well as how long the set will last you. You can also look out for warranties and customer service support.
We recommend going for the middle price point, as this is where you’re likely to get the most bang for your buck.
A cookware set in the region of $100-$400 is likely to combine effectiveness with value for money.
You should also pay attention to how many pots and pans are included with each set, and whether or not utensils are included, as this could save you buying specific ones later on.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the safest cookware for your health?
As more and more of us become aware of the dangers of toxic cookware, brands are increasingly making their cookware safer, meaning there’s more than one type that is best for your health.
Ceramic, stainless steel, cast iron, and glass are great options. Just be wary of non-stick coatings, and check these are PTFE, PFAS, and PFOA free.
Stainless steel is highly regarded as safe because it doesn’t have a non-stick coating, however, it may still contain nickel, chromium, and molybdenum.
Is Teflon still dangerous?
According to the American Cancer Society, “other than the possible risk of flu-like symptoms from breathing in fumes from an overheated Teflon-coated pan, there are no proven risks to humans from using cookware coated with Teflon (or other non-stick surfaces).”
As we explained previously, PFOA was used in the past in manufacturing Teflon but has since been phased out.
However, regardless of which cookware you go for, ensure it is PFOA-free as a minimum, as well as PTFE and PFAS free, too.