The Best Non-Toxic Pots & Pans: Our Must-Have Cookware List

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

The world of cookware can be difficult for novices to unravel, and hides many secrets. Some of them will surprise you, and maybe prompt you to consider a spring cleaning in your kitchen. What is a "non-stick" pan? What is the difference between stainless steel and cast iron? Why are there such significant differences in price? Are certain cookware types detrimental to your health? Let's decipher together. 

In this article, we will present to you the cookware we carefully selected and use the most in our own kitchen. Many of the How To Cuisine videos are actually shot using this cookware. You will also learn what the advantages and disadvantages of each cookware type are, and discover our list of must-haves and pitfalls to avoid

Investing in quality cookware is like investing in the best Vitamix or Robot Coupe, or other quality kitchen appliances. Although pricey, it is generally worth the investment and can last you a lifetime. It is durable, non-toxic, and made of high quality material sustaining intense and prolonged use. The best brands on the market mostly use materials including: cast iron, stainless steel, glass and ceramic.

Let’s jump right in!


Click on the images below to shop on Amazon:



Image by Sarah Pflug from Burst



Considered the go-to in many professional kitchens, stainless steel is one of the most durable and forgiving materials. It is the workhorse of many Michelin-starred restaurants and acclaimed chefs around the world.   

Our All Clad stainless steel pans are most definitely the cookware we use the most in our kitchen. They rarely disappoint for most tasks including frying eggs, cooking fish, sautéing and vegetables. Visit our recipe collection for more healthy and exciting recipes!

The magic of All Clad cookware is that it is high quality, very durable, provides uniform heating across the pan, doesn’t react with any foods or ingredients, and most importantly, it often comes with a lifetime warranty

What is also good to know about All Clad cookware is that it is often compatible with the majority of cooktops, including induction, and oven and broiler safe up to 600°F. 

And even if All Clad is anything but cheap, these pots and pans, with proper care, truly will last a lifetime and pay for themselves over the long-haul. We made the jump and believe they are worth the investment.

Depending on how many people you cook for or what type of cooking you do, you can choose to buy an All Clad set, which comes with various sizes of pots and pans, and can be more cost-efficient. But you also can create your own set by choosing any individual pieces you like from fry pans, saucier pans, sauce pans or even stockpots.

Either way, just know that investing in high-quality stainless steel cookware is without a doubt a smart choice.

Recommended Cookware


Click on the images below to shop on Amazon:


Copper cookware 

Image by Table Matters



While being one of the pricier options, copper cookware is an excellent investment that yields delicious dividends for many years. Copper heats much quicker and cooks more evenly than other materials like stainless steel, allowing for high-powered, fast, and efficient cooking. No more overcooking or burning food! Copper pots also typically retain heat longer.

Copper cookware is also very durable and beautiful, making it a prime addition for a stylish kitchen. 

Copper is 100% safe to cook in, so long as it is lined with another non-reactive metal (and most copper cookware is).

So there’s a reason these, to some, are the crème de la crème of cookware.

Today's copper cookware has one key difference compared to grandma’s copper cookware: it is lined with other materials like stainless steel.

In actuality, copper itself is a highly reactive material and is thus not suitable for many types of foods. Most copper cookware has a base and exterior of copper (sometimes mixed with other materials) and an interior lined with another metal such as stainless steel.

The most common types of copper cookware include: 

Pure copper - their base is 100% copper and they are only lined with another metal on the interior. They have exceptional overall cooking performance, heat conductivity, and durability (copper can last a lifetime with proper care). With high performance and durability comes price, pure copper is the most expensive of all.

Tin-lined copper cookware - Tin is a great non-stick metal, which makes it an excellent lining agent. But it is also a more delicate metal that is very sensitive to scratching over time. This means that you may need to get it relined every few years.

Stainless steel-lined copper cookware - the most common lining in copper cookware. Stainless steel is a hearty, durable metal that does not need to be relined. The main drawback of stainless steel is its lackluster non-stick properties. You will need to use extra butter or oil when cooking with it. 

Tri-ply cookware with copper core - typically has a copper exterior, stainless steel interior and an aluminum core. While not as efficient as pure copper, tri-ply still has great conductivity and is very durable. The prize is that tri-ply is a little more affordable.

Ceramic-copper coated cookware - these pans have a base of aluminum and are coated with a copper-ceramic mix. These pots and pans boast very good non-stick properties, a big plus. Generally, they will perform more like aluminum cookware with the benefit of the attractive appearance of copper. Ceramic-copper coated cookware is a more affordable option.


Recommended Cookware

Click on the images below to shop on Amazon:


Image by Lodge



When it comes to enameled cast iron, Staub and Le Creuset are some of the best brands money can buy. Le Creuset was founded in 1925 and Staub in 1974, and over the years these two french brands have built a reputation for quality and durability. 

Enameled cast iron is durable and incredibly easy to clean. A sponge is really all you will need most of the time. 

They are typically compatible with ceramic cooktop, gas, induction, and oven safe. 

One key difference with regular cast iron is that enameled cast iron does not have to be seasoned (however a little oil or butter is always a good idea to prepare dishes and maintain the non-stick properties of your skillets).

Traditional cast iron may require seasoning, which is just oil baked onto cast iron and carbon steel. It gives your cookware that classic black patina. Seasoning forms a natural, easy-release cooking surface and helps prevent your pan from rusting.

You can cook a wide variety of dishes with enameled cast iron. For example, you can use your Le Creuset Dutch Oven to make delicious homemade bread and a Staub Cocotte to make tasty stews and soups.

If you take good care of your enameled cast iron, it can certainly last forever, so it is worth the investment.

Recommended Cookware


Click on the images below to shop on Amazon:


Image by Lodge



Traditional, non-enameled cast iron cookware has been around for ages. 

Cast iron is sustainable, incredibly durable, healthy to cook with and comes at a lower price tag. Cast iron is actually the original non-stick cookware. A properly seasoned cast iron pan will easily compete with other materials when it comes to non-stickiness. 

Compared to other materials though, it may take a bit longer to reach the desired temperature. But when it does, it has great heat retention abilities

You also do have to be a little careful with acidic foods, for those we recommend enameled cast iron or stainless steel. 

When it comes to cast iron, we recommend the Lodge brand. They have been making heirloom-quality cookware and accessories since 1896. They currently operate two foundries in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.

Every piece of Lodge cast iron cookware comes seasoned and ready to use right out of the box. The easiest way to maintain this layer of seasoning is to use your cast iron pan. Every time you cook an egg, grill a steak, or bake a pie, you're adding layers of baked-on fat and oil that build up over time for a natural, easy-release finish that gets better over time.

Recommended Cookware


Click on the images below to shop on Amazon:


The Best Non-Toxic Pots & Pans

Image by Dane Deaner



Glass and ceramic pans are both great options for baking or roasting. They can easily go from the oven straight to your dinner table. We do recommend you have a couple of these pieces in your cookware lineup.

The good news is that they won’t release any chemicals or toxic metals in your food and they’re extremely durable, as long as you don’t cause any rapid change in temperature.

Let's start with glass.

Our favorite glass pans brand is of course Pyrex. They are budget-friendly and are of high quality. Moft often, we use Pyrex Bakeware to make lasagna or mac and cheese. Also, if you like making pie at home, we recommend you use this Pyrex Pie Plate, it is the best!

If you also decide to remove plastic food containers from your kitchen (congratulations!), Pyrex has beautiful glass food containers.

Recommended Glass Cookware


Click on the images below to shop on Amazon:


Now, let's discuss ceramic bakeware. 

For a good quality ceramic bakeware, we recommend Le Creuset and Staub. We are currently using this Le Creuset Loaf Pan to make sweet brioche bread and white bread. They also have beautiful stoneware square and rectangular dishes that you can use for gratins. 

For casseroles, we love to use this 2.5qt Covered Square Casserole for small quantities. For larger quantities, we usually use this Stoneware Oval Casserole that can also be used for foie gras terrine.

We also want to mention another french brand: Emile Henry. We have not tried their products yet, but the brand has caught our attention with their elegant designs. 


Recommended Ceramic & Stoneware Cookware

Caraway Nonstick Ceramic Bakeware Set (Perracotta)

Caraway Nonstick Ceramic Cookware Set (Perracotta)

Caraway Ceramic Coated Glass Food Storage Set (Perracotta)

Caraway is a premium brand that has become very popular lately. They offer entire collections of cookware, bakeware, and other kitchen items with an emphasis on quality, non-toxicity, and modern design. They catchphrase is: "Good Looking, Clean Cooking". Learn more about Caraway's commitment to quality and safety here.

Their "classic" collection is available in a wide range of beautiful pastel colors. They also offer an "iconic" collection with black and white colors elegantly paired with gold for the ultimate luxurious look. 

Caraway products are the dream gift for friends and family who are passionate about cooking in style or wish to elevate their kitchen to the next level!

Shop all Caraway products here.  


Click on the images below to shop on Amazon:


We would like to mention that there is a 100% ceramic pan that has been getting praise: the Xtrema. It requires a little bit of getting used to and may stick more easily to certain foods than non-stick if you are a novice cook. It is also more fragile than stainless steel or cast iron, but you will be rewarded with a potentially healthier pan. We use it several times a week and so far we are pleased with it and would particularly recommend it for sautéed vegetables and sauces.   

To maximize your experience with the Xtrema, some facts you may want to consider include:

  1. Low to medium temperature settings must be used at all times. 
  2. The pan must be preheated for a minute or two prior to use. 
  3. You may find that it does not always heat perfectly evenly.
  4. It may stick more easily than other materials, you will need some experience as well more oil than usual. 
  5. It is more fragile. It’s prone to cracking with drastic temperature changes and can break more easily if you drop it.


Recommended Cookware


Click on the image below to shop on Amazon:



An extremely popular cookware type is non-stick cookware. 

Despite their affordability, popularity and great ease of use, we are no longer using them due to health and safety concerns.

Two major types of non-stick pans currently exist: those coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and those coated with ceramic. PTFE is the classic non-stick known as Teflon, and ceramic pans are sometimes referred to as “green” pans. 

In the past, PTFE pans also contained another chemical called PFOA. But this was deemed to cause serious health harms in exposed people and wildlife. So PTFE pans no longer contain PFOA, but that chemical was unfortunately just swapped for another called GenX and we don’t yet know the long-term effects of it on health.  

The problem with PTFE cookware is that at high temperatures, the nonstick coating and surface coating can break down and release toxic fumes and chemicals into the air and food. You have to be particularly careful with scratched or worn cookware which can release toxic chemicals into your food.

One tempting alternative is ceramic non-stick cookware. Ceramic pans are marketed as “green” or “healthy” but the surface of ceramic pans is actually less durable than PTFE pans. Ceramic coating on non-stick pans is also different from the ceramic you’d find in 100% ceramic bakeware. Buyer beware!

The big grey area with ceramic non-stick pans is that they contain nanoparticles which can enter our cells, and the potential health risks associated with the exposure to nanoparticles are not yet clearly understood.

So for all those reasons, we are not fans of non-stick, and recommend you to seek some other alternatives. 

If you are going to use non-stick cookware, these tips may help reduce risks:

  1. Cook on low or medium heat only. Avoid high temperatures.
  2. Use wooden or silicone spatulas to avoid scratching the pan. Avoid nylon. See our article on utensils for more information. 
  3. Replace your non-stick pans as soon as you see the surface starts to wear.

Investing in more expensive ones with stainless steel bottoms usually is not worth it as the bottom will outlast the top. Non-stick pans are not pans you will keep long-term. Your money is better spent elsewhere. 

To summarize, non-stick pans should not be your daily, workhorse pans in the kitchen. There are many other options outshining non-stick in terms of health, cost-effectiveness and durability. For these reasons we will not be recommending any non-stick cookware in this article. 


So if you feel like the time has come to upgrade to some higher quality and safer cookware, we highly recommend you invest in All Clad, Staub, Le Creuset and Lodge Cast Iron. They’re truly the best cookware brands we own and those pieces will last you a lifetime. We don’t regret our investment and will never go back!

What is a great cookware set worth without quality utensils? Read our comprehensive article about utensils and let us guide you through our favorite ones!


The information provided in this article is not nutritional or medical advice. Please read our disclaimer.


Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published