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Lifestyle

It Doesn’t Matter How Healthy You Eat If Your Cookware Is Toxic

Non-toxic cookware is more than a fad.
By Brianna Lapolla
May 31, 2024

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What if we told you that all of your healthy eating habits were defunct? All that chicken and rice. Your prized supplement stack. Organic produce and meat. None of it mattered because you’re unknowingly leaching chemicals into your body every single day. You may think you’re the beacon of health, but your insides are riddled with hormone-disrupting “forever chemicals” (aka chemicals that stay in your body forever) like PTFE (Teflon), PFOS, PFOA, PFAS, and BPA, plus lead, cadmium, aluminum, iron, and copper.

But it’s 2024, and there’s a solution for just about everything, including non-toxic cookware. Rather than using harmful chemicals and surfactants to create non-stick surfaces, the best non-toxic cookware brands use materials like enamel or ceramic to provide a non-stick surface without the need for artificial chemicals which leach toxins into food when heated.

What Type of Cookware Is the Most Harmful?

Anything labeled “non-stick” is likely riddled with chemicals. ​​Some stealth materials like cast iron, copper, and aluminum are also just as detrimental according to Dr. Steven Gundry MD., Founder of Gundry MD and Host of the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Yep, that cast-iron skillet you love so much isn’t necessarily any better for you than your Teflon-coated non-stick pans from college. “It transfers loads of iron into your food, which is then transferred into your body when you eat. Iron ages us, so the last thing you want is extra iron in your body,” Gundry says.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. “Enamel or ceramic-coated iron or aluminum acts as a [non-penetrable] barrier between the hot metal and the food you’re cooking,” says Gundry. Though the natural non-stick nature of ceramic and enamel is preferred by many for its easier-to-clean finish, Gundry is a stainless steel stan.

“While I know that stainless steel can be a pain to clean, I’m also an advocate for olive oil due to its high polyphenol content. So just pour some olive oil into the pan and you should be good to go. If you’re worried about the high smoke point of olive oil, use Perilla Oil instead,” he adds.

Now that you’re undoubtedly running to the kitchen to confront your fears of toxic cooking supplies, it’s probably a good time to introduce you to the best non-toxic cookware brands for a total overhaul.

NON-TOXIC SWAPS

The 7 Best Non-Toxic Cookware Brands

Xtrema Pure Ceramic Cookware

Editor’s Pick: Signature Series Set

This cookware set looks like durable cast iron, but it’s actually made with pure ceramic, meaning it doesn’t leach heavy metals or unwanted toxins into food when heated. It’s free of Teflon, PFOA, PFAS, non-stick coatings, and a metal core. It can withstand extreme temperatures such as those on the stove, grill, campfire, microwave, and dishwasher, making it both versatile and convenient. Per Gundry, just make sure to use wooden utensils, so you don’t accidentally melt plastic into your meal.

Material: Ceramic
Set Includes:
1-Quart Traditions Saucepan with Lid
1.5-Quart Traditions Saucepan with Lid
2.5-Quart Traditions Saucepan with Lid
9-inch Signature Skillet
(2) 100% Organic Cotton Handle Potholders

GreenPan

Editor’s Pick: Canterbury Ceramic

Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware SetIf you’re looking to completely overhaul your cookware, GreenPan has you covered. Made with a diamond-infused ceramic non-stick coating, it’s free of PFAs and other junk you definitely don’t want to ingest. It’s also extremely durable—three times more durable than traditional coatings, to be exact. It’s hard anodized and has a scratch-resistant design to stand up to metal utensils and general wear and tear. It’s also dishwasher- and oven-safe (up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit).

Material: Diamond Advanced Ceramic Nonstick
Set Includes:
8-inch fry pan
9.5-inch fry pan
1-quart saucepan (includes lid)
2-quart saucepan (includes lid)
3-quart sautee pan (includes lid)
5-quart stockpot (includes lid)

Caraway Cookware

Editor’s Pick: Cookware 12pc Set

You can’t scroll Instagram without running into this new-ish non-toxic cookware brand. Sure, it looks nice, and comes with a convenient storage solution, but does it actually work? According to the 40,000+ five-star reviews (and two Edge editors), yes it does. The non-stick coating on these pots and pans is actuall ceramic, so there’s no danger of chemicals making their way into your stir fry. Pro tip: Ensure your Caraway Cookware is piping hot before searing for pan-frying food to reduce the risk of it sticking to the bottom.

Material: Ceramic coating
Set Includes:
10-inch fry pan
3-quart sauce oan
4.5-quart sautee pan
6.5-quart dutch oven
Magnetic storage rack
Canvas lid holder

READ THE FULL REVIEW

Made In Cookware

Editor’s Pick: The Non-Stick Set

Like the look of shiny stainless steel, but don’t love the clean-up? (Sorry, Dr. Gundry.) Made In’s non-toxic cookware set is your solution. It features a stainless steel body and two layers of non-toxic PFOA-free non-stick coating, resulting in an even-heating base with a frictionless, durable cooking surface. Not to mention, it’s also made with stay-cool handles, which is a non-negotiable if you’ve ever seared your palm on a skillet handle… Oh, and it’s also oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Material: Non-toxic PFOA-free non-stick + stainless steel
Set Includes:
8-quart non-stick stock pot with lid
4-quart non-stick saute pan with lid
4-quart non-stick saucepan with lid
10-inch non-stick frying pa

Our Place

Editor’s Pick: Ultimate Cookware Set

Another cookware company that rose to fame on social media, Our Place aims to replace all your cookware/bakeware needs with just a few staple items that kill multiple birds with one stone. We’re talking a sautee pan with a steamer basket insert, a deep base for boiling pasta, and more. Sure, you could get away with buying its most popular product—the Always Pan 2.0—and nothing else. But its Ultimate Cookware Set is a bit more practical, especially when cooking, or baking, multiple items at once. The brand uses a toxin-free non-stick ceramic coating made without PTFEs, PFOAs, other PFAS, lead, and cadmium, and a sleek matte ceramic outer shell that handles wear-and-tear like a pro. If you’re constantly cooking on the stovetop and have a sheet of chicken in the oven multiple times a week, this non-toxic cookware set is the one for you.

Material: Non-toxic non-stick ceramic coating
Set Includes:
Always Pan 2.0
– Modular, steam-release lid
– Nesting Beechwood Spatula
– Steamer basket and colander
Always Pan Mini
– Modular, steam-release lid
– Nesting Beechwood Spatula
Perfect Pot
– Self-basting, steam-release lid with a pasta strainer
– Beechwood Spoon designed to nest two ways
– Roasting rack that also doubles as a steamer
Perfect Pot Mini
– Self-basting, steam-release lid with a pasta strainer
– Beechwood Spoon designed to nest two ways
Oven Pan
Main Bake
Side Bake
Loaf Pan
Oven Mat

360 Cookware

Editor’s Pick: 3-Piece Fry Pan Set

We get it. Sometimes you don’t want to buy a 10-piece set. If you’re one of those shoppers, opt for 360 Cookware’s 3-Piece Fry Pan Set to dip your toe into the world of non-toxic cookware. Complete with three fry pan sizes every home chef needs (small, medium, and large), this small but mighty set can handle nearly everything you throw its way. Toss it into a 500-degree oven without thought, grab the stay-cool handle without an oven mit, and cook to your heart’s content without worrying about toxins. Stainless steel is naturally non-toxic, but this brand takes it a step further by only using surgical-grade stainless steel and prizing even heat distribution.

Material: Stainless steel
Set Includes:
7-inch fry pan
8.5-inch fry pan
11.5-inch fry pan

Great Jones

Editor’s Pick: Family Style Cookware Set

This cookware set looks like a 10 and performs like one, too. This 7-piece set utilizes a mix of materials, from stainless steel to ceramic non-stick to enameled cast-iron, to deliver quality and performance without toxic chemicals like PFOAs and PTFEs. Everything is oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and induction-friendly, too. This set includes four super-shiny pots and pans plus one colored enameled cast iron Dutch oven—the color being entirely up to you.

Material: Stainless steel, ceramic non-stick, enameled cast iron
Set Includes:
The Dutchess (6.75-quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven)
Big Deal (8-quart stainless steel stock pot)
Deep Cut (10-inch stainless steel sautee pan)
Saucy (8.5-inch stainless steel saucepan)
Small Fry (8.5-inch ceramic non-stick fry pan)
Big Lid
Small Lid