As much as I hate to admit it, I’m kind of a food snob. I’m that person that daydreams about what I’ll have for dinner next Tuesday and insists on making marinara sauce from scratch (except the occasional Rao’s in a pinch). Like any good foodie and nutrition editor, I obsess over the quality of my ingredients. Local, organic produce and pasture-raised meat don’t just taste better, they’re healthier, too. But I’ve come to realize shelling out the extra cash for organic steak is a moot point if I reverse-sear it on toxic cookware, anyway.
Sadly, anything labeled non-stick is likely coated with hormone-disrupting “forever chemicals” PFTE (Teflon), PFOS, PFOA, PFAS, and BPA—which leach toxins into food when heated. But if you’ve ever cooked with stainless steel pans, the cleanup is enough to make you turn a blind eye to toxins. So I set out on a quest to find a healthy non-toxic swap and landed on Caraway cookware. The brand’s non-stick cookware and bakeware is coated with ceramic to provide a slippery surface without the need for artificial chemicals. After testing the Caraway Frypan for just shy of a year, here’s how it stacks up to my Teflon non-stick, cast iron, and stainless steel pans.
What Is Caraway Cookware?
Caraway’s non-stick cookware claims to keep toxins from leaching into your food. How? Their pots and pans are coated in ceramic enamel rather than Teflon or other harmful “forever chemicals” to achieve a non-stick surface.
Ceramic pans are often snubbed for being less non-stick than traditional Teflon; but, according to the 40,000+ five-star reviews (and me), Caraway is a solid bet for squeaky clean pancake and omelet flips. Plus, standing up to temperatures of 550 degrees, the ceramic is a bit more hearty than your average non-stick coating.
Caraway’s coveted seven-piece Caraway Cookware Set ($395) comes with a 10.5-inch fry pan, a 3-quart saucepan with lid, a 4.5-quart sauté pan with lid, a 6.5-quart Dutch oven with lid, and a convenient storage solution (a magnetic pan rack and canvas lid holder); and, can handle everything from seafood to risotto. But Caraway sells all of its pots and pans individually, too.
What’s Good About Caraway Cookware?
Toxic-free non-stick ceramic coating
The non-stick coating on these pots and pans is ceramic; so, unlike Teflon, there’s no worry of chemicals leaching into your food. But does it work? The first thing I cooked was a fried egg, and I was immediately impressed by the slippery non-stick surface. With just a little olive oil, the egg slipped right out of the pan.
But it isn’t totally foolproof. While it’s much more forgiving than stainless steel, you’ll still want to ensure your Caraway is piping hot, then adjust the temperature down as needed before cooking to reduce the risk of your food sticking to the bottom.
My biggest concern with my Caraway Fry Pan is that it wouldn’t cook everything I wanted it to. But it turned out to be even better than expected—it’s lightweight, responsive to temperature changes, actually non-stick, compatible with different stove tops (my sister-in-law uses hers on an electric stove, while I use gas), oven safe to 550 degrees, and it heats evenly.
I use it to cook fried or scrambled eggs for breakfast, and stir-fries or pan-seared veggies for dinner. The vegetables always get great color, so much so that I’ve swapped all my usual oven-roasted asparagus, broccolini, and Brussels sprouts for pan-fried versions. And while cast-iron stans may burn me to the stake for saying so, it browns and crusts meat and can thicken up a sauce good enough for my liking (observe this sweet and sticky kung pao chicken, for example).
I typically avoid cookware sets. I just know most of the pieces will sit untouched in my cabinet (that is, if I can get them to fit in the cabinet of my small apartment kitchen). Which is why I chose the Caraway Fry Pan over the set. But now that I’m hooked, I regret buying just the one.
The seven-piece Caraway Cookware Set includes everything you need and nothing that you don’t—meaning I could swap out my non-stick pans for Caraway and end up with more room in my cabinets. The set also comes with a convenient pan and lid storage solution to take the hassle (and potential damage) that comes with stacking mix-matched pots and pans.
You can’t scroll through Instagram without running into Caraway. From the stainless steel handle to the two-toned base, and the way the ceramic coating subtly sparkles when the sunlight hits it just right, there’s no denying this cookware is stunning. And is anything better than feeling rich while cooking a basic-ass grilled cheese? I think not. The set comes in a bunch of fun colors. So, if cream isn’t your thing, try navy, sage, marigold, black, white, or any of their seasonal colors—you really can’t go wrong.
What’s Not So Good About Caraway Cookware?
Won’t crust meat like a cast iron or stainless steel
Like any nonstick pan, Caraway cookware won’t give meat quite the same satisfying crusty layer you get when searing a steak or chicken in a stainless steel or cast iron skillet. For the longevity of your Caraway pan, this is a good thing. It means any residue from cooking gets easily swiped away when cleaning.
However, that non-stick coating isn’t conducive to perfectly browned meats, or the deep, rich pan sauce you make with the leftover bits. If you simply can’t say no to crust, stick to stainless steel. Cast iron pans can be just as detrimental to your health as the chemicals in a traditional non-stick pan, according to cardiologist, Dr. Steven Gundry, M.D. “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.
Need to be cleaned with care
Caraway cookware is ridiculously easy to clean. They even give you a special sponge to scrub away particularly crusty bits. Still, make sure everyone in the house knows Caraway pots and pans are meant to be gently cleaned with a soft sponge, not a scrub brush or steel wool scrubber like you might use to clean cast iron (*not me taking digs at my partner on the internet*). Yes, my husband might have unknowingly scratched up my Caraway saute pan while I was out of town. I’m going to survive. Maybe. Learn from my (his) mistakes if you decide to invest in a set.
At $395 for a set, Caraway ain’t pocket change. However, in comparison to other popular non-toxic cookware sets—Made In ($600), Great Jones ($495), and Our Place ($585)—Caraway feels fairly priced. If you’re looking for a non-toxic cookware set that will last forever, put Caraway at the top of your list.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for toxin-free cookware that’s actually non-stick, Caraway’s line-up of pots, pans, and bakeware perform as claimed and stand up to heavy use. Caraway cookware will cook everything from stir fries to pancakes to perfection. That said, if you’re looking for flawlessly crusted meats and thick pan sauces you may be better off using stainless steel.