There are so many different types of cookware on the market today. They keep popping up on our Instagram or Pinterest feeds, and it can be difficult to know which ones are really worthwhile.
To narrow the field, we’ve compared some of the top non-toxic cookware brands to let you know how they perform in our real kitchens.
Whether you’re preparing stir-fries, delicious brunch dishes, burgers or fried rice at home, a great non-stick skillet is the key to easy cooking.
From the ever-popular Always Pan to the Caraway Fry Pan, Great Jones Pan and GreenPan Fry Pan, here’s our honest review of how each holds up at home.
The Always Pan: This pan has an exclusive non-toxic and non-stick ceramic coating made without potentially toxic materials such as PFOAs, PTFEs, other PFAs, lead, cadmium, toxic metals and nanoparticles.
And it comes with spatula and custom stainless steel steamer basket. It has a durable aluminum body for fast, even heat and a modular lid that lets off steam when you want to (and seals it in when you don’t). This 10 inch pan has a capacity of 2.6 liters.
Advantages: It is compatible with all types of cookers (including induction) and features a nestable beechwood spatula with an integrated spoon rest.
What I like most about this pan is the spruce wood steamer that fits perfectly inside. We use it at least once a week to steam dumplings and bao buns.
Disadvantages: The Always Pan’s bottom and sides stain fairly quickly (especially on the lighter ones), and while it’s very easy to clean, it’s impossible to keep it looking pristine.
So you have to accept that it will look “popular” pretty quickly. We use our pans very frequently (almost daily) and for me they start to build up in the nonstick pan which I can’t get rid of in a year.
I’ve had my eldest for about two years and he has no chips. Essentially I wish they stayed looking like new longer, but functionally they really hold up.
Special care instructions: These pans are very easy to care for by hand washing. They are recommended for medium heat (not high heat) and you should not put them in the oven or dishwasher.
Rating: Overall, I’m a big fan of this pan! I love it so much it’s the only pan we have at our vacation home in Missouri – and it really is all we need.
Cumin skillet: This cumin pan uses a mineral-based coating that doesn’t leach toxic materials into your food and emits up to 60% less CO2 during manufacture compared to traditional non-stick coatings.
Naturally smooth pans require less oil or butter to cook and less scrubbing to get a spotless clean, and their coating contains no potentially toxic materials like PFOA, PTFE, other PFAs, lead, cadmium, or toxic metals.
Advantages: These pans are the most aesthetically pleasing and easier to clean than the Always Pan. This skillet is also less expensive. Overall I think this is my first choice.
What I like best about these pans (I have the cream color) is that you can clean the underside (NOT the cooking surface but the bottom of the pan) with Bar Keeper’s Friend when it starts to brown.
I love that there is a solution to keep them looking fresh and new. I’ve been using this pan for about a year and it has held up really well and still looks (and works) like brand new.
Disadvantages: Honestly, I don’t think I need to list a con. All I have to say is that I spent a lot of money on the set and mainly just use the frying pan, so in hindsight…I really only needed the frying pan.
Special care instructions: Similar to the Always pan, you should only cook on low and medium heat, you must hand wash the pan, and you shouldn’t put it in water right after it’s boiled (let it cool first).
Rating: I absolutely love mine and recommend it.
GreenPan Frying Pan: Engineered for high performance, these 8″ and 10″ are coated with diamond-reinforced Thermolon minerals and ceramic nonstick surfaces for healthy cooking and easy release and cleanup.
Constructed of thick-walled, hard-anodized aluminum, the pans feature even heat distribution and oven-safe stainless steel handles with corrosion-resistant gold finishes.
The pans are highly heat resistant and do not emit toxic fumes, and the coating will not blister or peel. They are also free from PFAS, PFOA, lead and cadmium.
Advantages: Having both sizes of this pan for cooking is great as I use them at the same time quite often (eggs in one, bacon in the other, etc.). The gold handles and color choices also set them apart from any other pan I’ve owned, and they’re super easy to clean.
I also love that you can pop these pans straight into the oven as they’re oven safe up to 600° (which you can’t do with other pans like the Always Pan), making it easy to cook anything like fish or meat to sear Then place the pan in the oven to finish cooking.
This pan is also safe to use with metal utensils (which is nice if that’s all you have), but I still use wood or silicone when I can to “baby” the nonstick coating a little. This pan can also be used on gas, electric and ceramic hobs.
Disadvantages: The nice color on the bottom of the pan will brown after use (especially on a gas stove) but the pan still looks pretty overall, even with some discoloration on the bottom.
The cream colored interior of the pan will likely brown a little over time (I can see it happening a bit after a few months), but the rate of discoloration will likely depend on how often you use it.
I love the built in spoon rest and spout of my Always pan, so I miss that when using these pans and I wish the pans had lids. However, you can buy the lids separately if you wish.
Special care instructions: Be sure to let the pan cool before washing. The pans are dishwasher safe, but hand washing is recommended. The manufacturer also advises against using cooking sprays with these pans, which is fine with me but might be a downside if that’s what you enjoy using.
Rating: Overall the user experience on these pans is really great (they have really good reviews online and I can see why). The non-stick coating lives up to their name, they’re easy to clean, the ability to put the pan in the oven is a big plus too, and they’re very pretty too.
The Great Jones Frying Pan: This 10.25 inch non-stick frying pan is made with a non-toxic ceramic coating that’s healthier for both you and planet earth. Large Fry is great if you often cook for a group or just want to enjoy a large personal pancake.
It’s safe for all stove tops (including induction) and has a welded handle with no screws, rivets or seams to trap food or unwanted bacteria. The pan is also free of PTFE and PFOA chemicals.
Advantages: Out of all the nonstick pans I’ve tried, this one comes out on top in my opinion (Emma speaking here). I’ve made fried rice, bratwurst, fried eggs and many other things in my Great Jones skillet and it’s been amazing. Since food really doesn’t stick, the pan is also very easy to clean.
Not only does this pan work SO well on the stovetop, but it can also be put in the oven at up to 500°F. The pan (compared to others of a similar size) is lightweight and the handle is comfortable to hold/move.
Disadvantages: While the Great Jones skillet is certainly not ugly, it’s not my favorite skillet. I prefer the look of my Always Pan but I think this one performs better.
The lids are sold separately. Maybe that doesn’t annoy anyone, otherwise I find it a bit silly. I bought a lid anyway, though, so I guess the joke’s on me.
Special care instructions: Although their website says you can wash this in the dishwasher, I’ve always hand washed this so far. It’s that easy when a pan is truly non-stick.
Also, I feel like this helps the nonstick coating last longer. But it’s good to know that it’s okay if I open our dishwasher one morning to see that my partner loaded that pan the night before. No problem!
Rating: After trying this pan, I became a true believer. I have already bought a Great Jones Fry Pan for a friend as a housewarming gift.
Note on non-stick cookware: Although these pans are “non-toxic”, we strongly recommend that you only use them as long as the non-stick cooking surface is in good condition and not chipping or wearing out in certain spots.
If the pan’s coating begins to disintegrate or is damaged, the pan’s non-toxic promise could be compromised and it’s time to replace it. These pans are not meant to last forever.
Here you go! An honest look at the top pans the internet has to offer and how they hold their place in our everyday lives. I hope this helps make your pan buying experience a little bit easier to know which one is right for you!
Do you love to cook? Check out Emma’s kitchen must-haves and search our cooking archive for hundreds of recipes!