PTFE and PFOA are chemicals used in nonstick cookware and are found in cookware, including skillets, pots, and pans. Before 2010, they were commonly used in nonstick cookware because they release food well but have been deemed dangerous by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) due to environmental concerns.
Today, manufacturers are moving away from using PTFE and PFOA in nonstick cookware, but there may still be trace amounts of the chemicals in your cookware and the food cooked in it. We tested PTFE and PFOA-free ceramic cookware for performance and safety.
Our Health, Beauty & Sustainability Lab measured cookware for ease of use, cleaning and maintenance, durability, and oven-safe capacity. We also evaluated product performance, specifically how quickly it heated, how evenly it heated, how long it held temperature, and how evenly food cooked. Our research found that PTFE-free cookware performs better than PTFE cookware, but PFOA-free cookware performs better than PFOA cookware. We’ve included PTFE and PFOA-free choices on our list of the ten best ceramic cookware of 2022.
Calphalon 11-Piece Pots and Pans Set, PTFE- and PFOA-Free
The Calphalon 11-Piece Cookware Set makes cooking healthier and more accessible than ever. This cookware is PTFE- and PFOA-free, so no harmful toxins leaching into your food while cooking. It’s also hard anodized for faster and even heating. The cookware also features tempered glass covers and long handles that are cool to the touch, so you can easily maneuver the cookware while cooking. All the cookware in this set has a nonstick coating that Calphalon says is 3x better than its Calphalon Ceramic Nonstick line, so food slides off easily, and cleanup is a breeze. The set also includes a few accessories, including a large fry pan, a 10-inch fry pan, a 1.5-quart saucepan with cover, a 2.5-quart saucepan with cover, a 3-quart saute pan with cover and a 5-quart Dutch oven with cover. The cookware handles stay cool while you cook, and the pans are oven-safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can even bake with them. The set is dishwasher safe, but the Calphalon website recommends hand washing.
16 pcs. Allgetc Kitchenware set with Frying Pan, Saucepan, Sauté Pan, Chef’s Pan.
The Allgetc 16-Piece Non-Stick Cookware Set is made of high-quality materials, including nonstick aluminum coating, which guarantees nonstick cooking. The coating is PTFE/PFOA/PFO-free, which makes it safe for your health and environment. The lids are tempered glass, allowing you to see your food as it cooks without removing the lid. The handles are made of brushed stainless steel, which feels comfortable during use. The set is lightweight and easy to move around. The nonstick coating ensures the food does not stick to the pan, which saves you time and effort. The set is suitable for gas, electric, and induction cooktops—dishwasher safe.
AVACRAFT Premium Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware Set, 100% PFOA, PTFE Toxin Free
The AVACRAFT ceramic nonstick cookware set is attractively designed, inside and out, and it’s made of high-quality materials. It’s made of ceramic, not anodized aluminum, so it’s safe for use with induction cooktops, and it’s free of PFOA, PTFE, and PFOS, so you can fry eggs without worrying about toxic chemicals. The construction is sturdy, and the pots are relatively lightweight. The handles are comfortable, and the pots are oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit so you can cook casseroles and roasts in the oven. The set comes with everything you need to cook, including four different saucepans, two frying pans, a stock pot, a saute pan, and a slotted turner, and it comes with a cleaning pad and plastic spatula. The nonstick coating is durable, helps the cookware release food quickly, and is easy to clean. The set also includes a lifetime warranty, so if anything goes wrong, you can get it replaced. The only potential drawback is that some reviewers have had trouble with the set’s heat distribution, and we’ve had mixed results from cooking with it, but despite those complaints, the AVACRAFT cookware set is a perfect option.
NutriChef 11-Piece Nonstick Kitchen Cookware Set
The NutriChef 11-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set is our favorite set, and it’s the one we highly recommend. It has everything you could want in a cookware set, including 11 pieces, a 1.7-quart saucepan, a 2.1-quart cooking pot, a 3.6-quart Dutch oven, an 8-inch frying pan, an 11-inch frying pan, a soup spoon, pasta fork, and spatula, as well as all the accessories you need to cook. The nonstick coating is durable and long-lasting, and it’s PTFE/PFOA/PFOS-free, so it’s safe for cooking on induction cooktops. The handles are made from silicone, making for a more comfortable grip, and they’re stain-resistant so that they won’t leave any unsightly stains. The pot set is induction ready, and the pots are oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can cook eggs, bake cakes and reheat food in the oven. The tempered glass lids are coated with heat-resistant lacquer, so the lids don’t warp if left on the stovetop for a long time. The cookware set is sleek and attractive and features a diamond pattern, so it’s beautiful in your kitchen. The nonstick ceramic coating is easy to clean, and the pots and pans automatically clean themselves while you’re cooking.
NutriChef 12-Piece Nonstick Kitchen Cookware Set
The NutriChef 12-piece nonstick cookware set is an affordable way to upgrade your cookware collection. It’s made from aluminum and coated with a nonstick coating, so it’s easy to clean, and the nonstick coating won’t flake off or peel off (unlike many cheap nonstick sets). The set is oven-safe up to 500°F so you can sear your meat and vegetables without worry. The cookware set has an excellent metallic ridged design that adds a stylish and modern touch. The handles are cool to the touch and, unlike some cheap nonstick sets, won’t melt or warp, and the lids stay cool during cooking, so you can safely lift them to check on your food without losing a finger in the process. The coating is PTFE/PFOA/PFOS-free, so it’s safe for cooking on induction cooktops. The pots fit snugly in the base, so there’s not a lot of warping or wobbling during use. The cooking utensils are constructed from heat-resistant nylon, which is also durable.
FAQ about PTFE and PFOA-Free Ceramic Cookware
What are PTFE and PFOA, and why should you try to avoid them
PTFE and PFOA are perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) widely utilized in nonstick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, and nonstick cookware coatings. While PTFE and PFOA are inert at low concentrations, they are toxic when consumed at high concentrations (e.g., more than 1,000 parts per billion). Research has shown that PTFE and PFOA cause many adverse health effects. Cookware manufacturers have implemented security measures to prevent the leaching of the substances during production and packaging. Still, it is not always clear which cookware or cookware products do not contain PTFE or PFOA.
How to determine if your cookware contains PTFE and PFOA
PTFE and PFOA are the acronyms for perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, two types of chemical additives found in many cookware. PTFE and PFOA can be found in nonstick, ceramic, and cookware with a stainless steel lining.
The best way to determine if your cookware is either PTFE or PFOA is to check its label. The label should identify the manufacturer and model, along with any chemical additives the manufacturer used in the product. If the label doesn’t indicate a material, it’s probably nonstick. If the label lists a product name, for example, “Corningware,” and a product code (for example, “C926”), then it’s probably PTFE.
How to avoid PTFE and PFOA in your cookware
1. Pick the right cookware – there are three grades of stainless steel
2. Avoid nonstick cookware – it tends to release toxic fumes
3. Avoid anodized cookware – they also release toxic fumes
4. Use glass jars instead of plastic or other non-recyclable cookware
5. Look for metal bottoms on cookware
How to identify PTFE and PFOA-free cookware and the benefits it offers
PTFE and PFOA are industrial chemicals with harmful health effects, including liver and kidney damage, cancer, and infertility. PTFE and PFOA have been banned by many countries and are banned from the city of San Francisco. There are many PTFE and PFOA-free cookware products on the market. PTFE and PFOA-free cookware are better than conventional cookware because it uses less metal and is more energy-efficient.
How to clean PTFE and PFOA-free cookware
When cleaning PTFE and PFOA-free cookware, be gentle. It’s safe on the oven racks and your stovetop. You can also use soap and water, but a ceramic dish scrubber is much easier. Because oven-safe cookware is oven-safe, you can use soap and water or dish detergent on the oven racks. Make sure the pan is dry before putting it back in the oven. If you have to use oven cleaner, be sure to do it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
You have plenty of resources regarding nonstick cookware, so we’ll briefly cover the topic here. PTFE and PFOA are hazardous products, so you should always use safe cookware. I hope this article will help you understand how harmful these chemicals can be and how to avoid them. Use our tips to find the best nonstick cookware.