Cookware

Is Nonstick Ceramic Cookware REALLY Safe?

Nonstick ceramic cookware is a popular option for any cook, whether one is venturing out on their own for the first time in an apartment or if a seasoned chef is looking for alternatives to use in their workspace.

No matter the reasoning, nonstick ceramic does have its mysteries, such as if it is safe, how long does it last, and overall properties compared to other choices on the market. We’re taking a closer look at nonstick ceramic and if we think it would be a welcome addition in your kitchen arsenal. 

Nonstick ceramic cookwares

Misconceptions about Nonstick Ceramic Cookware

First and foremost, one of the biggest misconceptions of nonstick ceramic cookware is what it actually is made out of! Nonstick ceramic, while it may appear to be completely made out of clay, is metal or aluminum that is then coated with clay, glaze, and a silicon seal for protection.

This is for additional protection against heat and other usual knicks and dings that happen in any kitchen environment. Nonstick ceramic is usually advertised when selling pots and pans, while traditional casserole and baking dishes typically are “fully” ceramic.

The clay and glaze that goes over the metal is then a canvas for any sort of painted design which can drive consumers to buy their product if they enjoy colorful cookware.

We have even seen a trend in some nonstick ceramic cookware where there are hard-to-find and rare colors on the market (both in the U.S and worldwide), which then creates a niche collector’s market. However, are these vibrant designs exactly safe? 

All nonstick ceramic cookware sold in the usual buyer/seller channels in the United States must be PTFE and PFOA-free.

While PTFE is considered “safe” as it does not interact with any chemicals found in our bodies, it is a by-product of PFOA which causes adverse health effects mostly surrounding organ function and certain cancers. PFOAs are used as a water- and oil repellent surfactant which is why it was a good-to option for coating certain products.

However with the discovery of it being harmful, as of 2015, both chemicals have been banned for use in nonstick ceramic cookware in the U.S. PFOAs and PTFEs may still be used in other countries and their cookware, however, especially in flea markets and third-party vendors.

However, PTFEs and PFOAs leakage is triggered around 700 degrees, which is usually over the maximum temperature allowance for nonstick ceramic. 

Relating back to PTFEs, another widespread option when looking for nonstick cookware is teflon. Teflon and nonstick ceramic are similar in many ways, the most prominent reason being is they both are advertised as easy-to-release surfaces when cooking, baking, or tying a dish together.

While Teflon has been shown to be more durable in the kitchen due to their compounds and may be more effective as a nonstick surface, Teflon is PTFE by another name. So, if one is in the market for cookware that has the certification of being PFOA-free (and therefore PTFE-free), nonstick ceramic is the good-to choice. 

Another concern people have is the overall durability of nonstick ceramic. As the clay coating is prone to shattering, chipping, and over wear-and-tear in a workspace, the worry rises in what lies underneath the glaze or the material itself.

When handling chipped or damaged nonstick ceramic, if the faulty part is in contact with food, there could be the chance of small particles of the ceramic or clay leaking into the food.

The overall dangers of this ranges from the amount that was potentially exposed in the dish you are creating along with what kind of food you are making in the cookware. Not only those two factors are ones to think about also the origin of the nonstick ceramic and if it was labeled PTFE- and PFOA- free.

If you handle your nonstick ceramic with care and correct use it within its parameters, this should not be an issue. 

How to handle Nonstick Ceramic Cookwares

To prevent any debris from getting into your food, how does one properly handle and ensure their nonstick ceramic pots and pans will last a long while and be a good investment? Here are some basic tips: 

  • Before use in an oven or another heated surface, preheat the cookware by leaving it in the oven as it warms up or having it sit on low heat on a stove top.
  • For cooking or baking, coat the surface with a bit of oil, butter, or another cooking lubricant. However, do not use any aerosols for coating, as over time there can be a buildup of film residue which can hinder the overall performance of the cookware.
  • When transferring the cookware to a surface for serving, make sure the pot/pan is being placed on a sturdy surface that can evenly disperse the heat it will endure, such as a silicone trivet. An uneven surface can cause the ceramic to crack due to the improper distribution of heat.
  • After using nonstick ceramic, double-check that the cookware is cooled to around room temperature before attempting to clean or rinse. Exposing the cookware to a rapid temperature change too quickly can cause cracks in the material.
  • Hand wash only with small bits of soap and a gentle sponge. A dishwasher, harsh cleaners, and rough surfaces can cause surface abrasion and wear on the nonstick ceramic, which could eventually lead to chipping and leakage of toxic materials into your food.

Conclusion

In summary, nonstick ceramic cookware is generally safe for use in any kitchen space and can be a welcome addition for a cook or baker at any level. They can bring flair into a workspace with the designs they can behold, along with when serving up a dish to family and friends.

When looking for a piece (or set!) of nonstick ceramic cookware, go to a manufacturer and check to see if it is PFOA- and PTFE-free and the reviews for lifespans people have experienced with their pieces.

There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of nonstick ceramic cookware pots, pans, and more on the market. Just follow some basic guidelines and rules-of-thumb, and you will find your dream piece of nonstick ceramic in no time at all – and then in your kitchen!