Many of us know by now that Teflon and other nonstick coatings made up of perfluorooctanoic (PFOA) or acidpolytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE) are a big no-no for our health. According to the Environmental Working Group, chemicals in this family (PFCs) can cause birth defects, abnormal thyroid levels, liver inflammation and weakened immune defenses, among other issues.
If you make an effort to eat organic, grass-fed, paleo, or insert-dietary-specification/restriction-here, it stands to reason that you’re conscious of your health, and that conscientiousness should extend to what you’re cooking with. But sorting through the aisles of cookware can be overwhelming, especially given that the terms used on most packaging (aka “green” or “natural” or even “nontoxic”) aren’t regulated. How do you choose and how do you really know what’s the best for you?
Enter our Holiday Gift Guide to nontoxic cookware. Whether you’re shopping for yourself on Black Friday or you’re hoping to send a hint to a partner or family member, this guide will help you sort through the chatter and start making healthier kitchen choices.
Nontoxic Cookware Holiday Gift Guide
- Lodge Cast Iron ($): These multipurpose skillets and Dutch ovens are the best bang for your buck. You can cook with them on the stovetop and you can bake them in the oven. They’re a little trickier to clean (you can’t use soap), so note that when you consider your purchase (and this how-to can really help).
- GreenPan ($): These are produced without toxic chemicals and they work well for everyday items like eggs and sauteing veggies. They don’t quite heat up enough for searing proteins; we like to leave that to the cast irons.
- All-Clad ($$): Touted as some of the best in the industry, All-Clad pans last forever, which is why investing in them upfront might be worth your while. Their stainless steel construction makes them much safer for all types of heat, and allows the pan to more evenly heat food.
- Xtrema Ceramic Cookware ($$$): Another higher-end choice, the Xtrema line is likely the cleanest choice, as they’re made from 100 percent ceramic. They heat up evenly and easily, though they can be prone to chipping and breaking, like ceramic plates or dishes are.
- Le Creuset ($$$): A completely classic brand, Le Creuset’s enamel lined pots and pans are easy and safe to use, which is great when you’re baking at temps higher than 300 degrees. They’re pricey for a reason: They last.
Not finding any of these quite to your liking? Keep this list of materials to look for in cookware handy next time you’re shopping for kitchen items:
- Cast Iron
- Stainless Steel
- Ceramic (available as solid cookware, or as a nonstick coating)
- Glass (used mostly for bakeware)
- Silicone (seen in non-stick friendly utensils, and as a new “green” nonstick coating for pans)