Ceramic vs Teflon: Which Cookware Is Better?

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ceramic vs teflon cookware review

Choosing the proper cookware for your kitchen can be quite the project. First, you must narrow down what you need, then you must decide what fits in your budget, and ever after that, there will be more decisions to be made.

One of those decisions is going to be choosing ceramic or Teflon cookware.

There are some distinct and unique differences between these two types of pots and pans, and it is essential to understand these characteristics before you make your final decision fully.

We have broken down what the difference is between Ceramic and Teflon, and we will also give you our opinion as to which one is a better choice.

Top 3 Teflon Cookware Sets

Top 3 Ceramic Cookware Sets

Ceramic Vs Teflon Cookware: What’s The Difference?

Ceramic and Teflon cookware are often grouped in the same category because they are what give our pots and pans their nonstick capabilities. If you like cookware that has the nonstick option included (which is something we all like), then you are going to have to choose between ceramic or Teflon.

The nonstick feature is a healthy alternative to oils and butter. When your pots and pans do not have nonstick, you need to coat them with a spray or these fats to ensure that the food doesn’t stick. This really adds more calories to your meal and makes it overall less healthy.

In an effort to keep food healthier and make cleanup much easier, the ceramic and Teflon pots work as a barrier that the food can slide directly off of. Teflon is a brand name, and it is essentially a nonstick coating that is placed on a pot or pan. Most of these pots or pans have a magnetic base, so they work with induction ovens.

Ceramic can either be a coating that is placed on an aluminum pan, or some cookware is made entirely of Ceramic. The full ceramic cookware is a bit rarer and sometimes more expensive and heavy as well.

The main difference between the Ceramic and the Teflon is just the chemical composition of their nonstick coating. The problem that you sometimes run into is that these chemical compositions are sometimes harmful to humans and the environment in general.

Teflon Cookware

Let’s look at some of the great things that you will find with Teflon cookware and why some people will want to make the switch today.

Less Chance of Scratching

As we mentioned, Teflon is a coating that is applied to certain cookware. When the coating is applied, it helps to make sure that the pans function better both for the at-home chef and the professional chef.

The Teflon coating is applied in layers, and because there are layers, it is quite a bit stronger than other nonstick coatings. Some nonstick coatings are just a single layer, and if you hit it with the wrong kitchen utensil one time, it’s done.

It would help if you always used the proper cooking utensils when working with your Teflon cookware, but you will have less chance of a scratch because of the layer system in place.

Nonstick Does Not Wear Off

The nonstick coating on Teflon is not something that is going to expire or wear down. This is a feature that will be in place for the life of the cookware. The fact that the coating does not break down and that it will stay slick for years to come is the number one reason that people choose Teflon.

Some cheap nonstick pans will only work for a few months before losing all of their nonstick ability. At this point, you will have to go back to butter and oils, and that is not a move that most people want to make.

Easy to Clean

Teflon cookware is extremely easy to clean. In a matter of seconds, you can hand wash your Teflon pot. The food does not stick at all, so you will not be spending time running things under hot water with a sponge to try and get it to come off.

You can also place Teflon cookware in a dishwasher, but as many chefs know, the dishwasher is one of the quickest ways to ruin your great cookware.

It will break down the pots and pans much faster than a simple handwash will. With the Teflon coating, you will find no reason to put the cookware in the dishwasher; the Teflon does all the work for you.

Properly Cooked and Healthier Meals

Of course, we know that the Teflon coating is going to help to make sure that your food is healthier. You won’t need to add butter and oil to make a great dish, but the Teflon also helps to make sure that your food is cooked correctly.

There is nothing worse than a hamburger or a piece of fish that has that burnt taste to it.

This taste happens when some of the food sticks to the pan and leaves behind some bad flavor. Since no little bit or pieces of food are going to stick to the pan, your food cooked on Teflon will be much better for you and adequately cooked as well.

Ceramic Pans

The other option you will have is ceramic cookware. There are lots of advantages to Ceramic cookware as well. Here are a few of the most important benefits we found to the ceramic pans.

Non-Toxic- No Lead and Cadmium

At the top of our list is the fact that these ceramic pots and pans are safe to use. Years ago, there were studies done that showed trace amounts of lead and or cadmium in the ceramic nonstick coating. This has been made illegal, and now you can rest assured that the ceramic pot and pans are safe for you and the environment.

No Toxic Fumes

We will get into a bit more of comparison in our next section, but when you overheat a Teflon pot or pan, it can be hazardous. With a ceramic pot, you will not have this same danger.

Of course, for fire safety reasons, it is essential always to keep an eye on your stove while you are cooking, but you won’t have to worry about toxic fumes when you leave that pasta water on just a little longer than you intended.

For chefs who are new to the kitchen or know that they have trouble controlling temperatures and adequately attending to food, then the ceramic cookware makes for a much better choice.

Lots of Colors and Styles To Choose From

The ceramic pots are going to come in many different colors and styles. Some people want traditional-looking cookware while others insist that the cookware matches the kitchen or a favorite color. If you are picky about what your cookware looks like, you may enjoy the ceramic option.

Easy Cleanup

Just like we mentioned with Teflon, ceramic cookware is very easy to clean. The nonstick surface makes it so that you can quickly and easily remove the food and grease that may be on the pot. You can use mild soap, and it should take you a matter of seconds to complete this project.

Ceramic cookware is also dishwasher safe, but for the most part, you will want to avoid this so that you don’t lose the nonstick coating over time. Dishwashers are not the best place to wash your pots and pans.

Ceramic vs. Teflon Safety

Now that we have covered some of the more critical positives of the ceramic and Teflon cookware, it’s essential to look at some of the negatives as well. In our next section, we will look at the drawbacks of both of these types of cookware, but first, we must discuss safety.

We all know that kitchen safety is of the utmost importance. Not only do you need to worry about steam, smoke, and fire, but you also must consider chemicals and the safety of the food you are serving people.

If you think that nonstick surfaces on pots and pans are natural, think again. For food not to stick to heat, there are some chemical formulas involved, and some of them are safer for you than others. The most considerable safety concern here is going to be with the Teflon cookware.

Teflon Safety

There are two major concerns when it comes to Teflon safety. The first is the chemical makeup of the Teflon coating, and the second is the heat at which you cook with your Teflon cookware.

If a Teflon pan reaches 464 degrees Fahrenheit, it can start to release a toxic gas. This toxic gas is very harmful to humans and can result in some significant health concerns.

If you are to inhale or be exposed to some of this gas, you can end up with something called Teflon Flu. This is essentially exposure to harmful gas.

The Teflon flue will bring on some terrible symptoms, include fever and body aches. This is something that you should report to your doctor immediately so that you can get the proper medical attention.

For most chefs controlling the temperature of your Teflon to stay less than 464 degrees should not be all that difficult, but if you know that you are going to struggle with it, stay away from Teflon. Try and cook on the low and medium settings, whenever possible.

The second safety concern with Teflon is the chemicals that are used when it is made. Teflon cookware was made for many years using PFOA and PTFE. These are chemicals that made the nonstick cookware very useful but it turns out they were also very harmful to a human.

The studies were done on PFOA, and PTFE found that some people were experiencing liver damage and even cancer, just from using this type of cookware. The chemicals would stay in your system for years, and they would build up and become more dangerous.

Unfortunately, it took many years for this to be discovered and eventually outlawed, and many people have now gotten sick because of it.

Today a Teflon piece of cookware cannot use these harmful components. Modern-day Teflon cookware is made with PFAS, which are supposed to be safer, and they are legal to use.

Some people will say that there has been a lack of studies regarding the true safety of these products and that it would be best to stay away from Teflon in general. It comes down to how you feel about chemicals and how you limit their effects in your life.

If you are purchasing Teflon cookware today, you do not need to be worried about the PFOA or PTFE, but you should always do some research about the current chemical makeup of Teflon and make sure it is something you feel comfortable preparing the majority of your food on.

Ceramic Safety

When cooking with ceramic nonstick coating on your pans, you will not need to worry about them overheating and causing any harm. The ceramic pots and pans are generally quite a bit safer than the Teflon.

The main thing that you must look out for when it comes to ceramic safety is the lead and cadmium. These two metals are sometimes used in the ceramic coating, and too much exposure can become dangerous.

Make sure that when you purchase your ceramic cookware, you make sure that these ingredients are not included.

Drawbacks of Ceramic And Teflon Cookware

Now that we have looked at the positives and the safety aspects of both ceramic and Teflon cookware, we should explore any other negatives about these two types of cookware.

If you are in the market for a new set, you must make sure that you look just as heavily as the negatives as you do the positives.

For the most part, the safety concerns are where are the biggest negatives are going to fall; however, there are a few others to consider.

Ceramic Cookware Drawbacks/Negatives

Unfortunately, where the ceramic cookware will shine when it comes to safety, it lacks a little when it comes to performance and versatility. There are a few negatives to the ceramic cookware that can make it a poor choice for some chefs.

For starters, the Ceramic cookware is not compatible with induction cooktops.

Will Not Work With Induction

As we mentioned, the induction cooktops need a magnetic or metal in the base for it to function correctly. The ceramic cookware is either going to be ceramic or aluminum with a ceramic coating.

Neither of these will work on an induction cooktop as it will not generate or transfer heat.

Lose Nonstick Capabilities

Another issue with the ceramic cookware is that it will not keep its nonstick for a very long time. For most brands, the nonstick is only going got last for about a year.

If you use your cookware every day and you put it through the dishwasher often, you may even get less than a year out of your cookware.

Of course, at this point, you will need to start adding oil and butter or purchase new cookware. This is something to keep in mind when you think about the pricing on the cookware you are purchasing.

Can Scratch Easily

Since the ceramic coating is just a single layer of the ceramic, you can scratch it quite easily. Once the nonstick scratches, you can have pieces that will start coming off, and you will lose the ability for food to pop right out of the pan when it is time.

You must make sure that you are very careful with the kitchen utensils you choose when you are cooking with ceramic pots and pans. You must think of the ceramic coating and surface as being very delicate.

If you think of it this way and you protect it when you are cooking, and cleaning than your pans will last quite a bit longer.

High Heats and Cleaning Take Away Nonstick

Although it is not dangerous to expose your ceramic cookware to high heat, you will start to break down the ceramic coating if you do this consistently. If you put your ceramic cookware in the oven, make sure that you pay very close attention to the temperature.

Also, check the manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure that this is acceptable to do.

Teflon Cookware Drawbacks/Negatives

Most of the negatives of the Teflon cookware were addressed when we discussed safety. This is a type of cookware that you will need to be very aware of and very careful with while you are preparing foods.

High Heat Is Dangerous

As we mentioned in our guide about safety, Teflon cookware is best used for medium and low heat. Once you overheat Teflon, you can expose yourself to some very harmful chemicals that will result in you getting very sick.

If you like to sear food or cook at high temperatures, use something other than Teflon.

Can’t Use Metal Utensils

Even though Teflon coated cookware has many layers, and it will mostly be quite strong, metal utensils are not a good idea to use. The metal will scratch the Teflon after repeated use, and you will end up with cuts and holes in your nonstick surface, making the pan unusable.

Not Great For The Environment

Overall the chemicals used in the Teflon pans are not great for the environment. Heating the pans too high and releasing those harmful gases are also bad for the environment.

The only thing that we will mention here about Teflon and the environment is that these pans are long-lasting.

There is less waste with a Teflon pan because you will not have to throw them away every year or when the nonstick is entirely useless. This is a pan that you can have in your kitchen for many years, creating much less waste in the environment.

Best Ceramic Cookware

If you decide that Ceramic cookware is the best for you, then here are a few of our favorite choices.

1. Cuisinart Advantage Ceramica XT Cookware Set, Medium, Black

The Cuisinart Advantage Ceramica XT Cookware Set is an excellent choice because it’s a wide variety of products, and it’s a very fair price. As we mentioned, with ceramic cookware you may need to replace it more often, this set will not be expensive to replace.

  • Good mix of pots and pans
  • Glass covers
  • Oven safe at low temperatures

2. Ceramic Cookware Set Non-Stick Scratch Resistant 100% PFOA Free

As we mentioned, one of the best things about ceramic cookware was the ability to get it in a variety of colors. This white set comes with thirteen pieces and will make a real statement in any kitchen. This ceramic set claims to be very safe and can keep your food from sticking.

  • Great clean looking set
  • Nice looking wood handles
  • Scratch-resistant

3. Calphalon Classic Pots and Pans Set

If you want to go with a product that has a great name and will probably hold up longer than other ceramic cookware than Calphalon is a great choice. This is a more expensive choice, but when you see the quality that is involved, it may be worth the money.

  • Nonstick holds up longer
  • Good weight to the cookware
  • Comes with tops and inserts as well

Best Teflon Cookware  

Here are a few of our favorite choices when it comes to Teflon cookware.

1. T-fal Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick 17 Piece Cookware Set

The T-Fal set is an excellent choice if you like the capabilities of Teflon. We love the indicators that allow you to know that your pan is hot and ready to start cooking with.

The handles on the T-Fal set are also very easy to work with and are suitable for chefs that spend a lot of time in the kitchen. This is a 17 piece set, so you will have plenty to work with even if this is the only cookware set in your kitchen.

  • Large set
  • Red indicator letting you know pans are hot
  • Easy to manage handles

2. All-Clad Essentials Nonstick Skillet Set

This All-Clad set is not a full cookware set, but this particular model is available in many different sizes and types so you can equip your entire kitchen if you so choose.

The All-Clad is an excellent choice if you want the longterm stability and durability of the Nonstick Teflon coating. This is made with the PFOA material, so you won’t have to worry about any of the poor chemicals or materials; just be sure that you don’t let these pans overheat.

  • Available in lots of sizes and styles
  • Very durable long term
  • Nonstick Teflon PFOA coating

3. Cookware Set Nonstick 100% PFOA Free Induction Pots and Pans Set

As you may have noticed, some of the PFOA products are more expensive than Ceramic. This has more to do with the longevity of the product than anything else.

We love that this set is as nice looking as it is high functioning, and it is offered at a very fair price. If you want a modern look to your kitchen with the durability and workability of Teflon, this is a great choice to consider.

  • Will last a long time
  • Priced well for Teflon
  • Nice looking set with black and wood

Caring For Ceramic and Teflon Cookware

Regardless of which type of cookware you decide is the better fit for your kitchen, it is essential to consider the care of these pots and pans. Let’s face it; cookware is expensive.

If you spend several hundred dollars to equip your kitchen correctly, you do not want this to start falling apart just a few months later. Knowing a few simple tips to help you clean your cookware will make your investment a much better one.

Don’t Use Nonstick Spray

When you cook with your nonstick cookware, stop using those junky sprays! The reason you bought nonstick cookware was so that you wouldn’t have to use the spray.

Although you may think you are helping your cookware out, you are working against it.

Sometimes the spray you use can start to breakdown the nonstick coating, and you will be left purchasing new cookware. Trust the nonstick that you bought and stop spraying anything on it.

Don’t Use The Dishwasher

We know the dishwasher is convenient, and we know that washing dishes is a pain. However, when it comes to nonstick, you are much better off washing the pan than putting it into the dishwasher.

Your coating will wear off, and you will be left with a pan that now needs butter, oil, and more just to function.

Since the ceramic or Teflon finishes will keep food from sticking, the time you spend washing your pots should be a matter of seconds. In fact, we almost guarantee it will take longer to rinse and load in a dishwasher than it will just to wash the pot.

Don’t Overdue It With Soap

When you are washing your pots and pans, you don’t need to use a ton of soap. A small drop of a mild soap should be enough to get the surface clean.

There is just no need to use any harsh components on these if you want them to last for a long time.

So Which One Is Best? Ceramic or Teflon

In the end, we are going to have to choose Teflon over Ceramic cookware. The safety precautions have been made so that this type of cookware is less harmful to humans and the environment.

We love the fact that the nonstick coating on these Teflon pots and pans will hold up over time. If you are going to make the decision to go with nonstick cookware, then you may as well get something that lasts.

This is not to say that Ceramic is a poor choice; it is just not nearly as dependable long term. You will end up reading about ceramic cookware every six months when you need to replace your new set. To us, this is just not worth the time invested.