Which healthy cookware is best?

Now more than ever, it’s crucial to pay attention to everything that goes into your body — and not just the food you eat. With some nonstick surfaces getting negative attention for their use of potentially dangerous chemicals, it may be time to re-evaluate what’s in your kitchen cabinets, too. 

When you’re ready to replace your old pots and pans with healthy cookware, you’ll need a set that’s safe and functional. The GreenPan Hard Anodized Healthy Ceramic Nonstick Set uses a material derived from sand to create a smooth, nonstick interior surface.

What to know before you buy healthy cookware

Full set vs. individual pots and pans

Whether you are swapping over to healthy cookware or stocking a kitchen from scratch, you’ll need to consider if you’d like to purchase pans individually or start with a set. If your budget is tight, you might lean toward purchasing one or two pans at a time. This also allows you to focus only on the cookware that you use most.

However, a full set of pans is often cheaper than buying each pan individually. This also allows you to instantly build your cookware collection. On the other hand, some cooks purchase a set and then realize that they only use one or two pans. Consider your cooking style and your needs before deciding between a full set or individual pots and pans. 

Cook surface

While people with gas and electric stoves take it for granted that every pot or pan that they encounter will work on their cooktop, those with an induction stove know better. Induction stoves use magnets to heat magnetic metals in the pots and pans. For this reason, not every type of cookware will work on an induction cooktop. 

Aluminum, glass and copper cookware will not work on an induction stove. If your heart is set on these materials, make sure that they are combined with some sort of magnetic material or they will not heat. 

What to look for in quality healthy cookware

Nontoxic

All surfaces should be free of PFAS, PFOA, lead and cadmium. These poisonous coatings can leach into food as it’s cooking. Healthy cookware manufactured without these chemicals is safe even if pans are heated above their oven-safe threshold.

Oven safe

If you typically move from stovetop to oven, you want to make sure your pans are safe to the temperatures you need. Look for oven-safe temperatures to at least 500 degrees.

Lids

While not all pans will come with lids, they are very helpful when cooking food that splatters and splutters on your stove. Some lids are glass for easy viewing, while others are made of stainless steel.

Regardless of the material you choose, check to be sure that they are oven-safe. Many are, but they may not be safe to the same temperature as the pan they cover.

Accessories

Some healthy cookware sets include accessories, too. These might include:

  • Slotted spoons
  • Serving pieces
  • Steamer baskets
  • Strainers

Look for accessories that are stainless steel (or labeled as BPA-free if plastic).

How much you can expect to spend on healthy cookware

The price tag depends on the number of pieces you purchase. For a set of 10 or more pots and pans (and accessories), expect to spend $150-$200.

Healthy cookware FAQ

Can’t you just use cast iron?

A. When it comes to healthy cookware, cast iron is one of the best. The main issue with this durable material is that it can be difficult to care for. Pots and pans require occasional seasoning to restore a fading nonstick surface.

Additionally, even the smallest cast-iron pans are very heavy. For cooks with hand pain or difficulty lifting, just getting the pan out of the cabinet can be challenging.

Modern healthy cookware is lightweight and just as safe as cast iron. 

How do you care for healthy cookware?

A. Care and maintenance will vary depending on the material of your cookware. Check with the manufacturer’s directions.

In general, most cookware should be hand-washed in hot, soapy water with mild detergent. A gentle plastic scrubbing sponge can be used to remove stubborn dried food, or allow the pan to soak in hot water before cleaning.

Unless the pan is specifically marked, do not clean it in the dishwasher. Hand-washing prolongs the life of your pots and pans and protects the nonstick surface.

What’s the best healthy cookware to buy?

Top healthy cookware

GreenPan Hard Anodized Healthy Ceramic Nonstick Set

GreenPan Hard Anodized Healthy Ceramic Nonstick Set

What you need to know: This is a great starter set for the beginning home cook.

What you’ll love: It has 11 pieces, including 1- and 2-quart saucepans with covers, a 5-quart covered casserole, two frying pans, a 3-quart covered skillet and a steamer basket. The cookware is safe to 600 degrees (lids to 425) and it’s free of PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium.

What you should consider: These do not work on induction stoves.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top healthy cookware for the money

Farberware Go Healthy Nonstick Cookware

Farberware Go Healthy Nonstick Cookware

What you need to know: This is a durable set for everyday use.

What you’ll love: QuiltSmart nonstick coating means less fat is needed for food to release easily. It’s free from all toxic coatings and chemicals. This 14-piece set includes not only pots and pans but also cooking utensils like slotted spoons, ladles and grill pans. The lids are glass with riveted handles.

What you should consider: The pots and pans are only oven safe to 350 degrees.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Worth checking out

Homichef Nickel-Free Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Homichef Nickel-Free Stainless Steel Cookware Set 

What you need to know: This set is beautiful, functional and affordable.

What you’ll love: This set of 10 pans includes some of the most commonly used pieces, including two covered saucepans, one 7-quart covered stockpot, two covered frying pans and a covered saute pan. It heats evenly and is safe for every type of stove top — including induction burners.

What you should consider: Because they have no nonstick coating, pots and pans need to be seasoned.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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