January 24th, 2011

How to Choose Healthy Pots and Pans

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How to Choose Healthy Pots and Pans
Despite the ease and con­ve­nience of non-stick pots and pans such as Teflon, many health conscious people are tossing their non-stick and replacing them with healthier options.


Non-stick pots and pans are metal pans (such as aluminum pans) coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), toxic fumes from the Teflon chemical released from pots and pans at high temperatures may kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms.




Aluminum from pots and pans can leach into food when the foods being cooked or stored are highly basic (like baking soda) or highly acidic (like tomato sauce, lemon juice, oranges, or vinegar). Aluminum is on the  list of top priority toxins in the United States (a list put out every year by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry), and aluminum has been clearly identified as a toxin for the human nervous system, immune system and genetic system. Aluminum has also been linked to Alzheimer’s.


Anodized Aluminum

Some health conscious cooks are turning to anodized aluminum cookware as a safer alternative. The aluminum is treated with a non-reactive hard coating of aluminum called aluminum oxidation, so that the aluminum can’t leach into food, and makes for what many cooks consider an ideal non-stick and scratch-resistant cooking surface. But questions about aluminum  in general remain.  If the pan is scratched it can leach -so get rid of it. Also, be prepared to spend some big bucks on these pans.


Cast Iron

Another good choice is going back to the cookware that your grandparents probably used, cast iron, which is known for its durability and even heat distribution. The downside of cast iron- most cast iron cookware needs to be seasoned after each use and this makes it not as worry-free as other alternatives.


Glass, Ceramic and Stoneware

Photo used under Creative Commons from Janek Mann

Glass, ceramic, and stoneware cookware are grouped together because they all have similar cooking and handling characteristics. This type of cookware is considered healthy as long as it has zero lead content-check any pans with glaze for possible lead. These pans are simple to clean since they can safely be washed in the dishwasher.



When this first came out I was immediately skeptical.  All of those fun, funky colors are attractive-but are they safe? The jury is still out.  Some claim that silicone does off-gas, and raise concerns that additives may include petroleum or other harmful ingredients.  Others claim that there are no known health hazards.  I say err on the side of caution.


Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a mixture of several different metals, including nickel, chromium and molybdenum, all of which can trickle into foods. Leaching will happen only if your stainless steel cookware is dinged and the amount of leaching would be small. It is definitely NOT non-stick.  Soaking after use and before scrubbing is a must. Stainless steel cookware is considered one of the best and safest choices in cookware.



Most  nonstick coatings presently on the market contain the problem chemical PTFE. Gradually get rid of your non-stick and replace with  healthier options. I love All Clad stainless steel-although pricey they will last a lifetime and beyond. Glass Cookware is my go-to for baking. There are all sorts of “green” alternatives coming out that claim to be PTFE and PFOA free.  Just be sure to do your homework before investing in these.

Any other cookware you would suggest?

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photo credit: Sharon Drummond via photopin cc

154 Responses to “How to Choose Healthy Pots and Pans”

  1. Great list, and thanks for posting it. What about enamelware? Enameled cast iron like LeCreuset? Also, an easy-ish way to clean stainless steel skillets is to heat the empty but dirty skillet until it’s really hot then add a glass of hot water to it–it’ll sizzle like mad, but if you scrape it while it sizzles, all the stuck-on stuff comes right up. Then you can put the skillet under hot running water and wash up with a soapy sponge. Takes no time at all and very little elbow grease 🙂 It can also be part of your cooking method, as deglazing a pan does pretty much the same thing.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Annie and Meg Wolfe, Lori Popkewitz Alper. Lori Popkewitz Alper said: New Info: How to Choose Healthy Pots and Pans http://t.co/jvKEMiC […]

  3. I use cast iron skillets exclusively, glass for baking (sometimes using the cast iron skillets instead) and stainless steel for my pots, pans and spatulas. Spoons are wooden.

    I grew up with parents who loved nonsitick and will never escape the images of that coating flaking off in the food. Totally yuck.

    On a frugal note, why spend money on something you will have to replace routinely (nonstick pieces) when an excellent and safer alternative (cast iron, stainless steel) is available that will last past your lifetime?

  4. Hi Annie. Do you have to season your cast iron? I don’t have any cast iron-but would be willing to give it a try. Most of our pots and pans are stainless steel. We use wooden spoons and stainless spatulas, spoons etc… I agree-make the investment in a few good, quality pieces of cookware that will be around forever. I too remember the nonstick and the flaking into the food-especially eggs! Thanks so much for your comment.

  5. Hi Meg. Thanks for the question-enamel-coated iron and steel both appear to be safe to cook with. Some older enamel cookware contained the potentially toxic substance cadmium,but manufactures have discontinued it’s use. Some countries do not have strict lead and cadmium guidelines so if you bring in glazed ceramic cookware from abroad, be aware that it may not meet permitted levels for lead and cadmium.

    Thanks so much for the tip on cleaning stainless steel. I’ll have to try it. Right now it takes a lot of my elbow grease to clean them! Thanks so much for stopping by.

  6. Hi Lori,

    I too got rid of my non stick stuff a few years ago. I tried cast iron but find it very heavy and frustrating. It never really feels clean to me. I use stainless or glass exclusively. I do have non-stick Griddle pan that is branded ECOPAN ceramic nonstick cookware and claims to be PTFE free, PFOA free. It says the ceramic coating is non toxic and no toxic fumes were created in the production of the pan. Believe it or not I got it at HomeGoods last year. Love it! I believe its either French or German.

  7. Hi Diane,

    I love a good find at HomeGoods! The ECOPAN looks like a good choice-it appears to be aluminum with a ceramic coating. I have never tried cast iron-I like that it is naturally non-stick, but if it’s heavy I could see how that would be frustrating. Thanks for your comment.

  8. I have replaced most of my pans – still a few to go. The tough one is my small 8″ skillet that my husband uses to cook eggs. I love cast iron – but not for eggs. I have started looking into Scanpan. Says it’s ceramic titanium, made in Denmark. Anyone know anything about this one?

  9. Kristina-It is so hard to let go of that skillet! I am not familiar with Scanpan. Just did a quick check online-it looks like it is Teflon? Let me know what you find. Thanks so much for your comment. Happy snow day!

  10. […] How to Choose Healthy Pots and Pans […]

  11. Hi Lori, thanks so much for posting this. I have a non-stick wok right now, and am interested in investing in some good eco-friendly cookware. I’m taking your advice! I’m going to look into ceramic cookware. Have you heard anything about it?

  12. Hi Lynn-

    ceramic cookware is a great, eco-friendly choice. Some ceramic cookware isn’t cook top safe-it will crack. Some, such as Le Creuset (which is actually enameled cast iron), can be placed on an open flame without any risk. Emile Henry is a good line of ceramic cookware. I don’t have any so I can’t give a personal review. I have a stainless steel wok that I love. The downside: it is a bit heavy and has to soak after use. Let me know what you decide to invest in. Good luck!

  13. Healthy Non Toxic Cookware Sets

    With all of the bad publicity that Teflon and aluminum cookware has received, many of us are searching for healthy non toxic cookware. It doesn’t make any sense to purchase healthy whole foods and then cook them in toxic pots and pans.Although stainless steel cookware has been considered a safe alternative, it does have one drawback. Stainless steel cookware is made with a combination of stainless steel, chromium and nickel. None of these are harmful in small doses, but many people are allergic to nickel. If you are allergic to nickel, you should refrain from using stainless steel cookware.Another concern that many people are not aware of is that some glazes used on crock pots have small amount of lead. The recommendation is to use terra cotta crock pots without the lead glaze.The best cookware which is healthy and non toxic is anodized aluminum cookware. The process used in making the hard anodized aluminum seals the aluminum with an extremely hard surface coating which is non-reactive and prevents any aluminum from leaching into the food we are cooking.Unlimitedpotsandpans.com has excellent hard anodized aluminum cookware sets that are healthy and non toxic:These pots and pans are oven safe up to 400 degrees.

  14. […] still getting used to the new fry pans. Since we swore off Teflon, I’ve yet to get the right balance of butter and heat and pancake batter to avoid filling the […]

  15. Rachael Ray Store “Bubble and Brown” collection healthy to use. I know you mentioned Stoneware in general is safe to use. Any thoughts?

  16. Hi Ami-Thanks for your question. I am not that familiar with the Rachel Ray Bubble and Brown collection. I took a quick look at the Rachel Ray site and saw “The glazed interior is nonporous so foods won’t interact.” I’m not really sure what that means?? What if the glazed interior cracks? What would the food be interacting with? That was a bit unclear to me. My guess is they are safe to use and there is no risk of lead contamination. If you want to be very thorough before purchasing I would shoot an email to the company to verify that the glaze is toxin free. Hope that helps!

  17. Looking to get new pans myself, what do you think of the Green Pan or the Earth Pan? They both claim to be PTFE and PFOA free. Also what othe brand of pots and pans would you recommend?

  18. Hi Heather-I haven’t personally used either pan. In doing a quick check it appears as though Green Pan has some sort of coating-Thermalon-not sure what it is. Earth Pan seems to have a sand coating? I’m going on intuition here-not a lot of data-but I would stick with stainless steel, ceramic or cast iron. They are known products that have been around for a long time. These “new” technologies are just that-new. Let them work out the kinks and do a few studies before you jump on the bandwagon. I love All Clad-on the expensive side, but lasts forever.

  19. Great round up, Lori. I’m with you on the silicone — just a little too mysterious for me. Plus, baking with glass and metal is so easy, I don’t see why I’d bother with anything else. Stovetop cooking, on the other hand, now that’s more of a challenge.

  20. […] really been working hard to make my kitchen a “Teflon Free Zone”. The Teflon pots and pans are being swapped out on an as needed basis. The Teflon cooking utensils have slowly been replaced […]

  21. […] there are many green and non-toxic alternatives on the […]

  22. […] much smaller than the spaces found on the grill. The pan is made from one of my favorite materials, stainless steel. It’s also easy to […]

  23. The thing that is to be described to the context is the quality of the cookware tops, and pans. They contain a huge collection of things, and yet they maintain their quality. At the same time, the le creuset cast iron cookware prices are so low that even the average person can watch, and buy to their hearts contents.

  24. The Staub cocotte cooking pot is perfect for recipes, which demand slow cooking such as stews, casseroles, soups, and roasted meats. This piece of cookware you will wind up utilizing again and again.

  25. Hello, I am convinced, been something I have wanted to sort for a while, however I have a few queries, what about baking trays, many are carbon steel, is this ok or are there alternatives?

  26. […] a large pot with water and bring water to a boil. I use a big stainless steel stock […]

  27. I did a search with Scanpans made in Denmark they are ceramic but they do contain PTFE. And the other ceramic pans all seem to have a “special Glaze” some I found were silicone and other metals. I have not found a ceramic pan that does not have this. IF anyone knows of any let me know. I think they have to have a glaze on to keep the ceramic in a pan from breaking. So it makes me concerned of choosing a ceramic pan for health to avoid toxins in other pans. I have read that for some their ceramic pan looses its non stick quality after time, ( not with the scanpan that has PTFE though) but with the others if that is true, it makes sense the Glaze MAY break down over time. So I am leaning toward stainless and enamel cast iron.
    BUT I would love any advice on this, and on the ceramic pans.
    Also on the hard anodized aluminum ? IS that different if it is Hard anodized, it appears to be. What is the safety with these. I bought a le cresuet Hard anodized small pan two years ago and Love it.
    Just need to get a large saute pan and the cast iron is so heavy.

  28. Hi there, Cast iron is extremely heavy, but I do love it. Most of my pans are stainless. In anodized aluminum pans the aluminum is treated with a non-reactive hard coating of aluminum called aluminum oxidation, so that the aluminum can’t leach into food. My concern is with the pans aging and cracking the aluminum can then leach. I don’t know of any pans off-hand that don’t have some form of glaze. Like you, I’m always concerned that the glaze will break down over time.

  29. Hi Lori! Just came across your blog. I am new fan! I can’t begin to tell you how much this article made choosing cookware much easier. 😉 I am a mom of two young children my husband and I were concerned about what we cook our food in. We are on a budget and leaning towards purchasing stainless steel cookware–there are so many to choose from. I saw an affordable one that has a copper bottom but it also had aluminum. Is this a safer choice? What else should I look for when purchasing a moderately priced s.s. cookware? Thanks in advance.

  30. Hi Maria! Welcome. So glad you stopped by! Most of the stainless I’ve come across have aluminum and copper cores. The only concern would be the aluminum leaching through to your food. I don’t that that’s very likely in most stainless cookware since the stainless portion is pretty thick. The risk of scratching and cracking down to the aluminum core is pretty slim. Let me know what you find!

  31. HI, What are your thoughts on Chantal cookware made in Germany I think it is Enamel on steel with now new ones I believe have a copper base. Also the Woll cookware pans. THANKS!!!

  32. Hi Diane, I honestly have never tried Chantal cookware. I would probably look into what the enamel is made from and whether it has been known to scratch or crack. I’m also unfamiliar with Woll. Good luck!

  33. […] really been working hard to make my kitchen a “Teflon Free Zone”.  My old Teflon pots and pans have been swapped out on an as needed basis and filled my kitchen with alternative, safe cookware. […]

  34. Hi,
    I just wanted to share with you what I was told by Chantal company they said “Chantal cookware is enamel, not aluminum or nickel.  Aluminum or nickel are not used in our bake ware either.There is no coating or glaze on the enamel.  Our enamel has a slick, glass like surface.”
    I have a set of their pans from 20 yrs ago 🙂 and they have held up beautiful, no scratches at all. I like them for stock & sauce pots and such. For Doing eggs I do not have the best luck with the enamel, although I got spoiled by nonstick cookware :), which I am replacing, along with my Non stick saute pan. Chantal does make a saute pan but I think its a medium size. Too small for what I need. The chantal pans are also very easy to clean up, even when eggs have stuck, I soak it for a bit.. or boil water and scrap it. Although it would be nice to have the ease of non stick or hard anodized which works so well for eggs.

  35. are “Bergner”/ “Chef Orpeza” ceramic coated aluminum pans ok?

  36. Hi Andrea, I’m not familiar with Bergner/Chef Orpeza pans. Do you have a link I can look at?

  37. Hi,

    I’m really looking for safe cookware for my family.

    Has anyone found a ceramic griddle?

  38. Hi Jeff, Did you want a stove top griddle or electric?

  39. Hi Lori,

    I’m looking for a stove top griddle. My stove top is glass/ceramic.

    Just want to make sure my family is healthy and not consuming toxins as much as possible.

  40. Hi Jeff, I really like cast iron pots and pans. I like this Lodge Logic LPGI3 Pro 20-by-10-7/16-Inch Cast-Iron Grill/Griddle. Here’s the link-http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00008GKDQ/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00008GKDQ&linkCode=as2&tag=grogreliv-20

    Thanks for taking such good care of your family.

  41. Hello,
    I’ve been checking out ZWILLING J A HENCKELS Spirit Thermolon cookware which claims to be PTFE and PFOA free. They are described as 3 ply stainless steel with a thick aluminium core and non toxic Thermolon non-stick ceramic coating. Have you heard of this brand and how would you check for lead before buying them especially. Thanks for any info you can provide.

  42. Yes I’m looking for a 10″ square pancake griddle that’s PFOA & PFTE, cadmium free either ceramic n non-stick or stainless steel. Which brands & stores do you recommend? Would appreciate your solutions on this.

  43. […] to my three boys, the trick to making the perfect scrambled eggs is using a stainless steel or cast iron pan and not cooking them too long.  Yellow with no brown is perfection. We use organic eggs when we […]

  44. […] are slowly being replaced with safer alternatives and ceramic pots happen to be on the ‘healthy pots and pans‘ list. Most of my non-stick Teflon is gone- I may have a few cake pans hiding behind other […]

  45. Great post! It’s comprehensive but succinct. We are cast iron, glass, ceramic and stoneware people, who have never gone for non-stick cookware. Reading this article made me feel good about the healthy choices we have made.
    timethief recently posted..Weekend Blogging Reads and ResourcesMy Profile

  46. Glad to hear you’re making healthy choices when it comes to pots and pans. Non-stick cookware-especially Teflon-is something I’ve gradually removed from my kitchen.

  47. Thank a lot for great information about green product, so grateful. I’ve read some useful information about nonstick cookware in Best Nonstick Cookware website as well.

  48. I’m about to purchase a healthy set of cookware, and I would like your advice. I was initially interested in the Cuisinart Green Gourmet set, but it still has hard-anodized aluminum, while it is PTFE/PFOA-free and petroleum-free Ceramic-based nonstick coating. I started to look at several stainless steel sets, but I know that I will not want to scrub the pots and pans after each use. I have heard that some ceramic cookware sets will easily chip. I want to be able to wash the pots in the dishwasher. What type or brand of cookware would you suggest that I purchase?

  49. After a lot of research on pans I decided on Le Creuset Forged Hard Anodized for my every day pans. I also got the Le Creuset stainless pans. BUT I love the hard anodized they are so easy to clean up with and esp. making eggs. But all things have cooked up well with these. I see an environmental MD and asked his views on this and he said that hard anodized is fine. I do worry myself with ceramic as most seem to have a glaze and yet many love them as a healthy pan. I also wanted to have a pan that would last for years, look nice and be a joy to use. 🙂 for day to day use I use the hard anodized and for stock pots and such I use Chantal company pans, and those I have had for Many many years and they look as good as the day I bought them. They’ve held up great.

  50. Dear Diane,
    Thank you so much for getting back to me! I truly appreciate your feedback. I also looked a the Le Creuset “Tri-ply stainless steel” pans that have aluminum & nonstick coating. Is that considered “safe?” I was hoping to find something that was completely free of aluminum due to the connection to Alzheimers.

    Btw, I love your website. Thank you!
    Thank you!
    Elizabeth (Liz)

  51. Have you looked at the Chantal pans? I have had a set of those for 20 yrs they are Great. I was doing all this research to find a healthy pan to use and it brought me right back to the pans I have used for years 🙂
    From my understanding the quality of the Le Cresuet helps with that tri ply meaning it is well made and less likely any issue with Aluminum But my favorite to use is the Le Creuset Hard anodized. I bought the small one Just for eggs, and Loved it. I then purchased a larger one because I use it so much. I also have a rare genetic condition where I do not clear toxins well. So this was a real concern for me, and my Dr. who specializes in Environmental Medicine said the hard anodized was good. I felt safe in choosing the hard anodized and also the ease of using those and washing up afterwards is so nice. You do need some oil in the pain BUT some olive oil is good for you or coconut oil. IT is an amazing pan for cooking and for clean up. The Chantal are so attractive for stock pots and such I use those mostly for stock pots. They do make some fry pans too. They also work well. Sometimes its mixing one pan like Le Creuset hard anodized for fry pan and sauté pans and then Chantal for stock type pans. They hold up beautiful over the years like I said mine are 20 yrs old That was when they made the beautiful emerald like green pans, now they have I think Red and white but its still nice, gives a splash of color to your kitchen and works great. I did like the Le Creuset hard anodized much better though for eggs. So I have both and with those I rarely use the stainless steel at all.

  52. Thanks for the great info Diane!

  53. Hi Lori, I found this website while searching whether Chantal Make & Take Ceramic Cookware has lead or if its safe. I was just wandering if you know anything about the Corning ware from the 60′, 70’s and 80’s. I still have a lot of pots [the ones you can use on top of the stove]in great condition from my wedding shower in the 60’s, I always use them. I’d like to know if they are safe. I have alway been health conscious and could never understand the use of teflon in cooking food for human or any other species consumption. I do hope that you can tell me if I’ve been cooking healthy all these years. Can you tell me anything about the Chantal Make & Take Ceramic Cookware? Your comments a greatly appreciated.


  54. Hi Olga, I asked my friend Tamara Rubin who’s a lead expert about Corning Ware. She said some does and some doesn’t. She mentioned that she tested Corning Ware with yellow flowers and it was off the charts for cadmium. So I guess the bottom line is there’s a chance that it does contain lead. You could get it tested if you want.

  55. Olga,
    Did you find out about Chantal Make and Take ceramic cookware if it does have lead?
    Like Lori said on the corning wear with the yellow flowers I have found that to be true on other items also like I believe what I was told by Le creuset is that there isnt’ any lead in their bakeware line.

    Also On their Cast Iron cookware, the exterior only enameled surfaces on colors such as flame and cherry red include trace of lead. I was told it passes California Prop 65.
    Even though it is ONlY on the outside of the cast iron and not interior. I think for many that are concerned with this May want to choose other colors than those mentioned that have trace amounts of lead.
    So you are right to question though if products contain lead, esp. our cookware and dishes, cups All those “trace amounts” make you wonder if they can Add up over time, and I think its best to avoid. Even if picking a different color, and maybe companies will start to use Alternative colors without adding Lead, even if it is ONLY on the outside of the products.
    I also have some old corning ware and never thought if it had lead in it, So Great that you brought this up. THANKS!!
    Lori I sure appreciate your site!

  56. Hi, I use stainless steel for most of my cooking on the stove top except when cooking eggs and fish. I still use a non stick for those since I can’t get it to not stick to my stainless steel. I want to toss my non stick since it’s so unhealthy but I need a really food alternative for it! I’ve considered cast iron but I hate how it takes extra effort to clean and season. So my question is what would be a good and safe cookware that works like non stick? I’ve heard of enameled cast iron and ceramic. Any thoughts?

  57. Tiffany,
    The Le Creuset Hard anodized is the best for this I feel. I am so happy with their pans for the EASE of cooking. As I stated on this site, you do need to add a little oil, but olive oil or coconut oil is all I use and its good for you. The eggs SLIP out of the pan and you rinse off and clean with Ease NO STICKING. I have bought two other sizes in these pans because I like cooking in them, and needed larger sizes.
    Each time I use them I am surprised with the ease of cooking and cleaning. Also as I mentioned I have a genetic condition where I do not clear toxins well and my environmental MD who is very well informed on these issues said YES the Hard anodized is Fine to use and safe. These pans work JUST like Non Stick with ease of cooking and cleaning , but BETTER, they cook better. I like how they cook even better, almost reminds me of like a cast iron.

  58. […] – made from scratch with half whole wheat flour, coconut oil and some flax seed meal on a cast iron griddle, served with real maple […]

  59. Do you know anything about the aeternum line sold by Bialetti? They say they are ceramic on the inside of the pans, aluminum in the middle, and hi-temp silicone on the bottom. My mother bought us one to try and we like it (it works well) but I’m still concerned about toxins in our food. The label says they are PTFE and PFOA free.

  60. Hi Leticia, I’m not familiar with the aeternum line. Do you have a link?

  61. […] – made from scratch with half whole wheat flour, coconut oil and some flax seed meal on a cast iron griddle, served with real maple […]

  62. I have the aeterium, and it chips down to the aluminum, you can’t stack it or use metal for fear of chipping…. Not buying that again. I would not recommend any ceramic coated aluminum.

  63. I love my stainless steel wok. If you season your wok properly it should not need to be soaked. I can fry an egg in mine with minimal fat and it does not stick. This did take repetetive seasoning, and I highly reccomend checking out how to season a wok online. You won’t regret the effort, you will have a naturally non-stick surface and a pan that will cook many different things.

  64. I find with things that stick, I will boil water in a tea kettle as I am getting done cooking, and then pour the boiling water ( if I am not deglazing) in the pan and with a spatular and paper towel or wash cloth I scrub out the burnt stuff, it comes off really well. As Long as you do it right away. 🙂
    Also making a baking soda paste helps.

  65. Hi Diane, I am trying to find the Le Creuset Hard anodized you are talking about and on their site it seems like what I am finding is the nonstick fry pans, are those what you are talking about?

  66. How about titanium? Looking for the absolute safest insert for a crockpot. Please advise.

  67. […] and non-toxic cookware. Despite the ease and convenience of non-stick pots and pans such as Teflon, many health conscious people (including me!) are tossing their non-stick and replacing them with healthier […]

  68. You stated Le Creuset can be placed over an open flame. FALSE. Do NOT EVER do this to Le Creuset, please! You may ruin your cookware beyond saving. It is pricey, even on sale, so it needs to be used properly. You stated you have not used cast iron, so before giving advice on something you’ve never used please, please research it properly first.

    Le Creuset can be used on ALL heat sources EXCEPT an open flame/fire. You would need bare cast iron for outdoor cooking, and a camp oven (has feet for coals to be put underneath) or a grate if you only have dutch ovens/skillets.

  69. Do you have any suggestions for a pancake griddle of some sort? I love the griddle I currently have – plugs in, can cook many at a time without sticking – but I’m sure it’s teflon coated. Are there any safer alternatives other than using a cast iron skillet which can only cook 2-3 pancakes at a time?

  70. Hi Jessica, great question! I’ve been looking for a while for a “safe” griddle. Right now I’m using a stainless steel pan and it’s pretty tricky. You could try Green Gourmet. I’ve never tried the brand, but I’ve heard good things. Let me know what you find.

  71. What is your opinion on Salad Master cookware (316 TI) and American Waterless Cookware (304 T Vacumatic Cookware.

  72. Hi Emelia, I’m not familiar with either. Could you provide me with links and I’ll take a look? Thanks.

  73. Hello, Thank you for your quick response. I have been out of the country, so I apologize for the delay.
    The links are below. Thank you.



    I am looking for the healthiest cookware for my family. I noticed you suggested All Clad. How does it compare to the two brands I am inquring about?

  74. While we have changed almost out our pots and pans, I am pretty sure my Belgian waffle maker has Teflon. It needs to be replaced anyway but are there any safer options? Thanks

  75. Hi Alison, I’ve been looking for a long time (years) for a safe waffle maker. Maybe I’ll do a post on this since I know I’m not alone. They’re hard to find if you want to keep it electric.

  76. Hi Emilia, since I’ve never used either brand it’s hard for me to compare to All Clad. I’ve been using All Clad for years and my pots and pans are fantastic.

  77. Hello, do you recommend any healthy dinnerware options?

  78. Hi Emelia, I’m not sure what you mean by ‘dinnerware’. Please explain what you’re looking for and I’ll see if I can help.

  79. […] How to Choose Healthy Pots and Pans | Groovy Green Livin – WHAT’S WRONG WITH TEFLON? Non-stick pots and pans are metal pans … Aluminum from pots and pans can leach into food when the foods being cooked or stored are highly basic … many of us are searching for healthy non toxic cookware. […]

  80. […] How to Choose Healthy Pots and Pans | Groovy Green Livin – Non-stick pots and pans are metal pans (such as aluminum pans) coated with a synthetic polymer called … The Staub cocotte cooking pot is perfect for recipes, which demand slow cooking such as stews … I do hope that you can tell me if I’ve been cooking healthy all these … […]

  81. […] The T-fal Clipso is a 6.3 QT. stainless steel pressure cooker. Not only is the exterior a beautiful, shinny stainless steel, but so is the interior. None of that non-stick toxic stuff. […]

  82. […] Yum! I saw this recipe in my Food & Wine magazine, by Tamalpais Star Roth-McCormick, and decided that it was perfect for a chilly day. Originally thought that I would be making it in my slow cooker, but decided to make it in my super cute green Cuisinart ceramic pot (roaster?). Honestly, I thought that the bright orange would look lovely with the green. My soup didn’t turn out as bright as I thought it would, but it was still quite wonderful! Healthier cookware…. […]

  83. Hi, I was wondering what you think of the Oster electric waffle maker that has Duraceramic non-stick coating that is PTFE & PFOA free

  84. Hi Lea, could you provide me with a link so I can take a look. I’ve been looking for a few years for a safe waffle maker. My kids would be so happy if I actually found one. Looking forward to taking a look.

  85. Hi Lori,
    I don’t have a link, but if you go onto http://www.Oster.com, choose side link to “cooking” and then choose “Duraceramic ” the product (along with a few others) will pop up. Looking forward to hearing what you think.

  86. Hi Lea, I went on the Oster site to see if I could figure out what they use for a DuraCeramic non-stick finish. I found nothing so I sent an email. I’ll let you know if I hear back. I’m very curious now.

  87. Thank you, I’ll be looking forward to hearing what you find out.

  88. […] See more HERE: How to Choose Healthy Pots and Pans […]

  89. Hi Lori, just checking to see if you heard back from your email to Oster. I read the Mom Detective site, but I’m still wondering if the Ceramic non-stick coating that is PTFE & PFOA free is a healthy option at a lower temp. Lea

  90. Hi Lea, I just heard back from Oster today! Here’s the email: “Thank you for contacting Oster, a brand of Jarden Consumer Solutions. Due to the proprietary nature of the information you are requesting, we are unable to provide this information. However, our DuraCeramic coating is free of PTFE, PFOA, fluoride, and lead.” Hope that helps!

  91. Thanks. It sounds promising don’t you think?

  92. Per the le crueset, I have used them for years and have a gas stove and putting it directly on the flame is fine. Not sure why someone thinks that is a problem but we do it everyday. No scorching or any problems. Note, Le Crueset isn’t ALL healthy, check their site, I use the enamel on cast iron but some of their stuff is from china and cheap. Make sure to check country of origin before buying as the stuff made in France is what people are referring to. I’ve never buy their mugs for instance which might have lead in them and are no better than the dollar store.

  93. We just got rid of all our caphalon Teflon pots and Are now trying to decide what to do with an older aluminum clad stainless steel pots set that my husband inherited in his single days… We are trying to figure out if they are safe to use for a little while longer or if we should get rid of them ASAP….We are slowly switching to All Clad pots and pans but it will take us awhile before we have a full replacement.

  94. Hi Lin, Great job getting rid of your Teflon pots. I’m not a fan of aluminum- the metal can leach into food when the foods being cooked. I know All Clad pots and pans are expensive so replace those pots from your hubby’s single days over time.

  95. If stainless steel cookware looks like a colorful rainbow inside after many years of usage, is it still safe to cook with?

  96. Hi Carole, my understanding is that the rainbow color is fine. It usually means that the cookware has been exposed to high heat. Try lemon juice or vinegar if you want to remove it.

  97. Thanks so much for posting all of this. I am trying to find some sort of pizza stone that is both lead free in clay and in glaze and it hasn’t been easy. I am wondering if I am over-thinking it. Any advice on where to find one? Thanks!

  98. Great question Erin. I have a pizza stone-but is probably 15 years old and built into my oven. Let me see what I can find.

  99. Great article! I have been working to replace my pans for a while now. I had an inexpensive (Calphalon) hard anodized cookware that got scratched up, and switched to the Bialetti Aeternum, which despite being very careful with is getting some nicks. Use cast iron occasionally, but I think it’s on to stainless steel!
    Question–have you done any research about healthy options for plates, bowls, mugs, etc.? After reading the comments about the Corning Ware, I’m really scared about the ceramic dishes I’ve been using in the microwave!

  100. Hi Caroline, Thanks so much for your comment. I’ve done a bit of personal research on dishes, but haven’t written about it as of yet. Thanks for the push-I’ll try to get a post up sometime soon.

  101. Hi Lorie,

    Lots of information here!
    How about an waffle iron? What’s the healthiest choice in your opinion,please?

  102. I have been looking everywhere for a safe waffle iron. If I find one I’ll let you know. Please do the same Carmen!

  103. […] been gradually making the switch to safer pots and pans. Nonstick finishes have come under fire in recent years due to the toxic fumes emitted when the […]

  104. Well, I found a cast iron one on amazon.com. You said cast iron it’s ok, right? They have ceramic ones too..Which one is safer..do you know? Which one would you choose?Thanks a lot!

  105. Target sells some ceramic waffle irons too..

  106. You are the best! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  107. The Healthy cookware to me would be the one which is un-glazed, metal and chemical free. I have replaced most of my metal and ceramic cookware with pure clay cookware and they do a great job in my kitchen. I use them to cook almost any recipe except for the dry fries. The most important fact about it is that they seal all the water soluble nutrients in and give you a healthier food. The clay used is tested to be lead and cadmium free and is sourced

  108. […] a large pot with water and bring water to a boil. I use a big stainless steel stock […]

  109. I find it rather disturbing that even in 2011 you were still citing link between Alzheimer’s and environmental sources of aluminum (and it’s not comforting that some of the commenters do the same, even more recently.) Despite decades of research, no such link has ever been demonstrated. Perhaps it’s time for people to focus on the real risk factors for the disease? http://alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=102

  110. Thanks for all these great tips in choosing pans and pots. I’m buying a new set this weekend so this was really helpful.

  111. We were looking to purchase a Blackstone outdoor griddle. It is made from rolled steel and is seasoned with oil. Is there risk in the metals in rolled steel or is this safe. Thanks.

  112. Hi Lori,

    Thank you very much for all those tips!!!

    Are you familiar with xtrema ceramic cookware and bake-ware? What do you think of it?

    Thank you

  113. Hi Milena, You’re so welcome. I did write a review of Xtrema cookware. Take a look here: http://groovygreenlivin.com/review-of-ceramic-cookware-from-xtrema/

  114. Hi
    Can you please share your views about the American salad master cookware

  115. I just bought a stainless steel pot with aluminum in the middle. Is it safe or will the aluminum come through?

  116. Hi Sandy, If the pot is scratched it’s possible for the aluminum to leach. I think many stainless pots have an aluminum core.

  117. What do think about Scanpan?

  118. Hi Mandy, I’m not familiar with Scanpan. Do you have a link?

  119. I always prefer healthy cookware, though those are pricy. I think steel pans/pots are safer. Thanks.

  120. […] It’s still a work in progress. Despite the ease and convenience of non-stick baking sheets, I’m committed to dumping the Teflon and replacing my non-stick with healthier […]

  121. Can you please share your views about the American salad master cookware

  122. Le Creuset enameled cast iron does not contain lead.

  123. There are two things that I always look first: Easy to clean and safe to use.
    Hope to best stainless steel cookware

  124. […] safer pots and pans. Cast iron is an old favorite for many of us. I’ve been gradually making the switch to safer pots and pans. Nonstick finishes have come under fire in recent years due to the toxic fumes emitted when the […]

  125. HI Lori, I have a 1988 Miksas Porcelain clad steel pots and pan. Are they safe to use. They are in in great condition Not sure of any toxins contained in these older pans

  126. Hi Sanaa, I’m not familiar with this brand. I would suggest contacting the company and asking them. Let me know what you find!

  127. […] groovygreenlivin.com […]

  128. I am searching for a safe, smooth surface, square griddle for my husband. He insists on buying cheap, nonstick pans and letting them sit, over high heat, to warm up… despite my complaints of toxic fumes and the dangers they present not only to us but my parrot.
    I have searched online and have found nothing.
    Has anyone any good suggestions?
    (I use cast iron but he doesn’t like them and they are beautifully seasoned).

    Thanks for any assistance anyone can offer.

  129. […] groovygreenlivin.com […]

  130. My favorite griddle is cast iron Helen. It’s rectangular and fits quite a few pancakes! If you change your mind here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002CMLTXG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B002CMLTXG&linkCode=as2&tag=grogreliv-20&linkId=RZJYF27WTRVQRJ5M

  131. I’m looking for a good cookie sheet that cooks evenly. The aluminum ones with placing a silicone sheet on top is what people suggest but as you stated in this article the silicone concerns me. Is there harm using an aluminum sheet with parchment paper? Or would you suggest the all-clad stainless steal cookie sheet? Or is there a ceramic covered cookie sheet that would be better? I’m not sure what would be safer along with cook the best.

  132. I am in preference of cast iron myself. Whilst I am not a chef, I would definitely call myself a cook and the flavours that come from a well seasoned cast iron pan; can add a much deeper flavor to most things.

    It is such a simple process to get it properly seasoned as well!

  133. Wow! Awesome tips in choosing the healthy pots and pans. Love it.

  134. It’s nice I came accross on this forum about non toxic pots and pans I decided to go with lagostina triply stainless steel with exterior copper. Will the aluminum content be an issue? The set was a consistent 4.9 and 5 star but I wanted to make sure it’s non toxic

  135. Try buying cookware made from all natural material such as  pure clay.  Miriam Earthen Cookware is made from 100% tested Pure clay so there is no possibility of chemicals or additives leaching into your food.  the raw material – pure clay is harvested from the surface of the earth as opposed to mining from deep within and the process of making it is 100% eco-friendly.

  136. I’m not familiar with Lagostina Elena. Could you send me a link?

  137. I have replaced all of my nonstick cookware with estate sale finds. I have been able to find skillets and pans that were made in the 60s before Teflon was the rage. I have replaced my skillets with Farberware and cast iron, and pans with Revereware. I am able to scramble and fry eggs with olive oil and butter without them sticking, so check out the weekend estate sales and get the vintage pans that were made to last a lifetime.

  138. Thanks for the tip Cathy!

  139. Great information. Lucky me I found your blog by chance (stumbleupon).

    I’ve saved as a favorite for later!
    Monserrate recently posted..MonserrateMy Profile

  140. In my opinion aluminium is great, thick, strong and light-weight, for you and your kitchen it will be best. It’s also healthy and can give you pleasure to cook and a different taste.

  141. I had aluminum, enameleD pans in the 70’s. Then Teflon untill the scare info. Many yrs I used r ever ware & cast iron. Now own Kitchen craft 7 ply Stanley steel, they r made in USA, great pans, pots. Still use cast iron, grew up w them. After reading about the aluminum, I should get rid of my dutch oven that was my Grandmothers. I clean the SS pans w soap & heat on the stove very easy to wash. Per the info in My book.

  142. […] Groovy Green Livin Blog outlines the options and makes recommendations. The full post is here, but to save you time and to give cleaning guidance, here’s our summary and […]

  143. […] How to choose healthy pots and pans – groovy green livin […]

  144. My wife and I have been thinking of using more cast iron. I wonder if any of the material gets into the food though!

  145. Hi,

    I’m in the market for a new crockpot but I haven’t found any info on a safe one. Thank you in advance for your help!


  146. Hi Crystal,

    I have an All Clad and a Vitaclay (rice cooker and slow cooker). I use both of them at least once each week. I researched them a while ago, but remember finding that both were safe.

  147. I am researching about Clay Cookware for this toxicity matter. Can anyone suggest about this Clay Cookware??

  148. I think stainless steel cookware is the best among all you described. It is safe than other types of cookwares.
    Sabrina recently posted..Why To Buy Good Stainless Steel Cookware Set – Detailed GuideMy Profile

  149. Sarah, the clay cookware are quite free form this toxic. But it is quite annoying if you see from maintaining part.

  150. Are the new cuisinart (TOA-60) AirFryer toaster oven interiors safe. It’s a non stick interior. Looking to purchase one but want to be sure there’s no chemicals being released while cooking.

  151. […] ago I started tossing my old, scratched non-stick pots and pans and slowly began to replace them with safer, non-toxic […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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