True Non-Stick Pans That Look as Good as They Perform
If you’ve been suffering through tough clean-ups and ugly pans on your mission to stay PTFE-free, then Caraway is here to reward you.
These gorgeous ceramic pans are 100% chemical and PTFE-free but function as well (dare I say, better!?) than Teflon pans. The cooking surface is made up of multiple layers of naturally nonstick ceramic that’s smooth as silk and even slipperier than PTFE. An aluminum core provides quick, even heating in a package that’s safe for every member of the household.
Add to that impressive performance seven-plus color choices, a focus on Earth-friendly production, and a price tag that swoops below the competition, and you’ve got one compelling option for your next cookware set.
Review Criteria Ratings
- Impressively nonstick with little to no oil
- Heats fast and evenly
- Cleans up in seconds
- Beautiful with multiple color choices
- Well-priced and come with plenty of useful extras
- Requires careful care to avoid chipping and scratching
- Takes up a lot of room for proper storage
- Nonstick surface can wear down without proper care
Should You Buy It?
Whether you’re looking for safe, effective nonstick pans or just want to add a little pizazz to your cooking experience, Caraway delivers. This set is more than worth the price and perfect for anyone who wants nonstick without the risks and can handle a little extra responsibility when it comes to caring for your pots and pans.
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Caraway Cookware Overview
Like Made-In, Misen, Legend Cookware, and a handful of other cookware startups that have shaken up the industry in recent years, Caraway started as a direct-to-consumer company. Their pans were so immediately well received that they are now available through select secondary retailers, including Crate & Barrel and West Elm.
In addition to cookware, the company also sells a large line of bakeware and kitchen linens.
In the cookware category, the options are intentionally limited. As the motto goes, why make many when you can perfect a few. That’s exactly what Caraway has gone for.
Their cookware, which is available as a full set or as individual pieces, includes a 10.5-inch fry pan, 3-quart sauce pan, 4.5-quart saute pan, and a 6.5-quart dutch oven. With the exception of the fry pan, each piece comes with a flat profile coated aluminum lid.
When you order the cookware as a full set, you get three lids (the dutch oven lid also fits the fry pan), four size-specific magnetic pot racks, a hanging lid holder, and two cork surface protectors.
Each pan features an aluminum core with a multilayer ceramic cook surface that offers nonstick cooking without chemicals. The exteriors of the pans are coated in paint that comes in seven standard colors plus additional limited release options that vary by season. The handles are hollow stainless steel with a Y-shaped attachment for less heat conductivity and better durability.
The bottom of each pan features a stainless steel base for longer-lasting performance and induction cooktop compatibility.
With all of their products, Caraway takes an Earth-first approach. Their packaging is 100% recycled cardboard and free from plastic. And their manufacturing process releases up to 60% less CO2 than the manufacturing of other types of pots and pans.
All of their cookware is made in China, but the company promises ethical working conditions and maintains the required standards for BSCI and SMETA.
Aside from the green attitude and beauty of these pans, the biggest selling point of Caraway is their effective nonstick surface. The ceramic is free of chemical and harmful additives common to 95% of nonstick pans.
This cookware certainly looks good and comes with some big promises, but how does it perform?
I had a chance to try their entire cook set in my own kitchen. Keep reading to find out how these pans stacked up and to see my full Caraway Cookware review.
How Caraway Cookware Performs
There is still a lot of debate about the safety risks associated with modern PTFE cookware. Most researchers agree that as long as these pans are kept below 500 degrees, they won’t release harmful toxins into your food or air.
As a parrot owner and a bit of a distracted cook, this “promise” of relative safety has never been enough for me.
Birds are notoriously sensitive to toxins in the air (hence the use of canaries in coal mines). And anything that could kill my pet can’t be good for the rest of my family. For that reason, I don’t have any nonstick pans in my house.
I can’t tell you how excited I was to put these Caraway pans to the test. Below, I’ll tell you where they impressed and where they fell short.
The first test I did with these pans was my ultimate nonstick test: scrambled eggs. I have yet to meet a pan—nonstick or otherwise—that can handle me making scrambled eggs without requiring an extensive scrubbing after.
I knew Caraway would be up to the challenge the second the eggs hit the surface.
Those eggs slid around like they were on an ice rink and didn’t stop even after the bottom crust began to form. Even with minimal stirring, I ended up with beautifully done scrambled eggs and barely a molecule of residue on the pan.
I continued my cooking trial with fried eggs, plant-based ground meats and sausage, spaghetti sauce, and rice. All cooked up beautifully and not a single morsel stuck to the pots and pans.
I will say that I was very careful with my pan prep and heat settings. As the instructions recommended, I let the pans heat on medium-low before adding oil or food and cooked everything on a much lower heat than I would with my stainless pans. Despite this, everything cooked quickly and evenly.
I did add a small amount of oil or butter during my first trials, but I doubt this was completely necessary. I skipped the oil when frying the eggs and still didn’t experience any sticking.
Unsurprisingly, considering what little debris was left in the pans when I was done with them, this cookware cleaned up as easily as anything. It took me about ten seconds to run a soapy rag over the scrambled egg pan and it was back to looking brand new.
The spaghetti saucepan took the longest to clean, but only because I was careful to let the pan cool before I washed it. This gave the sauce time to harden. Even still, I was able to wipe everything clean with just a soapy rag and literally no elbow grease.
I’ve read other reviews that say that the cookware’s cooking and outer surfaces are easy to scratch and chip. I’ve been very careful with mine and haven’t had any issues, but I could see this being a problem if you weren’t so meticulous.
This damage that others experienced led to the nonstick surface being less effective over time. But, I imagine, as long as you stick to wood or silicon tools and clean carefully and diligently, this shouldn’t be a problem.
When you buy the full Caraway Cookware set, you get the benefit of some great organizational accessories.
A four-piece magnetic pan rack provides the perfect way to store your pans on the counter or in the cupboard. I highly recommend going all-in on this storage option. While it’s not as compact as stacking the pans, it really is your best bet for keeping them from getting damaged.
The ceramic cook surface relies on a smooth, unblemished plane to keep food from sticking. Unfortunately—and this truly is the biggest drawback of these pans—it doesn’t take much to damage the surface of a ceramic pan.
Note: Using metal utensils during cooking or hard scrubbers during cleaning is guaranteed to damage this cookware. Stacking them in a drawer or knocking them against the counter is equally likely to chip or scratch the surfaces.
For this reason, the storage racks are absolutely worth using, even though this storage method takes up more space than stacking would.
The lid storage unit, on the other hand, is great in all respects. This piece is made of thick cloth and is meant to hang on the inside of your cupboard door. It even comes with stick-on hooks for easy installation. The flat lids slip easily into the pockets for low-profile, out-of-the-way storage.
Caraway advertises its cookware as stovetop agnostic, meaning they can be used on gas, electric, and induction cooktops.
I certainly had no problem using it on my glass-top electric stove. The only issue I could see with a coil or gas stove is the need to be extra careful not to bang the bottoms or sides of the pans on the burners. I imagine it would be easy to scratch the stainless base or chip the paint this way.
As far as induction compatibility goes, I can’t say for sure how well they would work. I had previously inquired as to the exact material used in the stainless steel base of these pots and was told by Caraway that the stainless used is not magnetic, which would mean these pans are not good candidates for induction use.
However, now that I have these pans, I can tell you with certainty that the stainless steel used is magnetic. The base also fully covers the bottom of the pan, which means there should be plenty of connectivity between the induction burner and cookware to quickly heat up the aluminum core.
Considering this, I would guess these pans would work on an induction cooker at least as well as any aluminum-core, stainless-steel-base cookware out there.
Alternatives to Caraway Cookware
Caraway easily blows away the competition when it comes to great-looking, chemical-free nonstick cookware. But if you’re after pans that can better handle a little abuse without needing added oil to be nonstick or a large cookware set fit for a professional chef, there are other options.
For a large-piece set that has every pan you’ll ever need, look no further than Legend Cookware’s 14-piece copper core set. This gorgeous cookware set comes with 4 pots, a saute pan, and 3 frying pans, plus matching lids, to cover every cooking need you could have. And with a full copper core and unparalleled craftsmanship, these pieces easily outperform the competition to make cooking a joy.
If you’re after durable cookware that is free of chemical coatings, 360 Cookware is worth a look. These unique stainless-clad aluminum pans are thicker than your average stainless and can stand up to whatever you throw at them. They aren’t nonstick, but their unique design allows for steam cooking, which naturally prevents food from sticking to the surface.
|Features||Caraway Cookware||Legend Cookware Copper Core||360 Cookware|
|Materials||Ceramic clad aluminum with stainless base||Full copper core with aluminum and stainless steel layers||Aluminum clad in stainless and carbon steel|
|Selling Points||All-natural nonstick coating||Well crafted with premier cooking performance||Steam cooking capable for oil-free cooking|
Things to Consider Before Buying New Cookware
As you can see from the above table, there are a lot of different options available when it comes to cookware. Before you commit to any one product there are a few things you should consider to assure the set is right for you.
- Materials – Stainless steel, stainless clad, aluminum, ceramic, copper, carbon steel, cast iron—there are a lot of choices out there. The best cookware material for your family will depend on your cooktop setup, cooking habits, and personal preferences.
- Nonstick rating – Pans can either be nonstick, naturally nonstick, or not nonstick. Chemically coated nonstick pans tend to be easy to use but require careful attention to be used safely. Natural nonstick options, like ceramic, are safer but often require careful handling to keep the nonstick surface performing as it should. Pans that aren’t nonstick tend to be durable but require more oil and take extra time to clean.
- Weight – Ceramic pans are heavier than stainless steel but are nowhere near as heavy as cast iron. The weight of your pans is important not just because you have to lift them, but because heavy pans can easily damage glass top stoves and require special storage considerations.
- Care – Expensive pans require extra care during prep and cleaning, but so do very cheap pans that are likely to warp easily with temperature changes. The material of the pan will also determine how much abuse it can stand up to and what types of tools and cleaning materials can be used on it.
- Storability – How easy it is to store your cookware will depend on the size of the set, the size of the individual pans, and if they can be stacked or not. Consider your storage space options before committing to any one product.
A quality, nonstick cook set can save you time and energy in the kitchen while putting your mind at ease about safety concerns.
The Caraway Cookware set does all this while performing amazingly and looking great.
These gorgeous pots and pans function as well as top-of-the-line coated nonstick pans but carry none of the risks associated with overheating. The natural ceramic cook surface requires a little extra care to maintain but is well worth the effort for even, easy cooking and even easier cleanup.
To learn more about Caraway Cookware or to pick your new colorful set, click here.