The 8 Best Ceramic Cookware Sets, Tested by Allrecipes
If you have concerns about nonstick cookware, or you want the easy-to-clean surface of nonstick cookware with the high-heat tolerance of stainless steel, then ceramic cookware just might be the fit for you.
Ceramic pans offer the best of all worlds. And it doesn't hurt that their glazed finish looks stunning on any stovetop. We tested eight of the top-rated ceramic cookware sets on the market by measuring their ability to fry eggs without sticking and to cook applesauce without scorching. Keep reading for our picks on which ceramic cookware sets actually live up to the hype, and which ones fell flat.
Best Ceramic Cookware Sets at a Glance
- Best Overall: GreenPan Revolution Ceramic Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set
- Best Budget: Cuisinart 11-Piece Set Ceramica XT Nonstick Cookware
- Best Nonstick Surface: Caraway 7-Piece Cookware Set
- Most Versatile: GreenLife Soft Grip Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set, 16-Piece
- Most Stylish: Bialetti Ceramic Pro Hard Anodized 10-Piece Cookware Set
What Is Ceramic Cookware?
Early forms of ceramic cookware date back thousands of years, but modern day ceramic cookware has evolved greatly from its ancient predecessors. What most people refer to as ceramic cookware is actually metal that has been glazed with a silicone-based nonstick coating derived from sand (the technical term for this coating is sol-gel). But you can also find ceramic cookware that is 100 percent ceramic (i.e. made from clay, baked in kiln, and glazed).
For the sake of our testing, we will be focusing on the former. Ceramic-coated cookware, also called ceramic nonstick cookware, is often constructed with an aluminum or stainless steel base for optimal heat conduction. The ceramic coating offers the easy-to-clean, nonstick surface, while the metal-base offers excellent conduction capabilities. It's often considered a safer alternative to nonstick cookware that is coated in Teflon, which at high temperatures (above 500 degrees F) can release toxic fumes.
On the downside, ceramic-coated cookware is less durable than its traditional nonstick and stainless steel counterparts: It's glaze tends to wear down faster. The more you use it, the more it wears down, and the more oil you'll need to use with it.
What to Consider When Buying a Ceramic Cookware Set
Most ceramic cookware sets (and all featured in this review), have an aluminum core. This combined with the outer coating make for an ultra-lightweight pan, another advantage to ceramic, especially if you have limited grip-strength or arthritis.
But you still want your cookware to be made to last. Look for cookware with handles that are securely riveted to the pan, and have tempered glass lids. These are both indicators of well-made cookware.
Size and Quantity
Since we're talking about cookware sets here, consider the number of pieces (and which pieces in particular), you're looking to add to your collection. Most pieces will include, at minimum, a saucepan, fry pan, Dutch oven/stockpot, and saute pan. From there you can get varying sizes of saucepans and fry pans, as well as a number of lids, utensils, and even accessories like steamer baskets. The sets tested in this review range in size from seven pieces to a whopping 16 pieces.
Keep reading for our picks for the best ceramic cookware sets. Plus, hear our thoughts on those that didn't quite make the cut.
The Best Ceramic Cookware Set of 2021
Best Overall: GreenPan Revolution Ceramic Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set
GreenPan considers themselves pioneers of nontoxic, ceramic nonstick cookware, and this set lived up to the hype. It was attractive and professional looking, and the pieces were neither bulky nor heavy. While the pans are dishwasher safe (a major plus), they were incredibly easy to clean and likely would never need to go in the dishwasher, which would extend their life.
As far as cooking, this was one of only two sets tested that had no sticking at all in either test. The fried egg was golden brown, the yolk was over easy, and it was a cinch to flip and remove from the pan. In the applesauce test, the apples cooked down to a soft, easily mashable texture, which couldn't be said of every Dutch Oven/stock pot tested. This set is on the expensive side, but its performance, look, and feel justify the price tag.
Buy it: $400; williams-sonoma.com
Best Budget: Cuisinart 11-Piece Set Ceramic XT Nonstick Cookware
If you're looking to stretch your hard-earned dollars a bit more, this Cuisinart cooking set comes in right at $100 and throws in a steamer basket to boot. While the look isn't flashy, it's cohesive and the pieces nest well for easy storage. Rubber coverings on the handles are soft and comfortable, and they eliminate the need for an oven mitt to move the pans around during and after cooking.
Both pans we tested heated up pretty fast, producing an over medium egg that stuck a bit but came out of the pan in one piece and apples that were relatively soft but not necessarily to the point of sauce. However, if you take into account the speedy heating, this makes for a fine nonstick cookware set.
Best Nonstick Surface: Caraway 7-Piece Cookware Set
The only other cookware set that had no sticking at all in both tests, Caraway lived up to its online reputation. The pans are incredibly modern and sleek looking and are offered in five colors. They were on the heavier side but still comfortable to hold. While the covers weren't glass like the other sets, they lay flat and snugly and released steam through a hole that proved key during the applesauce test. The cooking surface is smooth, has an attractive ceramic look, and lived up to its nonstick claims.
Where this set falls slightly short is in the price. It's the smallest set of all those tested at only seven pieces (four pans and three lids), while also one of the most expensive. It does come with storage solutions for both the pans (to stand and store them on their sides) and the lids (a hanging canvas holder), an extra not included in any of the other sets, which offsets the price a bit.
Most Versatile: GreenLife Soft Grip Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set, 16-Piece
While this wasn't the only 16-piece set tested, these 16 pieces were the most useful. In addition to two frying pans, two lidded saucepans, one lidded sauté pan, and one lidded stockpot, this GreenLife set comes with a mini frying pan, a steamer basket, and four kitchen utensils, making it a great gift set or bundle of cookware to restart your kitchen collection. It comes in a rainbow of colors, and the pans are surprisingly light, which makes them very easy to use and handle (despite the fact that the handles on the stockpot have a rather odd shape).
As far as the testing, the apples were very soft and mashed easily. The frying pan heated up incredibly quickly, thus producing a stuck-on, subpar egg that was a bit disappointing, but the heating speed could be better accounted for on later uses.
Buy it: $100
Most Stylish: Bialetti Ceramic Pro Hard Anodized 10-Piece Cookware Set
If you like a modern, trendy look to your cookware, the Caraway set might be more up your alley. But if you like a streamlined, professional, classic look, this Bialetti cookware set is the clear winner. With gray-on-gray bodies, slim stainless steel handles, and glass covers with stainless steel rims, these light, sleek pans look much more expensive than their relatively reasonable price tag. What's more, the frying pan produced a perfect over easy egg with no sticking at all. The only knock: Despite having a hole to release steam, the cover of the Dutch oven jiggled rather noisily on and off throughout the applesauce test, suggesting that perhaps it should have been a little heavier or fit a little tighter.
Other Cookware Sets We Tested
These ceramic cookware sets just missed the mark, but they're still top-rated, functional cookware sets.
Blue Diamond Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set, 10-Piece
This Blue Diamond cookware set narrowly missed out on a place above for two key reasons. First, the egg was over hard, despite the fact that it happened to have two yolks. And two, the steam hole-less cover jiggled quite loudly and unpleasantly throughout the applesauce test. It's an attractive set otherwise, though it comes with two cooking utensils instead of a second saucepan.
Buy it: $100
Williams Sonoma Professional Ceramic Non-Stick Plus 10-Piece Cookware Set
Despite being the priciest set that was tested, this Williams Sonoma set landed somewhere in the middle in terms of performance. The egg was a nice, tasty over medium, but it stuck to the pan and was not pretty by the time it made it to the plate. Likewise, the applesauce was soft and tasty, but there were some burnt pieces stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Buy it: $500; williams-sonoma.com
T-fal Initiatives Nonstick Ceramic Cookware Set, 16-Piece
As expected by the price, the pieces in this T-fal set don't look as high-end as some of the more expensive sets. The handles are soft and comfortable to hold, and the pans are all quite light. Plus, this was the only set with a square griddle (though it was instead of a lidded sauté pan). Where it fell short was performance: The frying pan heated up too fast, producing a stuck-on egg with a still runny yolk, and there were quite a few burnt pieces of apple stuck to the bottom of the Dutch oven.
How We Tested Each Cookware Set
After rounding up a collection of top-rated ceramic cookware sets, Allrecipes product tester Alyssa Sybertz tested two pieces in each set: the frying pan and the Dutch oven/stockpot.
- Frying an egg in the frying pan. Alyssa heated each pan over medium heat for two minutes. She then added an egg, cooked for two minutes, flipped, and cooked for an additional one minute before removing it from the pan (note that we chose not to use oil or butter in our testing in order to measure the nonstick capabilities; however some brands suggest using a little fat to prevent sticking). For each pan, she noted how well it cooked on the first side, ease of flipping/if it stuck, how much it cooked on the second side, and how runny the yolk was at the end.
- Making applesauce in the Dutch oven/stockpot. For each pot, Alyssa cooked the apples, water, and sugar for 25 minutes, then checked to see how much the apples broke down, how much mashing was required, how thick the applesauce was, and how easy it was to pour it out and clean the pot.
During testing, Alyssa paid special attention to the following factors:
- Overall Feel: Are the pieces heavy? Are the handles comfortable to hold? Do the covers fit snugly?
- Look: Is it attractive? Does it come in colors? Is the look cohesive?
- Ease of Storage: Are the pieces bulky? Can they nest and take up less space?
- Ease of Cleaning: Dishwasher safe or hand wash only?
- Cooking Surface: What do they recommend in terms of greasing the pan? How is the nonstick surface?
- Overall Value: How many pieces do you get for the price? Is it worth the money?