PFAS-Free Nontoxic Cookware
In 2016, the New York Times wrote a piece on the lawyer who finally took down cookware manufacturer, DuPont. The company’s West Virginia factory was found to be polluting ground water, poisoning livestock, and killing employees and townspeople.
The culprit was its nonstick cookware. The PFAS (Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances) used to coat pots and pans are toxic. Side effects of PFAS exposure include lowered immunity in children, liver damage, thyroid disease, kidney disease, kidney and testicular cancer, pregnancy issues, and more.
More recently, these same chemicals have been found in fast fashion clothing. Most notably, Shein was called out in 2022 for high levels of lead and PFAS in clothing and accessories.
A number of state and federal PFAS regulations and bans have been proposed. But the compound’s ability to repel stains, grease, and water have made it a popular finish in all sorts of products.
And bans that only factor in one kind of PFAS, like the PFOA most commonly found on cookware, mean that there are gaps. For instance, when Consumer Reports tested three different types of “PFOA-free” cookware, they found 16 different types of PFAS in Swiss Diamond brand products. For this reason, Consumer Reports recommends looking for products labeled as PTFE-free, not just PFAS or PFOA-free.
The good news is that many types of cookware have no need of PFAS to achieve a nonstick surface.
In this post, I am sharing three different types of PFAS-free nontoxic cookware that I personally use: Ceramic, Cast Iron, and Stainless Steel. Ceramic and cast iron provide a nonstick surface without PFAS. Stainless steel isn’t nonstick, but it is a timeless and versatile option.
Note that I have done my best to research these brands using the consumer information available to me. Unfortunately, no consumer product is 100% safe in all circumstances. These are brands and products that I trust based on my research.
6 Nontoxic Cookware Brands: My Top Picks
This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated should you make a purchase using my link, at no additional cost to you.
Ceramic Pots and Pans
*Ceramic cookware is nonstick and a very popular product. Just remember not to use metal utensils or abrasive sponges, as this could scratch the ceramic surface.
PTFE-free, ceramic-coated, aluminum cookware is naturally nonstick. Caraway supports BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) and SMETA ethical trade audits to ensure worker health and safety. They also used recycled cardboard in their packaging. I have this set in Marigold (provided for review) and love how uniformly each pot and pan retains heat.
Our Place Always Pan
Although home goods brand, Our Place, carries more than cookware, their most popular product is the PTFE-free, ceramic-coated Always Pan. Slightly more expensive than Caraway (based on the size of the saute pan), Our Place’s range of cookware is still a healthy and beautiful option.
Cast Iron Pots and Pans
*Uncoated cast iron should we washed with minimal detergent and always re-sealed with a light coat of oil after thoroughly drying.
Founded in 1896, Lodge makes timeless and high quality cast iron cookware. Their pots and pans are pre-seasoned with wax or vegetable oil, which means they already have a nontoxic and nonstick surface.
Le Creuset is a top-of-the-line hybrid between cast iron and coated pans. Products are enameled with porcelain for reduced sticking and easy-cleanup, but the hefty cast iron base makes for a consistent and reliable cooking experience. (You can sometimes find Le Creuset secondhand!)
Stainless Steel Pots and Pans
*Stainless steel is super versatile, easy to clean, and holds up well. Copper bottom stainless steel conducts heat more evenly. It’s not non-stick, so make sure to use a good amount of oil or butter.
Revere Ware (Secondhand)
I am a Revere Ware stan. Though the original company went out of business, their copper bottom stainless steel pans are a joy to cook with. I found my set at a thrift store, but you can also find them on secondhand sites like Ebay.
Cuisinart is a well-known kitchen products brand that makes higher end and more affordable stainless steel cookware. I particularly like their small and medium-sized sauce pans.
What’s your favorite? Ceramic, cast iron, or stainless steel?