Is Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Safe? [Myth Vs. Reality]

Kitchen Under 100 is supported by our readers. When you purchase an item through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Ceramic non-stick cookware has been heavily promoted as the safest non-stick to replace the Teflon cookware. It has been widely used and appreciated by consumers all over the world now. Many people are already using this ceramic nonstick cookware without knowing the facts about its safety.

However, concerns are brought up about the safety of ceramic non-stick coating and the possibility of the inclusion of lead and cadmium in the coating.

Other questions include the chipping of ceramic non-stick coating and its effects on our health.

Is Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Safe?

Ceramic non-stick pots and pans is generally a safe option. It eliminates the hazards of PTFE and PFOA, potentially toxic chemicals utilized in the production of traditional Teflon non-stick cookware. But scratches on ceramics coatings and poisonous toxins leaching into the food can have adverse harmful effects. Don’t miss to check our recommendations for the best non stick pan without Teflon.

Structure of Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware

How Safe is Ceramic Non-Stick CookwareAs opposed to using PTFE in the coating, Ceramics non-stick cookware has a silicon-based coating made of silicon dioxide to give it a non-sticky quality and prevent food from sticking to the pan.

The ceramic pans have a metal core usually made of Aluminum and are coated with sol-gel technology by dipping or spraying. The top coating is then hardened by curing (using high heat) so that the coating adheres to the metal base.

The final outcome is the slick glass-like finish of ceramic that has no pores for food particles to stick. Two or three layers of sol-gel coating are applied to make the non-stick ceramic cookware more resistant to scratches and are considered as the best non stick pan for high heat.

How Different Is It From Pure Ceramic Cookware?

Structure of Ceramic Non-Stick CookwareNon-stick ceramic cookware isn’t related to real ceramics; it’s just that the top-finish resembles the original ceramic pots and pans finish.

Pure or 100% ceramic cookware is made of clay that is hardened with fire and is later molded in the form of desired cookware. No metal and toxic chemicals are used in the process of pure ceramic cookware

How Safe is Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware?

Now that we have understood the composition of non-stick ceramic cookware and the difference between pure ceramics and coated ceramics let’s talk about how safe ceramic non-stick pan exactly is.

The two main safety concerns are:

  • Chipping of non-stick coating and inner metal exposure.
  • Lead and cadmium in the ceramic non-stick coating.

Exposure to Aluminum Metal Due To Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware’s Scratching

Scratches on Ceramic Non-Stick PanThe troubling question that bothers is usually regarding the food in contact with bare chipped metal and does it really leach into foods?

The answer is yes; the aluminum metal does leach into foods when the non-stick coating starts coming off and the pan is severely chipped.

Aluminum leakage from any cookware may have neurodegenerative and carcinogenic effects on the individual.

Because of this, ESFA has regulated the minimum tolerable weekly intake of aluminum as 1 mg of aluminum/kg body weight /week.

Since our dietary exposure to aluminum metal comes from varied sources such as food additives, food colors, pharmaceuticals. So, exposure to aluminum metal from cookware may likely increase its permissible limit.

However, the point of consideration is that the chipping can expose only a small surface area of metal and it leaches less amount of aluminum as opposed to cookware made of pure aluminum.

Also, the mineral leaking depends on temperature and the type of food you are cooking in the pots.

So, if your ceramic non-stick cookware is heavily chipped and scratched, it’s time for you to throw your pan. Minor scratches don’t contribute to harmful effects on health.

Lead and Cadmium Exposure

Older ceramic glazing used to contain lead and cadmium to give the cookware shine. The lead and cadmium could leach into food and bones can absorb lead, resulting in osteoporosis. Lead poisoning can also cause high BP, reduced sperm counts, and other health scares.

However, in the U.S.A., there are strict FDA guidelines (proposition 65 related to toxic chemicals)  for cookware to reduce the lead and cadmium content in the cookware.

So, all the ceramic cookware manufacturers have to adhere to the guideline, and they can’t use these toxic chemicals in the making of non-stick ceramic pans.

To be more on the safe side, always read the manufacturer’s label; all the best ceramic non-stick pans’ brands such as Green Pan, Green Life, Calphalon ceramic cookware mention their products to be free of lead and cadmium.

Green Life Ceramics PansGreen Life Ceramics Pans

Green Life is one of the leading ceramic cookware manufacturers, making PTFE, PFOA, lead and cadmium free pans that eliminate all the health hazards associated with Teflon. The pans are environmentally friendly in their true sense as they utilize recycled aluminum in their construction. Not just that, the company has adopted a healthier approach by using materials that cut 60% carbon emission and 30% less energy usage.

As for the coating, GreenLife pans use Thermolon technology that has super heat conductivity, uses less oil. The sturdy construction has a forged base that also prevents wobbling and warping.

Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware Vs. Teflon? Comparison

If you are confused between choosing ceramic or Teflon cookware, let’s look at their pros and cons so you can determine which cookware is better for you from the health perspective, longevity and non-stick quality.

Temperature Endurance

Teflon coating starts breaking down at 500° F. If your cookware exceeds the temperature threshold, it can release toxic fumes, hazardous to birds and humans and cause Teflon flu.

Ceramic coatings start breaking down at 800° F (426° C) in theory. However, release characteristics of ceramic coating start diminishing at 662° F.

And even if your ceramic pan reaches a high temperature, no toxic fumes are emitted. That’s why ceramic pans are a healthier alternative for high-temperature cooking.

Food Release

Initially, ceramic coatings are better than Teflon at releasing food due to the non-porous surface. But the non-stick quality of ceramics diminishes way faster than Teflon.

Stain Resistance

Owing to the tight molecules network in the sol-gel coating, non-stick ceramic pans are more stain-resistant than PTFE-based Teflon coating.


Sol-gel ceramics coating technology can adapt to different color coatings. That’s why we see pretty pastel-colored ceramic pots and pans, whereas Teflon coatings usually have black and grey colors.

Pros & Cons of Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware

Pros Cons
These are Teflon-free non-stick pans and are healthier options. The non-stick quality doesn’t last long and you need to replace it sooner.
Doesn’t emit toxic fumes at high temperatures. Cooking on a heavier scratched ceramic coated pan is not good for health.
Non-Reactive Surface.
Non-toxic ceramic cookware resists staining.
More visually appealing due to different colors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How good is ceramic cookware?

Pure ceramic cookware is an excellent option if you are concerned about toxic chemicals leaching into the food as they are made of 100%  natural elements. They can also withstand higher temperatures, are scratch-resistant, and the food cooked in pure ceramic is more delicious and nutritional.

Ceramic coated cookware, aka ceramic non-stick cookware, has better food release due to the slick non-stick coating. Non-stick ceramic cookware is easier to clean, healthier than PTFE-based Teflon and visually appealing.

Is ceramic non-stick better?

Ceramic non-stick is better due to the non-porous surface. The stickier and trickier protein, such as fish and eggs, releases the surface with only a dash of oil. However, the non-stick quality starts deteriorating earlier than Teflon coating.

Is ceramic really non-stick?

Ceramic pans are non-sticky only if they use Silicon-based non-stick coating. Pure ceramic pans have a ceramic glaze that can naturally repel food. However, they aren’t true non-stick, and you will still have to use more oil or butter for cooking in pure ceramic pans.

Is ceramic coating safer than Teflon?

Yes, ceramic coating is safer than Teflon as it doesn’t emit toxic fumes at higher temperatures. The coating is free of toxic chemical groups of PTFE, PFOA, PFAS and Gen X.

And the FDA has regularized toxic chemicals such as lead and cadmium used in Ceramic coating, so most of the manufacturers are now following the regulations of the FDA and don’t use these harmful chemicals in the ceramic cookware construction.

Are non-stick ceramic pans safe for gas stoves?

Ceramic pans are safer not only for gas stoves but all kinds of stoves, including induction burners, if they have a stainless steel plate bonded to the bottom. Since the pans are easier to clean, the blackened pans resulting from gas flames can also easily be cleaned. Gas stoves have sudden temperature changes, and good ceramic pans are resilient to these sudden temperature changes and don’t warp or wobble.

You can also check these best non stick pans for gas stove.

Is ceramic cookware suitable for high-temperature cooking?

Theoretically, ceramic coated cookware can withstand high temperatures up to 800° F. However, the non-stick quality starts degrading at lower temperatures, so you will still have to be careful and read the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific brand before cooking at high temperatures.

Compared to Teflon, they are safer for high-temperature cooking as Teflon emits toxic fumes. In contrast, ceramic cookware doesn’t pose any health threat and doesn’t emit toxic fumes at high temperatures.

How to fix scratched ceramic pan?

You can watch this short video and implement the steps to fix scratched non stick pan.

Wrapping Up!

To sum up, we can say that ceramic is a healthier alternative than Teflon until it is heavily scratched. The scratches on the ceramic coating is an indication for you to replace your non-stick pot or pan. As for lead and cadmium, these chemicals are now being regulated and banned by FDA, so there are very few chances of finding these toxins in your ceramic non-stick cookware. But the non-stick quality of Teflon lasts longer than ceramic-coated pans.

About Amelia

Hello, I’m Amelia. Welcome to my blog KitchenUnder100.Com. Over here I regularly post kitchen hacks, reviews of kitchen tools, utensils and related articles. My mission is to search and recommend the best kitchen products, so you don't waste your precious time and money on anything that is not worth it.

Leave a Comment