Ceramic Cookware Pros, Cons and Everything You Need To Know From The Team That Makes And Uses It
Ceramic cookware is all the rage these days! Who could resist their bright colours and the promise of saying goodbye to stubborn food stains that took forever to scrub?
Not forgetting how the news on Teflon-coated cookware took the world by storm with toxic controversy. The world is now simply more conscious about their choice of cookware.
Now everyone naturally searches for safer, non-toxic alternatives to traditional non-stick cookware. Enter ceramic cookware, a fine example of cookware that has quickly gained popularity among health-conscious home cooks and foodies.
Ceramic cookware certainly swept through the culinary world, replacing the dark look of traditional non-stick and sometimes intimidating appearance of stainless steel cookware with its vibrant modern design and colourful appearance that also boasts a formidable non-stick surface.
Tempted to hop on the bandwagon? Well hold up! It’s always important to know what you’re getting into instead of doing it impulsively then ending it with an "oh no!".
This definitive guide dives deeply into ceramic cookware’s pros and cons, along with everything you need to know directly from the team that makes and uses it.
But wait…did you know that there are different types of "ceramic cookware"?
Certain regions have different views on what ceramic cookware actually is. We’ve got pure ceramic cookware, which is traditional earthenware you’d commonly see in the form of baking dishes, and then we have ceramic coated cookware, now widely known as ceramic cookware. Let’s take a quick look at how they differ:
Pure Ceramic Cookware
Pure ceramic cookware is earthenware made entirely of clay. It’s made by firing it at high temperatures to create a durable, non-reactive material that is safe for cooking.
While it has excellent heat retention and distribution properties for even cooking and searing, its porous nature and sometimes rough surface makes it a lesser choice for homes that aren’t into the fuss of meticulous maintenance to keep it tox-free. Great examples of this are the Chinese claypot and North African tagine (pictured above).
Ceramic Coated Cookware
Ceramic coated cookware is made with a metal core, usually aluminium or stainless steel, with layers of ceramic surrounding it, resulting in a sturdy design. The core allows it to hold its form, while multiple layers of ceramic coating serves as a protective, functional layer.
True to the spirit of this article, we’ll be referring to the latter (ceramic coated cookware) as ceramic cookware.
Ceramic Cookware Pros and Cons Part 1: The Pros
1. Natural non-stick surface for easy food release and healthier cooking
Remember how we mentioned earlier that ceramic cookware is coated by layers of ceramic? That’s how you get the smooth, shiny look on and around ceramic cookware. This very same smoothness prevents food from sticking as you cook or bake on it.
Health-conscious foodies love it because they’ll need little to no oil or butter for easy release of food while cooking on ceramic. And if they love it, you’ll definitely love it too with how it makes cooking effortless.
2. Even heat distribution for consistent cooking results
Ceramic cookware is known for its ability to distribute heat evenly. This comes from the metal core within that holds its form while ensuring even heat distribution.
Cooking delicate dishes like fish, chicken, and even pancakes become effortless when you cook on a pan that heats evenly because there are no hot spots. It gets even better when you add non-stick into the mix. ;)
3. Non-toxic, chemical-free construction makes ceramic healthier than traditional non-stick cookware
Most nonstick cookware are made with PFOA, PTFE, and other harmful chemicals. Especially traditional nonstick cookware. Ceramic cookware’s coatings are made from inorganic materials (non-living natural materials), namely sand, both of which are PFOA-free and PTFE-free. This makes it free from harmful chemicals, which makes it a safer option for cooking unlike the traditional non-stick pan in the photo below!
That said, it’s always important to check the manufacturer’s notes to find out more about the exact type of ceramic coating they use. Unscrupulous manufacturers have been known to combine PTFE (a type of plastic compound, also known as Teflon) or harmful chemicals to bump up the cookware's durability and non-stick capabilities which cheaper, low quality ceramic pans always fall short of.
4. It’s scratch-resistant, but keep sharp objects away
This is where it gets a little complicated. High quality ceramic cookware like ours at Cosmic Cookware (hey, we’re pretty proud of our cookware!) are incredibly durable and resistant to scratches. Even though we say it’s scratch-resistant, it’s not scratch-proof so NO clawing at it with steel wools and metal utensils!
It basically means that it's unlikely to scratch when you need to scrub very stubborn stains off or when serving directly from it with a metal serving spoon. Yes, blunt metal utensils like serving spoons and even ladles are safe to use. Just please skip the knives and sharp objects in general for the love of your non-stick ceramic pans and pots.
5. It’s one of the most versatile cookware in the kitchen
Let’s start with its cooking versatility. You can cook a variety of things with ceramic cookware like delicate ingredients such as fish, vegetables, scallops, chicken, fried eggs, and even pancakes.
And did you know that you can also use it to bake and roast in the oven? Most ceramic cookware are oven safe, especially those with riveted stainless steel handles. This means that you can easily bake delights in the oven like a healthy berry crumble on your oven safe ceramic pan.
Next, we have its non-reactive surface. Here’s where the popular cast iron cookware and stainless steel cookware may take second place in terms of reactivity, simply because they are reactive metals. Ceramic cookware does not react to acidic ingredients such as tomatoes and lemon juice because of its non-reactive nature.
This makes it a holy grail of sorts for people with dietary restrictions and sensitivities as it kicks away the risk of harmful chemicals leaching into the food.
Lastly we have its versatility to be used on various cooking surfaces. Think being able to cook on an induction cooktop, gas, and even electric stovetop!
6. Aesthetic appeal through beautiful designs and vibrant colours
Ceramic cookware comes in a variety of colours and designs that add a touch of style and elegance to any kitchen. Home cooks who take pride in their kitchen decor will adore ceramic cookware’s rainbow of options.
This also means that avid entertainers will enjoy the visual and functional appeal of ceramic cookware because they’ll always be ready to serve in style at a moment’s notice.
7. Fuss-free and simple maintenance
It’s relatively easy to clean and care for ceramic cookware. For starters, simple hand washing will remove food residue and stains thanks to its non-stick surface. More stubborn stains may call for soap, warm water and a gentle scrub but it’s still rather effortless.
Ceramic cookware is also unlikely to scratch or flake off during the cleaning process, unlike traditional non-stick cookware, which helps to maintain the integrity of the ceramic coat. Its non-porous nature also makes it resistant to stains and discoloration over other types of cookware as long as it’s used with care.
While you can pop it into the dishwasher once in a while, manufacturers typically do not recommend it to be dishwasher safe as the harsh chemicals may damage the coating in the long run. So only do that in emergencies and not because you’re just not feeling it!
Ceramic Cookware Pros and Cons Part 2: The Cons
1. You have to be gentle with it
Just like the ceramic dishes in your home, you need to be gentle with ceramic cookware. Well you don’t have to treat it like glass, but you’ll want to avoid dropping or banging it hard against another object.
Ceramic cookware is prone to chipping and cracking because the ceramic coating on its surface can be fragile. So it’s best to avoid stacking them to keep your ceramic cookware sets in tip top condition for the years to come.
2. Avoid thermal shock
You know how sometimes you just want to quickly wash up your pans but get impatient because they’re still hot and run them through cold water anyway? Yeah, you’d want to avoid that with ceramic cookware.
Exposure to sudden temperature changes can cause the ceramic coating to expand and contract far too rapidly, leading to chips or cracks. This is what’s referred to as thermal shock.
What you can do is to allow hot ceramic pans to cool before washing them in the sink. This effectively eliminates exposure to sudden changes in temperature, keeping the ceramic pans safe and sound.
3. It needs to be seasoned once in a while
Alright, hear me out. Ceramic cookware is typically non-stick and does not require seasoning. But in most cases, that’s where the nonstick cookware starts to become less effective at preventing food from sticking with frequent use over the years.
To ensure the non-stick’s longevity, we usually recommend seasoning it once in a while. Seasoning involves placing the ceramic pots and pans over low heat for about 30 seconds, then rubbing about one teaspoon of vegetable oil over them with a paper towel.
4. Never use sharp and pointy kitchen tools on ceramic cookware
While ceramic cookware is scratch-resistant, they can still be damaged by sharp and pointy objects. Especially steel wools and metal utensils like that metal slotted turner and metal spatula most homes have. Not to mention the horror when we hear of people cutting meat directly on their non-stick ceramic pan!
Yupp, these are surefire ways to get ceramic cookware scratched to the point of no return. So keep sharp and pointy objects away, and stick to soft utensils like wooden, silicone, and nylon tools. As to which one is better, let’s take a quick look at them:
Silicone Utensils: They are soft, flexible, and heat resistant, making it the perfect companion to ceramic cookware. Silicone utensils won’t scratch your non-stick and they are non-porous so they tend to last longer than other utensil materials. Bonus point that it often comes in bright and vibrant colours, so they’ll pair well with your ceramic pots and pans.
Wooden Utensils: A kitchen classic. Wooden utensils are gentle on the surface with a typically soft nature so it won’t scratch or damage the ceramic coating. However, wooden utensils are porous and can absorb liquids and bacteria in the long run, so you must clean them thoroughly after each use.
Nylon Utensils: Nylon utensils are another good choice for ceramic cookware as they are gentle on cookware. You can also clean nylon utensils in the dishwasher. The only downside is its sensitivity to heat so they may warp or melt when exposed to heat for too long, potentially making them toxic.
5. It’s not recommended for high-heat cooking
Cooking techniques like broiling, searing, and certain styles of stir-frying usually require high temperatures. While ceramic cookware can handle moderate heat, it’s generally not recommended for high-heat cooking.
That being said, some types of ceramic cookware are specially designed for high-heat cooking and can handle high temperatures. The only downside is that they are often more expensive and are aimed more towards professional kitchens.
Again, always check the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid any damage if you plan on doing high-heat cooking!
6. It’s better to wash ceramic cookware by hand
It’s important to remember that most cookware should not be washed in the dishwasher. The harsh chemicals have been known to damage the cookware’s cooking surface overtime, especially when it has a non-stick cooking surface. That’s why you don’t often see cookware manufacturers touting their cookware as dishwasher safe.
Thankfully the easy release offered by ceramic cookware allows you to easily remove stains by hand. All you need is to run it over warm water, squeeze a dash of dishwashing liquid on your sponge, and give it a gentle scrub to get it sparkling clean.
Faced with super stubborn stains that can’t seem to get off? Easy! Just soak it in hot, soapy water for an hour or two, then scrub it off with a soft sponge. Or you can always use the old baking soda hack. It works wonders too!
You can check out more on how to care for your ceramic cookware through this article.
Is the ceramic cookware life for you?
Ceramic cookware definitely has its pros and cons. Like most things in life, it isn’t perfect, but it’s as close to perfect as it can be for some. Whether or not it suits you depends on your lifestyle and needs.
Health-conscious cooks, avid entertainers, and design enthusiasts will be pleasantly surprised with the non-stick, non-toxic, and functional beauty of ceramic cookware.
However, those who enjoy cooking at high temperatures and are looking for heirloom pieces to be passed onto the next generation may want to consider other types of cookware such as cast iron or stainless steel.
Ultimately, when it comes to choosing the right cookware for your home and kitchen, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision for your next essential piece of home.
If you’d like what ceramic cookware has to offer, do check out Cosmic Cookware’s range of beautifully crafted, non-toxic and non-stick oven safe ceramic cookware. From the daily classic Cosmo Fry to our best selling Cosmo Pan and home essential 5-piece Cosmo Ceramic Cookware Sets that include glass lids, there’s certainly something for everyone and a beautiful colour for every home.