The 7 Best Nonstick Cookware Sets of 2021

These pots and pans promise smooth cooking without the chemicals

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The Rundown
GreenPan products have a reinforced surface technology that is scratch resistant and induction technology for quick and even heating.
This affordable set is made from heavy duty aluminum that conducts heat beautifully.
Whether starting your Le Creuset collection or adding to it, this set is a great place to begin.
Elevate your kitchen with this sleek set from Caraway, which we like not only for its style but environmental standards too.
Perks of this diverse set include its energy-saving heat conductivity and ability to go in the oven and even broiler.
Our Place makes the Swiss-Army-knife of pans, which is designed to replace at least seven pieces of cookware.
If you’re tight on space or want a less-is-more set, the Proclamation Duo is just the combo you need.

Nonstick cookware may seem to make cooking and cleaning easier, but a growing body of research has found that non-stick coatings that contain polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) are linked to concerning health and environmental effects. They are among the synthetic substances called "forever chemicals," because they persist in the environment without breaking down, and can accumulate in the body of people and animals over time. According to the EPA, PFA exposure is associated with lower birth weights, cancer, and thyroid problems.

In light of this evidence, many people are now looking to avoid cookware that contains PFAs. In response, many companies are producing nonstick cookware that doesn’t contain these chemicals and instead are nonstick by thanks to natural and safer materials. We researched the market to find the greenest makers of PFA-free pots and pans.

Here are the best nonstick cookware sets:

Best Overall: GreenPan Cookware Sets

Pans

Belgian company GreenPan features many different lines of cookware sets, meaning you can choose which set works best for you. GreenPan’s items are coated with Thermolon ceramic, a nonstick material derived from sand that doesn’t contain PFAs, including perfluorooctanoic acid (a type of PFA known as PFOA and used in Teflon).

Thermolon is heat resistant up to 850 degrees Fahrenheit, and even if you accidentally overheat your pan, it won’t release fumes. GreenPan products have a reinforced surface technology that is scratch resistant and induction technology for quick and even heating. The contoured, steel handles are oven safe as well, and GreenPan recycles stainless steel and aluminum whenever possible.

The Thermolon pans are manufactured in Hong Kong. Another environmental pro is that 60 percent less carbon dioxide is emitted during the curing phase of production of GreenPan’s Thermolon coatings, compared to emissions during the curing phase of traditional coatings.

Best Budget: Ecolution Artistry 8 Piece Non-Stick Set

Pots

Cookware from Ecolution is made without PFOAs and instead uses water-based coatings. These pots and pans are made from heavy-duty aluminum that conducts heat beautifully. The handles do have silicone, which stays cool while cooking. Treehugger is generally cautious about products with silicone, however, in this case, the silicone shouldn't come in direct contact with food.

This set is dishwasher safe, and you can even buy individual items from Ecolution’s different product lines to add to your collection. This set includes two different sizes of frying pans, two saucepans with lids, and a dutch oven with a lid. Ecolution packages its products with 70 percent recycled materials.

Best Splurge: Le Creuset 5-Piece Signature Set

Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron 5-Piece Cookware Set

Whether starting your Le Creuset collection or adding to it, this set is a great place to start, as it includes a dutch oven with a lid, saucepan with a lid, and an enameled iron skillet. This set is safe for gas or electric stovetops and is oven safe up to 500 degrees.

Le Creuset pots and pans can handle metal utensils and dishwashers, and the enameled cast iron produces excellent heat distribution and retention, and eliminates the need to season and maintain, unlike other cast iron products. The easy-to-clean enamel also resists stains, dulling, chipping, and cracking. You can choose from multiple beautiful color options. 

Cleaning Tip:

Some foods may cling to enameled cookware more than other non-stick pots and pans. If something is really stuck, soak it overnight with a few drops of eco-friendly dish soap, and cleaning will be much easier the next morning.

Best Style: Caraway Cookware Set

Caraway pots and pans set

Elevate your kitchen with this sleek set from Caraway, which we like not only for its style but environmental standards too. Caraway items are free of PFAs, as well as also cadmium, and lead, and are made with a mineral-based coating.

You’re safe to use the set on gas and electric stovetops and in the oven up to 550 degrees. The included storage rack is an added perk. The magnetic pan rack has a place for each pot, and the sleek canvas lid holder fits on a cabinet door. Choose from beautiful colors like sage, navy, and “perracotta” (pink and terracotta).

Best Variety: Cuisinart Green Gourmet Nonstick Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set

Free of PFOAs and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), this 12-piece set is made from hard-anodized aluminum with a water-based, nonstick, ceramic surface that is scratch-resistant. The manufacturer recommends seasoning this cookware twice a year due to its more natural coating.

Perks of this set include its heat conductivity, which results in less energy use, and its ability to go in the oven and even broiler. The set includes a sauté pan, two saucepans, a Dutch oven, stockpot, and all lids plus an open skillet and steamer insert.

Best All-in-One: Our Place The Always Pan

Our Place The Always Pan

Our Place makes the Swiss-Army-knife of pans, which is designed to replace at least seven pieces of cookware. Use it as the frying pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, and spoon rest. The Always Pan allows you to fry, boil, strain, and more, all in one. The pan is free of PFAs and nanoparticles and has a nonstick coating that is made primarily from silicon dioxide, a naturally occurring compound.

It comes with a beechwood spatula that is designed to fit right on top of the pan’s handle and has a built-in spoon rest. Plus, the stainless steel steamer basket fits perfectly in the pan and is great for broccoli, dumplings, and even pasta. It also has pour spouts and a lid that allows steam to escape. Low to medium heat is recommended when cooking, and a quick wash with soap and water is all you need for cleanup. The Always Pan is not dishwasher or oven safe.

Best Compact Set: Proclamation Duo

Proclamation Duo Anti-Set

If you’re tight on space or want a less-is-more set, The Proclamation Duo is just the combo you need. It comes with the Hybrid Pot, the Sidekick Skillet, and lid that fits both. The Sidekick Skillet comes in either stainless steel or carbon steel, which is naturally non-stick once seasoned without any chemical treatments. The Hybrid Pot is stainless steel and can be used as either a wok or a pot that’s deep enough to fit a whole chicken.  

A special feature of this combo is that they fit together to form a Dutch oven that’s safe for use in the oven, and can be used to bake bread or cake. The rims are designed to help you pour without spilling.  The handles are hollow-cast to help them stay cool, and the pot’s handle can also serve as a spoon rest. 

The Proclamation products are made in the United States, and the company is a member of 1% for the Planet.

Final Verdict

Our top pick for eco-friendly non-stick cookware is Greenpan Cookware Sets (view on Bed Bath and Beyond). But if you’re willing to make an investment, Le Creuset’s Signature Set (view on Le Creuset) is worth every penny for their excellent heat distribution and durable enamel cookware. 

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Amanda Ogle has written for National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, Virtuoso Traveler, Texas Highways, OZY, Women's Health, Greatist, and other publications. She loves writing about sustainability and believes it is important that we all strive to be as environmentally friendly as we can.

View Article Sources
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  2. Blum, Arlene, et al. "The Madrid Statement on Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs)." Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 123, no. 5, 2015, pp. A107-A108., doi:10.1289/ehp.1509934

  3. "Basic Information on PFAS." United States Environmental Protection Agency.