The best nonstick cookware set provides a practical, inexpensive, and efficient way for preparing delicate food, like eggs and fish. It allows you to use less cooking oil while still getting tasty food in-tact and beautiful looking on the plate.
Even the most reliable cookware set need to be replaced once the coating deteriorates and starts giving off smelly fumes. This is more likely to happen if they are usually overheated beyond approximately 660°F. (Most pans don’t get to this heat with normal use). However, no matter how badly your nonstick pan is deteriorated, it shouldn’t affect your health. It just disminishes the beauty and performance of your pans.
Read on to find out why!
Is Teflon Cookware Safe to Use?
A nonstick cooking surface is a coating formulated to prevent the risk of food sticking to pans. Apart from browning food beautifully without using too much oil or butter, nonstick coating conducts heat very efficiently, thus promoting faster cooking and less energy consumption.
What’s Nonstick Coating?
In recent decades, nonstick has referred to surfaces with a coating made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This is most well-known as Teflon’s non-stick coating. In the past, PTFE has been produced with the use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). But there are physical and environmental health issues surrounding the use of PFOA so it is being phased out.
However, this doesn’t mean that cookware with nonstick coating is completely risk-free. Though in theory nonstick is safe for normal and regular use, the risks associated with overheating PTFE-based coating may also be very serious.
In particular, when cooked at a high enough temperature, the nonstick coating begins to break apart, causing emission of fumes. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), fumes emitted from deteriorating Teflon coating have been closely linked to hundreds of pet bird deaths. So if you buy a nonstick cookware set, your birds should have no place in the kitchen.
Results of a few studies have also shown some side effects of short-term exposure to PTFE fumes on human health. They include flu-like symptoms such as coughing, fever, severe headache, severe sore throat, and body aches. The onset typically occurs after 4–10 hours of exposure, and in most cases it will gradually get better on its own within 12–48 hours.
While it still remains unclear whether long-term exposure to overheated PTFE fumes will impair human longevity, it’s best to avoid using your nonstick pans on high heat; a low to medium setting is good enough for most cooking.
Cookware with PTFE-based coating will also rapidly lose its non-stick properties when scratched by metal utensils with sharp edges or abrasive scouring pads. But even the best stainless steel cookware could also be damaged by metal utensils. So if you maintain it properly, the nonstick surface should not chip or erode under normal household use.
But things can go wrong and if it flakes off, it may get into the food and be accidentally ingested. Accidental ingestion of a small amount of the flakes in no way causes toxicity, since they will likely pass through the digestive tract without causing potential harm.
For the best long-term use, we recommend you use wooden or plastic utensils for most nonstick pans. You should also avoid using abrasive cleaners or scouring pads such as steel wool, scouring powder or oven cleaner when cleaning.
How to Buy the Best Nonstick Cookware Sets
Types of Nonstick Coatings
Besides the popular Teflon coating, there are many high-end manufacturers that produce sets with ceramic coating. As a matter of fact, the coating is not traditional ceramic, it is a silica-based coating that is like ceramic. Known as sol-gel (“solution-gel”), it doesn’t use substances like PTFE, so is seen as a healthier option. This is not necessarily the case but it is how it is marketed.
Compared with Teflon, ceramic cookware has a shorter lifespan, more prone to chipping off, and more in need of delicate care. Because pans with ceramic coating may not last long, you’ll need to replace them after 1-2 years of regular use.
As mentioned above, your nonstick pots and pans are likely to have a shorter lifespan than other cookware. Even with proper care, their life expectancy is still low. In general, your cookware may come with a limited lifetime warranty. However, this warranty does not cover staining, scratching, or gradual breakdown of the nonstick finish. So we think spending around $150-$400 is an appropriate amountfor a nonstick cookware set that might give up the ghost after three to five years of normal use.
Ideally, you should find sets with riveted silicone handles which should stay cool to the touch and allow for a comfortable grip. That way you can easily move your skillet from one place to another with extra confidence.
Silicone handles are heat resistant. While they are able to withstand extremely high temperatures (up to 500° F), they can become discolored over time. For the best long-term use, you should wash your nonstick cookware sets with silicone handles by hand.
Glass Lids vs. Stainless Steel Lids
Personally, we prefer sets with tempered glass lids. Because these models enable you to keep track of the cooking process without losing essential heat and moisture.
Since glass lids are more prone to break if accidentally dropped, compared with their stainless steel counterparts, we recommend you find tempered glass lids that are edged with a stainless steel rim. This helps to minimize the risk of shattering.
Reviews of the Best Nonstick Cookware Sets in 2021
Now you’ve got ideas on how to buy the best cookware set. Let’s take a look at some great ones so that you can buy the best one for your needs and budget.
- T-fal E765SH – Best to Buy in 2021
- Rachael Ray 87630 – Best Value Nonstick Cookware Set
- GreenPan Lima – Best Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set
- Anolon 84066 – Best High-Quality Nonstick Cookware Set
Here’s our picks for the best nonstick cookware sets.
1. T-fal E765SH – Best to Buy in 2021
This cookware set has 17 pieces that come with a limited lifetime sauté pan, a 5-quart Dutch oven with lid, a 3-quart steamer insert with 2 side handles, and an Egg Wonder fry pan
- Heat-resistant glass lid
- Insulated silicone handle
- Thermo Spot
- Solid construction
- Durable, efficient and safe
- Not compatible with induction cooktops
All pots and pans have a hard anodized aluminum coating, which conducts heat warranty: an 8-inch fry pan, a 10.25-inch fry pan, an 11.5-inch fry pan with lid, a 10.25-inch square griddle, three saucepans with lids (1-, 2-, and 3-quart), a 3.5-quart deep very effectively and prevents the aluminum from reacting with acidic foods.
It is also scratch resistant. That means that you can use many metal utensils in these non-stick pans without ruining their surface. But it’d be better if you avoid using whisks, knives, and other utensils with sharp edges. Besides being dishwasher safe, they’re 100% PFOA-free, lead-free, and cadmium-free.
This set of pots and pans features Thermo Spot— the unique technology that can fix the problem of undercooked or overcooked foods. When the Thermo Spot indicator in your pan turns solid red, the pan is properly preheated and ready to be used.
Preheating is a crucial step in the frying, searing, and sauteing process. As foods cooked at a high enough temperature right from the beginning can keep it from sticking to the pan, thus ensuring a crisp, brown crust. In other words, allowing your cookware to heat up for 2-3 minutes before adding oil makes the cleaning process much faster and easier.
Apart from an anti-warping and even-heat base, these long-lasting non-stick pans also come with riveted silicone handles which always stay cool and offer a safe and comfortable grip. For easier access and beautiful display, you can take advantage of the little hole at the tip of each handle to hang your pots and pans on the wall or from a rack if your cabinet space is at premium.
Beyond these comfortable to hold handles, the T-fal pan also comes with a tempered glass lid that features a small steam vent to help the steam escape. These help maintain visibility and prevent liquids from boiling over. The lids are reinforced with stainless steel trims to reduce the chance of the glass breaking. If accidentally dropped from the average height, they are almost unbreakable.
This collection wins the spot on our list as the cookware set offering the best value. Reasonably priced, this budget-friendly collection does not compromise on quality. Since it features several practical functions that could certainly satisfy your expectation towards a decent non stick cookware set.
2. Rachael Ray 87630 – Best Value Nonstick Cookware Set
This cookware set has a 6-quart stockpot with lid, a 3-quart sauté pan and utensils (slotted nylon turner and spoon), two saucepans with lids (1-quart and 2-quart), and two frying pans (8.5-inch and 10-inch). All come with a lifetime limited warranty on manufacturing defects.
- Dual riveted handles
- Shatter-resistant glass lids
- Oven safe
- Dishwasher safe
- Short lifespan
- Unstable on the stove
We like that the stainless steel rivets provide the secure connection between the pans and the handles. This allows you to easily lift and move the pans from stove to oven.
Made from silicone, the ergonomically designed handles should stay cool to the touch, removing the need to use a potholder when handling hot pans. The Rachael Ray pots also have vented tempered glass lids that are perfectly heat-resistant and allow for full visibility of contents.
The Rachael Ray cookware is not dishwasher safe. Since the dishwasher detergents can abrade its construction, making it change shades over time. It is able to tolerate temperatures of up to 450°F in an oven though. To prevent your pans from becoming discolored over time, handwashing is necessary.
In agreement with many users, the Rachael Ray pots and pans will spin and slide around the stove, even when you stir the food very gently. This could potentially cause burn injuries to the cook or any people nearby if the pan has hot food in it. So if you do choose this set, be sure to hold the pan handle while stirring..
While any PTFE-based coating will gradually lose its non-stick properties, with this set, it might happen sooner than expected. Compared with our top pick, this cookware set seems to have a shorter lifespan; the nonstick interior can easily get scratched even when you have followed the manual instructions strictly.
Refraining from using metal utensils on the nonstick finish or cleaning the pans by hand cannot help them last forever. It just makes them last as long as possible before you need to replace them. Frankly speaking, the nonstick coating of these pots and pans will gradually wear off after 1-2 years of use.
These beautiful pots and pans from the Rachael Ray collection are completely PFOA-free, conduct heat pretty well, and allow you to extract food easily. Built with the heavy-duty hard anodized construction, they can ensure superior durability while promoting faster cooking time. For an inexpensive price, this set offers an impressive combination of value, performance, and build quality indeed.
3. GreenPan Lima – Best Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set
12-piece in this cookware set includes a 2-quart saucepan with lid, a 5-quart covered casserole, two frypans (8-inch and 9.5-inch), a 2.75-quart covered skillet, a stainless steel steamer, and three kitchen utensils (bamboo turner, slotted bamboo turner, and a bamboo fork).
- Perfect heat retention
- Attractive design
- Riveted stainless steel handles
- Solid aluminum body
- Shatter resistant glass lids
- Not dishwasher safe
- Handles can get hot
- Not induction compatible
Except for the bamboo utensils, each piece is oven and broiler safe up to 600°F. It’s also safe for all cooking methods, with the exception of induction. It even can be put in the dishwasher for quick cleanup. However, if placed in the dishwasher in contact with substances having strong food color regularly, your pan can become discolored. To prolong the shining finish of your cookware, we recommend you only wash it by hand.
GreenPan Lima is the only cookware set on our list that comes with stainless steel handles, which are permanently secured with stainless steel rivets to ensure a safe grasp. Unlike their silicone counterparts, stainless steel handles can become very hot with prolonged exposure to high heat (at above 350°F). So it’s essential to always have a pot holder available for use.
If you still don’t feel assured about the safety of PTFE-coating and wish to find PTFE-free nonstick cookware, sets with ceramic coating such as the GreenPan Lima should be a great alternative. Made from tough hard-anodized aluminum coated with an exceptionally durable ceramic nonstick coating, your pans will surely heat up quickly without any hot spots.
4. Anolon 84066 – Best High-Quality Nonstick Cookware Set
Included in the set are 12 pieces, which is a bit less than the top pick. But for many home cooks, it comes with just the right amount of items for your daily cooking tasks.
- Restaurant-tested PFOA-free nonstick
- Exceptionally durable
- Comfortable grasp handles
- Shatter-resistant glass lids
- Oven safe
- Lids don’t have steam vents
The set has a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, a 1-quart saucepan with pour spouts, an 8-quart stockpot with lid, two saucepans with lids (2-quart and 3-quart), and two frying pans (8-inch and 12-inch). Featuring an elegant tulip profile with distinctive bronze exteriors and chocolate interiors, these pots and pans will definitely suit any home decor style.
The Anolon 84066 has almost all the same specs and features as the top pick, including the riveted silicone handles, toxin free nonstick interior, shatter-resistant glass lids with metal trim, and hard-anodized construction for quick, even heat distribution.
As we said, even with the best nonstick pan, its PTFE-coating will eventually flake off, but compared with the cheaper counterparts, this set is much more durable. If properly cared for, it could go with you for at least 3 years.
Like the GreenPan Lima, however, the tempered glass lids of Anolon cookware lack the steam vent. So if there is a pressure buildup, there is a high chance they will produce the rattling noise. Make sure you leave the lid ajar, or you will end up splashing liquid all over your stovetop.
Anolon 84066 is a superior-quality cookware set, particularly formulated for both professional and home use. Even when it costs about $100 more while performing almost identically to the GreenPan Lima or Rachael Ray set, it’s absolutely worth the premium price tag given its excellent durability.
Comparison Chart of The Best Nonstick Cookware Sets
|Model||Oven Safe||Dishwasher safe||Interior||Warranty|
|T-fal E765SH||400°F||✓||Titanium Nonstick||Lifetime|
|Rachael Ray 87630||450°F||✓||Nonstick||Lifetime|
|GreenPan Lima||600°F||—||Ceramic Nonstick||Lifetime|
Buying the best nonstick cookware set is not an easy task, especially when there are tons of brands and models available. Our article is here to help make this hard decision a little bit easier. We have pulled together a handful of top tried and tested cookware sets, as well as the pros and cons of each set. We hope through this article, you can find a great cookware set that is not only budget friendly but also quality.