Ceramic vs Teflon: Which One is Best?

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With the recent uprising of non-stick cooking methods on the market, the debates about the best materials are always on the table, especially when it comes to ceramic vs. teflon.

We can say that the ceramic cookware is here to stay for a while, even though at first there were a lot of doubts about the safety and the quality of this material. On the other hand, PTFE (Teflon) was the pioneer in the non-stick kitchen field, so they do know what they’re doing.

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Which one is the best?

That’s the exact question that brings you to this article. But before to tell you the cons and the pros of both materials remember that the important is to choose the one that fits your kitchen necessities.

Teflon

First I’m going to start with the classic one. The Polytetrafluoroethylene—phew!—(PTFE) is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene—let’s call it Teflon—that has multiples uses.

Its known name comes from the brand that started using these materials for cooking tools and pans.  PTFE is used as a non-stick coating for pans and other cookware.

It is very non-reactive partly because of the strength of carbon-fluorine bonds.

At first, this material was used as a coat on the pans and skillet to give them strength, but the creators later discovered its non-stick properties. From that moment on cookware, companies started using this coat for every product.

The PTFE (Teflon) was named the king of the cooking material for good reasons.

When it was released on the market, there was nothing like this. People were able to cook without a big amount of oil.

Also, the pans with teflon coating were very resistance and sturdy.

Nevertheless, the big deal with this material is the debate about its safety. In recent years, researchers have found that in high temperatures (over 500 F) PTEF releases toxic fumes, which the Environmental Protection Agency has identified as likely carcinogen.

The reason is that PTEF is stable and non-stick in its solid form but when the temperature increases, the Teflon coat starts deteriorating.

Some brands have started to make new combinations of materials and Teflon. For example, the hard-anodize or stainless steel with the teflon mix. These are good and safe combinations that retain the non-stick characteristics of the PTEF but with a lower risk of toxic fumes.

Hard-anodized with Teflon

The Simply Calphalon non-stick 10 pieces set

Calphalon is one of the brands that have combined these materials for their best-seller products. The Simply Calphalon non-stick 10 pieces set is the perfect example of this mixed material. Thanks to this combination, this set is extremely sturdy and has resistant pans. Also, the base provides great heat conduction.

Stainless Steel with Teflon

all clad

This option is a mixture of different metals, including nickel, chromium, and molybdenum. These kinds of basic materials are incredibly resistant and last longer than other body materials for pans. The only consideration is to avoid abrasives cleaners because you can damage the shiny surface.

All-Clad is a professional brand specialized in stainless steel cookware. They have a few high-class pans with the non-stick Teflon coating. These products are expensive but are the top quality especially for chefs and cooking enthusiasts.

Ceramic

Everybody had a ceramic flower pot in their homes, but no one imagined that after a couple of years ceramic would become the revolutionary non-stick material for cooking that it is today.

The non-stick feature exists thanks to its coating of silicon dioxide and the hydrophobic and oleophobic encapsulated on the coat. This means that the pans are water and oil resistance.

Another improvement of the ceramic as a kitchen material is how well they retain heat. This capacity allows you to keep cooking your meal after removing the skillet from the stove for a few minutes.

Wear Ever Pure Living

When the first ceramic pans arrived at the market people had doubts about them. The pans were too weak and after a few uses the ceramic coating just peeled off the pans.

After a while manufacturers added more layers of ceramic to the pans to make them more resistant. Now the newest pans are dishwasher and oven-safe. By adding more layers of ceramic coating the resistance is such that you can put a hot skillet in cold water and it won’t break.

An important drawback for a ceramic cookware set is that the vast majority of sets aren’t dishwasher safe. Only in the last years, few brands have created great ceramic cookware sets that are dishwasher safe.

The most important thing is that ceramic is more non-stick than Teflon and you can cook things like eggs without needing oil. Ceramic is an excellent heat conductor, even when used on irons; the surface on the pan gets hot evenly.

Another improvement of ceramic technology is the easiness of cleaning. If you prefer hand-washing, it won’t take you a lot of time to clean everything without scratching the surface.

Another bonus is the big amount of colors and shapes that these pans can take. The most famous brands of pots and pans have released different collections in bright colors, besides the classic black.

Finally, it’s a healthier choice that doesn’t set free toxic fumes. It’s environmentally friendly for this reason, so it’s the perfect option for those who care about keeping the planet green.

GreenLife 14 Piece Nonstick Ceramic Cookware Set with Soft Grip

GreenLife is one of the manufacturers that drive their products through the ceramic non-stick path.  Their products are absolutely fantastic. They have different sets and individual pans that offer the best quality and maintain the healthy characteristics of the ceramic coating.

Most pans manufacturers started to bring to the market their own ceramic version of sets and individual cookware. The most common combination is a hard aluminum body with a thick surface of the white ceramic.

The aluminum brings the sturdiness that the ceramic can’t provide by itself. The best example of this is the Wear Ever Pure Living Nonstick Ceramic Coating set.

Who Wins Between Ceramic and Teflon?

To summarize, the most important thing is your personal preference. The PTFE is the classic non-stick surface. If you choose to buy a pan with this kind of coat you just need to be careful with overheating it. It’s not a good idea to preheat this kind of cookware. Safety will depend on the proper use of the pans.

If you go for ceramic, you should use hand-washing rather than a dishwasher. Even when most of the brands claim to be dishwasher safe, in the long term this cleaning method damages the non-stick surface.

In the end, the lifespan of your cookware is going to depend on the care that you give them.

I really hope that you can now make your own decision to join the non-stick community.

See you soon!

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Jen Pack - September 16, 2016

My daughter is getting married soon and is trying to decide which type of pots and pans she wants to register for. It’s interesting how you pointed out that many people are able to cook with teflon coated materials without using much oil and that they are also very sturdy. I will have to pass this on to my daughter but that sounds like a great buy. We’ll have to look around to find a company that has reputable products that she could register for.

Reply
    mb0793 - September 17, 2016

    Hello Jen!

    When I have to decide between the Teflon choices I will always look for the T-Fal cookware sets. They are inexpensive and the nonstick properties are just perfect. Nothing sticks to their surface.

    If you want something most sturdy and durable I highly suggest you to look for the Hard Anodized Simply Calphalon that I’ve mentioned on this article. Will last a lot time on your daughter kitchen 🙂

    Congrats to your daughter for her future marriage!

    Reply
      Jen Pack - September 23, 2016

      Thanks so much for your help, we’ll keep looking into it. We are very excited for her!

      Reply
NorEastern - May 23, 2020

Great ceramic coatings are light years beyond anything with a teflon coating. View the coatings as granite. impossible to harm at any temperature in a kitchen, harder than your finest German steel, completely detergent safe, with a lifespan far longer than teflon pans. I lucked into All-Clad ceramic pans, never offered at any commercial store, about a year ago. None of my dozen other All-Clad pans have been used since.

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