December 10

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Caraway Cookware: A Detailed Review

By trk

Last Updated: December 10, 2023

Caraway cookware, Caraway nonstick cookware, nonstick cookware review

Caraway cookware is a darling of social media: the stunning colors and striking design are quite photogenic. It gets tons of praise from reviewers and influencers alike. But how much of this can you actually trust? Is it really the best nonstick pan on the market?

Our Caraway review takes a detailed look at Caraway cookware to discover the truth. Read on to find out more about Caraway pros and cons, usability, durability, potential safety issues, and how it compares to other popular cookware brands. 

Caraway Cookware Summary

Caraway is beautiful, well made cookware, but it's expensive for nonstick, and it has some potential safety issues. 


Table Of Contents (click to expand)

Caraway Nonstick Cookware at a Glance

Here's an overview of Caraway nonstick cookware. The company also makes other kitchenware, including bakeware, prepware, linens, a tea kettle, storage containers, and clad stainless steel (new!), but here, we're looking only at the Caraway nonstick cookware. 

If you're interested in Caraway items other than nonstick cookware, the Caraway website is the best place to see everything. 

All Caraway products are made in China.

Caraway Nonstick Cookware Reviews

Caraway Cookware Item

Features

Caraway skillet blue

-Aluminum body with ceramic nonstick coating

-Several colors available

-Stay cool stainless steel handle

-Induction compatible base*

-Oven safe to 550F

-8" and 10.5" sizes

-Stainless handle

-No lids (standard for skillets)

-Weights about 1.7lb/2.8lb.

-10.5" pan about $85/8" pan about $80

-1 year limited warranty.

Caraway sauce pan pink

-Aluminum body with ceramic nonstick coating

-Several colors

-Stay cool stainless steel handle

-Induction compatible base*

-Oven safe to 550F

-1.75 qt and 3 qt sizes

-Lids included

-Weights about 2.8lb/3lb w/lids

-3 qt and 1.75 qt pans both about $100

-1 year limited warranty.

Caraway saute pan green

-Aluminum body with ceramic nonstick coating

-Several colors available

-Stay cool stainless steel handle

-Induction compatible base*

-Oven safe to 550F

-4.5 qt (11.8" diameter)

-Weighs about 7 lb. w/lid

-About $130

-1 year limited warranty.

Caraway Dutch Oven black

-Aluminum body with ceramic nonstick coating

-Several colors available

-Stainless steel handles

-Induction compatible base*

-Oven safe to 550F

-6.5 quarts

-Weighs about 6 lb. w/lid

-About $120-$160 depending on color

-1 year limited warranty.

Caraway cookware set yellow

-Aluminum bodies with ceramic nonstick coating

-Several colors available

-Set includes 4 pans, 3 lids, 4 magnetic racks, 1 canvas lid holder

-Deluxe set includes also includes mini fry pan and sauce pan

-Stainless steel handles

-Induction compatible base*

-Oven safe to 550F

-About $355-$475 depending on color for set

-About $475-$680 for deluxe set

-1 year limited warranty

-SPECIAL HOLIDAY SALE PRICE!-

Caraway square griddle blue

-Aluminum body with ceramic nonstick coating

-Several colors available

-Stainless steel handles

-Induction compatible*

-Oven safe to 550F

-About $145 for square/$150 for double

-1 year limited warranty.

Caraway grill pan gray

-Aluminum body with ceramic nonstick coating

-Several colors available

-Stainless steel handles

-Oven safe to 550F

-About $145

-1 year limited warranty.

Caraway roasting pan cream

-Aluminum body with ceramic nonstick coating

-Several colors available

-Stainless steel handles

-Stainless steel rack included

-Induction compatible*

-Oven safe to 550F

-About $200

-1 year limited warranty.

Caraway Squareware set cream

-Aluminum bodies with ceramic nonstick coating

-Several colors available

-Stainless steel handles

-Set includes small griddle, double griddle, grill pan, roaster pan and rack, magnetic organizers

-Induction compatible*

-Oven safe to 550F

-Set about $500

-1 year limited warranty.

*Please read about Caraway's induction compatibility issues below.

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Caraway Cookware Pros and Cons

Pros:
Cons:
  • Great build quality with even heating and decent heat retention
  • Gorgeous design
  • Free of PTFE and all other forever chemicals
  • Free of heavy metals
  • Stainless steel handles and lid pulls
  • Nonstick surface is excellent at first.
  • Nonstick coating may not last very long
  • Not great on induction
  • May contain unsafe materials (nanoparticles)
  • Pans chip, scratch, and stain fairly easily inside and outside
  • Not broiler safe
  • 1 year warranty is short for cookware this expensive.

About Caraway

Caraway was founded in 2018 by business major and entrepreneur Jordan Nathan. His vision for Caraway came about when he inadvertently left a PTFE nonstick pan on a burner and fumes filled his apartment, making him sick with flu-like symptoms. After this experience, he decided to create a brand of safe, non-toxic cookware for home cooks, so they could cook without worry about toxins or dangerous fumes.

Caraway began as a direct-to-consumer brand (DTC), sold only on the Caraway website. The brand later partnered with several retailers, including Crate and Barrel, West Elm, Food 52, and more recently, Amazon. Today you can find Caraway cookware at most retail outlets, including Nordstrom, Macy's, Target, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart.

Caraway began with a simple product line--ceramic nonstick pots and pans--but have since expanded their product line to include bakeware, storage, linens, cutting boards, knives, non-metal kitchen utensils, and their latest offering, clad stainless steel cookware. (Note: this review looks only at Caraway's ceramic nonstick cookware.)

Caraway has marketed their products aggressively through social media channels, and Caraway gets rave reviews from dozens (maybe hundreds) of influencers and bloggers. The gorgeous, colorful Caraway pans translate beautifully on Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok, prompting scrollers to drool and yearn for the cookware. And the emphasis isn't even on the beauty of the cookware: it's on the safety of these pans compared to PTFE nonstick. It's been an incredibly successful campaign which has made Caraway one of the most well-known and sought after nonstick cookware brand on the market today. 

Caraway headquarters are in New York City. Their manufacturing plants are in China and India.

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Caraway Nonstick: Ceramic Nonstick Cookware

This Caraway review looks only at Caraway's nonstick cookware, which is ceramic nonstick cookware

Ceramic nonstick cookware was invented in 2007. Rather than having a hydrocarbon-based product like PTFE nonstick ("Teflon"), ceramic nonstick has a silica-based coating. This coating is a distant cousin to traditional ceramics. Like them, it's made from inorganic materials--sand or clay--and cured at high heat (or possibly with ultraviolet light) to produce a durable, glossy, nonstick finish. 

However, ceramic nonstick is not a traditional ceramic. Ceramic nonstick coatings are made with a different process, contain different chemicals than traditional ceramic and enamel coatings, and have different properties. We discuss this more in the next sections.  

Traditional ceramics are also not nonstick; they are at best stick-resistant. They are also more durable and last longer than ceramic nonstick, often several decades. Ceramic nonstick tends keep its nonstick for about a year, and is more prone to chipping and scratching than traditional ceramic.

We include this information because many people confuse traditional ceramic products, such as enameled cast iron, with ceramic nonstick, thinking they're the same thing. They are not. 

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Sol-Gel: The Foundation of Ceramic Nonstick Coatings

All ceramic nonstick coatings are sol-gel coatings. 

What is a sol-gel? According to Wikipedia:

Sol-gel is a method for producing solid materials from small molecules. The method is used for the fabrication of metal oxides, especially the oxides of silicon (Si) and titanium (Ti). The process involves conversion of monomers into a colloidal solution (sol) that acts as the precursor for an integrated network (or gel) of either discrete particles or network polymers. Typical precursors are metal alkoxides. Sol–gel process is used to produce ceramic nanoparticles.

This is a high level explanation that doesn't get into the chemistry of sol-gels, which is quite complex. The main thing to remember is that the sol-gel is a modern process that uses different methodology and different chemicals than traditional ceramics.

And that, because they're different, there are different considerations about the safety and use of ceramic nonstick coatings than there are for traditional ceramic coatings.

Ceramic nonstick coatings are not the same as traditional ceramics (such as enameled cast iron): they're made using a different process (sol-gel), they contain different chemicals, and they have different health and safety concerns. 

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Nanoparticles: The Great Unknown Factor

According to twi-global.com, a technology and engineering site, "A nanoparticle is a small particle that ranges between 1 to 100 nanometers in size. Undetectable by the human eye, nanoparticles can exhibit significantly different physical and chemical properties to their larger material counterparts."

For reference, nanoparticles are smaller than wavelengths of visible light, which are 400-700 nanometers. Nanoparticles can be viewed only with an electron or laser microscope. 

There are different types of nanoparticles, with the two main groups being organic and inorganic. Inorganic metal-based nanomaterials are made from silver, gold, aluminum, copper, and lead.

Today, nanoparticles are used in thousands of applications, including medicine, the automotive industry, food packaging, and air and water purification. Nanoparticles are found in thousands of consumer products, too, such as sunscreen, eyeglasses, and sports equipment. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles--found in ceramic nonstick cookware--are one of the most common types of nanoparticles used in consumer products. 

Nanoparticles are the foundation of sol-gel coatings, not just in nonstick cookware but in all sol-gel applications. Because they're so tiny, they behave differently than larger particles. 

From Wikipedia:

The properties of nanoparticles often differ markedly from those of larger particles of the same substance. Since the typical diameter of an atom is between 0.15 and 0.6 nm, a large fraction of the nanoparticle's material lies within a few atomic diameters of its surface. Therefore, the properties of that surface layer may dominate over those of the bulk material. This effect is particularly strong for nanoparticles dispersed in a medium of different composition since the interactions between the two materials at their interface also becomes significant.

This means that titanium dioxide nanoparticles are not the same thing as standard-sized titanium dioxide. We don't know exactly what that means for ceramic nonstick cookware (or other products), but we can surmise that standard testing done on cookware probably doesn't give us all the information we need to determine whether the cookware is safe (or unsafe). 

Nanotechnology is so new that there aren't a lot of studies available on safety, how they interact with the human body, or their environmental impact. We do know that nanoparticles have the potential to be unsafe to humans. According to this public health study:

  • While nanoparticles are beneficial in a range of applications, they pose significant threats to humans and the environment.
  • Toxic effects of nanoparticles include production of oxidative stress, DNA damage, apoptosis, cell death, and induction of inflammatory responses.

This same study found that "...the small sizes of nanoparticles give them the ability to permeate physiological barriers of living organisms, causing harmful biological reactions. Nanoparticles are known to enter the human body through the lung, intestinal tract, or skin, and can be toxic to the brain, cause lung inflammation, and cardiac problems." 

What does all this mean for ceramic nonstick cookware? Nobody seems to know for sure, or if they do, they're not saying. We do know that inhaling nanoparticles can be unsafe, but can the titanium dioxide nanoparticles in hard nonstick cookware coatings also be unsafe? 

We don't have an answer, but the general consensus is that nanoparticles in cookware are safe.

read more about titanium dioxide nanoparticles at Wikipedia

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So Is Ceramic Nonstick Safer than PTFE Nonstick Cookware?

The best answer to this question is probably--but that may not mean it's completely safe. 

PTFE nonstick cookware (also called by the brand name Teflon®) has a reputation for being unsafe and even "toxic." But the truth is that PTFE cookware is completely safe when used correctly. The most important factor is heat, because when heated above 500F PTFE cookware can degrade and release toxic fumes (as Caraway's founder discovered). As long as you don't overheat it, PTFE cookware is totally safe. (But be careful, because it's easy to do: don't leave a heating pan unattended or an empty pan on a hot burner. Even medium heat can cause an empty pan to reach temps over 500F in just a few minutes.) 

So while you do have to be careful with PTFE cookware, the bigger issue, in our opinion, is with the manufacturing of PTFE cookware. PTFE pans use forever chemicals, and this includes GenX, the chemical that's replaced the now banned PFOA. People see the "PFOA-free" label and think they're buying safe cookware. However, GenX, has most of the same properties as PFOA and is just as toxic.

GenX is still unregulated, so makers are free to use it and dispose of it in local water supplies. There are now lawsuits against Chemours, the makers of GenX (and other PFAS, including PTFE), by people who live downstream of the plants that have GenX in their bloodstreams. 

The "PFOA-free" label is largely meaningless, not only because its replacement is also toxic, but also because no cookware sold in the US today contains PFOA.  

So even though PTFE cookware is safe when used correctly, the Teflon industry is polluting the planet, and this continues even though they no longer use PFOA. It is an extremely serious environmental hazard, and every time you buy PTFE cookware, you are contributing to this unethical industry. 

We know very little about the manufacturing of ceramic nonstick cookware, but given what we know about PFAS, it's almost certainly a cleaner, less toxic choice. Even if nanoparticles in cookware turn out to be unsafe, they probably aren't as toxic as the forever chemicals in PTFE cookware. 

But what this actually means for consumers, we don't yet know. PTFE nonstick cookware was on the market for decades before anyone questioned its safety. Today, it's public knowledge that PTFE cookware uses forever chemicals that are terrible for the environment and have been linked to serious health issues including cancer. It's possible that the nanoparticles--and perhaps other chemicals in ceramic coatings yet to be revealed--are unsafe, but we have yet to discover it. This has happened with many products over the years (think about the recalling of drugs, foods, toys, and many other things).

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So How Safe Are Caraway Pots and Pans?

Caraway does not disclose the contents of their nonstick coating, claiming it's proprietary. To prove safety, they rely on independent testing companies, which have largely cleared the cookware of any toxins. Testing even shows that Caraway cookware contains no titanium (with the exception of one independent tester). Most Caraway reviews take this at face value, and don't discuss the elephant in the room: nanoparticles.

You see, all ceramic nonstick coatings are sol-gels, and all sol-gel coatings contain titanium dioxide nanoparticles (as far as we know). Therefore, Caraway's nonstick ceramic coating almost certainly contains titanium dioxide nanoparticles. (It's quite possible that the reason titanium doesn't show up in most testing of Caraway is because the nanoparticles behave differently than larger particles.) 

The research on titanium dioxide is all over the place, with some reports saying it's perfectly safe, and others saying it is a known carcinogen. For now, the official line seems to be that titanium dioxide is safe in most products. 

But as we said above, titanium dioxide nanoparticles aren't the same substance as standard titanium dioxide, so we really have no idea if the same rules apply (they probably don't), or if the nanoparticles are safe. 

Caraway makes a lot of statements about cookware safety, and in fact, their entire marketing strategy is based on their cookware being safer than PTFE and free of harmful chemicals and toxins, all of which is true as far as it goes. But thus far, they have not addressed nanoparticles; in fact, they've been completely silent on this subject.

We wish more Caraway reviewers discussed nanoparticles because it's an important safety issue. But Caraway's marketing strategy seems to be working, so very few people are talking about them.

We're not saying that Caraway cookware isn't safe, but we also can't say with 100% certainty that it is safe--and no other Caraway reviewers can say so, either. 

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Caraway Cookware Claims: True or False?

Other than nanoparticles, Caraway talks a lot about their cookware's safety, as well as their eco-friendliness and ethical manufacturing processes. It all sounds great, like a product that most people would enthusiastically support.

Let's take a closer look at Caraway's claims about their nonstick cookware and see how they stand up to scrutiny. Caraway's claims (from the Caraway website) include:

  • No harmful chemicals 
  • Eco-friendly 
  • Ethically manufactured 
  • Thoughtful packaging
  • A healthier way to cook
  • Nonstick.

No Harmful Chemicals/Toxin Free

"Our high quality ceramic-coated aluminum cookware is free of PTFE (such as Teflon®), lead, cadmium, and other toxic materials that can make their way into your food."

Probably true. We know that Caraway cookware, as a ceramic nonstick brand, contains no PTFE, although PTFE is also not toxic unless heated above 500F. It's also almost certainly true that Caraway nonstick cookware contains no lead or cadmium. 

But the jury is still out on the titanium dioxide nanoparticles, which Caraway is silent about. It has tested to be free of titanium, but as we know, nanoparticles have different properties, so being found free of titanium doesn't necessarily mean free of titanium nanoparticles. But all other brands of ceramic nonstick contain titanium dioxide nanoparticles, so it's likely that Caraway also contains them.

We don't know if nanoparticles are safe or not. There is evidence that nanoparticles can be harmful to human health, but it seems to depend what form they're in. We don't have enough evidence to say one way or the other. If you want to err on the side of caution, don't use ceramic nonstick cookware (any brand).

Eco-Friendly

"Releases less CO2 when produced compared to traditional non-stick coatings."

True. Though we don't know a lot about manufacturing ceramic nonstick cookware, the bar to be more eco-friendly than PTFE cookware manufacturing is extremely low. Ceramic nonstick doesn't use forever chemicals, and if it uses less carbon dioxide to make, that's just a bonus.

Ethically Manufactured

"We support BSCI and SMETA certified manufacturing partners where employees are safe, paid fairly, given benefits, and work regulated hours.)"

Probably true, or mostly true. BSCI is the Business Social Compliance Initiative. It provides a recognized methodology for identifying and remediating risks in global supply chains. SMETA is the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit, which "enables businesses to assess their sites and suppliers to understand working conditions in their supply chain." Both organizations help companies adopt ethical practices such as paying a fair wage, providing benefits, and ensure safe working conditions for employees.

Interestingly, Caraway's statement is that they "support" certified manufacturing practices, not that they actually use or partner with these organizations. This probably means that Caraway tries to use and partner with companies that use ethical practices, but they are not fully committed to it.

Thoughtful Packaging

"Shipped in recycled cardboard with zero plastic bags, and low impact print dyes."

True! Caraway packages their products in 100% recycled cardboard and no plastic. They use low impact ink and include cork in the boxes that protects the cookware during shipping and are re-usable at home as trivets (or whatever you want to use them for). They also don't overpack, so there is less cardboard to throw away.

Caraway gets 5 stars for thoughtful packaging.

"The New Standard for Healthy Cooking"

False. This claim reminds us of the claims made by waterless cookware makers, which imply that cookware can change the cooking habits of the cook. Yes, it's true that Caraway nonstick pans are better for the environment and safer than PTFE cookware, but there are other considerations here. One is that cookware can't change how somebody cooks, and healthy cooking habits belong to the cook, not the cookware. Another is that there are several other types of cookware that are safer to use than either type of nonstick because they definitely do not contain any questionable chemicals: these include clad stainless steel, cast iron, and carbon steel.

Nonstick

"Naturally slick pans that require less oil or butter for cooking and less scrubbing for a spotless clean."

True, sort of. Nonstick technically means that you don't need to use any oil or butter; that food will slide out of the pan without it. And Caraway also says: "Caraway Cookware’s non-stick performance is best complemented with a little bit of oil, butter, or ghee to keep things slick and smooth while cooking. Note that a small amount will go a long way, and will ultimately help keep food from sticking to cooking surfaces and retaining your pan’s non-stick."

So is Caraway not nonstick? Technically, it isn't, because it requires oil or butter to prevent food from sticking. But all nonstick does best with a little bit of oil or butter, so we're going to give them this one.

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Are Pots and Pans Sets Better than Buying Individual Pieces?

In general, you'll save by buying a set rather than individual pieces. But you may not use all the pieces in a set, so you have to weigh the pros and cons of sets vs. individual pieces.

The pieces in Caraway's basic $395 set are great, and you'll probably use all of them:

  • 10.5-inch fry pan
  • 3-quart sauce pan with lid
  • 6-quart Dutch oven with lid
  • 4.5-quart sauté pan with lid.

However, Caraway calls this a "12 piece" set because they include magnetic racks, cork trivets, a canvas lid holder that drapes over your cupboard door, and hooks for hanging. It's really just four pieces of cookware and three lids--which is an excellent set size with pieces you'll use--plus some storage options that you may or may not use. 

If you buy these pots and pans separately, you'll pay about $435, so you save money by buying the set. But it's a shame to have to toss these extra pieces if you don't need them, especially since Caraway prides itself on being an environmentally friendly brand. 

It's actually a great set at a decent price that's a little on the high end for nonstick--but we wish there was an option to not get the extra pieces.

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Is Caraway Nonstick Cookware Induction Compatible?

Caraway saute pan on induction cooktop

Caraway nonstick cookware is marketed as induction compatible, and indeed, the aluminum bodies have a magnetic steel base for induction compatibility.

On the website, Caraway says,

Yes, our cookware is induction compatible. The bases of our pans' diameters are 5.5" for the Sauce Pan, 6" Fry Pan, 6.5" Dutch Oven, and 8" for the Saute Pan. Although our cookware is compatible with induction stovetops, not all induction stovetops are compatible with us! We suggest reaching out to your manufacturer to confirm.

A lot of Caraway reviews on Amazon say that Caraway didn't work with their induction cooktop. However, this is highly unlikely to be because "not all induction cooktops are compatible with Caraway nonstick cookware," as the website says.

All induction cooktops work on the same principle: magnetism. And many websites tell you that cookware needs to be magnetic to work with induction, but they don't tell you that it should be strongly magnetic: a magnet has to not only stick, it has to stick very firmly. The stronger the magnetic base is, the better it will work with induction.

This is why small pots or pans don't always work well with induction: the base is too small to be strongly magnetic. This can also happen with larger pots and pans if the magnetic base is too thin (i.e., weak).

This seems to be the case with Caraway cookware--the magnetic base isn't strong enough to work very well on induction, especially on the sauce pans and mini (8-inch) skillets. They may work better on some cooktops than on others (inexpensive portables are often culprits), but in general, poor induction performance is a cookware issue, not a cooktop issue.

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What to Think About When Buying Cookware (And Our Caraway Nonstick Ratings)

Here are the important factors to consider before you buy nonstick cookware. In each category, we include our ratings for Caraway nonstick cookware. 

We look at:

  • Heating performance
  • Durability
  • Safety
  • Nonstick performance and cleaning
  • Design
  • Price/cost per year of use.

Heating Performance 

When you buy cookware, heating performance is the most important consideration (assuming the cookware is safe, of course). You want cookware that heats evenly (called "thermal conductivity") and holds onto heat fairly well (called "heat retention"). Some people want cookware that heats quickly, too, but this usually means the cookware is too thin--less mass means faster heating--and if it's too thin, it can heat unevenly, creating hot and cold spots, and won't retain heat well. 

Caraway nonstick cookware's heating and cooking performance is above average, so we give it 4 stars. It heats fast and evenly, thus cooks food evenly. The walls are about 3mm thick, which is plenty of aluminum for even heating and decent heat retention.  

Caraway recommends using low heat settings, which will prolong the life of the nonstick coating. Even at low heat settings, the pan retains enough heat to cook food evenly.

Having to use low-medium heat settings limits the pan's versatility (it's not a great choice for searing a steak, for example), so we give 4 stars instead of 5. 

(Note: you can use high heat to boil water; the water temperature won't go above 212F, so it protects the pan from heat damage.) 

Durability

No nonstick pan gets high ratings for durability because they don't last; the life of nonstick averages 1-5 years. Even at the high end of that average, nonstick can't compete with stainless steel, cast iron, and carbon steel, all of which will last for decades. 

This is one of the reasons we aren't huge fans of nonstick cookware. And the ceramic nonstick coating wears out sooner PTFE coatings, so even though it's a safer choice and better for the environment, the durability isn't great.

The good news is that you can continue to use ceramic nonstick pans even after the nonstick coating wears out because they won't leach chemicals or emit any dangerous fumes. And you may be able to restore some of the nonstick properties, too, which we discuss below.

Our pans held up well through a couple of months of regular use, but we found a lot of reviewer complaints about chips and scratches. This is unexpected, because ceramic nonstick is a very hard material. But a lot of users had issues with Caraway pans chipping and scratching. Our tester pans didn't chip or scratch, but the nonstick properties did get worse with use. For these reasons, we gave Caraway nonstick 2.5 stars for durability.

One other small complaint is that these pans aren't broiler safe. This isn't uncommon for nonstick cookware, so we don't deduct any points for it--but if you like to put pans under the broiler, these aren't the right pans for you.

The stainless handles and aluminum lids are great, but not great enough to increase the rating; since people are buying these pans because they're beautiful, chips, scratches and staining (discussed below) make the durability below average.

Safety

Safe cookware is cookware that doesn't leach chemicals into your food and is stable and non-reactive under normal use conditions. The safest types of cookware on the market are clad stainless steel, cast iron, carbon steel, and enameled cast iron. Traditional ceramics are also usually safe, although the dyes in inexpensive brands may contain lead, cadmium, or arsenic. PTFE cookware is safe--completely inert and non-reactive--when used correctly, but because it's made with toxic forever chemicals that have polluted the planet (and continue to do so), we give it a low safety rating. 

Ceramic nonstick cookware is still largely an unknown as far as safety. Yes, the makers and even many testers say that it's completely safe and stable, but the truth is that we don't know enough about titanium dioxide nanoparticles to know with total certainty that this is the case. 

Caraway doesn't explicitly state that their cookware contains titanium dioxide nanoparticles, but all other ceramic nonstick brands do, so we are fairly certain that the Caraway coating also contains it. (Their "proprietary formula" seems like a clever way of avoiding discussions about this.) 

In both cases, we don't know enough to say that Caraway cookware is completely safe: either it contains titanium dioxide nanoparticles, which the jury is still out on, or the secret formula contains unknown chemicals, which would also mean we don't know.

Caraway has had several independent testers find their cookware free of all PFAS (i.e., forever chemicals), as well as lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals. This is all good news--and why we give Caraway 3.5 stars for safety. But without addressing the nanoparticle issue, which Caraway has not done, we can't say this cookware is 100% safe (true for other ceramic nonstick cookware brands, as well). 

We will say that safety-wise, ceramic nonstick cookware is probably a better choice than any PTFE (Teflon) brand, but that's not saying a lot, because any cookware is a safer choice than PTFE. If you want to be absolutely certain your cookware is safe to use, go with stainless steel, cast iron, enameled cast iron, or carbon steel.

Nonstick Performance and Cleaning

Caraway nonstick has a nice thickness and heft, resulting in very good heating. The walls are about 3mm thick, which is plenty of aluminum for even heating and fairly good heat retention.

The nonstick performance is probably our biggest point of contention with Caraway nonstick cookware. At first, this cookware is amazing. Eggs slide right out of the pan with just a thin coating of butter (some people said butter or oil isn't even required when new, but we got better release using using them). But after just three weeks of regular use (2-3 times a day), the nonstick release got increasingly worse. All foods stuck. Cooking oil helped, but the pan was noticeably stickier than when new.

Used Caraway pan

The Caraway fry pan also stained terribly. We didn't change how we used the pan, but the pan changed, going from easy-breezy cleanup to having stubborn stains that we couldn't scrub out. In the pan shown here, eggs slid right out at first, then food started to stick and leave stains. Scrubbing with baking soda helped, but it was impossible to get the pan looking new again. The photo above is after scrubbing the pan several times with baking soda and Barkeeper's Friend. Sadly, these stains seem to be permanent.

The outside of the pots and pans also pose a problem with cleaning. Because they're color-coated, you can't use abrasive cleaners, which will remove the paint. So if the outside of your pan stains, there's not a lot you can do about it. This doesn't affect the cooking performance, but if you're buying Caraway because it's pretty (and we know a lot of you are), know that the looks can fade rather quickly. 

If you go with Caraway, we recommend getting a dark color because it hides the stains. 

Design

Caraway nonstick fry pan in cream

Here we look at usability and aesthetics. Is the cookware easy to handle? Is it too light, too heavy, or just right? Does the skillet have a good amount of flat cooking surface? Do the lids fit well? Is it pretty?

No one can dispute the beauty of this cookware. Design-wise, Caraway is one of the best nonstick pans on the market. The gorgeous array of colors with matching lids and stainless handles, and swooping lid pulls and helper handles make Caraway nonstick incredibly attractive cookware:

Caraway saute pan green

Handles: The long handles are attractive and comfortable, though we wish they had some sort of groove to help with grip. The swooping lid pulls and short handles also look great, though they aren't the most comfortable handles we've used. 

Lids: Caraway lids fit snugly, but we wish they didn't have steam vents--the whole point of a lid is to create pressure inside the pan, which helps food cook faster. The steam holes reduce the amount of pressure a pan can build up. (We realize some cooks want steam vents, but we do not.) We aren't crazy about how flat the lids are. A slightly domed lid controls condensation better, causing it to drip from the center of the lid. The flat lids get condensation all over, which can get a little messy. It's a small design flaw, but some reviewers really hate it.

Weight: Caraway pans are a nice weight. They have enough heft to provide decent heating, but they aren't overly heavy, so they're easy to handle. Opinions about weight are all over the place, with some reviewers saying Caraway pans are too heavy and others saying they're too light. We think they're an excellent weight that's easy to handle for most home cooks.

Skillet shape: The Caraway skillets have an excellent shape, with fairly straight sides and a lot of flat cooking surface. Some people prefer more sloped sides, saying it's easier to get a utensil into the pan to flip food, but we think having more flat cooking surface is more important. The pan sides are a bit steep, but none of our testers had problems flipping burgers, eggs, or pancakes with a turner. 

Other pan shapes: The sauce pan, sauté pan, and Dutch oven are all nicely shaped, with straight sides that make it easy to stir foods and to clean. 

Caraway Squareware set cream

We like the new squareware pans, too: the square grill and griddle are both roomy and easy to use, and the the roasting pan is excellent for oven use (steel rack included).

Extras: When you buy a set of Caraway, you get a few extra pieces, including magnetic storage racks, a canvas lid holder (drapes over a cupboard door), hooks for hanging, and cork trivets, which help protect the set during shipping and can be used as trivets for hot pans. (The extras turn a 7-piece cookware set of 4 pots and 3 lids into a 12-piece cookware set, without adding a lot of extra value.) Our testers were mixed on these extras, some liking them, and some wanting no extras and a lower price. Whether you like these extras depends a lot on your storage situation. But it would be nice if you could choose to get the extras or not.

Overall, the Caraway nonstick pans have great design and are both beautiful and usable, one of the best nonstick pans you can buy. We give them 4.5 stars for design--but if you dislike the extras that add to the cost of the set, or have any other issues with the design, you can subtract half a point or a point.

Price (And Cost-Per-Year-of-Use)

Caraway nonstick pots and pans are expensive, especially considering that the nonstick coating doesn't last very long and that they can stain and be hard to clean. 

A standard 10.5-inch skillet is about $85, and the 7-piece set (4 pots, 3 lids, plus storage racks and trivets) is around $395; more if you want gold-colored handles or handles that match the cookware. If you get 5 years of use out of this set, then your cost-per-year-of-use is about $79. If the pans last just 2 years (a more likely scenario), your cost-per-year-of-use is about $198. 

Losing the nonstick properties doesn't render ceramic nonstick unusable, as is the case with PTFE cookware. So you could continue to use Caraway cookware, in which case the cookware will last longer than the 5 years. In fact, it could last a few decades, especially if you don't mind the staining and colors wearing off.

But since that isn't how Caraway is marketed and isn't what most buyers want, we are considering Caraway's cost-per-year-of-use to be somewhere between $79-$198.

There are other brands of nonstick pots and pans that cost this much. Some people believe it's worth the higher price because the quality is good or the makers use ecological manufacturing practices (like ScanPan). Many buyers feel this way about Caraway nonstick cookware.

You can find lower priced nonstick pans that perform just as well as Caraway. (or better). Whether you're looking specifically for ceramic nonstick or are open to either kind (PTFE or ceramic), lower priced nonstick is going to have a lower cost-per-year-of-use, and you won't feel as bad when you have to toss it.

But the bigger point is that if you compare any nonstick brand to clad stainless steel, cast iron, or carbon steel, they fall short. Even if you spend, say, $1000 on a set of stainless steel, it will last for decades: so a $1000 set that lasts 30 years costs about $33 a year to use--and most clad stainless steel cookware will last longer than this. 

If you go with a Lodge cast iron skillet, your cost-per-year-of-use will literally be pennies, because it's cheap and it can last for generations.

For these reasons, we give Caraway nonstick cookware a below average rating for price and cost-per-year-of-use.

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How to Extend the Life of Your Caraway Nonstick Pots and Pans

Here's a little trick that may help restore the nonstick coating on your Caraway kitchenware (do not try this with PTFE cookware). 

When your ceramic nonstick begins to lose its nonstick properties, try scrubbing it with a slurry of baking soda and water. This can remove some of the cooked-on food residues that coat the surface.

It won't always work, but it can often make the cooking surface slicker, at least temporarily.

You can also try Barkeeper's Friend, but baking soda is our preferred method.

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Caraway Nonstick Cookware Vs. Other Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Brands

There are several DTC and boutique ceramic nonstick cookware brands on the market. In addition to Caraway, there's Our Place, Great Jones, and more. All of these kitchenware brands are expensive--we think too expensive for cookware that isn't going to last any longer than less expensive brands. (No, they're not as much as clad stainless steel, but clad stainless steel will last for decades, and ceramic nonstick won't.)

Of these DTC/boutique brands, Caraway has the best design and the best buying options if you're looking for nonstick pans. 

GreenPan (see our GreenPan review) is another popular brand of ceramic nonstick pots and pans. It's the original ceramic nonstick, having been the first brand on the market. GreenPan makes several lines of cookware, all ceramic nonstick. GreenPan quality is roughly the same as Caraway, with enough aluminum in the body to heat evenly and stainless steel handles. Some GreenPan lines are induction compatible and some are not. Most GreenPan lines have glass lids, but otherwise, they are quite comparable to Caraway but considerably less expensive. For the price, we think GreenPan is one of the best nonstick pans on the market.

There are even cheaper lines of ceramic nonstick such as GreenLife and Gotham Steel (see our Gotham Steel review), but these brands are pretty low quality. They may be an option for some buyers, but they are not in the same league as Caraway. 

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Caraway Nonstick Cookware Vs. All-Clad

Caraway nonstick and All-Clad clad stainless steel aren't competitors, as they appeal to different buyers. No clad stainless steel brands compete with nonstick pans--and pretty much all clad stainless will be more durable and last longer than any nonstick brand, even if it's on the bargain end of clad stainless steel market.

All-Clad also makes nonstick cookware, all of it PTFE. You can buy a set of two All-Clad skillets, 8-inch and 10-inch, for about $60; Caraway's 10.5-inch skillet is about $85. So All-Clad nonstick is considerably cheaper than Caraway nonstick. 

All-Clad cookware is high quality, and this includes their nonstick. So even though All-Clad nonstick pans are less expensive than Caraway, the quality is at least as good; the only thing wrong with them is that they're PTFE--which, unfortunately, is a big issue. 

Caraway also makes clad stainless steel, but we don't review it in this article.

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Caraway Nonstick Cookware FAQs

Here are some common questions about Caraway nonstick cookware.

Where Is Caraway Nonstick Cookware Made?

All Caraway cookware is made in China.

Is Caraway Nonstick Cookware Really Nonstick?

Yes and no. When new, the coating is very slippery and food will slide out of the pan with little or no oil or butter. But after a few months of use the coating begins to lose its nonstick properties, and the pans require oil or butter for best results. So Caraway pans start out being nonstick, but then become semi-nonstick.

How Long Will Caraway Nonstick Cookware Last?

Nonstick cookware lasts an average of 1-5 years. Some reviewers say the nonstick coating lasts several years, while others say it lasted only a few months. Longevity depends a lot on use, care, and heat (don't use high heat with ceramic nonstick cookware).

Does Caraway Nonstick Cookware Contain PTFE or PFOA?

No, Caraway nonstick cookware contains no PTFE, PFOA, or any other forever chemicals.

Do You Have to Season Caraway Nonstick Pans?

No, you do not have to season Caraway nonstick pans.

What Is the Warranty on Caraway Nonstick Cookware?

All Caraway nonstick cookware has a 1 year limited warranty against manufacturing defects.

Is Caraway Nonstick Cookware Oven Safe?

Yes, Caraway nonstick is oven safe to 550F.

Is Caraway Nonstick Cookware Dishwasher Safe?

No, it is not dishwasher safe. All Caraway nonstick cookware should be hand-washed.

Is Caraway Nonstick Cookware Induction Compatible?

Caraway nonstick cookware has a magnetic steel plate on the bottom for induction compatibility. However, many users complain that their Caraway pans do not work with induction. This is usually because the magnetic plate is too thin or too small to provide enough magnetic pull for induction compatibility. For the best induction performance, pans should have a large magnetic plate with a strong magnetic pull.

Is Caraway Nonstick Cookware Good Quality?

Yes, Caraway nonstick is good quality. The pans have a good weight, with stainless steel handles and good, usable design. However, no nonstick coating lasts no matter how expensive the pans are, so be prepared to replace your Caraway in 1-5 years. 

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Final Thoughts About Caraway Nonstick Cookware

Caraway nonstick cookware is high quality and beautiful with great design. But the nonstick coating is short-lived, with users saying it lasts anywhere from a few months to a few years. If you're careful with your cookware--no high heat or metal utensils--you may get several years of use out of it.

As for the safety of Caraway nonstick, we are sad to see that so many health websites recommend Caraway nonstick cookware as completely safe. It's possible that this is the case, but more research is needed on nanoparticles, which are in all ceramic nonstick coatings. It's almost certainly safer than PTFE nonstick, and definitely better for the environment. But clad stainless steel is a better choice if safety is your primary concern.

If you're looking for a safe nonstick pots and pans set, Caraway is stunningly beautiful and great to use. If you're okay with using low heat and replacing it in a few years, you should be happy with this cookware. But it's expensive for a nonstick coating that probably won't last. 

Thanks for reading!

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If you found this article helpful, please share:

Nonstick cookware lasts an average of 1-5 years. Some reviewers say the nonstick coating lasts several years, while others say it lasted only a few months. Longevity depends a lot on use, care, and heat (don't use high heat with ceramic nonstick cookware).

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