October 21

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Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE? (A Detailed Analysis)

By trk

October 21, 2020

ceramic cookware, frying pan, nonstick, skillet

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We do extensive research and testing on every produce we review. Our only goal is to help people learn about products and find the best fit for their needs. We never take any money or free products from any seller, ever, and we do our very best to look at as many features as we can to help you decide. 

Ceramic nonstick frying pans have gained huge popularity in recent years. Many people think they're safer to use, better for the environment, and even more nonstick than their PTFE (aka Teflon®) competitors. 

But are they? 

Here, we take a detailed look at ceramic nonstick and compare it to PTFE. Find out how it compares--and whether or not it's the right choice for you and your family.

The Best Ceramic Frying Pans at a Glance

If you're in the market for a nonstick ceramic frying pan, here are our top three picks. They all meet our criteria for fast and even heating, durability, and affordability (which is important for ceramic because it is not a buy-it-for-life product). 

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?
GreenPan Lima Covered 12" Pan

About $40, lid included.
Stainless handle.
Anodized aluminum body.
Glass lid (not incl. w/induction pan).
Oven safe to 600F.
2 yr. warranty on ceramic.

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?
Kyocera Ceramic Frying Pan

About $40-$60.
Stainless handle.
Forged aluminum body.
Induction compatible.
Oven safe to 400F.
Limited lifetime warranty.

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?
Tramontina Gourmet Ceramica 12" Pan

About $35/$55.
Stainless/soft grip handle.
Forged aluminum body.
Oven safe to 350F.
Made in Italy.
Limited lifetime Warranty.

What Is a Ceramic Frying Pan?

Since there are different types of ceramic cookware, we are starting with a definition.

Nonstick Ceramic-Coated Cookware

This article is about aluminum (or clad stainless) frying pans with a ceramic nonstick coating:

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

The ceramic coating is made from sand--otherwise known as silicon--in combination with some other substances. The silicon material is heated to its melting point, then sprayed onto the cookware using a sol-gel process. The resulting ceramic coating is durable, heat resistant, and very slippery.

The body can be made from stamped, cast, or forged aluminum, anodized aluminum, or clad stainless steel. We recommend cast or forged aluminum bodies for the best heating properties at the best price. Stamped aluminum is usually thinner so the heating properties aren't always as good (but they can be, if the aluminum layer is thick enough). 

Anodization has no effect on heating properties, but it makes the aluminum stronger and more durable. 

Clad stainless pans are high quality, but they have a price tag to match. Since nonstick cookware has a pretty short lifespan, we do not recommend buying nonstick in clad stainless--the cooking surface will wear out decades before the rest of the pan does. 

100% Ceramic Cookware

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

In contrast, some cookware, like Xtrema, is 100% ceramic. This is a very different type of cookware: It is heavy, brittle, and is not nonstick. Also, because ceramic is an insulator rather than a conductor of heat, its heating properties aren't great: it takes a long time to heat up and is not responsive to temperature changes. Most people who use 100% ceramic cookware do so because they believe it is the healthiest cookware. (This is a debatable point, but since this article is not about this type of ceramic cookware, we won't say any more about it here.)

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Is Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Safer and Healthier than PTFE?

There are only two types of nonstick cookware: PTFE and ceramic. Both of them have potential safety hazards everyone should know about before they buy nonstick cookware.

PTFE Safety Issues

PTFE, an acronym for polytetrafluoroethylene, is a hydrocarbon, and is also known by its original Dupont trade name, Teflon®. It is actually a type of plastic. When used and care for properly, PTFE is perfectly safe; it is completely inert and does not react with the human body in any way. In fact, PTFE is so non-reactive that it's used for many different kinds of biological implants. 

However, PTFE is not without concerns. As many people know by now, PTFE releases toxic fumes if heated above about 500F (the exact temp can vary by brand). These fumes can produce flu-like symptoms and be lethal to birds. 

The other concern is PFOA, the adhesive used to make the PTFE stick to the pan. PFOA is hazardous to the environment and has been linked to several health issues, including cancers. The good news is that cookware manufacturers stopped using PFOA to make nonstick cookware (it was outlawed in the US in 2015). The bad news is that similar chemicals may still be used as an adhesive. We simply can't say for sure if the new chemicals are any safer or better for the environment than PFOA. 

In truth, PFOA is almost completely used up in the manufacturing process, and is a very, very small concern to human health--we are more likely to ingest PFOA from our drinking water than from our cookware. However, PFOA and related chemicals are serious environmental chemicals, so avoiding products that use or contain them is a good idea--if not so much for you and your family, then for the environment.

Ceramic Nonstick Safety Issues

Ceramic nonstick cookware has gained popularity as "the healthier nonstick cookware option." As people became more familiar with PTFE issues but were reluctant to give up the convenience of nonstick cookware, ceramic nonstick had huge appeal. Thus, the past decade has seen huge growth in the ceramic nonstick market.

After all, it's made from sand, so how unsafe could it be, right? No nasty chemicals, durable, and safe to use at any temperature--so ceramic nonstick cookware has a lot of pluses.

However, in recent years, researchers have become aware of issues with the sol-gel process used to apply the ceramic coating to the pans. Sol-gel uses titanium dioxide nanoparticles, and these particles have been linked to human health issues, including cancerous tumors. (You can read more about titanium dioxide nanoparticles in cookware here.)

This is all pretty new information and there isn't a lot of research yet, so we don't fully understand the concerns. We do know that this is associated primarily with Thermolon, a brand name nonstick ceramic used on many brands of ceramic nonstick, including GreenPan. However, since the sol-gel process is used (as far as we know) for every ceramic nonstick coating, they all potentially contain these nanoparticles.

The good news is that these particles don't seem to migrate into food at normal cooking temps. A pan would need to be heated to above 900F to release them. So for regular use, ceramic nonstick cookware seems safe.

On the other hand, scratches in the cookware may release more of these particles--so if your ceramic nonstick cookware is scratched, you shouldn't use it anymore. 

Also, with this being a recently identified issue, the plain truth is that we just don't know for sure if these nanoparticles are a concern or not. Though they're probably safe, there are too many unknowns to say so with 100% certainty. ceramic frying pan

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Is Ceramic Nonstick Cookware More Durable than PTFE?

Yes...and no.

Ceramic nonstick is extremely hard, and it doesn't break down dangerously under high heat like PTFE. However, it's also brittle, and it can chip rather easily. (And once chipped, it is not safe to use because of the nanoparticle issue.) 

And despite the fact that nonstick ceramic is safe for use with high heat, high heat seems to do real damage to the nonstick properties. So even though it can safely withstand high heat, the high heat kills the nonstick surface faster than just about anything else. ceramic frying pan

And while many makers say you can use their pans with metal utensils and put them in the dishwasher, you shouldn't do either of these if you want your ceramic nonstick pan to last as long as possible. Metal utensils could chip the coating, and dishwasher detergent contains abrasive particles that can be really bad for nonstick coatings. 

About the only thing you can do with a nonstick ceramic frying pan that you can't do with a PTFE pan is use aerosol cooking spray (like PAM). The propellants in PAM break down PTFE and destroy it (never, ever use aerosol cooking spray on a PTFE pan). But they won't react with ceramic nonstick coatings, so they're safe to use.

So to summarize, ceramic nonstick and PTFE both require low-medium heat, hand washing, and plastic or wooden utensils in order to get the longest possible life span out of the nonstick coating. So while ceramic nonstick is a much harder substance than PTFE, this doesn't really result in more durable cookware. Both PTFE and ceramic must be babied if you want them to last.

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Do Ceramic Nonstick Pans Last Longer than PTFE?

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

No.

At best, a nonstick ceramic frying pan has about the same life span as a PTFE frying pan. But in practice, ceramic nonstick seems to lose its slippery properties, on average, faster than PTFE nonstick does.

Just read product reviews on Amazon to find out what people have to say about their pans after six months, a year, or two years. The complaints are eerily similar to those about PTFE--and in many cases, come sooner than with PTFE. 

This is not to say you can't get a few years of use out of a nonstick ceramic frying pan, because you may well do so. But nonstick pans don't generally last more than a few years, even with excellent care and proper use. 

Also, there are a few tricks you can try to restore the nonstick coating to a ceramic frying pan that you can't do with PTFE. (More on this in a minute.)

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Is Ceramic Nonstick More Expensive than PTFE?

The brand of cookware is a better indicator of cost than the type. Having said that, you can find both PTFE and ceramic nonstick at several price points, from uber cheap to uber expensive. The coating themselves don't seem to enter into the cost factor all that much; when you buy a nonstick pan, what you're really paying for is the build quality of the pan.

Our mantra for nonstick cookware is to buy cheap...but not too cheap. You want a pan with decent heating properties or it will be awful to use, with scorching and uneven heating. This is why we recommend cast or forged aluminum bodies, both of which tend to be thicker than less expensive stamped aluminum: all aluminum is fairly cheap, and when thick enough it provides fast, even heating. So: cast or forged aluminum is the best choice for cheap--but not too cheap--nonstick cookware (either PTFE or ceramic).

What about the coatings? Well, more expensive brands do tend to put more layers of nonstick coating on their pans. This sounds great, but in practice, we honestly haven't noticed a lot of difference between cheap and expensive nonstick coatings. They tend to last for about the same amount of time (though ScanPan, which is some sort of PTFE/ceramic hybrid, does seem to last a little longer--check out our article on ScanPan if you want to learn more--but even here, you're probably paying more for build quality than for nonstick coating quality).

Because coatings don't really seem to improve with cost, we (once again) recommend that you buy cheap, but not too cheap. Cast or forged aluminum pans are going to cost more than stamped aluminum, but they're worth it for the much improved heating performance.

You can get a decent nonstick ceramic pan for around $30-$60, depending on size and brand. 

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Is Ceramic Nonstick Better for the Environment than PTFE?

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

Nonstick ceramic cookware companies (like GreenPan) claim that their manufacturing process uses fewer resources than that of PTFE cookware. This is a difficult claim to substantiate, though, so we don't know if it's true or not. Not that these companies are lying, but there are many different ways to measure a rather vague claim like "better for the environment." 

The truth is, all mass-produced products use tremendous amounts of resources to bring to market. There's no way around that. Ceramic nonstick cookware may use fewer resources, but there's no way to know for sure. It's hard to quantify actual amounts. 

Having said that, we do like the fact that ceramic nonstick cookware doesn't use any PFOA-related chemicals in its manufacturing process. Since PFOA-type chemicals are extremely bad for both the environment and human health, nonstick ceramic is better, environmentally speaking, on this count alone.

Whether or not nonstick ceramic frying pan production requires other nasty chemicals, we don't know. They certainly might.

Recycling: Both PTFE and nonstick ceramic frying pans are recyclable, but because very few curbside programs accept them, they tend to end up in landfills. If you do a little homework, you can probably find an organization near you or a mail-in program that will take your nonstick pans, and if you want to be a good steward of the environment, it's worth the effort. Whatever you do, please don't donate your old nonstick pans to a center for re-use; if you don't want to use them anymore, nobody else will, either.

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Does Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Work with Induction?

Some nonstick ceramic pans work with induction, and some don't. It all depends on whether there is an induction compatible (i.e., magnetic) plate on the bottom of the cookware. 

If you need induction compatibility, just be sure to buy a brand that has it. You don't need to spend a lot on a clad stainless pan; you can find many aluminum pans that are induction compatible. A couple of our recommendations work with induction. Some reviewers said the Kyocera does not, however, in our testing we found it worked just fine on an induction cooktop.

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What About Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic, and Other Toxins?

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

Many manufacturers like to state that their cookware is free of lead, cadmium, and other toxic chemicals. It's good to know your cookware is free of these chemicals, but the truth is that they aren't really a big concern in any type of cookware.

Some dyes contain small amounts of cadmium, but since these are on the exterior of the cookware, they aren't anything to worry about--but if you are worried, avoid red, orange, and yellow cookware, which are the colors most likely to contain cadmium.

It's possible for silicon products (like ceramic nonstick coating) to contain small amounts of lead and other toxins, but if you buy a reputable brand, you don't have to worry about it. In fact, cookware is pretty heavily regulated in the US, so you aren't going to find toxins in any measurable amounts. 

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What Are the Biggest Drawbacks of a Nonstick Ceramic Frying Pan?

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

Lifespan

We've already talked about the biggest drawback, which is the short lifespan. No matter how much you pay for a ceramic nonstick pan, it isn't likely to last more than a couple of years even with painstakingly good care.

If you decide to go with ceramic nonstick, know that it's something you'll probably be replacing every two-three years (at best).

Special Care Required

Another big drawback of all nontstick cookware is the special use and care they require in order to get the most use out of them. You can only use low-medium heat. You can't use metal utensils. You have to wash them by hand. 

If these are your natural ways of cooking, then there's not a huge drawback. But if you like to crank up the heat to put a sear on a steak, or you like to scrape a pan bottom to loosen brown bits for a lovely pan sauce, then nonstick can be a real sacrifice. 

Browning the Food

Because nonstick pans are so slippery and nothing sticks to them, they're not a great choice for getting a nice sear on your food. In fact, they don't brown food very well at all (unless you crank the heat up, which you're not supposed to do). 

You've probably seen advertisements where people turn out beautifully seared steaks and crispy fried eggs from nonstick pans. But in reality, it's hard to get these results. 

Unknowns

This goes back to the nanoparticle issue: ceramic nonstick is a fairly new product, having only been on the market since 2007. As such, there isn't a lot of research on it. This may change--and we should certainly keep an eye on the nanoparticle issue.

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Are Reinforced Pans Better?

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

Newer nonstick coatings can be reinforced with strength-building substances like titanium, diamond dust, granite, marble, and more. These are added to the nonstick coating--both PTFE and ceramic--to make them stronger and last longer.

Whether or not these reinforcements work is questionable. Our recommendation is to read reviews carefully, and decide accordingly--what you're likely to find is that reinforced nonstick pans wear out at about the same rate as non-reinforced pans.

In our experience, reinforcements may increase the life span of nonstick cookware slightly. If the cost is not a lot more, go ahead and try a reinforced ceramic--the GreenPan Valencia is a good example (and also induction compatible), but note that the cost is quite a bit more than for the original Thermolon coating on the Paris.

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How Do I Choose a Nonstick Ceramic Frying Pan?

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

As we've already said, you should buy cheap, but not too cheap. Here are a few buying tips:

  • Cast or forged aluminum offers the best heating properties at the lowest price.
  • To avoid possible toxins and contaminants, buy a known brand name--this doesn't mean you have to spend a lot--just a little bit more than the rock bottom, no-name brands.
  • Avoid clad stainless because of price.
  • Avoid buying whole sets--you only need nonstick on a skillet or sauté pan (and skillets are almost always less expensive).
  • Set a budget and stick to it, knowing that you can get a high quality ceramic nonstick pan for $60 or less, depending on size and brand.

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What About Sets? Aren't They a Better Deal?

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

We don't recommend buying whole sets of nonstick cookware for a few reasons. 

We don't recommend buying whole sets of nonstick cookware for a few reasons. 

First, the nonstick coating doesn't last more than a few years. It's one thing to replace a skillet every few years; it's a totally different thing to replace an entire cookware set every few years--you don't want to have to do this.

Next, you don't need nonstick coatings on sauce pans, stock pots, and Dutch ovens. Sure, there are situations where it might be nice (oatmeal, for example). But skillets tend to get the most stuck-on messes, so they are the pans where a nonstick coating can routinely pay off. 

Finally, remember the heat restrictions on nonstick cookware. Do you really want a sauce pan that you can't use on high heat? (Do you know how long it will take to boil pasta water on low-medium heat?) 

If you want cookware that you can use at any heat, with any utensils, for any project, don't buy nonstick sets. Instead, we recommend buying clad stainless sets--including a skillet or two--and having a nonstick skillet just for certain messy tasks.

If you do this, your nonstick skillet will last longer, and you won't feel so bad when you have to replace it.

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Can You Restore the Nonstick Surface?

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

Yes, you can! 

You will find that after repeated use, the cooking surface gets a build-up that can ruin the nonstick properties. If this is what's causing your pan to stick, then you can restore the nonstick surface with a slightly abrasive cleanser like Barkeeper's Friend, or even just plain old baking soda. (Toothpaste might also work, but we haven't tried it.)

This won't always work, and after too much use, the ceramic coating is going to wear out. But if your pan is sticking, give the cleanser a try before throwing it out. 

Don't worry about harming the nonstick coating: remember, ceramic nonstick is an extremely tough surface, so a little cleanser isn't going to ruin it.

This little trick could double or maybe even triple the life of your ceramic nonstick pan.

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Review: Green Pan Lima (Lid Included)

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

See GreenPan Lima 12" frying pan on Amazon

See GreenPan Valencia 10" frying pan on Amazon

GreenPan was the first maker of ceramic nonstick cookware. They are a Belgian company--The Cookware Company is the parent name--with manufacturing plants in China. GreenPan invented Thermolon, the first ceramic nonstick coating used for cookware. They've been around for awhile and have a reputation for excellent quality. The fact that they offer a lifetime warranty on construction and a two year warranty on their ceramic nonstick coating indicates that they take their customer service seriously: two years is a fair life span expectation for ceramic nonstick, so if your pan wears out before that time, GreenPan should happily replace it. (This is not the case with many nonstick cookware makers, who do not stand behind their "lifetime" warranties.)

Today, GreenPan makes several lines of cookware. We like the Lima because it comes with a lid, while most others do not. (Lids are available separately for most GreenPan frying pans.) Prices vary, with most of their products in an affordable price range. 

If you need induction compatibility, we like the Valencia or the Paris: neither comes with a lid, but they are both affordable options. The Valencia has the newer, upgraded Thermolon Minerals coating, so it is going to be more expensive. (But is it more durable? Only time will tell; our testing indicated that it is extremely similar to the original Thermolon.) ceramic frying pan

GreenPan also offers a lot of different buying options, including lids, turners, cookbooks, and other add-ons. Be sure to check the GreenPan products on Amazon to see if there are any package deals that appeal to you.

If you want more information on GreenPan frying pans, you can read our detailed review of GreenPan cookware.

Testing Results

In our testing, the Lima, Paris, and Valencia all did well. Eggs stuck a little bit with no oil, but with a small amount of oil (about a teaspoon), they slid right out of the pan. Fish and hamburgers browned nicely (for nonstick) on medium heat, and messy melted cheese wiped out of the pan surprisingly easily. We thought these pans performed very well and were easy to clean up.

We used each pan about a dozen times. We were careful to use no higher than medium heat, silicone and wooden utensils, and hand washed between uses (no dishwasher). The coating stayed slick and slippery, with no signs of losing its nonstick surface.

The real test will be in how long the nonstick coating lasts. As with many ceramic nonstick products, many reviews on GreenPan products indicate that the coating won't last more than about a year (this is true for the pans with the newer coatings, too, like Valencia). However, with the two-year warranty on the coating, you can probably feel safe buying this brand. ceramic frying pan

Pros

  • 12 in. Lima/Paris skillet is about $40, lid included (Valencia is about $60)
  • Stainless handle
  • Thermolon coating (Thermolon Minerals on the Valencia)
  • Anodized aluminum, scratch resistant body
  • LIght weight: 12-in. weighs 4.2 lb, 10-in. weighs 2.9 lbs.
  • Stainless steel handle (oven safe)
  • Drip free rim
  • Oven safe to 600F (420F with lid)
  • Limited lifetime warranty on pan
  • 2yr. warranty on coating.

Cons

  • Lima is not induction compatible (Paris and Valencia are)
  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Anodized aluminum body is a little on the thin side
  • Metal utensils not recommended
  • Nonstick coating may not last very long.

Recommendation

If you want a lid included and need a large 12-inch skillet at an affordable price, the GreenPan Lima is a great option. If you need induction compatibility, go with the GreenPan Paris or Valencia, or the Kyocera skillet (below).

BUY GREENPAN LIMA 12 INCH FRYING PAN W/LID NOW:

buy greenpan valencia 10 inch frying pan now (No Lid):

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Review: Kyocera Ceramic Skillet

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

Kyocera is a Japanese company best known for their ceramic knives. They also make other kitchen products, including mandolines, peelers, and pepper mills (see their Amazon store page for a complete list). Their nonstick ceramic frying pans are made in Vietnam. Though the company is not known for its cookware, they did a great job on this nonstick skillet. ceramic frying pan

We were impressed by the Kyocera pan in several ways. The build quality is stellar: the forged aluminum body is thick enough to provide excellent heating, while the stainless handle feels durable and comfortable in your hand. The nonstick coating was really, really superb, with everything we threw at it just sliding right out of the pan, and messes wiping right off. All in all, it has the look and feel of a pan costing much more (think ScanPan).

We also like the design of the pan. It's a little deeper than most skillets, and the sides are fairly straight, allowing for more flat cooking surface. The ever-so-slightly domed cooking surface makes it better for some dishes than others; if you're looking strictly for an egg pan, this might not be the one for you.

It's more expensive than our other choices, and the nonstick coating isn't likely to last much longer, but the quality feel of the pan makes it worth a recommendation. It was a true joy to use. 

Kyocera doesn't make lids for their frying pans, so if you want a lid, you'll have to buy one from another maker. These aren't hard to find on Amazon, or you may already own one that will fit it.

Testing Results

In our testing, the Kyocera frying pan was spectacular. We followed instructions to lightly oil the surface before the first use, and it seemed to work magic. Everything slid out of the pan easily, including eggs. It browned food surprisingly well for nonstick. A cheesy, sticky mess wiped right out of the pan.

This is one of the best nonstick ceramic frying pans we've ever used. The thick aluminum body offers fast, even heating and the stainless handle--hollow to help it stay cool--feels great in your hand. Testers found this pan an all-around pleasure to cook with.

As with the other pans we tested, we used it about a dozen times. We used only low-medium heat, non-metal utensils, and hand washed between uses. The coating worked great throughout and showed no signs of losing its nonstick surface. 

The one drawback of the Kyocera ceramic frying pan is that the cooking surface isn't quite flat. It has a slight dome in the center, so oil and runny foods (eggs in particular) slide to the outer edges of the pan. This makes it not so great for frying eggs, but for most other foods, it wasn't much of a problem. 

As with other nonstick brands, the real test will be in how long the coating lasts. As with many ceramic nonstick products, many reviewers of Kyocera pans say that the coating won't last longer than about a year. Unfortunately, we think this is probably true, because it's true for other nonstick pans (especially ceramic). Since these pans are priced higher than our other choices, you should really love the pan, and have the budget for it, if you decide to purchase it. The thick forged aluminum is great, though, and will provide excellent performance for as long as the nonstick coating lasts.

Pros

  • About $40-$60 (8"/10"/12")
  • Stainless handle
  • Forged aluminum body
  • Slightly straighter, deeper sides than other frying pans
  • Induction compatible
  • Light weight: 12-in. pan weighs 2.7 lbs
  • Oven safe to 400F
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Made in Vietnam. 

Cons

  • Pan is not completely flat (i.e., not great for eggs)
  • Lids not available
  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Metal utensils not recommended
  • Some reviewers say it didn't work with induction (though it did in our testing)
  • Nonstick coating may not last more than a year or two.

Recommendation

The Kyocera is a great pan: it's sleek, well built, and has a great shape, with straighter, slightly deeper sides than many other frying pans. It heats fast and evenly and is induction compatible. Our only complaint is that the bottom surface isn't quite flat, which can be a problem for cooking certain foods (like frying eggs). But other than that, we found the performance of this pan to be excellent.

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

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Review: Tramontina Ceramica Skillet

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

See Tramontina Gourmet Ceramica 12-in frying pan on Amazon

See Tramontina Gourmet Ceramica 11-inch frying pan at Walmart

Like most Tramontina cookware, the Tramontina Ceramica is a high quality ceramic frying pan at an affordable price. It's made in Italy and assembled in the USA--a rare thing, since most nonstick cookware today is made in China. The lovely red exterior is also ceramic, and it's beautiful, but it may also chip rather easily, and this is probably not covered under the warranty. 

We like the design, as it also--like the Kyocera--has slightly steeper and deeper sides than many skillets. The white cooking surface is a delight, as it makes it easy to gauge cooking progress--though we also found that it stained easily. Some Barkeeper's Friend and a little elbow grease--which you don't have to be afraid of with ceramic nonstick--should solve this problem.

As for the color, you either love it or hate it--and if you hate it, then go with one of our other recommendations.

Overall, the Ceramica pan looks, feels, and performs like a much more expensive pan. 

As with the Kyocera pan, Tramontina doesn't make a lid for this pan, which is unfortunate, but you should have no trouble finding one to fit it; you probably already own one that will work.

Related: Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad Stainless Cookware Review

Testing Results

Even though it was the least expensive pan we tested, the Gourmet Ceramica pan performed as well as the others. We followed all the use and care instructions, including applying a light coat of cooking oil before the first use. (We're not sure what this is supposed to accomplish, as it can't be called seasoning, so maybe it just helps with the nonstick properties.) The heavy forged aluminum produced fast, even heating (by now you can see that we're a huge fan of cast and forged aluminum, and it's for this reason). 

The soft-grip handle was super comfortable in the hand, though we are concerned about its longevity: the low oven temp limit is no doubt because of this handle, and you always have to be careful to not melt or bake a soft grip handle like this. 

The nonstick cooking surface was really good: nothing stuck to the pan throughout the tests, and sticky messes cleaned off easily. The only issue was with the staining of the light colored surface, which, if you want to keep it looking pristine, will involve a bit of extra work. (And at some point, the stains may become permanent.) ceramic frying pan

As with all nonstick pans, the ultimate test will be how long the coating lasts. As with our other choices, there were a number of reviewers who said the nonstick properties didn't last. Some gave it about a year, while some others gave it less. We think if you follow all use and care instructions and always hand wash (even though Tramontina claims the Ceramica pan is dishwasher safe), you'll get a couple of years use out of this pan. Which is an excellent bargain for about 35 bucks.

Pros

  • About $35/$55
  • Stainless/soft grip handle
  • Forged aluminum body
  • Lightweight: The 12-in. pan weighs just under 3 lbs
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Made in Italy/assembled in USA.

Cons

  • Oven safe to only 350F
  • Soft-grip handle may wear out faster than the rest of the pan
  • No lid available
  • Light-colored interior may stain
  • Not induction compatible
  • Dishwasher not recommended
  • Metal utensils not recommended
  • Nonstick coating may not last more than a year or two.

Recommendation

The Tramontina Ceramica is a heavy-duty ceramic frying pan with an expensive look and feel at an affordable price. If you're on a tight budget, this is a great choice for ceramic nonstick: the build quality is excellent so you get fast, even heating, and the nonstick cooking surface stands up to any of the top brands' nonstick. 

We recommend buying on Amazon, as that's where the prices are usually best, but if you can't find the one you want there, Walmart also has a good collection. Be sure to get the "Gourmet Ceramica" line, as Tramontina makes a few lines of ceramic nonstick, and the Gourmet Ceramica is the highest quality.

Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE?

BUY tramontina Gourmet ceramica 12 Inch frying pan NOW:

BUY TRAMONTINA Gourmet CERAMICA 11 INCH PAN NOW:

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Final Thoughts

Ceramic frying pans are great in many ways, yet not so great in others. Like PTFE pans, they have pros and cons. It's really up to you what the right choice is.

Thanks for reading!

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