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Stoneware Cookware: What to Know Before You Buy

By trk

Last Updated: November 25, 2023

cookware, nonstick pans, stoneware

Did you know that most "stoneware cookware" that comes up in a Google or Amazon search is aluminum cookware with a nonstick coating? It's true: the term "stoneware" has been hijacked by the nonstick cookware industry--so if you're looking for true stoneware and not nonstick, proceed with caution.

And, there are several kinds of actual stoneware cookware, all made of different materials.

A lot of cookware sites discuss aluminum nonstick cookware as if it were real stoneware, and they don't mention other types of stoneware at all.

In this article, we define all the types of stoneware cookware (and "stoneware" nonstick cookware) so you can know exactly what you're buying.

What Is Stoneware Cookware? All the Types Explained

le Creuset enameled Dutch oven cast iron stoneware cookware

Le Creuset enamel-coated cast iron "stoneware."

Corningware Baking Dish

Corningware glass-ceramic composite "stoneware."

GreenPan Paris nonstick ceramic skillet

GreenPan nonstick ceramic "stoneware."

The terms "stoneware" and "ceramic" represent a wide range of cookware that can be made from stone or ceramic, coated with stone-derived material, or contain little to no actual stone at all. 

The table below shows the different types of stoneware cookware. We start with the nonstick types because they are the most popular as well as the farthest from real stoneware. 

Note: Table may not be visible in mobile view.

Types of Stoneware (and "Stoneware") Cookware

Type of Stoneware

What It Is

Pros and Cons

Examples

Ceramic (General term: can mean porcelain, glass, nonstick ceramic, or enamel. Can be 100% stone, ceramic, or a coating. 

Porcelain (ceramic)

Granite Ware Roaster Pan with porcelain stoneware coating

Stoneware that uses kaolinite (a high-grade clay). Typically a coating over some type of metal.

Pros: Most durable of all ceramics; nonporous; semi-nonstick.

Cons: Brittle, heavy, heats unevenly.

100% Stoneware (ceramic)

Xtrema 100% Stoneware Skillet

Fired clay. May be called "ceramic" or "stone."

Pros: Considered safe and healthy, semi-nonstick.

Cons: Slow uneven heating, brittle.

Enamel (ceramic)

le creuset dutch oven enameled cast iron stoneware cookware

Powdered, melted glass used as a coating over another material.

Pros: Very durable, semi-nonstick.

Cons: Brittle, poor heating (but ok as a coating).

Glass (ceramic)

Pyrex Baking Dishes

Non-crystalline material made from sand or stone. Used mostly for baking and storage.

Pros: Impermeable, considered very safe.

Cons: Brittle, with poor heating properties, not good for stovetop.

Corningware (ceramic)

Corningware Baking Dish

Brand name for glass/ceramic composite (pyroceram, Calexium).

Pros: Can use for stovetop, oven, and storage.

Cons: Brittle, heavy, poor heating properties.

Nonstick cookware with "stone" or "granite" in the name:

PTFE "Granite" or "Stone"

Stoneline Nonstick Skillet stoneware cookware

Aluminum or tri-ply base with PTFE nonstick coating; coating may contain stone or granite particles (but doesn't always).

Pros: Mostly inexpensive, base heats evenly.

Cons: Coating won't last, use low heat, possible safety issues. 

Ceramic Nonstick

GreenPan skillet nonstick ceramic cookware

Aluminum or tri-ply base with ceramic nonstick coating; invented in 2007. NOT the same as traditional ceramic (which is not nonstick).

Pros: Mostly inexpensive, durable, base heats evenly.

Cons: Nonstick coating won't last, have to use low heat, possible safety issues.


Earthenware is another type of stoneware we didn't include because it's too porous to use as cookware. It is commonly seen in dinnerware, and almost always glazed or painted.

There may be some examples of earthenware used for cooking, particularly in other countries.

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Why Is Nonstick Cookware Called Stoneware (If That's Not What It Is)?

When you search for "stoneware cookware" (or "stone cookware," "stone pans," etc.) on the Internet or on Amazon, most results are aluminum pans with a nonstick coating that's either PTFE or nonstick ceramic (see our article Nonstick Cookware Brands: PTFE or Ceramic? to learn more about these two types of nonstick coating).

When you search for "ceramic cookware," you will get a mix of nonstick ceramic and PTFE nonstick, and maybe a smattering of other types of ceramic cookware. 

Contrary to what some other sites say, nonstick cookware is not stone cookware. It's called stoneware, whether it contains any stone or not, for several reasons: 

1. "Stoneware" nonstick contains stone, rock, or granite. Nonstick cookware's biggest weakness is that it doesn't last. Nonstick coatings have an average life span of 1-5 years, which is very short compared to the decades of use you'll get from clad stainless steel, cast iron, and carbon steel cookware.

Because of this, manufacturers have come up with ways to make nonstick cookware more durable--or at least, ways to market it as more durable.

Makers reinforce nonstick coatings with tiny particles of durable substances. The most popular of these is granite, rock, and stone (synonyms for what's basically the same thing).

Titanium and diamond dust are also popular--see our article on similarly confusing Titanium Cookware for more information.

Adding these materials may help make nonstick cookware more durable, but it is never going to have the same life span as stainless, cast iron, or real stoneware. You may get another year or two out of reinforced nonstick coatings (or you may not).

2. "Stoneware" sounds durable. Another thing makers do is give the nonstick coating and/or pan itself a durable-sounding name. This is why you see so many nonstick brands with "granite," "rock," and "stone" in the name. 

There are also many trade names of PTFE with some form of the words "stone," "granite," or "rock" in the name, even if they don't contain any of these materials. 

In other words, a pan with a name like Stoneline, GraniteStone, or Stone Earth sounds more durable than a pan simply called nonstick.

3. "Stone" or "granite" distracts people from the PTFE in the nonstick coating. PTFE (the generic name for Teflon®) has gotten bad press, and for some good reasons (see our article What Is PFOA? A Guide to Nonstick Cookware Chemicals). By adding other materials, makers can call their products "granite-based" or "titanium-based" instead of what it really is: a PTFE coating that contains stone particles. 

Sometimes you have to read the fine print to discover that a pan contains PTFE.

4. "Stoneware" sounds free of toxins. Many brands of "stone" nonstick cookware are even designed to look like the old-fashioned cookware made by a company called Granite Ware that's been around for about 150 years (long before nonstick cookware was invented):

Stoneline Nonstick Skillet stoneware cookware

PTFE "stoneware" skillet (by Zyliss).

Granite Ware Roaster Pan--porcelain coated stoneware cookware

Granite Ware porcelain-coated steel cookware.

Graniteware was likely named for its resemblance to granite:

Granite Chunk

A chunk of granite.

Though Graniteware has changed over the years, it's basically a steel core with a porcelain coating. It is not remotely any type of nonstick cookware. 

Note that nonstick cookware with a stone reinforced coating doesn't have to be black with white or gray specks; it can be any color. The resemblance to Graniteware is an intentional marketing tactic. 

To summarize: Nonstick cookware is called "stoneware" because it 1) contains particles of stone in the coating; 2) "stoneware" sounds durable; 3) to distract people from the fact that the coating contains PTFE and other potentially toxic substances; 4) to sound like a natural substance that's free of toxins.

In many cases, it's 5) all of the above.

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Why Is It Hard to Find Information About Real Stone Cookware?

We're not sure, but it's probably because nonstick cookware has hijacked the stoneware market. 

Most aluminum nonstick cookware is inexpensive, especially compared to higher-end brands of stoneware (Le Creuset, Xtrema). 

Internet searches are largely geared toward the most common denominator search factor, and for cookware, that usually means low price. (Check Amazon and you will see that most inexpensive products have way more reviews than their more expensive counterparts.) 

It's okay that inexpensive stone cookware comes up in searches, as long as people know what all their options are.

But in many cases they don't, and that's the problem: if people think the aluminum nonstick cookware that comes up in a search for stoneware cookware is the only option, they're missing out on other options.

Worse, they may think that this nonstick stone cookware is as safe as older types of stone cookware, when that may not be the case (in fact, it is probably not the case).

We are alarmed at the number of websites that support and spread this misinformation. Many sites tell you that aluminum nonstick "stone" cookware "contains no PTFE," "is made of clay," and is "entirely free of toxins." These are actual quotes from other cookware review sites about "stoneware cookware."  

If a site tells you a nonstick pan that has some form of the words "granite," "rock," or "stone" in the name contains no PTFE, you should be very skeptical. Because most of them do contain PTFE (though some may be ceramic nonstick).

Don't be fooled by the phrase "PFOA-free," either: "PFOA-free" usually means a pan contains PTFE. And since PFOA is outlawed now, no cookware sold in the US contains PFOA, so the term means very little.

You also have to ask what replaced the PFOA. It's almost always something related to PFOA with many of the same "forever chemical" properties. See our article What Is PFOA? for more information.

Some nonstick coatings are ceramic, and these coatings do not contain PTFE or PFOA. But as we said, nonstick ceramic is a different product than old-fashioned ceramic, and the differences are important enough that you should understand them before you decide to buy ceramic nonstick cookware.

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Is Stoneware Cookware Safe?

A thorough answer to this question is complicated. We have to look at every type of stoneware (and ceramic) cookware, as well as nonstick cookware marketed as stoneware.

Makers use different terms for the same thing, and there is no guide or standard to help you understand what they're actually talking about.

Overall, all types of cookware sold in the US are considered safe. In the case of nonstick cookware (both PTFE and ceramic), safe when used correctly.

The biggest concerns about real stoneware (not nonstick) are the dyes and glazes. Before people knew the dangers of substances like lead, cadmium, and arsenic, these were used in making dyes and glazes. But this hasn't been the case for a very long time, and is no longer a concern for cookware sold in the US.

There may be trace amounts of lead, cadmium, arsenic, or other chemicals found in stoneware because these substances occur naturally in the soil. The tiny amounts are not a viable concern; if they are present, they will be present on the outside of the pan and not on the cooking surface.

Other websites--in particular, "healthy" and "safe" product websites--may tell you that toxins are a concern in most types of cookware. But our research shows that all cookware sold in the USA is safe to use.

The one exception we'd make is nonstick cookware (both PTFE and ceramic), and while it seems to be safe when used correctly, we need more information to say so with complete certainty. There are also environmental concerns with PTFE cookware that people should take into account before buying.

Here's an overview of safety information on all the types of stoneware and ceramic cookware listed in the table above.

Nonstick PTFE "Stoneware" Cookware (GraniteStone, Stoneline)

Granite Stone PTFE nonstick "stoneware" cookware

GraniteStone square frying pan: PTFE coating (not really stoneware).

PTFE nonstick stoneware cookware has all the same safety issues as other PTFE nonstick cookware. None of these safety issues have anything to do with stone or granite, but here are the ones to be aware of.

PTFE: PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), also known as Teflon® and hundreds of other brand names (Granitium, Eterna, Autograph, etc.). PTFE is a hydrocarbon based, man-made polymer. PTFE is safe and unreactive at low temperatures, but it begins to give off fumes around 390F. Around 500F, PTFE begins to break down and emit fumes that cause flu-like symptoms in humans and are lethal to birds; you should not own any PTFE cookware if you have a pet bird. 

PFOA: PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) is a toxin that does not break down naturally. It is a member of the PFAS family, often referred to as a "forever chemical." PFOA is outlawed in the US and is no longer used in cookware making. Unfortunately, it is often replaced with another PFAS, usually GenX.

"PFAS-free" is better than "PFOA-free," but unless you know what manufacturers have replaced the PFAS with, it's hard to say that a pan is safe and free of toxins (and it's likely that it's not).  

PFAS or similar chemicals are used up in the manufacturing process, with little to no remaining in the cookware: you're more likely to ingest PFAS from your drinking water than you are from your nonstick cookware. But if you're concerned about these chemicals building up in the environment--right now, 99% of water on the planet contains traces of PFAS--don't buy PTFE cookware (stone or otherwise). 

See also our articles What Is PFOA? A Guide to Nonstick Cookware Chemicals and Is Nonstick Cookware Safe?.

Nonstick Ceramic Cookware (GreenPan)

GreenPan nonstick ceramic cookware

GreenPan nonstick ceramic cookware.

Nonstick ceramic cookware first went to market in 2007. Like PTFE, there are a number of brands of nonstick ceramic coatings. The most popular ones are Thermolon (used in GreenPan as well as many other cookware brands) and Greblon (used in Healthy Legend and other brands). 

Are nonstick ceramic coatings safe? Well, unlike PTFE, nonstick ceramic coatings are literally derived from sand or clay, so they really are a type of stoneware cookware, and they contain no potentially dangerous fluorinated compounds like PTFE nonstick cookware.

But the similarities to traditional ceramic end there.

Nonstick ceramic coatings are applied to pots and pans using a sol-gel process. This process turns the ceramic coating into a liquid so it can be sprayed onto pans, then baked to a hard, smooth finish.

Sol-gel slurries contain titanium dioxide nanoparticles, which have been associated with some health issues in humans, including malignant tumors. This article discusses the issue as it relates to "quasi-ceramic" cookware (by which they mean nonstick ceramic cookware). 

Traditional ceramic cookware is not made with sol-gels. So, the titanium nanoparticles are found only in nonstick ceramic coatings, but not in other stoneware. 

There are a lot of unknowns about nanoparticles, and the jury is still out on whether they pose a valid health risk to humans. The consensus today is that they probably do not during normal use--though the risk may go up at high temperatures, or if a pan is chipped or cracked.  

See our article Ceramic Frying Pans: Better than PTFE? for more information on nonstick ceramic pans.

Porcelain-Coated Cookware (Granite Ware)

Granite Ware Roaster Pan porcelain stoneware cookware

Granite Ware porcelain-coated cookware.

Rachel Ray PTFE nonstick cookware with enameled exterior

Rachel Ray nonstick cookware with porcelain exterior: very different from 100% porcelain Granite Ware.

Porcelain is made from special clay called kaolinite. It is a traditional material that's been used for pottery, art, and utilitarian objects for thousands of years. 

Porcelain is one of the most durable types of stoneware and extremely impermeable (nonporous). However, it's brittle, so while it makes a good coating for cookware, you will rarely find cookware made entirely from porcelain. 

Most porcelain cookware is steel coated with porcelain. One of the most popular brands of porcelain-coated cookware is Granite Ware, the old-fashioned black cookware with white speckles. Granite Ware, which has been around for more than 150 years, is made of a thin layer of carbon steel. It's used mostly for roasters, stockpots, canning pots, and coffee pots. 

Sometimes, porcelain is applied to just the exterior layer of cookware, primarily for appearance, such as this cookware

Is porcelain safe? Porcelain is an inert substance made from clay and is considered completely non-toxic. Though it is a type of ceramic, it doesn't contain nanoparticles like the ceramics used in nonstick coatings. Even if the porcelain chipped and got into your food, it doesn't pose health dangers. 

Some people are concerned about the dyes used in some porcelain and enamel coatings. It's true that some colors--primarily red, yellow and orange--can contain trace amounts of lead and cadmium. But it isn't in unsafe amounts, and it won't be released to your food.

If you want to be 100% safe, buy only reputable brands of porcelain- or enamel-coated cookware. But overall, these tend to be extremely safe cookware choices.

Enamel-Coated Cookware (Le Creuset)

le Creuset enameled Dutch oven stoneware cookware

Le Creuset enameled cast iron Dutch oven.

Enamel is a type of ceramic stoneware made from powdered, melted glass. It is applied to a base, often cast iron, and baked to a hard, durable finish. Probably the most popular example of enamel-coated cookware is the Le Creuset Dutch oven. 

Good quality enameled cast iron is some of the most durable cookware made.

All enamel is brittle, and can chip or crack under certain conditions (don't heat enameled cast iron without food or liquid in it, set it down roughly, or subject it to sudden, extreme temperature changes). But there is a difference between brands, and higher-end brands are more resistant to chipping, cracking, and crazing (those tiny surface cracks that form on the enamel). 

You can read more about this in our Best Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens article.

Is enamel-coated cookware safe? Yes! Since enamel is just melted, hardened glass, it contains no toxic materials. In fact, enamel-coated cookware is some of the safest cookware you can buy.

Some people worry about the dyes, which can contain small amounts of lead and cadmium; this is especially true for reds, oranges, and yellows. But enamel-coated cookware sold in the US shouldn't have any toxic chemicals at all, and certainly none that will get into your food: the cooking surface is always beige or black, which are the safest colors.

Enamel is considered a very safe, stable type of cookware, but you can avoid the remote possibility of toxins by avoiding red, orange, and yellow tones. 

All Clad Fusiontec ceramic-coated cookware

All-Clad Fusiontec ceramic-coated cookware.

100% Stoneware (Xtrema, Stone Bakeware)

Xtrema 100% stoneware cookware

Xtrema 100% stoneware cookware: safe, but terrible heating properties.

Velluto 100% ceramic (stoneware) baking dishes

100% ceramic baking dishes: much more common (and practical) than 100% stoneware for the stovetop.

100% stoneware has been around for hundreds--if not thousands--of years and is safer than ever because modern glazes and dyes are free of lead, cadmium, arsenic, and other toxins.  

100% stoneware is considered some of the safest cookware on the market.

Xtrema's whole marketing program is that it is the safest cookware you can buy: completely free of toxins, nonreactive, and safe to cook with. 

Unfortunately, 100% stoneware has a few drawbacks: it's heavy and it has terrible heating properties. It's fine for bakeware because it can insulate delicate batters from burning and help them bake evenly--but for stove top use, 100% stoneware isn't a great choice.

Some people are concerned about the possibility of toxins in the glazes or dyes used in 100% stoneware. These issues are identical to those with porcelain and enamel discussed above, and our research shows that they may be present in small amounts, and aren't enough to make the cookware unsafe.

100% Glass/Ceramic Composite (Pyrex, Corningware)

Pyre Baking Dishes--stoneware cookware

Pyrex baking dishes: not even any dye to fret about.

Corningware Baking Dish--stoneware cookware

Corningware baking dish: perfectly safe, but best for oven use.

These could also go under the heading of 100% stoneware (above). But they're all slightly different even though they're all technically 100% stoneware cookware.

They contain no chemicals associated with nonstick cookware or metals such as steel, cast iron, or copper.

Glass bakeware--such as Pyrex--is different because it contains no glazes or dyes, probably making it the absolute safest possible choice, though it's generally made only for bakeware and storage, not for the stove top. (Using Pyrex on a hot burner may cause it to shatter.)

Glass/ceramic composites--like Corningware--is also a safe choice. Some people may be concerned about the chemicals in the dye, but our research shows that it is safe. 

Years ago, Corningware made a product called Visions which is glass composite cookware for the stovetop. It failed in the marketplace, but you can still find it on Amazon. Today, Visions has a cult following, largely because it is perceived as one of the safest choices. 

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Is Stoneware Cookware Nonstick?

Stoneline Nonstick Skillet

Stoneline PTFE skillet: nonstick.

Le Creuset enameled Dutch oven stoneware

Le Creuset enameled cast iron: not non-stick, but smooth and fairly easy to clean.

Other than nonstick ceramic and PTFE "stone" cookware, stoneware cookware is not nonstick.

However, most stoneware surfaces--whether porcelain, enamel, or glass--are considered semi-nonstick because they're smooth surfaces that clean up easily. 

High-end enamel, such as that found on Le Creuset, tends to have some of the easiest cleanup among surfaces that aren't nonstick.

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Stoneware vs. Ceramic Cookware: What's the Difference?

Corningware Baking Dish

Corningware: One of many types of ceramic (stoneware) cookware.

GreenPan skillet ceramic stoneware cookware

Greenpan: another type of ceramic stoneware.

Both stoneware and ceramic are generic terms that encompass the entire range of stone-derived cookware and cookware coatings. 

So when you see either of these terms, you have to dig deeper to find out what they're referring to.

Is it aluminum with a nonstick ceramic coating? 

Aluminum with a nonstick PTFE coating (with or without granite particles)?

Aluminum with a ceramic or enamel coating on the exterior and a nonstick cooking surface?

Enamel coated cast iron? Enamel coated carbon steel? Porcelain coated carbon steel? 

100% stoneware with a glaze or ceramic coating? 

Glass composite?

The point is that both stoneware and ceramic can have several meanings, so it is impossible for us to tell you exactly what the differences are. 

You'll have to figure it out for yourself from the context and the small print, and it's not always easy. 

As we've mentioned, this is particularly true for nonstick coatings. Makers like to downplay the fact that their cookware contains PTFE, so they'll call by the other ingredients it may contain, including stone, granite, titanium, diamond, and more.

Furthermore, "ceramic" has become synonymous with "nonstick ceramic." So many people confuse the terms, assuming that traditional ceramic (like on Le Creuset) are the same as nonstick ceramic (like on GreenPan). 

Some makers may intentionally muddy these terms, so buyers think they're getting a nonstick product when they're only getting a semi-nonstick product. Or vice versa: that they're buying a pan with a traditional ceramic coating and not a nonstick one that contains nanoparticles. 

If you're confused, we understand. Cookware info can be hard to get right. You have to keep digging until you get the right information.

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Ceramic Vs Nonstick Ceramic: What's the Difference?

Xtrema sauce pan stoneware cookware

100% ceramic Xtrema cookware.

Velluto stoneware cookware ceramic baking dish

Ceramic baking dish.

Kyocera Nonstick Ceramic skillet

Nonstick ceramic-coated aluminum skillet.

We've covered this already but here it is again for people who are skipping around and not reading straight through the article.

Traditional ceramic encompasses many types of stoneware, including glass, enamel, fired clays, and glass/ceramic composites. These are made much the same way they have been for hundreds or thousands of years and are considered safe for human use.

Nonstick ceramic was invented in 2007. It is also made from sand or clay, but the manufacturing process is different, and nonstick ceramic contains substances that traditional ceramics do not.

These substances, titanium dioxide nanoparticles, are common in many manufacturing processes today. There is some evidence that they can have some harmful effects, including an association with malignant tumors.

So while ceramic and nonstick ceramic are similar, the nonstick ceramic contains substances that may have health implications, and traditional ceramic does not. 

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Is Stoneware Safer than Metal Cookware?

All Clad D3 stainless steel cookware set

It's hard to beat clad stainless for durability, usability, and safety.

Many people believe that stoneware is safer than clad stainless or cast iron cookware, but there is little basis for this belief. All good quality cookware is safe when used properly.

Here are the common metals used in cookware:

Stainless steel is stable, safe, and won't leach toxins into your food. It can leach small amounts of chromium and nickel, but not in dangerous amounts (your body needs tiny amounts of nickel and chromium). If you have nickel allergies, you may want to use nickel-free clad stainless, but even stainless that contains nickel is unlikely to leach it into your food in amounts large enough to cause a reaction. The risk goes up with acidic foods, but it is still quite small.

Cast iron is also a safe cookware material. The small amounts of iron that may leach into your food through cookware is actually healthy for most people (because we all need iron). 

Carbon steel: See cast iron.

Copper: Copper can leach into food and while it is not toxic, it can affect flavors; and too much of it can be unhealthy. So copper cookware is always lined with a more stable metal--either stainless steel or tin, both of which are stable and non-toxic. Unlined copper cookware is made for specific purposes, like candy making, and is not used as cookware.

Aluminum: Most aluminum cookware has a coated cooking surface, and the coating is the important factor because that's what touches your food. Most of it is nonstick. You can find uncoated aluminum cookware, usually in restaurant supply stores, as it is often used in restaurants because it's the cheapest cookware with decent heating properties. Aluminum has been associated with Alzheimer's, though most studies have not found a causal relationship. Even so, we don't recommend bare aluminum cookware. Even if it's safe, it can impart off flavors to your food. 

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What's the Best Stoneware Cookware?

As you can see by now, this is a big topic. Here are our choices in a few basic stoneware categories.

Best Stoneware Overall, Any Category: Le Creuset Dutch Oven

Stoneware le Creuset enameled Dutch oven

Le Creuset round, wide Dutch oven: a durable, hugely versatile, beautiful piece.

For us, the choice is an easy one, even among all the different types of stoneware and coated cookware we've discussed here. Our favorite stoneware is the Le Creuset enamel-coated Dutch oven.

This is one of the most durable pieces of cookware you'll ever own. It's great for stovetop, oven, and even storage (something you should never do with bare cast iron). It's completely safe, and it's beautiful.

The enamel isn't officially nonstick, but it cleans up easily. 

If Le Creuset isn't in your budget, there are cheaper brands that are good quality. The enamel coating may not be quite as durable, but will still last a long time--and no worries if it chips or cracks, as the underlying cast iron is safe.

We don't necessarily recommend enameled cast iron for everything--bare cast iron makes a better skillet, as does clad stainless--but for braises, soups, stews, stocks, and other low-and-slow foods, an enameled cast iron Dutch oven is hard to beat. 

Check out our enameled Dutch oven review for more information.

see le creuset dutch ovens on amazon now

Best 100% Stoneware: Pyrex

Stoneware Pyrex Baking Dishes

Standard Pyrex baking dishes: get them with lids and you can use them for storage, too.

We love clad stainless and cast iron cookware and think these are your best options for most cookware, so you're not going to get any recommendations for stove top stoneware here. 

Instead, we're going to stick to bakeware and storage products, and for these, we like Pyrex. It's inexpensive, equally great for baked goods and casseroles, and comes in dozens of shapes and sizes. Many containers come with lids so they can go straight from baking to storage (though be sure to avoid abrupt temperature changes or it can shatter).

see pyrex on amazon now

Best Value Stoneware Cookware: Granite Ware

Granite Ware Roaster Pan

Granite Ware roaster: not the highest end, but durable, affordable, and great for that Thanksgiving turkey.

We aren't huge fans of Granite Ware; it's thin and doesn't have the best heating properties. But for roasters, stock pots, and canning pots, Granite Ware is a worthwhile product; it's affordable, and you don't need to spend a lot on any pots that are used for liquids. (Granite Ware doesn't make a skillet--they get points for knowing their limitations.)

Keep in mind that Granite Ware products are completely different from "granite" types of nonstick cookware, even though they look similar: Granite Ware products are porcelain coated and contain NO nonstick chemicals. 

see granite ware on amazon now

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Ceramic Nonstick Cookware

GreenPan with salmon

Our favorite nonstick ceramic is GreenPan. It heats well, has a lifetime warranty on manufacturing defects and a 2 year warranty on the nonstick coating. You can pay more for a boutique brand of ceramic nonstick (like the Always pan or Caraway), but the coating won't last longer or be more durable (in fact, it's almost certainly the exact same coating, Thermolon). 

Ceramic nonstick coatings have a reputation for not lasting very long, so we recommend that you don't spend a lot.

See our GreenPan review

What About PTFE Nonstick "Stoneware"?

We don't have a recommendation for PTFE nonstick "stoneware." Our favorite brand, Anolon Copper Nouvelle Luxe, doesn't contain any stone or granite. 

see our anolon review

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Final Thoughts on Stoneware Cookware

Le Creuset Enamel Coated Dutch Oven

You really can't go wrong with le Creuset.

Stoneware cookware is a huge topic--much bigger than the nonstick "stone" cookware that comes up in most Internet searches. We hope we've helped you figure out all the different types of stoneware cookware--also called ceramic cookware--and which one is the safest and the best for you

Thanks for reading!

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Stoneware Cookware: The Facts You Need to Know

About the Author

The Rational Kitchen (TRK) is a collaborative effort, but the founder, editor, and writer of most of our articles is Melanie Johnson, an avid cook, kitchenware expert, and technical communications specialist for more than 20 years. Her love of cooking and the frustrating lack of good information about kitchen products led her to create The Rational Kitchen. TRK's mission is to help people make the best decisions they can when buying kitchen gear. 

When not working on product reviews, Melanie enjoys reading, playing with her dog Ruby, vintage video games, and spending time outdoors and with her family.

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  1. I bought a secondhand stoneware frypan. Cooked with it. Became ill. Then went to the doctor. He said that you can be poisoned if the top coating in the center of the frying area is worn away.

    After four days of vomiting, I recovered.

    Therefore, what you are saying on this webpage is bullshit!

    1. Without more details, it’s hard to say what happened to you, or if it was even from a piece of cookware (sounds a lot like food poisoning). I suspect the “stoneware” pan you bought was PTFE, which is not real stoneware at all, and kind of the whole point of this article.

      I say this because it sounds like your doctor is talking about Teflon (PTFE). If the PTFE coating is worn through, then PFOA (or other PFAS) is exposed, and that will make you sick, but with cancer or other long-term health issues, not vomiting.

      Also, if you heat PTFE too high, it can give off fumes that give you flu-like symptoms. But I doubt that’s what caused your illness. Those symptoms will subside once you are away from the fumes.

      If you are cooking with a PTFE pan–this one or others–you really need to understand how to use it correctly. You can’t ever use high heat because it will cause the PTFE to give off fumes. You can’t use metal utensils, aerosol cooking spray, abrasive cleaners, or the dishwasher. All of these will cause the PTFE to degrade into toxic substances. These are the reasons why we want people to understand the difference between real stoneware (Le Creuset, Corningware) and PTFE “stoneware,” which is not stoneware at all.

      Stay safe.

  2. I love Le Creuset cookware but find it too heavy for everyday use. My mother owns a couple of pans that were gifted to her when she got married. They are in great shape and not as heavy as le Creuset. I know they are European but don’t know from what country. They are steel (probably stainless but the only place you see the steel is on the rim so it’s hard to tell) and have enamel inside and outside. They are so beautiful and work amazing even after almost 50 years of constant use. They have the same kind of finish as le Creuset but they are not as heavy. I love them but don’t know where to find something like that. I was expecting you to talk about something like that somewhere.

    1. Hi Celia, we are not very familiar with many European brands, especially if they’re not sold in the US. I do know that you can get enameled carbon steel made in Germany, I think the company is WMF. WMF has cookware on US Amazon, but I didn’t see any of the enameled, so I may be thinking of the wrong brand.

      You may also be interested in All-Clad’s new(ish) FusionTec line, which is enameled steel. It is made in Germany, very high quality, very expensive. Here’s a link to it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=fusiontec+cookware&i=garden&crid=2HX3ACI32WCOE&sprefix=fusiontec+cookwar%2Cgarden%2C116&ref=nb_sb_noss

      If you do a thorough search for German or European cookware, you’ll probably come up with something. It’s possible the pans you have are out of business now, but you should be able to find something similar (like the FusionTec).

      Sorry we couldn’t be more help. Good luck.

  3. Can you tell if the item is real stoneware by the weight? I have a piece of cookware that is labeled stoneware, and it weighs 3x as much as a standard piece of cookware of similar size.

    1. Hi Craig, This isn’t enough information for us to say if your piece is “real” stoneware. What exactly does the label say? What kind of cookware are you comparing it to? What kind of pot is it?

      If it’s heavy, then it probably isn’t aluminum coated with nonstick coating. But without more to go on, it’s hard to say what it is.

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