After overhauling my diet, I was spending a lot more time in the kitchen. It forced me to take a look around at the things that I use in the kitchen that may be contributing to my health issues. There was no point is going out of my way to eat organic, whole foods if I was just adding chemicals back in with my cookware. I wanted to make sure that I was using the best pans for chemical free cooking.
I cook all my own meals and I have done so for years so that equals a lot of research on pans. I need pans to be safer for my family but also durable and practical. For my health, I’m looking for items that are PFAS, PFOA free. These chemicals are usually found in Teflon but it’s important to check the label of your product. In terms of durability, I look for metal handles and heaviness. If it’s too light or has plastic parts, it just won’t last.
These are my favorite types of pans for chemical free cooking.
Ceramic-coated pans are some of the best if you need a non-stick surface. I’ve cooked everything from a very delicate piece of fish to a big roast in my pan. It gives me a very even heat as well as the ability to brown it without my food burning or sticking to the pan.
Just be careful not to use any metal utensil on the surface. Wooden and coated utensils are the best to avoid any scratching. Any scratches in the surface make it more likely to stick to your food when cooking.
Recommend: GreenPan. I love my ceramic coated pan but it was a random purchase and don’t know the brand name. Shockingly it’s nowhere on the pan itself. I’ve heard good things about GreenPan. The next time I need a pan, I’m going to try this brand. Click here to see my pick.
Stainless steel pans are heavy duty and the preferred choice of chefs. I’m not a chef but I can vouch for the durability of these pans. I received a few as gifts when I was younger and they are still with me after 15 years later. That’s 4 moves, 10 thanksgivings and thousands of meals with zero dings or scratches.
They are really good as even cooking and browning foods. They may take a little bit of patience to figure out how to do this properly but be patient. These pans are worth it.
These pans have the most options. You can get stockpots, skillets, double broilers, sauté pans, saucepans and more.
I really love the brand, Calphalon. They have a lifetime warranty and they make good on their promise. If anything goes wrong, they’ll either fix or replace the item. I’ve actually picked up a few pieces at a thrift store for a few dollars because the handle was loose or it was scratched. After contacting customer support, I was sent brand new pans. Not bad for spending a just few dollars.
Recommend: Calphalon. This is the brand I use and love. Click here to see the wide range of options.
Cast iron is another durable type of cookware. They cook evenly, brown foods and last forever. They are usually pretty budget friendly too. I have a few cast iron pans and the real key to getting the most out of your pan is proper care. The more seasoned your pan, the easier it is to work with. The more you use it the better the cast iron will become to work with.
You can tell if a cast iron pan has been well used and cared for because the surface will be smooth. I have my great grandmother’s cast iron pan. Obviously I come from a long lone of people that love food and cooking. It has been passed down in our family over the last 80 years. The surface of the skillet is completely smooth. It’s almost completely non-stick now.
Cast iron is definitely the highest maintenance of all the safer cookware options. You need to season it often to maintain the pans. However, I’d avoid preseasoned pans because they have a tendency to use low quality oils. Best if you season them yourself so you can make an informed decision about the type of oil that works best for you.
The most common types of cast iron pans you’ll find are skillets, griddles and grill pans. Occasionally you’ll find Dutch ovens too. Cast iron is so heavy that I wouldn’t want a huge stockpot anyway. It’s just not practical.
Another option if you like cast iron but want something a little more low maintenance would be porcelain enameled cast iron. This type of pan doesn’t require seasoning and they can come in a variety of colors. The downside is that they are very delicate. Wood spoons must be used instead of metal because it will scratch the surface.
Cast Iron Recommend: Finding a cast iron pan online that isn't pre-seasoned is nearly impossible. I did find one that used a healthier oil. Click here to see my pick.
Porcelain Enameled Cast Iron Recommend: Le Creuset. They have an extensive variety of pans and colors. I have a dutch oven, which I love for slow cooking stews and soups. Click here to see the options.
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