Have you seen Caraway’s cookware online or in your Instagram feed and wondered if this aesthetically-forward cookware actually works? Did you just find out about the toxic chemicals in non-stick cookware and are ready to learn about safer alternatives to cook with?
In this review, I’ll share why non-toxic cookware matters and I’ll go in detail about my experience with Caraway’s cookware after using it for over a year.
Transparency note: this is a sponsored article but thoughts expressed are my own and my husband and I did decide to get our original Caraway cookware set prior to this paid partnership with Caraway.
Why Non-Toxic Cookware Matters
Non-stick cookware has been popular for decades thanks to its ease of use for cooking with and cleaning. But it has a dark side.
A lot of non-stick cookware (as well as stain-resistant items like furniture and waterproof apparel like rain jackets) are manufactured with per- and polyfluorinated compounds, or PFAS. This class of man made chemicals are often referred to as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down easily and can persist both in your body and the environment for decades.
The EPA has reported that the majority of people in the US have been exposed to PFAS and even have PFAS in their blood. These forever chemicals have been found in drinking water sources across the US.
The most researched types of PFAS are PFOS and PFOA (also known as C8). Studies show that exposure to PFOA, or C8, have probable links to thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, ulcerative colitis, diagnosed high cholesterol, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.
There’s a lot more to be said about PFAS, but suffice it to say that it has toxic effects on our health and the health of our environment, and the US government has not done enough to regulate them.
So it’s important to look for non-toxic cookware, both for our own health and to reduce the demand for the production of these forever chemicals, which can have lasting impacts on humans, animals, and ecosystems around the world.
Why I Chose Caraway’s Non-Toxic Cookware
Thankfully, there are actually quite a few options when it comes to non-toxic cookware and bakeware nowadays: cast iron, glass, stainless steel, and certain ceramic cookware. There are pros and cons to each material.
Obviously, glass is better for bakeware than cookware, for instance. And cast iron is sturdy and durable, but also very heavy and requires a bit of upkeep. Stainless steel is also quite durable, but isn’t non-stick so it requires more oil when cooking.
And ceramic is a beautiful and versatile cookware material, but non-stick ceramic cookware isn’t always non-toxic.
However, the ceramic cookware from Caraway is.
Caraway’s cookware is coated with a natural ceramic non-stick coating and is free of harmful chemicals, including lead, cadmium, PFTE, PFOA, and other PFAS. The company also regularly shares tests performed by SGS, so you have a transparent look at the third-party safety tests.
That, plus the fact that Caraway’s cookware is so aesthetically pleasing it could be kitchen decor, convinced me that the Caraway Cookware Set would be the way to go for my husband and I’s first cookware set. I also appreciated that the price of the set was quite affordable for non-toxic cookware that was so high-quality, from the reviews I read.
We both cook a lot, and knew we wanted to continue to prioritize cooking at home for health, affordability, and environmental reasons. (And honestly taste too!) Given this, we knew it’d be worth it to get a quality cookware set that would last the test of time.
Additionally, we both value ecological and personal health, so choosing a non-toxic cookware set was a no-brainer.
And thus… Caraway was the obvious choice for us! The hardest part was selecting which color! At the time, Caraway offered gray, cream, navy, sage, peracotta (pink + terracotta), marigold. Now, Caraway also has their “Iconics” collection in white or black, which features gold painted handles.
We ended up deciding on a classic cream — a neutral but beautiful hue — to our wedding registry last summer and we received it from my parents as a gift. Cream is Caraway’s most popular color and I can see why — it goes perfectly with any kitchen interior but it’s not a stark white, it’s a softer, warmer creamy color. I think I would have loved any of the colors Caraway offers (the earthy sage color looks so dreamy!), but since we knew we’d likely be moving around, cream was a great adaptable color that we can use no matter what kitchen design we have.
We also received the Iconics collection in black from Caraway, which is absolutely stunning! I’ll be sharing more about the differences between the classic and iconics collections later in this review.
We’ve been using our original Caraway set nearly every single day (for over a year) since! Below I’m sharing more about our experience using our first Caraway cookware set.
Experience Using Caraway Cookware
As I mentioned, we use our Caraway cookware regularly. If not every single day, then about 5-6 days per week. And after about 14 months, we have not been disappointed by it.
Initially when unboxing the Caraway set last June, I was so excited by how beautiful it was (and that it was packaged plastic free) and during the first few times cooking with it, I just loved how it looked in our kitchen. It was actually my husband who first pointed out how nice Caraway’s cookware was to cook with — and I had to agree.
The non-stick coating makes for smooth cooking and flipping (more on how to keep your non-stick coating like new below!), the handles are easy to use (they even have a small bump on the underside so you know the best place to grip them), and the vents on the pots are great for letting a bit of steam escape.
What We Use Each Piece For
There are some popular cookware pieces out there that advertise their versatility (i.e. they turn into 10 different types of cookware in one). While this appealed to me at first, I’m so glad that we did not go in this direction.
The “all-in-one” cookware may work for some people, but it doesn’t work for the way we cook. We often will have 3 pots and pans going at once, so we need several sets of cookware for our meals.
For example, we’ll use the sauté pan for a stir-fry of vegetables, the sauce pan (which is more of a pot) for rice or another grain, and the fry pan for frying a couple eggs to go on top.
Or we’ll use the dutch oven to make pasta and the sauté pan to cook a lentil vegan bolognese sauce. (Sometimes the sauce pan also comes in handy if I want to make an “alternative” pasta made from chickpeas or something and my husband wants a more “classic” pasta.)
The four pieces in Caraway’s set — 10.5″ Fry Pan, 3 qt Sauce Pan, 4.5 qt Sauté Pan, and 6.5 qt Dutch Oven — meet all of our cooking needs 99% of the time.
Sometimes depending on what we’re cooking a second of a certain piece would be useful (like two sauce pots if we’re making two different sauces or two frying pans if I’m cooking tempeh and my husband is cooking meat).
But we were excited to be gifted a new set by Caraway and I’ve seen some other people on Instagram talking about buying a second set as well. If you don’t quite need an entire second set, Caraway also sells each piece of cookware individually.
And then the only other piece of cookware we have is a small cast iron pan for when we go camping or if I just want to make something small like an individual veggie burger. (But now, Caraway actually has a new mini fry pan and mini sauce pot!)
Of course your cooking needs may vary. But for us, the 4-piece cookware set works really well for the way we cook!
A note in case you were wondering: Caraway’s ceramic cookware can be used on all stovetops, whether you have an induction, electric, or gas stove.
How The Cookware Has Held Up
So something you’re probably wondering is: that’s great it worked well at first, but does it still keep up a year later?
And the answer is yes! But it’s important to keep in mind a few care tips to ensure that yours continues to stay in good condition as well.
Each type of cookware is going to have different care considerations. Cast iron is notorious for needing some extra TLC, and while ceramic doesn’t require as much upkeep, it’s good to be mindful of the following tips to keep it lasting as long as possible.
Hand Washing Recommended:
Personally speaking, I would always hand wash my cookware no matter what. But I know that many people do put their cookware in their dishwasher sometimes. Just as I often share how machine washing our clothes too regularly expedites their wear and tear, the same goes for cookware.
Caraway recommends hand washing their ceramic cookware with warm soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge or dishcloth for the interior. If you need to get stains off of the exterior, a more abrasive sponge and stronger dish detergent may be required, and is safe to use on the exterior.
Since Caraway’s cookware is non-stick, the clean up is usually quite quick as long as you use a touch of oil when cooking.
Important note: let the cookware cool down completely before cleaning with cold water. Sudden extreme changes in temperature can cause thermal shock and reduce the lifespan of the cookware. I have to admit that this is something I’ve made the mistake of doing quite a bit until I actually read into the care tips. I wanted to make sure to point this out so that you can avoid making the same mistake as I did!
How to Clean Residue:
Sometimes if you cook on high heat (which is NOT recommended — make sure to check out that section below!) a thin residue layer can form on top of the coating. Unlike toxic non-stick cookware, this layer isn’t harmful or anything, but can impact the non-stick performance of the pan.
If this happens to you, here’s what Caraway recommends:
- Mix 1 cup water + ½ cup white vinegar + 2 tablespoons of baking soda in the pan
- Put the pan on your stove top with the mixture and the lid on, and heat on low to medium heat until it starts boiling. Once it’s boiling, leave on for 10 minutes.
- This should lift the residue from your pan. Hand wash your pan to remove the lifted residue!
Avoid Metal Utensils:
To keep the non-stick coating in place, stick to wood, bamboo, or silicone utensils. I learned this the hard way when I was cooking with my parents’ ceramic cookware from another brand. But it’s a lesson that has stuck with me at least?!
Add A Touch of Oil:
You don’t need a ton of oil for Caraway’s cookware, like you might need for cast iron cookware or stainless steel, but it’s best to use a touch of oil (around a tablespoon) to keep the non-stick coating staying good as new. Plus, your meal will probably be a bit tastier 😉
Note: Caraway recommends to steer clear from oil sprays and cooking aerosols, since these can deteriorate the non-stick ceramic coating.
Use Low to Medium Heat Only:
Caraway advises their home chefs to stick to low to medium heat with their ceramic cookware. This is something that we have not been good about — I actually didn’t know about this tip until I was researching for this review. We were using high heat on our fry pan quite a bit and noticed that it did start to lose its non-stick capacity a bit. Moving forward, we’ll definitely be doing this, but again don’t make the same mistake we did!
We don’t often cook with high heat anyway because we use olive oil most of the time and olive oil has a relatively low smoking point (325-375°F / 165-190°C) but now we’re going to be even more conscious of the temperature we use to make sure our cookware lasts as long as possible.
Note: We haven’t used Caraway cookware in the oven yet, but Caraway reports that their cookware is oven safe up to 550°F.
What To Know About Cookware and Cooking Temperatures
Here’s a bit more on cookware, thermal conductivity, and heat retention that I found in my research.
Some cookware materials have a high thermal conductivity (i.e. they heat up quickly) such as copper and aluminum. Other materials, such as stainless steel, ceramic, and cast iron have a lower thermal conductivity (i.e. they heat up more slowly). Fully clad stainless steel with a copper or aluminum core will have a higher thermal conductivity. Caraway’s ceramic cookware features an aluminum core as well, which likely increases its thermal conductivity a bit.
The flip side of this coin is that cookware with lower thermal conductivity has higher heat retention. I won’t bore you with the details (though if you want to nerd out on the science, there’s a lot of interesting explainers on the internet!) but basically materials like stainless steel and ceramic that heat up slower also lose their heat slower.
So for instance you may need to preheat the cookware for longer, but even if you put something frozen on the pan, the temperature won’t fluctuate too much. Or if you turn the heat source off and keep the food in the pan, the food may stay warm a little longer.
This also makes sense why ceramic is such a popular material for slow cooking in dutch ovens or baking casseroles in the oven.
I was used to cooking with stainless steel cookware in the past so cooking with ceramic cookware has been quite similar. Learning about thermal conductivity, it all makes sense now!
While Caraway’s cookware is aesthetically pleasing enough to leave out, you may not want to have your cookware on your stove top at all times.
One of the most exciting bonuses about Caraway’s cookware set in my opinion is the complimentary cookware storage organizers. With a set, you’ll also receive a canvas lid holder and magnetic modular racks. The racks can be used to store your pans side-by-side inside your cabinet, or perhaps on your countertop if you prefer.
At first we weren’t sure about the lid holder since we’re renting our space and can’t make modifications without facing a fee, but a neat touch is that Caraway includes removable hooks with their lid holder! I’m a sucker for small, but thoughtful considerations like that from a brand.
Note: don’t stack your Caraway cookware! This can chip or crack the beautiful ceramic exterior. It’s best to use the provided storage organizers.
Iconics vs. Classic Caraway Cookware
As promised, I’m going to share the differences between the classic and iconic cookware colors that Caraway offers.
The main difference with the Iconics colors is that they feature gold painted handles. They look really chic! In terms of cooking, they function the same as the classics. The Iconics are more expensive than the Classic colors and at the time of publishing, the Iconics are only available in black and white, while the classics have six color options.
Which one should you choose? Whichever one appeals more to you aesthetically and fits best in your kitchen! The functionality is the same, so it’s really about the appearance that you want to go with.
Caraway Cookware Final Thoughts
So what’s the verdict after a year of using Caraway’s cookware? Would I suggest it as a non-toxic cookware brand to purchase from?
Yes I think it’s worth it!
As with anything you purchase, make sure to note the care tips for best results and longevity.
Caraway’s non-toxic ceramic cookware is the best of all worlds — aesthetically forward, affordable (unlike another elegant material: copper), versatile, and safe and easy to cook with. (Non-toxic + non-stick is a very challenging combo to find!)
As with all good things — like clothing made with beautiful, natural fibers — it’s worth knowing how to care for them. Ceramic is definitely not as high maintenance as copper or cast iron, but there are care tips to know (like using low to medium heat and cooling the cookware down before cleaning.)
Our cookware has held up quite well thus far, but I think it would’ve been even better if I followed the tips. Thankfully, I know the tips now though and will be implementing them moving forward with our one-year old set and sticking to them for our second set!
I hope that this review was helpful for you deciding on if Caraway cookware is right for you, which piece(s) you might want to pick out, and also for making sure that your cookware lasts as long as possible.
Caraway Discount Code
If you want to get Caraway’s cookware set (or any of their individual pieces) use code CONSCIOUSSTYLE10 for 10% off!
Bonus: Caraway Tea Kettle Review
Caraway recently came out with a tea kettle and I was super excited because I had been looking for a tea kettle for a while but hadn’t found one I loved. I drink tea every morning and afternoon and it’s one of my daily joys. And now, my morning ritual has been taken up a notch with a real tea kettle.
But as I was saying, I hadn’t committed to a tea kettle before until seeing this one from Caraway. The design is stunning and the tea kettle is available in all of the same colors as their classic cookware, so I was able to get one in cream, like our first Caraway set. They also added a color called “mist” that’s like a minty seafoam green-blue that is really lovely.
March 2023 update: Caraway JUST announced that their tea kettle is now available in the Iconics colors! So you can get their tea kettle with the gold handles too, just like you see above with the cookware set I have from them. Now it’ll be even tougher to choose which color you want from their selection. 😉
Similar to their cookware, the tea kettle features non-toxic ceramic coating and works on all stovetops (induction, gas, or electric). The tea kettle also really does whistle when the water has reached the boiling point. It also comes with an adorable pot holder so you can handle the kettle safely straight away after the water has boiled.
I didn’t think I could look forward to my daily cup of tea more, but here we are!