Cookware: Ceramic vs. Teflon

I am SO super-excited to write this article today! It’s all because I’ve stumbled upon one of the greatest products I’ve EVER brought into my house, and I just can’t wait to tell you about it!!

In a house like mine, cookware is a really important thing. I had a delightful cookware set, which the dude I was living with at the time, took and gave to his girlfriend. (it was AWESOME). After I bailed on that situation- DUH!, I moved from Texas to Chicago, and wound up with nothing but used cookware and dishes. Lots of old plastic junk and Teflon pans. I used that crap for a few years before I met and married my husband, who helped me replace my used stuff with a fairly decent set from Target. I can’t recall the brand… it doesn’t matter. It was a mid-line Teflon set. You know, the box set of a few pans, lids and plastic utensils. Nothing special.

Bacon cooking in ceramic cookware from Tessie Gilmour on Vimeo.

That was in 2008. The set was, as I said, very average. I didn’t love them, but they worked! After many cycles through the dishwasher, the coating on the pans became dull, and I started having trouble scrubbing food off the surface before I placed them in the dishwasher. I had to add oil to everything I cooked to keep things from sticking. Over the course of more time, the Teflon began to flake off, which is unappealing for lots of reasons (we’ll talk about health in just a minute). It was just before Christmas this past year when I looked out of the kitchen into the livingroom and said “We need new pans, the Teflon on these is starting to flake, and I don’t think it’s good for us”. Rick excused himself and went outside to his truck for a minute. He came back in with a huge box and said, “I was going to give these to you on Christmas, but I don’t see any reason to wait if you can use them right now”.

Inside the box was a BEAUTIFUL set of CERAMIC cookware. I WAS OVER THE MOON!!

Dumplings on ceramic cookware from Tessie Gilmour on Vimeo.

Let’s pause for a sec and talk about Teflon.

Teflon is a brand name for a product called Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). “Teflon” is a DuPont product, but many other companies use a non-branded formula. PTFE has one of the lowest coefficients of friction against any solid and is also hydrophobic, which is fancy talk that means “shit don’t stick”. The product was discovered in 1938, but wasn’t until 1954 when a French engineer applied it to a pan at their wife’s request. The first sales of the product on cookware made in America was in 1961 on a product called “The Happy Pan”.

To continue on to the “health” portion of this conversation, I need to throw out a definition.

Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures without the participation of oxygen. It involves the simultaneous change of chemical composition and physical phase, and is irreversible. – We are talking about the deterioration of material.

So, the “Pyrolysis” of PTFE is detectable at 200 °C (392 °F), it begins to release fluorocarbon gases. An animal study conducted in 1955 concluded that it is unlikely that these products would be generated in amounts significant to health at temperatures below 250 °C (482 °F). However, more recently a study documented birds having been killed by these decomposition products at 202 °C (396 °F), with unconfirmed reports of bird deaths as a result of non-stick cookware heated to as little as 163 °C (325 °F).

What does it meeeeeeeeean?!?!?!

It means: Teflon (PTFE) isn’t actually all that safe to cook on. While PTFE is stable and nontoxic, it begins to deteriorate after the temperature of cookware reaches about 260 °C (500 °F), and decomposes above 350 °C (662 °F). The degradation by-products can be lethal to birds, and can cause flu-like symptoms in humans.

There are other concerns with this kind of cookware, there are surfactants on them that aren’t healthy… but I don’t want to keep going on about it. I’m pretty sure you get the point :)

At any rate, now I have these OUTSTANDING ceramic pans, and I have to tell you, when it comes to non-stick, they are FAR AND AWAY better than Teflon!! NOTHING sticks to them. The ceramic doesn’t wear off or become brittle, so washing them is as easy as RINSING. I NEVER scrub them! Look at the videos on this page… you can’t get pasta to stick to it, bacon can be picked up with your fingers!! Chicken actually SQUEAKS when you rub it on the pan!

Ground chicken in ceramic pan with NO oil from Tessie Gilmour on Vimeo.

There is no way to describe how HAPPY I am when cooking with this set!!! I don’t add ANY oil to ANYTHING I cook in them! It’s completely unnecessary!! I can just RINSE the cookware out after using. Of course, I toss them in the dishwasher to get a good sterilization, but after rinsing with water, I look at them and wonder if that’s even necessary! Another one of the reasons I ADORE them so much is their glass lids! I LOVE GLASS LIDS! The handles are also VERY sturdy. I hate “wiggly handles”.

I can’t say enough about ceramic cookware- WHAT A JOY!!! I think the videos I’m sharing here should speak for themselves! At the bottom of this article you’ll find an Amazon link to the set Rick bought me, which I just love, Love, LOVE!!! Remember that if you click thru that link, we’ll donate 100% of our commission from the sale to our current charity!


Comments (7) »

  • Douglas Litke says:

    No link to Amazon??

  • Tessie says:

    There is a link to these exact products at the bottom of the article, just above where you wrote this comment :) There are also several links to Amazon on the right hand of the page that never go away.

  • Karla says:

    Got a super cheap 10pc $80 set on Amazon for black Friday for $50.Red and white. So pretty. So far am impressed. Wonder what the price difference is. So far have only cooked eggs and fried rice. Two things that have a tendency to stick, no sticking yet. But I did use oil/butter.

  • Karla says:

    Instructions say everything can be cooked on low to medium. Do you ever cook on high? What about when you have to boil something? What is the highest you cook on?

  • Karla says:

    Sorry just thought of something else. The instructions say not to stack the pieces. But I noticed in one of the videos yours are. Have you had any problems with that? I’ve been trying to figure out where I’m going to put everything if I can’t stack them.

  • Tessie says:

    I stack the pieces every day- don’t SLAM them together while putting them away.

    I boil all the time, it’s cookware, intended for such use. Ceramic, unlike teflon, does not deteriorate/act as a carcinogen at high heat. Their warning is to keep you from putting it on high with nothing in it. Heating ceramic too fast may cause cracks- that won’t happen as long as you’ve got something in the pot to bring to boil.

    Stop using butter and oil- you’ve spent the money, enjoy the benefits :)

  • Jen says:

    Nope, I see no link either – it goes straight from the link regarding your charity contribution in the article to “share this” buttons for facebook etc, to comments. No link! Sadface.

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