Caraway Cookware Honest Review: An Excellent Non-Toxic Option for Nonstick Pots and Pans
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We know that the ingredients we cook contribute to our overall health, but we often don’t think about the fact that the vessels we cook our food in also do that. Inexpensive aluminum cookware poses risks of metal exposure, and while nonstick cookware is generally considered safe, there are concerns around the amount of nonstick chemical gasses released through cooking.
Ceramic cookware is a safe alternative to both aluminum and nonstick options, but it comes with one major problem: it’s very, very heavy. And if you’re doing a lot of cooking, that can quickly get more tiresome than it’s worth.
Fortunately, one brand has combined the non-toxic, nonstick ease of ceramic with the long term stability of aluminum. Caraway Cookware is “non-toxic cookware made modern,” as they say, and they sell a seven-piece set of pots and pans for $395. The company also makes nonstick ceramic bakeware, as well as linens. I used their pot and pan set for all of my private cheffing tasks for two weeks — and my honest review is below.
I also want to let you know that right now, Caraway has teamed up with Clean Plates to offer our readers the medium baking sheet for free if you buy the cookware set. Tbh, it’s an excellent value — the baking sheet is non-toxic, nonstick, and warp-resistant, which makes it pretty dreamy to work with. However, the deal is only available for a few more days, so you may want to get on it now.
Modern, indeed: this line of pots, pans, and lids is thoroughly upscale and sleek in appearance, and comes in a variety of colors including cream, salmon, and olive green. When you purchase the basic set, you receive a large sauce pot, small and large frying pans, and a large pot.
There are three lids included to cover these four items, which come with their own canvas hanging rack. Also included are bookend-style holders for each pot and pan so that they can safely be stored without touching one another, thus minimizing the risk of chipping.
Because Caraway cookware is ceramic-coated aluminum, it’s nowhere near as heavy as full ceramic cookware. To me, that was a huge relief: cooking with heavy ceramic tires my arms quickly, and lifting a large pot full of soup or sauce is a feat for only the strongest people. These were much lighter than I anticipated, and not much heavier than my high-end stainless steel pots and pans. They’re also far lighter than cast iron.
This line is hand-wash only. Thanks to the incredible nonstick power of the cookware, that takes basically zero time. I was shocked by how fast any sediment and food bits slid off the pots and pans. Essentially, the only time needed to clean these is as long as you’d normally spend rinsing inexpensive cookware prior to putting it in the dishwasher, only with soap added.
Additionally, you cannot use this cookware over high heat. They require low to medium heat usage only. If you’re a fan of high heat cooking, this will be something to adjust to. And if you’re used to creating a dark brown, crusty sear on your protein, you’ll need to adjust your cooking methods and your expectations to work with Caraway.
Like all cookware, you should always allow pots and pans to cool before immersing them in water. If you shock them with a heat change you can cause warpage, and for the Caraway cookware, you also risk damaging the coating.
Lastly, similar to all nonstick cookware, you can’t use metal utensils, or any other material that could scratch, in these pots and pans. If you’re used to silicone or wood spatulas, this won’t be a surprise for you, but if you tend to use metal tongs, it will be a change.
I used these pots and pans for a wide variety of dishes, from soups to stews to vegetable-and-protein sautés to grains. Overall, I found them to cook food evenly, and I’ve never experienced such a level of nonstick, even with brand-new, high-end nonstick cookware. Here are some specific areas where the line excelled — or didn’t quite meet my needs.
Eggs and other sticky foods
If you’ve got a hankering for the perfect omelet, the small pan is going to be your new bestie. These pans are a dream for cooking eggs, which don’t require high heat and are notoriously incredibly sticky. I found the results to be beautiful, and I love the fact that even the most novice cook could churn out a sunny side up egg in a flash without any stress or sticking.
Soups, cassoulets, braises, and stews
I made a variety of dishes involving liquid in these pots, and everything worked out well. Expect a bit of a lag time in your ingredients coming to a boil due to not being able to use a high flame, and don’t expect the Dutch oven experience of food steaming internally. These aren’t airtight; rather, the lids each have an air hole. So think of the large pot as a replacement for your aluminum or stainless steel pot, not your Dutch oven.
Once boiling and reduced to a simmer, I was impressed with the heat stability of every soup and stew made in the Caraway pots. If you like being able to get your simmer to just the right level and then walk away for a while, these pots will be a godsend.
Steaming rice, quinoa, barley, and other grains was a breeze in the small pot. It was the perfect size for a batch of grains, especially if you’re used to making them in larger quantities for meal prep. The small pot borders on being too large for only one to two servings, but would still work ok. You’d just want to keep an eye on it to make sure the grains don’t cook too quickly.
Protein-and-vegetable sautés and all-in-one skillets
So here’s the thing: because you can only use these over low to medium heat, you’re just not able to get your pot or pan to the temperature needed for a good sear. I didn’t want to ruin the equipment by disobeying that rule. The other reason you can’t get a great sear on these is because they’re nonstick, and that’s a fairly common issue for coated pots and pans. If you already use nonstick cookware regularly, this won’t be an issue for you. As someone who uses stainless steel, cast iron, or a ceramic Dutch oven, this was a big adjustment.
For anyone who wants to use this cookware for the bulk of their stovetop cooking, I’d recommend holding on to a single cast iron or high end stainless pan and cooking your protein separately in it. Most of us can forgive broccoli that hasn’t gotten crispy, but that’s a much larger ask for a juicy steak or chicken skin, both of which rely heavily on a strong sear for the eating experience we associate with them.
Despite the lack of browning possible, I found it seriously redeeming that the line is safe to use in the oven, and at up to 550 degrees. If you are open to tossing your par-cooked dish in at a high temperature so that it can at least brown on top, that’s a workaround that could be viable for the long term. Because the large pot and pan are so big, these are an excellent choice for your holiday cooking, which involves many dishes that cook both on the stove and in the oven. The large pan is pretty huge, and could easily be ample enough to make an all-in-one skillet dish that feeds four to six people.
Sum it up
Caraway cookware makes a line of ceramic coated pots, pans, and bakeware. Their cookware set comes with four pots and pans and three lids, as well as a storage accoutrements for each. It’s non-toxic, highly nonstick, and lovely in appearance. Caraway will make your eggs restaurant-quality, is perfect for any dishes that involve liquid, and can be used for proteins and veggies (provided you don’t require much browning). Their cost is on the high end, but if you follow the care and usage instructions, these are extremely well-made and can be expected to last well for years to come.
I also want to remind you that right now, if you purchase the cookware set through Clean Plates (using this special link), you can receive the medium baking sheet for free. It’s an excellent value: the baking sheet is non-toxic, nonstick, and seriously warp-resistant.
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