Caraway Cookware makes cookware and bakeware coated in ceramic, which is thought to be safer than commercial cookware materials. The company’s site highlights the “non-toxic” nature of their cookware, and calls their products “clean kitchenware”.
In this article we’ll review the formulation of Caraway products to determine if these health claims hold up to scientific evidence.
Unlike nearly all of the leading Caraway review articles, we have no affiliation with the company, and don’t receive compensation for driving sales of their products, which allows us to remain unbiased. Our analysis is based on medical research only.
Is Regular Cookware Even Toxic?
There’s a lot of misconceptions about cookware, primarily due to aggressive marketing campaigns run by new competitors in the market like Caraway. Consumers are often overwhelmed by the number of cookware options (ceramic, cast iron, non-stick, etc).
The most important thing to keep in mind when purchasing cookware is that most traditional non-stick products do release gases into the air which are toxic to humans. As we discussed in our recent review of another cookware startup called Hexclad, medical research has found that the synthetic chemicals used as non-stick cookware coatings pose a risk to human health.
One interesting takeaway from the above-linked study is that the alternatives to common non-stick chemicals weren’t found to be safer. So just because a cookware manufacturer claims “PTFE-free” on their label, this doesn’t mean the product is necessarily safe.
We don’t believe that non-stick cookware is one of the primary human health risks, but since there are non-toxic options it makes sense to try to avoid these products when possible.
Is Caraway Safer?
Caraway claims to use “ceramic non-stick” which doesn’t mean anything. The outer layer of their pots and pans are coated in ceramic, but they claim to use a “mineral-based coating” to create the non-stick effect.
The company doesn’t detail what chemicals are used to create this mineral-based coating, so consumers (and researchers like us) have no way to assess whether these products are safe or not.
Caraway also claims that their coating is “free of PTFE” which is a popular non-stick chemical proven to be harmful to human health. But as we referenced in the medical study linked above, medical researchers haven’t found that PTFE alternatives are safer.
Caraway states on their homepage that they sell “quality cookware, without chemicals” which is an unscientific and frankly unintelligent statement. Their cookware certainly does contain chemicals given that it’s made of matter.
Water is made of chemicals, food is made of chemicals, the earth we walk on is made of chemicals. Certain chemicals are safe for human consumption and others are unsafe.
We don’t believe that Caraway cookware is any safer than standard non-stick cookware. We also strongly disagree with some of the health claims and unscientific statements Caraway makes on their site. It seems to us that this is a company purely focused on marketing and not very interested in sound science.
We recommend cast iron pans because they have an inherent non-stick surface. This is due to the reaction of fats cooked on iron.
Since most of the medical research on the safety risks of cookware involves the non-stick coating layer which is added, using a cookware device without this layer seems logical. Cast iron has been used for thousands of years and is not a novel invention without long-term safety data.
Cast iron pans are relatively expensive, but last for decades and even lifetimes if properly handled.
One fascinating piece of research on cast iron pans is they leach a small amount of the mineral over time, and this effect may actually be beneficial for human health based on medical research. The linked study found that the small amount of increased iron intake from using cast iron pans caused participants to have improved nutritional status.