GreenPan Review: Is Ceramic Cookware Safer?

GreenPan Review: Is Ceramic Cookware Safer?


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GreenPan is a cookware company that markets itself as a healthier option than traditional non-stick cookware. The brand describes their products as “healthy ceramic nonstick” that can keep consumers safe from “toxic conventional nonstick pans.”

But is GreenPan actually healthier than regular non-stick cookware, or are these just marketing claims? What materials does GreenPan use and have these been tested in clinical trials and proven to be safer? Are chemicals used in traditional non-stick pans even unhealthy? And how do real users rate and describe the experience of cooking with GreenPan?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review clinical studies on non-stick cookware chemicals to give our take on whether regular non-stick cookware should be avoided.

We’ll analyze the materials used in GreenPan to share our opinion on whether the brand actually provides a healthier solution or if it’s a waste of money, and compare GreenPan to another popular non-stick brand called Caraway. Finally, we’ll share GreenPan customer reviews including one from America’s Test Kitchen that puts GreenPan’s performance to the test.

Is Regular Cookware Even Unhealthy?

Many of GreenPan’s marketing claims suggest that standard cookware is unhealthy, and this does appear to be the case at least in regard to non-stick cookware.

The chemical compound used to coat non-stick surfaces is called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), and a 2017 medical review found that “PTFE-coated cookware releases various gases and chemicals that present mild to severe toxicity.”

While traditional non-stick cookware is convenient, it may be harmful for human health and to the environment, and we recommend avoiding it.

As we documented in our HexClad reviews article, clinical studies have shown that PTFE alternatives are no safer than PTFE. So when a non-stick cookware brand advertises that their products are “PTFE-free,” that does not make them necessarily less toxic in our opinion.

So what chemicals does GreenPan use for their non-stick surface and are they really safer? We’ll analyze in the next section.

Is GreenPan Actually Safer?

GreenPan uses a trademarked material called “Thermolon” for their non-stick coating. On GreenPan’s Technology page, the brand states that “the raw material for our coating is sand,” and that the Thermolon coating “is manufactured without PFAS, PFOA, lead or cadmium.”

We can’t find information anywhere on the GreenPan website detailing the specific materials and chemical compounds used to make their non-stick coating, and without this information it’s impossible for consumers to make an informed purchase decision. We hope that in the future GreenPan clearly publishes the Thermolon materials on their product pages.

In 2019, GreenPan was sued by a California plaintiff who alleges that the pans do in fact contain toxins. This lawsuit has either been settled out of court or is still ongoing, but no information about the toxicity of the brand’s products have yet emerged as a result of this suit.

At this point, we have no information to suggest that GreenPan is safer than traditional non-stick pans. We can’t find any clinical trials proving their products to be less toxic, and the brand fails to clearly publish the materials used for their non-stick coating.

GreenPan vs. Other Non-Stick Pans

America’s Test Kitchen published a YouTube video reviewing the performance of various non-stick skillets. GreenPan was one of the brands reviewed. Did it perform better than other pans? Check out the video below to find out:

A CNN Underscored review found that GreenPan’s non-stick was worse than other brands:

@cnnunderscored What brand should we test next? Link in bio to shop our faves! #nonstickpans #cookingtips #cookware #kitchenware #commissionearned ♬ originalljud - Slay

We Tried GreenPan Ourselves

GreenPan UGC

As the author of this article, I wanted to try GreenPan myself to share my thoughts on whether it's worth the money after several months of use.

Convenience is a major benefit. This pan's non-stick feature is excellent, and even after cooking things like eggs with minimal oil that would typically stick to a cast iron pan, none of the food sticks and cleanup is quick and easy.

I have been using this pan for several months and haven't noticed any erosion, but I will update this article in the future if I do.

I don't notice any changes to the taste of the food, or any other negative effects from using GreenPan.

Overall, I'd rate this product a 7/10.

It's highly functional, but my questions about the safety of the non-stick surface will likely lead me to returning to a cast iron pan in the future. 

GreenPan vs. Caraway 

Caraway is another cookware brand that uses ceramic non-stick, and is positioned as a healthier alternative, so consumers are often curious about which of the two products is a better option.

As we documented in our Caraway Cookware reviews article, the brand suffers from the same issue as GreenPan: Caraway claims to use a non-toxic coating but fails to provide proof that their coating is not toxic and fails to clearly describe the chemicals used to create the coating.

We consider GreenPan and Caraway to be equivalent from a health perspective, so which brand is a better option will come down to cost.

A 10.5” frying pan from Caraway costs $95, while a 10” frying pan from GreenPan costs $29.99. We consider GreenPan to be a better option than Caraway due to its affordability.

Real People Try GreenPan

A TikTok user named “Clean Living by Avery” purchased an entire GreenPan set and claims that all of the products got scratched quickly:

@cleanlivingbyavery Replying to @jnewty108 so disappointed with them & their response! I’m switching to stainless steel for now & learned my lesson! Please save your money! #nontoxic #greenpan #fyp ♬ original sound - Clean Living by Avery

A YouTube creator named “KG Simple reviews” had a more favorable review that includes an unboxing, but it’s important to keep in mind that this is cooking for the very first time on the pan:

Where to Get the Best Price

GreenPan is sold at a variety of online retailers, with significantly varying prices. Here’s a price breakdown for the brand’s popular “Rio” cookware set:

Brand website: $257.99 (link)

Target: $179.99 (link)

Amazon: $177 (link)

Walmart: $152.99 (link)

GreenPan’s Rio set has a 41% lower retail price on Walmart than on the brand’s official website at the time of publishing this article.

Our Clean Cookware Pick

Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet is our top cookware pick.

It's free of any questionable chemical coatings. The only material is cast iron.

We consider cast iron pans to be the safest and healthiest cookware option. Cast iron has been used for thousands of years and is non-toxic. 

Cast iron pans are made primarily from iron and steel, and are somewhat naturally non-stick because of the effects of fat heated on the cooking surface over time.

We recommend purchasing some Lodge Pan Scrapers along with the pan.

They're only $4.90, and cast iron pans can be challenging to clean for the first few uses without scrapers, before the pan becomes seasoned.

GreenPan Real Customer Reviews

We consider Amazon to be a more objective resource for customer reviews than a brand’s website. GreenPan’s most popular product on Amazon is their 10” frying pan, which has been reviewed over 8,700 times and has an average review rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review comes from a user named “Adam Machanic” who updated the review after 18 months claiming GreenPan still works well:

“My pan is still performing like a champ and I still highly recommend these. When it finally gets worn out I will definitely replace the one I purchased here with another identical model, but I think it will be a long time before that's required. Two of the three other pans I mentioned above are still in service!”

The top negative review is written by a user named “MK” who claims the products started chipping after six months of use:

“I really liked these pans at first, however, after about 6 months of use (I always handwashed, cooked on medium or below, used silicone cooking tools) I noticed some minor flaking/chipping in each of the pans. Something happened to the surface of the largest pan as well where it became discolored and things seem to stick more in that area now.”

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

We do not recommend GreenPan. The brand fails to clearly describe the materials used to create their non-stick coating, and fails to clearly provide any proof that their non-stick coating is healthier and less toxic than traditional non-stick cookware.

Consumer reviews online of GreenPan are relatively positive, and one advantage of the brand over other ceramic non-stick brands like Caraway Cookware is the affordability.

We recommend that health-conscious consumers stick to cast-iron which is the safest and most durable choice by far in our opinion.