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Find the Safest Cookware for Everyday Use

Find the Safest Cookware for Everyday Use

It’s no secret that cooking is an active process, with lots of hot surfaces, sharp utensils, and transferring of ingredients from one cooking surface to another in all sorts of states. From raw to boiling, or doused in oil, you name it.

And, at the end of it all, the food you’ve been working with ends up in your body. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that food and kitchen safety garners so much attention. To ensure your cookware is safe and sustainable, check out our safe cookware guide below. 

What’s the Real Deal on Safe Cookware?

Safe cookware may seem like a bit of a buzzword, but it's actually very important. Keeping potentially harmful chemicals and bacteria out of your foods and the surfaces your food makes contact with is important for your health and safety. 

Ceramic cookware, or those with certain types of chemical coatings, can potentially flake off in your food. They can leach chemicals or invite bacteria to play in more porous materials.

So, how does HexClad stack up? What are the essentials of safe cookware? Let’s dive into it. 

What Are the Essentials of Safe Cookware?

The safest types of cookware should, of course, be nontoxic and capable of withstanding high temperatures. Still, there are a few other factors to consider that may be easy to miss when considering your cooking pans and pots. 

PFOA-Free

When it comes to the world of cooking, nonstick cookware technology was a game changer. 

While humans have been cooking for thousands of years–slowly evolving and perfecting various methods we know and love today. Nonstick ceramic coatings didn’t enter the scene until the 1950s, when French engineer Marc Gregoire followed his wife’s suggestion and invented the first known nonstick cookware coating.

Today, nonstick pots and pans are incredibly popular and practical. From flipping eggs to creating the perfect crepe to cooking a quesadilla until the cheese is perfectly melted, nonstick pans help limit sticky ingredients from sticking or delicate ingredients from breaking, limiting mess and stress in the kitchen all around.

However, not all nonstick cookware and bakeware out there are completely stress-free. Some cookware may contain harmful chemicals.

Certain nonstick surfaces may release toxic fumes when heated past 450 to 500 degrees or leach harmful chemicals when the coating starts to wear or flake. Similarly, glazed ceramic pans are quite delicate and can chip and break more easily than other materials. 

When flaking or chipping happens, small pieces of ceramic from the ceramic-coated cookware can make their way into our food, along with potential heavy metals found in the glazes of certain ceramic cookware.

But this isn’t a concern when it comes to HexClad cookware. Our cookware is PFOA–free, and our nonstick layer is made with a high-quality and nontoxic coating that is also infused with diamond dust for added toughness and durability. 

We don’t stop there. Although our nonstick layer is already nontoxic and durable, we rest it beneath the high-grade stainless steel ridges that make up our patented hexagonal hybrid technology for added protection. 

The hexagonal design of our stainless steel cookware not only leads to superior searing and browning of your ingredients, but also shields the nonstick coating for added toughness and scratch resistance. 

While metal utensils and daily use could cause the coating of your grandma’s pans to flake or peel into your food as your cook, our nonstick layer is safe and sound, tucked beneath the durable stainless steel ridges for added protection and safety (it might be time to upgrade Grandma’s cookware to HexClad, too). 

Oven-Safe

Opting for oven-safe cookware such as skillets, frying pans, saute pans, pots, or dutch ovens not only brings convenience into the kitchen, but also enhances the safety of your cooking scene. 

Plenty of recipes call for starting your ingredients by simmering or sauteing them on the stovetop before finishing them by roasting or broiling them in the oven. It’s no surprise that needing to transfer hot ingredients mid-cooking can not only be awkward and inconvenient, but also potentially dangerous. 

Trying to maneuver a hot pan that was just on the stove to pour hot ingredients into another pan can lead to potential spills, splatters, and burns. Limiting the amount of hot oil that comes into contact with our skin is definitely a plus. You can just do that when cooking with HexClad’s oven-safe cookware. 

All of our pots and pans are oven-safe up to 500 degrees for easy, comfortable, and burn-free transporting. No more trying to find the best angle to hold and pour from your hot pan into an oven-safe option without losing any ingredients or injuring yourself in the process. Do all of your cooking in one sleek, attractive pan.

Dishwasher-Safe

Using oven-safe cookware can already help limit the number of dishes you have to do during the dreaded post-dinner cleanup, but that doesn’t necessarily make the prospect of standing at your sink scrubbing away much less dreadful. 

Many pots and pans are hand wash only. A dishwasher's high heat and tough rinse can wear down the cookware’s coating. But rejoice! All of HexClad’s cookware is tough enough to take on the dishwasher’s thorough clean. 

This not only ensures your post-dinner routine is more relaxing as you won’t need to hunch over the sink with a sponge and scrubber in hand, but it also improves the safety of your kitchen. The dishwasher can reach higher temperatures than would be safe for our skin when hand washing, providing a more sterile clean to kill any bacteria that may have built up on your cookware. 

Thoroughly cleaning all of your cookware and utensils is vital for limiting the risk of foodborne illness. While the abrasives from soap foaming up in a sponge kill bacteria when you want or need a gentler wash (such as when washing delicate knives), dishwashing provides an even deeper and more thorough clean when needed, making your cooking experience even safer.

HexClad's surface is so easy to clean that most nights, you'll be able to give your cookware a quick wipedown. But it's nice to know you can use the dishwasher for a deep clean — just don't forget to reseason!

Stay-Cool Handles

You know what they say: you’re not a true chef until you’ve been burned in the kitchen. Maybe they don’t say that. But it seems almost understood, at least in the days before HexClad came along. 

Getting burned in the kitchen no longer has to be an accepted occupational hazard. Not with HexClad’s stay-cool handle technology

Our handles utilize stay-cool technology to keep cooking comfortable and convenient, limiting the risk of accidentally burning your palm when you go to toss your ingredients or transfer ingredients into the oven from the stovetop. 

Our frying pans contain long stainless steel handles that are easy to maneuver. In contrast, our larger pans and woks provide helping handles that provide added support when tossing or moving heavier ingredients. All of them make use of our stay-cool handle technology.

As a cook, those hands are your instrument. Keep them safe by choosing cookware with handles that stay cool to the touch.

Comparing Cookware Options: Which Is Safest?

Now that we know what features to consider when seeking out safe cookware, what about materials? From carbon steel to glass cookware and stainless steel to cast iron, there is no shortage of cookware materials available. So, which material is the healthiest cookware for you and your home?

Hybrid Cookware

Hybrid technology combines various cookware materials to provide you with all the safety benefits of both without the downsides. At HexClad, we design all of our cookware with high-grade tri-ply stainless steel. A layer of aluminum is sandwiched in between for fast cooking, even heat distribution, and superior heat retention. 

As a natural metal alloy, stainless steel contains the elements iron, chromium, and nickel. This type of metal is famously tough and resistant to rust and corrosion. It’s also considered a nonreactive metal, meaning it won’t leach chemicals into your food as easily as other materials may. 

We only use high-quality and high-grade stainless steel for our cookware, to further reduce the risk of any heavy metal leaching, especially when cooking with acidic foods that may be more prone to leaching. 

While the stainless steel exterior ensures our hybrid stainless steel cookware sets are lightweight, durable, induction-friendly, and easy to care for, the nonstick valleys of our laser-etched hexagon design limit stickage and mess for hassle-free cooking and cleanup. 

This nontoxic layer is already tough, but the protection offered from the hexagonal design ensures it is even more resistant to scratches, peeling, and flaking. That’s even with everyday use. 

Stainless steel pots and pans are durable and long-lasting, while the nonstick coating is protected by stainless steel to reduce risk of scraping, wearing down, or flaking. These pans will last. 

This is beneficial to the environment as well as our wallets. You won’t need to replace your cookware as often. This is the cherry on top of our healthy hybrid cookware, as the more sustainably we live, the better our health may be to show for it.

Copper Cookware

Copper has been incorporated into our cookware for centuries. Orange-pinkish in color, this naturally-occurring metal chemical element is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. It heats up your ingredients on the stovetop relatively quickly and evenly. 

Copper cookware may contain a stainless steel base, or may be made of pure copper. Copper is also considered antimicrobial, meaning that bacteria cannot survive on its surface, which makes it a powerful tool in food safety.

However, copper’s low heat retention and reactive qualities mean it is not the right pan for everyday use. While copper’s ability to conduct heat quickly and efficiently makes it an appealing option for precision cooking, it is not the ideal material for everyday cooking. 

Their quick heat-conducting abilities also mean they can cool down as quickly as they heat up, meaning they don’t retain heat well and can cool down quickly when cold ingredients are added to a preheated pan.

Another potential safety issue with copper cookware is that this type of metal is reactive, meaning the chemicals within the metal alloy can react with food chemicals and release atoms from the metal into the food. 

This affects the taste and color of your final dish, and the release of too much copper, tin, and nickel from common copper cookware coatings into the body via cooked food can reach unsafe levels. It depends on how well-maintained and how often the pan is used.

Acidic foods such as tomatoes or vinegar are particularly reactive, and should not be cooked in copper cookware, or other reactive metals such as aluminum cookware. Stainless steel is considered a nonreactive cookware, which is why we encase all of our cookware with it for healthy cooking at HexClad. 

Copper cookware is quite delicate. It is not dishwasher or metal utensil safe. This high-maintenance cookware requires consistent handwashing and polishing to prevent oxidation. Any scrapes or chips in the lining can lead to potentially unhealthy levels of the reactive copper leaching into your food as you cook.

Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron is another material that dates way back in the history of human cooking. Iron is considered a safe material to cook on as a naturally occurring chemical element and nutritional mineral. When properly maintained, cast iron skillets can last a lifetime.

Cast iron pans are often referred to as “the original nonstick pan,” since a well-seasoned cast iron contains a natural coating formed when fats from oils and butter bonds with the iron over high heat. 

While some home cooks enjoy the flavor provided from the fat-based seasoning, cooks hoping to use less butter or oil in their recipes may prefer a hybrid pan that doesn’t require as much seasoning to remain desirably nonstick. 

Cast iron is also reactive and can release iron into your food. While iron is a valuable nutrient for many of us, those with hemochromatosis or at a high risk of iron overload should avoid cast iron cookware to reduce the risk of too much iron buildup. 

Another common type of cookware is enameled cast iron. Often used for dutch ovens, enameled cast iron has a protective layer of the smooth and nonstick glasslike material known as enamel. 

Enameled cast iron keeps the iron from making contact with your ingredients, but much like ceramic nonstick layers, the enamel is somewhat delicate and can chip and crack without careful care.

Both enameled cast iron and traditional cast iron cookware require proper maintenance. Cast iron is not dishwasher safe. Traditional cast iron must be reseasoned by hand regularly. Since metal utensils can strip the seasoning or chip the enamel, it is best to stick with wooden or silicone spatulas with this material. 

While nontoxic and heat-retentive, cast iron and enameled cast iron are heavy and clunky, making them difficult to maneuver around the kitchen. Because the iron retains heat well and takes so long to cool down, the handles of cast iron skillets can become extremely hot as it cooks. The risk of burns or kitchen mishaps may increase when trying to move around this hot and heavy pan.

The Bottom Line

The best nontoxic cookware should be free of toxic chemical coatings, made with only high-grade and high-quality materials, oven-safe, metal utensil safe, and easy to handle. 

With versatile hybrid technology, lightweight tri-ply, and a high-grade stainless steel exterior, HexClad is a kitchen workhorse. Add in a tough and a protected nonstick coating, stay-cool handles, and dishwasher-safe capability for a full sterilizing clean, and it’s no wonder HexClad cookware passes all of these safety requirements with flying colors. 

With hybrid technology that is induction safe, oven safe, and dishwasher safe, HexClad brings versatility and health into the kitchen. It’s the best choice for home cooks and professional chefs alike when considering performance and safety. Ready to get cooking? 

Sources:

This Month in Physics History | APS Physics 

Lead Toxicity from Glazed Ceramic Cookware | PMC

Dishwashers or Hand-Washing? Science Settles the Score | Columbia Daily Tribune

What's the Deal with Reactive (and Nonreactive) Cookware? | The Kitchn

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