Types of Ceramic Cookware
In recent times, ceramic non-stick cookware has become known as one of the most popular types of cookware on the market. It is advertised as a safe alternative to Teflon. The ceramic coating offers the benefits of a non-stick cooking surface without the dangers of PFOA, a potentially toxic chemical used in the process of making a traditional non-stick coating.
There are actually two different types of ceramic cookware: Pure ceramic cookware and cookware with a ceramic-like coating. They are composed of various materials and differ significantly in terms of performance.
A lack of labeling regulations may lead to confusion for buyers who are considering purchasing modern non-stick cookware. To make an informed purchase, potential buyers need to take some time to educate themselves on the differences between these new types of “ceramic” cookware and classic ceramic cookware.
1. Pure Ceramic Cookware
100% ceramic cookware is made from clay, minerals, and quartz sand. After the shape-forming process, the mixture is hardened by firing to vitrification at 1915 degrees Fahrenheit. Ceramic cookware undergoes the process of glazing in order to get a decorative and waterproof surface.
Ceramic cookware made of clay is also called pure or classic ceramic cookware. The most reputable brands of pure ceramic cookware are Xtrema and Emile Henry.
2. Ceramic Coated Pots and Pans
Ceramic-coated cookware is made of a metal base such as aluminum. The base is coated with a hard film of polymer materials with a ceramic appearance. This coating contains binders, non-stick components, color pigments, and reinforcing agents.
This non-stick coating is not permanent and degrades over time even under normal use, leading to exposure of the metal base. Depending on the care and frequency of use, this cookware is functional for 3 to 5 years.
This ceramic-coated cookware is often called ceramic non-stick cookware or modern ceramic cookware.
Differences Between Ceramic and Ceramic Coated Cookware
Classic ceramic cookware has a cooking surface and a handle designed in one piece. The vessels can be heavy and difficult to handle, especially when hot. Innovative pure ceramic cookware lines are made from a lightweight ceramic material and may have detachable silicone handles.
Ceramic-coated cookware has an ergonomically designed heat-resistant handle that is attached to the pot with the rivets. In most cases, this cookware is much lighter and easier to handle compared to 100% ceramic pots and pans because of the lightweight aluminum core.
2. Microwave Heating
100% ceramic cookware can be used in the microwave oven while the ceramic coated cookware can’t go in the microwave, due to its metal base.
3. Heat Retention
Pure ceramic cookware retains heat in its thick ceramic walls and keeps the meals hot long after the heat has been turned off. Ceramic-coated cookware won’t retain heat after the heat source is turned down.
Metal utensils won’t damage pure ceramic pots and pans. However, certain brands of ceramic cookware like Xtrema recommend using wood, bamboo, or silicone utensils, because metal utensils can leave metal particles on the hard ceramic surface or leach metals when used for cooking.
Metal utensils are generally not recommended for ceramic non-stick cookware because metal may scratch soft interior ceramic coating and cause it to wear out faster.
5. Oven Use
Traditional ceramic bakeware is perfect for baking foods in the oven. Pure ceramic cookware can handle oven temperatures of up to 2000 ° F, so you can use it in any oven.
Older and less expensive brands of ceramic coated cookware are recommended to be used in an oven only up to 450 F°. However, the newest brands of ceramic-coated cookware like Skanpan can withstand oven temperatures up to 850 F°. This cookware has reinforced interior coating and stainless steel handles.
6. Induction Stovetops
Modern ceramic coated cookware is made of stainless steel with an aluminum core to ensure maximum heat distribution (from aluminum) and to ensure compatibility with induction cooking ranges (stainless steel). Pure ceramic cookware is not compatible with induction ranges. To use it on an induction stovetop, you need an induction plate.
Pure ceramic cookware has a vitreous surface that is impervious to liquids and is dishwasher safe.
Ceramic-coated cookware generally requires hand washing because the dishwasher detergents can wear out the non-stick surface.
After dipping in a glaze formulation, pure ceramic cookware must be fired in the kiln long enough to undergo a process known as vitrification. This process makes the surface impervious to water. After proper vitrification, the surface is considered safe for contact with food. Pure ceramic cookware which comes from reputable manufactures is made of clay that is properly tested and fired. Such cookware is non-reactive, non-toxic, and safe for food preparation.
Modern non-stick cookware is made with the use of new technologies, such as nanotechnology, which hasn’t been proven to be completely safe. More research should be done to examine the impact of nanoparticles on human health and the environment.