What Cookware Should I Use?

I often get asked “what cookware should I use?” It’s a great question because apart from being aware of the pesticides on produce, the mercury in fish and the chemicals generally in our food, it is important to realize that your choice of kitchenware can make a difference too because the materials can contain chemicals which can leach into your food–Teflon in particular but also aluminum and lead and even PVC Plastic.

Here are my guidelines:

  • Avoid non stick pans, pots, bakeware and utensils because they contain Teflon. Although non stick kitchenware is very convenient, Teflon is made from perfluorinated compounds which have been linked to cancer and reproductive problems.
  • If you use non stick kitchenware and the coating is coming off, you should not use it. Get new ones.
  • If you use non stick kitchenware and the coating is intact, avoid heating them above 450F because above this temperature, they release toxic gases.
  • Avoid aluminum pots and pans as it may cause aluminum to leach into food. Although the dangers of ingesting aluminum are disputed by some, I think it is silly to use them as we don’t know they are safe.
  • Avoid ceramic dishware that is cracked or chipping because the glazes used in ceramic dishware often contain lead and cracked or chipping glazes may be more likely to leach lead into foods and liquids.
  • Avoid dish racks made of plastic-coated wire, substituting instead stainless steel dish racks

So I suggest using glass bakeware and stainless steel or cast iron pots and pans. Stainless steel and glass mixing bowls are great too.

Related: Non-Stick Cookware: Easy Greening


Carole R.
Carole R.2 years ago


Anne F.
Anne F.2 years ago

Teflon is fragile - clear advice is not to use when coating is damaged.

Charlotte S.
Charlotte S.2 years ago

Micha S.
Apparently you didn't read the article very well. She said nothing about old pans. She said avoid ceramic dishware that is cracked or chipping. And that advice is nothing new. Even the makers of such product tell you not to use them if they are cracked or chipping.

If you want to use Teflon then go ahead but I won't be using it. It's simply not a product that lasts very long. I have a 1948 stainless steel electric frying pan we use all the time. I don't have to worry about Teflon flaking into my food, I can use a metal tools in it and it cleans up easily (actually better then Teflon!). The Government doesn't believe Teflon is safe which is why it's being phased out by 2015 (http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/MP/20130219/LIFE05/130219354). Personally I'd prefer to err on the side of caution.

Charlotte S.
Charlotte S.2 years ago

I don't use anything made in China. PERIOD. The few items I've bought that were made there rusted. To put it simply I don't trust our standards when it comes to safety of dishware made in China. Same goes for food. I won't even feed Chinese made food to our pets. I want better labeling on ALL products.

Micha Shepher
Micha Shepher2 years ago

Teflon pans are safe.
Ceramic pans are safe.
Aluminum pans are safe.
Old pans are safe.
Bad bloggers are dangerous.

Joanna W.
Joanna W.2 years ago

thanx for that!!

Berny p.
Berny p.2 years ago


Lynne Willey
Lynne Willey2 years ago

I wondered which to use

Fi T.
Fi T.2 years ago

Only if that's energy-efficient

Mary T.
Mary T.3 years ago

my boyfriend and I were talking about what cookware to use; think I'll stick with the Revereware from the 60s