Curious about the Caraway pans you see all over social media? Read for an honest review about the cookware that claims to be both functional and beautiful.
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Just a few months ago I was talking to my partner about our current pots and pans. I said it was probably time to invest in some new pans, and I was very enticed by the beautiful Caraway cookware that all the other food bloggers seem to use.
The pans claim to be both functional and beautiful, but I was unsure if that was actually the case or just good marketing.
I kid you not that the next day, Caraway reached out to see if I wanted to test out a few of their products. Of course, I said yes, and I went into it fully expecting the pans to be nowhere near as good as I'd heard.
You can probably guess what happened next: I fell in love with a ceramic skillet. Embarrassing, but true. I also fell for a sleek baking sheet and square pan.
My honest review
With how much cooking I do on a daily basis, I have to admit that I already have a go-to pan: my handy 12-inch cast iron skillet. But I'll also admit that no matter how much I season the skillet, there are some things that I don't like using it for (eggs, for one). It can also be a pain to clean up any stuck-on bits without ruining the season.
Apart from my cast-iron skillet, I used a set of Cuisinart pots and pans, which I received as a gift from my partner several years back. With heavy daily use, the 12-inch skillet deteriorated quickly and I've been without a go-to pan until I got the 10.5-inch fry pan from Caraway.
The takeaway: Now that I've invested in a few Caraway pans, I honestly can't see myself going back. My cast iron skillet is still a staple, but as a relatively frugal person (especially when it comes to household items!), I fully expect myself to spend money on more of their pots and pans.
Caraway's tagline is "cook without the chemicals", and their products are non-stick, naturally slick, mineral-based ceramic interior without the use of teflon or any other harmful materials.
They have a stainless steel base and handles for durability. What does this mean for you? The naturally slick surface makes cooking and cleaning a breeze.
The pots and pans are also gorgeous. They come in a variety of pleasing colors because they are meant to be part of the kitchen decor. Cookware organizers are included with every set, making it easy to store the pans.
Caraway is an online-only company. They have 2 main sets of products:
- Cookware collection: This includes 10.5" fry pan, 3 quart suace pan, 4.5 quart saute pan, and 6.5 quart Dutch oven. It also includes storage for the lids and a magnetic pan rack. Choose from 6 colors.
- Bakeware collection: This includes a large and medium baking sheet, 9x13 inch rectangle pan, 12 cup muffin pan, a cooling rack, 9-inch circle pan, 9 inch square pan, and a loaf pan.
All of these items can be purchased a la carte, but you can save $150 by buying the set instead of singles.
A la carte options:
- Fry pan ($95) - Great all around pan, perfect for fried eggs, shallow-frying, and stir-frying.
- Saute pan ($135) - Great for sauteing, stewing, and deep-frying.
- Sauce pan ($105) - Use this pan for cooking pasta, boiling, sauces, poaching, and steaming.
- Dutch Oven ($125) - Great for soups and stews, deep-frying, and roasts.
All of the bakeware is also available to purchase a la carte or in pairs.
- Large half-sheet pan ($55) or medium baking sheet ($45) - I love the medium baking sheet for cookies and roasted vegetables, while the half sheet pan is good for larger sheet pan meals.
- 9x13 rectangle pan ($55) - This is the perfect pan for bakes, casseroles, and larger baked goods like sheet cakes.
- 9" circle pan ($40) or 9" square pan ($40) - The square pan is the perfect size for brownies, while the circle pan is great for cakes or cornbread.
- 1 pound Loaf pan ($40) - For all of your pumpkin loaf and zucchini bread needs.
The 10.5-inch Caraway skillet passed the fried egg test with flying colors. Caraway says that only 1-2 tablespoons of oil is needed to cook, but I wanted to see if I could cook an egg without any oil. (Note: Caraway recommends using a touch of oil or non-stick butter in their pans, and a little will go a long way).
I fried one egg over medium heat and it flipped easily. I do plan to use a touch of oil or butter in the future for flavor and even greater ease of flipping, but I am happy to report that these pans do pass the fried egg test.
I also tested this pan with roasted tomato sauce and pan-fried tofu. The tofu browned well without leaving any char marks on the pan, which tends to happen with my cast iron skillet. The roasted cherry tomato sauce did leave some marks on the pan, but they came off easily with a gentle cleaning.
I tested the 9 inch baking pan and the medium baking sheet. The baking pan is perfect for brownies and cornbread, which is what I most commonly use it for. The slick surface makes it both easy to remove slices of brownie from and easy to clean.
The medium baking sheet also works well. I tend to skip parchment paper and foil on my large sheet pans because I don't mind a bit of tarnish and patina.
Caraway pans are so pretty that I prefer to use parchment paper. That being said, their smooth non-stick surface does make them easy to clean up if you skip the parchment paper and rely on just a small coating of oil.
Wear and tear
Now for the question that everybody asks: do the pans last forever?
All non-stick coatings eventually degrade with continued use, so forever is not guaranteed. But from other independent reviews I've read and friends that I've talked to that use Caraway, the pans do have a lifespan that goes well over a year with daily use.
I have noticed a few scratches on the bottom of my sheet pans, which is easily noticeable with their cream color. I will say that my oven is old, cheap, and tears up anything it touches (I live in a rental, so you get what you get).
The takeaway: Check out the care and cleaning section for more information on how to keep Caraway cookware lasting for years.
Is ceramic actually safer?
One of Caraway's main claims is that it uses non-toxic materials to make its ceramic cookware and bakeware. That means that their products are free from including lead, cadmium, PTFE (including Teflon®), PFOA, and other PFAs.
It's important to note that ceramic cookware became popular in the early 2000s due to fears over chemicals like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). At the time, these were commonly used in non-stick coatings on pots and pans. Since 2013, all non-stick cookware manufactured is PFOA-free and considered safe to use.
However, one concern over non-stick cookware is that it may release harmful chemicals when heated over 500 degrees. If used below 500 degrees F, PTFE-containing cookware is safe.
Because Caraway does not contain PTFE, it claims to be safe up to 550F, unlike other traditional cookawre.
Here is a helpful graphic from the Caraway website:
The takeaway: Most cookware is safe under 500 degrees. Always follow manufacturer instructions when heating pots and pans to avoid overheating them. Use silicon, nylon, or plastic utensils to avoid scratching the non-stick coating.
Pros and cons
- Appearance: This one might be obvious, but Caraway pans are beautiful! They come in a variety of appealing colors (perracotta, cream, gray, navy, sage, and marigold) and they have a beautifully modern shape.
- Actually non-stick: The non-stick coating really is non-stick. It passed my fried-egg test with flying colors.
- Versatile: One of the biggest pros for me is that these pans are compatible with gas, electric, and induction. They are also oven safe up to 550°F. I use an induction cooktop to film all of my recipe videos, and it's such a treat to be able to use the same pans on that cooktop that I do in all of my other cooking.
- Materials: Caraway's products are non-toxic and free of any harmful chemicals, including lead, cadmium, PTFE (including Teflon®), PFOA, and other PFAs.
- Business: I appreciate that Caraway is transparent about supporting manufacturing partners where employees are safe, paid fairly, given benefits, and work regulated hours.
- Packaging: Because Caraway is online-only, packaging matters. Nothing is better than receiving a package that is actually fully-recyclable and easy to break down. Orders are shipped in recycled cardboard with no single-use plastics, low impact print dyes, and 100% biodegradable cork trivets.
- Cost: The biggest con is that these pans are on the pricier side of pots and pans, but that is common for quality cookware. It is more affordable to buy the entire set than to buy a la carte
- Scratching: Like any other pan, these are vulnerable to external scratching and staining. The cream color of my Caraway pans is beautiful, but requires diligent cleaning to maintain. My less-than-fabulous oven did scratch the bottom of the baking sheet after only a few uses, but this might just be noticeable because it's a cream-colored pan.
- Not dishwasher safe: Most non-stick cookware is not dishwasher safe. This is because the high heat in the dishwasher can degrade or remove the nonstick coating.
Caraway vs Greenpan
Greenpan is another popular non-toxic ceramic cookware company. I previously had a Greenpan 12-inch skillet and used it to death within about a year. The non-stick coating wore away more quickly than I would have liked. I haven't had my Caraway pans for a year, so it's hard to compare them in that regard.
I do find Caraway to be more visually appealing, and I like that their skillet has tall walls which allows the skillet to hold more. Caraway pans do feel heavier and sturdier than the one pan I had from Greenpan.
The takeaway: Overall, Greenpan does have great reviews on Amazon and I've heard from others that enjoy them. I personally prefer Caraway for its looks and feel.
Are they worth it?
If you have the budget for a nice set of pans, I think that Caraway is worth it. The Cookware set is a great place to start because it has the pots and pans that are needed for most daily recipes and cooking.
If a complete set isn't in your budget, I recommend starting with the fry pan. I use this style of pan more often than any other for quickly sauteing veggies, frying eggs, and scrambling tofu.
Favorite recipes to cook in my Caraway pans: