Ceramic vs. Teflon Cookware: What’s the Difference?

By Heloise Blause Updated October 11, 2021

Ceramic vs Teflon: The Ultimate Cookoff

Ceramic vs. Teflon Cookware: What’s the Difference?

Are you struggling to find the best safe non-stick cookware for your kitchen? Are you confused about the differences between ceramic and Teflon pots and pans? We know how hard it can be to choose the right cookware for your needs.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about ceramic vs Teflon cookware. So you can find the best option that’s right for your kitchen.

We’ll go through the safety and performance differences between each cookware material. We’ll also cover what both of these materials are made of. Finally, we’ll compare the differences between the durability, design, and maintenance of both types of cookware.

Our comprehensive comparison will help you understand which nonstick cookware material is the best pick for you.

Ceramic vs. Teflon Cookware Comparison Chart


ProductTeflonCeramic
Price
Check Price
Check Price
Safeyesyes
Temperature Resistant
Yes up to 570°F (300°C)

Yes up to 620°F (350°C)
Overheating Risk
Yes, Teflon flu
No, turns into sand
PFOA Freeyesyes
Non Stick Efficientyes
No, takes 7 ceramic pans to deliver the same level of nonstick performance as one Teflon pan
Sustainable
Yes; 7 times less waste, CO2 emissions, and packaging than ceramic
no
Durable
2 to 3 years
4 months to 2 years
Easy to Maintain
Yes, but need precautions to extend the pan's nonstick qualities
Yes, but need precautions to extend the pan's nonstick qualities
Design
Limited colors (gray, black, bronze)

Many different colors like red, green, blue, and even white.


Is There a Difference Between Ceramic And Teflon Nonstick Cookware?

Yes, ceramic and Teflon non-stick cookware are different. While they’re both nonstick materials, they have different compositions and characteristics.

Ceramic

Ceramic cookware is made of a metal steel or aluminum base, combined with a ceramic coating. The ceramic coating isn’t actually ceramic. It’s a sol-gel composition that’s bonded to the frying pan, which gives it the smooth ceramic appearance (1).

The sol-gel composition consists of hard silica and other inorganic chemicals. And it’s combined with a release agent that prevents food from sticking to your pan. So it maintains a smooth, nonstick surface that’s free from dangerous chemicals that could leak into your food.

For example, this ceramic GreenPan Non-Stick Cookware set has an aluminum base and a ceramic material sol-gel nonstick coating.

Teflon

Teflon non-stick cookware also has a metal base, but the coating is a PTFE nonstick coating.

Teflon is a brand name for the group of chemicals that make completely nonstick coatings on cookware. Also known as PTFE (PolyTetraFluoroEthylene), Teflon is the most common chemical compound in use for non-stick pans. It was discovered in 1938 and became a traditional nonstick coating for cookware.

A lot of cooks consider Teflon synonymous with nonstick cookware.

In-Depth Feature Comparison

Ceramic vs Teflon Cookware

Let’s take a look at the main differences between these two non-stick cookware materials. So you can find the best option for your needs.

1. Safety

Many cooks have concerns about the safety of Teflon vs ceramic non-stick cookware and there are some differences.

Teflon

Teflon-coated cookware is safe for you to use.

Teflon nonstick pans can be harmful only if used on high heat. If overheated above 570F (300C), the PTFE coating on Teflon cookware begins to break down. When the coating breaks down it can release toxic chemicals into the air (2). These fumes can be harmful and can lead to polymer fever, also known as the Teflon flu.

Many home cooks also have concerns about the harms of PFOA in Teflon-coated cookware. PFOA is a chemical that has been used to produce PTFE coatings on nonstick pans (3).

However, all Teflon nonstick pans are now PFOA-free. In 2006 EPA made a decision to remove PFOA from all Teflon cookware production because of health risks (4).

Ceramic

Ceramic-coated cookware is completely safe for you to use. It consists of a metal base and sol-gel composition of silica and other inorganic materials. So it’s free from nasty chemicals that could leak into your food.

It’s PFOA and PTFE-free. And the sol-gel composition is also lead and cadmium-free.

Unlike Teflon, it’s heat resistant up to high temperatures. So a ceramic pan can withstand higher heat. Non-stick ceramic coatings can survive up to 842F, so ceramic non-stick cookware is safe for you to use at very high temperatures (5).

The sol-gel coating can begin to deteriorate above 662F (450C), but it won’t break down or emit any toxic fumes. So there are no health risks if you accidentally heat it beyond those high temperatures. The composition of ceramic coatings will only break down into sand.

Check Also: The 7 Best Non-Toxic Cookware Of 2022

Winner

Ceramic non-stick cookware wins! Its sol-gel composition is free from nasty chemicals so it makes ceramic safer for you to cook at any temperature.

2. Performance

Ceramic and Teflon nonstick cookware both have quality initial nonstick performance. However, based on a Chemours life cycle assessment, Teflon coatings last 7 x longer than ceramic non-stick coatings (6).

But it’s important to note that these results are based on Teflon’s own studies on the performance of Teflon pans. And it’s unclear what process was used to test these results. So it’s best to look at real user experiences to understand the true performance of a ceramic vs Teflon pan.

On the other hand, ceramic-coated pans aren’t as water repellent as Teflon non-stick pans. Especially after using your non-stick pan a few times (7). So manufacturers recommend you use oil to aid in food release. Whereas you don’t need oil with Teflon PTFE pans.

In 2018 a study was conducted on the performance of ceramic non-stick cookware. It showed limited cooking applications for the long-term properties of ceramic coatings (8). And more tests are being conducted to provide design improvements on the performance of ceramic coatings.

Winner

Teflon PTFE pans have a longer-lasting nonstick performance. Whereas ceramic pans tend to lose their nonstick qualities quickly.

3. Sustainability

Ceramic cookware is considered environmentally friendly due to its PFOA and PTFE-free composition. However, it’s important to consider the lifespan of your ceramic cookware.

Ceramic pans have a shorter lifespan than Teflon cookware. So customers are more likely to buy more pans. And replacing your pans requires more material and energy during manufacturing(9). Whereas a single Teflon nonstick pan is less likely to need replacing.

Based on the Chemours life cycle assessment, a Teflon nonstick pan lasts 7 x longer than a ceramic-coated pan. So that’s 7 x less waste and carbon emissions. And less packaging and manufacturing when it comes to replacing your pan.

Winner

Teflon PTFE pans offer better sustainability and less environmental harm over the whole lifespan of your cookware.

4. Durability

Teflon has great durability. According to the 2001 Nature study, Teflon-coated cookware can last around 2-3 years. Even with consistent heating (10). So a Teflon pan can last you years even if you frequently heat your pan to 500F which is the temperature you use to sear a steak (11).

On the other hand, ceramic pans last reviewers on average only six to twelve months of use. Depending on how you use your pan, it could last you one to two years.

Winner

Teflon pans can last you a lot longer than ceramic pans.

5. Scratch Resistance

Teflon states that its latest non-stick coating has improved materials in the topcoat. It also has an improved mid-coat layer (12). So it offers superior scratch resistance on your pan.

However, it’s well known that Teflon pans are fragile. PTFE-coated cookware is also sensitive to utensils. Metal utensils can scratch the Teflon coating on your pan. So it’s important to be careful when using utensils with your Teflon pans. You should always use silicone or wooden utensils and avoid metal utensils.

Ceramic-coated pans have a hard silica nonstick surface that provides good scratch resistance. But it’s important to note that the rigidity of the ceramic coating can make it vulnerable to cracking or peeling.

Because of this, the preparation and application of the non-stick coating are important. Most ceramic sol-gel compositions are a two-part reactant coating. So they have a short shelf life between the mixing and application process.

Plus, some manufacturers don’t pay attention to the importance of this process. So some of your ceramic pans may not be as scratch-resistant. And this is particularly true with cheaper ceramic products.

Winner

Ceramic coatings have a hard silica surface. So they’re more scratch-resistant than Teflon coatings.

6. Maintenance

The maintenance process for both ceramic and Teflon pans is similar. They both require low maintenance.

Both ceramic and Teflon-coated pans don’t need seasoning or any preparation. But you should always check the user guide for your ceramic or Teflon pan. And make sure you follow the correct care instructions.

For example, here are some maintenance tips you should follow to help your ceramic or Teflon pan last longer:

  • Make sure you use a small amount of oil when cooking. So you can avoid burning food on the cooking surface and damaging the coating. You should also avoid oils that burn at low temperatures. They may leave residue on the non-stick surface of your pan.
  • Avoid using metal spatulas as they can scratch the non-stick coating on your pan. We recommend that you use wooden or silicone utensils.
  • Wait for your pan to cool before cleaning. And use warm water and soap to clean your pan.
  • Don’t place your non-stick pans in the dishwasher as it can damage the coating.
  • Only use low to medium heat while cooking food with your pan. High temperatures can damage the nonstick coating on your cookware.

Winner

Both ceramic and Teflon non-stick pots and pans are easy to maintain and care for. But they do require basic care to make the coating on your pan last longer.

7. Design

Some reviewers find ceramic cookware more aesthetically pleasing because of the wider range of choices available.

The lead-free ceramic coating on ceramic cookware can maintain color at high temperatures. And the ceramic technology can be made in a variety of different colors for you to choose from. So ceramic pans have many different design options available.

For example, this ceramic Greenlife Cookware Set is a Turquoise color. And this Greenlife Cookware Set with ceramic frying pans comes in a Lavender color.

On the other hand, a Teflon coating can only be made in limited colors such as black, gray, or bronze. For example, this T-fal Black Cookware Set.

Winner

Ceramic cookware wins this battle. It has more colors available for you to choose from.

Ceramic vs Teflon Non-Stick Cookware Conclusion

What’s the bottom line when it comes to ceramic vs Teflon cookware for your kitchen?

Teflon

Teflon pans are good for cooking delicate foods that might tear if they stick to your pans cooking surface. For example, it’s perfect if you want to cook eggs or fish. Or if you want to cook recipes with sugary sauces like stir-fries that can scorch easily.

And Teflon cookware is a great option for pan-frying your breaded foods. So the coating doesn’t stick to your pan.

A Teflon skillet is our go-to choice for making pancakes. Because the batter doesn’t burn on the surface like it can with stainless-steel cookware.

If you want a nonstick coating that’s efficient, long-lasting, and has durable nonstick qualities, Teflon is the right choice.

Ceramic

Ceramic cookware is better if you want a safe and scratch-resistant, nonstick solution. Especially for cooking with low to medium heat. But high heat can damage the ceramic coating on your pans. So it’s important to consider your cooking style, and how you’ll be using your ceramic-coated cookware.

Ceramic-coated cookware has good nonstick properties. But it’s important to take care of your ceramic pan to help the nonstick quality last so you don’t have food sticking.

And if you’re worried about the health risks of Teflon nonstick coatings, but still want a nonstick pan, ceramic cookware is for you.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with a friend! And comment below on what your favorite cookware material is. We’d love to know!

Heloise Blause

About the Author

Heloise Blause

Since always, I am passionate about food; I enjoy writing and want to share my passion and offer quality articles to my readers. On Homekitchenland, I like to research, review, and compare kitchen appliances, write product reviews, and develop recipes.

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