I am super stoked to bring this review for Caraway cookware to my readers, especially the ones who were looking for a safe alternative to Teflon coated non-stick cookware. With their modern designs and their focus on healthy cookware, Caraway is the latest newcomer to disrupt the traditional cookware scene.
Their tagline: “Cookware without the chemicals” says it all.
Caraway is the brainchild of Jordan Nathan who started looking for safe cookware options after a toxic fumes experience with a burnt Teflon pan. He wanted quality non-stick cookware that was ptfe (teflon) free but the available ceramic coated pans failed to meet his expectations. That’s when he decided to create his own brand of ceramic coated nonstick cookware and thus, Caraway cookware was born.
Caraway is positioned as non-toxic cookware that performs as well as it looks – in Cookware Advisor lingo, a perfect choice for both ‘love-to-cook’ and ‘have-to-cook’ personalities. After using the pans for a few weeks, I’m happy to report that it delivers on all that it promises and more!
Read on for the full, juicy details…..
Disclosure: I have to let you know that some of the links in this write up are affiliate links which means that if you buy Caraway cookware through any link here, I get paid a small referral fee which helps support this website. I also have to let you know that this does not affect my review, I am really impressed with this product offering and love how it performed in my kitchen. I also love how it looks and find myself leaving the cookware out to show-off when friends are over!
Following a theme of minimalist functionality, Caraway cookware offers one core set with all the essential pans you would need for everyday cooking. They go one step further by also including the tools that you would need to organize those pans. So with just this one set, you would have a neat, streamlined and organized kitchen. Here’s a list of what you get:
- 10.5” Fry Pan
- 3 QT Sauce Pan w/ Lid
- 5 QT Dutch Oven w/ Lid
- 5 QT Sauté Pan w/ Lid
- 4 Magnetic Pan Racks
- Canvas Lid Holder w/ Hooks
See Aug 2020 update below as they DO offer an ala-carte selection now
WHAT IS CARAWAY COOKWARE MADE OF?
Caraway is nonstick cookware that is made of heavy gauge aluminum with a stainless steel base and stainless steel handles. Aluminum, if you didn’t know it, is one of the best conductors of heat and is an ideal choice for cookware material.
I always thought that hard-anodization was all the rage as it makes aluminum tougher and more durable, so it was interesting for me to note that the aluminum in Caraway pans is not anodized. So I reached out to ask the company and here is their reply:
“We do not hard anodize because it is a nasty manufacturing process that requires putting the pans into a sulfuric acid bath. Not only does this emit a ton of toxic fumes and emissions, it is typically improperly disposed of, creating acid waste which is extremely detrimental and harmful to the environment. It is a process we do not support as we believe in eco-manufacturing methods and products.”
~Jordan Nathan, Founder & CEO, Caraway
Hmm.. didn’t know that so I learned something new here. And I also learned that this is a company that really cares. Nice!
WHAT ABOUT THE NONSTICK COATING?
The non-stick coating on Caraway cookware is pure ceramic and is free of toxins, lead, cadmium, PTFE (Teflon) and PFOA. This means there is no chance of anything leaching into your food or emitting fumes if overheated. To learn more about ceramic coated cookware, read our full guide here.
Does it perform? Definitely Yes! I used the pans every day for all my cooking needs and nothing stuck to them. As recommended and as is my usual practice, I always brushed the pan lightly with oil or butter before cooking and got fantastic results every time.
Will it last? Well, time will tell, but the company confirmed that their cookware has more layers of ceramic coating than other ceramic coated pans out there. So chances are high that these pans will keep performing and outlast other ceramic coated brands.
The outside of the pans is also coated with ceramic nonstick.
WHAT ABOUT THE QUALITY?
Readers are always asking me about the quality of such and such cookware and how they can determine if a certain cookware is of good quality. Leaving aside subjective definitions and preferences, here is a list of criteria I used to gauge the quality of Caraway cookware:
- The packaging: The experience with this cookware started as soon as I opened the packaging. This was no random box stuffed with cookware – everything was branded, organized, labelled and ‘intelligently’ packaged. It was almost like opening a gift! Clearly a lot of thought went into the packaging design of this cookware.
- The heft: The next noticeable thing was the ‘heft’ of the cookware. The pans feel solid and surprisingly heavy. Why is this an indication of quality? Because it means that the manufacturers did not skimp on the material, you’re getting a thick layer of it and the pans will likely never warp with usage. It also means that you are likely to get even heating with no hot spots where food would burn.
- The design: People, this is not your grandma’s cookware! This is a sleek, stylish, ‘show-off worthy’ set of pans available in a range of designer colors to suit your preference– I’ll go so far as to say that if cookware could make a fashion statement, this would be it!
So, it looks good and it feels good. But that’s not all. When I put it to actual use, I found that it also ‘cooks good’! More on that later but we can see that this cookware checks off on several indicators of quality.
WHAT ABOUT THE HANDLES?
The handles are made of stainless steel and are riveted to the pans. They feel comfortable and secure in the hand and are designed to stay cool during cooking.
WHAT ARE THE LIDS LIKE?
The lids are made of cast aluminum and have stainless steel handles. They are solid and ‘weighty’, with an interlocking design which allows them to sit securely on the pans. A small vent on each lid allows extra steam to escape. And now the bonus and my personal ‘must-have’ feature – the lid of the Dutch oven also fits the Fry Pan – i.e. each pan in the set has a lid!
WE PUT IT TO THE TEST
I used Caraway cookware for a couple of weeks straight and I have to say I’m beyond impressed! These are solid, well-made pans that heat up quickly and clean up easily. Add to that the selection of pans that is included in this set – it really leaves nothing to be desired.
The Omelet & The Egg Test: I got my set on a Friday so decided to put the fry pan to test first thing Saturday morning with my weekend omelet. As per my usual practice with any nonstick pan, I lightly brushed it with olive oil, placed it on medium heat and added the egg mixture. The pan heated quickly and best of all, since the Dutch oven lid fits the fry pan (yes, I love my lids!), I was able to leave the omelet on low to cook through. When done, I was surprised and delighted to see the omelet literally slide right out of the pan!
The next day, I repeated the exercise with plain old fried eggs – again with my usual brush of oil in the pan. What can I say, the picture speaks a thousand words!
(At this point, I must ask you to please reserve any judgement on the cooking or the photography 😉)
10 month later update on non-stick performance: Now you might have been thinking ‘Ok, that was a brand new set, of course it will perform well and eggs will slide around in it. What happens after a few months?’.
Almost a year after reviewing this pan, we ran an experiment in an attempt to find a non-stick pan alternative. I’m happy to report that the Caraway fry pan was performing as well as ever and the eggs were still merrily sliding around the pan just like they did with a brand new pan. I’ll let the video below tell you the whole story. It is important to note that this video is a full 10 months after using the pan regularly:
Heat up: I used the 3 Qt saucepan to heat up water for boiling some rice. The water heated up quickly on medium heat and came back to a boil soon after adding the washed rice. This meant the pan was conducting heat efficiently thanks to the thick layer of aluminum.
It’s important to note that for everything I cooked, I tested the pans on low to medium heat, never high. Firstly, high heat cooking is not recommended or even necessary for most dishes. More importantly high heat can damage any non-stick coating, be it ceramic or Teflon so it is best to stay away from it. Lastly, anything will heat up quickly on high heat, but an efficient pan should only need medium heat to work well – and Caraway pans did just that.
Handles: In the heat up test, the long handle of the saucepan remained cool to the touch. I would recommend however, using a potholder for lifting the lid handle or for the shorter handles on the Dutch oven.
Simmer test: This is a test I like to do to check the efficiency of the pan after it has heated up. Will it retain the heat and keep the food simmering on the lowest setting? To test this, I made a creamy dish of butter chicken and as per the recipe, left the pot to simmer for 20 minutes after mixing the sauce with the chicken. I’m happy to report that the sauce gently bubbled away on the lowest setting on my stove, proving that the pan was conducting heat efficiently and evenly. This is an indication of the thickness and quality of the aluminum in the pan.
Cleaning: In all cases, the pans were effortless to clean. Nothing, and I mean nothing, stuck to them and after cooling, they just needed a quick wipe with a soapy soft sponge and warm water.
CAN YOU USE THESE IN THE OVEN?
These pans are oven safe up to 550 F. Just as a reference, most recipes don’t go beyond 425-450 F. So this means that you can use these pans for just about anything, including any dish that starts on the stove top and finishes in the oven.
WHAT ABOUT THE BROILER?
Yes, the cookware is broiler safe up to 550F
CAN I WASH THESE PANS IN THE DISHWASHER?
Technically yes but I’m going to stick to my usual advice and say: don’t. These pans are SO easy to clean, there’s no need to subject them to the harsh detergent and temperature of the dishwasher. So ditch the dishwasher and prolong the life of your cookware by hand washing it.
CAN IT BE USED WITH INDUCTION COOKTOPS?
Yes, the pans have a stainless steel base which makes them induction compatible.
WHAT ABOUT SHIPPING AND WARRANTY?
Caraway offers free shipping and free returns plus a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee!
None really, other than I would have loved the option to purchase a single pot or pan if I didn’t need a whole set. But I can also appreciate Caraway’s proposition – they’ve done the hard work of curating the perfect set, so you can focus on the cooking!
Update August 2020: Well what do you know, the company listened and now their cookware is available for individual sale in all five of their colors (Cream, Gray, Perracotta, Sage, & Navy).
With this à la carte collection, you can build your own set allows you build your own set with price points ranging from $95 (Fry Pan) to $135 (Sauté Pan) as well as mix and match shades to create the perfect duo or trio for a splash of color in your kitchen.
AND THE FINAL VERDICT..?
Caraway cookware gets a strong BUY NOW recommendation from The Cookware Advisor.
If you’re in the market for high quality nonstick cookware that is ptfe/teflon free, this is absolutely the best choice you could make.
WHERE CAN I BUY CARAWAY COOKWARE?
Caraway cookware follows the direct to consumer model which means its not available in stores or on sites like Amazon. You can buy them directly from their own website:
Caraway cookware ships free to anywhere in the contiguous US.
If you’re in Canada, UK or EU, check out the International Shipping option on their website.
And if you do buy them, please come back and leave a comment about your experience :)