“Green” Nonstick Cookware

fried egg

One of the great joys about having a blog is that your Inbox fills up daily with pitches for everything from chocolate shows in Pennsylvania (hello? I live in France…) to Superbowl Sunday and Forth of July article ideas (hello? I live in France…) There are quite a few products that I would laugh at if they weren’t so silly, and to be honest, my apartment is so overloaded with stuff that you couldn’t fit a stick of gum in here.

I have various pieces of cookware representing a cross-section of French and American manufacturers, as well as some copper pots and pans that I keep around for old time’s sake, although I rarely use them. (If I can’t run it through the dishwasher, there’s a lot less-incentive to grab something.) But I was recently offered a “green” skillet from a European company, Beka, made of a nonstick coating that is said to represent an advance in cookware, which is something I’m always interested in. Plus recently there seems to be more and more health concerns arising regarding traditional nonstick cookware, and the older I get, the more I want to enjoy the precious few days left I have on this earth.

frying fried rice fried rice

There are so many gadgets that come and go, but nonstick cookware has always been a source of contention. A lot of folks are concerned about health benefits and problems, and to be honest, as much as I like the cast iron skillet I lugged over from America, it sucks for fried rice and omelets and I hate having greasy pans lying around. And I will finally admit that I am always tempted to take a hot soapy sponge to it to clean it off because I’ve got a little OCD-thing (there, I said it) when it comes to having anything even slightly oily lurking in my kitchen.

bacon and dandlions

A bunch of folks on Twitter responded with “Don’t give up your old nonstick yet when I mentioned I was putting my green nonstick pan through its paces. “The finish on my pans stopped working after a week,” was the most common refrain.

Currently, in my batterie de cuisine I have two nonstick skillets. Or I should say “had”—the T-Fal one I recently tossed because the finish was going. Which presented an ecological problem – even though I was trading up for a “green” alternative: Do I throw it in the garbage (more waste) or give it to a thrift store (and possibly condone someone else to the hazards of a degrading nonstick finish?) The second one is from a highly respected cookware manufacturer that works well and the finish is staying put. But it retails for quite a bit more than this pan.

cooking bacon

So I’ve been using my green nonstick pan for a few weeks and I have to say, I’ve seen no degradation in quality of the finish and nothing sticks to it. And I mean, nothing. These pans are priced somewhat higher than other green nonstick pans on Amazon. (The cheapest ones are around $25.) But I’m happy with it and would certainly invest in a “green” nonstick skillet of some sort after using one to cook a few things.

bacon pasta dandelion pasta

I gave it a spin with a fried egg with just a teensy bit of butter, a batch of fried rice, sautéed wheat berries with tofu, and even bacon. In France, poitrine fumée (bacon) often requires the addition of extra oil since it doesn’t spew off the grand slick that American bacon does. And like Italians (and perhaps the French), I use oil and fat for flavor, not merely to keep things from sticking. But I don’t need to overdo it and will often toss pasta in bacon to give it good flavor, along with dandelion greens, garlic, and red chile flakes, adding oil .

fried dandelion and bacon

As a test, I heated bacon without any oil in the pan. As it cooked, any sticky bits were easily scraped up with a wooden spoon, although they would have browned up nicer if I’d added a few drips of oil. My bacon didn’t reach that heavily bronzed, crisp state that I was looking for, although American bacon likely would because of all the fat it tends to exude.

Then I added the rest of the ingredients, tossing them well to get everything good and hot, finishing it with a ladleful of the hot, starchy pasta water to give it some moisture. It came out just fine with no sticking. A few days later I made a quick version of fried rice as well as a skillet dinner of marinated tofu and had no sticking problems. Am not sure if I should be waiting for the other shoe to drop, but so far, so good.

melting butter

I also feel good because I don’t have to worry about tossing the pan when the finish wears down, like I did with the cheaper nonstick pans I’ve had in the past. So far, I’m liking it.

frying egg



Related Links

Is Cooking with nonstick pans bad for your health? (Consumer Reports)

How Not to Wreck a Nonstick Pan (New York Times)

Dangers of Cooking with Teflon (Culinaut)

Compound in Teflon a Likely Carcinogen (Washington Post)

Is GreenPan a Safe Alternative to Toxic Teflon? (Blogher)

Coated Pots and Pans Can Present Health Hazards (Seattle Times)



Disclosure: This is not a paid product promotion or sponsored post.


UPDATE: Almost one year after I wrote this post, I am still using the pan and the finish is holding up perfectly. I use it a couple of times a week, and after use, I hand wash and towel-dry it.

94 comments

  • Is it Beka brand? How did it perform in your dishwasher? I am so excited about the new “green” non-stick!

  • Interesting feedback. i had not heard about these Beka products, since it is an “old” brand it is probably quite reliable.
    The more famous (at least in Europe) Belgian brand (Greenpan) I am quite puzzled about comments I saw on the web. For some it is 300% perfect, you can use the thing for ages, for others it is pure rubbish, the finish and non-stick properties vanish after a couple of weeks…
    Either there is some batch to batch manufacturing variability…or some guys lie to fight a competitor!

  • RV Goddess: I’ve not run it through the dishwasher but the instructions say – “Although a dishwasher can be used…hand wash is recommended to prolong the benefits of the non-stick ceramic layer.” It’s very easy to clean so I haven’t put it in my machine.

    Didier: Yes, I was surprised that others noted their finish stopped working rapidly. Perhaps it varies by brand? But so far, I’ve used mine a few dozen times and haven’t had any issues as such.

  • It looks terrific, but I don’t see any crispy-caramelizing-browning action taking place. How does the pan affect caramelization?

  • hey david, the ‘Greenpan’ (im guessing this is the brand of ur nonstick) is pretty famous here in malaysia. everyone bought them when they advertised on tv n online through the asian food channel (AFC).. i guess this article will give it an extra boost over there in europe. touché

  • annie: You don’t get the fond, or the sticky bits that can be scraped up and used for sauce in nonstick pans, which is one of their limitations. I think if you use more fat or oil that I was using, you can brown meats and so forth, but I have All-Clad and other pans that I use for that kind of cooking.

  • Good to have an update on non-stick cookware. I must say that I have definitely given up on it for all the cons you mention and despite the good performance (so far!) of this pan. Synthetic polymers are most probably still incorporated to form a continuous coating. If so, they will inevitably break down with age and heat and shed into the food.

    It is a great pity that you can’t bear facing a well seasoned cast-iron pan. I have a small French cast-iron pan with 2 pouring lips that I bought in London in 1980 and it has served me well despite having also served in Australia then Holland before being repatriated to France where I now live. I also cleaned it over thoroughly during the first decade but now its surface is satiny, practically non-stick and certainly doesn’t smell, probably because it is used at least once a week.

    Nothing beats well seasoned cast-iron or steel in my book. In fact, as soon as affordable, my present non-stick wok will be replaced by a simple but high quality steel (fer blanc) traditional ‘country’ pan by De Buyer (www.debuyer.com). This will require even more careful seasoning than cast-iron but it will be worth it.

  • We have a Analon non stick pan, so far it is good and the finish hasn’t come off. However I find it annoying that food that doesn’t brown as much in the non stick, it just sort of stews a little before browning and also apparently you are not supposed to use it with high heat (oops).

    But frying eggs in a non stick pan, best thing ever! I remember the days of scraping a blackened egg off a blackened pan. And then the washing aftewards…

  • I think non-stick has its place in many kitchens considering it gets the job done and it is incredibly easy to clean assuming you get a good pan and use it properly (i.e. don’t heat the pan over 500 degrees, use abrasive soap, etc.)

    My only complaint is that I love fried eggs with the crispy egg whites with oozing egg yolks. Non-stick never does the egg whites justice, but I have made a compromise with the stainless steel. The only thing is that I have to clean the pan for hours to get it looking decent, and even then I hide it under a load of other pots and pans out of shame because it is not even close to being as clean as its brother and sister pans. So much for stainless.

    By the way, I have never seen such an orange egg yolk in my life. Is it a organic, farm raised egg? Is there something I’m missing out on?

  • JenniferB: When I lived in the states, I had a great cast iron skillet and a few years ago I brought one over here from America. Perhaps it’s also the heft of it; cooking in restaurants so many years, I’m used to picking up pans by the handle and giving everything a shake and the cast iron is rather difficult to do that with.

    Elaine: All the eggs in France have yolks that are that color. I think it’s because of what they feed them and am always dismayed when I crack open an egg back in the states and find the yolk is pallid and yellow. I buy cage-free or free-range eggs (which is what this is) whenever I can even though they’re a little more expensive – I just figure it’s a small price to pay.

  • I bought a set of Greenpans a couple of years ago and for the first few months i was really pleased by the nonstick surface. However after about 4-5 months of use they started to rapidly lose their nonstick qualities. I ended up having to throw the frying pan away as any thing fried would stick so fast it would need a day of soaking to get it clean. The pans are still fine for sauces and simmering but anything fried forget it.

  • I love the Swiss Diamond non-stick pans. There is no coating to damage and you can put them in the oven. The trick is diamond crystals imbedded in the pan, it makes a very hard, non stick surface. The catch, is of course, the price but well worth the investment. After all, how many $20 Teflon pans have you had to throw out in your lifetime?

  • Hi David, nice article about these pans. I have one and have been using it for a month now and it is still as perfect as when I started using it. I really like it. I have found however that I do get the ‘fond’ that can be scraped up for sauces. I also fried bacon in it yesterday (I’m in france and it wasn’t poitrine but thinner slices of ‘bacon’ but which look like danish/british bacon, I’m not sure what ‘american bacon’ looks like so I’m not completely sure if this is the same thing) and I did get the brown colour and sticky good bits :) I just didn’t use any oil or fat and put the bacon in the pan when it was hot but not really hot, giving it time for fat to come out, fry the bacon and brown on the bottom of the pan.
    I love it and would definitely recommend it! (Again I’m not sure if the brands make a difference but ours is the GreenPan mentioned above)

  • David, interesting article. Curious to hear the name of the brand…

    I added the brand to the beginning of the post. I thought I had mentioned it but since a few of you asked, I put it up in there. -dl

  • Anyone know if these pans are available in the US? My #1 non-stick pan is on it’s way out….

    And Elaine – if you can locate a farmer near you who sells eggs, you should definitely go for it…. once you eat eggs from pasture raised chickens, you will never look at a supermarket egg the same way!

  • Don’t worry about the non-stick coating coming off into your food. It sounds unappetzing but it is harmlesss to you. It is made of Teflon. There is a layer of Teflon in the viewing windows of some level “A” Hazmat suits. The teflon is there because it doesn’t react with anything except under extreme conditions (extremely high heat and/or pressure, neither of which exist in your body) which keeps the wearer of said suit safe. So the Teflon goes through your system unscathed.

  • As usual interesting read… I was wondering if the green pans were a marketing ploy. When my pans wear out I will look at them with less prejudice. Your stir-fry looks wonderful what’s in it? Rice, lardon, sliced snow peas… what did you season it with?
    PS. Also love the photography

  • re: soap and cast iron, I know it’s heresy, but I’ve used soap and water on my cast iron for well over 15 years now, with no rust and no deterioration in the finish. After I rinse the pan, I dry it over a high flame, then swab it with a paper towel with a little dab of vegetable oil on it if it looks dry.

    Will definitely check out this non stick–I like to have non stick for frying eggs and heating leftovers (no microwave) but no matter how careful I am my non stick pans always end up with scratches in the surface.

  • This looks promising. Do you need to use special (i.e. non-metal) utensils with this pan, as you would for Teflon?

  • you know i am getting leary of the traditional nonstick pans as i keep hearing about the fact that when they get older and more worn they do release those something-something chemicals into your food and into your blood. studies have shown that the chemicals don’t know how to leave your body because your body doesn’t know what to do with them/or how to get rid of them. which of course might cause certain illnesses and/or cancer.
    soooo with all that said i do want to invest in a set of green nonstick at some point.

  • I love my eco-pan!!! Try making crepes in it! You don’t need any oil at all and they turn out wonderfully! I think it’s a magic pan. My non-eco-friendly non-stick skillet recently died and I’m on the lookout for a replacement eco-pan. Cast iron skillets have their place – but for ease of cooking and clean up the eco-pan wins hands-down!

  • I’m a big fan of of food-grade silicone – it’s impossible to get anything to stick to it. If some genius could engineer silicone with a higher melting point and figure out a way to bond it to a metal pan, that would be the ultimate non-stick product. We live in hope.

  • In Canada, Paderno makes a really similar pan (the non-stick coating looks just the same, in fact). The coating is ceramic, thus making it more green, and I’ve had one since Christmas and it’s been pretty great!

  • That’s sounds interesting. I’ve been hesitant to use my non-stick after I read that bird owners should not have the cages in the kitchen as the fumes kill birds. That was too close to the canary in a coal mine. Of course, I foolishly mix silica and other chemicals in my glaze recipes so why am I concerned over fumes in my kitchen?

  • I do like on non-stick in the kitchen – so this will fun to research. I’ve been putting our old ones in the camping pile – for other members of the family. Who – camp. Uh oh. Maybe not.

  • Thanks for this post. I threw away all of our non-stick pans when we had a baby and then later bought two that I baby to keep the finish from scratching off or emitting toxins (at least that’s what I tell myself). I’ll definitely look for Beka.

  • I went to their website and they don’t disclose what the pans are coated with and I’ve got to say, I’m just not buying it. Who knows what they release at high heats? Cast iron and seasoned steel for me.

  • I bought not too long ago from Dehillerin, the Aubecq – A900024 – Ecopro – Professional Stove Ceramic pans in various sizes and they are just super and in fact they have replaced all my frying pans in my repertoire which include De Buyer and the lovely copper pans bought from Dehillerin in 1978 (who will go to the grave with me). I highly and thoroughly recommend them – they do what the label says.

    David, may I say thank you to your wonderful website and nearly daily update that you provide to all of us. Thank you for the superb books on cooking, ice cream and most of all chocolate. I have two sets; one for home in England and one for the holiday home in Spain. Many years ago when I started looking at food in a more serious way, I happened upon James Beard’s “Theory and Practice of Good Cooking” and Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” James and Julia steered me through many recipes and now, for me, you have been thrust into their harnesses. I have used many of your recipes to entertain and have received loads of praise, of which I now pass to you. Thank you! One day I hope to be able to be counted in your lovely food tours of Paris, but in the meantime, your stupendous escapades through Europe bring back many memories of when I lived on the continent (Germany) and I could wander off into strange new lands within hours of my front door. S.W.A.K. Judith Basham

  • Thanks for the good info. I’ve given up non-stick and have been missing them mostly for making eggs. I didn’t even know there were “green” non-stick pans.

    I have the same tape playing in my head as you about how throwing away my old pans creates more waste and not wanting to give them to a thrift store because it’s going to harm someone else, etc. My mind could use a day off. It’s exhausted!

  • PS: I believe, and do correct me if I am wrong, the ceramic pans at high heat do not give off fumes unlike their older non-stick telfon contemporaries who do.

  • to mimi–you have to click on the “where to buy link” and it will give you Amazon and a few others.

    I love those greenpans, I will have to buy one at a time..pricey,but worth it! when will items like this,as well as food not be so expensive? And all the crappy stuff is so cheap! Crazy…..Love your blog!

  • thanks david. i’ve been looking at “green” pans off and on for about six months. you’ve reignited me. appreciate the professional user opinion.

  • What’s green about it?

  • I also bought a set of Greenpans (it says Greenpan – Belgium on the bottom) about a year ago and as Simon says, at first they worked fine but after 3-4 months the non-stick properties completely disappeared, the coating looked the same but it started to peel off on the edges. I do not put the pan in the dishwasher and have never overheated it. Last week I trashed the pans and bought traditional non-stick pans from Le Creuset.

  • Curious to know just how “green” they really are. I’ve been seeing a lot of articles about, for example, manufacturers removing BPA from their plastics but what they are replacing it with is just as dangerous, though less tested. I wonder if it will be the same with these pans. We only use cast iron in our house and have for years. I guess we don’t notice the extra care they need because we have nothing to compare it to anymore.

  • I bought some marble cookware (Edenpure) about two years ago. I loved it and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING stuck to the surface of the frying pan.

    Now, the surface has deteriorated. We still use it but things stick. It is used heavily (3 times per day?)

    I’ve tried to contact the manufacturer to no avail

    Anyone else used this stuff?

  • I have one of these pans, it works very well. I love to make huevos rancheros in this pan. I love to use a cast iron pan too, but I think if you are going to cook a lot of eggs in a pan. I also do not put the pan in my dishwasher. I am afraid the pan wouldn’t last as long if it was in the dishwasher.
    Lots of great information!

  • I notice the metal handle – is this pan oven safe? If so, that’s a huge added bonus. That’s what I loved about my Anolon nonstick pan… however, I didn’t love that it deteriorated after less than a year’s use. Not what you want from a pan that costs more than the year’s worth of eggs I planned to fry in it!

  • I had some of the Green Pans that Todd English puts his name on. They worked very well for several months and then boom…even cooking scrambled eggs became a mess, even using a normal amount of butter.Washing the pan was almost impossible. Very disappointing because I wanted to love them…but something that does not last for a long time is a big waste of money in my book.

  • I have always, always just washed and dried my cast iron pans. They are just as nonstick (after many years of use, to be sure) as people say they become without washing.

    I’ve had lots of people in my kitchen admonish me about this—to their surprise the pans aren’t ruined or rusty or whatever is supposed to happen. And…I don’t have that icky ‘campfire’ crust on the outside of them that you so often see. I got one from my mother (who did the same thing, BTW—washed, dried, stuck on the stove for a second to get warm and really dry) and I bought the others—takes a few uses to season them, but it has always seemed a better idea than ingesting chemicals.

  • Monica: I remember reading a while back, reviews of nonstick pans in some food magazine and their conclusion was to buy the cheapest ones, since the finish was going to deteriorate and you’d just have to toss it. It’s kind of unfortunate advice since cast iron and my All-Clad pans are pretty indestructible. I haven’t done a major pricing check, but some of these “green” pans start at around $22 which I think is fairly comparable to regular Teflon and other nonstick cookware.

    Judith: Thanks! I have a bunch of copper pans and while I like them, I find I don’t use them as often as others. (In some, the lining is deteriorating, for example.) But I like having them around for sentimental reasons : )

    mike and vanillasugarblog: I’m always skeptical about these kinds of things, but one day I was using a traditional nonstick skillet and something about it felt not quite right. I guess everyone needs to decide what their preference is and like certain diets, it’s good there are several options and solutions for people to choose from.

    katie k: I didn’t do a lot of research into how these are made, but aren’t they ceramic?

  • Oh, man, I miss those European eggs. Those dark yellow yolks, the flavor… nothing in the states comes close, and I’ve tried the best–small-farm, organic, free-range, yada yada–in five states. I’ve wondered if it’s the terroir of the western European countries.

  • To anyone who says that “green” ceramic coated pans stop working… Read the instructions and follow them. They need to be seasoned, like cast iron, when you receive them and after every cycle through the dishwasher. I avoid the dishwasher, you really don’t need it with these, and have not had to re-season them at all. FYI, to season, heat the pans on med heat for a minute, and wipe on a light coating of veg. oil. That is all.

  • I have one non-stick fry pan – a 10-inch All-Clad, and I only use it for eggs, which are cooked at a low temp. The first one of these purchased 20 years ago started to peel from the edges, so I sent it back to All Clad asking them to honor their life time warranty, and they immediately sent a replacement with their upgraded excaliber finish. Yes, it steams food rather than brown it, but that’s what I want in my eggs – delicacy. Everything else is either All-Clad stainless or cast iron. I cannot relinquish my one hundred year old real Dutch Oven or one serious iron fry pan. It’d would be nice if one pan did everything, but it just isn’t the case. The one copper pan I previously used only for eggs is now memorabilia, too. There is nothing prettier :-).

  • You are a mind-reader. I’ve been wanting to switch out my pans for green non-stick ones. I’ve slowly switched over to a mostly cast-iron and enamaled cast-iron cookware, but try as I might, I always found myself needing a nonstick pan. So I’ve been searching for a non-cancer inducing one. Thanks so much for the link to a product you’ve tried and love! :)

  • So I read your eval intently- I have a small set of Calphalon from over 20 years ago that are just really thick and awesome. I have additional pieces of All Clad that I just love, especially my 6qt saute pan- I think I use it every night. Just threw out a 5 qt non-stick that my hubby had bought a few years ago that was breaking down. -So grateful! as I had been taking the easy way out with the non-stick coating, but really I don’t know why as I have never had a problem cleaning up my traditional pots and pans.If you are not used to great cookware, you just can’t imagine what you’re missing. After going through 2 sets of cheap supermarket sets in 15 months, I invested in good ones and it was the best decision (in addition to the purely financial benefit of lifetime cookware!).

    I found an “outlet” store that sold seconds (cosmetic) All Clad and was able to buy 3 new pots for the same as one new one full retail. It was getting a saucier as a bonus- LOVE them.

    I did find a new little omelette pan by Swiss Diamond for our eggs. I am still not quite sure what the nonstick surface is in addition to the “diamond” part, but in just a few months, so far so good. The claims are for long term durability, so we will have to see.

  • I love the Greenpan. I’ve had them for at least a year and they’re just like new. But you have to treat them properly. Most people know not to put them in the dishwasher. Also, you shouldn’t even use those plastic sponges on them. It’s not necessary. Just a dishcloth. Nothing sticks to them. The plastic insert that comes in their packaging can be used to protect them should you set another pan on top. They will brown food, but you wont get a fond. You have to use another pan for that. But what a blessing to know that scrambled eggs or fish will not leave a trace.
    sweetpaprika.wordpress.com

  • All very interesting, thanks. Also, the real reason I’m commenting is this: could that yolk be any higher? Gorgeous – the perfect egg.

  • I love your blog and I hope this doesn’t violate number 10 on your comment policy, but I just wanted to mention that when you are referencing a plural noun, you should use “there are” instead of the contraction “there’s.” For example:

    “There’s so many gadgets” should be “There are so many gadgets” because gadgets is plural.

    “There’s quite a few products” should be “There are quite a few products” because products is plural.

    That’s all.

    No violations! : ) Thanks for the kind corrections ~ dl

  • It’s interesting that David and most of the commenters have the same kind of mix of pans that we do. A cast iron skillet (that’s perfect for fritattas, hash, and cornbread), one Cuisinart stainless steel pan for things that we want to brown, a risotto pan we bought in Italy (I think my wife would sooner part with me than that pan), and two Calphalon teflon-coated pans for everything else. And I love to cook with all of them; they all have their merits. We store all of the pans stacked in a drawer with hot pads in between each to keep from scratching the teflon coatings and we never put the teflon pans in the dishwasher. In truth, we would never need to.

    David, yours is the best food blog I’ve seen. You combine a real sensitivity to food with a down to earth practicality. I stumbled onto your blog a couple of months ago searching for recipes for preserved lemons and it’s now on my bookmark toolbar. I check it every time I go online. That bacon and dandelion greens saute looks really good. I saw dandelion greens at my local vegetable market. Maybe I should go back and buy some.

  • Interesting article, thanks David.
    I’ve not heard of this brand here, but the debate about traditional non-stick is quite limited here in Australia.
    I recently went into the cookware section of one of our main department stores and asked some questions about their non-stick stock and was met with blank stares. The staff appeared to be completely clueless about any of the issues or, indeed, any of the non-stick finish options which they were selling.
    No surprises there, I suppose. Customer service in this country is almost unheard of these days.

  • David, interesting article that made a bunch of us think! The catch here for me is, “nonstick coating” and so I’m a no-go as well. We don’t own any non-stick anything anymore, and love our steel and cast iron pans. I’m interested in looking into glass that can withstand high heat stovetop cooking… but haven’t checked into it yet. With so much negative research on teflon, and the ways it makes people sick and can kill small pet birds… hard to imagine that there’s a safe (green) non-stick “coating”. I’ll stick to buttering my pans well or a good gob of coconut oil for eggs… I’ve had great results with those. Full disclosure of ingredients is the least any company calling out “green” should use.

  • @ Phylliss Kirigin: It’s sad that people don’t bother to read directions anymore. I can still remember when people used to cook with Teflon pans on high heat, thinking that metal utensils were the only reason the coating flaked off over time.

  • I have a Cuisinart “Green Gourmet” non-stick set of pans that I like.You can also “season” them in the oven by rubbing a layer of oil on the pan and place in oven for one hour at 300 degrees when it looses the non-stick quality. I’ve done it and it works like a charm. The manufacture actually recommends doing this occasionally anyways! I read and follow the manufacture instructions for care (no dishwashing and don’t set the heat temps higher than medium). I’ve been very happy with the set.
    I read on one website that Cuisinart came out with a cheaper version of their Green Gourmet…so I can’t speak for the new version if that is true.

  • This is what the America’s Test Kitchen says about ceramic pans:

    Ceramic coatings are made by slowly baking a mixture of ceramic powder and water or solvent onto a base of stainless steel or aluminum. Because ceramics are extremely brittle, expanding and contracting at a different rate than the metal base they are bonded to, we expected that such coatings might prove less durable. Testing confirmed our suspicions; when we were done, the surface of one ceramic pan was even covered with what looked like burst bubbles.

  • I’ve been using the Todd English GreenPan from HSN for over a year and it’s just as good as the day I got it, which is very good. Nothing sticks to it. The instructions say to season the pan once before the first use, which took all of five minutes. I do hand wash that pan since it’s so easy, but you can throw it in the dishwasher too.

  • Laina, Phyllis, Van + Velops: Yes, it’s true. I never realized you were supposed to ‘season’ nonstick skillets and cookware until I read the instructions that came with this pan. (The NYT article I linked to also says the same thing.) I didn’t know that if that improved the longevity or performance, but I did it, so perhaps that’s why my pan is still in perfect shape.

    Katie: Yes-The Cook’s Illustrated test was interesting, although was surprised that a manufacturer would say that metal tools were okay to use: as they found out, they’re weren’t.

    They did say only one had the “burnt bubbles” on the surface but I read the results (which are behind a pay wall) and they rated the “12” Earth Pan” ($39 retail, although it looks cheaper on Amazon) as “recommended with reservations”, and there were some very pricey ones that fared a bit better.

    One very good point they brought up was that if the metal the surface is attached to is flimsy, it will warp and bend a bit when heated, which will affect the finish. So perhaps getting one that is more rugged and well-made is the way to go. Mine so far, has been working just fine without any issues – but it’ll be interested to see in the future if my pan stopped performing. I’ll update the post if it does.

    Amanda: That’s interesting because some friends who are Australian just moved back from France and said they’d forgotten what customer service was. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the well-known chef’s – like Curtis Stone or Bill Granger – came out with a branded pan, like their American counterparts.

    Tim: Thanks! Glad you like the site : )

  • David….why do think you have to leave your cast iron skillet coated with grease? I don’t know why people think that is necessary. Once it is adequately seasoned, you can quickly wash (scour even) a cast iron pan. The trick: you dry it over a flame on your cooktop, so that it is very hot and completely dry. If need be you coat it with a little oil from time to time. If you do this it will become almost “non-stick”. I’m not kidding!! Anyway, this other cookware sounds great. If you can sauté gésiers in this pan and they don’t stick, then I’ll buy one.

  • Now I’m getting all philosophical – please, don’t anyone take any of this rant personally.
    Does the world really need non-stick pans (not to mention all that other unnecessary STUFF)? Surely it is just another product that we are convinced, either by consumer conditioning and increasingly clever marketing, or by the feeling that there is no time anymore to read instructions, maintain utensils and do the daily mundane things mindfully, that life is too short to ‘waste’ on non-work and/or non-family related activities. In fact such tasks can be experienced as calming and meditative.

    Let’s be honest, what are the real benefits of non-stick cookware? Reading through this discussion, it seems that the only one is ‘easy to clean’. Hardly earth shattering. In my humble opinion; this can never outweigh the disadvantages of which, compared with the traditional steel or cast-iron, the worst are slow poisoning, poor durability and rapid formation of chemical waste/landfill rubbish. OK, perhaps this ‘green’ one will eventually turn out OK with most if not all of these concerns but I doubt that it is intended to be a lifelong kitchen companion.
    Cleaning and caring for utensils requires time, skill and knowledge which seems to be dying out fast. Not least of all is knowing how to cook properly (or taking the time to watch over) to avoid creating difficult cleaning problems in the first place altho’ of course accidents can always happen – the current epidemic of ineffective, stressful multi-tasking in the family home also has much fall-out.
    Weight is another issue and I certainly couldn’t cope with a large cast-iron pan but that’s when I’ll turn to my large but lighter steel pan. I use wooden spatulas instead of flipping in any case. One strives on!

  • Hi Jennifer: I do agree that we don’t need a gazillion pots and pans in our kitchens. I have All-Clad pans that I use all the time and will last me a lifetime. However I do like to have a nonstick pan for things like fried rice and eggs, or crêpes, and I’ve been looking for one that I didn’t have to toss away every time the finish started coming off and this seemed like a better alternative to the traditional ones.

    Kathy: I don’t know why I haven’t taken to my cast-iron skillet here like I did back in the states. I do use it for certain things, though. To clean it, I use salt, although probably to get it really well-seasoned once and for all, I should deep-fry something in it. Les frites?

  • David, you slay me: “spew off the grand slick”…don’t think I can ever cook bacon again without hearing your perfecly descriptive line in my head!

    To JenniferB: “AMEN”!

    I received a 10″ McClary cast iron skillet last year (from the dump, would you believe?!) In fine condition…but heavy. Lifting it with one hand caused a flare-up of a scaphoid fracture! Always use two hands when lifting!

  • I have a pan exactly like the one you present in your post, I have to say that it’s the best pan I ever had, nothing sticks to it, and no oil required, which is great!!! Beautiful post David, love your work!

  • I cook bacon in the oven on a sheet of parchment paper laid in a very old and charred metal sheet pan. The bacon does not touch the pan. When I am done I can put the left-over bacon grease and paper into the compost – or keep some if I have a use for it. I have done pancetta this way as well. 350º does it – with or without convection depending on how fast I want the finished product.

  • I use All-Clad for most general use, but discovered a green, non-stick line about 18 months ago. I’m surprised no one’s mentioned the name in these extensive comments – ScanPan (from Denmark). I don’t put any of my pans in the dishwasher; that being said, after a year and a half my ScanPans still look and perform like new. Oven-safe to 500 degrees.
    The icing on the cake for me with these pans are the handles! Does anyone else find All-Clad handles difficult to leverage? IMO, the ScanPan ones are far better designed.

  • Living in a teeny NYC apartment (which I love), I understand about not being able to fit in a stick of gum.

    I have every kind of cookware you can imagine. And my first copper is tin-lined because I am so old, they didn’t even have the technology to bond copper to stainless when I got my first piece, a beautiful fait tout!

    But over time, I have come to love my stainless steel All Clad because it’s easy to clean, goes in the dishwasher, cooks as well as my Le Creuset, is available in so many shapes and sizes, and, maybe most important, is so light.

    The only thing I still use a non-stick pan for is when I make crespelle for my grandmother’s manicotti. I do have a DeBuyer crepe pan, which supposedly works well if you do the “potato peel” seasoning shown on YouTue (are you kidding?), but I’m going to look around for one of these Beka pans.

  • Frites are a good idea! I use mine to fry churros. I brought my set of 3 cast iron skillets from the US with me. The French don’t seem to cotton to them, but for me it’s a “grandmother” thing (my grandma cooked all kinds of yummy stuff in hers). However, it is true that there are many other things that I only use my Calphalon pans for.

    Love your website David, and also your comments about life in France, that I can really identify with.

  • Hi David – I think there is definitely a place in the kitchen for non-stick. I use ScanPan from a Danish company and continue to be impressed with it.
    LL

  • I bought a ceramic “greenpan” nearly a year ago and generally have been happy with it, especially for eggs and soft tacos, its main use. It does have a small nick in the finish now, perhaps from nesting with other pans, but that’s just the reality of my world. I’m not about to put liners between pans! I’m closing my eyes and assuming, hopefully, that there is no danger from that nick. I’ve tossed no shortage of old non-stick pans that worried me. I also appreciate the lightness of the pan compared to my wonderful but oh so heavy Le Creuset pan. (Ah, but when it’s time for bacon, it’s that or the oven.) I do think that following the instructions on not using nonstick ceramic over high heat is critical to the life of these pans.

    I do have a little All-Clad secret. When I bought my first All-Clad pan, the literature did not say to season it and the website also said seasoning was not necessary. Nevertheless, after a little internet research, I chose to season it. It’s not a true non-stick now by any stretch, but it’s pretty impressive, and it does give you that browning that you want with much less clean up. I should probably re-season them eventually. That said, for eggs, crepes and a few other things, nothing beats a true nonstick pan.

    David, thanks for yet another thoughtful column and for continuing to encourage readers to buy fresh local pastured eggs — they are a different experience. Cook ‘em low and slow and you’ll know!

  • I have a set of “green pans” that I received as a gift last fall and so far, so good. I’ve found they clean much easier than the old teflon pans. They heat well and go great into the oven. I don’t know how long they’ll hold up, but they’ve been enjoyable so far.

  • I couldn’t read all comments but I very much agree that we must be careful in choosing the right product. Without naming names, I too use various types of pans for different types of cooking. One thing that doesn’t need to bother me now that I live in France is that the minute, I did put my last and still fairly well coated ‘plastic’ pan outside for the monthly ‘gros déchêts’ (large household refuse) to be collected the next morning, the pan as well as a pair of garden shears was already ‘collected’ by another person…. I hope I haven’t inadvertedly killed some poor guy by putting that pan on the street!
    Thank you for such great and helpful articles! They are well worth reading and are less fattening than your chocoalte suggestions…:)

  • We have two Greenpans at (one frying pan, one skillet) and during the first two years they worked tremendously well. The non-stick quality shines through as well as the ease of cleaning it. We take very very good care of our kitchenware in general. Now we are noticing the gradual diminishing effects of our Greenpans. But I guess nothing lasts forever anyway.

  • Nice post, I haven’t heard of non-stick green pans until now. I have the same concerns as you and will definitely look into buying one of these. I feel the same way about my cast iron pan. It’s found its home on the stove top because I don’t want the oil touching the other pans. haha

  • Hi David,
    I love reading your blog.
    In about 2 weeks, my partner and I will be in Paris for a few days visiting our cousins before we venture down to Provence. Where in Paris can I buy one of the Beka skillets? If I have time I’d like to get one of them.
    Thanks,
    Frank

    I believe their website lists “points of sale” where they can be obtained. Have a good trip! -dl

  • Well, as a matter of fact, I just happened to use one of these pans at a friends dinner-party last Thursday night. Worked fine for me, I liked the smoothness. My friend (owner of the pan) thinks it sucks, oh well… Can’t please everyone.

    David, I have to agree with you on the cast-iron. Much too heavy for saute’
    Maybe better suited for the oven. Broiling fish or baking corn bread ;)

    Now, I’m hungry!

  • Regarding seasoning cast iron, Cook’s Illustrated Jan 2011 issue includes a note about seasoning cast iron with flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil contains six times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids as vegetable oil, which “combine to form a strong, solid matrix that polymerizes to the pan’s surface” that “even run through our commercial dishwasher with a squirt of degreaser left them totally unscathed.”

  • As a cooking mama… the dishwasher is my partner! Are these dishwasher safe? Most no-stick is not. Do they work on induction? I guess I should just check out there site!

  • “The older I get, the more I want to enjoy the precious few days left I have on this earth.” So true. Thanks for your blog. (Oh, and the dandelion & bacon looks divine.)

  • David: What makes the pans “green”? Is it the way that they’re made, the coating, or both? Just curious. Also curious to find out what you did with the old T-Fal pan, since my T-Fal one is on its way out, too. Thanks for your blog; I really enjoy it!

  • I always recommend cast iron over nonstick, whether “green” or not.

  • I don’t use non-stick pans because I can’t have anything in my kitchen I have to be careful with! I use a heavy-duty stainless steel pan for everything. When I want to cook eggs, I just spend a few minutes making it non-stick with a quick “seasoning” of the pan.

    Put a small amount of oil in the pan, then wipe it out with a paper towel. Put the gas on high until the residual oil starts to smoke. Take it off the heat and let it cool for a minute or two, and your pan is non-stick!

    Then I can use my metal spatula, wash it with soap and water, and even use steel wool if I want.

  • I also have a hard time just wiping down my cast iron pan and leaving it oily. Attempts at sanitizing it without actually using soap include broiling it on high temp (flooding my apartment with smoke) and scrubbing with a solution of hot oil and salt (a la cooks illustrated). I never feel quite satisfied. Especially after cooking something with a strong taste that might transfer to the next egg I fry.

    As a petite woman, I also find it hard to lift for very long even though I use a smaller size Lodge pan. I tried one of Martha Stewart’s Green Pans a while back and it died pretty quickly, but perhaps I’ll try this brand if I can find one. Thanks for sharing!

  • This is music to my ears…i have really been concerned about continuing to use my “non green” non stick pans…[which I happen to love and intended to keep whether it’s going to kill me or not….] ….That said, I am off to the ” Amazon” to go in search of “green” non stick pans…thanks for the info….

  • im so glad you wrote on this topic – i am always flip flopping back and forth on the nonstick issue and wondered if the ‘green’ type were at all effective. seems like i should give one a shot :)

    also i had to comment on that gorgeous EGG! clearly farm fresh…that orange yolk makes my knees go weak!

  • Hi David,
    I loved the article, as always :)
    I use Neoflam pans and pots that I brought from overseas (unfortunately they are unavailable in the US for the most part, but I have spotted them in Auchan in Nice, France, though…) and I absolutely love them! I bought all my family at least one sample and they all love it. Cleaning is a breeze – both inside and out, it’s ceramic and the coating is so high in quality that you can actually see the liquids run smoothly on the surface, along with all the other benefits that you have mentioned. It is so much better than other brands that I have tried (and not more expensive!) that it’s beyond me why no major US retailer hasn’t taken them on as yet..
    Anyhow, thanks for the posts, I’m still drooling over the France/Switzerland trip notes!
    Judy

  • Hi David
    It is great to learn about yet another wonder/green nonstick pan on the market. From my experience all nonstick cookwares are nonstick to begin with but how long this property lasts is another question. (I think adhering to the care instructions is very important) It would be most interesting if you could give an update after 6 months and see if it is still “nonstick”.

    Your energy in keeping this blog so interesting is quite amazing!!!!

    JTLai

  • David, I bought the Beka based on your review.

    1. It is an amazing non-stick surface, and scrambled eggs cooked on them better than any other surface I’ve ever used.

    2. Unfortunately, it took 30 minutes to cook those scrambled eggs on my induction cooktop. So, even though it says it works on induction, take it with a grain of salt…or two.

  • JTLai: I’ve had this pan for a few months already and although I don’t use it daily, it’s lasted fine so far. But I will update if things change in the near future.

    vonmoishe: Am glad you like the pan. That’s a long time to scramble some eggs…but chefs say that low-and-slow and the way to go with scrambling eggs, so perhaps you stumbled upon something by accident. Hope they were good : )

  • I have a greenpan. the coating is still fine, 2 years down the line, but I rarely find myself reaching for it – I find food stays pale – and then burns. No browning. I really prefer my Jamie T-fal pan of the same size, which is both nonstick and allows some browning.

    Interestingly, the one thing I do use the greenpan for is caramelising a little bit of sugar. because it’s paler than my other black frying pans, it’s easy to monitor the colour changes.

  • Well, low and slow are usually good, but I had my burner cranked up to high, and my 18-month old wasn’t too happy that the eggs were taking so long. If I used my Le Creuset at that power level, the eggs would have been done in 4 seconds. I’m going to return the pan because a pan that only gets moderately hot when an incredibly efficient heating surface is at high is not worth it. However, I’m glad I tried it out, thanks to you, and will look forward to finding the same surface on a pan better suited to induction cooking. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading!

  • What about the evergreen pans that are on sale at the BHV? Anyone ever try those?

  • I need to replace some pots and pans and I fear that in the time it is going to take me to do the research necessary to find the one that is perfect for me, I will have died from the toxins that are released from my current nonstick pans that are flaking their coating into my food.

  • I bought one of these and loved it, even after people commenting that theirs started sticking after a few uses. I thought they were crazy. Then, the end. It was about 6 months later and bacon was sticking to this thing like crazy. I don’t know why or how but now it’s the worst pan ever.