Green Pans: The Pros And The Cons

Best Better Good
Zwilling JA Henckels Spirit Thermolon Fry Pan

  • Environmentally-friendly nonstick ceramic surface
  • Heatproof up to 850 degrees
  • PTFE- and PFOA-free
  • Stainless-steel exterior
  • Lifetime manufacturer warranty
  • BEST VALUE

 

Cuisinart Green Gourmet 10″ Open Skillet

  • Cuisinart Ceramica™ nonstick technology
  • PTFE / PFOA / free
  • Hard anodized pan construction providessuperior heat conductivity
  • Oven safe
  • Not compatible with induction cooktops

 

Cuisinart Green Gourmet 
8″ Nonstick Pan

  • Tri-ply stainless
  • PTFE/PFOA-Free nonstick surface
  • Compatible with induction cooktops
  • A good starter pan, low price

 

 

So what exactly is a “green pan”? A green pan is a piece of cookware (it could be a skillet, a pot, a griddle etc) manufactured with new non-Teflon coatings that are replacing the not so healthy nonstick surfaces of the last 20 years. These materials are considered safer than the more traditional petroleum based nonstick surfaces (aka PTFE / PFOA )

The new nonstick surface has been around for a few years and much has changed since I wrote the original article reviewing green pans.

In order to keep things simple, I will start with the pros, of cooking on a green pan:

Pros

Green pans provide a healthy cooking surface, and will not transfer petroleum base particles to the food  (have you ever seen a flaky Teflon pan? Scary isn’t it)
They are environmentally manufactured so as to not leave a big footprint on the environment (the other nonstick surfaces are made out of chemicals that are do not break down easily)
All ceramic or silicon coated cookware is safe for humans and animals alike. Most ceramic coatings will not harm birds.    Also, ceramic coatings do not contain toxic substances.

Cons

There are opinions galore as to whether these pans are good and truly nonstick. The funny thing about it is that there seems to be no “in-betweens”. People either love them or hate them and in my opinion there are many factors to take into consideration. Just scroll down and read my readers’ comments.

Quality matters. Not all ceramic cooking surfaces are created equal. The problem with these new surfaces is that they seem to wear out after several uses. At least that seems to be the problem with some people.
In reality,  the only true “con” that I have found is that the surfaces seem to lose the ability to release the food easily.

So if you want to get a green pan (and please pay close attention) you need to be mindful of the following:

- Do not use excessive heat. A ceramic coated pan should be heated to medium heat, unless it is built to withstand a lot of heat such as the Zwilling-JA-Henckels-Spirit -Thermolon-Fry-Pan.

- Always hand wash it. It is not difficult to wash a nonstick pan by hand. The dishwasher detergent eventually wears out the slick surface. Play it safe and wash your pan by hand.

- Buy good quality cookware. Choose tri-ply construction with a thick aluminum interior that will conduct heat evenly and will retain it for continued cooking.

With these few tips in mind, you should be able to satisfy both your culinary needs and your health concerns. Buy a good quality green pan and start cooking!

To your health,

 

Alice

 

———————————————-

Further reading:
Since the new trend toward more green products, even cookware manufacturers are trying to come up with a solution that is environmentally friendly. This new technology’s goal is to build nonstick cookware without using the chemical PFOA in the manufacturing process. PFOA  has been used as a catalyst in the production of PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene), which is the basic material all nonstick cookware surfaces.  The problem is that although PFOA does not seem to transfer to the food, it is a chemical that is hard to break down in the environment.

Traditional nonstick pans are made of polytetraflouroethylene or PTFE aka Teflon. The problem with PTFE, is when the cookware reaches temperatures of 500 F or more, this otherwise stable and non-toxic chemical will begin to deteriorate. When a nonstick pan has been scratched or overheated , it is very possible that some of the coating ends up in the food we eat. In addition, some of the fumes released by even a  new nonstick pan can be lethal to household birds.

The new green pans, are supposed to eliminate these hazards. They use materials such as ceramic and silicone to provide a smooth slick surface. The problem is that the nonstick does not  work as well as good old Teflon.

Should you get yourself a green pan?

Think twice before you buy. Tests conducted by America’s Test Kitchen showed that most green pans did not perform as well as the more traditional nonstick finish.
Their main complaint was that more emphasis seems to be made on the nonstick “green” surface than the actual ergonomics. According to their testers: “None of the skillets had a flawless design—if it was the right size, it was too heavy; if it was lightweight and maneuverable, the cooking surface was too small for many recipes”

Some user reviews are reporting about staining and sticking. It seems that the pans are good at the beginning (first few months) but after a while, the food starts to stick to the pan. Perhaps the technology is too new and it needs to be perfected. However that was not the case when Teflon was first used in cookware.



————————————————————————————————————————————–

43 Comments

  1. charles weiss
    Posted September 28, 2010 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    You’re right that traditional Teflon cookware is dangerous. But America’s Test Kitchen must have been testing older generations of GreenPans because the newest generation (third) perform fantastically well. I became somewhat of an expert on the latest non-stick pans while shopping for my own, and the company called “GreenPan” has the best surface and most ergonomic design available.

  2. Alice,
    Posted October 24, 2010 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    Thank you Charles for the comment. I am sure my readers will take your advice as well.
    I also like the Demeyere-Control Induct pan although it is expensive, but then again, you usually get what you pay for.

    Alice

  3. Dashmore
    Posted December 8, 2010 at 12:03 AM | Permalink

    I have to agree with Charles. I have been using the GreenPans for about a year and have found them to be reliably non-stick, durable and light-weight without being flimsy.

  4. Posted February 2, 2011 at 9:59 PM | Permalink

    People who have had trouble with sticking surely must have an older version or a different brand than GreenPan. I have never had a non-stick surface that worked as well as the frypans labeled GreenPan. I think these pans are absolutely fabulous and along with being completely non-stick the heat distribution is great!!

  5. Reel SF
    Posted March 4, 2011 at 1:26 PM | Permalink

    Green pan from Crate and Barrel was good for about a year. Now just a piece of crap. Sticks, sticks, sticks.

  6. mary
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

    Although you mention that PTFE is hard to break down in the enviornment and its fumes MAY be toxic to birds I find no reference to sat that PTFE is harmful to humans which is the biggest reason to give up hy Teflon.

  7. Kristen
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    I did a lot of comparing reviews online and found GreenPan brand to be the most highly recommended brand with least potential for PFOA/PTFE/CO2. I just bought one and have only made eggs in it so far, but they did not stick at all and I can use even less oil spray in them than I did with teflon. Kind of expensive, but worth it in my opinion ($30-$42 at Target).

  8. C Patterson
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    Don’t bother buying the Green Pan, after repeated use,food sticks on the pan like hell. I’m still trying to get my refund from the company. This is the worse non stick pan ever!

  9. Gina Svava
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

    I love my green pan! Cooking in it, and cleaning it! I bought it because I like cooking without the food sticking, and I won’t use teflon because of the health hazard. Off course teflon is bad also for people if it’s bad for birds! It just takes longer for you to get sick! Gina

  10. Angela
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

    I bought the next generation green pan and it worked fine for the first few uses. Now everything stick like crazy! On the other hand, I like to cook steak and other meats with this pan because after the initial stick, the meat releases and it does a great job of caramelizing the meat and heating it evenly. The trick is to be patient with the cooking time, and only try to remove the meat once it has been seared. This non-stick pan does a great job of creating a gravy, so that is why I have now deemed the green pan that I own as my dedicated “meat” pan. I hope this prevents some of you from throwing out a perfectly usable item. :)

  11. S. Rowland
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 8:11 PM | Permalink

    No doubt the stickiest damn pan I ever bought – right from the ‘get go’. I would NOT recommend the GreenPan for any reason – health or otherwise!

  12. J Rabbit
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    Parsley is also bad for birds. Onions and all forms of grapes are bad for dogs. Asprin can kill cats… I cannot say that Teflon is a product I buy, but please, do make your arguments science based. Just as dogs and cats are not people, neither are birds. By all means protect your birds, but remember their response is NOT necessarily a human response. After all, I’m healthy at 77 having consumed grapes, raisin and wine my entire life. A dog could not say that. Peer reviewed science, please.
    Also, GreenPans should be seasoned regularly and never put in a dishwasher. Mine is still great, over a year old. I’m curious if directions were followed?

  13. Terry
    Posted June 5, 2011 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    I’ve had green pan for almost three years now and haven’t had any major issues with sticking. If you read the instructions, you are supposed to “cure” the pans initially with a light coating of cooking oil, turned on medium high for a few minutes, then wipe with paper towel. I do this step every now and then, maybe every few months or so. If I cook meat, like hamburgers, it can tend to leave meat residue on the bottom of the pan, but with a little soaking in hot soapy water it comes right off. I’ve also not had any chipping problems at all, I’ve read some reviews complaining about that. So far so good. Although, I’m not sure how safe they really are compared to teflon. I would prefer to use cast iron pans.

  14. C. Robinson
    Posted June 8, 2011 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    I watched HSN, Todd English’s Green Pans and always wanted a set, but they were too expensive. My sister
    purchased Todd English set and gave me the small frying pan from the set. Wow, I scrambled my eggs with sharp cheese and was convinced. When cleaning it was a breeze…even the cheese come off the pan. Okay, the trick to these pans would be, not a lot of heat,keep them oiled and don’t use a strong dish detergent when cleaning them. I find when I add a small amount of oil/butter to the pan they work perfectly. I went to Marshalls today and found the original Green Pan(Oxford style, 2 quart) for $15.00. I will use the same techniques on this one, just like Todd English and see how it works. I love Green Pans…what you have to do is like anything else, follow directions on use and it should be fine. OOPS, dont use metal utensils…only use rubber. They say you can use wood, but I would stick to the rubber to protect the coating of the pan!!!

  15. Mary Ellen
    Posted August 24, 2011 at 10:02 PM | Permalink

    My Son got me one of these pans for my birthday. I love it!!! I have a set of revereware, and good ole’ cast iron, but since I have this new green pan I reach for it everytime. Nothing sticks! I’m trying to find different sizes, as this one is large. I’d like an omlet size.

  16. Mark
    Posted September 1, 2011 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

    There are 3 reasons why the nonstick fails:

    1) On first use: Did you wash it in warm soapy water? Did you season it with a bit of vegetable oil over medium heat?

    2)When cooking: Did you use metal utensils? You should use (in order of preference): Silicone, rubber, wooden or plastic utensils….never metal

    3)When cleaning:
    i) Do you plunge a hot pan under a cold tap? – you shouldn’t
    ii) Do you use a dishwasher? – you shouldn’t
    iii) Do you use one of those mini sponges that has a green or white abrasive side – you shouldn’t

    Never use any abrasive chemicals or abrasive cloths

    Just use warm soapy water and soft cloth.

    If you want something to last you have got to look after it – quality cookware is no different.

  17. Kathy Hall
    Posted September 4, 2011 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    I have been using the green pan for about months. My husbnad gets upset with me becasue I have a habit of always cooking on High. Well the first time I used it of course it was on high and it did not perform well at all. Sticked. HOWEVER, once I turned the heat down to medium I have never had the problem again. Food doesn’t stick and eggs slides right out. I love these pans and don’t have to cook on high anymore. All the negitive may be they are doing what I initially did and cooked on high.. It does say in the instructions not to, but who reads instructions. Right!!!! Bottom line love the pans!!! Happy cooking.

  18. Brad Abernethy
    Posted December 5, 2011 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    We bought a set of Green pans in November 2008. They worked well for 2 years and then nothing but STICK. I contacted the company and bitched quite loud that a set of non stick pans should last at least 5 years, especially since they had never been scratched or damaged in any way. After sending the pans back along with the original bill of sale, they sent me a new set of the pans, even though the 2 year warranty was expired. So far so good. They sent me the professional grade this time. Hopefully these will last longer!

  19. Don Claydon
    Posted December 16, 2011 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    I am not at all happy with me 12 inch fry pan . No matter what temperature I set it at or if I use oil or butter , all fish , meat , vegetables stick and the pan is hard to clean , I am takking mine back , ghe cost was around $ 55.00 a waste of money .

  20. DZ
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

    There is little doubt actually that PTFE is deadly to birds. A necropsy of any bird killed by it will show the devastating results of PTFE. That said, I agree that humans are not birds. What I don’t agree with though is the idea that PTFE and PFOAs are “safe”. Almost every petroleum based product we use has been found to have harmful side-effect to humans individually and the planet as a whole. I would have no problem with an out-and-out ban on PTFE/PFOA.

    I’m testing the Bialetti Aeternum cookware. So far the cooking surface is fabulous, but I’ve only had it for a few weeks. I do not believe these pans are as well made as some of the others, primarily due to the way the handles are attached (i.e., not through the pan itself, but external to the actual pan). My guess is the handle will become extremely wobbly over time. In fact, the first one I tried was wobbly out of the box, and I only decided to continue trying it because the other 10 in the store had no handle problems.

    I’m always looking for ways to get harmful chemicals out of my house. Since I DO have birds, I haven’t had any teflon (or other PTFE based pans) in my home for many many years. I’m happy that we have so many options now in non-PTFE pans that we can actually have this “argument” about which one is best!

  21. Posted January 16, 2012 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    Junk. frying pans don”t lie flat on electric range

  22. Posted January 30, 2012 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    I now have three GreenPan frying pans and all perform really well, the oldest is nearly two years old. GreenPan use either “thermalon” or “Rocks” coatings both can be used on high heat with no ill effect althought this may cause meat to stick when first placed in the pan, if you let it cook without moving it will release, and as per instructions avoid metal tools and dont put in the dishwasher. they have just brought out two new pans one in conjunction with Michel Roux which is a full Tri Ply pan and a professional range called masterchef, these are definately on my wish list but i will have to save up.

  23. Alice,
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

    Dan, I somewhat agree with you since I have had the same problem before. It usually happens with electric stoves and pans that have thin walls. The high heat makes the pan warp. If you have a frying pan with thicker walls it will stay flat.

  24. I.A.
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 3:02 AM | Permalink

    I got two “GreenPan” from Crate&Barrel, it was good for the first and second time use after that I couldn’t cook anything else because the pan just stick to almost anything even pancakes, I used gas stoves and do not cook with high heat, hand washed. Don’t waste money unless you find something really works. I wish I read more before wasting my money.

  25. Roger Hastings
    Posted February 11, 2012 at 8:12 AM | Permalink

    I bought two green pans a couple of months ago.I use them every day. They are far and away the best non-stick pans I have ever used. There seems to be a wide range of “green pans” out there. The ones I have are heavy for their size and have a heavy gray non stick coating. I am careful with heat but have never done any of the seasoning stuff and nothing ever sticks. Look for quality ie. heavy pan, heavy, gray, non-stick coating. Enjoy!

  26. Sharon Andersen
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 11:41 PM | Permalink

    I have a question. We have the greenpan ccokie sheets/jelly roll pans. Want to make an ice cream cake so need to know if these pans can go in the freezer

  27. Alice,
    Posted February 18, 2012 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    Regarding your question about the freezer, I have never placed my pans in the freezer so I can’t speak from personal experience.
    The company does not mention anything about cold temperatures affecting their product so I assume it is OK.
    I don’t see why putting a greenpan cookie sheet in the freezer would be a problem.
    If you prefer you can always contact the manufacturer.

  28. Renee
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    I own an entire set of Henkels’ Spirit Thermalon frying pans and at first I loved them. But now after only six months of use, they are starting to deteriorate. I have had one pan replaced by the company because it stopped working. I have looked after them carefully. I even warm the pan with water in the bottom so it isn’t heating up empty. While this is a good concept, I think that it needs to be developed further. I feel a little duped after spending $500 on frying pans expecting high quality cookware from a trusted company and getting garbage.

  29. John O'Neill
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

    Ive had two the second one a replacement for the first sticky pan now after just 5 months of not a lot of use the replacement is stickier than the first. Don’t waste your money they are no good one big rip off, john.

  30. Shirley
    Posted March 31, 2012 at 8:59 PM | Permalink

    I have the whole set of Todd English Green Pans…have had them since he started selling them on HSN. I just purchased his new electric fry pan…it arrived today…the coating looks like black teflon.not at all the slick surface of my other pans..does anyone else have one. Would like to know what others think..Love my set and they do have to be cared for properly to keep their nonstick, seasoning regularly is the answer.

  31. Viola Vansessen
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 6:38 PM | Permalink

    I bought the small green skillet and loved it then I used cooking spray on it and it started sticking and I could not use it and had to throw it away. they should warn you not to use cooking spray. I bought one for my daughter so I warned her not to use spray. hope no one else has this problem

  32. William Johnson
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 2:10 AM | Permalink

    So far, so good. Used about two months, wash by hand, use medium heat mostly and rubber or treated plastic utensils and they work great. Have the ones sold on HSN and I love the things. I’m as careful as I would be with Teflon, so I feel they will last a very long time as long as I keep someone I know, not mentioning any names here, out of the kitchen.

  33. Rick
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 3:13 AM | Permalink

    I got set of orgreenic pans, seemed alright at first, except like all pans it does not take long before they do not work very good. Everything starts sticking no matter how many time you re-season them. I found it is best not to cook meat, breaded idems or eggs in pan. Meat is probably worse thing to cook in pans because it leaves behind a sticky film that is so hard to get off that turns into like a black tar. I did find that Gojo pumice hand cleaner will clean that sticky mess from pan, yes it should not be used for cleaning pans because of pumice, but it is nice just to see pan clean because your not going to get them clean washing by hand in sink unless you use something that cuts grease and Gojo seems to work pretty good. You can always call company up and ask them how to clean them, hehe. They tell you to boil water in pan and that should clean it and when you tell them that you tried that they do not know what else to tell you to try, hows that, they can’t even tell you of any other way to clean there pans. Maybe if you re-season pan everytime after you use it will help, I re-season my pans every week but maybe even that is not enough, mostly now I just do not use the pans very much, I got other types of old pans that work better.

  34. jim
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    these green pans suck.never agian.

  35. Earl Marshall
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    Sorry to be the fly in the buttermilk, but I bought one and treated it as directed after bringing it home, and after using it no less than three times, I have come to the conclusion that the OLD CAST IRON SKILLETS are the best. Your skillet “does” stick, and is much harder to clean than the cast Iron skillet is. Being skeptical as I was, I am still not convinced of it’s worth. Will stick to my old cast iron pots and pans since they don’t stick as bad. Sincerely, EARL

  36. Belinda
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

    Hi all, I bought my pans about 5 years ago off HSN. After buying the earlier sets, which I liked very well, they came out with newer versions. I liked the new professional heavier set so I gave away some of my set to family members so they could try them.
    Overall my experience has been pretty good.

    I cook good healthy food daily and I’ve also burned a few things along the way, forgot things on the stove etc and even threw a pan away because I thought it could not recover. Short version:
    My eggs boiled dry, after 30 minutes I smelled smoke, tossed pot, we left the house. Husband salvaged the pot from the garbage, poured in vinegar, and put it outside for 2 weeks because of the stench!
    Then we rinsed it, scraped it out, scrubbed it and put vinegar to soak for another week. Yup, 3 weeks! I still have the pot. It has a round blemish but coating is intact!

    Re cleaning, here’s what works for me:
    1. baking soda for mild sticking
    2. bon ami for the fish/scallop, or meat pan
    I use the pizza pan, I like the shape and, we don’t eat pizza.
    Use a paper towel or dish cloth, if it’s really bad do it twice. Some have nicks and scratches. (but so do I)
    I still love them, they’re the best I’ve had.
    They probably will last another 5-10 years, technology will have improved by then.

  37. laura
    Posted March 11, 2014 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

    frying pan everything sticks / has life time warranty

    tried to contact company / and sent all the information they want and everything came back and sated that no company at that address

    the money that you pay product should stand up to what it states

  38. Lori
    Posted March 22, 2014 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    I bought the green pans & now I mostly use my new stainless steel pans, because if I need to use an oil to keep things from sticking, I’d rather use the one that I can use metal utensils with. Stupid investment

  39. Lori
    Posted March 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    Also, meat seems to leave a strange white coating on the green pans, which then need to be scrubbed! Why scrub a non-stick pan?!

  40. Lance
    Posted April 14, 2014 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    Ceramic Pans are fantastic if used properly.Get only brands such as “orgreenic” or “The Green Pan” that do NOT contain any lead.

    First of all, don’t cook with regular butter. Regular butter contains impurities, that’s what makes things stick, because the impurities are burning. Buy “clarified butter” or simply make your own by basically bringing butter to a soft boil, then scrape the foam off the top. Repeat a few times until it no longer foams, then it is clarified. Clarified butter with withstand heat up to about 450 degrees, it will not burn & nothing will stick.

    Also, do NOT cook with extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is only good for heat up to 350 degrees, after that it starts to bake a sticky film on your cookware. Regular olive oil contains the same amount of fat as EVOO, but is heat resistant to 450 degrees because it’s heavier. Think of it like motor oil, the heavier the weight the higher the viscosity & thermal resistance. The thinner the oil is, the less heat resistance it has. It took me many years to figure this out. Also, avacado oil is a fantastic alternative as well. It withstands heat up to 500 degrees without burning & contains high amounts of good Omega 3 fats. I put about 1/2 teaspoon in my pan & heat it gradually on medium heat. I have cooked just about everything in it & nothing has stuck at all. eggs, pancakes, sauteed veggies, meat, etc. When using these 3 cooking mediums, the oil comes out of the pan exactly as it went in, you can’t tell the difference because it doesn’t burn or brown in the least.i just wipe it out with a paper towel, then go over it quick with a wet sponge with some dish soap, rinse, cry, & put it away, the easiest clean-up ever.

  41. Posted May 20, 2014 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    these pan are junk. they stick you have to scrub to get them a little cleaner,there way to small when cooking any large meal. and the handles heat up quickly so you burn yourself. I would never buy these pans again.

  42. Donnie Roller
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 7:22 PM | Permalink

    the skillet is the worst piece of crap i have ever seen, i called the company and complained about their junk skillet, and they had the nerve to ask me to include 7.99 for return shipping, now why would a person want to pay to have that junk skillet sent back than have to pay to get another one that will be like the one i sent. if i wanted to have all that trouble , why not throw it away and go buy a new one, and save time and money, my advice? stay as far away from them as possible

  43. Paul Medynski
    Posted July 29, 2014 at 11:39 PM | Permalink

    Received the non stick pans with the Nu Wave PIC, absolute junk. I tried calling the company and zero satisfaction. Unfortunately, only these pans can be used with the induction heating plate. I’ve been in the food service biz 30 yrs and know how to treat pans, knives etc. Found the best T-Fal to be the best product and should be used as directed and don’t wear out like the cheap Teflon.

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared or published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
*