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Cookware is the backbone of a kitchen and not all cookware is made equal. Durability, quality materials and even heating are characteristics that you must consider before investing. One of my primary concerns regarding cookware brands is dangerous chemicals. It’s important that brands are transparent about what chemicals are used in the construction of their cookware.
In this article, I’ll discuss the Greenpan brand, which has grown to become a household name since 2007. It claims to have the world’s first and best non-toxic ceramic coating, resulting in healthier cooking.
Since authoritative magazines such as Goop, Good Housekeeping, Food & Wine, and Bustle have all given their stamp of approval, I dove headfirst into research to separate the facts from the hype on this brand. Here’s what I’ll cover:
- The performance of Greenpan cookware
- What non-stick coating the brand uses
- What I like and dislike.
- What others are saying.
All that and much more will be discussed so keep reading to find out more.
Why You Should Trust Us
We conduct research to stay current on how cookware brands perform so that our recommendations never become obsolete. If new information becomes available, or if one brand outperforms the other over time, we will update you. We also use the cookware we review for hours, months, and years to keep you up to date on how it performs over time.
Amazon has a wealth of useful information from genuine buyers who have left honest reviews about products, both good and bad. I conducted a thorough analysis of hundreds of reviews, and my findings will be revealed later in the article.
The Cookware Company, a Belgian company founded in 2005 with manufacturing facilities in China, manufactures GreenPan cookware. GreenPan cookware is designed in Belgium and manufactured in China.) The Belgian founders were familiar with a ceramic material manufactured in Korea and used in industrial applications. In 2007, they struck a deal with a Korean company and began selling the first ceramic-coated non-stick cookware, GreenPan.
The Cookware Company now has annual sales of around $120 million and employs approximately 2000 people, almost entirely in China. They have offices in Asia, Belgium, and the United States, as well as global distribution warehouses. The Cookware Company also manufactures GreenLife, a popular brand of ceramic non-stick cookware in the United States.
How We Tested
I always use food that will demonstrate how well the cookware performs. Eggs are notorious for sticking to even the finest of surfaces. That being said, if eggs don’t stick or only stick minimally, you know it’s a decent non-stick coating. I also test the cookware with pancakes, chicken breasts, and vegetables to see if it heats evenly, produces a good sear, and can cook food thoroughly without burning.
What We Tested
Greenpan recommends using a little fat to prevent eggs sticking (which is a general rule) but I wanted to try without butter or oil. The eggs stuck when scrambled but not when I made them over easy. Despite the sticking, it was easy to scrape the stuck egg free with a silicone spatula. A paper towel could have gotten the job done as well.
This cooking test was a breeze. The pancake batter didn’t stick at all and they were all perfect browned on each side. There were no lines of unevenness but the pan seemed to heat faster than a few others I’ve tried.
- Chicken Breast
The sear was decent, but nothing to write home about. Ceramic nonstick pans are not well-known for searing. Mostly because a good sear requires high heat, which Greenpan does not promote.
I steamed some zucchini, carrots and egg plant using the stock pot and the steamer basket. The lid fit perfectly and kept the steam locked in. Vegetables were tender and had good colour.
Analysis of Amazon Reviews
- Some 40 persons (5 %) gave Greenpan cookware a 1 star rating and most included some disturbing photos. All the reviews follow the same pattern. The pans are fine at first but then the non-stick coating deteriorates in less than a year. Images of burnt and warped pans were shown in addition to the reviews.
- The 2 star and 3 start ratings that make up the 2 and 4% of the overall feedback were much the same. The reviewers mentioned that food kept sticking to the pans and the non-stick coating wasn’t as durable as the brand claimed.
- A whopping 81% of the customers gave Greenpan cookware pan a 5 star rating and 8% rated it 4 stars. A lot of these reviews were very detailed. Purchasers raved about throwing out their old pans for Greenpan and had no regrets. Some even said they preferred the brand over their Calphalon pans. Surprisingly, no pictures were uploaded with those reviews.
Greenpan has well over two dozen collections ranging from different sizes, features, capacity and price. The award winning Valencia Pro collection is crafted from hard anodized aluminium for both strength and scratch resistance. This review is based on the Greenpan Hard Anodized Non-Stick Ceramic Skillet Set. All the pans in this collection are dishwasher and oven safe but Greenpan recommends washing by hand.
My basic rule for ceramic cookware has always been to stay away from the oven, avoid cooking sprays, and cook at lower temperatures to extend the life of your cookware. I also only throw them in the dishwasher if I have to.
Greenpan says its Magneto technology allows you to use its cookware on all types of cooktops including induction. The also say it helps food to be heated evenly. The pan’s edges are engineered to be drip-free, resulting in even less mess on your counters.
The interior of the man is nothing fancy. It certainly isn’t scratch resistant so try not to se metal utensils inside. It has a glossy finish but I wish it had flared edges to make flipping food easier.
The handle is riveted and have a has a space between it and the pan. This slows and reduces the transfer from heat and keeps the handle cool.
The tempered glass lid is oven safe up to 450 degrees F. The lid is well-crafted to keep heat inside the pan. It is indented and can close securely, rather than simply sitting on top and easily shifting.
Overall, I think the pan fared well in the cooking tests. The heating was great and the sticking was minimal. The pan has an even surface, but I’m concerned that it’s too light and will warp if used at high temperatures.
- A slick, flat surface 8/10
The non-stick pan is constructed of aluminium, but according to Greenpan, it’s not always perfectly flat when cold. As soon as the pan is heated, the bottom should flatten out.
If the pan no longer flattens, it could be the result of a heat shock. This shock is typically caused by a sudden, rapid change in temperature. Therefore, do not submerge a cold pan in boiling water or apply extreme heat to a cold pan. The pan seemed perfectly flat during the cooking tests and it heated evenly. I also doubt it would warp very easily.
- Even heat distribution 8/10
I can’t emphasize enough how quickly and evenly Greenpan cookware heats. To avoid burning, I had to adjust my cooking temperatures several times and keep a close eye on the chicken breasts. The heat distribution is incredible, though I’m not surprised since the pan is light. I can’t imagine needing to turn the heat up above medium.
- Shape and comfort 7/10
When you do as many cooking tests as me, your wrists are either relaxed with the perfect pan or cramping from how awkward the pan feels. This pan felt just right. The slight curve in the handle makes it easy to manoeuvre.
Greenpan, like HexClad’s non-stick frying pan, has a “stay cool” handle. Unlike most non-stick frying pans, the handle is riveted to the pan rather than bonded. (However, I did notice a few reviews claiming that the rivets were coming loose.) This, combined with the large, A-shaped space between the handle and the pan, actually reduces heat transfer. I was never burned. I was also able to move the pan without fear of that happening.
- Price and longevity 6/10
While Greenpan cookware is not overly expensive by any means, it’s hard to justify forking out $195 for a 10 piece set that you will have to completely replace in a few years, or even less. Most of it’s claims have either been challenged or proven inaccurate so there’s a lot of doubt swirling around.
Ceramic non-stick in general has a short lifespan but there were mixed feelings by Amazon reviewers. Unlike PTFE, ceramic non-stick can withstand high heat without breaking down, but high heat completely destroys the non-stick properties. The Greenpan, like all ceramic cookware, does not last very long (average of 1-5 years—compare to decades of use for stainless and cast iron). It does not sear as well as stainless steel because it does not function well at high temperatures. Another, more concerning disadvantage is that Greenpan’s coating may contain toxic chemicals or degrade into toxic chemicals if exposed to excessive heat (above about 400F).
To get the most life out of your ceramic pan, avoid using metal utensils (yes, just like PTFE cookware), as well as the dishwasher. Manufacturers (including GreenPan) may claim that this is not the case, particularly with some of the newer reinforced coatings. However, no ceramic coating is strong enough to withstand metal utensils, dishwashers, or high heat.
Is Greenpan Greenwashing?
If you’ve never heard of greenwashing, it’s a metaphor (like whitewashing) used when a company pretends that what they do is more sustainable or good for the environment than it really is. Greenwashing is a dishonest and dangerous. It usually involves misleading advertising and other tricks to make consumers, taxpayers, and other interested parties feel better about a product, brand, or project than they would if they knew the truth.
In a 2019, class action lawsuit, Saldivar vs The Cookware Company, concerns were raised about Greenpan issuing false claims in its advertisements. Those claims are what we’ve all seen in commercials, “eco-friendly”, “healthy”, and “0% harmful chemicals”. Several carcinogens, including silane and aluminium oxide, are found in GreenPan’s Thermolon coatings. Toxic and irritating to the skin, eyes and mucous membranes, silane is a colourless, combustible gas. It can also cause lung injury if aluminium oxide is inhaled. This was all brought up in the lawsuit. Though it was settled in 2020, the lawsuit somewhat damaged Greenpan’s reputation as an eco-friendly and healthy brand.
In 2012, The National Advertising Division, challenged Greenpan’s advertising claims but the company just rephrased what they were saying. With all the controversy that surrounds the brand regarding greenwashing, I won’t recommend it.
Always purchase cookware with a solid warranty that you know will be honoured by the company. This is why, above all, you should buy from a reputable, established company like GreenPan rather than a lesser known or lower priced competitor. GreenPan may cost a little more, but most of their lines are still reasonably priced, and the few extra dollars you spend buys you peace of mind as well as higher quality: all GreenPan cookware comes with a lifetime warranty on the pan and a two-year warranty on the non-stick coating. And you can be confident that they will uphold their end of the bargain.
We had to try Blue Diamond pans after seeing their 4.4/5 Amazon rating. The 10-inch pan is lightweight, robust, and easy to hold. In our experiments, we confirmed that the handle is hollow and gets hot; a low to medium flame and situating the pan on the burner assist. In my cooking experiments, I had to move virtually the entire spatula beneath the egg to release it, leaving residue on the bottom. The pans were easy to clean, with little residue. Scrambled eggs slipped off the pan and looked as clean as when we started. Non-stick rivets make cleaning the pans easier. Their new triple steel cookware set is heavier yet still lightweight.
Calphalon is a well-known brand that has been around for a long time—five decades, to be exact—and is known for making high-quality cookware. The Calphalon frying pan is made of hard-anodized aluminium and has a brushed stainless steel handle. The top of the pan is made of tempered glass. The pan and its lid can both go in the dishwasher to be cleaned. Food doesn’t stick to the surface, so it’s easy to wash by hand. This Calphalon frying pan heats up quickly and stays hot all the way through cooking. It can also go in an oven up to 500°F, and the lid can go up to 450°F.
- Does the handle get hot during cooking?
As long as the bottom of the pan is directly above the flames the handle won’t get hot.
- Should I season my pan?
Greenpan recommends you don’t season your pan or add olive oil to it because it easily carbonizes when the pan is heated. They do say to wash with soapy water and a sponge.
- Is Greenpan still safe to use?
Even though the lawsuit against the brand was settled in 2020 and there has been no further challenges to its claims of false advertising, I would remain cautious of using the pans at high temperatures. There is no evidence that the brand’s non-stick coating causes illness but if it does get damaged prematurely you should return it.
- What is Greenpan’s return policy?
Any GreenPan product can be returned within 60 days of purchase if it has not been used and is still in its original packaging. To begin a return, send an email to the brand. Its team will advise you on what to do next, but this GreenPan cookware review points out that return shipping costs are not covered by the brand and must be borne by you.
Every non-stick pan’s lifespan can be extended by proper care but based on Amazon reviews and my own experience, Greenpan cookware might not last. The pans are lighter than those of competing brands and that makes them susceptible to warping at high temperatures.
For the price, I really think you just get what you pay for. The brand’s now murky reputation after it’s lawsuit also factors into the reasons I wouldn’t recommend Greenpan at this time.