Retains heat really well
Nonstick without the chemicals
Includes pan rack and lid holder
Comes in five beautiful colors
Need to hand wash
Pricing is on the higher end
Stainless steel handles get hot
We purchased the Caraway Cookware Set so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
Nonstick cookware is arguably the most important part of a well-stocked kitchen. Unfortunately, most of the time, nonstick means that your pots and pans are coated with PTFE or PFOA, chemicals that have been linked to various health problems. You can opt for stainless steel, which is naturally toxin-free, but if you don’t properly oil your pan or you turn the heat up too high, you’re left with a mess that can take too much time and too much elbow grease to clean. Caraway stepped up to solve these problems with their cookware set, which is made of ceramic-coated aluminum that promises to be nonstick without the chemicals. But while Caraway probably has the most visually appealing cookware out there, looks can only get you so far.
We spent a couple of weeks testing the Caraway Cookware Set to see how it fared with steaks, pasta sauce, eggs, and more. Here’s what we found.
Design: As beautiful as it is functional
If we had to judge on design alone, we were pretty much sold right away. A welcome departure from typical silver or black, the Caraway cookware comes in five dusty floral colors that can add to any kitchen aesthetic. We went with the navy set, a gorgeous deep blue, but there’s also cream, light gray, perracotta (a pink and terracotta hybrid), and sage.
The colors complement each other really nicely, so if you want to mix and match, instead of purchasing a one-color set, you have that option too. Keep in mind, however, that you save some money—$65 to be exact—when you purchase the set as-is.
If you opt for the set, you’ll get a 10.5-inch fry pan, a 4.5-quart saute pan with a lid, a 3-quart saucepan with a lid, and a 6.5-inch Dutch oven with a lid—pretty much everything you need in the kitchen. The only thing we wished for was a smaller saucepan for cooking small quantities of rice or reheating leftovers, but it’s certainly not a dealbreaker.
As for the design of the cookware itself: it was the perfect size without being too bulky. We were able to make a Sunday family dinner-sized pasta sauce in the Dutch oven with plenty of room to spare.
The handles were positioned well as they were large and easy to grip and hold. The only knock we had is that they’re made of stainless steel, with no rubber grips, so they get hot fast and you’ll need an oven mitt to move the cookware when you’re draining grease or pasta in the sink. Again, not a dealbreaker, and definitely something that’s pretty common with cookware, but we thought it was worth noting.
Accessories: Went above and beyond
The set also comes with magnetic pan racks that perfectly hold each pot in an upright, sideways position and a canvas lid holder that you can hang on the inside of your cabinet door so you have easy access to the lids whenever you need them. When it came time to put the cookware away, the magnetic pan holder really reduced its footprint in our cabinet. These included extras immediately set the cookware apart from other sets we own, which end up stacked in a pile in our cabinet. Another nice little touch is the inclusion of two corkboard trivets stamped with the Caraway logo.
Even when cooking on low to medium heat, the pots and pans got really hot and our eggs and bacon cooked evenly and quickly.
Material: Nontoxic and nonstick
Nonstick cookware is a kitchen must have, but sometimes you’re forced to make a choice between something that’s easy to clean but is made with toxic materials, and something that’s toxin-free but needs some serious scrubbing.
With the Caraway set, there’s no choosing necessary because it promises the best of both worlds. The pots and pans are aluminum with a nonstick ceramic coating that’s free of PTFE (the main compound in Teflon®), PFOA, lead, cadmium, and other harmful chemicals and heavy metals.
And here’s the part you’ve been waiting for: the nonstick coating is a dream. Teflon® may be considered the gold standard of nonstick, but this Caraway set outperforms every other pan we’ve tried by a mile.
It didn’t matter if we were sauteing onions, heating butter, frying eggs, searing steaks, or simmering a pasta sauce, not one single piece of food stuck to the bottom of the pan. We could stir and flip with no problems whatsoever. Speaking of stirring and flipping, keep in mind that as with other nonstick cookware, you can only use plastic, rubber, or wooden utensils with these pans so you don’t scratch the coating.
Heating Capacity: Efficient and even
Ceramic cookware is known for its ability to hold and retain heat and the Caraway demonstrates that quality to the fullest. Even when cooking on low to medium heat, which is recommended by the manufacturer, the pots and pans got really hot and our eggs and bacon cooked evenly and quickly.
This was true no matter where you placed the food in the pan. We’ve noticed with other cookware, especially large skillets, that if bacon isn’t placed perfectly in the center, it won’t cook evenly. Or the bacon in the middle will burn, while the bacon on the outside is barely cooked. These problems were completely eliminated with the Caraway set, for all of the dishes that we prepared.
However, there was a learning curve for us. We’ve gotten used to having to turn the heat way up in our older pans, but since this cookware is much more efficient and better at distributing heat, high heat wasn’t necessary. We kept having to remind ourselves to turn the flame down.
You can use the Caraway set on electric stoves and induction stovetops, too. The pots and pans are also oven safe—up to 550 degrees—so they can replace heavier cast iron skillets in your kitchen.
Cleaning: Dishwasher not recommended
When it comes to the most important feature of a cookware set, we think it’s a tie between cooking performance and ease of clean-up. It’s great if you have a pan that can sear a rib-eye perfectly, but if you’re left with remnants of baked-on steak crust for the rest of that pan’s life, it kind of dampens the whole appeal. Besides, if a cookware set is claiming to be innovative by providing non-stick capabilities without the toxic chemicals, it has to live up to the hype.
The only thing we wished for was a smaller saucepan for cooking small quantities of rice or reheating leftovers.
The Caraway cookware set doesn’t only live up to the hype, we thought it wasn’t hyped up enough. After making a thick meaty spaghetti sauce, all it took to clean the pot was a quick rinse and wipe with a clean sponge and the pot looked good as new. The same was true when cleaning up after a seared rib-eye steak. The brown crusty bits wiped right off with almost no effort at all.
If you’re wondering about using the dishwasher, we wouldn’t recommend it. We couldn’t find a solid answer about whether or not the set is dishwasher-safe, which has us believing that it isn’t. And since these pots and pans are so easy to clean, we didn’t think a dishwasher was necessary since they can degrade cookware over time.
Price: Worth it
At first, the $395 price tag gave us a little bit of sticker shock. After all, that’s almost $100 per piece! But after we spent some time in the kitchen with this set, we quickly realized that it's worth every penny. As Caraway puts it, “well-done cookware is rare,” and you really do get what you pay for. The set looks and feels high-end and, once you get the hang of it, the cooking feels high-end too. Plus, it comes with the pot and lid holders—something that other sets are lacking—and to us, that kind of organization is priceless.
Teflon® may be considered the gold standard of nonstick, but this ceramic Caraway set outperforms every other pan we’ve tried by a mile.
Competition: Stacks Up Well
It’s difficult to put the Caraway set up against other cookware since it seems so different, but if you’re not totally sold, or you’re looking for a larger set with more pieces, there are some other great options out there too.
Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless 12-Piece Cookware Set: When it comes to anything kitchen-related, you really can’t go wrong with Cuisinart. The Multiclad Pro Stainless 12-Piece Cookware Set includes two saucepans, two skillets, a saute pan, a stockpot, and a steamer insert. Since it’s stainless steel, it doesn’t contain any of the toxic chemicals of traditional nonstick cookware, but cleanup is more difficult than with the Caraway.
T-fal Initiatives Ceramic 16-Piece Cookware Set: If you’re looking for a larger set on a smaller budget, the T-fal Initiatives Ceramic 16-Piece Set has a lot to offer. Like the Caraway cookware, the main cooking surface is made of ceramic, but this set also includes a square griddle, a smaller saucepan, and a set of compatible kitchen tools, at about one-third of the price.
- Product Name Cookware Set
- Product Brand Caraway
- Price $395
- Product Dimensions 10.5 inches, 3 quarts, 4.5 quarts, 6.5 quarts
- Colors Cream, Gray, Perracotta, Sage, Navy
- Return Policy 30-day money back satisfaction guarantee