Good variety of cookware
After nonstick is gone, cookware is still safe
Nonstick coating will degrade over time
Exterior darkens with use
Hand wash only
Nonstick cookware is handy for a lot of reasons—from the ease of cleaning to perfect egg cooking—so we were happy to give the GreenPan Lima Ceramic Non-Stick 12-Piece Cookware Set a try. We read the instructions, stocked up on eggs and other sticky foods, and found other recipes to fit the size and shape of the pans. We steamed, braised, and baked our way through some rigorous and tasty testing. Is this the nonstick set of your dreams? We have answers.
Our first impression of the cookware was that it was pretty, featuring a blue-gray interior and a darker exterior that was more gray than blue. The handles were comfortable to hold as we cooked. The long handles have a hole for hanging, which is convenient for storage on a pot rack or pegboard. Some of the pieces can nest for storage, but since the nonstick interior could get scratched, it would be wise to put a dish towel or other cushion between the pots if they are nested.
Since these are made from aluminum, they’re very responsive, which means they heat quickly and they cool quickly.
As we used the cookware, we noticed that the exterior of the pots started to darken. Some of them darkened evenly when we used them in the oven. Others darkened in splotches, particularly if food spilled over the sides or oil splattered from a nearby pan. Eventually, the color evened out to a medium gray color on most of the pans. The lids are clear glass with the company’s name and logo on the lid. At first, we wondered why the logo was included, but if someone has a lot of cookware, this could let them know they’ve grabbed the correct lid.
When it was time to empty the pots or pans, we missed the pouring spouts that some pans have. Sometimes we were able to pour neatly, but other times we made a bit of a mess.
What’s Included: Cookware and extras
This set includes an 8-inch frying pan, a 9.5-inch frying pan, a 2.2-quart saucepan with lid, a 2.8-quart sauté pan with lid, a 5.1-quart casserole with lid, and a steamer that fits the saucepan. The lids for the sauté pan and the casserole are interchangeable and also fit the 9.5-inch frying pan. The set also includes three bamboo utensils, a slotted spatula/turner, a solid spatula/turner, and a slotted spork.
The included pieces were useful, but some were just a bit small for a family. The sauté pan was sufficient for braising four chicken thighs along with vegetables and sauce, but any more than that would have been crowded. We also used it for baking. It was a little larger than the 9-inch cake pan our gingerbread recipe called for, but it worked well despite the non-standard baking size. We also used it to bake cinnamon rolls and were pleased that they didn’t stick at all.
The two frying pans were a nice size for single servings, making a pan sauce, or cooking a small side of fried potatoes, but they would have been too small for family-sized main dishes. Still, we used both of them often. At just over 2 quarts, the saucepan was also quite small. We used it a few times but had to watch closely to make sure it didn’t boil over when our carrots were simmering.
The steamer that fits onto the saucepan was a useful addition. While it was a bit small, just like the saucepan it belonged to, we found it useful for steaming vegetables or a few dumplings for a snack. It would be too small for steaming vegetables for more than a few people, though. The casserole, which some might call a Dutch oven, was a reasonable size at just over 5 quarts. We used it for braising, for making soup stock, and even for baking a loaf of bread.
The three bamboo cooking utensils pad the piece count but could be useful for new cooks who don’t have nonstick-safe utensils to use. When the utensils arrived, they had a shiny coating. After a few uses and subsequent washing, the coating disappeared from the one we used most. We spent some extra time scrubbing them once we realized the coating wasn’t permanent since we didn’t like the idea that it might have been disappearing into our food. They would be fine for someone who doesn’t have enough utensils, but we wouldn’t have minded if they weren’t included.
Material: Ceramic nonstick
These are made from anodized aluminum with a nonstick ceramic interior. Because they’re aluminum, they’re not suitable for use on induction cooktops, but they’re safe for gas or electric cooktops and are safe for oven use up to 600 degrees (glass lids are oven safe up to 425 degrees). The lids are glass and the handles are stainless steel.
The nonstick interior is a proprietary ceramic that was very, very nonstick when we first used the pans. The manufacturer notes that it won’t blister or peel, which is good news because no one wants to find bits of coating in their food. The ceramic is made without PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium and won’t release harmful chemicals into the air even if you overheat the pan.
The nonstick interior is a proprietary ceramic that was very, very nonstick when we first used the pans.
However, the cookware needs careful care to maintain the surface. Even with very careful use and care, the manufacturer says that the coating will eventually degrade. At that point, the surface will be like that found on an enameled pot and still perfectly safe to use. While we love cooking in our enameled cast iron cookware, it’s not the surface we’d use for our eggs over easy. We do appreciate the manufacturer’s honesty, but we are disappointed that the frying pans will eventually lose their nonstick quality and will need to be replaced if the cook needs a good nonstick pan.
While the coating held up during our testing period, we did notice that it was less effective over time. When we first used the set, nothing stuck. Eggs would slide around the pan and there were times when we’d empty a pan and we couldn’t even tell that we had cooked in it since every last bit slid out. A quick rinse with the faucet sprayer was all we needed if we left some food or sauce behind, and then we finished with a gentle swish with a soft, soapy sponge. Over time, we found that we needed to soak some of the cookware pieces after cooking to loosen stuck bits and we needed to use a sponge a little more aggressively to get the residue out of the pan.
One surprise arrived when we were steaming some vegetables using the saucepan and steamer. Our attention wandered, the water boiled out, and there was black char in the bottom of the pot. We were pretty sure we’d ruined the pot, but a little soaking and washing and the burned bits (which must have been vegetable bits and seasoning, since we’re not talented enough to actually burn water) came out of the pan. A close inspection of the bottom showed some tiny discolorations, but as the manufacturer promised, there was no bubbling or peeling of the coating.
Heating Capacity: Responsive to heat changes
Since these are made from aluminum, they’re very responsive, which means they heat quickly and they cool quickly when removed from the heat. That makes them great for foods that are fussy about over-cooking, and it also means they heat quickly when you’re preheating a pan before adding food. On the flip side, there were more than a few times when our butter browned when our back was turned for a few seconds. The good news was that we were able to save it from burning simply by turning the heat off.
While the coating held up during our testing period, we did notice that it was less effective over time.
Cleaning: No dishwasher
These are not dishwasher safe, so they must be carefully hand-washed with no abrasives. Also, the pans should be left to cool completely before washing—cold water should not be added to a hot pan or it could warp. This makes us wonder if deglazing a pan should also be avoided.
This set is mid-priced, but reasonable for the number of pieces included. You’ll find some sets at a much lower price point, as well as sets at a much higher price. We have some concerns about the longevity of the cookware since the nonstick coating will eventually wear. While that will be less of a problem for the saucepan, casserole, and sauté pan, cooks who want a nonstick pan for cooking their morning eggs should be aware of the longevity issue.
While the set has a lifetime warranty, it only covers defects, and since the manufacturer points out that the nonstick will degrade, we find it unlikely GreenPan would replace cookware for that reason.
Competition: More durable options
Anolon Advanced Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set: The Anolon Advanced set (view on Amazon), which we also tested, typically costs around twice as much as the GreenPan set we reviewed. For that extra price, the set includes one extra pan, more lids, and no utensils. While the Anolon set should be hand-washed, it’s metal utensil safe, so care isn’t quite as fussy. If there were sufficient money in the budget, we’d choose the Anolon, but if the budget were tight, we’d pick the GreenPan with the understanding that it would be a temporary kitchen resident.
T-fal Ultimate Stainless Steel Copper Bottom 13-Piece Cookware Set: For about the same price as the GreenPan, this T-fal13-piece set (view on Amazon), is worth a look for a new cook. This set is stainless steel rather than nonstick and much more durable. It’s oven safe to a higher temperature, it’s dishwasher safe, and it includes more pieces of cookware. Since the prices are similar, we’d choose the T-fal because of the durability.
All-Clad HA1 Nonstick Fry Pan Set: If someone is mostly looking for nonstick frying pans, the All-Clad HA1 Nonstick Fry Pan Set (view on Amazon), comes with an 8-inch and a 10-inch fry pan. All-Clad is a brand known for its high-quality cookware. The frying pans are induction capable and dishwasher safe, although hand washing is recommended. Of course, this isn’t a full set, but it would be a great addition to a stainless steel cookware set.
Almost worth it.
While we liked the GreenPan Lima Ceramic Non-Stick 12-Piece Cookware Set overall, the fact that the nonstick surface started degrading during our testing period has us concerned that it will be necessary to replace the frying pans sooner rather than later. We do appreciate that the pans will still be usable after they’re no longer nonstick, but people buying this set for their morning eggs should be prepared to replace their frying pans.
- Product Name Lima Ceramic Non-Stick 12-Piece Cookware Set
- Product Brand GreenPan
- UPC 885837010091
- Price $249.99
- Color Blue/gray
- Material Anodized aluminum with ceramic nonstick
- Warranty Lifetime warranty against defects in material or workmanship
- What’s Included 8-in. frying pan, 9.5-in. frying pan, 2.2-qt. saucepan with lid, 2.8-qt. sauté pan with lid, 5.1-qt. casserole with lid, steamer, bamboo slotted spatula/turner, bamboo solid spatula/turner, bamboo slotted spork