Easy to clean
Phenolic knobs and handles stay cool
Cooking tools included
Oven use limited to 350 degrees
Hand washing recommended
Not induction compatible
T-fal has been making nonstick cookware for generations and has continued to innovate with new designs and cooking surfaces, like the ceramic material used in the T-fal Initiatives Ceramic 16-pc. Cookware Set. We were interested in how the ceramic cookware would perform in everyday use, so when it arrived for review, we hid all of our other pots and pans and exclusively used these products. We prepared sticky eggs for breakfast, tricky grilled cheese for lunch, and even seared steak for dinner—and then we started all over again, testing the cookware’s performance, durability, and ease of cleaning over the course of a few weeks. We even tossed the pans into the oven a few times and tried all the included tools. Read our report.
Design: Black and white and super nonstick
This set includes 7.5-inch and 11-inch frying pans (the latter with a lid), 1-quart and 2-quart saucepans with lids, a 5-quart Dutch oven with a lid, a 10-inch square griddle, and six nylon tools. With a nearly black exterior and stark white interior, these pots will fit well in most kitchens, but how they function is more important. The handles of the pans and the knobs of the lids are made from phenolic plastic that’s heat-resistant. We found them comfortable to hold, but the design of the knobs makes it a little too easy to accidentally touch the glass lids. With a short simmer, that’s not an issue, but a long-cooked sauce could make that glass a little too hot for bare hands.
The side handles on the Dutch oven reminded us of cartoon mouse ears, but they were easy to hold onto.
The long handles have a hole on the end, so we could hang these on a pot rack or pegboard if we wanted to. The side handles on the Dutch oven reminded us of cartoon mouse ears, but they were easy to hold onto.
We were particularly amused with the square griddle. While the low sides made it simple to slip a spatula under the food, the nonstick surface made that process a bit challenging. Small foods kept wanting to slide over the low sides and onto the stove. After trying to manipulate sliced potatoes on the griddle and getting frustrated, we transferred them to the large frying pan so we could flip them rather than chasing them with the spatula. With that in mind, the griddle is actually a nice addition to the set and is fine for cooking burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, or steaks.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that the pots and pans in this set are a good mix of small and large pieces, so it’s not just for singles; some bargain sets include too many tiny pots. While extra cooking tools are often a ploy to add a higher piece count to a cookware set, the tools included with this set would be very useful for a beginner cook. They’re also a great reminder to use soft tools rather than metal on these pots and pans.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that the pots and pans in this set are a good mix of small and large pieces, so it’s not just for singles.
The nonstick surface was still holding up well after our testing was done, but unfortunately, there were scratches on the bottom of a few pots. While those scratches won’t affect the cooking, they are worth noting.
Material/Heating Capacity: Responsive aluminum
We found the ceramic used on the interior of this set extremely nonstick, with eggs sliding around the pan like a skater on ice. While the plastic handles make the pans more manageable, this material also limits the amount of heat they can withstand. They can be heated to 570 degrees on the stovetop, but only 350 degrees in the oven.
We found the ceramic used on the interior of this set extremely nonstick, with eggs sliding around the pan like a skater on ice.
The pans themselves are made from aluminum, which responds quickly to any temperature changes—and they’re lightweight because the metal is a bit thin. We didn’t notice problematic hot spots as we were cooking, and the weight might actually be an advantage for anyone who doesn’t want to move heavier cookware around. Unfortunately, aluminum isn’t induction compatible, so you’ll need to keep these on your gas or electric cooktop.
Cleaning: You can wash in the dishwasher, but maybe you shouldn’t
While these are dishwasher safe, the manufacturer suggests hand washing, which will extend the life of the product. If you do opt to wash these in the dishwasher, dish tabs and aggressive detergents shouldn’t be used. We preferred to wash them by hand since it was so simple. They also dried quickly, as water ran right off of them.
Price: It’s a bargain
This is no doubt a bargain set of cookware. You can see the price savings in the thinner metal, less expensive knobs and handles, and no extra bells and whistles. We were actually surprised that we had no complaints about cooking performance, with the only disadvantage being the low oven temperature.
While extra cooking tools are often a ploy to add a higher piece count to a cookware set, the tools included with this set would be very useful for a beginner cook.
T-fal Initiatives Ceramic 16-pc. Cookware Set vs. Bialetti Ceramic Pro 10-Piece Cookware Set
A step up in both price and quality is the Bialetti Ceramic Pro 10-Piece Cookware Set. The Bialetti set has the same number of pots and the same number of lids, but it does not include kitchen tools as the T-fal set does. We like the look of the Bialetti set better, and the fact that it has measuring marks inside, as well as pouring spouts and straining lids. If you don’t need those extras and price is a consideration, the T-fal set is a good, affordable set. If you’re looking for something just a little better, the Bialetti should be considered.
For the price, it’s a buy
While we wouldn’t suggest it for a gourmet kitchen, the T-fal Initiatives Ceramic 16-pc. Cookware Set is great for a beginner, a new home, or a vacation cottage. It would also be useful as a spare set for those occasions when every other pot and pan is in use, and you still need a pot to heat the gravy and another to finish the green beans. We wouldn’t expect this set to withstand hard use for decades, but at this price point, it’s easy enough to replace pieces as needed. The six nylon tools are actually worth having, so that’s a little bonus.
- Product Name Initiatives Ceramic 16-pc. Cookware Set
- Product Brand T-fal
- SKU 032406054226
- Price $65.89
- What’s Included 2 frying pans, 2 saucepans, 1 Dutch oven, 1 square griddle, 4 lids, 6 tools
- Warranty 1 year
- Material Aluminum