Our Honest Review of Caraway’s Best-Selling Cookware Set

Caraway cookware promises excellent nonstick performance without the toxic chemicals, but does it work? Read on for our full review.

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April 12, 2024

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Photo by: Tracie Davis

Tracie Davis

You may have already heard the story behind this fashion-forward cookware brand that seems to be everywhere these days: Jordan Nathan started Caraway after he got sick with what he believed to be “Teflon flu” (i.e. flulike symptoms from exposure to the thermal degradation of fluorocarbons) after overheating a nonstick pan. His mission: To create well-designed, nontoxic cookware that is as functional as it is beautiful: Caraway Cookware.

With a choice of eight gorgeous colors, some of which feature gold-toned handles, Caraway cookware has a sleek, contemporary aesthetic. Even the fully recyclable, all-cardboard packaging is attractively designed and a pleasure to unbox.

The five-year-old company’s story and products are so compelling that its Instagram account has 597,000 followers. That audience, built up during the pandemic when folks were stuck at home with little else to do but experiment in the kitchen, helped establish a foothold in the already crowded cookware category, beginning with a direct-to-consumer business model. Now, however, Caraway Cookware can be found at Amazon, Crate & Barrel, Target, and other mainstream outlets.

So aside from those soothing color options like Marigold and Sage, what’s so special about this cookware? The company’s biggest message is about its eco-friendly and ethically produced products: The pans are coated with a mineral-based ceramic nonstick coating that is free of “forever chemicals.” Caraway claims the production of its nonstick-coated products releases less CO2 into the environment than other nonstick coatings and that its manufacturing partners have certifications to ensure workers have safe working conditions and are paid fairly.

We were eager to see if these pans performed well, or if they’re just another pretty face in the world of nonstick cookware. Here’s how it went.

HGTV fans can get 10% off sitewide from Caraway using this exclusive link to shop.

Photo by: Jessica Harlan

Jessica Harlan

What Does Caraway’s Cookware Set Come With?

Caraway’s standard set contains four pans, along with lids and other accessories for a total of 12 pieces. Packaged in a recyclable cardboard box, the set includes a 10.5-inch fry pan, a shallow 4.5-quart sauté pan, a 3-quart sauce pan, and a 6.5-quart Dutch oven. One lid fits both the Dutch oven and the fry pan, while the other two pans have their own lids. Also in the box is a canvas lid holder with two self-adhesive plastic hooks to mount it inside a cabinet door, four magnetic pot racks, and a cleaning eraser sponge. While the instruction manual in the box mentioned the inclusion of cork trivets, I couldn’t find those in my box.

The assortment compares well to other cookware sets on the market in terms of the composition of pieces. Many other sets will include a small 8-inch fry pan as well as a larger one, but with this set, the 4.5-quart sauté pan is wide and shallow, so could double as a larger fry pan. This set is thoughtfully assembled to provide the most versatile sizes and shapes for most cooking tasks.

What We Like
  1. Lots of gorgeous colors to choose from
  2. Light interior for easy monitoring of cooking progress
  3. Comes with modular racks and a canvas lid holder
What We Don't Like
  1. Not recommended for dishwasher
  2. Handles get hot

Is Caraway Cookware Nontoxic?

While Caraway doesn’t indicate what minerals are used to make it ceramic nonstick coating, it does emphasize that the coating is nontoxic and free of “forever chemicals” and heavy metals like PTFE, PFOA, lead, nickel, and cadmium. The company spends a lot of time on its blog and social media feeds decrying the hazards of traditional nonstick coatings such as Teflon®, citing that it only takes a few minutes for traditional nonstick pans to heat up to over 500˚F, the temperature at which chemicals begin to break down and release into the air.

The ceramic coating on Caraway’s cookware, meanwhile, has heat-conduction properties for even surface heating and a naturally slick, nonstick surface. This coating covers an aluminum body with a stainless steel base that’s thicker and heavier than most nonstick-clad pans. The handles are stainless steel.

How We Tested the Caraway Cookware Set

To see how well the set of Caraway cookware performed, we put pieces through a variety of cooking assessments that would represent that many ways a home cook might use their cookware.

In the Fry Pan, we cooked up a batch of pancakes without oil to see how evenly they cooked and how well they released from the pan. We also fried an egg, checking to see whether the white cooked through and if the egg stuck. We also pan-seared a couple of burger patties to check for browning, and to see how easy the pan was to clean afterward.

In the Sauce Pan, we prepared a pot of mac and cheese from scratch to see how easy it was to whisk the roux and whether the size of the pan held a full batch of noodles. In the Saute Pan, we pan-fried chicken cutlets to see how evenly they browned and checked to see if a 6-ounce bag of baby spinach could be wilted in the pan in one batch.

And in the Dutch Oven, we measured how quickly a gallon of water came to a boil, and we caramelized an onion to check for even caramelization.

Along the way, we tested whether handles could be touched without an oven mitt, if the cookware lived up to its nonstick promise, and how easy everything was to clean.

What We Think about the Caraway Cookware Set

After hours in the kitchen, we got to know the Caraway Cookware set pretty well, and were pleased with how it performed.

Appearance and Design

There’s no denying that this is one good-looking cookware set. It currently comes in eight different exterior colors, and just like other style-focused cookware brands like KitchenAid and Le Creuset, new hues are often added. The design is thoughtful, too. The lids are flat with wide, easy-to-grip handles and a tiny hole to let steam escape. The flat design helps distribute condensation, so it drips evenly onto the food, unlike domed lids that route condensation to the edges of the lid. And the handles of the pans have a bump that’s meant to act as a guide to show how close to the pan you can hold it before it starts getting hot. (Although in our experience, the handle got hot even past the warning bump.)


We were very impressed with the slick nonstick coating and how well it prevented sticking. In our tests, the pans took a little longer to heat than other nonstick pans we’ve used (perhaps because of the thicker pan), but once it was hot, it cooked evenly, and the surface didn’t have any discernable hot spots or big differences in temperature when checked with a laser thermometer.

Photo by: Jessica Harlan

Jessica Harlan

Frying an egg is always a good test of the performance of a nonstick pan, and Caraway’s fry pan passed with flying colors. With just 1 teaspoon of oil, the egg slid around the pan the moment it began setting. The edges didn’t get as frizzled and crispy as in other cookware, but the white cooked through completely without flipping and slipped easily off the pan onto a waiting plate.

Because the nonstick coating is so slick, it causes oil to bead up and not distribute evenly, which we discovered when pan-frying chicken cutlets. The pan had to be tilted as the cutlets were added to ensure that the cutlets made contact with the hot oil.

Photo by: Jessica Harlan

Jessica Harlan

Cooking pancakes was a particularly good indication of the performance of these pans. We cooked up a batch of pancakes in the Fry Pan, using no oil just to see if they’d stick. Four pancakes just fit in the pan, covering most of the cooking surface. After about 3 minutes we flipped them, and were pleased to discover that they released easily, even without the lubrication of oil. Better yet, they were a picture-perfect, uniform golden brown. Checking the surface temperature of the pan with a laser thermometer confirmed that the pan heats evenly with little fluctuation in temperature from middle to the outside.

Photo by: Jessica Harlan

Jessica Harlan

In the saucepan, we made a standard from-scratch mac and cheese recipe that called for a full, 1-pound box of pasta. The slightly sloped sides made it easy for a whisk or a spatula to get into the corners of the pan, so the roux browned completely without burning and the milk could be whisked thoroughly into the roux. Having a silicone-coated whisk is advised, although we used an uncoated metal whisk and saw no damage to the ceramic nonstick coating. When the cooked macaroni was added to the sauce, it barely fit, with just enough room to mix the sauce into the noodles. A recipe that called for a large quantity of ingredients would have been better in the Dutch oven or the sauté pan.

Photo by: Jessica Harlan

Jessica Harlan

There’s a bit of a learning curve in using the cookware. The instructions specify that the pans work best using low to medium cooking, and that it’s not necessary to crank a burner up to high. This is true: While caramelizing onions over medium heat, the onions began burning within five minutes. The more comfortable we got using the Caraway pans, the easier it was to use them with good results.

Photo by: Jessica Harlan

Jessica Harlan


Those who love loading everything into their dishwasher will be disappointed to learn that Caraway recommends against washing its cookware in the dishwasher, claiming that the harsh detergents can cause the nonstick ceramic coating to break down. But we found the pans easy to hand wash. Even after fat from cooking the burgers scorched onto the pan, we were able to scrub the pan clean with a Dobie sponge. The light exterior of our pans also resisted stains in our tests. We were worried that the pale-grey interior would eventually lose its pristine appearance, but it retained its like-new appearance. If the finish were to discolor, however, Caraway includes an eraser sponge to buff out stains.


At $395, Caraway Cookware’s set is definitely an investment, considering that price is for just four pans and three lids. We compared prices on competing brands, and this is $45 more than a comparable set from GreenPan, which has an additional frypan, and $35 more to a similar set from Anolon. But it’s a similar price to the other social media darling, Our Place’s Always Pan, which also offers a four-piece set that includes lids for each of the four pans.

With proper care, however, the pans will last for years to come, which might make worthwhile the initial expense if you’re one of those people who ends up having to frequently replace traditional nonstick pans once their nonstick coating stops performing or gets scratched. What’s more, the set comes with some handy extras, such as the pot racks and lid holder, that other brands lack.

Bottom Line: Who Should Buy the Caraway Cookware Set?

With its well-designed assortment, easy maintenance and excellent nonstick performance, Caraway Cookware is a great starter pan set for a couple or a small family. Health-focused cooks will appreciate how easy it is to use with minimal cooking oils and fats. And, of course, design-obsessed cooks will love choosing a color that will fit their aesthetic.

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