By Christina Verigan
While a breakfast of fried eggs or pancakes can be appealing, my cookware was not up to the task. I find that Teflon-coated pans and cast-iron skillets need to be sufficiently greased to prevent sticking. But all that extra butter adds calories and makes me feel sluggish. Looking for an alternative, I came across ceramic nonstick cookware. I put two affordable pans – Ozeri’s Green Earth Pan 10” skillet and Telebrands’ OrGreenic Kitchenware 10” skillet—through the ringer to see if they lived up to their claims.
Ozeri’s Green Earth Pan (left) and Telebrand’ OrGreenic Skillet (right).
The Ozeri Earth Pan and OrGreenic are aluminum pans with a ceramic coating on the cooking surface. This coating is free of PFOA and PTFE, which can be found in Teflon. (In recent years, there have been some concerns about adverse health effects of PFOA and PTFE, though experts say Teflon is safe to use.)
What appealed to me most was that these pans allow for butter- and oil-free cooking. After seasoning the pans before the first use, as directed, I was ready to get cooking. I heated the pans and cracked an egg in each one. At first it looked like the eggs were sticking, but when it was time to flip them over it was clear there was no sticking here. Pancakes, fish fillets, meatballs, and other tricky, sticky foods also lifted right off the surfaces of both pans without any added grease. Impressive!
Ozeri warns that excess seasoning, butter, and oil can bond to the pan, leaving a sticky residue. I found that a small amount of oil was helpful when cooking vegetables in the Ozeri’s Earth Pan, but other foods did best without any. As instructed, I did not use any added butter or oil when cooking with OrGreenic. For this reason, the Ozeri pan performed a bit better when it came to veggies, but the OrGreenic pan did slightly better with fried eggs and pancakes.
Both pans heated quickly, so food cooked evenly. Another perk: Both pans can go from the stovetop to the oven—something Teflon can’t do. And cleanup was a cinch. Sometimes, I was tempted to simply wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Surprisingly, ungreased vegetables were the top culprits when it came to leaving traces, but I was never left with a cooked-on mess that needed scrubbing or scraping.
Here are some tips for keeping your ceramic nonstick cookware in ship-shape:
• Do season the pan according to instructions before the first use.
• Don’t be tempted to add butter or oil.
• Do use gentle utensils that won’t scratch the pan.
• Don’t use your ceramic nonstick pan when grease is necessary (e.g., brown butter, scrambled eggs, meat in an oily marinade, pasta tossed with pesto sauce).
• Do clean the pans with mild soap and water and a soft sponge.
• Don’t use scouring pads. You probably won’t even be tempted.