Twenty years ago, Greenpan dreamed of creating nonstick cookware without dangerous chemicals. They built the blueprint for the PTFE-free pan, and today much of the cookware world has followed them.
I’ve reviewed dozens of ceramic nonstick cookware products over the past few years and created this article to help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of Greenpan’s top lines.
In creating my Greenpan reviews, I spent 10 hours collecting owner feedback, sorting through product specifications, and comparing features with competitor products. My hope is that by reading this, you’ll save time and stress in finding the right fit for your kitchen, and be equipped with good expectations of what to expect from these pots and pans.
The Paris Pro is the original Greenpan, now sold with an improved version of the Thermolon non-stick coating. This model features an upgraded design to the stainless steel handles and solid stainless steel lids.
Paris Pro will work on all cook surfaces except for an induction stove. The pans are oven and broiler safe to 600 F.
While the material upgrades look great, in some cases the weight of the stainless steel frying pan handles has caused an owner’s empty pan to tip slightly during pre-heating when the burner wasn’t exactly level. The stainless steel lids also have a tendency to become hot to the touch, so you may want to keep a hot mitt nearby.
The Valencia Pro adds an induction upgrade atop the Paris Pro, without impacting the sticker value of the collection. The “Magneto Induction Technology” used in the pan is simply a piece of magnetic metal, most likely stainless steel, forged into the pan’s base.
I like that the induction upgrade doesn’t cost extra, since most brands will make you pay for induction stove compatibility. I also like that the Valencia Pro uses glass lids compared to the Paris.
Compared with most other cost-conscious nonstick cookware, especially the PTFE-free ceramic options, the Lima looks really good. The pots and pans come with stainless steel handles which are cool to the touch, tempered glass lids so you can see your meal in-progress, and a sophisticated gray ceramic look.
If affordability is a major priority for you, but your aesthetic preference is more bright and festive, you might check out GreenLife as an similarly priced alternative, and GreenPan’s sister brand.
All of the pots and pans are built on an aluminum base, so the pan will heat quickly and evenly. On most stove’s you’ll only need 30-45 seconds of pre-heating before it’s good to go.
Because the base does not contain any iron, this set will not be compatible with induction stoves, but it does work great on electric and gas cooktops. You can also use it in the oven up to 600 F, which is a higher temperature rating than most home chefs will ever use.
The Lima collection includes 2 frying pans, 1 saute pan, 2 saucepans, a stockpot and a steamer basket which can all be purchased individually. The 12-piece set is all that you’ll need to outfit a basic kitchen, or you can select the 18-piece bundle to add a few helpful baking and prep tools to the mix.
The Chatham collection is a more durable take on Greenpan’s base model (Lima), and is priced slightly more expensive at MSRP.
Regardless of what nonstick cookware you choose, the durability of the food release agent used on the cook surface will probably be the first thing to go. For the Chatham collection, Greenpan has infused industrial-grade diamond dust into the ceramic coating to improve both heat transfer and scratch resistance.
While you still shouldn’t use metal utensils or stick this set in the dishwasher, the diamond infusion will be more resistant to regular wear and tear than the Lima.
The ability of the pan to heat quickly and evenly is also improved by the addition of diamonds, though aluminum without diamond dust also heats very quickly.
If you’re looking to add a splash of color to your kitchen, the Padova definitely can help you accomplish that goal. The attractive pastel (pictured above) gives this set a fun and friendly feel.
The benefit of this color scheme isn’t fully aesthetic. The white cook surface of the Padova pans can make a big difference in low-light kitchen environments. The light color adds contrast which can make it easier to see how your food is cooking.
If you plan on hanging your pans in plain view to store them, this can be a great set. I’ve also seen this line displayed prominently in short-term rentals that want to convey chic stylish value to visitors.
The Venice Pro collection uses a stainless steel base that gives the set a timeless look and makes it compatible with induction cooking.
You’ll find greater heat retention and balance with this set than the aluminum-based models mentioned above. The pots and pans will be slightly slower to reach the cooking temperature if you’re cooking on a gas or radiant electric stove.
The light gray cook surface adds a nice visual contrast against food, similar to the Padova. Some owners mentioned that the ceramic coating at the lip of the pan, where the lid rests, tends to be the first part to scratch.
The Levels collection is sized for easy stacking in economy kitchens. The entire set can be stored in small cabinet space, and stand at less than 10” tall when stacked together.
Levels also offer an
While Levels is advertised for convenient stacking, be sure that you order the pans correctly for storage. The whole point of the design is to minimize friction between the bottom of one pan, and the ceramic cook surface of the pan that rests beneath it. Less friction means a reduction in wear and tear.
What To Look For
If you’re looking for an alternative to PTFE non-stick, it’s likely that GreenPan was one of the first brands to arrive on your radar. The Belgian company specializes in ceramic cookware products that are offered a variety of price points. Most of their collections are distinguished by cosmetic features that don’t truly impact pan performance or durability.
Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind while buying.
All of GreenPan’s collections will work with traditional gas and electric stoves. This means they are compatible with about 85% of kitchens in North America.
If you plan on using your set with an induction stove, be aware that only the Venice Pro and Valencia Pro lines will be compatible with it. These two sets are built with stainless steel in the base, which is magnetic and will heat when exposed to the field cast by an induction stove.
One great advantage of the ceramic nonstick surface used by GreenPan is that all pots and pans are safe for oven use to 600 F. The lids will have a lower oven-safe temperature and generally aren’t intended for oven use.
Frying Pan vs Full Set
Most of GreenPan’s collections are available for purchase as a full set, partial set, or by individual pieces. Depending on how you cook, I would encourage you to underbuy pieces rather than splurging on items that you “might need.”
You’d be amazed at the diversity of meals you can prepare with only a few trusty dishes. For many people, think about what you cooked in the past 2-4 weeks and buy for those purposes.
With non-stick cookware, usually, the most important pieces are the frying pan and saute pan. Given that most owners are after convenient cleanup, and those are most likely dishes to get food stuck on.
For some kitchens that cook rice, pasta or grains often, it can be very convenient to have a functioning nonstick saucepan or stockpot.
My wife and I once received 15-piece nonstick cookware set as a gift from family after our wedding. It was something we wanted, and have since gotten a ton of use from, but at the time was a huge inconvenience because we never considered how to fit it into our efficient apartment.
Knowing what I know now, finding a set like the GreenPan Levels would have been a lot more practical for our needs back then. You can still get 6 or 11 pieces, but they are designed to stack in small spaces.
Stacking the other GreenPan sets, and nonstick cookware in general is a big “no-no.” The friction created between pans will easily scratch the non-stick cook surface. And once you have scratches, the lifespan of a nonstick pan tends to decrease rather dramatically.
Consider your available cabinet space, if you can add a pan stacker there to fit all of your pots and pans, or if a hanging solution may be practical in your kitchen.
Ceramic pans are not known for their durability.
Even the best products tend to scratch, chip or wear faster than other types of cookware. It is uncommon for a daily use ceramic pan to last more than 1-2 years. There are exceptions, of course, but this is the rule.
Ceramic vs PTFE
Ceramic cookware was developed over the past 20 years as a “safe” alternative to traditional PTFE nonstick cookware. You may also be familiar with PTFE by the popular brand name Teflon.
PTFE is one of the slickest substances on the planet and revolutionized the cookware world 60 years ago. Some studies suggested a connection between chemicals used in PTFE manufacturing and serious health conditions. Ceramic non-stick pans became popular as the public learned about these studies.
Ceramic pans use a silicon composite finish to prevent sticking.
This layer is baked atop the metal base of a pan at high temperatures. The properties of silicon are not as slick as PTFE, but a ceramic pan can provide proper food release for non-stick cooking.
You can read our deep dive into PTFE topics here.
Most people who ask this question want to know that GreenPan is free from PTFE, PFOA, cadmium, and lead. And it is. The Thermolon non-stick coating used on GreenPan’s products is derived from sand. It is heat resistant to 450 F, meaning that it won’t blister under normal cooking conditions.
The Cookware Company (TCC) has been adding brands to its collection of health-oriented products for almost 20 years. Greenpan was their original product. It was released on the heels of public discourse about the potential health impacts of PTFE manufacturing.
In 2019, a class-action lawsuit was filed against TCC alleging that GreenPan’s “toxin-free” claims are untrue.
The suit alleged that Thermolon non-stick coating contains other lesser-known toxins like silane, aluminum oxide, tetraethoxysilane, methyltrimethoxysilane, and potassium titanate. These consumer reports and allegations focused on the brand’s marketing language, more than product safety itself.
The lawsuit was subsequently dismissed because the plaintiff reached a settlement agreement.
In the filing, the plaintiff voiced Greenpan complaints based on the company’s position as a “healthy” brand, stating that “Products are not, in and of themselves, healthy, nor do they guarantee that the meals cooked in them will be ‘healthy.’”
Greenpan is a great product if you’re after convenience, and don’t care how long it lasts. Their sets are incredibly affordable, and look great compared with most other nonstick makers.
I’d recommend the 11-piece Valencia Pro set. It only includes practical pieces that you’ll actually use. The stainless steel construction is sturdy and offers great heat retention. It’s also compatible with induction ranges.
What is the difference between Greenpan and Greenlife?
With the original GreenPan, TCC set out to create the first consumer non-stick pan that was free of Teflon. GreenLife was later added as a sister brand in order to fill a gap in the price-conscious end of the market. GreenLife offers fewer features and is more aggressively priced, but is still positioned to appeal to health-conscious buyers.
Are there special steps to maintain a GreenPan?
Compared with other cookware materials, ceramic nonstick products like Greenpan makes are really easy to use and maintain. It’s worth getting familiar with the ways you’re ruining your nonstick pan since they are pretty easy to avoid once you know them.
Why can you not use olive oil in Greenpan?
Overheating and burning oil in your Greenpan is an easy way to decrease its nonstick properties. For that reason, you should avoid Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and other oils with a low smoke point. Most frying and sautéing operations apply heat at 350-400 F, so you’d be better reaching for a higher-heat oil like Grapeseed. The smoke point on many EVOO products is 325-375 F.