I appreciate nonstick, it’s so easy to use and clean up. The look can get a bit boring though. Yet if you are into healthy cooking, you may be concerned with the chemicals in traditional nonstick.
T-Fal, offer an alternative in the form of this good looking cookware set. This T-Fal Initiatives ceramic cookware review will tell you if these are the right pots and pans for you.
In short – this is a great ceramic cookware set and I’d recommend it. There are other alternatives that can also work well. Read on to find out what they are and why I recommend T-Fal.
What makes a great cookware set?
The most important questions I ask myself when looking at cookware sets are:
- Does it have lids to stop any splatter? I prefer see-through glass lids.
- Does it have the pieces I’m looking for?
- One or two saucepans
- At least one stockpot (also called a dutch oven)
- At least one frying pan, plus a sauté pan unless the frying pan is able to double duty
- A steamer
- Is it dishwasher safe? This isn’t such a big deal with easy to clean nonstick, where hand washing is quick.
- Do the handles have holes for easily hanging (storing) the cookware?
- Will it work well on my stove? Gas works with everything, electric stoves are variable and induction stoves need the right sort of pans.
- How easy is it to clean up?
Perhaps most importantly though I want a healthy and safe cookware set for my family. Traditional non-stick, is OK these days but PTFE-free ceramic is better.
T-Fal Initiatives Ceramic Cookware Set Product Review
T-Fal or Tefal?
T-Fal, also known as Tefal in Europe, is a manufacturer of high quality nonstick products. It’s very name is a portmanteau of TEFlon and Aluminium. This makes it interesting to see a T-Fal ceramic cookware set, which doesn’t use Teflon.
T-Fal Initiatives is T-Fal’s way of moving into ceramic nonstick cookware.
T-Fal Initiatives Ceramic Cookware
Is this T-Fal Initiatives Ceramic Cookware set a contradiction in terms then? I feel that it isn’t.
Teflon and similar nonstick contain a chemical called PTFE. This is food safe and I’m OK using it sometimes. Not everyone is though, and it’s always good to check out other options. I like to have non-Teflon cookware in my kitchen as well. Ceramic can offer a nonstick surface with superior heat resistance and a nicer look.
Yet not all ceramic nonstick cookware is actually Teflon-free. Sometimes it’s advertised as “PFOA-Free”. Yet PFOA was actually banned in 2015–it’s Teflon-free if it’s PTFE-free–which this ceramic nonstick cookware set is.
This 16-piece cookware set includes:
- A 7.5-inch fry pan and 11-inch fry pan (the latter comes with a lid and is more of a sauté pan)
- A1-quart sauce pan and a 2-quart sauce pan –both with glass lids,
- A 5-quart dutch oven with lid
- A 10-inch square griddle
- 6 nylon tools
If you discount the 6 nylon tools then it’s really a 10-piece cookware set. Discounting the lids, means there are 6 ceramic nonstick pots and pans included.
- Glass lids, including for a frying / sauté pan and sauce pans
- Useful 5 quart Dutch oven
- Genuine Ceramic Nonstick–PTFE(Teflon) and Cadmium free
- Great food release from the nonstick cooking surface
- Oven safe to 175°C (350 °F)
- Heat resistant to 300°C (570 °F)
- Heats evenly and efficiently
- Easy to clean
- Good quality, especially considering the price
- Quality heavy gauge aluminum used
- Oven safe to 175°C (350 °F) isn’t exactly high!
- Can’t use on an induction stove
- A bit slower to heat than traditional nonstick
- There are reports of these pans staining
- Not hard-anodized so not as durable
- Only one pan with lid
Or Continue to this T-Fal Initiatives Ceramic Cookware set review read to find out more
What do you get for your money?
Heat Resistance & Oven Safe
One of the advantages of ceramic pots and pans should be increased heat resistance, and these pans certainly don’t disappoint!
They are heat resistant to 300°C (570 °F), which is significantly higher than Teflon 260 °C (500 °F). I’ve seen ceramic go higher, but in reality this is probably as high as you need.
Where they do disappoint in terms of heat resistance is in the oven. Yes they are oven safe, but only to 175°C (350 °F). This is due to the material the handles are made of which isn’t very heat resistant.
That said I don’t normally transfer pans directly from the stovetop to the oven. This is a nice to have and generally cookware sets with good handles don’t do well in the oven on a high temperature.
If you want to use the pans in the oven at a higher temperature, then consider the T-fal Stainless Steel cookware set. It’s oven safe to 260 °C (500 °F). But at the time of writing it’s much pricier and it isn’t nonstick!
Is T-Fal Initiatives ceramic cookware safe? Traditional nonstick, like Teflon, uses a chemical called Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is food safe. There used to be some potentially nasty chemicals involved in the manufacture of PTFE nonstick, but not anymore.
So I believe Teflon is actually safe today. However not everyone agrees, and may be suspicious of PTFE. T-Fal ceramic nonstick is PTFE free.
So, is T-Fal Initiatives ceramic cookware is safe? It ticks the boxes, is from a reputable manufacturer and doesn’t use any known toxins, uses a ceramic coating, and doesn’t include Teflon. These pots and pans are safe..
Nonstick makes life easier, and sometimes is hard to manage without. If you want to flip a pancake, nonstick is essential. Even with nonstick my pancakes end up sort of folding in half instead of flipping some of the time!
The T-Fal Initiatives ceramic frying pan and the griddle included help with this. You can use either one to flip pancakes. Avoiding them folding is now a question of skill!
T-Fal have managed to create a ceramic coating with genuine nonstick properties here. I’d be happy to use this set instead of my normal nonstick pans.
This cookware set actually has T-Fal’s trademark Thermospot heat indicator. This is a red and black spot in the centre of the pan. Once the pan is at the ideal heat, the Thermospot will change to a red color–indicating the pan is ready for food.
Why is this Thermospot useful? If you add food to a cold pan, it’s more likely to stick. Yes, even on non-stick. The heat indicator tells you when the pan is ready. (Though add oil before heating to make sure not to overheat.)
Personally I don’t bother with heat indicators, after a while you get a feel for when the pan is read. The Thermospot is a nice training wheel, but nothing more.
Quick and Even Heating
According to T-Fal, their ceramic pots and pans distribute heat evenly and quickly. It’s true that they do so evenly, the ceramic coating helping here. This is useful as it makes it harder to burn food with hotspots.
However, some users report that this ceramic cookware can take a little longer to heat up than traditional nonstick.
Scratch and Stain resistant
T-Fal claim scratch and stain resistance for this ceramic cookware set. Since they also say not to use metal utensils, I am a bit skeptical about the scratch resistance.
In fairness to T-Fal, if you stick to wood / nylon / plastic utensils then these pans don’t scratch easily. Scratch resistant to everything but metal is the best you can hope for with nonstick cookware.
In terms of stain resistance there are mixed reports. It’s difficult to know why this cookware set stains for some users and not for others, but it might be due to overheating (see Looking after nonstick). Staining doesn’t affect functionality, but it is unsightly on the white ceramic interior.
This T-Fal Initiatives Ceramic Nonstick cookware set is dishwasher safe.
And let me tell you: When T-Fal say dishwasher safe they mean it. I often put my T-Fal pan in the dishwasher and it can certainly take it.
That being said, sometimes dishwashers ruin nonstick cookware, and over the long term, the dishwasher wears non-stick faster. This may be due to abrasive detergents, or putting a nonstick surface in contact with metal in the dishwasher.
You should be fine if you:
- Are careful how you arrange your dishwasher. Don’t put the ceramic nonstick surface in contact with anything.
- Don’t use abrasive detergents.
However, if possible, hand washing is best for nonstick cookware. It should be easy–isn’t that the whole point on nonstick?
An even heat distribution is important in cookware. It helps ensure there are no hot or cold spots. (This is somewhat of a problem with stainless steel for example.)
These pots and pans provide an even heat base, ensuring great cooking results.
This set seems to be quite durable for non-stick and you can expect a good few years use out of it, if you treat it right.
The heavy gauge aluminum construction is of a decent quality. Yet heavy gauge aluminum is actually second best to hard-anodized aluminum, which may impact robustness.
Other T-Fal Initiatives Ceramic Cookware
T-Fal Initiatives Ceramic Nonstick Pan
Not everyone needs a full cookware set. In my kitchen it’s one pan that gets the most use. If you feel the same way then consider this T-fal frying pan. It has the same ceramic interior as the Initiatives set reviewed above.
11.5 inches is quite big though. The advantage is that it’s big enough that 60-70% of the time this one pan is all you need. The disadvantage is you need somewhere to store it, and it can be unwieldy if you have other food cooking on the hob.
In a Nutshell:
- Great pan if you only need one
- It will wear through constant use
- Affordably priced
- Healthy, quality non-stick
- Part of T-Fal Initiatives ceramic nonstick cookware line
If you like a bit of color in your cookware then T-Fal Initiatives themselves offer similar cookware sets in blue and gold.
These sets have a different pan combination at a higher price. At the time of writing the “blue” cookware set was slightly higher, and the “gold” set was much higher. You should check the current price and decide if it is worth it. I would be reluctant to pay a steep premium for color that could fade anyway.
These sets seem to offer an extra pan, so three in total, but only one pan with lid. There are also two fewer nylon utensils.
In a nutshell:
- Ranges from slightly pricier to much more expensive
- Two colors on offer (blue / gold)
- Different pan combination
- Same ceramic nonstick material and quality
- Part of T-Fal Initiatives ceramic nonstick cookware line
You can find more ceramic cookware by other manufacturers in my ceramic cookware guide, or check out some specific alternatives below.
GreenLife offer a great ceramic set, with more cookware pieces, at a slightly higher price. The included steamer is a welcome addition.
Both T-Fal and GreenLife make high quality ceramic cookware. The main difference is that this GreenLife set comes in a range of beautiful colors on the outside. This looks nice, but there is a risk of discoloration over time.
I love the small one egg wonder frying pan that’s included. It’s cute, and I do like having a small fry pan to quickly cook something for myself.
In a nutshell:
- Slightly Pricier
- Similar quality
- Teflon-free ceramic coating
- More frying pans + a steamer included
- Beautiful range of colors available
- Not induction cooktop compatible
- 3 frying pans
Are you not convinced by ceramic? Then consider a T-Fal nonstick cookware set. T-Fal cookware is good in general and this nonstick cookware works well for me.
This set is more pricey, but in return offers more pans, including a steamer, though no utensils.
In a nutshell:
- Classic nonstick – you know what you are getting
- Has PTFE (which is food safe)
- More pans, including a steamer
- No utensils
- Significantly higher price
- Not induction cooktop compatible
Looking After Nonstick Cookware
Generally nonstick is easier to look after than many alternatives like cast iron. It won’t last forever but if you take care it should last years. Ceramic may sound tougher, but if you want to keep it nonstick then you should follow this advice.
- Keep the heat low – medium. On gas I suggest only using the medium burners. On electric keep it at 8 or below.
- Never heat the pan without anything in it. At least use a little bit of oil. The oil stops it getting too hot, and helps you tell when the pan is warm enough to add food.
- Pre warm the pan before dropping food in it.
- Don’t let anything metal, including utensils, touch the inside of the pan. This is also the case in the dishwasher – be careful how you arrange your nonstick ceramic cookware.
- Even if the cookware is labelled as diswasher-safe, hand washing as much as possible is preferable.
If you are uncomfortable with PTFE, or want nice looking cookware then ceramic could be right for you.
The most surprising thing for me is how much you get in terms of cookware and quality for the price you pay. This is the case with T-Fal, but also other products, like the GreenLife Ceramic NonStick Cookware set mentioned above.
Still this is a quality, healthy, non-stick cookware set at a sweet price point.