Back before non-toxic and eco-conscious cookware buzzwords were everywhere from Williams Sonoma to Target, GreenPan was already on the front lines of green kitchenware innovation. An industry leader in durable, sustainable nonstick, GreenPan's ceramic cookware is non-toxic and made to last.
Unlike brands using toxic nonstick – or less durable ceramic nonstick, which wears out easily and may find itself in landfill when it's lost its non-stickiness – GreenPan has invested heavily in R&D to craft a non-toxic, ceramic product that's far more durable than the rest. And what's more, GreenPan owns every step of its manufacturing process, adopting environmentally friendlier processes without the red tape of a fragmented supply chain. It's no wonder it's one of the foremost names in non-toxic nonstick cookware.
GreenPan Is the Ceramic Nonstick Innovator
GreenPan is committed to environmental stewardship and product safety.
"Green is our name," says GreenPan rep Madison Oakley. "We're constantly working to live up to our name."
It all began back in 2007, when GreenPan introduced Thermolon: the original healthy ceramic nonstick alternative to traditional nonstick and the very first without any plastic, PFOA, or PFAS. Here at OA, we've delved into the dangers of these forever chemicals before (check out our timeline of the ugly history of traditional nonstick to find out more), but the Cliff's Notes version is that almost all traditional nonstick pans get their slipperiness from PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) coatings.
First introduced commercially as Teflon in 1949, PTFE is relatively stable... to a point. Once it reaches temperatures of 500 degrees or more, PTFE begins to decompose and emit toxic chemicals that can lead to flu-like symptoms. While the FDA states that the PFAS chemicals in question won’t migrate to our food via nonstick cookware, there is a far more concerning history of these chemicals being dumped into our waterways and finding its way into our bodies. How these chemicals should be regulated is still very much a work in progress.
GreenPan is different. Its Thermolon coating is made from the same minerals that have been used to make glass and pottery for centuries, producing no toxic fumes while conducting heat better than traditional nonstick. The result? These pans take less energy to produce, and you use less energy to achieve the same results with your fried eggs and pancakes at home.
Instead of plastic, the raw materials of Thermolon are derived from sand. Using a proprietary Sol-Gel procedure, this sand derivative is turned into a solution and sprayed directly onto the pan, which is then cured using a process requiring 60 percent fewer CO2 emissions than traditional nonstick.
And that's not all.
GreenPan’s Environmental Stewardship
GreenPan's factory runs on 30 percent solar energy, and all of the company's products are made with recycled aluminum. The company even has its own wastewater treatment plant to fully control its use of this essential resource.
"We own our factories. We know the DNA of our products," says Oakley. "We make our coating, we make our pans, and we make sure every product lives up to our standards. We don’t have to wait for the industry to change to do something about it – we are the change."
And they stand by their word! Upon OA's request, GreenPan even provided a copy of third-party lab tests, proving compliance to California's Prop 65 standards. And the company is always looking for the next step to do better by its consumers and the planet.
"We’ve won dozens of awards for our dedication to our workers and the environment," adds Oakley, "but we are always working to make healthy products better for everyone."
We Put GreenPan to the Test
We can definitely get behind the eco mentality of these pans… but do they stand up under fire? According to OA founder and EIC Laura Klein, the answer is a resounding yes! Unlike other ceramic nonstick, which unfortunately often ends up being less durable, GreenPan stands the test of time. Klein has been using her SearSmart Collection five to seven times a week for over a year and has seen no such degradation of its slick surface.
"My mother lives with me and pretty much refuses to not use metal utensils on any pan," says Klein, who notes that not only do the pans remain scratch-free, they're also still as slick.
"I’ve tried A LOT of other nontoxic non stick lines, and most start to lose their slickness in as little as three months," says Klein. "I then end up recycling them in six, and have to buy another set, which I don’t like. It's a waste of time and money and has a heavier impact on the environment producing more waste. After about a year, these two collections have survived the 'The Mom Test.'"
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Oakley notes that SearSmart's durability stems in large part from the efforts of GreenPan's 15-member R&D team, which works tirelessly to push innovations further.
"We’ve created seven generations of Thermolon, each a culmination of years of study and experience," she explains. "We hold over 150 patents for technological advancements designed to make cooking easier and better for everyone. And we know for a fact our technology makes our pans better. We have a dedicated in-house testing lab, in addition to our third party testing lab, that compares our innovations with other products on the market."
And they're willing to guarantee it, with a two-year warranty on all coatings.
With all of those generations of Thermolon, however, it can be tough for consumers to navigate the different collections. The most advanced currently offered by the brand are Valencia Pro, Venice Pro/Noir, Reserve, and SearSmart. Klein relies on SearSmart for searing veg and consciously raised meat.
"The rough texture is great for searing, and can withstand higher heat which most nonstick cookware can not."
The Reserve Collection is another of our favorites that Klein prefers for delicate tasks like making omelets or fish. It's a kitchen stalwart thanks to its durability and overall design.
"I chose the black," says Klein. "I like the minimalist look and they don’t take up a lot of space in your cupboards."
When considering which line to buy, we recommend these upper-level collections to reap the full benefits of GreenPan. As GreenPan is always improving on their ceramic coatings, these collections with the newest coatings are more durable and less likely to scratch or wear over time in our experience.
Best Use for GreenPan’s Ceramic Cookware
GreenPan is one of the only ceramic nonstick cookware we've found that can transition easily from stovetop to oven, up to 600°F, rendering your seared filet mignon perfectly pink in the middle.
These pans are also safe, for use with metal utensils (though they're happier with wood – check out our favorite wooden spoons here), and while it's better to wash them by hand, if you'd rather throw it into the dishwasher after a dinner party has happily lasted into the early hours, they won't suffer the occasional gentle wash cycle. The Reserve and SearSmart pans are specifically built to withstand a bit of wear and tear!
All in all, we recommend adding GreenPan to your regular rotation as the perfect pan for recipes that require low to medium heat (or a bit more, for the SearSmart line) and quick release. Think sole meunière, gooey grilled cheese, or the perfect gluten-free quesadillas.
And if you need more guidance on which pans to choose, check out our cookware quiz!
Our Favorite GreenPan Collections
These are the collections our EIC, Laura Klein, has personally tested for performance and durability. They are also the latest collections, which include GreenPan’s most recent iteration of Thermolon, the trademark name for their ceramic nonstick coating.
The SearSmart Collection
The Reserve Collection
*Affiliate disclosure: Our team researched far and wide to find safe and clean bakeware options you’ll love using for all kinds of sweets and treats. If you make a purchase after clicking our links, Organic Authority may earn a commission, which goes a long way to support the good work our team does and reduces the number of ads we serve (as well as our Valrhona Chocolate habit.)
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