When it comes to cookware, I’ve seen it all.
The family heirloom cast iron that my dad assures me I don’t know how to take care of. The dinged up communal pan from college with screws coming loose. The shiny 18-piece stainless steel set at my parents’ house that hangs from the ceiling like a museum installation. And, worst of all, the Teflon-coated toxic sludge-fest of the coveted “non-stick…”
Look, I’m no top chef, but I genuinely enjoy cooking, and I’d like to have the right, simple tools at home to get the job done. So when I kept seeing Caraway’s curated ads for a “modern, non-toxic solution” with “simple, effective, and beautiful cookware,” I was interested… but still skeptical. In my experience with cookware, you just couldn’t have both form and function.
I bit the bullet anyway and bought my set about a year ago. And now, hundreds of cooked meals later, I’ve got a lot to say about this brand.
Taking Over the Internet Since 2019
If you’ve spent any time on Instagram in the past few years, odds are you’ve seen some of Caraway’s beautiful colorways and modern, clean silhouettes. This DTC brand popped up in 2019 and made a big splash with their non-toxic, ceramic-coated alternative to Teflon (and other harmful chemicals used to achieve a nonstick surface).
And what they set out to do has seemingly worked: the original cookware set has sold out over 15 times, and they’ve gone on to launch bakeware, a tea kettle, smaller pan sizes, and even a food storage line—which have all been very popular.
I’m usually wary about new products I find on social media, but I ultimately saw enough rave reviews that I figured it was worth a shot to test them out. After all, this snazzy set has revolutionized home cooking. Or so they say.
Turns Out, Everyone Was Right
The coveted Cookware Set comes in at a solid $395, which is probably why it’s become a mainstay on the internet’s wishlist. I wasn’t convinced that pans that cost this much would be worth it, especially after hearing some stories about how they don’t last or get easily stained. But, after using it for over a year now, I can tell you with absolute certainty that Caraway’s cookware is everything they say it is.
With a super handy, modular storage system that came with the set (and even a canvas lid-holder that pins to the back of my cabinet door), these pots and pans are always accessible and always used. Caraway somehow found a way to consolidate any kind of cooking method into just four staple pieces of cookware.
And after hundreds of meals cooked in them, they hold up great. The pans are an investment, and they need to be treated like one. I realized the stories of stains and wear and tear were just from improper use and care. Just following the guidelines on Caraway’s website will have these babies lasting as long as that family cast iron skillet. Looks like they do make ‘em how they used to, Dad.
The Cookware Care Commandments
Drawing from Caraway’s own guidelines on the website and my personal experience, I created my own list of what to do and what not to do with these beauties, if you wanna keep them beauties:
- Only cook on low to medium heat. Don’t worry, you can still get that perfect sear. If it seems like a disadvantage, it’s not: Caraway’s ceramic coating and aluminum base holds heat more efficiently than traditional pans. It heats up quickly and retains heat for a long time—on any stove top. Overheating it can damage the pan over time.
- Let the pan cool completely before rinsing. Taking these guys from the stove to the sink right away can cause thermal shock (aka your pans will crack). So try to relax. Don’t worry, the leftover food will come out effortlessly in due time.
- Avoid the sharp, pointy things. Metal utensils with rough edges can damage the coating. You could use rubber-tipped, silicone, or plastic products, but my favorite is wood. It also looks the best sticking out of your beautiful cookware.
- Chill out with the butter and oil. Because the pans are naturally non-stick, you need significantly less lubricant in the pan before you cook. Avoid cooking sprays, too, to preserve that slick coating.
Just Stick to the Plan (Not the Pan)
If you follow these simple rules, I guarantee your pans will feel just as new a year in as they did on day one. I was actually really impressed with how well the ceramic coating retained its “non-stickiness.”
Just the other day I made my mom’s famous risotto, and couldn’t help but thinking that this would finally be the day my pan lost its magic. Of course, it proved me wrong. Literally one swipe of a wet paper towel had my sauté pan looking squeaky clean, with no rice grains in sight.
Morning pancakes? Easy. Fried eggs? Forever flippable. Scared of a microwave’s radiation so you use the fry pan to reheat last night’s leftovers? Slides right onto the plate. (Anyone else?)
Allow me to be perfectly honest about this.
If I come to your dinner party and see the food come out of gross, cheaply made, toxic-coated pots and pans… I will judge. I wasn’t always such a snob, it’s just hard to imagine scraping by with (and scraping stuck food off of) anything less than Caraway.
Seriously, $395 seems like a lot of money, but if you make the investment and treat your pans as such, you’ll probably never have to pay for cookware again. Nothing lasts forever, but I have a feeling my Caraway pans are gonna have a long tenure in my now-tidy cabinet. Take it from me, it’s better to pay for the best of the best now and use it for a long time, rather than going back to the store every year for replacements.
And I’m here to confirm that Caraway’s cookware is, in fact, the best of the best. Go find your favorite colorway, and go quickly. If they still have it in their inventory, then it’ll be in yours for a long, long time.