Cuisinart is well known in the realm of cookware and kitchen appliances. The brand offers a diverse selection of high-quality, affordable kitchenware. If you’re outfitting a new kitchen or needing to replace worn down pots and pans, it’s worth considering the Cuisinart Green Gourmet collection.
Over the past decade eco-friendly kitchen products have become more popular, and the ceramic nonstick cookware industry blossomed. Cuisinart was able to leverage the popularity of its food processor products to quickly build the trust of buyers when launching the GreenGourmet collection.
They matched a name that people trusted, with a new category of product that promises performance like traditional nonstick cookware while also being free from harmful chemicals and toxins.
We’ll take a closer look at the ceramic non-stick product category, and how this collection stacks up against the competition in our Cuisinart Green Gourmet Review.
Things to Consider Before Buying Ceramic Nonstick
Let’s quickly review ceramic nonstick cookware, in general, to get a better understanding of the things we’re looking for in a purchase.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of ceramic non-stick?
Traditional non-stick pans are coated with a compound called PTFE which is frequently known by the brand name Teflon. It is one of the slickest substances known to man, and offers exceptional food release when added to home cookware.
PTFE came under fire during a series of health and environmental issues starting in the early 2000s. As a result, the entire ceramic non-stick cookware category rose out of this controversy.
Over the past 20 years, many kitchens replaced PTFE cookware with ceramic non-stick alternatives. It is widely seen as a safer and healthier alternative to traditional non-stick cooking.
A PTFE-Free Option
Many kitchens choose ceramic in order to avoid toxic compounds used in the production of PTFE cookware.
Ceramic non-stick surfaces are typically constructed using sand and other natural minerals. Nearly every cookware brand has a patented and trademarked recipe for their “ceramic” coating. The name for Cuisinart’s signature coating is called Ceramica.
You may have seen “PFOA-Free” listed as a product feature for both traditional and ceramic cookware options. This chemical was widely used in the production of PTFE-nonstick for nearly a century before being linked to a variety of health issues and cancers. Although most manufacturers dropped PFOA from their production of PTFE, it was immediately replaced by similar chemicals like GenX.
Ceramic pans like Cuisinart Green Gourmet are free from PTFE and the “forever chemicals” like PFOA and GenX that have been widely used to produce it.
Slick and No-Stick Cooksurface
Most ceramic cookware owners are looking for good food release and easy cleaning. Ceramic is able to provide these capabilities, though usually not to the same level as traditional PTFE non-stick coatings.
You may be able to achieve similar food release characteristics with stainless steel or cast iron cookware, but it will come at significantly more cost and effort. Cast iron products are heavy, require regular maintenance and special seasoning to protect the iron from oxidation. Stainless steel is more resilient to corrosion, but like cast iron the material requires a significant amount of cooking fat to achieve a meaningful nonstick.
Even when food does stick, if you are cooking with a ceramic pan then cleanup should be significantly easier to manage when compared to cast iron or stainless steel.
Ceramic cookware is more affordable than most traditional nonstick offerings. It is also priced significantly less than other popular materials like cast iron, stainless steel, copper or clad cookware.
Most makers of ceramic cookware will offer their products as a full set, or for purchase as individual pieces. When packaged as a box set, most ceramic makers will price between $7-40 per piece included. Pricing is typically slightly higher on individually purchased pieces.
For comparison, a premium cast iron set from Le Creuset may retail for more than $200 per piece. All Clad stainless steel three-ply cookware starts closer to $100 per piece. And while there are some bargain bin Teflon options available like the Paula Deen Collection, most lines that we reviewed for this site start near $40 per piece.
If you are looking for the most affordable category of cookware that is non-food-reactive (like untreated aluminum might be), then ceramic is a great place to start.
One of the top owner complaints about ceramic coatings is related to durability. It’s uncommon to find ceramic cookware that will stand up for more than 2 years after regular use. And it’s worth noting that 2 years is not the standard. Many owners report a loss in non-stick performance after 6-months or less, especially in cases where manufacturer care instructions weren’t followed closely.
For comparison, we would expect most traditional non-stick cookware products using PTFE to last between 2 and 5 years before needing replacement. And while cast iron or stainless steel may cost significantly more, those products have a reputation that they can be passed down from one generation to the next.
If you do purchase the Cuisinart Green Gourmet set, or another ceramic non-stick option, be sure to read through the owner instructions before using. Although many ceramic products are advertised as safe for dishwasher cleaning and use with metal utensils, the manufacturer will often note these practices can shorten product lifespans. There may also be specific guidelines on what cooking oils are allowed for use with a specific ceramic set.
Most ceramic pans are also intended for cooking on low-to-medium temperature settings. Use of high settings can often damage most non-stick cookware, including traditional PTFE products.
Generally it seems that ceramic coating technology has improved over the past decade, but in many cases durability leaves something to be desired when compared with other cookware materials.
What is hard anodized cookware?
Most ceramic cookware is built atop a pressed or cast aluminum base. Some brands use hard-anodized rather than raw aluminum, such as Cuisinart has done with the Green Gourmet line.
Anodized aluminum is hardened electrochemically. In plain speak, this means the aluminum is dipped in an acid bath and then electricity is applied. This process oxidizes the outer layer of metal, and turns it from a soft substance into one that is twice as hard as stainless steel.
Raw aluminum is highly reactive with acidic foods like tomatoes. If your food touches a raw aluminum surface during preparation it will cause a chemical reaction which leeches aluminum into the food.
Hard-anodized aluminum solves this problem. It makes the material harder, more durable and non-reactive with food. It also provides additional scratch resistance and has natural non-stick properties to the cookware.
Anodized aluminum is an excellent heat conductor. Bases of this construction will heat quickly and are responsive to changes in temperature from your cook surface.
This is a strength of the material, but there are some associated drawbacks. If your cooksurface regularly fluctuates to achieve an average temperature, like some electric resistance burners do, this may cause meals to cook unevenly at times as your pan heats and cools with the burner. Other materials like cast iron are less responsive, but will also hold heat longer than aluminum.
Induction Stove Compatibility
Aluminum not suitable for use on induction stoves, which require the presence of a magnetic metal (like iron) to function properly. Some brands will fuse a plate of magnetic metal into the aluminum pan-base in order to achieve induction compatibility. This usually comes at extra cost.
Weight and Feel
Anodized aluminum has a lightweight feel. Some owners think that pans constructed atop a lightweight aluminum base feel flimsy to hold. Others prefer this sensation because it is easier to maneuver compared with heavier cookware like cast iron. The feel is really a matter of personal preference.
What are the most used pots and pans in your kitchen?
Before you make a purchase, take a moment to evaluate your needs and cooking style. Most kitchens own a variety of pots and pans, but use very few pieces on a day-to-day basis.
You will gain some “per piece” cost economy by purchasing a full set, but if most of those pieces won’t see regular use then it may be worthwhile to select only a few meaningful individual items instead.
Storage space is a key factor to consider since a tidy kitchen is often an effective kitchen. Do you have cabinet space for the cookware you’re considering? Many of the items in the GreenGourmet collection are built so that hanging storage is an easy option.
Also, consider the sizing of the cookware. For example, if you are regularly cooking for a family or large groups of people then select pots correspond with your intended portion sizes. Or if you like preparing multi-course meals, then you might consider investing in a full set to accommodate multiple dishes.
Here are some of the common pieces of cookware to look for in the GreenGourmet set and most kitchens:
- Grill pan
- Roasting pan
- Saute pan
- Dutch oven
Core Benefits Of Cuisinart Green Gourmet
Let’s break down the key features of Green Gourmet. We reviewed hundreds of pieces of owner feedback to distill into simple terms what owners like about this set, and what they wish was different.
Most people buy non-stick pans for the food release, and the Green Gourmet set has good nonstick performance out of the box. It performs similar to other brands of ceramic cookware we’ve reviewed.
This collection won’t successfully cook gentle foods like egg or fish without a small addition of oil or fat, which is to be expected. In our experience only PTFE-based products actually perform that way. If you’re willing to sacrifice a small amount of non-stick ease for the overall health benefit and peace of mind, the fact it requires a little oil seems like a small consequence.
No special seasoning or care is required to get started or activate the non-stick surface.
While GreenGourmet’s hard-anodized aluminum base will last a long time, what most people care about is the ceramic non-stick coating on each pan’s cooking surface.
Many owners report that the non-stick capabilities of the frequently used items in this set, mostly the frying pan, seem to decline greatly after 6-months of regular use. We also uncovered a number of situations where an owner was initially pleased with GreenGourmet’s nonstick, but eventually decided to replace their set within 11-12 months of purchase.
Obviously, there isn’t a non-stick pan on the market that will last forever. Even those pieces that are obsessively cared for will eventually wear out. We find that most ceramic cookware has a lifespan of 6-12 months of regular use, similar to Cuisinart GreenGourmet. It has average durability.
If durability is priority for you, you might consider a cast iron or stainless steel product. The price points are generally much higher, but they’ll last a lifetime. If you are sticking with ceramic cookware for another reason like affordability, nonstick, or materials safety we’d also recommend checking our review of The Rock by Starfrit. That collection is smaller, but we found many cases where The Rock lasts 2 years or more.
Aluminum is an excellent heat conductor, and because this set is hard-anodized it also performs effectively on high temperatures or in the oven to 500 Fahrenheit. Because there is no cast iron or steel included in the base, it is not suitable for use on induction cooktops.
The heat distribution is fast and even. Because this set is incredibly responsive to changes in burner temperature, it may not be suitable for use on volatile cooktops for some meals.
For example, if you use an old electric stove with resistance coils, the pan may heat and cool at the same rate as the coils. For this reason, you might consider acquiring a cast iron dutch oven to compliment your non-stick set for meals that require long exposure to consistent temperatures.
The overall appearance of the GreenGourmet set is sturdy and attractive. The coloration is composed of a classic and professional looking black with stainless steel accents. If you’re seeking a splash of bright colors look to another brand like GreenPan instead.
The individual pieces are hefty without being too heavy. For example, the 10” GreenGourmet fry pan weighs roughly 1 lb. Compare that with 1.4 lbs for T-Fal’s Ceramic Collection or 6 lbs for the popular Le Creuset 10” Skillet.
Lids & Handles
The lids and handles are built from 70% recycled stainless steel, which offer a cool touch and classic look. All of the cooking vessels in this set, except for the fry pan, come with a lid.
While the overall look is attractive, especially at the riveted joint where handles meet the base of the pans, the stainless lids do obscure your view of covered items. We would prefer glass lids to monitor food as it cooks, but these will work fine for most kitchens.
In some cases, owners said it was difficult to clean food residue that built up around the handle rivets. There are some reports of faulty rivets that required replacement after light use on GreenGourmet products, but it seems that the production issues causing this issue were resolved in 2010. We weren’t able to uncover any recent cases related to this issue.
Is Cuisinart Green Gourmet safe?
Cuisinart’s Ceramica nonstick surface uses a water-based ceramic coating to create food release. It is free from controversial PTFE material that is used in traditional non-stick pots and pans. Ceramic nonstick is widely viewed as a healthy alternative to traditional non-stick materials.
Does Cuisinart offer a warranty?
Cuisinart offers a lifetime warranty on all products, tools, and gadgets. The company states that all products are warranted to be defect-free in workmanship and material under regular home use throughout the consumer’s lifetime. Cuisinart will repair or replace any defective cookware products free of charge, besides shipping and handling.
To utilize the company’s warranty service, owners can contact the company in a variety of ways:
- Calling the Customer Service Center via phone: 1-800-726-0190
- Write a letter via mail to the Customer Service Center: 150 Milford Road, East Windsor, New Jersey 08520
A Look at the Line
Here’s a closer look at some key pieces from the Cuisinart Green Gourmet line:
The hard-anodized aluminum skillet protects against scratches and peeling because of its ceramic-based surface. Not only is the surface water-based, but it is also free of PFOA and PTFE. The skillet also conducts heat effectively, conserves energy use, and makes it safe for the broiler and oven.
Many consumers remark how the pan is ideal for sticky foods like eggs, without spray or oil. The pan also cleans easily and will not put you in danger for carcinogens. The only downside of this skillet is its longevity because it rarely lasts over a year.
The square grill pan contains a stay-cool, riveted stainless-steel handle. The base includes a 12-inch hard-anodized aluminum surface. There are also groves throughout the interior so that your food will not slide while you cook.
This pan is perfect for cooking chicken breasts and steaks indoors, instead of going outside to use the grill. A lot of consumers rave about how effectively the pan spreads heat from the burner. One knock on the product is that it does not perform well for high-heat cooking.
The sauté pan gives you many cooking options, including browning, sauteing, simmering, and much more. The petroleum-free interior helps eliminate oil consumption and protect the environment. The tri-ply construction partners an aluminum alloy core with a stainless-steel interior and exterior.
Many owners love that this sauté pan helps prepare stews, soups, and curries effectively. The non-stick surface makes for easy cleanup, and the size is perfect for all groups. Durability is the only thing that comes into question because the non-stick properties wear off after 5-6 months.
The Green Gourmet saucepan offers another non-toxic, non-stick pan for your environmentally friendly cooking needs. Not only does this saucepan clean easily, but it also distributes and retains heat effectively. The only downside of the product is that it is lighter in weight than most people expect. The ceramic coating also fails to hold up after a month of use.
The Green Gourmet stock pot is a hard-anodized aluminum pot with a non-stick coating for all food types. The riveted handles keep the surface cool because of the 70% recycled stainless-steel. A key feature is a lid, which securely fits on top to help trap moisture, heat, and nutrients.
The 4-quart Dutch oven’s hard-anodized aluminum base provides a superior level of heat distribution. The solid stainless-steel grips on the size provide ample width for thicker potholders. Many owners enjoy how easy it is to clean. If you are entertaining guests and need a larger pot to cook food for the group, this is the perfect solution for you.
This versatile stir fry pan is constructed of hard-anodized aluminum, paired with a ceramic non-stick coating. This wok’s depth is large and provides a large space to mix vegetables, meats, and other tasty ingredients. The sleek exterior and stainless-steel handles give a quality appearance. The only downside for some consumers is the heavier weight, which makes it tough to maneuver.
The Green Gourmet griddle contains a double-burner design consisting of hard-anodized aluminum for faster, evenly distributed heating. This griddle offers a surface area perfect for cooking bacon, pancakes, burgers, and other tasty foods. The convenient spout at the corner helps you pour out any oil after sizzling bacon.
Depending on your cooking needs and kitchen capacity, you can order these cookware items individually or through sets. If you are moving to a new home and need to revamp your cooking tools, it would be best to explore its different cookware sets. Cuisinart offers both 10-piece and 12-piece sets for your needs, and each comes with all the items listed above.
While Green Gourmet cookware will not surpass the more luxurious brands on the market, it is a good option if you’re equipping a new kitchen on a budget.
The non-stick performance is pretty good, but it won’t last forever. As discussed more extensively in this article, you will trade best-in-class food release and some durability by choosing ceramic over traditional non-stick. That is a tradeoff that our kitchen would choose in order to avoid the potential health and environmental consequences of PTFE cookware.
Given the sheer volume of cooking done in our kitchen, and that we are pretty hard on our gear, this set probably wouldn’t be an immediate buy for us. Durability of the fry pan would be a concern for our day-to-day usage, and for our kitchen I would prioritize durability over convenience in this scenario.
With that said, every kitchen is different and not everyone runs a cooking site. This set is certainly convenient and affordable compared to alternatives. It could be a great fit if you’re prioritizing health and affordability, just getting started, or don’t intend to use the pans multiple times each day.
To learn more about GreenGourmet and see up-to-date pricing click here.