Plant-Based Non-Stick Pans: Gimmicky or Best Option?

CRYSTAL H.  | ,   |   Updated
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Considering the plant based non stick option in pans? The companies selling the product promote several eco-friendly reasons why this is a good option in non stick and healthy cooking. But is it just a sales pitch? I’ve purchased a pan to explore it’s performance. Here’s what I’ve found so far.

Having only just bought it, I’ve yet to put it to a proper test, but after a bit of research, here’s what I know so far… (update: I’ve since used it a few times and found it to work just as good as any nonstick skillet that I’ve used).

Features of plant based non stick cookware

The selling points or reasons that may tempt you to buy a plant based non stick pan:

  • Made from 75% recycled aluminium
  • Non stick inside and out means easy cleaning
  • Is recyclable, a cookware you can recycle
  • Scratch proof and extremely durable claims by manufacturer
  • Create healthy meals with no or less oil
  • Product is palm oil free
  • PFAO Free
  • Induction suitable — Steel induction base makes it ready for use on all hobs
  • Good heat distribution to reduce hotspots
  • Comes in a FSC certified packaging — no plastics
  • Soft grip stay cool handles
  • 5-year warranty
  • Italian made

What to be aware of

  • Only oven safe up to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2

Brand names in this range of eco cookware

In the US and UK, Prestige market this type of eco cookware.

Prestige tells us it has been designing and making kitchen products for over 80 years (established 1938).

What’s impressive about this eco range of Prestige is that they have partnered with TREE AID and for every one of these pans sold, they say they will donate to have one tree planted in Africa to help poverty there.

In other parts of the world, RACO sells a very similar product with virtually the same features / selling points. You’ll find this brand marketed in Australia. RACO tells us it has been around since 1948.

Instructions for stove top use of eco cookware

Induction cooktop

The plant-based cookware here fall into the nonstick category of cookware. They are also induction suitable cookware, meaning they have a magnetic base for use on induction cooktops.

The great advantage is that you can still use them on other types of cooktops, e.g., electric and gas. If you are like me and have an electric cooktop, when you upgrade to an induction in the future, you won’t have to worry about having to race out and buy a new pan as you’ll already have one to suit.

What to be aware of when using these on induction stove tops…

  • Make sure you match the ring size with that of the pan’s magnetic base rather than the rim diameter.
  • On an induction, these pans will heat up rapidly, so when preheating don’t leave it unattended.
  • Avoid prolonged overheating as this can damage both the cookware and the stove top.

Gas stove

With a gas stove, just watch that the pan is stable and positioned the best way. Especially with the smaller base types like the wok style pans. With these take care to ensure the base is positioned in the center of the supports that sit over the cooking element and that the handles are in a good place.

Don’t allow the handles to sit over the flame — position them away. The heat from the flame can deform them. Also, avoid high flames that extend up the sides. They will tarnish the exterior of the pan.

Ceramic / glass cooktop

Do not place the pan when hot on a cool ceramic stove top (AKA a glass cooktop). The makers of these plant-based nonstick cookware mentions in their instructions that it “can cause fusion of the pan to the stove top”. I haven’t tried it, so I can’t tell you how bad this is. I certainly don’t want to risk it.

The same as with all cookware types, especially cast iron, always lift the pan to move it. Don’t slide it or you may scratch your glass surface.

Another important point that applies to all cookware when using glass stoves, is to make sure there are no grains of salt or sugar or other food residue when you place the pan on the heat as it’s likely to leave hard to remove imprints.

Eco features

Recycled aluminum

The Prestige company claims that in using recycle aluminum they save an estimated 88% of the energy normally needed to make such a product as well lessen the emissions of CO₂ by an estimated 88%.

What I’ve found with the plant based nonstick Pan

This is what I’ve found so far.

Appearance and feel: The pan is comfortable to hold. The handle is long and feels good to grip when moving the pan around and from stovetop to counter — it’s ergonomically designed.

Weight: It is reasonably light, but it’s not the most lightweight pan on the market, if that is a must-have for you. The upside is that it’s sturdy and has a flat base that should serve to distribute heat evenly. It’s no heavier than my stainless steel frying pan of similar size, so it ticks that box for me.

Construction: Inside there are no rivets, which is good for hygiene and easy cleaning – rivets tend to collect grime around them and need extra attention when cleaning.

Style: Adding brightness or a splash of color to your kitchen is not a feature of this pan. The color, olive green with specks of black and cream throughout, inside and out, goes with the eco-friendly theme. It’s subtle and I have to say that I don’t mind the muted color in my kitchen.

Cooking: It performs like any other nonstick cookware.

Is plant-based non-stick safe?

The plant based compound is claimed by the manufacturer to be nontoxic to humans and the environment.

What is plant based non stick made from?

Plant based non stick coating of pans involves 5 layers of “extra durable non stick” reinforced with minerals.

According to the Prestige company, the plant-based non stick coating is a “vegan, plant-based compound which is nontoxic to human health and to the environment.”

The straightforward definition of a vegan product is: “it contains nothing produced by or derived from animals”. It’s a selling point for people conscious of these things. I would expect no animal products in cookware generally, so the product probably compares similarly to most in this respect.

If you’re wanting to know what is in the plant-based compound apart from being nontoxic or what are the type of the reinforcing minerals used, these are not apparent. Is it like ceramic non stick in that the coating does not contain PTFE (knowns as Teflon)? Not clear either. I’ll update as I find out more.

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