Today, ceramic is one of the best options for saucepan, as it’s nontoxic and easy to use. Plus, it tends to be more eco-friendly (and comes in a range of colors and styles).
A saucepan should be made of thick high-quality stainless steel and have a heavy bottom that ensures even heating. This is important, especially for making delicate egg-based custards but also comes in handy for everyday cooking tasks like making oatmeal and rice
A saucepan can bring you oatmeal for breakfast, soup for lunch, and tomato sauce for dinner. It’ll be there for you for small tasks too, like boiling eggs, steaming rice, and whipping up boxed Mac-and-cheese for your niece who’ll eat nothing else. In short, a medium-size saucepan is a tool that evens the most bare-bones kitchen must-have.
I’ll also discuss the pros and cons of common cookware materials, including:
Traditional Non-Stick Saucepans
- What are thermions?
- Stainless Steel Pans
- Cast Iron Pans
- Eco-Friendly Cookware Accessories
- How We Tested
- What are the materials?
- Does the pan heat evenly?
- Is it easy to pour from?
- What’s the price?
When you’re looking to replace anything in the home, it’s always worth looking into how environmentally friendly it is. You might not have considered that any saucepan could be bad for the environment or your health but the existence of ‘eco-friendly saucepans’ seems to dispute that. So are eco-friendly saucepans a thing? If so, what makes them eco-friendly?
To be truly eco-friendly you have to look not only into the material something is made from but the ethics of the company as well.
Traditional Non-Stick Saucepans
It’s the non-stick surface that is probably not great for you or the environment. Although a non-stick pan is easy to clean and you need less oil or butter to cook, the cheaper pans will start flaking and those flakes will end up in your food, and you. If the pan overheats you also risk releasing toxic fumes into your home.
“Most nonstick pans are coated with polytetrafluoroethylene, also known as Teflon. Fortunately, most manufacturers of nonstick pans have phased out the use of perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA, which is a suspected carcinogen.” – Scientific American
If you’re trying to live plastic free, then you should be avoiding Teflon.
2. What is Thermion?
From the Green pan website
- Thermion™ is made from a sand derivative that does not require the use of toxic chemicals like PFOA or PFAS during the production process.
- Thermion™ is heat resistant up to high temperatures (as high as 450°C), it won’t blister or release toxic fumes.
- (The) coating is a great heat conductor. That means you can cook at a lower heat setting and save energy. What’s more, your pan will get to temperature quickly and cook your food more evenly.
- 60% less CO2 is emitted during the curing phase of production of Thermolon™ coatings, compared to the emissions during the curing phase of production of traditional coatings.
3. Cast Iron Pans
You have to be prepared to put in a little extra work if you buy cast iron pans. For a start they’re heavy, and they can be difficult to clean. You also have to get used to the ‘cast iron pan ritual’ to properly look after them. Wash them while they’re still warm with hot water and a stiff brush or a sponge. You should then dry the pan with a towel and coat it with some oil. Some people love cast iron cookware, but you do have to be prepared to ‘season’ them and have strong arms. They can also be very expensive
4. Stainless Steel Pans
If you’re on a very strict budget, then stainless steel pans are your cheap and eco-friendly saucepan. They aren’t non-stick of course but they’re perfect for cooking pasta, rice, and vegetables. Try to buy stainless steel pans that don’t have plastic handles. There are lots around that you can choose from.
5. Eco-Friendly Cookware Accessories
If you’ve just bought yourself a lovely new set of saucepans and cookware make sure you also buy eco-friendly kitchen utensils like spatulas and spoons.
As with anything else, don’t throw away the pans you already own to replace them with eco-friendly saucepans, wait until you need to buy new ones. My advice is to invest in good quality cookware that will last a lifetime, and even for generations if you look after it.
If you’re looking to buy new kitchen appliances, take a look at these eco-friendly ovens as well.
6. How We Tested
To test the saucepans we devised a list of their primary uses like heating soups, poaching eggs, and “whisk jobs,” like making polenta or caramel sauce. They should heat evenly and thoroughly, and you should be able to cleanly pour a thin liquid from the saucepan into a bowl.
7. What are the materials?
Tri-ply means that there are three layers of metal in the construction of the pan—typically steel sandwiches, a layer of aluminum or copper (we ruled out copper in these tests because of its significant added expense). The combination of metals means utilizing the best properties of both: aluminum for its ability to heat up quickly and evenly, and steel for its durability. Most models we tested were fully-clad, save the less-expensive models.
Does the pan heat evenly?
A saucepan should be made of thick high-quality stainless steel and have a heavy bottom that ensures even heating. This is important, especially for making delicate egg-based custards but also comes in handy for everyday cooking tasks like making oatmeal and rice.
9. Is it easy to pour from?
Almost all the models we tested had a rounded lip designed to facilitate clean pouring from saucepan to bowl. We also tested pouring the thicker lemon curd, and it proved especially important—the one pot we tested that had a straight lip created quite a mess, with sauce dripping down the outside of the pan. One model had a spout carved into the lip, which seemed like a good idea at first but soon felt limiting because left-handed people will want the spout on opposite sides.
10. What’s the price?
A simple mechanism like a stainless-steel pot shouldn’t have to cost a fortune. Still, we wanted high-quality materials and nice, sturdy construction.
Now that you know a bit more about eco-friendly saucepans, you are ready to make your first purchase. Remember to make your investments slowly and with plenty of consideration, and to celebrate your transition to an eco-conscious lifestyle. As long as you are aware of your impact on the environment, you are going down the right path.