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Caraway cookware review: Is the set worth it?

Caraway cookware review: Is the set worth it?
Posted at 12:03 PM, Mar 28, 2024

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My curiosity about Caraway cookware started with a targeted Instagram ad. Solid colored pots and pans beautifully organized in kitchen cabinets, complete with a hanging cream-colored canvas holder for the lids, began showing up in my feed. Meanwhile, in my own kitchen, I was dealing with the clang and clatter of mismatched pots and pans each night as I played a game of Tetris shoving them back in my cupboards after I was done washing them.

The organizational bliss of this Instagram-famous matching set with a smart organization system is what piqued my interest. So, when my mom asked what I wanted for Christmas in 2022, I showed her the Caraway cookware, and she chipped in. Little did I know that this hardworking set would not only make my kitchen super organized, but the pieces would also make me a better home chef. Even better, it majorly cuts down on the time I spend washing dishes.

caraway cookware set
Caraway

$595 (was $745) at Caraway

I also built out my set this December by adding theCaraway 11-piece Bakeware Set. It comes with baking sheets, pans, a loaf pan, a muffin tin and more, plus organization caddies.

The Caraway sets are definitely expensive. But is Caraway cookware and bakeware worth it? Here’s my review after using the cookware set for more than a year. I’ve baked cookies, a cake, muffins and biscuits with the bakeware over the last couple of months.

What Is Caraway Cookware?

caraway set with minis
Caraway

The majority of pans that fall into the “nonstick” category use polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), known by the brand name Teflon. It helps you flip over a fried egg without it sticking to the surface or lift your delicate salmon filet without the skin clinging to the bottom of the pan.

However, in recent years, consumer groups have voiced growing concerns about the chemicals in Teflon. Current research shows that Teflon is safe until it reaches temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point it can start releasing harmful gases.

Caraway’s founder Jordan Nathan says he was inspired to launch the brand after he claims to have gotten “Teflon flu” from mistakenly overheating a Teflon frying pan. So if not Teflon, what is Caraway cookware made of? Nathan went on to create ceramic-coated aluminum cookware that doesn’t contain any PTFE  — nor does it use chemicals like lead or cadmium that could leach into your food.

About eight out of 10 non-stick cookware pans are using Teflon, so the fact that Caraway isn’t helps set the brand apart.

While the brand has expansive offerings, I personally own the Cookware and Minis set which includes:

  • Storage
  • 10.5-inch fry pan
  • 3-quart saucepan
  • 4.5-quart saute pan
  • 6.5-quart Dutch oven
  • 8-inch mini fry pan
  • 1.75-quart mini saucepan

And the 11-piece bakeware set which comes with:

  • Two storage containers
  • 8-by-13-inch baking sheet
  • 15-by-10-inch baking sheet
  • 12-cup muffin pan
  • 13-by-9-inch rectangle pan
  • 18-by-13-inch cooling rack
  • 9-inch square pan
  • 9-by-5-inch loaf pan
  • Two 9-inch circle pans

Pros and Cons

caraway cookware organizer
Brittany Anas

I’ve mostly enjoyed cooking and baking with my Caraway sets, but do have a few notes for fellow home chefs.

For background: I travel about a week out of every month for work, but when I’m not on the road, I love cooking at home and enjoying leftovers throughout the week. I make breakfast most weekday mornings and use pots or pans for lunches a few times a week. I make dinners (often pulling out two to three pots or pans) about three times per week.

Here’s where I’ve landed with the Caraway pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Organization: The organization system is smart, with the magnetic pan holders helping to keep everything upright. The bakeware caddies are well-designed.
  • Nonstick: The nonstick claim holds up. I’ve found my proteins easily glide across the pans and cookies lift easily from the baking sheets.
  • Even Heat Distribution: I’ve noticed with both my cookware and bakeware pieces, the heat distributes evenly for consistency across dishes and baked goods.
  • Easy Dishwashing: Any food residue is easily removed from the cookware, making dishwashing a breeze.
  • Aesthetics: If you love a matching set, Caraway makes it easy with its gorgeous colorways.
  • No Teflon: None of us want to be cooking with toxins. The ceramic coating Caraway uses is proprietary, but the brand doesn’t use any Teflon in its products.
  • Minimal Oil: Because the cook and bakeware are nonstick, Caraway explains you can use a tiny amount of oil or fat when cooking. This doesn’t persuade me much because I’m a fan of cooking with healthy fats, especially high-quality olive oil, but maybe it’s still a pro because it saves a little money.

Cons:

  • Price: The price point for Caraway sets are high, though they’re often on sale. All nonstick coatings — Caraway’s included — will wear off over time. Caraway doesn’t specify how long their nonstick pots and pans last, beyond saying “years.”
  • Need Space for Proper Organization: The organization system requires some serious cupboard space or extra counter space.
  • The Adhesive Hooks Can Wear Down: The adhesive hooks that hold the lid organizer (and lids) that came with my cookware set lasted about 10 months before they started sliding. I replaced them with some plastic Command hooks from Amazon that can hold up to 2 pounds and they’ve been working well.
  • Low Heat: Caraway recommends cooking on low to medium heat, explaining that ceramic can hold heat more efficiently than traditional pans. This took me a while to adjust how I cook some of my staple dishes. The downside here, though, is I can’t use the pans to get a good, high-temp sear on steak or fish dishes.
  • Not Dishwasher Safe: Caraway items have to be hand-washed, so you can’t just toss your pans in the dishwasher. However, I’ve always avoided putting my pans in the dishwasher to help extend their life and the Caraway pieces are very easy to clean.
  • The Lids Get Loose: After a year of use, I’ve had to tighten the screws on a couple of the lids.

Performance

Caraway pot cooking soup, and a caraway pan cooking eggs and sausage.
Brittany Anas / Simplemost

Up until now, I had been cooking with a hodgepodge of budget-friendly pots and pans that I bought individually or as part of sets. They were way past their prime. Given how much I cook (and how much I enjoy baking, even if I’m not great at it!), I wanted to invest in some higher-performing cookware and bakeware.

These are the top pieces I use, and how they’re performing:

Fry Pans

chicken katsu in caraway pan
Brittany Anas / Simplemost

One of the first things I cooked in my 10.5-inch fry pan was chicken katsu (a fried chicken cutlet, breaded in panko) to accompany a ramen dish. I was delighted at how evenly the pan cooked the two cutlets I was making. I was also able to get the chicken nice and crispy without burning it.

I tend to make the same-ish breakfast every morning (some sort of egg scramble with a veggie and chicken sausage) and the 8-inch fry pan has been a workhorse in my kitchen for the last year. The fry pan retains high heat, and I noticed that my scrambled eggs are done in under two minutes on a low-to-medium heat setting. This makes it really quick to whip up a home-cooked breakfast each morning.

Sauté Pan

This is the piece in the collection that won me over. I love French onion soup and have tried for years to make a decent one at home, only to end up with my mandolin-sliced onions stuck on the bottom of the pan and onions that are somehow simultaneously limp and burnt.

My Caraway sauté pan has consistently executed beautifully caramelized onions for several French onion soups. Plus, I like the slightly sweet onion to add on top of a steak or sneak into a sandwich to up the flavor.

I use this piece to make burst tomatoes (my favorite addition to pastas) as well as sautéed bell peppers and onions for fajitas, one of my go-to weekend dishes to pair with margaritas. I also use it to make mirepoix (diced carrots, onions, celery) that I sauté in butter to add to soups. This is my go-to pan for getting the job done without little veggie bits sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Dutch Oven

soup in a caraway dutch oven
Brittany Anas / Simplemost

I’m not a big meal prepper, but I do love to make a soup every Sunday that I can enjoy for lunch throughout the week. Often, I’ll make a double batch so that I can give it to a girlfriend or my mom. They can freeze or have it on hand during a busy week. (Cooking is my love language!)

This Dutch oven has been great for the myriad of soups and chilis I’ve made. Recently, I made a chicken pot pie soup with a milk base (not the most photogenic soup, but definitely delicious!). Inevitably, when heating milk a bit of a ring formed around the pot. But as soon as it cooled and I went to wash it, the stain was gone.

One thing I love about this Dutch oven is that it has a small hole that lets steam escape while I’m simmering a soup. One warning, though: The lid handle of the Dutch oven gets really hot, which caught me by surprise — the previous Dutch oven I used had a silicone grip that wasn’t hot to the touch.

18-by-13-inch Large Baking Sheet

Chocolate chip cookies on Caraway baking sheet.
Brittany Anas / Simplemost

I’ve made several batches of cookies and some biscuits with Caraway’s large baking sheet.

Unfortunately, Caraway recommends against using any spray oils, which I usually use for baking. Instead, I use a little bit of butter to grease the baking sheet.

My cookies have consistently turned out nice and golden (just how I like ‘em). When I pull the sheet out of the oven I’m able to transfer them to the cooling rack that came with the set, and that’s a nice touch!

Everything I’ve made on the pan lifts easily with a plastic spatula.

13-by-9-inch Rectangle Pan

This green pistachio cake for St. Patrick's Day lifted so easily from the Caraway baking pan when it was done.
Brittany Anas / Simplemost

I mostly use the rectangle pan for my current lunchtime obsession: baked bell pepper “pizzas” that are filled with mozzarella and topped with crisped pepperonis. The cheese always melts over and I love how easy the pan is to clean, which is why it’s my go-to for this dish. The Caraway pans can handle 550-degree Fahrenheit roasting temperatures, but I’m rarely cranking up my oven over 400 degrees.

I also recently used the pan to make a green St. Patrick’s Day pistachio cake. When I sliced into the cake, it was super easy to pop out pieces with a spatula, leaving no crumbs behind!

Design

Aesthetically, the Caraway sets get an A. It’s hands-down the most beautiful cookware and bakeware set I’ve ever owned. My cookware set is navy and the bakeware is a lighter “slate” blue. I gravitate towards blues, so it’s a fit for my kitchen and dining area, which has a leafy blue palm wallpaper accent wall.

As far as the functionality goes, the stainless steel handles are easy to grip, though they get hot. I recommend keeping your oven mitt out for when you go to grab the saucepan to drain your pasta water.

I also appreciated that my sets came with biodegradable cork trivets so that I can move hot pans to the kitchen table.

Cleaning

My chores growing up included doing the dishes, and I remember the dread of washing a casserole dish that contained something like scalloped potatoes. “That one is a soaker,” my mom would tell me, which meant that my dishwashing duties would carry over to the next morning.

So, it’s no surprise that I love how it’s so easy to clean these nonstick pieces. I wait until my pots, pans or bakeware cool and then use warm, soapy water (I’ve been a fan of theDawn Platinum Powerwash Spray lately) to give them a gentle scrub with a silicone-based sponge. I find that any food debris easily lifts from the surface on its own or with a gentle scrub.

The key here, according to Caraway, is to use a non-abrasive sponge or dishcloth. If you’ve got a stain on the exterior of the pan, use something like a wool sponge to remove it.

After I wash my cookware or bakeware, I towel dry it and put it away until next time.

Storage

My Caraway Cookware set stored in a cabinet.
Brittany Anas / Simplemost

The storage factor was the reason I was so interested in Caraway in the first place. I’ve got an entire cupboard that’s large and deep next to my stove dedicated to the cookware pieces.

However, I currently don’t have enough kitchen storage space for the bakeware organizers set and have to stack my pans. I keep kitchen towels between the pieces to prevent any potential scratching. (I bought the bakeware set knowing we’d be moving into a new home this spring with a larger kitchen, so I look forward to setting up the organizer caddies).

If you don’t have much space in your cabinets for these pieces to stand upright in their storage containers, you could default to setting them on your countertops. In my case, though, that would take away workspace and make my kitchen feel a tad too cluttered.

Overall, though, I think the storage system is savvy, especially with the magnetic shelves that keep pans organized and easy to pull out of the cupboard when you need it.


Caraway cookware review: Is the set worth it? originally appeared on Simplemost.com