I spent years replacing the broken-down, mismatched housewares I'd accumulated between the ages of 18 and 34, only to look down while cooking dinner a month ago and realize I was once more scorching a misshapen pan my husband had stashed in the back of his pantry when I moved with him almost a decade ago.
We quickly decided on an upgrade just in time to be generously gifted a set of Caraway ceramic cookware in the apparently popular (we had no hand in choosing) Marigold! To be clear: A friend gave us this set, not Caraway, so I have no motivation to flatter them in any way they did not earn.
A little research showed the set was quite a bit more than we would have spent, but with several good reasons. They're made with non-toxic coatings that are fully free of PTFEs, heavy metals, lead, cadmium, and more, and they're crafted from non-stick ceramic with an aluminum core and stainless steel handles. While some cookware emits fumes that are potentially dangerous to humans over 300 degrees (F), Caraway won't do that and are oven-safe up to 550 degrees.
Upon opening, we were not expecting the rich but bold yellow shade that, upon first glance, did not remotely fit our dark-aesthetic home. The quality was obvious though, so we unpacked everything and took stock: a 10.5-inch fry pan, a 4.5-quart sauté pant, a 6.5-quart Dutch oven, and a 3-quart sauce pan. A woven lid holder and countertop divider that lets you stash the dishes neatly were also included, but neither were useful for our 20 or so inches of counter space in our Brooklyn kitchenette, so they're being employed elsewhere in the home for various uses until we get a bigger kitchen someday.
Our first shared impression as we ripped into the extra-large box was to blurt out in near-unison, "This is the nicest cookware I've ever seen." We were stunned at the generous gift and thankful we could begin our journey to cooking much nicer food at home – a routine we picked up during the pandemic. We've sustained that habit to date, but we were hitting some walls with our limited cookware without even realizing just how limited we were. Both of us are creative – he's a painter, I'm a drummer – and one thing you learn as an artist is to respect the tools you use to create and invest in the best when you can. With Caraway, we can finally apply this in the kitchen as well.
First up were the basic guidelines of maintenance with our new toys: We threw out our metal cooking implements, learned that Caraway pots and pans require only medium heat, and no oil is needed with the truly non-stick surface. It takes a few days to acclimate, but there was no harm nor foul when I accidentally used a fork to stir a gravy, and a little spray cooking oil didn't hurt anything outside of being wholly unnecessary for even a delicate Tilapia filet.
Over our month of ownership, I've gone from accidentally scorching stir-fries and sauces on a regular basis in our old pans to never worrying about caked-on, blackened tar sticking to any of the new guys. The evenness of the heat is astounding, and because of the thick ceramic construction, there are no hot or cold spots to worry about, even in areas not in constant contact with the range.
This is most abundantly clear when making a perfect omelet – a task I've never performed before in my life. I leave the pan on low to medium heat for a minute while I stir up the eggs and ready my fillings, then pour them into the pan directly, and drop my prepped fillings onto one side (not the perfect technique, but I'm trying), and everything cooks to perfection without getting too dark or crispy before folding.
I discovered while doing this that the pans conduct heat for long after the range is turned off, which comes in handy when you have a dish nearly finished but need to walk away for a few minutes. Just turn off the heat, plop a lid on the pan, and, depending on how long it needs, leave it on the still-warm burner or remove it altogether for continued light cooking inside the pan. My most frequent use of this technique is when melting cheese on vegetables or pasta, as the steam trapped inside turns it into a gooey, perfectly finished treat once I come back to dole out servings.
Cleaning is also a snap. I am used to soaking, scrubbing, and ultimately ruining pans, but I've done nothing of the sort since getting the Caraway set. Food slips right out of the cool gray interior, and I've yet to encounter any lasting stains or burns. I did overheat the outside of the sauté pan, but the small blackened blemishes on the underside are barely perceptible, even against the Marigold backdrop.
So far, my only issues have come with storage. This won't affect most folks who have more than a paltry half-kitchen, but the set does take up a decent amount of room. If you're also strapped for space, you can go the same route as us and donate or recycle your old pots and pans to free up space - count on the fact that unless you're cooking for a huge family, the Caraway cookware set is more than enough to handle all your needs.
The color, while not what I would have chosen for myself, is actually stunning and brightened our whole apartment. According to this Food & Wine piece from last year, Marigold is actually extremely popular and even sold out for a long time, and I can see why! It's cheerful and makes cooking feel joyous, less a task and more a nourishing ritual to be enjoyed with loved ones. I have concerns about how it will darken over time with use, but so far, so good.
Tl;dr: It's gorgeous, it feels expensive, and this set has encouraged me to experiment with new recipes confidently knowing there's basically no way they can turn out horrible thanks to these incredible pots and pans.
If you have the money and want to invest in cookware that will last you many years to come without the harmful chemicals, Caraway is the way to go. Plus they're currently on sale for $150 off the full set, so buy now to get the best value for your money!
Normally $545, you can now purchase the full set for just $395. The Marigold is lovely, as I mentioned, but click through to see their plethora of other rich colors that are sure to match your kitchen.