Traditional, non-toxic, thermal shock-resistant ceramic cookware.
- Non-reactive to acidic foods
- Does not leach metal or any other substances into foods
- Newer CorningWare has a much lower tolerance for thermal shock
- Pure ceramic cookware
Original Corning Ware was around before most modern certifications. The company that now owns Corningware® isn’t very transparent about certifications, although they do say on their website that “Tests for the presence of heavy metals are conducted for Corelle Brands by internationally certified, third-party laboratories.”
Country of originUSA
Classic Corning Ware was introduced in 1958 and includes the instantly recognizable classic white ceramic casserole dish with blue cornflower logo. Made with Pyroceram, this pure ceramic cookware is non-reactive to acidic foods, does not leach metal or any other substance into foods, is non-porous, and is easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher. As such, it is excellent for cooking tomato sauces and white wine reductions and does not alter the flavor of food, unlike metal pots and pans.
And, unlike other types of ceramic, classic Corning Ware can be taken from the refrigerator or freezer and used directly on the stovetop, in an oven or microwave, or under a broiler, without risk of thermal shock and cracking or explosion. It can also be placed on a cool kitchen counter right from the oven, without worry that the ceramic will crack or explode.
Sadly, traditional Corning Ware is no longer manufactured, so you’ll have to look for items in thrift stores and online. Gently used older Corning Ware is becoming something of a collectors’ item.
Newer CorningWare® (note the name change) is actually stoneware, which shares many of the benefits of Pyroceram (easy to clean, non-reactive to acidic foods, can be used for cooking, serving, and storing food), but has a much lower tolerance for thermal shock and cannot be used on a stovetop. The lids of these dishes are also mostly made now with tempered borosilicate or soda-lime glass, which have a lower tolerance for thermal shock and cannot be used over or under direct heat. The original lids were made with Pyrex or Pyroceram. Modern Corning Ware now includes a stovetop-safe line manufactured in France by Keraglass/Eurokera for Corelle Brands.
So, if you are looking for pure ceramic cookware to use on a stovetop, go for Corning Ware (made prior to 2000), or CorningWare®’s stovetop range made after 2008, such as this limited edition Corningware Pyroceram Blue Cornflower 4-piece Glass Ceramic Cookware Set. Alternatively, check out the Emile Henry range of ceramic cookware.
As with all ceramics, Corning Ware is difficult to recycle. But, given that some items have already been around for half a century, chances are that with proper care, you can pass this cookware down to the next generation of cooks in your family.
Corning Ware cookware enables food to be cooked on a low heat because pure ceramic retains heat better than other cookware and distributes the heat more evenly. It takes a little longer to heat up Corning Ware than metal cookware, however (which is why it’s resistant to thermal shock). And, while it is not non-stick in a PTFE-coated fashion, Corning Ware has a smooth non-porous, ceramic interior, which makes it easy to cook with just a little bit of oil on a low to moderate heat.
Corning Ware is dishwasher safe, oven safe, stovetop-safe, and fridge/freezer safe, and can be moved between these without risk of cracking or explosion from thermal shock. It is also super easy to clean and if food does stick, it’s safe to use abrasive cleaners such as steel wool, baking soda, and even Ajax without risk of scratching the surface.
Original Corning Ware Vs. New Corning Ware
Original Corning Ware cookware is the best ceramic cookware around. It is made from tempered glass-ceramic, enables an excellent cooking experience on low to moderate heat, and is robust and long-lasting, so it gets a big thumbs up in terms of its environmental footprint. It is also lighter than cast iron and carbon steel, presents no risk of toxicity, can be used to cook a variety of dishes and looks good in the kitchen. Unlike seasoned cast iron and carbon steel, however, it is not non-stick, and it can take a little practice to get used to cooking with Corning Ware on the stovetop.
Unlike modern ceramics (including the new CorningWare® range and Xtrema® range), classic Corning Ware is not vulnerable to thermal shock and is likely to last for generations if properly cared for. The downside is that you’ll have to go hunting for Corning Ware in thrift stores, online, or at auctions as it is increasingly a collectors’ item. The Emile Henry range of ceramics, while carrying a heavier price tag, offers an excellent alternative, with a more modern look and feel than the classic blue cornflower and other Corning Ware designs.