Xtrema Ceramic Cookware: A Review

Heather says:

Frequently I’m asked, “Heather, what cookware do you recommend?” I find it a difficult question to answer. I have my set I’ve used for years to which I’ve slowly been adding a few enameled cast-iron pieces, and of course I have experience with restaurant grade equipment. At this time I don’t have a large enough budget, no matter how fun it might be, to run out and test various grades of cookware. When a company contacts me and asks if I would be willing to review their cookware, I accept. This allows me to experiment without robbing banks. -I’m not condoning bank robbery and probably shouldn’t joke about it since it seems to be happening frequently around here.- Where was I?

Let’s take a moment to make the FTC happy: A representative of Ceramcor sent me an Xtrema Ceramic Wok 3-piece set to try.

Over the course of the past month I’ve made a few meals with the wok, including sausage, peppers and onions and beef pepper steak.

The pros and cons below are based on my impressions, experience, and warped mind.

Pros:

  • Nonstick surface without the worry of hazardous fumes
    Some nonstick surfaces, like Teflon®, can create toxic fumes if overheated. With a ceramic surface, this is a non-issue. It’s nonstick, just like enameled cast iron.
  • Lightweight
    One of the biggest complaints I hear about enameled cast iron is the weight. Have you ever gone to pick up a full container and almost thrown it or lost your balance because it turned out to be empty? I had the same experience. I own a few enameled iron pieces. I went to pick up the wok and nearly sent it flying because it was so much lighter than I expected. Don’t worry, this only happens once or twice.
  • Even heat distribution
    Some poorly made pots and pans are warped and develop hot spots that increase the likelihood of scorching. The Xtrema pan is well constructed and distributes heat well.
  • Heats quickly
    I won’t lie, sometimes I get a little annoyed waiting for my enameled iron dutch oven to heat. This was significantly faster, yet retained heat longer than a nonstick set I had in the past.
  • Safe for many cooking surfaces
    The ceramic cookware is safe for smooth top ranges, the oven, the grill, and gas or electric ranges, too.
  • Won’t scratch easily
    Unlike Teflon®, there is no walking on eggshells. You shouldn’t use metal utensils, but unless you’re abusive toward your cookware, it should remain scratch free.
  • 50 year warranty for breakage due to temperature change.
    Have you ever broken a pizza stone? I had one go the other day when a certain teenager set it on a hot burner. I was simply out of luck there. This isn’t a concern, with the Xtrema line. There is also a 1 year manufacturing defect warranty for imperfections. If you don’t notice it after a year, maybe you should have been cooking more.

Cons:

  • Price
    It’s not cheap, $399 for  16 piece set, but this does have a caveat. The price point may be high if you’re looking at low-end nonstick cookware. However if you’ve been checking out name brand enameled cast iron, it’s pretty competitive.
  • Aesthetics
    Looks are extremely subjective. I’m simply not drawn to the style. Thankfully looks don’t affect performance.
  • The name sort of makes me want to scream, “NOZ!” and reach for a Monster Energy Drink, but that could just be me.

I would recommend this set, especially if you’ve been considering enameled cast iron, but find it too heavy for daily use.

*Edit* Eugene asked about the handle, I’m not sure how it is attached and I will send in the question to the representative. I couldn’t remember if the handle became hot or not, so I did a test run a few moment ago. First I heated the empty pan until water sizzled. The handle remained cool. Then I filled the wok 2/3s full with water and brought to a roiling boil -why you use a wok in this manner is beyond me, but it made a good test- and the handle still remained cool to the touch.



9 Comments

  1. Colin on April 5, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Hi how do you think Ceramcor compared to De Buyer iron or blue steel wok?

  2. Carye on July 18, 2010 at 3:24 am

    Heather, did the manufacturer say anything about this set being allowed in the oven? Use on either oven or stove surface to what maximum temp? Can you actually start it on high, or is medium to medium-high it? Also, are there any off gasses at all? Is the ceramic coating made with any form of PTFE? I only ask as I have birds and have to be extremely careful. PTFE toxicity is a real danger as there are teflon or other nonstick coatings over so many things, not just kitchen small appliances and cookware. I've even had to read lightbulb labels!

    • carye on July 18, 2010 at 3:26 am

      Never mind. I found Xtrema website and got my answers. No PTFEs and not manufactured using PTOA. Also oven safe. Didn't way what temps though.

  3. Carye on July 18, 2010 at 3:19 am

    Heather, did the manufacturer say anything about this set being allowed in the oven? Use on either oven or stove surface to what maximum temp? Can you actually start it on high, or is medium to medium-high it? Also, are there any off gasses at all? Is the ceramic coating made with any form of PTFE? I only ask as I have birds and have to be extremely careful. PTFE toxicity is a real danger as there are teflon or other nonstick coatings over so many things, not just kitchen small appliances and cookware. I've even had to read lighbulb labels!

    Thank you.

  4. asyhre on July 16, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    -no problem here in Chrome, just thought I might add

    Ok, on to the questions… Did you happen to burn anything in it? start it on fire?

    I am on the look for a new pot and pan set… I one I have was a very cheap (under$50) set that I got over 7 years ago and is falling apart and creating hot spots. I guess what I am getting at, do you think it would be good for the die-hard wanna be cook? or would there be something else… I need non-stick as I can not stand metal scrapping on metal and do not use metal utensils… I know kind of goes with my food can not touch thing.

  5. imabug on July 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    how is the handle joined to the rest of the wok? is there much heat transfer from the wok to the handle? oven safe?

    oddly enough, when i view this entry in chrome, i see the image of the wok while the page is loading, but then it disappears. looks fine in firefox though.

    • HeatherSolos on July 16, 2010 at 3:56 pm

      What operating system are you using? I checked it in Chrome on Vista and it's working, even after clearing the cache.

      I edited the post to include an answer to your question about the temperature of the handle. Short version = it remains cool to the touch.

      • imabug on July 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm

        ok, figured it out. for some reason ad-block was hiding the image

        • Keter on July 16, 2010 at 6:04 pm

          Yes, it is AdBlockPlus in Firefox that is hiding the image for sure. To make sure this blocking doesn't happen again, you can set an exception for AdBlockPlus by selecting "Open blockable items," right-clicking on one of the pictures of the wok, selecting "Add exception rule for item," and then selecting to except "static.home-ec101.com." Reload the page and the photo will display.

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