When I got married, two of my close friends were Pampered Chef fanatics and set me up with all the traditional baking items - cookie sheets, loaf pans, cake pans - in stoneware. After using them for three months, I gave away all of my aluminum baking sheets and baking pans. It’s now 10 years later and I never regretted that decision.

Why did I get rid of my baking sheets? Well, it doesn’t make sense to keep things you aren’t using, right? The Pampered Chef stoneware had such superior performance that the metal ones sat unused for months. You know how sometimes the bottoms of your cookies will burn if you leave them in the oven even one minute too long? Not an issue with stoneware. Brownies well done on the edges and raw in the middle? Never happened. The stoneware conducts heat in such a superior manner that all of the common baking woes were not issue with these pans. Stoneware also retains heat really well so will keep your food warm for about 30 minutes after removing it from the oven - which is great for keeping pizza and other dinner items warm enough to make it to second helpings.

"The Pampered Chef stoneware had such superior performance that the metal ones sat unused for months."

When you first get a piece of Pampered Chef stoneware, it is pale and a little rough - a bit like fine grit sandpaper. The first few times you bake with it, you will either want to grease the pan OR bake something super fatty like meatloaf or bacon. After baking high fat foods a few times or using oil, the stoneware will start to develop its own non-stick surface - no sketchy chemicals like PFOA or PTFE required (Don’t know what those are? They are common abbreviations for chemicals used in Teflon and possible carcinogens - yuck!).

To wash stoneware, use super hot water and a scraper or a dedicated scrub brush. I say dedicated because you don’t want to use soap on stoneware (or its dedicated brush). If you do, the surfactants in the soap will bond to the natural non-stick surface and make the next few batches of food taste soapy. Food pops right off, though - no need to soak or scour - it’s really easy to clean. The more you use it, the better the non-stick surface gets and the easier it is to clean, too!

Stoneware pieces are also more versatile than metal baking pans because they can go in both the freezer the microwave as well as the oven. Store leftover casserole or chicken right in the stoneware and pop the whole thing in the microwave to heat it up later. Not going to eat your leftovers for a while? You can put your stoneware in your freezer and then move it straight to the oven to warm up next week.

One thing that’s important to be aware of when shopping for stoneware is lead - which is why I specifically recommend Pampered Chef’s brand of stoneware. Stoneware is made from natural clay - which in some areas of the world contains a high amount of lead. Some manufacturers also add lead to the clay during the manufacturing process to increase the weight and heft of the pieces. The clay Pampered Chef uses to make their stoneware is mined in the USA and they do not add lead to the clay during the manufacturing process.

Overall, I can’t recommend Pampered Chef’s stoneware highly enough. It’s a must have for every family who uses their oven - for everything from pizza to cookies, casserole and beyond.