We Found The Best Non-Toxic Cooking Utensils (2023 Buyer’s Guide)

13 min reading time

In this article, find out everything you need to know about:

  • Which toxins could be present in your kitchen tools
  • The conditions under which toxic chemicals likely to leach into food
  • What you can do to minimize the occurrence of toxin leakage from utensils to food.
  • The best non-toxic cooking utensils that we recommend.

Toxic spoons, spatulas, or other kitchen tools could leach harmful substances into your culinary creations. Find the best non-toxic cooking utensils that complement safe cookware here.

If you’re detoxing your kitchen, you probably started by investing in the best non-toxic cookware. That’s a great first step. But why stop there?

The fact is that meals come in direct, prolonged contact under high temperatures with more than your cookware. What you use to stir, mix, and serve will also touch your food—often for extended times. So, it’s important to have non-toxic cooking utensils within your reach.

We’ll evaluate the materials used to make cooking utensils and give brand recommendations for those that are truly non-toxic. 

Our Quick Recommendation: All-Clad Stainless Steel Cooking Utensils

For the best quick buy for a set of non-toxic cooking utensils, we recommend All-Clad’s 6-piece stainless steel set. Made from a single piece of non-toxic food-grade steel, they come highly recommended as a must-have kit for any safe and clean kitchen.

Click here to shop our recommended non-toxic kitchen utensils.

Stainless Steel Non-Toxic Cooking Utensils

If you prefer stainless steel cookware, choosing food preparation tools made of the same material makes sense. Scratching the surface shouldn’t be a major issue like it could be on other types of cookware, although with time and heavy use, a few blemishes here and there are likely.

Our stainless steel frypans and wok have withstood years of heavy use but remain scratch-free, probably due to sufficient oil and heat making it naturally non-stick.

To avoid potential leaching into food of adhesives holding sections together, purchase stainless steel tools constructed from solid metal. For this reason, avoid utensils with glued-on plastic handles or joints.

Sections of older utensils could have been soldered with lead (a neurotoxin), so avoid antique stainless steel in your kitchen.    

Warning: Polyoxymethylene (POM) Handles 

Polyoxymethylene (POM or polyacetal) is a type of plastic common in kitchen utensil handles. POM may release carcinogenic formaldehyde when heated at high temperatures (over 480℉). Exposure to acids, alkalis (bases), abrasion, and even strong oxidizers (like cleaning agents hydrogen peroxide or bleach) can cause POM degradation. 

POM is also prone to quick burning, which is potentially a concern if a kitchen fire should occur. That is unless POM contains flame retardants—which you wouldn’t want near your food anyway because of their highly toxic nature!

Additionally, POM is usually attached to utensils via aluminum rivets. Although food contact should be minimal and thus not a toxicity problem, aluminum ingestion is associated with neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s.

Because there are so many other, safer options, Better Goods recommends avoiding food prep tools made with POM.

Here are Better Goods’ top picks for non-toxic stainless steel cooking utensils. You may see some overlap with brands from our non-toxic cookware guide, which is good. You’re assured of quality and lifetime guarantees as well as safety.  

All-Clad Stainless Steel Cooking Utensils

MaterialsStainless steel
Made InChina
ProductsLadle | Solid Spoon | Slotted Spoon | Spatula | Tongs | Honey Dipper | Spork | Pot Scraper | Spoontula
Price Range$110 (6-piece set); Approx. $25/piece when purchased separately
Where To BuyAmazon.com

Featured in our Guide to Non-Toxic Cookware, All-Clad stainless steel products are superb assets in any detoxed kitchen.

We love them because they are constructed of one solid piece of non-toxic, food-grade metal with no handles made of a different material. In case they get too warm to the touch for you, a kitchen mitt or pot holder will keep you safe. Comes in a metal caddy.

Standcn Stainless Steel Cooking Utensils

MaterialsStainless steel
Made InChina
ProductsLadle | Solid Spoon | Slotted Spoon | Spatula | Tongs | Honey Dipper | Spork | Pot Scraper | Spoontula
Price Range$66 (7-piece set)
Where To BuyAmazon.com

Budget-conscious shoppers will appreciate the high quality of these stainless steel food prep utensils.

Constructed of food-grade stainless steel, handles are long and hollow, thus reducing the risk of burns. We love the rotating stand they come with. It’s so easy to grab what you need in a hurry.

Bamboo Non-Toxic Cooking Utensils

Mistaken for wood, bamboo is actually a type of grass—and a very sustainable one at that. Plus, bamboo makes durable yet lightweight kitchen tools with natural antimicrobial properties. Unlike wood, bamboo doesn’t absorb food odors or stains. Nor does bamboo scratch cookware.

We also love the fact that you can purchase organic bamboo cooking utensils! This means you can be assured that no toxic pesticide residues will migrate to your food—because there aren’t any.

Cheaper bamboo products are often made of several pieces of bamboo glued together with toxic glues. A common adhesive used for this purpose is a type of plastic consisting of melamine-formaldehyde. Both of these substances are toxic.

Melamine is harmful to the kidneys, and formaldehyde is carcinogenic. A 2020 study from the Netherlands showed that formaldehyde leached into liquids from bamboo “bio-based” cups. So, avoiding products made with glued bamboo fibers or sections is best, even though they may be labeled as natural or healthy.

While researching this article, we discovered that some bamboo kitchenware companies, recommended on other non-toxic lists, use the term organic loosely to mean something non-plastic. There is no official organic certification of these products by any authoritative body on their websites. 

To our knowledge, only one brand of bamboo cooking utensils is truly certified 100% USDA Organic. Better Goods is proud to include Bambu on our list of top picks of companies offering non-toxic cooking utensils. 

Bambu Non-Toxic Bamboo Cooking Utensils

Made InChina
ProductsLadle | Solid Spoon | Slotted Spoon | Spatula | Tongs | Honey Dipper | Spork | Pot Scraper | Spoontula
Price Range$23 (4-piece set); $6 and up for pieces sold separately
Where To BuyBambu.com

Crafted from a single piece of bamboo, Bambu utensils contain no glues or lacquers like many other brands use. We love Bambu’s unique kitchen tool inventions, like a spoontula which works great as a spoon and a spatula. Sporks also come in handy during food prep and when enjoying your culinary creations. 

With their own certified organic blend of beeswax and plant oils applied regularly, it’s easy to maintain Bambu products for decades of superior performance.

Bambu is a certified B corporation, reflecting their commitment to sustainability, social responsibility, and environmental protection. In 2020, Bambu earned carbon-neutral certification through CarbonFund.org.

Wooden Non-Toxic Cooking Utensils

Wooden kitchen utensils are classic elements of most kitchens. But are they ever truly non-toxic?

Strictly speaking, wooden spoons and spatulas can be non-toxic if they:

  • Are products of organically grown trees (no pesticides)
  • Have been left untreated by any chemical agents such as fungicides 
  • Have been oiled only with USDA 100% certified organic plant oils.

Unfortunately, you can rarely find commercial tree farms anywhere in the world that are certified organic. In other words, it is safer to assume that a wooden utensil could contain pesticide residues. 

If you’re concerned about consuming foods with pesticide residues knowing the harmful effects of pesticides, you may wish to extend that principle to any item that comes in contact with your food. There will be a risk of migration of chemical residues—however slight—into food. 

Although there is active research in developing biopesticides that are not as toxic as conventional pesticides, these are not yet used on a commercial scale. Furthermore, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that several consumer products, including wooden cutting boards, could have been sprayed with pesticides. By extension, it’s reasonable to think wooden utensils could also be sprayed. EPA points out manufacturers may do so illegally, especially if they are located in other countries with lax regulations. 

Similarly, wood product companies may use the cheapest form of oil to apply on cooking utensils. They do so to prevent the wood from drying out. In many cases, a fossil fuel-derived ingredient like mineral oil obtained during petroleum refining is used. Better Goods does not recommend wooden kitchen utensils treated with mineral oil.

We were disappointed to learn that Oxo, a popular company on many non-toxic cooking utensil lists, states on its website that it uses “natural oil” on its cooking tools. We reached out to them for more details on their oil.

An Oxo customer service representative told us on the phone that they use a “food-grade mineral oil” on their wood products. When we asked for further detail, they were unable to be more specific. So, we’re left wondering if it’s petrochemical-based or not.

While it is possible that Oxo’s mineral oil is plant-based, we’d think they’d clearly specify it if it were true, just like the Real Milk Paint Company does about their food-grade mineral oil.  

Here’s another piece of information about “food-grade mineral oil” by the Vermont Country Store. A safety warning is attached: “Keep away from combustible materials.” That’s a warning typical of fossil fuel products. This suggests that “food-grade mineral oil,” though highly refined and purified, is still a petrochemical, like gasoline.

A common “food-grade mineral oil” used for wood kitchen products is described as something that “will not break down and become rancid like vegetable oil.” The implication is that it is not plant-based.  

We like the fact that Oxo donates proceeds from sales to 1% for the Planet, a nonprofit that supports environmental groups. Oxo partners with several groups advocating for clean air, land, water, environmental education, and sustainable food systems. However, since Oxo can’t identify the source of their “natural oil,” we can’t include them on our list of non-toxic cooking utensils.

Likewise, because it may be next to impossible to find trustworthy answers about how the wood was grown on the farm and later processed in factories, wooden kitchen utensils are not our top choice. This is true, especially for items made in other countries where pesticide regulations may not exist or not be enforced. 

Note on tropical woods: Several companies sell teak utensils. As a tropical hardwood native to Asia, teak is in demand in the Western world. Because rampant illegal logging leads to deforestation and biodiversity loss, Better Goods cannot recommend teak for cooking utensils.

New Hampshire Bowl and Board Cooking Utensils

MaterialsCherry | Walnut | Maple | Olive | Beech Wood

Made InUSA
ProductsLadle, solid spoon, slotted spoon, spatula, tongs, fork, honey dipper, dough scraper
Price Range$75 (3-piece set); $15 & up for individual pieces 
Where To BuyAmazon.com

Artisanal wooden cooking utensils from New Hampshire Bowl and Board are the closest you’ll find to organic wood kitchenware. Hand-made from sustainably harvested local wood, these cooking tools are seasoned with a special wood rub featuring organic beeswax. Called Iddo Kimball’s Bowl and Board Rub, it’s hailed as the best by hundreds of New England woodworkers since 1863. 

This family business relies on residential tree trimmings, salvaged wood, and trees found by local foresters. These fine-crafted, all-natural cooking utensils would make great gifts for any eco-conscious friends and family, as well as stand out in your own kitchen.

Silicone Non-Toxic Cooking Utensils

Although silicone (polysiloxane) is frequently marketed as natural, it is not. Silicone is the name for a broad group of plastic-synthetic rubber hybrids. They differ from plastics composed mainly of carbon and hydrogen atoms in a long chain (called hydrocarbons). Instead, silicone contains a center chain of silicon and oxygen atoms with hydrocarbon groups attached.

Silicone is also thought to be non-toxic since it’s chemically non-reactive. However, few studies on its potential toxicity have been conducted, so we can’t say for sure. 

  • A 2012 study revealed several different silicones leach into liquids.
  • In 2008, research showed that silicone leaches from bakeware to foods, especially to those with a high fat content.

It’s also important to determine if there are any fillers or binders in the silicone utensils you’d like to purchase or any coatings applied to them. Any of these substances could leach into food and cause negative health effects.

In light of all the unknowns regarding silicone’s safety, we can’t wholeheartedly recommend silicone cooking utensils. This is true, especially for situations where you’re cooking with high heat. For situations where you’re mixing ingredients at room temperature or below, silicone tools— made without fillers and coatings—are likely safe.   

Precautions against using plastic cooking utensils are based on the same logic used here that calls into question silicone products.

GIR Non-Toxic Cooking Utensils

Made InChina
ProductsSpoon | Spatula | Spoonula | Ladle

Price Range$90 (10-piece set); $13 and up per piece sold separately
Where To BuyAmazon

GIR silicone food prep tools are 100% platinum-cured, pharmaceutical-grade silicone. This is considered the purest kind of silicone. Instead of a metal core like many silicone spatulas have, GIR products contain a proprietary fiberglass center. Since fiberglass contains tiny glass shards, dispose of damaged GIR utensils to avoid accidentally ingesting fiberglass fibers.

We reached out to GIR about the “antimicrobial unibody design” but haven’t received a response. It isn’t clear whether this statement refers to the antimicrobial characteristics of silicone or if an antimicrobial coating was applied to it. If it’s a coating, Better Goods would not recommend this cooking tool because of the risk of migration of the coating into food.  

Highlights on Non-Toxic Cooking Utensils

Non-toxic cooking utensils are essential in a detoxed kitchen as the perfect complements to non-toxic cookware. The best types have been cut from solid food-grade stainless steel or pesticide-free wood or bamboo. This construction eliminates questions about potentially toxic adhesives or lead solder that could leach into food under high heat or when acidic foods are present. 

Silicone has a reputation for being non-toxic, but we believe caution is appropriate. Avoid it, except possibly with cold or room-temperature foods that don’t contain fats and oils. The same reasoning applies to plastic utensils.

With proper care and barring accidents, the non-toxic cooking utensils we recommend in this article should last as long as your non-toxic cookware, that in many cases, comes with lifetime guarantees. Feeding your family healthy meals without toxic chemicals for decades is well worth the financial investment today.

Our Quick Recommendation: All-Clad Stainless Steel Cooking Utensils

For the best quick buy for a set of non-toxic cooking utensils, we recommend All-Clad’s 6-piece stainless steel set. Made from a single piece of non-toxic food-grade steel, they come highly recommended as a must-have kit for any safe and clean kitchen.

Click here to shop our recommended non-toxic kitchen utensils.

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