Can Indoor Grills Be Non-Toxic?

August 1, 2022
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Cooking as Safely as Possible on an Indoor Grill

One benefit of using an indoor grill is that you can grill food in any weather. You don’t have to worry about rainy days or cold temperatures. Because indoor grills are smokeless, you won’t have to breathe smoky air in your kitchen. But smoke isn’t your only concern with an indoor grill.

An indoor grill doesn’t use grill grates like a charcoal grill. Instead, the cooking surface has a non-stick coating to keep meat from burning onto the grill pan.

What Does Non-Toxic Mean?

Non-toxic means something doesn’t contain harmful or poisonous substances. A food, cooking surface, or appliance listed as non-toxic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you. When you’re cooking, you want to ensure that a surface is food-safe and suitable to use to prepare food humans will consume.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in many types of food, including dairy products, meat, and seafood. PFAS also comes from food packaging and cooking methods. These substances can cause cancer, birth defects, thyroid problems, and other health issues.

While limiting PFAS in food and water is tough, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cracked down on general manufacturers. For example, Scotchgard from 3M used to contain PFAS. Foam found in fire extinguishers also contained this chemical, which could contaminate interior surfaces and the air. The companies now use different components for these products.

In the past, DuPont used PFAS in Teflon, a coating that makes food less likely to stick to pots and pans. When Teflon heats up, it breaks down and releases fumes toxic to humans and animals. In 2013, the EPA pressured DuPont to stop using PFAS. According to the American Cancer Society, Teflon doesn’t pose a health concern currently.

Some Indoor Grills Still Have a Non Stick Teflon Coating Which is Deemed Safe by the American Cancer Society

Instead of using harmful pots and pans, you should upgrade your kitchen accessories. You might have trouble finding which manufacturers no longer use PFAS. You can help prevent non-stick surfaces from becoming toxic by using low-medium heat and washing by hand. Don’t use the dishwasher or scrub a surface so hard the finish flakes off.

If you’re unsure about the chemical makeup of your non-stick pans, try to remember when you got them. Pans older than 2013 most likely contain PFAS. Any pan you’ve put in the dishwasher or scraped the surface of can potentially be toxic. It’s best to get rid of older cooking tools and get new ones.

You can research non-toxic kitchen pans or choose alternatives. Cast iron is durable and lasts for decades if you care for it properly. Stainless steel doesn’t have a non-stick surface, but it’s non-toxic. Ceramic and stoneware are also safe to use. You can ensure you buy non-toxic espresso machines and Teflon-free appliances.

Do Electric Grills Produce Carcinogens?

Ensuring electric grills use modern Teflon can help keep you and your family safe. However, you should know what type of non-stick coating the manufacturer used. You might be in trouble if they used a chemical that breaks down at high heat.

When you’re using an electric grill, it can be tough to keep the temperature low. You want to grill your food quickly so it retains moisture and taste without becoming too tough to chew. So your most important question is, “Do electric grills produce carcinogens?”

The good news is that electric grills don’t directly produce carcinogens. When it comes to grilled meats having carcinogenic qualities, it typically refers to the charred portions. Burnt meat has high levels of carbons that can cause cancer if consumed. It’s harder to burn meat on an electric grill because you’re not using fire and can easily control the temperature.

Hamburgers Being Cooked on a Non Stick Surface

However, there’s a link between cooking meat at a high temperature for a long time. Researchers once thought this referred to open flames only, but even prolonged exposure to a hot metal surface can increase the cancer risk.

Many electric grill manufacturers have stepped away from using Teflon completely. Instead, they’ve switched to a ceramic non-stick coating that can handle high temperatures without breaking down and producing harmful chemicals. Ceramic is easy to clean, so you don’t have to worry about scraping the surface and chipping off the coating.

These indoor grills still have the design you know and love. The grease rolls into a drip pan to prevent smoke, and a few cups of water trap the rest of the smoke. But you’re getting safe, slick surfaces to easily—and healthily—grill all your favorite foods.

The Best Non-Toxic Indoor Grills

If you’re looking for non-toxic, smokeless grills, there are several quality options on the market. You want to find something that fits in your kitchen space and is easy to use. Check out all the features on a grill before you buy it. You want to understand how to cook food, and knowing what additional plates come with the grill lets you know what types of food you can make.

The best indoor grill will vary depending on exactly what you want. However, the three following options have a lot to offer. They come with extra cooking surfaces and are easy to use. They’re big brands with positive reputations. And, of course, they use non-toxic coatings for their non-stick surface so you can cook safely.

George Foreman Evolve Grill

George Foreman is a big name in electric grills. The Evolve George Foreman grill uses a chemical-free non-stick coating on the grill pan. The manufacturer guarantees the appliance is PFAS-free.

The George Foreman Evolve Grill

The surfaces remain non-stick, and you can simply wipe off any remaining food or grease before cleaning them normally. They’re so efficient that you don’t need to use butter or oil on your food. The package includes a ceramic baking dish, waffle plate, panini plate, and muffin pan. Every surface is free of chemicals, so you’ll cook safe foods for your family and friends.

PowerXL Smokeless Grill

The PowerXL smokeless indoor grill ensures you still get the classic grill lines on your meat and veggies. It has a glass lid so you can check the status of your meal without opening it up and losing heat, which makes it more efficient.

You can use the included griddle plate to make sandwiches, eggs, pancakes, and more. Each surface has a non-toxic, non-stick coating. PowerXL uses a unique Cerami-Tech coating to protect cooking surfaces without the use of harmful PFAS. You won’t have to use oil or butter to prevent food from sticking.

Gotham Steel Electric Smokeless Grill

The Gotham Steel electric smokeless grill has a durable Ti-Cerama surface made of titanium. It not only lasts for years, but the non-stick coating is ceramic, so it’s non-toxic. You can safely grill foods at high temperatures without worrying about chemicals entering the air.

The unique drip pan from Gotham Steel cools grease as soon as it touches, preventing smoke formation. The surface is so slick that you never need oil, but best of all, it’s dishwasher-safe. Cleanup is quick and easy, and there’s no risk of the coating breaking down and harming your family.

Are Indoor Smokeless Grills Safe?

Indoor smokeless grills are safe because they use electricity instead of fire. This method also prevents smoke from forming, which keeps your home’s air clean. With no open flame, you can put the indoor grill flat on your kitchen counter, plug it in, and start grilling food.

The fat rolls off the cooking surface onto a drip tray, so it’s easy to clean when you’re done. You don’t have to scrape burnt food off the grates as you do with a charcoal grill. You can even cover the grill pan with aluminum foil to simplify cleanup. Splatter shields keep the grease from hitting you while you man the grill.

In addition to keeping the grill flat while you’re cooking, you also need to clean it carefully. Let it cool before you touch it. Don’t get any of the electrical components wet, or else you’re endangering yourself and possibly ruining the grill.

Wash each removable piece separately and let them dry before putting the grill back together. You can wipe off the grill’s base with a damp cloth. It’s not wet enough to damage the electricity sensors but it will still keep the appliance clean.

Indoor grills are the best choice for people who don't have outside space for a charcoal or propane grill. Insurance companies also rate charcoal grills as unsafe due to the flames and carbon dioxide they produce. The tanks on propane grills can leak and cause an explosion.

With those considerations in mind, it’s easy to see how electric grills are the safest option. As long as you use it properly, keep it away from water, and don’t use a frayed cord or extension cord, there’s no risk of using indoor electric grills.

Are Indoor Grills Healthier?

When you use a charcoal grill or propane grill outside, you’re getting carbon deposits on your food. The carbon forms as the meat burns and can cause cancer. Fat dripping directly onto coal in charcoal grills also creates harmful smoke. It contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that you can inhale and also redeposit on your food while it cooks.
You can decrease the risk of carcinogenic properties on outdoor grills. Marinate the meat to prevent PAHs from attaching. Use lean meat, so less grease drips onto the charcoal, and put it on aluminum foil to decrease how much fat drips. Avoid eating charred meat. Cooking it on the stove and finishing it on the grill for a smoky taste also prevents exposure to carcinogens.

However, indoor grills are healthier and easier to use. With an indoor grill, you don’t need to add oil or butter to the non-stick surface. The coating alone prevents food from sticking, so not only is cleanup a breeze, but you also don’t consume unnecessary calories.

The design of an indoor grill also makes it healthier. The grilling surface often has a slight slope, so the grease and fat drip off the food and roll down the surface. A drip tray collects the grease, so your food doesn’t sit in it as it cooks. As there’s no smoke, you’re not exposed to air that irritates your lungs and makes you cough. Your eyes and throat stay healthier inside.

Since you can set the temperature of an indoor grill, it’s healthier than using fire to cook your food. There’s no risk of charring the meat, which produces a terrible taste and also puts carcinogens into your body. You can cook your meals at any temperature, so they’re flavorful and healthy.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
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