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Jan 18, 2011 01:04 PM

Stovetop Cookware - Pyroceram or Visions


I'm interested in purchasing a stovetop cookware and I'm little confused between Pyroceram and Visions. Both seem to be old brands which was reintroduced recently.
They both seem to have the same functions. So except for the looks does anyone know other than the looks; which is better in terms of quality? I dont mind any look both white and transperent is okay; but I'm looking more for quality and ability to absorb thermal shock.


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  1. DW had some of the old Visions cookware when we got married. She hated it. She said everything stuck to it and it was a pain to clean. She wouldn't even pack it up when she moved here. I believe it went into the trash.

    6 Replies
    1. re: al b. darned

      Thanks. Is there some other good brand? I have also heard about Borcam but not sure whefre to purchase it in united states. I'm only looking for reheating and serving purpose. Hence I need something that works in microwave or stove top.
      Any other ideas? Thanks

      1. re: pkmeeta

        If you are only interested in reheating, I can't think of anything that can't be reheated in the microwave with results at least as good as you'd get on the stove. Actually, in many cases the microwave works better. I can't remember the last time I reheated anything on my stove. So maybe there is no need to consider stovetop performance at all. That's good, because my own and observed experience with glass on the stovetop is very poor, and it is just true that neither material lends itself very well common cooking techniques such as sauteeing or stir-frying. They are slow to heat, slow to cool, and are subject to breaking and problems with thermal shock.

        If all you are going to do is reheat and serve, and decide to stick with using a microwave for that, you can get some ceramic or glass casseroles, and probably pay less than for cookware.

        1. re: PinchOfSalt

          Metal heats up well in stovetop, but food in metal containers do not heated up effectively in microwave. Metal blocks the penetration of microwave, which is why your microwave oven casing is metal..... so the microwave won't be bouncing in your house.

          I do agree with you 100% that glass is a very poor heat conductor which may explain why it is no longer popular.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Well yes, but I was suggesting that if the only thing that the cookware was being used for, to go with something that would not work on the stove at all but would be great in the microwave. At no point did I suggest that the OP should use any metal cookware or servingware, nor did the OP.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              "which may explain why it is no longer popular. "

              If you are judging popularity by sales, it could be that Visions appeared to be less popular because it was not available after World Kitchen acquired Corning Ware around 2000 until it was reintroduced in 2009. It has been said that World Kitchen wanted a product that did not last as long, and they were able to make more money by selling large sets of stoneware to brides.

              I was only aware very recently that it had been reintroduced. It used to be available in the United States in virtually every store that sold cooking products, and it was quite reasonably priced. As far as I know, you can only buy it over the web in the United States. I have not seen it in a store in well over 10 years.

              Visions cookware is readily available on Amazon UK, but that involves shipping costs. It is manufactured in France these days.

              The reintroduced model does seem to have a different manufacturing process. I certainly hope it did not screw up the cooking properties of the original Visions.

      2. pkmeeta: With respect, why on earth would you want to cook on the stovetop in this stuff? In a world full of bad pots and pans, you seem to be focusing on two of the very worst ever made. Why?

        That said, there is apparently a difference that matters to your thermal shock concern: See, http://www.epinions.com/content_47048...

        10 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Chem: Maybe. The OP has said s/he is only interested in something for "reheating and serving" purposes. Even I--one who thinks PTFE may be a health hazard--think this is a little bizarre. What does this person think the food that will be reheated or served was processed/cooked/packaged in to begin with?

            There is an immortal urban myth that goes something like: cooking in glass is the only way to "preserve the vitamins" in food. My guess is it's this again. Or a family member who swears by Visions. Or a misconception that glass is somehow cleaner.

            Here's what a fellow CHer had to say about cooking on Corning about a year ago:

            "I've used this piece a few times now and cooking on glass is a very different experience. The heat transfer properties aren't all that great tbh and so I wouldn't recommend this material for anything other than for small amounts 'warming up'. I can certainly see why this material has fallen out of use! It really does seem to suck up heat energy and just magically lose it somewhere, boiling water seems to take forever and requires much more heat to do so. The sides of the pan not in direct heat contact will stay cool for ages which cools the contents back down just as the base will begin to scorch even though it is by far the thickest base I have (roughly 1cm). Also I think because surface is so smooth when liquids do get to boiling point the bubbles don't appear to form in tiny evenly distributed amounts, but in rather large and random spitting pops. Not quite the ideal pan for sugar work despite the colour... Still, it does look nice in kitchen and will just about warm things adequately enough to warrant a place among my collection, at least for now."

            1. re: kaleokahu

              "cooking in glass is the only way to "preserve the vitamins" in food. "

              I have not heard of that. What I heard of is that glass is the safest material for warming/cooking foods because there are least amount of stuffs leaching into the foods. Teflon cookware is dangerous because Teflon. Cast iron and carbon steel cookware are dangerous because of excessive iron. Stainless steel because of chromium and nickel... etc.

              "I've used this piece a few times now and cooking on glass is a very different experience. The heat transfer properties aren't all that great tbh and so I wouldn't recommend this material for anything other than for small amounts 'warming up'....."

              Ha ha ha. I remember. It was Pass. In fact, I was in that thread. I was thinking of pass to when I was responding to PinchofSalt. :)


          2. re: kaleokahu

            After having read that article, I'm a bit sad (or P.O.ed) that another great product is no longer available to consumers. One of my sisters uses some of our Mothers Corningware that dates back to at least the 1960's.

            When it came time for me to set up by fist kitchen in the early 80's , I purchased pyrex casserole dishes (1 qt. 2. qt. 3 qt, along with the square 9s9 pan and 10x13 rectangular pan. They have all be used extensively over the years and other than some very fine scratches are as good as the day I bought them at Lechmere's Dept. store.

            Of course, the Pyrex is not the same either. In their days this cookware was inexpensive, effective and in every home kitchen.

            Funny story, I really wanted to buy the Visions cookware because it looked cool and ended up buying the old heavier Revereware. You almost never see visions cookwear anymore.

            1. re: redrako

              redrako: You are right; it can be sad to see the state of art in cookware in mindless retreat.

              I have quite a lot of old Pyrex and Corningware ramekins, chafing dishes, casseroles and baking pans, and they work great IN THE OVEN. Stovetop use? Not so much.

              1. re: kaleokahu

                thank you all for the suggestions.
                So I do agree that I would get a lot of better products that microwaveable; but for some reason; I dont like microwaveable products. I try to avoid it as much as possible. Only when I'm in a hurry; I microwave. One more reason and its probably in my head. Food that is microwaved does not taste that good as cooked on stove. I do cook a lot of Indian gravy dishes.
                So i was looking for something that can be reheated and served and would look good. I do have Le crueset which I like a lot; but its too heavy and with food; I'm always scared that I would drop it. So I was looking for some other options.
                Any other suggestions which will help me reheat food on stove top as well as serve on table.

                1. re: pkmeeta

                  I see. You want a vessel which can be used to cook on a stovetop as well as reheated in a microave oven, right? In that case, I guess these glass/ceramic ware is not too bad.

                  1. re: pkmeeta

                    pkmeeta: Sorry, I still don't understand. Your initial post said nothing about microwave, and your second said "microwave OR stovetop" reheating. Now you say you don't like micowaveable products, that you avoid it, and you cook a lot of Indian gravy dishes..

                    If I were you, I would have a set of microwaveable glass BOWLS for your hurried reheating in the MW, and real cookware for your stovetop. Since you don't like heavy things, perhaps a small aluminum DO or braising pan would suit you.

                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      I agree with Kaleo. The glass stuff is horrible for the stovetop, as was the old Corningware (pyroceram). There are lightweight pans for the stove. There are glass containers for reheating in the micro. I don't see glass as a good option for both uses. I hope you find some good solutions for yourself.

            2. I have a 2 qt. Visions covered saucepan I like to use on the stovetop to cook rice. I can see when the water has been used up. My 5 qt. Visions Dutch oven works great in the oven.

              1. This is quite a late reply, but I have strong opinions on the subject and I have not seen those opinions represented above.

                I miss the ready availability of cookware that you can use on the top of the stove, in the oven, and in the microwave. There are quite a few things for which starting with one heat source and continuing with a different heat source is the way to go.

                I bring polenta to a boil on the stovetop, and once it is a thick, smooth porridge, I put it in the microwave to continue to cook. You do not need to stir very often, if at all, in the microwave.

                I like to warm up thick cold food, say a stew, in the microwave and then put it on the stovetop when it is liquid to get it really hot quickly.

                I could go on, but I'm sure you understand.

                I am wildly enthusiastic about the cooking properties of Visions. It is been compared to cast iron and I agree. It is wonderful, but it does occasionally chip and break when dropped. It was never all that expensive, and when I could just go out and buy another piece, that was not a major problem. But, alas, it disappeared.

                I do not like the cooking properties of the original Corning Ware, now called Pyroceram. I would compare it to thin metal, but it does have the advantage that you can use it with the different heat sources. If you are careful to use low heat on the burner, or stir all the time, it is fine for cooking.

                I believe that it is more chip and break resistant than Visions, but I really do not have good statistical evidence for that. I had a lot of Visions Cookware and I used a lot; I had very little Corning Ware, and basically did not use it while Visions was readily available.

                11 Replies
                1. re: ppllkk

                  At some point in my life I used Visions Cookware. Probably in the 1970s. I thought it conducted heat poorly. It burned stuff.

                  If the newer versions are better, then I stand corrected. But I would never buy if for myself, even if I still had my regular electric cook top.

                  1. re: sueatmo

                    None of these glass-based cookware can have good conductivity compare to metals. I doubt there is much improvement in that area.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      There is a sense in which cast iron does not have "good conductivity" even though it is a metal, but many of us still regarded it as ideal for transferring heat for cooking.

                      Visions Is very close to cast iron in Its cooking properties. I have never desired any improvement.

                      I was quite surprised by this forum, because everyone that I know really liked Visions and regretted its disappearance.

                    2. re: sueatmo

                      It conducts heat very much the way that cast iron does. If you do not like the way that cast iron conducts heat, then you will not like Visions. I really like cast iron except for the fact that you can't simmer acid ingredients in it for a long time.

                      If you burn stuff in cast iron, then I expect that you would burn stuff in Visions. I have not had that experience. Rather the opposite. Very easy to sauté vegetables for a long time; very easy to simmer stews for a long time.

                      I do not think that there are new versions.

                      1. re: ppllkk

                        Actually I have used cast iron for decades. But I pitched my Visions long, long ago. Just to make sure we are posting about the same stuff--Visions is that brownish glass cookware that can go from stovetop to fridge to micro?

                        I really can't imagine how the two are similar. Perhaps you could be more specific?

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          Oh yes, we are talking about the same thing. I have used it regularly for over 30 years. I have used it a little less frequently in the past few years as pieces got broken and I wanted to preserve the ones that are left.

                          You can buy used pieces on the Internet, but when you take shipping into account, they tend to be expensive. I recently bought a 3 1/2 L pot on eBay. Since its reintroduction, the manufacturer does sell new ones, but once again, they screw you on the shipping. (I only learned that Visions is available new very recently.) In stores, they used to be quite reasonably priced particularly in sets.

                          If you look around the Internet, you will find that Visions has a lot of fans.

                          I don't think I can be eloquent about cooking properties. Cast-iron takes a while to heat up, but it produces a very even heat. It keeps its temperature well on a high flame, and it sautes beautifully on a low flame. The same is true of Visions.

                          Friends of mine have been equally enthusiastic about Visions.

                          1. re: ppllkk

                            <I don't think I can be eloquent about cooking properties. Cast-iron takes a while to heat up, but it produces a very even heat. It keeps its temperature well on a high flame, and it sautes beautifully on a low flame. The same is true of Visions.>

                            Glass and cast iron are very different. One is an insulator, and one is a metal. This is not only true for heat, but also true for electric. They are not similar in many aspects. I don't mean that they are different like red wine vs white wine. They are different like comparing red wine to gasoline.

                            Just look at thermal diffusivity, copper and aluminum are about the same at 100 mm^2/s. Cast iron is about 4 fold lower at 23 mm^2/s. Glass is much different. Glass is 0.34 mm^2/s. That is 70 folds lower than cast iron -- a vast difference.

                            Glass retains heat well. This is true, but glass does not produce a very even heating surface, and definitely does not saute beautifully on a low flame.

                            <Friends of mine have been equally enthusiastic about Visions.>

                            I honesty think people just like what is rare and what no longer exist. When aluminum was rare to produce, people really love it. Now, aluminum is cheap and abundance for cookware, then no one really jumps up and down for it. Yet, aluminum has always been aluminum. Nothing changes.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              "Glass and cast iron are very different."

                              Glass and Visions are very different. Did it not occur to you that you cannot just put glass on a burner? Not even Pyrex. Visions is, I believe, classified as a glass-ceramic material.

                              "This is true, but glass does not produce a very even heating surface, and definitely does not saute beautifully on a low flame."

                              I don't know about that, I have never tried to sauté anything in glass. What I am telling you is that it is very easy to sauté in Corning Ware Visions. That is a consistent experience over a long period of time. It is an empirical observation. I gather that your only such observation was a long time ago.

                              "I honesty think people just like what is rare and what no longer exist."

                              Whatever truth there is to that, the enthusiasm about Visions was when it was readily available.

                              1. re: ppllkk

                                Sorry, no offense was meant. You are correct that Vision is not just any type of glass and most glasses would just crack.

                                <classified as a glass-ceramic material>

                                You are correct, but neither glass nor ceramic is consider to be great heat conductor.

                                <definitely does not saute beautifully on a low flame.>

                                I meant that saute should be done on a high flame high heat. Vision being a good or bad heat conductor should not change this. For example, wok stir frying should be done in high heat and in quick motion. It really should not matter if I use a cast iron wok or an aluminum wok. That basic cooking technique should be consistent.

                                <I gather that your only such observation was a long time ago.>

                                That is true. I have only used Vision a long time ago.

                                I am glad that you like Vision. I love all kind of cookware for different reasons. Aluminum for the quick heat response. Carbon steel for the almost-non-stick property. I also love my stone cookware which is a very poor heat conductor, but it is fun.



                                I also have sand pots.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  "You are correct, but neither glass nor ceramic is consider to be great heat conductor."

                                  I don't believe that I ever said it was a great heat conductor. I said that it was a great material for cooking pots. As is cast iron which is also not a great conductor. They have very similar cooking characteristics.

                                  "I meant that saute should be done on a high flame high heat."

                                  You are correct. I think that I used "sauté" first, but it was the wrong term. I was misled by all the cookbooks that tell you to "sauté onions, celery, carrots, etc." over a low heat. Visions is really great for cooking over a low heat.

                                  Some of the same cookbooks tell you to "simmer covered until reduced by half, about half an hour."

                                  "I also love my stone cookware which is a very poor heat conductor, but it is fun."

                                  I have always thought that the issue was how evenly the heat was distributed, not how quickly. Particularly for softening vegetables, simmering stews, brazing, and similar things.

                    3. re: ppllkk

                      I would like to mention that one of my favorite ways to use the 4.5 L Visions Dutch oven is in my crockpot. Luckily, it fits perfectly. The original crockpot pot cannot be used on the stove.

                      So, I can brown meat, sweat vegetables, bring the entire thing up to a boil, and put it into the crockpot to cook. No stirring needed. Gentle heat all the way around it. And it cooks in the same amount of time that it would on the stovetop or in the oven.

                      This is easier and faster than transferring the boiling stew to the pot that came with the crockpot.

                    4. "In 2009, the stovetop line of CorningWare was reintroduced by World Kitchens. The cookware is manufactured by Keraglass/Eurokera (a subsidiary of Corning also specialised in vitroceramics for cooktop panels and equipment for laboratories) in Bagneaux-Sur-Loing, France. This is the only factory in the world still manufacturing vitroceramics (aluminosilicate glass) for cookware. At the time it restarted the production of CorningWare, Keraglass/Eurokera was able to abandon the use of arsenic in the manufacture of their vitroceramics, thanks to the modern technology of their newly built oven.
                      In Europe, it is ARC who sells equivalent cookware to CorningWare under the name Pyroflam with a slightly different design. Since 2009, Pyroflam has been manufactured in the same French factory as CorningWare.
                      The lids of CorningWare and Pyroflam are not made of vitroceramic material. The lids of pieces in the Visions and Pyroflam Amber lines are made soda-lime glass, and lids for the white collection are made of borosilicate glass. Unlike the vitroceramic cookware, these lids cannot touch burners or fire directly, but they do fine in the oven (if not touching the source of heat) or on the stovetop, as long as they are over their vitroceramic bases.
                      CorningWare is sold worldwide, and it is popular in Canada, United States, and Australia."

                      I am quoting from an article in Wikipedia regarding Corning Ware. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CorningWare

                      Apparently the older pyroceram vessels used arsenic in their manufacture? And the lids of the new vessels are NOT made of pyroceram.

                      Honestly, I don't know why anyone would prefer this stuff to a good stainless pot, but to each his own.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sueatmo

                        The terminology is inconsistent and confusing.

                        "Visions cookware was also called Pyroceram at times and the backstamps of Centura and Suprema restaurant ware also contain the word "Pyroceram". These products are not Corning Ware. So Pyroceram is just a brand name that encompasses the entire family of glass-ceramics rather than one specific formulation."

                        "The progress made in this earlier project led directly to Visions stovetop ware, an amber-hued transparent glass-ceramic. The official name of Visions glass is Calexium and it was developed at Corning in France. The product line became available in France in the late 1970s, and it entered the North American market in 1983."


                        Pyroflam seems to be the brand name under which the equivalent of the old Corning Wear "cornflower" is now sold. Visions is also sold. They are not the same.


                        Look for Pyroceram in the description. They are there among the Pyrex.


                        This is Visions. They are completely different products.

                        "Honestly, I don't know why anyone would prefer this stuff to a good stainless pot..."

                        Stainless steel pots with a thick layer of aluminum on the base can be quite good for a stew, but I prefer enameled cast-iron or Visions.