Lindsay D. Mattison
Published 11:27 AM EDT Sep 18, 2019
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Whether you’re sauteing spinach or showing off your pancake art, a good nonstick pan is a must-have. Not only will your food slide out of the pan with relative ease (thanks to the slippery coating), but it’s also less of a headache to clean than cast iron or stainless steel pans.
So, how do you know which nonstick pan is the best one for you? It depends. The best pans should be sturdy and effortless to use. However, they’re not meant to last a lifetime, so you wouldn’t want to drop a ton of cash on one.
That’s where we come in. We selected seven of the best nonstick pans on the market and put them to the test. A trained cook (that’s me!) flipped dozens of eggs, cooked stacks upon stacks of pancakes, and came away with a ranked list of pans and a solid recommendation: the Calphalon 10-inch Omelette Pan, a high-quality nonstick pan that’s just right for the day-to-day tasks of your kitchen.
1. The best nonstick pan for pretty much everyone
The Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick Omelette Pan is not only beautiful to look at, but it also performs like a charm. I used it to cook pancakes and an omelet, all of which slid easily on the PFOA-free nonstick surface. In fact, flipping eggs felt absolutely effortless on its smooth interior. The stainless steel handle is rounded and angles up, assisting with flipping motions while keeping your hands far away from the heat.
I loved the pan’s perfect balance and thick anodized aluminum base, which provide both sturdiness and ease of movement. At $39.95, you’re not breaking the bank—but you’re not sacrificing any durability, either.
Get the Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick 10-Inch Omelette Pan on Amazon for $41.49
2. The best luxury brand frying pan
The All-Clad brand is well-known for producing bonded stainless steel pans that top everyone’s performance list. This nonstick fry pan features their renowned All-clad stainless steel bottom with a PFOA-free nonstick coating on top.
Of all the pans we tested, the induction-compatible All-Clad was the quickest to warm up and provided the most even heating, browning both sides of the pancake nicely. While the All-Clad has a weight that’s almost identical to the Calphalon, it feels much heavier because of the straight handle design. This put the balance towards the far edge of the pan, making it slightly too hefty to flip eggs comfortably.
Get the All-Clad Nonstick Fry Pan on Amazon for $144.88
3. The only nonstick pan you can use with metal utensils
This Danish-made nonstick pan features PFOA-free ceramic titanium, making it unique amongst the pans we tested. This type of nonstick coating is said to be safe for use with metal utensils, which is typically a big no-no with nonstick pans. Sure enough, the Scanpan Classic Fry Pan was the only pan to pass our scratch tests with flying colors. Visible marks were apparent after we scoured it with steel wool and scraped it with metal utensils, but none of the scratches penetrated the surface. However, it was the only pan we tested that warped when heated and placed in cold water
nullDuring testing, the pan felt light in my hands, and its short handle made it easy to maneuver—although the handle’s plastic material did get hot after extended use. It was the only pan we tested that didn’t have rivets connecting the handle to the inside of the pan, which made for easier cleaning. Unfortunately, the pan’s heavy base made it the slowest to preheat.
While it’s not quite as affordable as the Calphalon, the Scanpan Classic Fry Pan is definitely an appealing purchase, thanks to its ease of cleaning and scratch resistance. The pan could last a long time, so long as you’re careful not to expose it to extreme changes in temperature, like placing it in the sink while it’s still hot.
Get the Scanpan Classic 9.5-Inch Fry Pan on Amazon for $78
4. A popular, middle-of-the-road nonstick pan
The Cuisinart Contour Hard Anodized Skillet is a favorite on Amazon, and it’s easy to see why. The pan’s heavy weight is well balanced by a contoured handle that angles up, so it’s really comfortable to hold and use. While the pan’s tall, sloped edges make it slightly harder to flip eggs, it performed well overall. It browned our pancakes a bit unevenly, but returned quickly to its preheated temperature when we added room-temperature ingredients to the pan.
Overall, this pan is solidly constructed and gets the job done. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which won’t cover any damage you do to the nonstick surface but will cover manufacturer’s defects.
Get the Cuisinart Contour Hard Anodized Skillet on Amazon for $41.70
5. The pan with a seriously impressive nonstick surface
The Tramontina Professional Nonstick Restaurant Frypan has a long, rubber handle that is hard for me to love. While it did keep my hands away from the heat during testing, the balance and grip felt weird and uncomfortable to use.
On the flip (heh) side, the pan has an exceptional nonstick surface, producing a perfect omelet and fried eggs that flipped without clinging to the pan at all. Less sticking should mean quicker cleanup, but the handle has three rivets connecting it to the pan instead of the classic two-rivet system. While it’s not a deal breaker, it does make the pan slightly harder to clean, forcing you to really dig your sponge into the sides.
Get the Tramontina Professional Nonstick Restaurant Frypan from Walmart for $22.99
6. The most affordable pan that performs like expensive options
Between the Farberware Classic Series Aluminum Nonstick’s longer-than-normal plastic handle and its extreme upward slope, this pan is more than a little uncomfortable to hold. That awkwardness definitely pushed this pan towards the bottom of our list, even though we have no complaints about the pan’s nonstick surface.
Despite being the least expensive pan we tested, the Farberware’s nonstick abilities can absolutely compete with those of much pricier pans. It was one of the lightest pans we tested, but also has the smallest cooking surface area—a full inch less than the competition—thanks to the very tall, sloping sides. All in all, I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, either.
Get the Farberware Classic Series Aluminum Nonstick Pan on Amazon for $14.32
7. The pan everyone gets for their first apartment
From one of the most well-known names in inexpensive nonstick cookware, the T-Fal Professional Nonstick Fry Pan seemed poised to perform. The pan’s claim to fame is the Thermo-spot indicator, an area of the surface that displays a solid red spot when the pan is preheated, but unfortunately, this feature didn’t work well on my gas cooktop. While it did heat up quickly, T-Fal’s nonstick abilities paled in comparison to the other pans, producing the worst omelet of the group.
The contoured silicone handle provided a nice grip, with a shape that makes flipping motions easy. The silicone material on the handle extends all the way up to the base of the pan which causes the whole handle to heat up very quickly. While I liked the pan’s shape and compatibility with induction cooktops, its performance fell disappointingly short.
Get the T-Fal Professional Nonstick Fry Pan on Amazon for $18.89
The contents of this story originally appeared on Reviewed.com. For more info on nonstick pans, stainless steel pans, cutting boards, and other kitchen and cooking products, check out Reviewed.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.