Bid Adieu to Baked-on Mess with the Best Nonstick Pans
For as little as $24.
Buying a brand new nonstick pan used to be a bit like falling in love during summer vacation: gratifying, enjoyable, and fleeting. But these days, a truly good nonstick pan can be more than just a disposable fling; many are long-lasting and even have the potential to become a cooking essential. After all, what other kitchen tool is capable of inviting delight with every gently rolled omelette, perfectly seared fish filet, or softly scrambled egg? The challenge, of course, is finding one that continues to deliver over a span of years—not just a couple months. Ahead, seven of the best Teflon and ceramic-coated nonstick pans you can buy now.
- Best Overall: All-Clad B1 Hard Anodized Fry Pan Set, $60
- Best Value: Tramontina Professional Aluminum Fry Pan, $34
- Best for Small Kitchens: Greenpan SmartShape Frying Pan, $24
- Best Copper Core: Material The Coated Pan, $95
- Best Upgrade: Hestan ProBond Stainless-Steel Pan, $160
- Best Nonstick Cast Iron: Geoffrey Zakarian Cast Iron Pan, $50
- Best Ceramic Coated: Caraway Fry Pan, $95
What to Consider When Buying a Nonstick Pan
Nonstick pans are available in a multitude of different core materials and coatings, so it can get a little confusing trying to choose one. Anodized aluminum is the most commonly available core because it’s affordable, lightweight, and heats up quickly. But you’ll also find upgraded versions in stainless steel, copper, or cast iron. Regardless of the pan’s core, there are often just two choices when it comes to the nonstick portion: conventional PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene, aka Teflon) and ceramic (often an aluminum metal pan covered with a slick silicone finish). Many of the newer brands tout ceramic as healthier and safer, while downplaying PTFE-coating’s superior nonstick performance.
Nonstick pans are generally available in sizes ranging between 8.5 inches to 14 inches. Sometimes a single, small nonstick pan is the best choice if all you plan to prepare are egg dishes, but if you’re cooking more, don’t hesitate to go big.
Nonstick pans are not difficult to maintain or clean—especially if you consciously limit their use to specific ingredients that aren’t saucy or sticky. Allow your nonstick pans to return to room temperature before hand-washing and wipe clean with a dollop of dish soap and a non-abrasive sponge or cloth.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: All-Clad B1 Hard Anodized Fry Pan Set
All-Clad B1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pans are made of thick-gauge, hard-anodized aluminum which feels substantial but is easy to handle thanks to a balanced design, similar to All-Clad’s other highly vaunted stainless steel cookware. With three layers of PFOA-free nonstick coating, the slippery surface should hold up for years if treated with a modicum of extra care. (Yes, they’re rated “dishwasher safe,” but All-Clad recommends hand washing to preserve the nonstick coating as long as possible.) The pans are also rated safe for up to 500°, which means they can switch from stovetop (including induction stovetops) to oven without worry.
Best Value: Tramontina Professional Aluminum Fry Pan
Tramontina’s nonstick pans have earned rave reviews online for their affordable prices and lightweight, easy-to-handle design. This version features a removable red silicone handle sheath and cast aluminum construction that lends even, edge-to-edge heat distribution. But no nonstick pan is worth its weight without a durable nonstick coating. Tramontina’s pans are coated with Whitford’s highest-grade, reinforced Eclipse coating—a tough, chip- and scratch-resistant finish that lets foods slide right off with only a drizzle of oil or a hint of butter. Our only knock against this pan is that it is not induction cooktop compatible.
Best for Small Kitchens: Greenpan SmartShape Frying Pan
Greenpan’s hard anodized aluminum pans are finished with a ceramic nonstick coating that is both PFAS- and PFOA-free, which means even if you accidentally cook with too-high heat, you won’t have to worry about tainting your food or the air with anything toxic. And unlike many other designs, Greenpan Smartshape doesn’t use exposed rivets where the pan connects to the handle—a common problem area when it comes to cleaning baked-on stains without scratching the nonstick coating. Another bonus: the entire SmartShape line features a space-saving nesting design, which means you can store the whole set without jamming up your cabinets. (We’d still recommending keeping a cloth between each pan to avoid always-inevitable scratching.)
Best Copper Core: Material The Coated Pan
This direct-to-consumer brand’s nonstick pan hits all the marks of a versatile workhorse. It can be used on gas, electric, or induction stovetops; and is constructed of a stainless steel alloy and copper core that heats up fast and evenly. It’s also safe for heat up to 500°. Material claims its nonstick coating lasts 37 times longer than ceramic, which should result in years of use. But it’s not all substance without style. Material offers the pan in two very contemporary finishes—a slightly pearlescent green (Mineral) and a light sand hue (Dune).
Best Splurge: Hestan ProBond Stainless-Steel Skillet Fry Pan
Hestan’s luxe, triple-bonded stainless steel and aluminum nonstick pans are admittedly a bit of a splurge, especially since its two larger sizes cost more than some multi-pan sets. But as they say, the devil is in the details. Each Hestan pan is handcrafted in Italy and features an attractive, super-polished exterior constructed with flush rivets that make the pan extra easy to clean. A high-angled handle is comfortable to grip and even easier to lift. Perhaps most appealing, though, is the slightly speckled, nonstick finish. It features a proprietary coating embedded with small flecks of titanium and diamond particles that improve durability and withstand temperatures of up to 500°.
Best Nonstick Cast Iron Pan: Geoffrey Zakarian Non-Stick Cast Iron Frying Pan
If you’ve ever used a Lodge or other traditional cast iron pan, you’ll be right at home with this pan’s 8.43-pound heft and short, two-handled grip. You’ll also appreciate that it has similar heat retention and frying and searing capabilities. But this celebrity chef-endorsed pan comes with all the conveniences of a nonstick: foods slide right off its titanium-infused ceramic nonstick coating and clean up easily with just a few swipes of paper towel.
Best Ceramic Coated Nonstick: Caraway Fry Pan
Caraway’s highly rated 10.5-inch aluminum core cookware is oven-safe all the way up to 550°—a higher ceiling than most nonstick pans. However, it’s probably most at home on the stovetop where its slick, nontoxic mineral-based ceramic coating means you can cook without needing a ton of oil. An ergonomic handle makes for a confident grip that allows eggs and vegetables to transfer from pan to plate easily. And Caraway’s spectrum of five stylish colors also stands out from the crowd, inviting a little fashionable expression within the kitchen. You even have the option of adding a matching steel-handled lid.
Ask the Experts
Do professional chefs use nonstick pans?
Restaurant kitchens aren’t for the faint of heart…nor the nonstick-coated. But while most professionals avoid nonstick pans because of the care required to maintain their coating, some chefs, like David Chang, admit to including some nonstick coated pieces in their home kitchen for the same reason mere mortals do: convenience.
How often should you replace them?
It’s simple. If you see a scratch, flaking, or a chip on the surface of your nonstick, it’s time to replace it. No ifs, ands or buts.
Are nonstick pans durable?
Nonstick pans can last for years. But the longevity of any nonstick pan requires abiding by certain habits. Avoid using metal utensils, pre-soak before gently scrubbing with a nonabrasive sponge, never preheat an empty pan, and never submerge a hot pan into cold water after use. Also, you should generally avoid using them with temperatures over 500°F which can wear down even the most durable of nonstick coatings over time.
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