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A good, solid, long-lasting — and cheap — nonstick pan is a cook’s Holy Grail. Its super-slick, nonstick surface is ideal for cooking sticky scrambled eggs or delicate crêpes. But all too often, budget nonstick pans start to flake and turn useless within just a few months of use. And it feels like a big waste of money. Is it possible to get a workhorse of a nonstick skillet without spending big bucks or investing in a whole set?
I figure, if the pan withstood the rigors of Wirecutter, it’s got to be pretty solid, right? Could this be my Holy Grail, nonstick pan? The only way to know for sure was to try it myself.
I noticed two things immediately: the handle and weight. The pan’s handle had a removable silicone grip, which was both comfortable and protective (why don’t all skillets come with this?). As for the pan itself, it was made of light cast aluminum, making it effortless to pick up. And because aluminum is super responsive to temperature changes, the pan gets hot in no time. For example, after just one minute on medium-high heat, it was ready to start searing tofu.
I cooked with this pan nearly every day for two months — eggs, crêpes, pancakes, hash browns, tofu, and salmon fillets. It provided extremely even heat, but was quick to cool down if I had the heat cranked too high. Nothing burned, and nothing stuck. I used it to heat up leftovers, too. And things like thick curries and braises warmed through without leaving a caked-on film that needed scrubbing.
Speaking of cleanup, it was almost laughably easily. One effortless swipe with a sponge and some hot water was all that was needed to remove a thick coating of sauce or any other cooked-on bits from the pan’s surface.
The 10-inch size is great for most applications, but I sometimes found myself wanting a bigger pan. We cook a lot of tofu in our house, and, with a 10-inch skillet, I had to do so in batches. (However, this skillet also comes in 12- and even 14-inch sizes, so I’m in luck and so are you!) And if you have an induction stovetop, keep looking. This pan isn’t induction-friendly.
After two months of near-daily use, this pan is as nonstick as when it came out of the box. Will it stay that way? Eventually, all nonstick coatings lose their mojo. But this one seems rugged enough to last a lot longer than most — and I think it’s absolutely worth buying.
Do you have a favorite nonstick skillet? Tell us about it in the comments!