Best Nonstick Skillet
Buying Guides

Buying Guide: Nonstick Skillet

Whether you’re a pro, home cook or just food lover, a good nonstick skillet (or traditional frying pan) will be a dearly tool in your kitchen. Imagine that eggs can glide around without or less oil on the surface of the pan and effortlessly slide off to serving dish, cooking with a nonstick pan can be really easy to obsess with.

Nonstick Surface

Roughly, nonstick coat comes with two main types: Teflon or Teflon-free surface. One is Teflon, the traditional type, which offers slicker surface and cheaper budget, while containing synthetic chemicals, PTFE and PFOA, that can possibly link to health problems. Another is made of naturally nonstick materials, such as ceramic and glass, that has less slick, more expensive, or less durable. For a peace in mide, see What to know before cooking with nonstick cookware.

Safely Cook with Nonstick

For health-conscious people, Teflon pans might sound a lot like monster today. However, they’re safe if not cooking over 500°F, which won’t be met with daily cooking. A Good Housekeeping Research Institute[1] experiment, showed the temperature and cooking conditions for nonstick pans:

Scrambled eggs
Cooked on medium for 3 minutes in a lightweight pan
Chicken-and-pepper stir-fry
Cooked on high for 5 1/4 minutes in a lightweight pan
Cooked on high for 5 1/2 minutes in a medium-weight pan
Empty pan, preheated
Heated on high for 1 3/4 minutes in a lightweight pan
Pan preheated with 2 Tbsp. oil
Heated on high for 2 1/2 minutes in a lightweight pan
Cooked on high for 8 1/2 minutes in a heavyweight pan
Cooked on high for 10 minutes in a lightweight pan

For the safe of uses, never preheat an empty pan and no high temperature (over 500°F) cooking. Low-to-medium heat is recommended. Also, don’t cook on any power burners---over 12,000 BTUs on a gas stove or 2,400 watts on an electric stove) to prevent rapidly overheat temperature.

Cost to Pay

A nonstick pan costs from $20 to nearly $200, mostly depending on coating material and construction boning. Tough ceramic-coated pans that have conductive-metal layers inside, a.k.a. fully-clad construction, are commonly the most expensive type. While plain porcelain-enameled coat with thin aluminum body ones are the cheapest.

The truth is: nonstick skillets are beneficial tools but they’re not durable enough to last over 10 years like stainless steel or cast-iron cookware. This make two choices to go: buy cheap ones and replace them after 3 years of uses (or sooner) or pay more for higher performance and durable coat pans that has much longer lifetime, maybe 2 or 3 times of the cheap ones.

Should we spend much on nonstick pan?

It depends on your preference and budget, no definite choice. While chefs from Serious Eats[2] insisted to pick cheap nonstick pans, like Farberware Pro Aluminum, instead of the pricier ones since they’re short lifetime and not worth for more dollars. Besides, cast-iron and carbon steel pans, after developing nonstick surface from proper seasoning and care, can serve the main duties, in more value.

While Brad Leone from Bon Appetite[3] praised for Zwilling Madura Plus, a pricier skillet, as the best nonstick pan. Likewise, Katherine Sacks and Tommy Werner from Epicurious[4] added some expensive products, such as GreenPan Paris and Scanpan Classic, in their best list.

Know Before Going:

When talking to a nonstick skillet, not common nonstick cookware, we expect for a useful tool for yielding promised results with delicate recipes on stovetops, like French omelets, crepes, sunny side-up eggs, tortillas, or things that you don’t want to get stuck or struggle to flip in the halfway. Above from nonstick finish, good skillets should feature these:
  • Construction. Most nonstick pans craft from aluminum, both traditional nonstick or ceramic, or even hard-anodized products. The cast aluminum is preferable as being inexpensive material and good heat conductor. Look for thick construction to ensure better heat performance and durability. Avoid thin-gauged aluminum pans unless you’ll get warped, dented or too light pans that require to replace sooner.

    Still, if you expect for more excellent performance, go for tri-ply construction or at least a thick encapsulated base bottom.

  • Shape. Good nonstick skillets, like traditional stainless-steel ones, should have classic flared sides, not too shallow bottom, low-profile shape, round edge, and wide flat base to fit three eggs omelet and tortillas. They should have bent lips and rolled rims to easier slide off the food after cooking. For a clue, All-Clad NSR2 skillet is an exceptional sample.

  • Grip & Balance. The pan should feel comfortable and secure to grip. Also, it should have good balance and maneuverability. The handles should have no sharp edges and feel cool enough to touch while cooking. Also, some people prefer rivet-free pans because of easier to clean. Still, this isn’t a big deal.

  • Weight. The pan should have good weight balance between the handle and pan, which is good to maneuver and easily flip the foods. While lifting it or swirling oil, it shouldn’t tense your wrist or forearm.

  • Stovetop Compatibility. Aluminum alone aren’t compatible with induction stovetops. And, many of them don’t work well with ceramic and electric ranges. If you use these stovetops, or check for stove-compatibility before buying ones. Circulon Premier and Symmetry and Anolon Nouvelle Copper are recommended.

    For more versatile option, pick stainless-steel with clad construction pans, such as All-Clad Stainless-Steel Nonstick, Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro or KitchenAid Nonstick KCS12NKLS skillet; they excel on any burners.

  1. Amanda Schaffer, Nervous About Nonstick?, Good Housekeeping, Sep 26, 2007.
  2. Daniel Gritzer, The Best Nonstick Pans Are the Cheap Ones, Serious Eats, Feb 2017.
  3. Brad Leone, Zwilling Is the Best Non-Stick Pan We’ve Ever Used, Bon Appetit, Aug 9, 2017.
  4. Katherine Sacks & Tommy Werner, The Best Nonstick Pan for Everyday Cooking, Epicurious, March 10.

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