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The perfect nonstick pans are hardy, easy to clean, and as the name implies, actually nonstick. They come in handy when you need to fry an egg for breakfast or whip up a side of mushrooms for dinner. But with so many on the market from a variety of sources, it can be tough to decide what to purchase. There are a number of variables to consider, from what material it should be made of to the size you really need. Luckily, we’ve taken the guesswork out of it for you.
Here are the best nonstick pans to seek out, broken into helpful categories.
Best Overall: Made In Nonstick Frying Pan
What We Like: Extra durable, multiple layers of nonstick coating, easy cleanup, 45-day trial period
What We Don’t Like: A little pricey
Made In is a direct-to-consumer cookware startup that was founded in 2017. Its premise is to bring professional-grade pots and pans to your kitchen. And they’ve succeeded. The pans regularly sell out, but once you score one, you won’t go back.
Available in 8, 10, and 12-inch sizes, this nonstick frying pan is a best seller for Made In. Comparable in quality to All-Clad pans but less expensive, this particular pick is available in traditional graphite or a more bold take in harbor blue tone. They’re extra durable from multiple layers of PFOA-free nonstick coating, safe in the oven up to 500 degrees, and come with a 45-day trial period.
Made In pans should be washed by hand to protect the coating.
"A number of the Simply Recipes editors have Made In skillets and we love them. If I need a new pan, I basically always go to Made In first. They're as good or better as All-Clad, in my opinion, while costing a lot less." —Cambria Bold, Senior Editor, Cooking Education
Finish: Stainless steel with PFOA-free PTFE coating | Maximum Temperature: 500 degrees | Sizes: 8, 10, and 12 inches
Best Budget: T-fal 12-inch Initiatives Nonstick Ceramic Fry Pan
What We Like: Affordable, no hot spots
What We Don’t Like: Not ideal for induction stovetops
This heritage European brand provides a lot of bang for your buck with its nonstick pans. This 12-inch fry pan has a ceramic coating surrounding heavy-gauge aluminum.
That durable aluminum provides even heating with no hot spots, and the surface can handle temperatures up to 570 degrees for when you want to sear meat. The ceramic coating is free of PTFE, PFOA, and cadmium, so you don’t have to worry about it giving off bad fumes. The heat-resistant handle provides an extra safety measure in the kitchen but is only oven safe to 350 degrees.
While this is safe to clean in the dishwasher, it’s best to wash it by hand to avoid damaging the surface.
Finish: Aluminum with ceramic coating | Maximum Temperature: 570 degrees | Size: 12 inches
Best Eco-Friendly: Ozeri ZP1-3P 3-Piece Green Earth Pan Set
What We Like: Eco-friendly, works on all stovetops, scratch-resistant
What We Don’t Like: Lids aren’t included
One common issue with nonstick coatings is the history of the chemicals decomposing at high temperatures. It’s why you should only use nonstick pans over medium or low heat. If you’re still concerned about the chemicals or their environmental effects, these durable nonstick pans don’t include any PTFE, PFOA, APEO, GenX, NMP, NEP, or Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).
The Ozeri Green Earth collection comes in a bright green hue, inspired by nature. Extra durable, these aluminum pans heat evenly and are easy to clean. This set comes complete with a honeycomb ceramic interior for increased heat distribution and includes a 5, 8, and 12-inch skillet. There’s even a magnetized bottom for use on induction stovetops.
Finish: Aluminum with ceramic coating | Maximum Temperature: 350 degrees | Sizes: 5, 8, and 12 inches
Related: The Best Frying Pans
Best Set of Two: Scanpan Classic 2 Piece Fry Pan Set
What We Like: Lifetime warranty, safe for metal utensils, can be used to sear/brown meat
What We Don't Like: No color options, not induction stovetop safe
If you’re just starting to outfit your kitchen or need to upgrade a few old nonstick pans, you’ll get a better bang for your buck by buying a set. Scanpan is a Danish company known for its PFOA-free nonstick finish.
Scanpan's professional-grade recycled aluminum skillets include a ceramic-titanium nonstick coating, a stay-cool handle with ergonomic grip, and are free of PFOS in addition to PFOA. You should expect even heating with no hot spots thanks to their thick bases. This set's convenient 8-inch and 10.25-inch sizes will be versatile tools in any home chef’s arsenal.
As an added bonus, little to no oil is needed when cooking with this fry pan set. While you should treat them with care, they are safe to put in the dishwasher.
Finish: Recycled aluminum with ceramic-titanium coating | Maximum Temperature: 500 degrees | Sizes: 8 inches and 10.25 inches
Best Ceramic: Food52 x GreenPan Nonstick Skillet Set
What We Like: Great for everyday use, higher heat tolerance, aesthetically pleasing
What We Don’t Like: No neutral color options
Ceramic surfaces can withstand heat of up to 600 degrees, which is a lot higher than the traditional 500 degrees of normal nonstick pans. And this chic set packs a punch in terms of aesthetics as well.
According to Food 52’s cofounder Amanda Hesser, the partnership with GreenPan comes from a desire to have affordable yet chic, nonstick pans. In colors such as navy, plum, and sage, all with attractive brass hardware to boot, the Food 52 x GreenPan Nonstick Skillet is both pleasing to the eye and versatile in the kitchen! The set of two comes with an 8-inch and an 11-inch skillet with GreenPan’s ceramic coating that’s free of PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium. They’re also safe for every type of stovetop, including induction.
For longevity, be sure to wash by hand even though these jewel-toned skillets are considered dishwasher safe.
Finish: Hard anodized aluminum with Thermolon ceramic coating | Maximum Temperature: 600 degrees | Sizes: 8 inches and 11 inches
Related: The Best Nonstick Cookware
Best Set: All-Clad NS1 Nonstick Induction 13-Piece Cookware Set
What We Like: Everything you need in one set, dishwasher safe
What We Don’t Like: Not safe for use with aerosol cooking spray, expensive
All-Clad has a stellar reputation as a cookware titan, and its version of a nonstick set is no exception. It has a tri-ply construction with a stainless-steel base, and all the pans can be used on all types of stoves.
This set contains almost every pan you’ll ever need, each with a PFOA-free nonstick coating. The pots and pans are oven safe up to 500 degrees which is higher than other options, and even though the handles have a stay-cool design, you should handle them with caution when taking them out of the oven.
Finish: Hard-anodized aluminum with PFOA-free coating | Maximum Temperature: 500 degrees | What's Included: 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan, 12-inch fry pan, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 4-quart sauté pan with lid, 4-quart soup pot with lid, 8-quart stockpot with lid
Best Splurge: Our Place The Always Pan
What We Like: Lightweight, comes with spatula and steamer basket, has a pour spout
What We Don’t Like: Only comes in one size, not dishwasher safe, not oven safe
This Insta-famous pan is designed to replace eight pieces of traditional cookware, and while we don’t think it quite manages that, the Our Place Always Pan remains an excellent pick.
At 10 inches in diameter with a 2.6-quart capacity, the Always Pan is a bit deeper than most options, making it perfect for one-pot stovetop dishes. It’s made from aluminum for fast, but even, heating, and has nontoxic, nonstick ceramic coating. Since it’s well over $100, it does fall into the splurge category, but it’s so attractive you don’t need to worry about storing it and can just leave it on the stovetop after cleaning. It comes with a steamer basket and a spatula, which rests perfectly in the pan’s design. Somehow the simple addition of a spatula rest makes cooking just that much more convenient.
As for that cleaning, I may have forgotten about brown rice in my Always Pan for over an hour, and when I came back, it wasn’t burnt; it slid right out with zero issues. In fact, I barely had to use any dish soap to wash it. That said, if you put the spatula in the dishwasher, it will never fit perfectly on the pan again, so it's best to handwash everything.
Finish: Aluminum with ceramic coating | Size: 10 inches
Best Grill Pan: Pampered Chef Nonstick Grill Pan and Press Set
What We Like: Lifetime guarantee, grill marks without going outside
What We Don’t Like: Expensive
This unique nonstick pan is great to get grill marks on your steaks, chicken, and veggies any time of the year. It’s large enough, at nearly 12 inches by 12 inches, to grill four steaks, chicken breasts, or pieces of fish at one time.
The grill pan’s designed without rivets, so there’s no chance of rusting, while its four layers of nonstick coating ensure even heating and are free of PFOA. It’s safe in the oven up to 480 degrees should you need to pop it in there, just don’t stick it under the broiler and take off the detachable handle before it goes in.
The set includes an enamel-coated cast-iron grill press, perfect for easy stovetop paninis without an additional appliance taking up valuable storage space in your kitchen. Clean-up is also a snap as both pieces are designed for washing in the dishwasher.
Finish: Cast iron with titanium-reinforced nonstick coating | Maximum Temperature: 480 degrees | Size: 11.5 x 11.5 inches
What to Look for When Buying a Nonstick Pan
There’s much to consider when purchasing nonstick cookware. In terms of coatings, we are referring to the inside of the pan, as the coating is what gives it nonstick properties. The most common coating and the oldest is called PTFE (aka Teflon), which is a synthetic coating. Another common coating is ceramic. Based on personal preferences, home chefs can pick between these two main options, though Teflon is purported to last longer. Other common coatings include silicone (just be sure to get pure silicone without plastic fillers) and enameled cast iron.
Another key thing to look for is the material of your nonstick pan. Many nonstick pans are crafted from either aluminum or stainless steel. Both of these have their benefits and detractions. Aluminum pans heat up more quickly but aren’t ideal for the most even distribution of heat and can’t be used on induction surfaces. Nonstick pans that are stainless steel can be heavier and generally cost more. Keep materials in mind when making your nonstick pan purchasing decisions.
Can you put a nonstick pan in the dishwasher?
It’s best not to, even if the manufacturer says you can. Hand washing can help increase the longevity of your pan, so just use warm water and a little dish soap, and be sure to avoid any abrasive scrubbing item as that can damage the nonstick coating. Additionally, remember to wait until the pan is cooled to wash it, as you can warp the shape if you don’t.
Can you use nonstick cooking spray with a nonstick pan?
No, don’t do this. The ingredients in nonstick spray, particularly lecithin, can build up on the surface of your pan, making the nonstick coating obsolete.
What utensils should you use on nonstick pans?
In order to avoid scratching your nonstick cookware, consider using wooden or silicone utensils rather than metal. This can also increase the longevity of your pans.
When should you replace a nonstick pan?
Generally speaking, nonstick pans last about five years, though they can last much longer in optimal conditions (as listed above). Some warning signs that may let you know it’s time to replace a nonstick pan include dark discoloration and lots of scratches in the nonstick coating.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Katy Spratte Joyce has been a prolific home cook and un-fussy foodie for over a decade, and now she’s writing about it. She has far too many nonstick pans in her tiny kitchen and wants to spare you the same dilemma.
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