Nonstick pans get a lot of flak, but they’re also one of the most useful pans a cook can own. They don’t require as much oil when you’re cooking, they ensure food doesn’t stick (hence the name) and, generally, they’re fairly cheap and disposable. As long as you aren’t doing anything reckless to your pan, they’ll last you quite a while, churning out as many omelettes and pancakes as you’d like. We got our hands on a wide range of nonstick pans and found six of the best ones to buy.
What’s the Difference Between Teflon and Ceramic?
Nonstick pans have a coating on their surface to prevent food from adhering to the pan. That coating can either be made of polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, or ceramic, which is free of polytetrafluoroethylene. You might hear someone say nonstick pans are made of Teflon, but Teflon is just one brand of PTFE. PTFE is safe for cooking, but at certain temperatures it can release dangerous fumes. Ceramic won’t emit those fumes at any temperature, but it is more brittle than PTFE. Either way, both coatings will degrade over time.
Then there are nonstick pans that are hard-anodized aluminum. These types of pans are made of aluminum and have a tough, nonstick top layer that doesn’t require a coating. While this type of nonstick pan is more durable than one that requires a coating, they’re generally heavy, more expensive and not compatible with induction cooktops.
Are Nonstick Pans Oven Safe?
Some nonstick pans are safe to put in an oven. If it is oven safe, the manufacturer will tell you just how hot that oven can be, especially since PTFE can start to gradient at certain temperatures. Never put a nonstick pan into a hot oven without checking with the manufacturer’s recommendations first.
Can You Put a Nonstick Pan in the Dishwasher?
Some brands will advertise their nonstick pans as being dishwasher safe, and while we’ll take them at their word, we highly recommend hand-washing your nonstick pans. In general, we don’t like putting any cookware in the dishwasher because the temperature fluctuations can warp their shape, and nonstick pans are generally more delicate than other types of pans. Washing a non-stick pan by hand shouldn’t be hard, luckily, since food residue should wipe right out.
The Best Nonstick Pans of 2022
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We tested a number of pans, some for many years. We evaluated each pan’s nonstick abilities, as well as how well they heat up and stay hot. One of the most important factors for testing was making sure the pan wouldn’t let common food items stick. Another important characteristic of a good nonstick pan is its durability — how long can this pan last, and how much abuse can it take? While we didn’t go ahead and purposely apply metal utensils to the delicate surfaces, we did make sure we didn’t have to be too around them. Nonstick pans don’t have long shelf lives, but these pans should last you a decent amount of time, and they’re worth the money.
Best Overall Nonstick Pan
All-Clad HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Pan, Set of 2
- Works on all cooktops
- Oven safe up to 500°F
- High walls make it hard to toss
All-Clad has the stainless steel cookware game on lock, but don’t sleep on the brand’s nonstick pans. These hard-anodized nonstick pans (you get two for the low price of $70) feature a stainless steel base, which means you can actually use them on induction cooktops — not something you can usually do with hard-anodized cookware. The pans are heavy and they retain heat surprisingly well, but they might be too heavy for some people. The surface is definitely one of the toughest I’ve used on a nonstick pan. After about three years of testing this pan, I’ve managed to scuff the surface yet it still works incredibly well. The handle is comfortable to hold, and the brand says the pans are safe to use in the oven up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Best Splurge Nonstick Pan
Made In Non-Stick Frying Pan
- Ergonomic handle
- Strong, durable construction
- Oven safe up to 500°F
- Expensive, but will last longer than cheaper nonstick pans
While we don’t usually condone spending too much on a nonstick pan because of their short lifespan, it’s hard not to recommend Made In’s take on the nonstick pan. The brand uses a PFOA-free nonstick coating that’s durable and resistant to scratching. According to the brand, its trademarked coating lasts 10 times longer than comparable nonstick pans from premium brands and 70 times longer than ceramic-coated nonstick pans. I’ve been using this pan for a couple years now, and I can attest to the coating’s longevity. I’m a fan of the pan’s ergonomic handle, which makes the pan easy to maneuver, plus, the blue interior stands out from other nonstick pans on the market.
Best Budget Non-Stick Pan
T-fal Titanium Advanced Nonstick Pan
- light weight
- Super affordable for its nonstick capabilities
- Oven safe only to 350°F because of the handle
- Will last about a year or two before the coating wears off
T-fal is one of the most famous brands for its cookware because it works well and it’s dirt cheap. The pan is made of aluminum, which heats quickly and evenly, but it’s no good on induction cooktops. For its price, you get a very durable pan that performs well in any nonstick test you can throw at it whether you’re cooking eggs or pan-frying some delicate fish.
Best Lightweight Nonstick Pan
Oxo Good Grips Hard Anodized Nonstick Frying Pan
- Triple layer of nonstick coating is slick
- Silicone handle is comfortable to hold
- Heats evenly and quickly
- Not good for induction cooktops
- Only oven safe up to 390°F
For a lightweight pan that doesn’t compromise on even heating and nonstick abilities, opt for Oxo’s Good Grips nonstick frying pan. Its silicone grip is comfortable to hold, but it does limit how hot of an oven you can put the pan in. With its aluminum construction, the pan heats quickly, and a triple layer of coating stays incredibly slick use after use.
Best Ceramic Nonstick Pan
Food52 x GreenPan Nonstick Fry Pans, Set of 2
- beautiful design
- Safe for temperatures up to 600°F
- Effective nonstick
- White interior can stain
- Expensive for nonstick pans
Some cooks will prefer ceramic nonstick cookware because they won’t leech toxic fumes when under extreme heat conditions. Other cooks will prefer ceramic because they just look so much nicer than the other types of nonstick brands. Food52 worked with GreenPan on a line of frying pans that can withstand heats up to 600 degrees, while being incredibly tough against metal utensils and even the dishwasher (though we still recommend forgoing either for the sake of longevity). Food will slip out of the pans like they’re coated in a layer of grease, but it’s not — that’s just how good the nonstick is.
Best Nonstick Pan for Instagram Foodies
Our Place Always Pan
- Includes a steam basket, wooden spoon and lid
- Super-slick surface
- Can’t be used in the oven at all
Instagram loves the Always Pan, and luckily it is a worthwhile piece of cookware that has a supremely good nonstick surface. Available in nearly a dozen muted Instagram-friendly colors, the Always Pan is compatible with all types of cooktops and because of its modular design, it can house a wooden spoon atop its handle and a steam basket within the pan itself. Our Place loves to taut that this is an eight-in-one pan, and while we’re a bit iffy on that claim, there’s no denying how well it works as a nonstick pan.
10 Mistakes You Might Be Making With Your Nonstick Pan
Treat your nonstick pan with respect and it’ll continue to work wonders in the kitchen.
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