A high-quality non-stick frying pan is a real necessity in the kitchen; from chips to hamburgers to omelettes, the cook does it all. But not all pots and pans are the same, and with thousands of pots and pans in all price ranges, it can be difficult to wade through marketing jargon to find the best.
To find out which are the best non-stick stoves, we went through dozens of published reviews and looked at user reviews to determine which twelve we could test. We cooked four different dishes at each of the competitors, evaluating the non-stick performance (can an egg really be turned without butter or oil and leave no residue?), ergonomics, ease of cleaning, temperature distribution and portability, durability and overall aesthetics. After eating a lot of pancakes and too many eggs (yes, we know our work is difficult), we finally reduced the list to three winners.
If you are a minimalist and prefer only one pot in your kitchen, then the T-fal E76597 is for you. The depth of this pot makes it very versatile: It prepares standard pancakes such as eggs and meat, and the 2½-inch sides are high enough to prepare recipes you normally reserve for pans, such as rice and stews. This is a high quality and affordable pot that has surpassed some of the most expensive in our test area.
The GreenPan ceramic pan is equipped with materials that will appeal to every chemically conscious consumer. Contrary to many non-stick pans, this pan does not contain materials that can pose long-term health risks, such as SFP, PFOA, lead and cadmium. The non-stick coating is instead made of sand, so that it does not emit toxic fumes in the event of overheating.
The 10 HexClad Hybrid cookware is fantastic (and yes, it’s also expensive), but it’s also a robust cookware that has beaten the competition in the kitchen in each of our tests: The food slipped easily, was cleaned by the wind and the heat was evenly distributed during cooking. If you’re looking for a professional update on your cooking routine, here’s everything you want in a non-stick frying pan packed in a nice bag.
Better global overview : T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Non-stick Frying Pan with lid (€39,99, originally €55,95; amazon.com)
T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Non Stick Pan 10 inch with lid
Why we love him in one sentence: Whether you’re preparing a mountain of vegetables or a steak, with this affordable option you can do it all with ease.
This casserole is a good deal. At a price of just under $45 (with lid), it can cook much more than an ordinary frying pan, with cooking and stewing functions. The increased height of the plate helps to retain voluminous vegetables – such as cabbage – which would otherwise fall over before the heat makes them wilt.
When it comes to removing the non-stick, the T-handle holder is suitable for the task. Nothing sticks to the surface of the pan, which is made of anodized aluminum, a golden term in the world of non-stick products, but you may not be familiar with it. Anodising and aluminium go together like peanut butter and jelly; the electrochemical process transforms the metal into a stronger, more corrosion-resistant material, according to the Aluminium Anodising Board. Instead of strengthening the surface layer of the pan as a coating, anodised aluminium is incorporated into the pan to prevent it from peeling.
The T-fal can endure up to 400 degrees in the oven (although the lid can endure up to 350 degrees before touching some parts) and is guaranteed for life. When the pan came out of the oven at 400 degrees, it actually looked exactly the way it had come in. And even in this case there was no need to exert pressure to prepare the brutal dish we had prepared. There is a red heat indicator in the middle of the pan that lights up red when the pan is properly preheated. It works, but it’s a little weird unless you like to preheat.
The handle is made of silicone, comfortable, easy to grip and remains relatively cold, especially when heated. It is also punched with a large opening to hang vertically – a storage bonus for small kitchens.
The pan is marketed as 2x scratch resistant, and although this is a rather vague statement, it has bravely survived our scratch resistance tests. We really beat the thing with metal utensils, but that was absolutely not the case. (Manufacturers, however, recommend caution when using metal cookware). The material is non-toxic, so even if you overheat or scratch the pan, you don’t have to worry about a possible leak in your food.
As far as cleaning is concerned, T-fal won’t give you any trouble. Soap, water and a sponge make a perfect team.
For less than the price of a high-end restaurant meal, it’s a non-stick pan that does it all – and more. The perfect pot is hard to find, yet T-Fal makes the title effortless. You can’t imagine anything better. In fact, according to our tests, the T-Fal is broadly at the same level as the professional HexClad model, which is more than twice as expensive.
The best ecological frying pan : GreenPan Ceramic Pressure Cooker ($79.99, originally $139.99 for a set of two; macys.com)
Stackable ceramic pressure cooker GreenPan
Why we love him in one sentence: True to its name, the GreenPan is a healthier and more environmentally friendly non-stick pan that actually works.
Ceramic cookware has become popular in the wellness world and has a reputation for being healthier than teflon or copper cookware. Ceramic has the advantage – especially when used for cooking at high temperatures – that it does not contain any chemicals that can seep into the food. GreenPan didn’t win our vote just for these reasons (even if it’s a bonus); it’s just a great pot.
Eggs, pancakes and even sticky peanut sauce slipped over the surface as if it were Christy Yamaguchi. After cooking, there was almost no residue on the pan, which allowed a very quick cleaning that consisted of wiping, rinsing and continuing our work.
This frying pan was a real treat for the eyes. Weighing 1.5 kg, it is the lightest of the first three and is a pleasure to hold on to, whether you are dragging food from the pan to the plate or using a little elbow grease to stir fry it. Unlike the other two pots, the GreenPan looks aesthetically simple; without the distinctive surface pattern, it can easily be confused with an ordinary pot, which is part of its charm.
Just like the T-Fal, this frying pan has an anodised aluminium housing that ensures even cooking and temperature distribution. It’s also incredibly scratch-resistant: If you drag a metal fork over the surface, you’ll see the same stains as if you’d run your finger over it – none. The pan can withstand a temperature of up to 400 degrees in the oven and the silicone-coated handle keeps it cool. Thermolon’s non-stick ceramic surface, which is derived from sand instead of a toxic material, grows at lower temperatures, but does not give off chemical vapours at higher temperatures. The GreenPan website states that the Thermolon coating process emits 60% less CO2 than conventional coatings, which we believe is environmentally friendly.
And goop fans, you’re lucky. Even Gwyneth Paltrow works with this model; she has worked with GreenPan and sells many of the more Instagram-worthy ceramics through her wellness brand.
Best restaurant – Quality stove : HexClad Pan Hybrid 10 Inch Hybrid ($137; hexclad.com)
HexClad Hybrid Frying Pan HexClad 10
Why we love him in one sentence: If you pay a premium, you get a hard nail pot like you find in a professional kitchen: Nothing that stokes you, it repels scratches, it can withstand the highest oven temperatures we’ve tested and it looks great.
Ooh la la. If you put the pot on the stove, customers will think you know what you’re doing in the kitchen.
Although the HexClad is considerably more expensive than the other pans on our list, the quality of the construction is impressive. It features a black hexagonal overlap pattern that creates a series of peaks and troughs. According to the manufacturer, it is the valleys that give the pan its non-stick properties, while the stainless steel tips ensure even heating and protect the pan from flaking. For us, the design looks cool and provides a smooth surface for cleaning and cooking. The unique surface structure of the pan repels scratches – a sharp knife, a dreaded fork or even a metal spatula cannot damage the robust pan. (The CEO of the company even made a very convincing video with a metal pizza machine and a motorized hand blender that turns a frying pan without damage). These nooks and crannies also seem to distribute the heat well, because the food boils evenly, no matter which side of the pan it is placed on.
The manufacturers recommend seasoning the pan first, which we did: According to the instructions, we heated some oil for a few minutes and then rinsed it off. Then we made a cheese omelet and ate all the leftovers because not a single piece of cheese or egg was stuck in the pan. The same goes for cooking fish, whipping pancakes and preparing tasty sauces. Nothing seemed to stick and cleaning up was a breeze.
Another thing this pot has about all the others: It is the most heat-resistant of our three bricks, with a maximum temperature of 500 degrees in the kiln. This means you can put it in the oven for hours without having to worry about it warping. The combination of stainless steel and non-stick coating gives it a high-quality appearance and ensures a long service life. (Although HexClad is guaranteed for life, just in case.) Stainless steel in itself is not a good heat conductor, but this model has an aluminium core layer that distributes heat perfectly and ensures uniform cooking temperatures.
Unlike many other stainless steel pots we have tried, the HexClad bottom did not burn or discolour when overheated, thanks to the black non-stick coating that is also used here. It is a very good way to clean up; if one of your food has spilled or overflowed, a simple friction is sufficient. Even the melted plastic came off the floor with a simple wipe of the sponge.
By testing four different dishes on a dozen different pots and pans, we learned something about non-stick pans that we (perhaps naively) didn’t know yet. It turns out that the best non-stick pans work best in moderate heat. If you overheat the stove, you can burn yourself, overcook your food (rubber eggs are not good eggs) and the non-stick properties of the pan wear out faster, according to the manufacturers.
Anything else? Not all pots and pans are dishwasher safe, not even the ones that last longer if you wash them by hand. When you’re ready to wash the pan in the sink, make sure it’s completely cool. This not only prevents you from burning yourself, but also from damaging the non-stick coating. Avoid scrubbing the pads, as they can also damage the coating more quickly. If the food sticks to the pan, you can fill it with a quarter cup of bicarbonate of baking soda and about 5 cm of water, then let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes. This should relieve even the most persistent burns.
The tools you use for your pots and pans can be made or broken: Some pot guides warn that metal spatulas can damage pots directly, and our tests have shown that even a small scratch with a fork can damage a pot. You can commit to using only wood or plastic for your utensils, but it can be difficult to enforce this rule when other people use your utensils. In this case, scratch-resistant pots can be used.
Most non-stick pans have a little spice. It sounds more complicated than it is: Wash and dry the pan after removing it from the packaging. Rub the surface with a little oil and heat for a few minutes. Rinse again and you’re done.
Finally, the word non-stick implies that you don’t need oil or butter to cook. And while most pots and pans do very well without fat (we believe quality deteriorates over time), we believe there’s nothing wrong with adding a little fat to a pan – and it makes every dish taste better. However, cooking sprays and non-stick pans are not that great. The spray can leave a residue that builds up over time and reduces the non-stick effect of the pan.
Four different dishes were cooked in each pan: Pancakes, scrambled eggs, fish and sticky sauce. We didn’t use cooking oil or butter to test the anti-cloth factor. Other criteria we assessed:
- Long lifespan: To test the durability of the pan, we inspected the metal cookware for scratches, evaluated the heat of the handle, inspected the appearance of the pan after cleaning and tested for warping at maximum oven temperature.
- Functionality : We enjoyed the simplicity of preparing scrambled eggs, pancakes, sticky sauce and a fish dish. We also tested the heat distribution by cooking on different parts of the surface. We’ve noticed all the features and ease of cleaning.
- Aesthetics: A little more subjective in our evaluation, we have taken note of the style of the pots, as well as the comfort and ability of the handles to stay cool, and the quality of the materials used.
Using the test criteria described above, we calculated a score for each panorama in each subcategory. The total score of each pot was the sum of the scores of the sub-categories. It’s the malfunction of our rating systems:
- Durability was 25 points or less: Scratch test (10 points), handle temperature (5 points), at the latest after cleaning (5 points) and maximum oven temperature (5 points).
- The maximum score for functionality is 55 points: easy to prepare omelette (10 points), easy to prepare sticky sauce (10 points), easy to prepare pancakes (10 points), easy to prepare fish (10 points), heat distribution (5 points), special features that make the appliance more efficient (5 points) and easy to clean (5 points).
- For style there was a maximum of 15 points: Quality of the materials (5 points), general appearance (5 points) and ergonomics of the handle (5 points).
- The guarantee had a maximum of 5 points: Lifespan (5 points), 2 to 4 years (2 points), and less than 2 years (0 point).
We’ve checked everything else.
NS R2 All-Clad 4110 stainless steel frying pan with three non-stick layers ($169.99 for two sets; bedbathandbeyond.com)
This pot got dangerously hot, and we may have overheated it, but the first time we used it, the bottom of the pot was stained like charcoal.
Hard anodized non-stick frying pan ($59.99 for a set of two; bedbathandbeyond.com)
Surprisingly, this cheap All-Clad model withstood the heat better than its more expensive counterpart. However, the handle was cumbersome and uncomfortable to hold when transferring food from the pot to the plate.
Anolon Advanced Home Pan ($59.99; bedbathandbeyond.com or $59.99; anolon.com)
This anolone pan had a beautiful non-stick effect. The handle is almost completely coated with silicone to protect the cook from heat, but it is too easy to go into an unprotected area and risk catching fire.
We’ve checked everything else.
Calphalon Contemporary Aluminum Non-stick Kitchenware with Hard Anodizing, 10 and 12 Inch Set ($59.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)
This frying pan was also a non-stick winner. He got points for the small knots that connect the handle to the pan; they are in the pan and can collect food, which can make cleaning boring.
Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel Frying Pan ($39.99 for 8 inches; bedbathandbeyond.com)
The bottom of this pan shows a burn as a result of repeated use. It does not affect the ability of the pan to cook something without sticking, but for people who are worried about its appearance, it is not a choice.
Oxo Good Grips Frying Pan, 12-inch ($49.99; amazon.com)
Light but sturdy, this stove is a reasonable option for its price, without frills. When it comes to scraping, it’s not very good with metal utensils, but if you stick to the rules (don’t use metal utensils), it makes sense.
We’ve checked everything else.
Tramontina Frye Professional Aluminum Non-stick Restaurant Frying Pan ($43.88; amazon.com)
This pan came second and got good grades for its good grip and scratch resistance. The only drawback: The small rivets where the handle meets the pan created a vulnerable place where food can get stuck, which makes cleaning up a bit difficult. However, you can remove the red silicone handle and clean it separately.
T-Fal Professional General Thermostatic Pan Heat Indicator ($30.97; amazon.com)
The T-fal model of the same brand had a neck-to-neck race, but in the end it won thanks to the high sides and the cover. For a smaller pan this is a solid option.
Zwilling Madura Plus 10 inch non-stick casserole ($49; food52.com)
The metal fork covered the non-stick surface of the twins, causing scratches all around, and the handle was insufficiently padded. However, the smooth surface of this pot made it possible to cook evenly and was easy to clean.
Pay attention: The above prices are the selling prices at the time of publication.
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